Life is comprised of love, death and fear. We travel down lonely and winding roads searching for some semblance of meaning in this painful existence. We often lose sight of the higher meanings of things due to our childish preoccupation with hoarding material goods and servicing our basest of needs. We are all stupid sheep, ignorantly bleating while being led up onto the scaffold of life to get our preverbal wool shaved off by the farmer of ignorance and woven into the coat of deception that will go on sale at the market of enlightenment. I have no idea what that means, but it's just one of the tidbits of wisdom that Cliff would tell me on our special time we spent together on Tuesday afternoons. Through his wise words, I realized that life should not be taken for granted and that every day is a long, agonizing gift.
I was working as a successful Internet writer and part time short order cook at Applebee's when I heard the news. My hero and mentor, Cliff Yablonski, was dying of a myriad of diseases such as syphilis, rickets, tuberculoses, smallpox, and heartworms. This man, who has was my noble tutor for so many years, was alone, suffering in his studio apartment with only his cockroaches and homemade mummies to keep him company, while I was leading a the wild, exciting lifestyle of a comedy writer, shooting heroin into my eyeballs and trading stocks online. Cliff was passing away; his wisdom soon to be forever lost. I had to return to him, and help him in his time of need. It turned out in the end that it was I who really was the one in need, and Cliff ended up saving my life. Sorry for spoiling the ending.
I arrived at Cliff's one Tuesday afternoon unannounced, hoping my visit would give him a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, it seemed that the latter stages of syphilis was taking its toll, and he was in a manic state of mind that he fondly like to call "brain crickets." I knocked a little ditty of a tune on his apartment door, and a few seconds later, a shotgun blasted a hole just inches above my head. I guess it's understandable since I learned he was expecting to be evicted any day now, so I brushed off the dust and walked inside while he was reloading. Once I was able to release his vice like grip on my neck and allow precious air to reach my burning lungs, I explained who I was, and that I wasn't here to evict him or sell him insurance. Behind his bloodshot glazed eyes, I could see some form of recognition; a sign that he did still have some cognitive reasoning intact. To ease his murderous rage further, I produced a bottle of Beefeater gin and a five-dollar bill. This seemed to work, and I sat down next to him on his random stack of crates to talk.
The gin loosened his tongue enough to spill out a waterfall of wisdom and some strange chunky vomit. His years of experience was a gift; a gift to be shared so that the world will know and learn from him. His foggy memory was clearing and he started to recall the first day I came under his tutelage at the Something Awful Academy for the Internet Arts. His manner of schooling was unorthodox, yet his pupils usually ended up going on to do great things, like entertainment superstars such as Zack Parsons, Carrot Top, and Richard Greico. I would run up and down snowy hillocks in the dead of winter while he rolled down flaming garbage cans filled with deadly spiders and I was forced to hop them, not unlike the popular video game Donkey Kong. In fact, I believe that's where Cliff borrowed the idea because during the exercise he would wear a gorilla suit and I was forced to wear overalls and a fake mustache. It was a very hard course to pass, and I before I graduated I had visited the hospital dozens of times, but as a result, he had shaped me into a finely honed weapon of comedy. I went on to become a smash hit with children through the ages of 4-10, losing sight of who was responsible for my meteoric rise to the top. At the 2004 Internet comedy awards, I thanked my parents, heroin, and baby Jesus, but totally forgot to thank Cliff. It made me realize what a monster I have become, blinded by fame and riches. I would make it right, and spend my Tuesdays will Cliff until the end of his days.
After reminiscing for that first Tuesday afternoon together, Cliffy through me out of his window in random fit of drunken rage, but thankfully, a garbage bin full of foam peanuts broke my fall. I waved goodbye to the foaming, shirtless Cliff who now looked like he was trying to eat his window molding, and walked home with a sense of purpose and resolve. When I returned the next Tuesday, and peeked my head through the shotgun blast on the door, I saw to my horror that some sort of beast was attacking Cliff as he sat naked on a half burned husk of a Laz-E-Boy. He was struggling with a furry creature that looked like a weasel/goblin mutant and a strangled cry rose from his throat. Just as I was about to dash in to save him, I realized to my horror that he was pleasuring himself, and I caught him in mid-coitus. I reeled back in mental anguish, fleeing from the door as fast as my feet could carry me, running to the closest Starbucks. After an hour of waiting, I walked back to Cliff’s, a little afraid that he would still be abusing his deformed genitalia. This fear was not unfounded, because Cliff was far from finished. In fact, he was surrounded by a legion of blow up dolls covered in what looked like maple syrup and was riding a baby elephant while wearing a Burger King crown on his head. I decided that it was for the best to leave him to his devices and come back next week.
To say I was a bit wary of going back there was an understatement, but it was my duty to give this great dying man the attention and companionship he dearly needed. The next week, I poked my head though the door, expecting to see a scene out of Caligula's chambers, but only saw a drunk, sweet old man, passed out in a pool of his own filth. I let myself in and started to sponge him down, as it looked and smelled like he hadn't bathed in years. He woke out of his alcohol coma halfway through, and probably from his Korean War training, started choking me again. But this time I brought pepper spray and was able to fend him off long enough to explain who I was again and why I was there. I asked if he felt like doing anything today, like going to the park or seeing a movie, but he just told me to "get the fuck out you greasy cumguzzling shitstabber," (his words). I chuckled at his cheeky outburst and put on a pot of coffee so we could sit down by the shattered window and reminisce of fond memories past.
I brought up his experience in the Korean War, and he spoke in length about strangling a whole village of Vietcong with his bootlaces and wrestling crocodiles. I questioned the validly of this, and asked if he was confused with the Vietnam War, which at the time he was in prison for going on a rampage after losing a pie eating contest. He didn't care for my questions and let me know this by throwing the scalding hot coffee on my face and kicking me in the stomach. I fetched him a fresh cup and continued our bonding by asking him if he has any regrets about the life he has led, now that the end is so near. He spoke in a sad, raspy voice and recounted all of his sins and crimes against every person he's ever come across in his life. Around midnight, I was forced to stop him because I had to work the next day, but told him that we could continue chatting next week. He took this as a personal insult and threw me out the window again, but thankfully the garbage bin full of packing peanuts was still there and I was not hurt. I waved to the shadowy visage of the troubled man leaning out his window and rushed home to get some rest, and tend the third degree burns on my plump, rosy cheeks.
Although I thought Cliff and I were making progress and he was enjoying my company, I started to have my doubts when I showed up the next week with his door was boarded up, and a sign hanging that said "Go away you redheaded fucknapkin." Maybe I was pushing a little too hard, and the full reality of his impending demise had finally hit him. I decided there and then, I would not abandon Cliff for a 2nd time. I carefully scaled his brick apartment building wall and threw myself through his broken window. It seemed that Ciff saw me coming up because he was ready with a cricket bat. It cracked against my skull, ricocheting me into some decrepit shelving holding water damaged pornography, destroying it in a jumble of splinters and dust. As Cliff approached for a second swing, his deformed club-like syphilis ridden penis swaying like an obscene pendulum, I punched him in the kidney, making him double over on top of his ruined shelving. He recovered quickly, and I could see that he was hopped up on angel dust, Tang, and Pop Rocks. We fought for hours, punching, kicking, clawing, biting, and gouging. At the end, we both laid on his floor in a bloody heap, for the first time we shared a male bonding that transcends generations. I felt as if he taught me a valuable lesson about the pain he was going through everyday, and I finally understood everything. We had passed over this hurdle, and now Cliff was ready to open up his vault of wisdom, so that we may grow rich from it.
He spoke fast and sometimes incoherently, but I wrote as much as I could down in my notepad to ensure they would never be lost. Here are some of the tips Cliff would like to pass down to us, the humble students.
Don't drink water. It's a Jew conspiracy.
Always check to make sure it’s a lady before you pay. If it isn't a lady, demand half price.
Where am I and what am I doing here?
Look both ways before crossing the street you filthy faggot.
I once ate 23 of those hot dogs that sit on the rolling things at party stores and I started hallucinating that I was a mother condor and patrolled the tire dump to protect my eggs.
You should always...(unintelligible).
Never look a horse in the mouth or something.
A bird in the hand is like a few in the bush but you don't have to set the bush on fire to get them out and have to hide from the police helecopters in a fort built out of shopping carts I stole from those ham gnomes down by the Piggly Wiggly.
I'm going to crush your skinny neck you period-headed penis pusher!
He dictated such things to me as we swapped tales of the good old days before women could vote and Livejournal was created. Just when he was really opening up, he was struck with a case of "brain crickets" again and picked up the crate I was sitting on and threw it out the window, while I was still on it. Unfortunately, this time the bin full of packing peanuts was not there anymore, and I suffered some major trauma to my head, torso, spine, and limbs. Thus ended my Tuesdays with Cliff, a time that I'm sure I'll never forget, and that will always have a large impact on my life. I am currently in rehabilitation and with a lot of work and some hope in stem cell research, I know that one day I'll walk again. Cliff lives yet, barely clinging to life by consuming countless boxes of Honeycomb cereal and borrowing inside his mattress stuffing. He assured me that he would never die because he claims that he became a vampire after falling into the oil pit while gate crashing NASCAR '94, but I have my doubts. Whatever the case, we have learned much from him, and I hope this story has touched everybody's hearts, and wins me tons of awards. Contact my agent about any made for TV movie and action figure deals. Thank you.
Former Navy SEAL Jeff Caliber survived tier one special ops and is now studying creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. And fighting terrorists.
You gave yourself that bad haircut years ago. You're a smarter person now. More well-rounded as a human. This time you'll probably be able to cut your hair like a champ. This is a terrific idea!
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