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I walked into the emergency room sicker than shit and the doctor came in, shutting the door abruptly.

“So…Heroin…Feelin’ pretty bad, huh?”

“Yeah,” I croaked. The fluorescent light made me sneeze.

“Well I don’t know how much we can do for you. They’re checking to see if there’s space in the rehab center above, and if your insurance will cover it. In the meantime, we can do a general check up here while you’re waiting. Drop your pants.”

What the fuck? Why? But I was too beaten down to ask why, let alone protest.

Before I knew it he had a rubber glove on, slid some lubricant on his finger, and without a warning shoved his finger violently in my asshole. If my penis was already unusually small, now, as he probed around, it felt as though it were actually retreating from the outside world, retracting into a shell. I had a flash of something that happened a long time ago, and tasted blood in my mouth and nose.

“Well, your glands feel all right.” I heard disappointment in his voice, and vaguely realized that he was a dominant homosexual and was hoping that I would become aroused by the finger in my ass. I looked up at him and he turned away from my gaze, confirming my thought. I felt strangely sad that I couldn’t please him, because in my self-loathing dope kick, I had become servile, placing humanity above me. At the same time I felt disgust. 20 minutes later, as I ate a glazed doughnut with 70 milligrams of methadone coursing through me, I had already forgotten about it.

Date Written: December 09, 2004
Author: Phony Millions
Average Vote: 4.26667

12/16/2004 anonymous: Sometimes I'm glad I stay up late. The things we do/have done when we get sick are important and there is probably a reason but I don't know what it could possibly be; ego, hubris maybe, it doesn't matter. Non-users have often accused me of acting like I know something that they don't - not lately, mind you, I'm a good man these days but back in the day, I was more than a twice accused of taking a superior tone for that reason. It was suggested that I behaved as if I held some immense secret, some romantic vision of dirty humans that the normals don't get to see, maybe a touch of holier-than-though designed to mask a confident shame locked into a junksick haze of self-rightousness. So what, I do know know something that you don't and I'm not telling. It's because the people who use enough to get sick enough and are smart enough to know better discover a lot about themselves in those quiet moments of fragility. my anonymous five won't count but please consider it just as valid just the same.
12/16/2004 The Rid: Author, if the narrator had forgotten it, why is he writing about it?
12/16/2004 qualcomm (4): minus one star for anon-a's comment. you don't mind if i hold you responsible for it, do you guy?
12/16/2004 hagit mizrachy (4): I'm a dominant homosexual and I wouldn't turn away from your gaze, so you lose a star. But the romance and glory of the drug life you portray here intrigue me and, since I am a renounced Catholic, I've been looking for a new form of absolution of guilt and responsibiliy. I think I'm ready for this drug thing now. Thanks author!!
12/16/2004 Ewan Snow (5): Two bags says that quack was "holding", too.
12/16/2004 Pale Male (4):
12/16/2004 Phony Millions: The Rid: Mmm...fair enough. I guess he remembered it later. He forgot it in the moment because he was relieved to get his methadone and donut.
12/16/2004 Phony Millions: Shit; didn't check the Mark as 'From Author'; I outed my ass.
12/16/2004 Dylan Danko (4): The Rid, was that a serious comment?? Brad, while your "Mmm" was appropriately condescending I think The Rid should be taken to task.
12/16/2004 TheBuyer (5):
12/16/2004 Streifenbeuteldachs (4): Those homos are taking over.
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony (5):
12/16/2004 Jon Matza (5): Evans, acme has been the poorer for your prolonged absence. Let's not keep getting carried away with the "on tour" affectation, OK guy? I'll buy you a Grolsch if it helps. Re short, "I felt strangely sad that I couldn’t please him" got a vigorous laugh out of me. 4.35 + 0.16 prodigal son bonus. p.s. I feel praise is due Streifenbeuteldachs for his many calcium-enriched comments of late...
12/16/2004 anonymous: qualcomm, does this mean you don't want to know where I get my ideas from?
12/16/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum (5): I'm not going to hold any of the comments below against you, "guy."
12/16/2004 cuntry (4): i'm over the asshole probes.
12/16/2004 qualcomm: i think you totally misread the doctor, author. he was probably just making sure you hadn't keystered any "bags" before checking into rehab.
12/16/2004 The Rid (2): I suck, but two stars.
12/16/2004 qualcomm: oh, and i almost forgot to ask: was the retraction of your penis accompanied by any tightening or tickling sensation? what i mean is, did it cause an epiphany?
12/16/2004 The Rid: Danko, that was serious.
12/16/2004 qualcomm: that was a silly ass comment, guy
12/16/2004 qualcomm: eliza: are you "holding"?
12/16/2004 Eliza (): Why should you care if I amu "holding"?
12/16/2004 anonymous: The Rid's a real asswipe. What kind of jackhole gives a short two stars for such a stupid reason.
12/16/2004 anonymous: anon_user_b is right. The Rid, what's your problem? Do you think trashing a decent short makes you seem smart? Because, in point of fact, it makes you seem like you have mental retardation of the brain. Your question about forgetting is stupid. Brad Evans's answer should have been obvious. The point is that what had been a poigniant and uncomfortable moment is momentarily forgotton with the help of a doughnut and drugs, not that it was wiped clean from his memory for all eternity. So if your question was serious, as you claim, then you a rather dim. The fact that you gave this short two stars because of it makes you a jerk.
12/16/2004 The Rid: Anon: I gave the short two stars because I didn't think it was very good. The other comment was there for the sake of being there. Asshole.
12/16/2004 Pale Male: Yes anons, you are right to follow my lead in this. But your comments would have more force if we knew who you were.
12/16/2004 Dylan Danko: Um...whoopsy.
12/16/2004 anonymous: I am having trouble distinguishing one anon from another.
12/16/2004 The Rid: Oh, come on. Like you knuckleheads have never disliked a short that everyone else liked. Dicks.
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: Yeah, come on, you anonymous jerks, as much as I disagree with and am perplexed by The Rid's poorly thought-out vote, he is entitled to it; even though his chronic inability to articulate any sort of even mildly believable reason for his seemingly random votes is really starting to become really irritating. The Acme community is, after all, a community of individuals, and we grow stronger from our diverse viewpoints.
Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum,
What might be right for you, may not be right for some...

12/16/2004 Paula Zahn: In my aching newshole, Mr. Pony I want you to cum...
12/16/2004 qualcomm: if the rid's vote is in fact poorly thought out, pony, i submit that he is not entitled to it. this isn't america, dude. it's acme.
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: Why is Paula Zahn talking like Yoda?
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: Well, I would submit that he is still entitled to it, but then we are further entitled to beat him brainless. I mean, you don't go around erasing votes that you don't agree with, do you? Now that you're not an admin anymore?
12/16/2004 Paula Zahn: I was making a rhyme with Pony, you meat mashing fuck machine, now don't make me not want to fuck the living shit out of you.
12/16/2004 The Rid: Is this for real? Are you guys really pissed off about my lack of explanation when I poo-poo something? Well, here you go, my reasoning for two-starring this thing: Turning someone's heroin use/dope-sickness into a humor piece is just plain stupid. Whether the entire thing happened in the narrator's head (the homo angle) or he's really getting violated by a gay doctor makes no difference; it doesn't work for me. The only thing that rang true in the story was the line "I felt strangely sad that I couldn’t please him, because in my self-loathing dope kick, I had become servile, placing humanity above me." -- because a lot of junkies have zero self-esteem and therefore even in the worst possible circumstances feel the need to please others. But whatever, I'm just a caveman. It's not funny to me.
12/16/2004 qualcomm: people are very protective of evans, the rid. he's a very gentle boy. also, you're TEXXX!!
12/16/2004 The Rid: Yeesh, I've heard of this Texxx thing -- or at least I've read everything on the message boards. I can't BELIEVE I'm that bad. You asked for an explantion, you got one.
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: The Rid, The Council has been noticing you cast votes with strange explanations; you happen to be in a bad mood, you have a problem with some irrelevant little detail, or "just because".

Now, hey, this is alright now and again. We don't always know why we like something, right? But doing it all the time can make you seem careless and random. Particularly when your vote is drastically different from the current trend--It's a bit of a custom on Acme to explain yourself when you drop a two on a pile of fours and fives; or hit a pile of ones and twos with a five. Not your fault, really--you had no way of knowing that.

People spend time writing these shorts, and I think we owe them consideration, or at the very least the courtesy of the appearance or consideration. The Council asked me to do something about it, but I was like, hey, listen, the kid's new, let's cut him a break here--even I was new once. They said it was okay if I just mentioned it to you. I think we can move on now, okay?
12/16/2004 TheBuyer: Texxx, the reality of it is that there are parameters of smart. QC, Matza, and Snow et al, for example could arguably be considered the high end of those parameters. At the other end of the scale, I set the low bar for intelligence when it comes to posting acceptable comments and slide under that bar here and there. The point being, no one dumber than me should try to argue with the smarties. Be wrong. Revel in it. Also, get some counselling, you're all screwed up.
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: what does et al mean? does it mean pony?
12/16/2004 qualcomm: thebuyer: any special reason you chose to list us in descending order?
12/16/2004 scoop: The Rid you shameless little pustule. Even after your self-aggrandizing post-farewell-farewell you have the audacity to come back in this Tapioca-like persona, lurking cowardly beneath the towering shadows cast by your intellectual superiors. What miasma of beige and khaki and memorandums do you come from? Why are you so pathetic? Is it Freudian? Neo-Marxist maybe -- something to do with your inability to come to terms with you own reification in a exchange-valued world? Perhaps evolutionary psychology offers some insight. Maybe your lineage can be traced back to a mewling tribe of ape-men who managed to survive by being annoying ass holes, stuck like barnacles to the bottom of a mighty ship of prgress. I mena there's gotta be some explanation for you being the way are. Right?
12/16/2004 qualcomm: eliza: is the rid texxx?
12/16/2004 Eliza (): I see.
12/16/2004 The Rid: Christ, I didn't even read that, Scoop. Do you guys really think I'm Texxx? Seriously?
12/16/2004 scoop: I don't know, The Rid. I don't know. If you aren't, well then your just sort of annoying. But man, if you are do you realize how funny that would be for all of us? I mean come on!
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: I think qualcomm's alone on this one, not that that makes you any safer.
12/16/2004 The Rid: Pony (and the Council): Your points are noted, and well, accurate, for the most part. I am indeed very moody, and perhaps I let my mind-set at the moment of a reading determine my vote. So I will put more of an effort into voting on shorts with a clearer head. I will tell you that I don't vote for the sake of being contrary. I'm not trying to rub anyone the wrong way, I swear! I laugh out loud at a lot of this stuff! That being said, I still didn't like this short and stand by my 2-star vote.
12/16/2004 qualcomm: pony! shh. eat this carrot from my mouth.
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: Hey, that's cool, The Rid. I'm on your side on this one. It's The Council you have to mind. By the way, it's best not to address them directly.
12/16/2004 TheBuyer: qc - it's a secret.
Mr. Pony - it's a secret.
12/16/2004 scoop (3): The Rid is not completely wrong about this short, BTW.
12/16/2004 Jon Matza: For the record I have no problem with the Rid & have enjoyed some of his Ridean commentary. Ride on, Rid-man!
12/16/2004 scoop: I have had it up to here with you punny comments, Matza Ball.
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: Matza, The Council would like to have a word with you at your earliest possible convenience.
12/16/2004 Jon Matza: OK, sorry. But as long as you're here, since when do you believe in the idea of progress (as per your comment below)? Not that we've ever discussed it but I have a very, very hard time imagining you seriously espousing a progressive concept of acme/humanity...(and consider that to your credit, if correct).
12/16/2004 Jon Matza: Have I offended the Style Council again?
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: I thought it was scoop pretending to be that bird, and this one time I witnessed he and qualcomm engaging in a rather heated debate about progress over some Japanese food. I was eating my wasabi, for the most part. Personally, I think the idea of absolute progress is dumb, as dumb as the concept of "Evil" and "grading shorts on a curve", although I think it can be a useful concept when specific terms are defined and applied, and used locally. Cars have gotten much faster in the last hundred years, for example. Was that what you were asking? That can't have been what you were asking. If there's a known philosophical debate behind these ideas, I'm probably pretty unaware of it.
12/16/2004 Jon Matza: Christ. I regret my previous, not funny at all comment. What was I thinking? Personal loss of credibility. BTW Pony: I enjoyed (seriously) your assertion below that we owe writers consideration or at the very least the courtesy of the appearance of consideration (my italics). Reebok distinction!
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: thank you, my man
12/16/2004 Jon Matza: Pony, I was addressing Scoop w/my progress question, sorry for confusion. Am pleased to see you fall on the correct side, though. Evans: sorry all this palaver's getting attached to your short.
12/16/2004 qualcomm: yeah, matza, that's a real fucking dizzying insight pony had; actual courtesy versus faked courtesy. shut up. you too, pony. you're both a couple gassy assholes.
12/16/2004 qualcomm: yeah, matza, that's a real fucking dizzying insight pony had: actual courtesy versus faked courtesy. shut up. you too, pony. you're both a couple gassy assholes.
12/16/2004 qualcomm: shut uP!!!!
12/16/2004 Jon Matza: Your mind is an arid desert, QC. What I found funny is the assertion that writers are "owed" the appearance of consideration, and the idea that fake consideration is courteous. You 5-lb freezer bag of party wings.
12/16/2004 Mr. Pony: I was wondering why I hadn't said anything about progress! Sorry, Matza. I yield the floor to scoop!!
12/16/2004 qualcomm: no, you're lying (again), matza. you said, "Reebok distinction!" at the end of your comment. so you're a liar! shut up! shup UP!
12/16/2004 Ewan Snow: Hey, do you guys wanna know what I think?
12/16/2004 qualcomm: ok
12/16/2004 Mr. Joshua: ZaDog: I've noticed that you like to employ certain topographical metaphors when describing your opponents' mental capacities. You said QC had an "arid desert" for a mind and someone once had "a forest of burnt-out tree stumps" for a brain. Are you, therefore, not, in fact, ___________?
12/16/2004 TheBuyer: what, David Suzuki?
12/16/2004 Mr. Romance: Don't judge The Rid too harshly.
12/16/2004 Ewan Snow: Why not, Mr. Romance. He judges harshly, doesn't he?
12/16/2004 Ewan Snow: Okay, okay, if you insist, I'll tell you. I think this is a good short, obviously, since I gave it a five. I could certainly understand giving it a four, and even a three as scoop did, if you just weren’t into this one for some reason. But to give a short a two or a one, I think, means that you think the short is either fundamentally stupid or that it is extremely irritating or annoying in some way. I just don’t see how this short could be either to anybody. The Rid’s comment about it not being very funny has no bearing; the short obviously wasn’t going for big laughs. It was, as most of Evans’s shorts are, more about little awkward moments or introspections.

Now as Pony says, The Rid is entitled to his vote and we are entitled to criticize it. So here goes: The Rid’s comment that “turning someone's heroin use/dope-sickness into a humor piece is just plain stupid” is, I think, just plain stupid itself. First, this isn’t really a “humor piece”. Second, so what if it were; it’s a perfectly good premise for a short. What is stupid about it? Please explain to us fools the insight you have into what is worth writing about and what is not. The Rid says: “The only thing that rang true in the story was the line ‘I felt strangely sad that I couldn’t please him, because in my self-loathing dope kick, I had become servile, placing humanity above me.’ -- because a lot of junkies have zero self-esteem and therefore even in the worst possible circumstances feel the need to please others.” This is maddeningly uninformed and naïve. The entire short rings true; it’s entirely plausible and seems like a rather prosaic situation to me. What could possibly not “ring true” about it? And The Rid’s expert knowledge of what “a lot of junkies” are like and what their needs are is pure bullshit. Is there some sort of anti-drug/just-say-no knee jerk involved in his reaction to this?

So we come to the third category of reasons why somebody gives a short a one or two star rating: because they don’t really know what they’re talking about or because they want the short to be something that it was never intended to be. The Rid’s vote represents both.
12/16/2004 Jon Matza: Joshua: keenly observed. I try to take advantage of the opportunities our language provides to convey meaning in a colorful manner, which are plentiful yet all too often overlooked by those with stagnant, mosquito-infested bogs for fucking brains.
12/16/2004 anonymous: Snow: taking umbrage with the Rid's reasoning is one thing, but to suggest that the short's intentions are obvious is taking too big a leap, I think. You seem to suggest, for example, that the usual Evans topics and tone, etc. (i.e., the Evans trend) make it clear that he is not going for big laughs. But how is the Rid, or any other relative newcomer, supposed to be familiar with the Evans oeuvre and thus vote "accordingly"? What if the Rid were legimitately "annoyed" to the extent that he thought the short deserved two stars (or less)? Again, his explanation may not justify his actions, which may be the thrust of your argument...but differences in taste certainly abound here, from what I've seen thus far. Your assessment that "I just don’t see how this short could be either (fundamentally stupid or extremely irritating) to anybody" does not really constitute an objective argument.


12/16/2004 qualcomm: i'll field part of that, fjornch. you don't have to be an acme regular to understand this short's intentions, you only need to be a somewhat careful reader. just as you could probably tell, for instance, that "the sun also rises" isn't really going for big laughs without having read other hemingway.
12/16/2004 Mr. Joshua (5):
12/16/2004 anonymous: The Sun Also Rises is not going for big laughs? I follow you, qualcomm.

Considerably yours,

12/16/2004 scoop: You have to admit, Qualcomm The Sun Also Rises is pretty funny. Jake Barnes' mysterious war wound that left him wanting in the old in-out department, if you know what I mean, left me in stitches.
12/16/2004 scoop: As far as this short goes, the scatalogical gags felt out of place here, and actually blunted the usual queasy moment of slef-recognition that accompnaires Brad's other work. There was something a little cumbersome about the collision of the two styles, like a retarded pre-schooler trying toshove a trinalge block through a square hole. I could've gone with a three or a four, but since I feel Brad Evans is one of the worst human beings walking the face of the earth, I rounded down to a three.
12/16/2004 qualcomm: man i sure didn't see those quips coming
12/16/2004 Ewan Snow: which quips?
12/16/2004 Phony Millions: I'm flattered by the slighty bitchy exchange here. Rid, I must agree with Ewan that you're looking for something else here than what it is - which is, as he said, a more or less plausible real-life type situation, with the awkward moment thrown in. What's interesting is the almost-indignant tone a few took below to approaching the subject of - oh gosh! - drugs. Mixed in with the usual slew of child molestation episodes, abortion-for-lunch vignettes and the like, I would have thought it tame by comparison!
12/16/2004 qualcomm: the, "i thought 'the sun also rises' was playing for laughs" quips.
12/16/2004 Phony Millions: The great thing about that book, among others, is how those characters can drink, right?
12/16/2004 scoop: Help take a bite out of crime, Brad.
12/16/2004 Phony Millions: Scoop did you really think Jake's wound was funny? I read it in high school so maybe I missed the humor, but I remember thinking, wow, that's really fucking dark; the guy can't get laid anymore so he has to just go around getting sloshed with this beautiful woman.
12/16/2004 scoop: No i was being a little smart allec. Sorry
12/17/2004 Dylan Danko: Pussy
12/17/2004 John Slocum (5): Fantastic writing, an easy, rich read, deep. Having just read the whole discussion from yesterday, it seems strange that individuals thought there were jokes or were expecting or looking for jokes, japes or gags.
12/17/2004 Dylan Danko: Pussy
12/17/2004 CornHole22: hoary cock
12/23/2004 scoop: Hey Matza, what the hell are you asking, me? I can't tell from this knotted "thread".
02/4/2005 Jon Matza: Scoop: Can't remember. Clearly, it was in response to your "mighty ship of prgress" flight of fancy but it, my question, doesn't seem to make any sense upon review. Can any one else shed light on what I meant?
02/4/2005 Mr. Pony: I think maybe you were talking to me, maybe?
02/4/2005 Phony Millions: In any case this was one weird assed thread - I just read it again!
09/12/2007 Ewan Snow: Great short. Just reread it and the whole thread and got all sentimental for the good ol' days of acme...
03/6/2008 qualcomm: i think certain individuals in this thread owe certain other individuals apologies
03/7/2008 Jon Matza: we're waiting, CornHole22
03/7/2008 Mr. Pony: I accept your apology, qualcomm.
03/10/2008 qualcomm: i didn't tender one
03/12/2008 Mr. Pony: Nevertheless, your apology was graceful, and I accept it.
03/12/2008 Mr. Pony: This short is very sad, guys.
03/12/2008 qualcomm: hm, its glands feel all right...