I left Michigan soon after "Date of the Week" XVII. I
had taken Kim, a blind date, while my pal Bill took
his friend, Amanda.
They were fun girls. Kim's lazy brown bangs fell
past her eyelids. Amanda was taller, sporting a new
haircut with arched red bangs.
We went to Applebee's, and Bill and I immediately
engaged in a contest to be the most sappy romantics.
I ordered for "the lady and I," and Bill started
calling his date, "dear." I responded by referring to
Kim as "buttercup" thenceforth, but Bill did me one-up
and used "my little pookie" to call Amanda.
We moved past the main course to dessert. Bill
said, "So what looks good to you, my little pookie?"
Amanda giggled. I said to my date, "Look, Kim, the
menu says the Hershey's Chocolate Pie is sweet, but
it's not as sweet as you, buttercup." When the food
came, Bill and Amanda pulled off a nifty trick by
intertwining their arms as they spooned the apple pie
to their mouths. It was refreshing to see such an
expression of romance these days. Kim and I fed each
other our dessert, which turned out to be really
tough, because, first of all, we couldn't keep from
laughing at how absurd couples are who really do that,
and secondly it takes more skill than you'd think to
lift chocolate pie accurately to someone's mouth while
at the same time you have four sharp fork prongs
headed for your face.
The date was going well. It was time to make our
moves. Bill stretched his arms to yawn and slickly
one across Amanda's shoulders. I used a sneaky tactic
I'd learned from Ewan "Johnny" Smith known only as
MODERN ODDYSEUS' DATING ADVICE # 17. You ask a girl,
"How did the duck get to the other side of the pond?"
Then, when she doesn't know the answer, waddle your
fingers past her neck, put an arm to her side, and
say, "He went around."
That move earned me my first sleepover with a
date. (Kim didn't sleep anywhere near me, but we both
spent the night at Bill's house - a "Date of the Week"
For January, I was returning to school. The good -
no, great - news was that my old nemesis, the pansy,
Pansyckas, was not going to be there. I realized on
my way to Florida that Pansyckas (or, as my
grandmother likes to call him, "Candy-Ass") was going
to be in Spain this semester. I nearly did a little
dance on the plane. All I have to say is: poor, poor
Spaniards. Luckily for them, Pansyckas speaks Spanish
atrociously, so they won't have to hear him
complaining about his pesos.
"Rrgh, that Pansyckas rattles my incisors!"
Believe it or not, there were good times between me
and Pansyckas. I remember one day in 1999, a few days
before Thanksgiving ...
I'd said, "Rudy (as I used to call him during
those strange days when we were friends), what are you
doing for Thanksgiving break?"
Pansyckas said, in his nasally voice, "Oh, just a
little exercise. One day, I'm going to jog 4 miles,
bike 30 miles, swim a mile, and do 500 push-ups."
"Great, I'll join you," I said. I extended four
fingers. "Except, what I'm gonna do is eat a
half-gallon of ice cream, a 12-inch sub sandwich, a
box of cereal, and a large pizza."
We agreed to have a race.
And so, the stage was set, for one of the
greatest contests in the history of man. Pansyckas
vs. me. The forces of Evil vs. the power of Good.
"Might Vs. Mouth: the Quadrathlon." "The Race to Lose
3000 Calories Vs. The Race to Gain 9000 Calories."
(Pansyckas argued unsuccessfully that we should charge
spectators to watch, but I doubt it would've been very
profitable anyways since only one person came with
entry free, and that was Pansyckas' brother)
At 9:30 am, Thanksgiving Friday, we began, at my
school's pool. Pansyckas took off running, with plans
to stop occasionally to do push-ups. I devoured my
turkey-and-ham sub in under fifteen minutes and then
chowed down on a head-sized block of Black Cherry ice
Fifteen minutes into the ice cream, Pansyckas
returned from his jogging. He did the 100 push-ups he
still needed, and he got on his bike and departed. I
enjoyed the ice cream and poured a big bowl of Just
Right cereal with the 1/2 gallon of milk I also had to
The first bowl went down slowly but surely, and I
started to look pregnant. I ate the first bite of the
second bowl, but my throat rejected it. My cheeks got
bloated, as neither my teeth nor throat would let the
sloppy food through. Finally, I swallowed, and I
moved on to the second bite. My cheeks shot out
immediately, as the same struggle ensued again. For
the next grotesque hour, I consumed only two bowls of
cereal and repressed the gag instinct about a hundred
I crammed down a three-topping slice of Hungry
Howie's pizza, but my esophagus would only make room
for tiny niblets at a time. To my horror, Pansyckas
finished his 30-mile bike ride, his third event, only
two hours, fifteen minutes into the contest.
Then followed one of the most miserable scenes
ever. Pansyckas, all hunched over from exhaustion,
slipped into the pool without bending one part of his
sore body. I sat at a table, eyeing my nine remaining
pizza pieces with serious intent. My body leaked milk
from the ears and Just Right from my eyeballs. By
some miracle, I stuffed another piece of pizza onto my
Pansyckas was reduced to running across the pool,
moaning, "Ow! Oh! Ow! Ohhhh!" and complaining that
every part of his body hurt. I paced half-inch steps
around the pool deck, crying because my kidneys and
liver had, I think, been filled with food. Our
wincing faces looked like they were sucking themselves
into our skulls; in my case, my mouth was trying to
eat my face.
Our contest concluded soon after Pansyckas got a
leg cramp and writhed, screaming, on the pool's edge,
swearing he was going to die if he didn't get to a
hospital in one minute (what a pansy!). He was nearly
done swimming anyhow, so I granted him victory. We
headed home. I rolled to a stop in my bed. For 24
hours, I could do nothing but lay atop my belly and
mourn the fact that I'd been bested by Pansyckas.
"Aarrrgghh, Pansyckas! He grinds my cerebrum!!!"
I couldn't believe he'd beat me, but we did have
another of the greatest contests in the history of
man! It didn't have a fancy name in February 2000,
when it occurred, so I'll just call it "Pectorals vs.
Stomach vs. Liver."
It was also a race. Pansyckas had to do 2700
push-ups, I had to eat 3 half-gallons of ice cream,
and Ewan "Johnny" Smith had to drink 17 beers. We
it'd take four hours and be a close finish.
In his first contest appearance, Johnny fared
especially poorly. Johnny's a big drinker, but the
day of the contest was not his lucky day. After four
beers, he was already so drunk he took off his pants.
He lay in bed and never drank more than six beers.
I'd never ate more than one half-gallon of ice
cream at a time, but I got off to an early, seemingly
insurmountable lead - finishing the Black Cherry
half-gallon and Chocolate Rainbow in only 1 hour,
fifteen minutes. But Pansyckas didn't give up. For
four hours, he did push-up after push-up after push-up
after push-up, with heavy Metallica music to motivate
him. Eventually, his upper body swelled up like a
balloon ready to pop, and his skin turned red with
A lot was at stake. For a friendly wager, the
contest loser had to wear stuffed bras to all their
classes one day. Pansyckas kept going, while I
significantly slowed on my ice cream. Between 2 1/2
hours and 3 1/2 hours, I took only two bites of Peach
Two times, I was eating and nearly puked. Both
times, Johnny jumped out of bed, excited. If I would
puke, it would be an automatic forfeit, meaning Johnny
would be saved from having to wear a bra. "Puke!
Puke, da*n you!" said Johnny, and I ran from the room.
The entire contents of my stomach pushed feverishly
against my lips for a good fifteen seconds, like the
inmates of a jail trying a mass break-out at the
prison doors. Luckily, these prison doors, as well as
the heart of our fearsome Pansyckas-slaying hero, were
made out of titanium. I'm proud to say, I held the
ice cream in and finished the final half-gallon at a
time of four hours, thirty minutes. Woohoo! The
champion! Pansyckas managed a respectable 2300
push-ups - but he still lost, the pansy. The sad part
about this story is that neither Johnny nor Pansyckas
ever wore their bras to class, as I would've LOVED to
have seen that.
"AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! That Pansyckas!!! He really
boils my terds!"
But ... hmmm. In a way, I guess, looking back on
it, I suppose Pansyckas and I did have a rare
friendship - one based purely on hatred.
- Modern Oddyseus
Good luck Spain.