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15:08:57 - 2000-02-26

THE STORY BEHIND MY GHASTLY PALENESS

It's a beautiful day outside.

And I'm in here reading diaries.

Am I a pathetic sonofabitch or what?

Truth be told...I'm not much on the outdoors. Never have been.

Well ... that's not entirely true. When I was a kid, I loved being outdoors.

Until that fateful summer day when I was 11.

My cousin Dave had come down to Nashville from Illinois to spend the summer with my family, since we were like brothers. We used to spend most of our time down by a creek playing around. Spearing frogs, stoning birds, whatever the hell we did when we were kids.

I don't remember the exact circumstances of how we got to where this story gets. So I'll just get to it.

One night, after his bath, Dave apparently found something unusual.

As it turned out ... he had a tick on his balls.

A blood-sucking, rocky-mountain-fever-carrying tick on his balls.

And it was HUGE, so it had been there a while.

He's freaking out. We're 11 years old, pretty much past the "freak out" stage that children have. But he's freaking out like a Woodstock audience.

My mom has to take care of this whole thing, because I'd be goddamned if I'm touching my cousin's balls at the age of 11.

I remember Mom sitting on the couch, puffing furiously on a cigarette and then taking the lit end and putting it dangerously close to the tick and screaming "HOLD STILL" to my cousin.

Three guesses on if you think my cousin stood still.

Ummmm....would you stand still if someone was holding the ash end of a cigarette against your genitalia?

I have NEVER heard a male scream like that. He was making sounds I've never heard any animal make. I still remember one scream sounded more like a broken air conditioning unit than a scream. Lotsa little "clicks" and then a giant roar, only to peter out at the end (no pun intended on the peter thing).

Finally, Florence Nightingale seared the little bastard off his nads, and my cousin quickly yanked his shorts up and slowed his crying roll down considerably.

She then checked him for other ticks and found one on his scalp. She parted his hair, puffed on her butt like a steam locomotive, and pressed the cigarette down on his head.

He barely flinched. As long as the lit cigarette was nowhere near his 11-year-old sac, he was a happy camper.

(I wonder if this whole ordeal turned my cousin into an S&M guy. Eh ... I doubt it.)

It was my turn for a tick inspection from Mom. I reluctantly got naked as Mom spun me around, inspecting me like I was a four-day-old rump roast in the meat department.

I'm happy to report, I was tickless. I was sufficiently humiliated to be in the sixth grade and having my mom lift my testes up to check for unwanted bugs ... but tickless nevertheless.

It was after The Tick Incident that I stopped hanging around outside. Still today, I have a fear of ticks. We have a huge pine tree in our back yard, and I will only stay under it for a certain amount of time. The last time my dog got a tick on her I rushed her to the vet and it cost me $80 to have the tick removed.

I had to do it. I was outta smokes.

So you "outdoors" people can have your little "outdoors" life. I'll stay inside where I have plenty of gadgets and junk to keep me entertained.

And at the end of the day, I can sleep easy, knowing a tick's not sucking my testicles dry.

Can you say the same, Ranger Rick?

I dunno...I think it'd be cool to have you as my Uncle Bob ...

Tell me you love me. Or tell me I suck. It's totally up to you.

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