The Goblin Burrito

June 27th, 2013

The power shift was palpable that day in 1983 when my Mom and Stepdad rolled up in the family Oldsmobile, fresh from the maternity ward, my mom clutching a tiny blue package to her bosom. For nine years I had been sitting pretty as the youngest and therefor most important member of the clan, the one demanding the most love and attention, the axis around which the entire universe spun, and I was well aware that my throne was being usurped by this tiny new creature that had been brought into being by the unholy union of my parents’ naughty parts being mashed together. My world was changing all around me, and I had no idea how to cope with it. Everyone’s focus for the past several months had been on my mother, and that beach-ball belly of hers. An entire room of our house had been transformed into a bright, sweet-smelling lair for this thing my mom was now carrying in her arms. She looked so impossibly happy as she entered the house, no doubt thankful that this creature was no longer insider her, kicking and punching her body from within like some horrible parasite she’d swallowed in the Amazon that grew to impossible proportions in her belly. I was the first in the room of relatives she approached with the package, smiling, perhaps sensing my displeasure as she kissed me on the cheek.

I wasn’t sure what to make of the little alien body bundled in blue cotton she carefully lowered into my tiny, third-grader arms. “Meet your new brother,” my mother whispered, retreating a few steps to snuggle with my step-father. I shot a helpless look at the room full of relatives who stood around me staring at this mysterious pile that was now in my lap, my sister Claire dancing around the room shrieking “I’m next! I’m next!,” certain I was going to drop the little purple, puffy-eyed creature that looked more like a goblin burrito in his blanket than an actual human being. Were babies supposed to look like this? Something was definitely wrong – I was sure these people were screwing with me. I was certain at any moment my folks were going to shout “Joke’s on you, Drew! That’s a pickled monkey-baby we found in a jar in the basement. Here’s your real brother…” But, no. This was the genuine article, with blotchy skin, bulbous, Muppety eyes, and a shriveled clipped navel that looked like a zombie finger was protruding from his stomach, thwarted in mid-escape from its babybelly tomb. This little thing was my half-brother, they told me. Half-brother, half-what?

This baby was born with a mohawk, which definitely wasn’t normal. It was completely bald, save for a thick shock of red hair that ran across the top of his head. It was if some twisted scientist was cloning an army of Mr. Ts and this one had been plucked from the ooze far too early. The kid was translucent, ginger-haired, and most definitely undercooked.

I’d been waiting for days to meet the little critter in person, as my sister and I were forced to stay at home during his gooey debut. Both of us considered this a seriously raw deal – our mom and stepdad had been coaching us for months on how babies were made, in giggly pajama sessions reading from the giant pages of “Where Did I Come From?” on our mother’s bed, which had become the new bedtime story of choice. It was the brilliant tale of a happy, overweight couple who laid in bed together until the man squirted smiling white cartoon pollywogs from his penis into the woman’s vagina. Over several pages the woman’s stomach got bigger and bigger as the man paced about, until a doctor pulled a baby out of the lady’s snootch like a magician’s rabbit. “And that’s how Mommy had the two of you,” the story always ended.

The rules of the book did not apply, however, to Baby Number Three. He’d popped out of our Mom like toast. The doctor, we were told, had to drug our Mom up and cut her stomach open with a knife to pull the little guy out, leaving a long pink scar right below her navel. I was appalled. His first day of womb-freedom and the kid had already scarred my mom for life. All of the scars I’d given her up to that point had been purely psychological – because I was a gentleman, you see. The caesarian delivery just sounded too horrifying for my nine-year-old brain to picture – my mother’s stomach rising beneath the blanket, my new brother a howling demon bursting through her skin covered in goo, as doctors lunged for their knives and scalpels – nurses screeching “For God’s sake, squish it before it eats your face!”

Thankfully, none of them did. It took a few minutes of staring into this little monster’s eyes before my first warm, big-brothery feelings began to melt over me. I managed a laugh and looked up at my Mom as though she’d just handed me the present I’d always wanted. Somehow I knew I had the key to a lot of mischief in this tiny new person. He was a breathing lump of matter I could mold into anything I wanted. I could make him my accomplice in all things wicked. My own little underling. My evil minion.

We called it Matthew.

Bad Intelligence

June 11th, 2013

I was ten years old and I knew nothing. It was bad enough being the shortest kid in the fourth grade, but I was made to feel even smaller by how much all of the other kids seemed to know about this thing called sex. All I really knew at that age was that it was something action heroes did that involved saxophone music, billowing curtains, a naked chick, and a hell of a lot of candles.

Most of us had been educated on the basic mechanics of the act in children’s books like “Where Did I Come From?” – two fat people lie on top of each other until smiling white pollywogs fill the page (big deal), but it was clear there were things the adults weren’t telling us. In movies like “Airplane!” actors would say sex things that would elicit booming, knowing laughter from our parents – using words that hung in the air like little clouds of filthy vapor – but these words did not exist in any dictionary. Believe me, I checked. There was no internet to help us back then. Your computer did not fire pop up windows full of high-resolution vaginas at you like Alien face-huggers any time you searched for a recipe for clams casino. A picture of a vagina was a rare thing you and your friends would have to go on an actual quest to see, usually squirreled away under a wet, worm-ridden log somewhere deep in the woods out past the chainsaw massacre shack and guarded by a foam-spewing Rotweiller with one eye. A boy would risk life and limb and all sorts of dangers just for a rare glimpse of fur.

When I was ten, anything a kid learned about the dark, secret world of sex they would hear from an older person – a big brother, a drunk relative, or some creepy old homeless dude shouting at them from under a bridge. But I did not have an older brother, or a bridge hobo. I only had my friend Wes, a curly-haired kid who could fart on cue, which was a valuable talent to have back in those days. And Wes was the Bob Woodward of boobs and muff.

We were playing video games on his Commodore 64 one afternoon when he asked “Hey man, have you ever heard of this thing called a ‘blowjob’?”

I hadn’t, but I was sick and tired of being the last to know these things. “Pssssh. Yeah, of course.”

“Ok. Then, what is it?”

“I don’t have to explain it to you. You tell me.”

Wes rolled up his sleeves and began miming the whole process. “It’s when a woman unzips a man’s pants… grabs onto his honker… takes it out…” Interesting, interesting, go on, I thought. “… takes a hair dryer… and just waves it back and forth over the guy’s crank. It’s meant to feel amazing.”

I did not even miss a beat. “Boom. Yes,” I lied, “Exactly. That is exactly what I heard, too.” Because when you are ten, the way everything is named makes sense. Snow pants are pants you wear in the snow, Autobots are robots that turn into cars, and so if there was one thing I was absolutely certain of at that moment, it’s that a blowjob had something to do with wind.

As we turned back to our video game my brain just swelled. I suddenly felt all-powerful, as if I had lopped the noggin off the last Highlander. I had learned a new sex term – one that no one in my class had uttered on the playground before. A blowjob! Blammo! This little slice of wisdom was going to get me places, for sure. Everyone at school was going to be so impressed.

And so the next day I sat on pins and needles in class, waiting for recess to be called, and once it was, I didn’t waste half a second, turning to the kid next to me. “Hey man, you ever heard of a blowjob?”

The basketball court was empty that day. Kickballs blew across the baseball diamond like tumbleweeds, not a kid in sight. There was but one child’s voice heard shouting on the playground that recess, and that voice was mine – the shortest kid in the 4th grade, standing atop a bench with a class of enthralled 10 year-olds clinging to my every word. And so, like Prometheus bringing fire to the ancient Greeks, I bestowed upon them my knowledge of blowjobs. And I was treated like a sage. “A hair dryer, you say! Fascinating!”

For an entire afternoon, I was the most popular kid in our class, and desperate to keep a firm grip on to this new position, I even began to make up definitions for sex terms I’d heard mentioned before but could never sort out. Your mother’s feather duster became a “french tickler”. “Felching” was when a man sniffed a lady’s bicycle seat, and so on and so forth.

That evening, perhaps somewhat mad with power, I decided to give it a whirl myself. A blowjob was, after all, meant to be the greatest sensation a man could feel. And so I snuck into the upstairs bathroom, pulled down my pajama bottoms, plugged in the hair dryer which was resting on the lid of the toilet. And I blew myself.

It wasn’t half-bad, really. It hurt for a moment, but once I got the hang of it and held the hair dryer at just the right distance it was really quite pleasant. It wasn’t what Wes built it up to be, but I thought perhaps when I was older, once I had vaulted past puberty and had long David Lee Roth-like locks sprouting from my nethers this hot breeze might be much more pleasurable. But for the moment it was just so-so. I often wonder how many of my fourth grade classmates went home and did the same that evening and were now walking the Earth with crispy Freddy Krueger penises because of me and my shitty intel.

I strolled through the house with a swagger the next day, brimming with a degree of confidence I had never felt and have certainly never felt since. I was no longer the playground runt, but a big man on campus. I was a man who knew things. And it was just that sort of hubris that got me into trouble when my mother and older sister returned home from the drugstore that afternoon, plastic bags dangling at their sides.

“So, what did you get?” I asked my sister.

Immediately suspicious of me, she flipped her Farrah Fawcett perm to the side and arched an eyebrow. “Nothing you’d care about. Make up. A toothbrush. A new hair dryer.”

She had thrown me a softball. “A hair dryer, eh?” I said with a smirk, knowing all too well that what I said next would pop her top like a volcano. “Is that so you can give your new boyfriend a blowjob?”

There was a loud CRASH from the kitchen. The sound that came out of my mother at that moment was something primeval, like the screech of a pterodactyl protecting its young. The very walls of our small row house tremored with a quake I’m sure was felt at least four doors down. The next few seconds were a blur, but I can say that my arm was nearly popped from its socket as I was dragged up a flight of stairs and thrown into my room, sentenced to a week of complete isolation, with only my Transformers and the french tickler I had stolen from the hallway closet to keep me company. I had never seen her that angry before.

The only company I was allowed to see was when my aunt and uncle brought my cousins by for a visit that Sunday. It must have been pretty boring for my cousin hanging out with me in my room, pushing matchbox cars around the shag carpeting, with me not allowed to leave.

“So what are you in for?” he asked, and so I told him what I had said to my sister to deserve a week of incarceration.

He was baffled. He sat upright and stared at me for a good minute before asking. “Yeah… umm.. What exactly do you think a blowjob is…?”

I launched one of my matchbox cars over a ramp I’d made with a coloring book and said “You know. When a girl takes a hair dryer and waves it over a guy’s dong.”

That was when my cousin’s brain exploded.

He laughed so hard at me for a moment I feared he would have a stroke, his hands clutching at his sides to prevent his guts from bursting out of him onto the carpet. Any confidence I had cultivated over the past week drained through my toes at once. “Holy shit… Holy shit. That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Whatever,” I said. “You don’t know what a blowjob is.”

He composed himself. “Of course I know what a blowjob is. I’m eleven.” He could see how upset I was becoming. “Listen, dummy. A blowjob is when a woman sucks on a man’s penis.” His chest began to spasm again and was once again doubled over, thrown into fits of laughter. “Holy shit! You’re killing me!” he cried.

All at once, the world as I knew it completely stopped making sense. Just when I thought I had taken this great stride towards understanding the mysterious world of adult sex, I had been punted a mile back, flat on my ass. How could this possibly be, I thought? I’m supposed to believe that a blow job is when a woman sucks on a man’s penis?

Well, that’s just retarded.

In Reverse

July 25th, 2011

Ok, so, this is a first…

While I’ve been working on the book, I started performing live at open mics around the city. I took an amazing storytelling class, run by Kevin Allison of the sketch comedy group “The State” and the awesome “Risk! podcast“, and was just informed that he’s posted the audio of my final class performance online.

It’s weird for me to hear my own voice, but I think it’s a pretty funny story, so here it is. Hope you dig it.

In Reverse by Drew Prochaska by RISKshow

Matthew, age 10ish (much uglier today)
Matthew when he was little (he’s not cute anymore)

Relax, You Are Going To Die

May 24th, 2011

My ass slowly zombified in its position, a cold cushion of pins and needles as I sat on the dermatologist’s table, stark-raving naked as he examined every fold, crevice, and pore of my skin with what looked like a glowing probe left behind by alien scientists. It had been at least five years since my last skin cancer exam and my mom had been relentless with her reminders. She had grown up in what is now Zimbabwe, a fair-skinned redhead who’d spent her childhood daring the African sun to do its worst and the damn thing was now giving her an annual health scare.

I look less like my mother than I do my Austrian father, but while I have the blonde hair and blue eyes of a poster child for the Aryan Nation and the soul and heart of an elven warrior princess, I’m covered with the freckly skin of the gingeriest of gingers. I look like the end result of a science experiment in which they sent a toe-headed gent into a teleportation device with a chocolate chip cookie and he emerged from the other pod half-man, half-Chips Ahoy. Interesting fact: if I were to appear naked before you (and unless I am surprising people in the park, I am a gentlemen who gives fair warning), you’d discover the freckles on my body form a map to King Solomon’s mines.

I was finishing my Cirque du Soleil contortions for the dermatologist – lifting things here, spreading things there – when he finally put the device away and stood before me, annoyed.

“I don’t see anything to worry about right now, except for one thing.” He folded his arms. “Your farmer’s tan. Why are you so tanned?”

“Because I’m awesome…?”

He was not amused. “You don’t get it. You can’t tan, Drew.”

“But look at me. I am tan.”

“No, YOU: Drew Prochaska. You can’t tan. Listen to me: you’re going to get cancer. This WILL happen. It’s pretty much an inevitability. Don’t help it along. You’re not allowed to leave the house without sunscreen. Period.”

And so this is my life now. When I emerge from the shower I need to slather my entire body in SPF50 or should I venture out into the open, I could very well erupt into flames like Johnny Storm, The Human Torch. I am doomed to roam the Earth a slippery, pale Gollum of a man who has to cower before the big fiery ball in the sky because it has been prophesied that the fucker will kill me. The idea has taken a firm root in that tiny squash of a brain I have: I’m going to get skin cancer. Thanks a bunch, doc.

Hypochondria has been a running theme in my life, and like a good cheese it has ripened and gotten funkier with age. My primary care physician does cartwheels when he sees me, because over the years I have put enough money in his pockets to pay for a harem of japanese blowjob robots and a personal hovercraft. I am a doctor’s dream come true: a gullible guy who is by all means healthy, but has been led to believe his body a vessel of constantly crumbling parts cemented together with a fine paste made from pork products and scotch. I wish I were joking, but I’m a man who once called an ambulance because I smoked too much pot, and once paid a visit to the doctor for blue balls.

I turned 37 two days ago and this shit has to stop. I’m entering the second half of my life and I’m not going to live it in fear. From this day forward, I’m going to stop worrying about my mortality every single second and start facing my fears one by one: disease, heights, sharks, flying, flying sharks, snakes, the Amazonian candiru which swims up your urethra, C.H.U.D.s, and talking to pretty girls.

Carpe diem, kiddos