Below are my homework assignments for The Second City sketch writing course. The world will see it before my instructor ever does. Assuming the world reads this blog.
The assignment was to describe a place or environment, and to describe an item that has special meaning in my life. So that's what I did. Eat meat, beer and cheese.
The Laundry Room
My laundry room is pretty disgusting by most people’s standards. In addition to providing my home a facility to wash clothes, it also serves as my dogs’ cafeteria, and sometimes their bathroom. Although, they usually prefer the carpet in the family room for the latter.
The floor in the laundry room is protected by cheap vinyl tile. It is the same tile that was there when I moved in nine years ago, as is the rest of the room’s decor, so I have no idea how old it is. It is scratched and tattooed with grime in some places. I see no need to replace it. The dogs seem to like its light blue flower trim pattern. The dogs and I are the only ones who spend any significant time in there. I barely notice the floor’s imperfections unless my wet feet alert me that something is amiss.
The washer is currently unplugged, unattached and pulled away from the wall. It stopped cooperating about a month ago. I’m at the end of trying to fix it. A new washer is on the way. The dryer sits in its customary place, to the left of where the washer should be, had it been behaving. Both appliances are white and stained with the memory of bunny effluence. The bunnies were evicted a few years ago, due to their incessant violations of our boarder contract.
Outside light infiltrates the room from a window over looking the washer and dryer area, and from a window on a door, which leads to the back yard, positioned to the left of the dryer. Both windows are donned with a wardrobe consisting of matching plastic green blinds, which complement the peeling warm red wall paper. These blinds also serve as dust repositories.
To the right of where an accommodating washer should be sits an off white speckled plastic stationary tub. This , too, boasts blemishes of its own, caused by the clean up efforts of the burnt red Venetian Plaster used to adorn the living room walls. On the wall behind the stationary tub is a make-shift splash guard hewn from a piece of faux brick wall covering. This helps promote the luxurious environment required when cleaning painting utensils or hand washing delicates. An electrical outlet, which provides power to the washer/dryer, looms perilously close to the tub, halfway up the wall. It’s a wonder I have not been electrocuted yet, with all the hand washing of delicates I do. To the right of the stationary tub of potential death is a door leading to a glorious bathroom.
Homemade cabinets and drawers, constructed with the finest plywood, cover the walls opposite the washer/dryer area and form an “L” shape through the corner. These are gilded with a pristine coat of brown paint and lacquer. Not paint covered by lacquer – paint and lacquer mixed together and then applied in a hurry, apparently. Depending on the humidity, temperature and wind patterns, some of the cabinet doors and drawers actually close all the way, sometimes. The largest cabinet, in the corner, leases itself to a furnace and a water heater. A mop and a bucket and some other infrequently used cleaning supplies keep them company. The rest of the cabinets secure such valuables as dog food, laundry supplies and whatever else cannot earn a spot in the important parts of the house.
There is a hook attached to the ceiling of the room in the corner. A paint roller hangs there as a reminder to how much this room needs some restorative attention. The ceiling also supports an uncovered light fixture, which is near is a pull down staircase leading to the attic. The panel to the staircase is painted brown so as not to be confused with the rest of the ceiling, which is white, except for remnants of bunny splash and other marks of mystery.
The dogs do their best to coddle the room with their discarded hair, as it comforts the creases and nooks created by the contents of the room. They also employ their own brand of aroma therapy in there, which is only supplanted temporarily by detergent and fabric softener fragrances on laundry days. They don't seem bothered by the room's condition. It is one step above living in the wild, although they spend most of their time on the couch.
The Fabio Photo
My eight by ten autographed glossy of Fabio is FABULOUS. In fact, I think “Fabio” is Italian for fabulous. If it isn’t, it should be. The photograph is black and white in a portrait layout. Fabio stands menacingly just off center to the left as if he was just about to make a proposition – one he is sure would be accepted. One of his hands playfully hides in the pocket of his casual black jacket, while his left hand confidently supports his pose on an unseen structure – probably a Donatello bust.
Fabio wears an angelic white shirt, with buttons hidden and a band collar fastened by an elegant dark bead. His Adam’s apple peaks out just beneath his massive and powerful square jaw, reminiscent of the animated Johnny Bravo of Cartoon Network fame. His golden mane hangs calculatedly untamed around his shoulders as he stares at the viewer like a lion concentrating on a deformed zebra. His enigmatic grin reveals his enjoyment in the zebra’s final doomed minutes.
Fabio's autograph, barely legible in gold ink, begins at his ornate belt clasp and drifts across to the right edge of the portrait. The placement of the signature reminds the viewer that the portrait is appallingly cut short at mid hip, leaving any package peepers wanting.
The picture frame protects the photograph with a frosty plane of glass. The frame is decorated with a double helix rope design bordered by two rows of half circles. The plastic construction is painted to appear as tarnished gold, as if to say, “Oh look, I’m an antique frame, but I was actually bought at a dollar store”.
On the outside of the glass pane, there is an autographed postcard of comedian Jake Johansson. He signed it, “I fucked a sock. Jake Johansson”. He didn’t want to sign it that way, but I asked him nicely, to commemorate one of his jokes in his act, and I wouldn’t leave him alone until he did. He was afraid I’d try selling it on eBay. I wonder how he’d feel sharing the frame with Fabio.
I keep the Fabio picture on my bar for all to enjoy. Friends who stop over and see it ask me if I’m gay, as if only gay people can appreciate the brilliance of Fabio. But I do wonder, sometimes, if I were gay, if I would be attracted to Fabio, and he to me. I also wonder if Fabio would ever consider keeping a photograph of me on his bar. If he did, would it be for the same reason I keep his picture – as a reminder of all that is silly in this world.