Mid '90s: It's about 2 AM and I'm walking home from a sophisticated social engagement. It's a nice fall morning, and I'm slightly drunk, doing what will later be termed my "gay walk," which is sort of a lumbering, shuffling, pigeon-toed Frankenstein gait that comes out when I get drunk or really sleepy or tired of wandering through fabric stores.
Even though it's easy enough to get a ride home, it's always nice to sneak out alone from a party or show and walk home alone through the cool night air with my ears ringing, my head spinning, thinking up ideas and plans, feeling alive and young and at one with the universe, thinking that I've found exactly the place I need to be at, here in Gainesville, Florida.
I'm shuffling down the sidewalk a few blocks from my house. I'm thinking of a Radon or Spoke song and kicking stuff out of my way. "Out of my way, trash! I'm walking here! Out of my way, stupid can! Look at that big piece of burnt driftwood in the sidewalk. I'm gonna kick the hell out of you, just for being in my way, and because I'm young and drunk."
I connect with pretty good force, but the driftwood doesn't fly away. Instead, making a gross "thunk" sound. Hey, this isn't driftwood at all. And, come to think of it, why would there be driftwood in the middle of a sidewalk in Gainesville, miles from the ocean? Oh, this driftwood has teeth.
Holy crap, that was a burnt pig head.
I look at it, all black and burnt. I'm pretty sure it starts crying at me. I'm sort of grossed out, but also bewildered. Why would there be a burnt pig head in the middle of the sidewalk?
Early '00s: I spend early Christmas Day morning in my in-law's guest bathroom reenacting Evil Dead 2, at least the parts that deal with fluids exploding out of a sweaty, sleepy body. "It was the ham," I think. "That evil, evil ham."
The ham had been sitting out for a while the night before, and I thought that it should have been refrigerated. Guess I was right, but winning doesn't feel so good.
So if you invite me to your house and serve ham, I'll eat the leathery, salty, inferior-to-turkey meat. But I'll be thinking of sad burnt pig's heads and terrible Christmases.