Tag Archives: embarrassing situations

Dark Humor

This re-run was originally posted on 6/28/2012.

Several years ago I was initially reluctant to put this “out there”.  But this is what makes me tick.  This is the essence of Marcus.

Poop humor makes people smile.

Lights Out

This is one of those iffy subjects.  I am wondering if I can pull this off without offending and bothering you.  By you, I mean specifically you.  You know who you are.  If you don’t, that would be an odd thing.  Perhaps you are in a coma and don’t know you anymore.  Sad really.  But since you are reading this, I would guess that you are alive and well.

The topic pertains to the bathroom which is one of my favorite topics when I am trying to produce something that will make you smile.  Producing humor that is, not anything else that you may or may not have been thinking.

You have to understand that I am a man.  I’m a grown man–someone who is raising a family.  I have my fair share of responsibilities and I am a decent member of society.  However, you also have to understand that before all of my so called maturing happened, I was a little boy.  And after that, I was a male teenager.  And then for a while, I was a guy in college.  Poo-poo jokes and embarrassing situations revolving around the bathroom are something that I embrace.  I can’t not smile when I am confronted by a story that involves gas or someone caught with their pants down.  I have to admit and acknowledge that its part of me.  It makes me, me.  I’m ok with it.

So, that being said and understood, I’m entering a small public restroom the other day.  It’s a nicely constructed with all the newer no-touch devices—lights, toilet flusher, sink water, towel dispenser, etc.  I walk in the lights click on automatically.  I proceed to the stall, to do what people do in a stall.  No details needed there.  You get the picture.  (“Everyone Poops” is a great book.  Look for it if you have never seen it.)

Then some time passes.  I’m not known for being fast at this “particular activity”.  If a book or a magazine is handy, I’ll take in a few stories.  But honestly, who wants to be known for either outcome: fast or slow.

“Hey, isn’t that Marcus over there?”

“Yeah, man it is!  Boy, he can move fast.”

It’s a good compliment for a football player, baseball player, or a track star, but not for someone seeking to relieve their biology.

Anyway, time passes and the sensor and timer controlling the automatic lights conspire against me as they make the decision that there is no longer anyone in the bathroom.  Lights out!  All at once, I am subjected to total darkness.  It’s alarming and very hard to describe the feelings that rush over you in that small moment of time.  In an emergency, the battery back-up lights would kick on, but this is no emergency.  This is simply an energy saving piece of electronics doing its job.

I am an evil device. I can turn Marcus into a blind man!

I think to myself for a plan.  This is a problem I can solve.  I’ll stand up and wave my hands around in order to make the lights click back on.  I do just that.  Nothing.  I’m in the stall with my pants at my ankles flapping my arms so hard I nearly took flight.  Nothing.  Still total darkness—like complete total darkness.  Ok.  I’ll open and close the stall door real fast.  Nothing.  No effect.  Darkness continues.  I can’t believe that the sensor isn’t covering the entire room, but it makes sense.  The sensor is designed to watch the door only, not the entire bathroom.  Despite my situation, I can actually appreciate this design.  I have issues when it comes to devices that “watch” humans in the bathroom.  I’m not a fan of the auto flusher.  First off, it’s watching me sit there.  It sees me.  Creepy.  Secondly, I always cover that “eyeball” with a piece of toilet paper so as to avoid the premature flush.  Nothing worse.

I have a friend on Facebook that posted one of those one-liner jokes that makes its rounds on the internet every so often.  “How does a blind person know when he is done wiping?”  It’s a great question.  Great question.  Well the memory of reading that really hit home just then.

This is the touchy part that might cause you to never return to my reading ever again.  I’ll do my best not to lose you.

I do what I can in total darkness to clean up my… situation.  I am, at this moment, in every aspect of the description, a blind man.  Ok, moving on.  I raise my pants and fix my belt.  I then do the mad dash out of the stall toward the door.  The lights click back on and I reverse the mad dash back into the stall.  In fact, if you had the chance to see me, you would have said, “Wow, that Marcus really moves fast.”

I realize that since no one actually saw me dealing with this whole incident, the story becomes somewhat anti-climatic.  But there I was, back in the stall.  (This is the part where losing you really concerns me).  I return to the seated position in order to check my work.    Let’s just say, as a blind man, I did good work.  Although I still don’t know the answer to that great question—how do they know?

While washing my hands, I had one more flashback.  A long time ago when I was just a little punk, probably somewhere around nine years old, I had a friend named Dave (no last name given in order to protect his identity).  We found it amusing to kill the lights in public bathrooms as we ran out the door when we observed someone’s feet occupying a stall.  We would hear these people’s shocked voices echoing out, “Hey, turn the lights on I’m still in here!” as we were running out the door casting them into total darkness.  We would laugh so hard.

Now, it is so clear that I must apologize to those unknown peoples that we tormented so long ago.  I understand now exactly what they were feeling.  Exactly.  What goes around comes around.

I am sorry.

I wonder if they ever wrote out their story.  Probably not.

Oh, and if I offended any blind people actually reading this story… oh wait, never mind.

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The Subway Dash

My family and I got to witness an event that just made me smile. Ear to ear! The amount of joy was overwhelming. I know that there is something wrong with me, but I can’t help finding happiness and joy in the oddest of places.  It’s a good thing, right?

We were all enjoying a meal at Subway. Well, maybe the word choice of “enjoying” is a bit strong. My family and I were all stomaching a meal at Subway. My wife was distributing the food to her boys while the straw wrappers were bombarding her from both sides. Actually, three sides. She is raising three boys—one of which she decided to married a long time ago. Her choice.  She knew what she was doing.

For those of you who don’t know what a Subway restaurant is, you must not be from around here. From around Earth, that is. If you really don’t know, Google it—as soon as you figure out what Google is.

When all of a sudden, this well dressed man comes barging in. In a major hurry. As in, get-out-of-my-way hurry! There was a definite urgency in his arrival. Was he near death from lack of food? Was he malnourished? Did he ingest a poison that required a cold-cut-combo as an antidote?

Nope. His first stop was the men’s room. How utterly degrading. This poor soul had a biological break down and was forced to make an emergency deposit at the Subway. And my whole family was there to watch it unfold. Yes, it is true, we all discussed this man’s plight in great detail while he was behind closed door arriving at the end game of his ordeal. Success was his.

Upon emerging from his relief zone, he got in line to order. When he reached the front of the line, he declined to order a sub, and instead grabbed a simple bag of chips. He then paid for his less-than-one dollar bag of chips and was on his way.

At heart you may find his action to be the actions of a good man. He used Subway’s restroom and felt so much relief that he obligated himself to repay them by spending a dollar. He felt it was the right thing to do. However, as a public service to you, the reader of this text, I need to let you know how to properly execute the Dump and Run. It’s really quite simple. You enter, dump, and run. There is no need to purchase anything—especially a bag of chips that you don’t even want.

There is only one other rule that you should consider and it actually goes hand in hand with the Run part. Avoid eye contact with the employees. Do you really think the teenager working the sandwich assembly line wants to interact with you—the man who obviously just destroyed the restroom that he’ll have to be cleaning at closing time? No, I think not. Exiting as swiftly as you entered is the appropriate course of action. If this were an actual subway, would you feel obligated to get on the train and travel to the next stop? No, I don’t think so.

So the next time you feel that overwhelming urge, remember what you’ve read here. It’s a simple two step process. One, dump. Two, run. Dump and run. And do nothing else.

Buy my book to have handy during your next Dump and Run.

Household Tip #77

I named this blog entry the 77th household tip because of the Star Wars lesson.  They started with episode four and years later made zillions of dollars filling in the first three movies.  Since I started with number seventy-seven, I am guaranteed that public will demand that I fill in the previous editions.  I’ll be rolling in the cash.  Genius.  Wait a minute.  No one is paying me for this blog.  Not Genius.

I don’t carry my laundry basket up the stairs often.  It’s not a chore that brings me joy—unlike cleaning a toilet.  Now there is a chore that I just can’t get enough of.  The cleaning part doesn’t produce the joy.  No one wants to clean a toilet.  The joy comes from the sitting on a cleanest toilet seat in the whole world—knowing that your butt has been placed on a surface that is 99.99% free of all household germs.  At least that’s what the bottle of cleaner claims.  A movie theater seat is only 23.78% free of all household (and public) germs.

Back to household tip #77.  Like the Dos Equis man:  I don’t always carry my laundry basket up the stairs, but when I do, I make sure the clothes and towels stand and teeter at least three feet above the height of the basket.

In my household, the four of us each have our own basket sitting next to the dryer in the basement.  When we are folding the laundry, the item gets placed into the owner’s basket.  That way, each person becomes responsible for bringing their own laundry up the stairs.  My basket often stands towering over all the others with towels, jeans, shirts, socks, and underwear.  This tower of clothes isn’t necessarily a sign of laziness.  Oh no sir.  I see it more of a challenge and a good work out.  I’m a tall guy, so if I extend my arms as low as they can go, lean slightly backwards, and use my chest as a place to support the tower of laundry, I can carry this load up two flights of stairs and receive an excellent bicep workout in the process.

So here is where household tip number 77 comes in.  When constructing the tower of clothing, and preparing for the journey up to the bedroom, do not complete the tower by placing underwear on the very top.  I did this the other day and I didn’t work out so well.  After I squatted down, placed my hands on the basket handles, adjusted my grip, and propelled the laundry tower upward like an Olympic weight lifter, the underwear at the very top of the pile was exactly at face level.  Sure, they were clean underwear, but they were still full grown men’s underwear right in my face.  In my face!  Let the challenge continue.

Well the tower of clothing started to wobble as I placed my foot on the first step.  I quickly corrected for what could have been a catastrophic-laundry-failing event by slamming my nose and chin downward onto the top of the stack.  More determined than ever, I trudged up the first flight of stairs with a renewed sense of determination and a pair of whitey-tighties pressed against my face blocking my breathing passages.

Breaking into a mild sweat, I cleared the final step of the basement flight of stairs.  I was now maneuvering around the foyer toward the upstairs flight of steps.  As I was approaching the front door with underwear pressing into my face, slowly becoming part of my inner soul, the doorbell rang.

Some of my preteen children’s friends have an annoying habit of ringing the doorbell and then immediately pressing their faces to the glass in order to watch inside the house to see who is coming to answer their call.

I continued breaking in a sweat while carrying this amazing tower of laundry.  The door bell startled me.  The big kid face pressed into the window startled me even more.  The handle of the basket sliped from my sweaty grasp.  The beautifully arranged tower of clothing collapses, covering an awesome amount of floor space in my foyer.  And I am left standing there with a pair of my own underwear clinging to the perspiration forming on my face.

I look toward the window to see this kid staring at my underwear decorated face with this odd freighted look on his glass pressed face.  He screams and runs off.

Household Tip #77:  How to teach children to ring a doorbell and respect the privacy of those inside.

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Toilet Training

Have you heard the story about the man who uses the toilet at a Home Depot only to find himself super glued to the toilet seat?  I recently got to hear this story again.  It seems like it surfaces on the internet every eight months or so.  The description of the story is always attributed to a real major news source.  Even without that, I have no reason to believe that the story is a fake.  It certainly could have happened, and it probably did.  However, the following is what I have issues with?

Who drops their pants and jumps right on to a public toilet?  The poor soul that got his rump glued to the seat is also a gross poor soul.  There is a protocol that must be followed.

1)        Open the stall door.  Observe the toilet.  If “full” move to the next stall.
2)        Enter the stall and close the door behind you.
3)        Use a foot to flush the toilet to ensure a fresh bowl.  Do this even if the bowl appears fresh.
4)        Wipe the seat.  Use an enormous amount of toilet paper to ensure that absolutely no finger parts actually touch the seat.
5)        Cover the seat with multiple layers of paper.  Consider three layers to be a minimum.
6)        Drop pants to knees.  Do not push to ankles as this will increase the probability of your clothing touching the bathroom floor.
7)        Finish the job as quickly as possible.

The remaining steps of this protocol are obvious and are left to the reader as an exercise.

So what did this guy do?  He ran right in and plopped down on to a seat of glue.  If he had followed the steps above, the incident would have never occurred due to the failed execution of step four.  Instead of his bum being stuck to the seat, a wad of toilet paper would have taken his place.  Perhaps a finger or two if step four was executed poorly.

Can you imagine the subsequent humiliation of having to call out for help?  This action is almost worse than the original cruel joke.  Can you picture how that goes?

“Hey out there!  I’m stuck on the toilet in here and need some help.”

“Dude, I know.  We all have those kinds of days, but there is no way I’m gonna help ya.”

“No, I mean my ass is glued to the seat.”

“I hear ya.  This one day I was on the throne for over two hours.  It was horrible dude, but you’re still on your own man.”

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Specific Topic Not So Much

This week left me with nothing to write up as a story for your enjoyment.  Although the voices in my head said a few things this week that I can share with you.  The topics do not have enough meat to write a full story.  Actually, I have a certain amount of writing talent that would enable me to stretch these thoughts to a full page each, but I wouldn’t do that to you.  I have done the stretch-writing thing to many teachers along the way.  But never to you.

Do not check if your zipper is down if your hands are still wet from washing them.  Dry your hands first.

Chuck Norris can play diagonally in Word-With-Friends.

Do not attempt to pass someone who is texting, smoking, drinking a coffee, and driving a stick shift.  Use even more caution when you see that their right arm is in a cast.

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Real Downer

Someone asked me the other day if I could recall a time of overwhelming sadness in my life.  At first, this type of question seemed like a total downer.  But looking ahead in the conversation, I can see where this topic was heading.  It was suppose to be the kind of a question that will have you thinking about your current state of mind and ultimately have you counting your blessings.

I played along and joined in on the conversation.  It was great.

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Wait a minute.  It just dawned on me that you might want to hear about a great sadness in my life.

That’s kind of morbid.  Don’t you think?  So if you are still reading, you should ask yourself a different question.  Why am I intrigued by other people’s sadness?  Or maybe—What is wrong with my head?

Alright freaks (all those that trudged forward after my above written ridicule), the following is a moment in time when I found myself overwhelmed with a great sadness.

The other evening I was getting myself a bowl of cereal.  I believe it was Lucky Charms.  I was hungry and looking for a quick snack before bedtime.  I filled the bowl with just the right amount of cereal, retrieved a spoon from the silverware drawer, and opened the refrigerator.  I was disappointed to see that the amount of milk remaining in the jug was probably not going to fill the bowl to an adequate level.  Although disappointed, I was armed with the knowledge that there were additional jugs of milk in our second refrigerator located in the basement.

I journeyed to the basement to retrieve the next gallon of milk, carried it up the stairs, and removed the little plastic safety seal.  That safety seal was put in place for my protection.  It warms my heart to think that there are people out there who care about me that have never even met me.  Thanks safety seal placement people!

I placed the new jug of milk off to the side and returned to the nearly empty jug of milk.  I popped the lid and began to pour.  And that is when it happened.  The amount of milk that was remaining in the jug turned out to be the exact amount required by my standards of cereal to milk ratios.  The bowl stood there in front of me, shining like the perfection that it was.  The second jug of milk was not necessary whatsoever!

I suppose the irony should have put a smile on my face—Lucky Charms, the perfect amount of milk.  Nope, not then.  The irony was lost with my new found sense of depression.

I didn’t need to go to the basement for milk at all!  There was plenty right there in front of me.  I wasted my precious time and energy traveling all the way to the basement and back for nothing.  I retrieved a gallon of milk from the basement, and for what?  Nothing.  Useless.  I could have use what was readily available to me, waited until the morning, and had one of my boys do the dirty work of tromping downstairs and back.  I could have been enjoying this late night snack a full minute earlier.  An entire minute!  The wasted time was cutting into my sleep time.  Now I’ll be waking up just a bit more tired than I should be.  A tear slid down my check and hit the countertop right next to my bowl.  I put the new milk jug back in the…

…sorry.  I have to stop here.  I had some jokes lined up to close this entry, but I’m just too depressed re-living this tragic event.

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Fashion Statement

I have a lousy memory.  I do, however, remember the day I learned that I was a fashion misfit.

I have very little childhood memories.  I’m not happy about this since I believe that I had a pretty good childhood.  It would be nice to have the memories to back up this claim.  My brain seems to have only a few short scenes from the past randomly saved off as time went by for me.  I remember nothing at all from fifth grade and back.  I remember having a few conversations with a few teachers from the middle school years.  I remember only a handful of moments from high school.  College is a blur, but that might not be my memory’s fault.

I remember a particular moment in time that has stuck with me for no good obvious reason.  The brain is an odd mysterious thing.  Somewhere back in high school (the late 1980’s for me), I was hanging out with some friends at a high school basketball game.  There was Ellen, Patty, Brent, and Mark.  It was a warm night and I was wearing shorts and a tee-shirt.  Actually, it didn’t matter what the temperature was because I was going to wear shorts until somewhere near mid-winter.  I also had on my favorite pair of high-top sneakers and a pair of tube socks.  The tube socks had three stripes, as a good pair of tube socks should.

The way I would wear my socks was exactly how I thought everyone should:  hike them up!  Tube socks were made to be worn pulled all the way up, right?  I learned my sock style from watching professional basketball in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  Go ahead and do a Google image search.  I’ll wait.

You see?  Socks were up.  I’m sorry, what’s that?  Your auto-correct feature accidentally searched images for “tube snakes”.  Oh, you probably should be more careful.  There are some things that are really difficult to un-see.

So let’s get back to the high school basketball game.  Ellen comes up behind me and with the speed of a ninja leans over and pushes my socks into a scrunched pile of fabric at my ankles.  She then reports to me, “Socks are down in the late 80’s”.  Since she was a girl, and I was an awkward teenage boy, I conceded the point and have taken her fashion advice seriously ever since that night.  My socks have been pushed down into a scrunched pile ever since.

Fast forward to the year 2012.  My sons both wear their socks all the way up.  They are younger than I was on the night I learned that I was not a walking billboard fashion statement.  And they insist that the socks should be pulled all the way up.  I’ve tried to warn them.  Ellen would be so disappointed.  They either wear them all the way up or the wear ankle socks that you can’t pull up.  I’ve seen their friends hike their socks up too.

They might be right.  Maybe socks are back up in the 2010’s.

A recent Facebook poll that I set up should help clear up this issue.  Please help me and my boys out by visiting with your Facebook account:


Thank you for your vote.  I need to make sure that my boys are not the fashion misfit that their father was (and still is).

Buy my books.

(Hey, more than one book?  Yes, I wrote one for the pre-schoolers!)

The Interview

Several jobs ago I was asked to interview a potential candidate for an opening that our company was offering.  The position was for a technical professional engineering role.  I’ve hosted many interviews in the past.  I think I am good at putting the candidate at ease as well as seeing their true colors.  From the very first interview that I ever did, I promised myself that I would never ask the “What is your greatest strength/weakness?”  Has anyone ever really answered that question with an honest reply?

“Strength?  Sure, I’m a real self motivated self-starter with an amazing attention for details and I can burp my ABC’s out the letter M on a good day.”

“Weakness?  Sure, sometimes I care about the schedule of a project a bit too much.  So much so that I willingly take work home in order to better prepare for the following day and I have a weak stomach that frequently produces explosive diarrhea.”

So I’m interviewing this one particular individual that I took to lunch.  I always enjoy handling the lunch time part of an interview.  We landed at a fancy Chinese restaurant.  The candidate is answering all of my questions without that spark that I needed to see.  Unfortunately, he is not going to make my “A” list.  We return to the work place and I hand him off to the next interviewer on his schedule.  It was uneventful.  However, several days later, I received a call from the restaurant.  It seems that the management of this restaurant had the un-rewarding task of tracking down each of their customers from the previous days to inform them all that one of their employees, who had just returned from overseas, was diagnosed with Hepatitis.  And because this person was the one handling the lemons for the glasses of water, he exposed everyone who dined there.  The restaurant was making a doctor and a shot available at their cost for everyone who needed to be inoculated for this particular disease.

I feel that I should tell you that I got my shot right away and never had any symptoms what-so-ever.  So if and when we meet one day, you can shake my hand without any thoughts of cooties.  And continued reading of this story will not affect your health in any way.

Here is where I decided that blowing off my responsibility of contacting the person I interviewed was the best path for me.  The following morning I marched down to Human Resources and talked to the hiring manager.  “Look.  About that interview I conducted the other day.  Would you please contact him to let him know that he isn’t the right fit for the position?  And tell him he needs a booster inoculation shot too.”

Better them than me.  Can you image being on the receiving end of that phone call?

“Hello Mr. Jones.  I’m calling to tell you that we have selected another candidate for the position you interviewed for.  And you just might have Hepatitis.”

“So you’re telling me that I didn’t get the job and my liver may be starting to fail?  Was it something I said?”

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(The kindle version for amazon prime members is now free!)

Running the Register

When I was a young punk so long ago, I had a summer job working at a drug store.  I would stock shelves and run the register.  I remember my overzealous manager harping on us to remember to always hand the customer their receipt.   “All returns must have a receipt.  So I don’t want to hear from any of our customers that they didn’t receive one.”  Yeah, that’s about as difficult as it got.  It was simple work for a simple time.

My favorite part of working the register was watching people’s behavior as they would purchase condoms.  As I noted, it was a long time ago, but this particular store was breaking out of the Stone Age by placing the condoms for sale in one of the aisles rather than behind the counter.  This way people can place the item in their basket without having to interact with the old man pharmacist or the young punk behind the counter (like me).

My job (people watching entertainment for a pay check) taught me that when men buy condoms they will always hide the box among other items.  A magazine, a bottle of pop, a box of condoms, and a candy bar.  See?  You probably didn’t even see the word “condom” in that last sentence.  I, being the good little cash register runner, would act like I didn’t notice their particular special item.  Although the voices in my head were always screaming.  “Twenty four pack, huh?  I guess that should last you until the end of the decade.  You know, these only have a shelf life of twelve months.”

Here is your receipt.  Have a nice night.

Women, on the other hand would walk right up to the counter, drop their box of condoms, pay for them, and be on their way.  Although I watched this behavior many times over, I’m still not sure if women are just bolder or simply trying to push through this awkward moment as fast as possible.  I’m leaning toward bolder.

There was this one time where this woman brought her box of condoms up to the counter and paid for them.  She stated that she didn’t need a bag, grabbed her purchase, and headed to the door.  I, like a good little employee, held out her receipt and said, “I have your receipt here.”

She turned around and looked me straight in the eye.  She held up her box of condoms, and said, “I’m only going to need that if these break.”

I put the receipt in the trash.

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Speech Lessons

Giving a speech with an open gash on the top of your head is a challenging thing to do.

I was invited to deliver a speech the other day.  I still get a little nervous whenever I’m asked to do so, but I always deliver a performance that brings the audience to the edge of their seats and leaves them begging for more when I conclude.  Public speaking is often listed as the greatest fear of nearly everyone in public.  Even when my brain is telling me that there is nothing to worry about, my hands will shake like a tree in the wind—a really big tree, with hurricane force winds.

Way back in high school, I had an excellent speech teacher.  I can’t remember his name (which is kind of a shame), but I can remember his greatest advice for public speaking skills.  His lesson that helped me avoid the shaky hands is to use physical strength and energy.  In doing this just before you speak, you will find that your hands tend to relax.  It works for me.  If I am sitting in a chair prior to me taking the podium, I will reach down to the sides of the chair and pull upward with all I have.  It’s a simple exercise, but one that requires no moving.  Perfect for using up physical energy without people thinking, “Hey, why is that guy over there doing jumping jacks?”

On this particular event, I was standing in a corridor just outside the room where I would be speaking.  No chair in sight.  So rather than try to make myself levitate, I decided that jumping would be a good release of energy.  Nothing crazy, I didn’t want to get sweaty.  A simple jump every thirty seconds or so.  Time was passing and the jumping was getting boring.  So I moved up to the next level.  I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder if I can get my head to touch the drop paneled ceiling.”  Well, I couldn’t.  It was a fairly high ceiling.  But I was able to absolutely drive my skull into the florescent light fixture just behind me.

Blood oozing from the top of my head, “Mr. Matherne, you’re on.”

You remember that not-so-helpful lesson of “picture your audience in their underwear”?  Well, that doesn’t work.  And now that I was seeing double, my audience was suddenly twice the size.  Good thing they were all blurry.

“Good evening.  My name is Marcus Matherne and in order to complete a bet, tonight I will be giving my entire address with one hand place on the top of my head.  Who’s with me?”

Buy my book, or I’ll hit you over the head.