I’ve often talked about how I adopted the weird, often irrational habits of my former roommates and housemates – like not putting certain paper items in the toilet (Andy Taubman), drying off while IN the shower (Salem), watching TV with only my neck elevated (Scotty, and before that, Kent), baby powder (Mr. The Budster), hiding sugar treats on the top shelf (because of Jiffer), noticing the dogs howling every time the sirens go off (Matt McMichaels) and no doubt other things the rest of you gave me.
However, one of the housemates most influential to my thought processes was Jon G. (or “noj”, as he is still known), whose loopy, absurd-yet-dead-on observations still stick with me, even though they were things he said offhandedly in 1994. I realized this today when Lucy jumped off the couch and yelled “GURGEN FLURGEN!” As far as I know, “gurgen flurgen” was noj’s catch-all phrase for whatever part of a sentence you couldn’t be bothered to say – or, better yet, used as sample conversation of some cretinous buffoon we’d had to endure. Anyway, I must have been using it for decades without noticing it had passed into my family’s lexicon, and now, proudly, on to Lucy.
There was also another bizarre story he’d told us about middle school – apparently he and a friend eliminated all the hard consonants from their speech for several weeks, rendering “I hope we can practice hoops after lunch” into “I hobe we gan bragdiss hoobz avder lunzhh.” I think they were actually sent to the principal because it was so unbelievably annoying. I can only hope Jon and Catherine’s kids are getting quality mileage out of these techniques.
However, the one that sticks with me most is this: he and another friend were talking about using the bathroom in somebody else’s house. His friend said, as a guy, you have aim your pee at the precise space in the toilet that is between the water and the rim of the bowl. Too close to the rim, and (as evidenced by any visit to a Chevron men’s room) we’re not that good at marksmanship. But you can’t pee straight into the water when you’re a guest, because the sound emanating from the bathroom is so heinous and uncouth. Thus we have to be very specific.
But, added Jon, guys always do the same thing when we’re at home, and why? Because WE’RE ALWAYS PRACTICING for the NEXT TIME WE HAVE TO PEE AS A GUEST.
All I can say is… that is something only noj could have thought of. And it is entirely true and I’ve thought about it whilst peeing for fifteen years.
Tessa’s shot about to go in over Jon, in the barn upstate March 2002