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June 12, 2012 9:23 am

MY LOUSY WORLD: Revisiting past trauma

Written by Doug Blough

Occasionally, I must revisit past columns with updates and clarifications. Everything I write is true, of course, since exaggeration of my blunder-laden life would be like Barbra Streisand embellishing the size of her nose. But there are those rare misrepresentations.

A recent column in the Tribune’s Home Improvement edition recounted 35 years of roofing misery — falls, vanishing ladders in windstorms, sunstroke, etc. I suggested that may be why most roofers are lushes; they drink to forget. But that is stereotyping, which you might expect from a drunken Irishman, but not a good German boy like me.

Obviously not all roofers, housepainters and cooks drink to excess, and I’m actually the only Blough roofer with “PRS” (Pickled Roofer Syndrome). My roofing mentor (who I blame for all this), my brother Jess, has never been a drinker, except for one single exception as a frustrated paratrooper one night many, many, many decades ago.

His son Jay, now the owner of Jess’ Roofing, also hasn’t fallen prey to the hops and barley, although he and I have had a beer or two together over the years. He knows when to stop though. I know when you’re supposed to stop, but legally colorblind, I’ve often mistaken red lights for yellow.

Yes, I am the black sheep of the family, as I explained to Rick and Sandi Fisher when Dave Beemer introduced us at a Powell eatery a couple years ago. Rick said he knows Jess and son-in-law Scotty Brown well. He added jokingly, “I’ve heard all about you. You’re the black sheep of the family, right?” I said with all sincerity, “Right. But it doesn’t take much to be the black sheep in a family of albino sheep.”

Remember my fly-in-the-ointment last summer when, with slight trepidation and a raging hunger, I washed down a steak meal with a glass of milk after noticing a fly corpse in the jug? My unofficial poll of who would and who wouldn’t have drunk the feces-tainted milk revealed the “no-ways” outnumbered the “why-nots” by about three to one. I’m reassured knowing there are at least a few sensible ones out there not limiting their culinary options with a germ phobia.

Last night, I faced a similar conundrum on another steak night. I had trimmed the fat from a beautiful Ribeye and left the 16-ouncer in the broiler pan resting over the kitchen sink while the broiler element pre-heated. I watched a little Judge Judy before returning to the kitchen drooling in anticipation of the perfect meal.

But a funny thing happened upon arrival — my biggest and oldest tenured cat (except for his mother Porchy), Ponce de Leon was hunkered over something on the filthy floor in close proximity to the sink. It didn’t take long to put two and two together when I noticed an empty broiler pan still on the sink and shrieked, “Hey, my steak! Get away from that, you stupid cat!” Ponce can also add two plus two and beat a retreat to the basement.

Yet I was oddly impressed at a 16-year-old’s ability to single-pawedly lift and transport to a lower elevation such a heavy hunk of meat. My pride was fleeting, but I was too hungry to give up on that steak, even though the top, gnawed side looked like meat my mom used to tenderize by pounding with a jagged, meat hammer. Oh, I had my reservations, but concluded it wouldn’t kill me, and warm water would wash away most of the imbedded feline saliva.

Would you have eaten that steak? Survey says…

Speaking of milk, compromised meat and cats, you may recall when I was about to consume a George-Foremen grilled cheeseburger, but first went to the kitchen for the salt. I returned to find weeks of unopened mail floating in 16 ounces of milk on my coffee table eatin’ area. It was Sportscar that time that sprinted for the basement. Fuming, I set my plate on the couch to dab up the wasted milk.

I sat back down and realized my cheeseburger was nowhere in sight and something underneath me felt all squishy. Two and two equaled four again; I had sat directly onto my cheeseburger loaded with ketchup and relish. There was no rectifying this one. I felt hungry, foolish and alone as I removed my new sweats dripping with condiments.

I only revisit this incident because I thought I was the only one, but some internet research revealed there’s a name for my condition. It’s called “Assburger Syndrome,” and there are others out there with it.

In summation, the cheeseburger stains came out of the sweats, I still often cry over spilled milk, and the cat-gnawed steak didn’t kill me. But roofing, I fear, eventually will.

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