Friday, May 20, 2011

Your Unofficial Guide To Home Tutoring (3)

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I thought of this as I was watching CSI. You see, in order to overcome the smell of rotting flesh and corruption, forensics investigators, detectives and coroners will apply a strip of vapor-rub under their noses.

Now, why would YOU need it, you ask? Start with the kitchen. Dishes are done once a month or so, all food remains left on the plates. the refrigerator door opens and closes by itself as the appliance gasps weekly for air and to out gas whatever science project have been growing in there in perpetuity. The most common kitchen counter decoration is one or more partially full outdated milk cartons or jugs that never get thrown away. Thrown away? HAH! The kitchen IS the dump, with weeks, months worth of bags piled against the back door, blocking the exit in the event of a fire or emergency. The garbage bags sit there mocking you, confident that you would rather have the flesh roasted off your bones in a fire than move, nay, even touch, one of them. In warm weather, the garbage is an etymologist's DREAM, with multi-legged creatures of 17 orders appearing momentarily and diving back in, happily fulfilling their multi-generational purpose as detritivores, and recycling every scrap left behind.

Next, the dining/living area. Every seat and surface will be covered with piles of laundry. The clean laundry is presumable the folded stuff. That will fill one corner table or the arm of the couch, with a mangy cat sleeping on it. The rest of it, believe me, will be the dirty laundry. On every horizontal surface, thrown in corners, you name it. You will recognize the dirty laundry by its smell, which fills many of the niches in the house unoccupied by the odors from the kitchen. They seem to save doing the laundry for winter, when the un-vented dryer acts as a supplemental heat source and humidifier for those dry winter days.

Your student, when it appears, will be fresh out of bed, regardless of the time of day. Well, fresh isn't the word, I should have said 'just' or 'right out of''. Night funk, eye boogers, a crust of dried drool on their face, hair uncombed (since, no matter where you look in the house, you can never find a potato rake), barefoot after what looks like a run through Great Bear Swamp, enough dirt under their nails to grow tomatoes. And as they sit at the table, the first thing they will do is give you a big yawn...and as they exhale...

I have spent my life working with wild animals of every description. I have been defecated on by over 10,000 species, low estimate. I have been sprayed by big cats showing their disdain and superiority to me, been a fecal target of over 70 species of vile primates, done necropsies with a sandwich in one hand, a scalpel in the other. I helped a local mortician, in a cloud of thumbnail sized fuzzy black flies, carry out the remains of an elderly woman who had been at least two weeks dead during a July hot spell because the fire/rescue people with Scott Airpacks were vomiting in their masks and fleeing the house. The maggot weighed more than her remains. Bill and I were smiling as we carried her out, making fun of the cops and fire/rescue people 50 feet away on the sidewalk. Nothing bothers me.

The breath of these guys will make even MY stomach churn. I really don't think any odor in my life had made me nauseous until I started tutoring.

And the breath isn't the worst of it. The treat bathing like it was a perverted act and they were pillars of virtue. The B/O, bathroom odors are unbearable. There are the loud belches they enjoy soooo much, smiling like a child at Christmas afterward, and lets not forget how much fun farting is.

This past week, sitting at the table with one of my students, I heard a grumbling noise that I attributed to the heard of whiny dogs that are always muttering under their breaths as they lay under the table. After five, six repetitions, it hit me--like a baseball bat. He sat there for an hour and a half, farting constantly, the most foul gas I had ever encountered. I was so sick after I left, I was literally woozy and exhausted (pardon the pun) from breathing the fumes. I ran out of Vicks on the wrong day.

Then there's the pets. All of those people are 'animal lovers'. The moms will often say they love their dogs (and/or cats) as much as their kids. This will be very evident in the neglect you can see bestowed upon the animals. They will be mangy, underfed or obese beyond belief (matching the kids), covered in fleas, ear mites, matted tangled fur, and usually infested with a wife variety of intestinal parasites. The litter boxes get cleaned as often as the dishes. You could clean windows with the ammonia fumes emanating from the box. Everywhere you step you will hear kitty litter crunching underfoot. The female dogs will pee all over the house, the males on any vertical surface including your leg. Often, surprise dried feces pop up out of nowhere on the floor, perhaps dragged there by one of the vocal but invisible rodent infesting the premises, memories of a hidden bowel movement of days or weeks past. All of these unclean animals will adopt you as their new best friend, rubbing against you, drooling all over you, breathing on you, hopping on the table, chairs, your lap...the dogs and cats as well carry their own varieties of belches, farts and infected sores that drain and ooze wherever they touch.


>(c) 2011 by Dean Davis of Living World Ecology Center. Used with permission granted by Dean Davis


  1. Mayhaps I should have waited until later in the morning to read this one. Hilarious, but somewhat gorge inducing.

  2. Charles: I felt exactly the same way when I originally read this a few weeks ago and again when I posted it.

  3. Yeah I kind of wish I would have finished my snack first ;)

    But eeeeeeeewwwwwww!

  4. R: Yeah, it does turn your stomach quite a bit, but it is what it is.

    Reminds me of the two landfills that I'm sandwiched between here where I live.

    When the wind blows just right...BRAAAACK!!!


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