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A R T S    &    C U L T U R E
Scrub the Bong Slowly
The Dormouse • February 1994

I was sittin’ around the place, baked out of my skull, when my folks decided to call and find out how their fine, bright Yale son was doing. The phone rang, I slowly responded, and before I knew it, I was having a close encounter of the parental kind. “Hello, son. How is everything? How’s your work going? Do you remember our agreement? Are you working hard this semester like you said you would?”

So many questions! As hard as I tried to focus on just one of them, all I could think about was smokin’ the joint I had in my hand. 

“Uhhh… the Dormouse isn’t here right now…”
“Naw, I’m just some dude who sounds a lot like him…”
“Which one of my son’s housemates are you?”

So many questions! I had to end this phone call! My joint was burning up and I HATE to waste good green bud. “Uhhh… I gotta go to class… I’ll tell him that you called… —CLICK.” The important issue in this encounter isn’t really that my folks called, but rather that I was smoking a joint, instead of taking bong hits.

And so you might ask why my bong, His Highness Richard III, wasn’t holding court. Well, you see, Richard, like other tubes, gets dirty and begins to smell. Even frequently changing the bong water doesn’t stop the build-up of grunge. If allowed to thicken, grunge can provide a lush habitat for a variety of spores and fungi. As a result, every self-respecting bong owner will clean his bongs from time to time.

For those of you who don’t understand the subtleties of this problem, try it sometime. You’ll find yourself staring down the barrel of, say, three feet of two inch plastic, or, if you’re lucky, glass tubing, with caked-on, baked-on grunge—which, I might add, is not water soluble. Cleaning agents specifically designed for this problem such as Grunge Off seem like easy solutions, but the highly concentrated chemicals of Grunge Off that make the job so easy have some nasty drawbacks.

My housemates and I were having a party earlier this year. I figured that I should clean Richard for the visiting folk. You see, Richard is a glass bong, which means that when he is cleansed, he gets showroom clean every time! Scrub, Scrub!

First, I poured about an inch of Grunge Off into the tube, diluting it with some hot water. Then I pulled out Dormouse’s Special Bong Cleaning Tool, the aquarium filter brush. Readily available at most pet supply stores, this brush is designed to solve a similar problem, that of fish crap on the inside of the filter tubing of a very large aquarium.

Anyway, using this brush to remove grunge from the inside of the tube is fast and efficient. I quickly rinsed the bong. Those of you who have used Grunge Off probably noted the error in my description of that fateful night. My oversight, which ultimately turned out to be the Dormouse’s Shank of the Month, is encapsulated in the two words, “quickly rinsed.” BIG mistake…

Later that evening, after a few beers and several joints, I crawled back to my hole in the wall to get the night underway. Soon I was joined by friends and I, as is my privilege, took the first bong hits on Richard. As I exhaled, I noted a peculiar aftertaste, but I figured that I just needed a couple of tubes to prime him properly. Anyway, I was havin’ a great time, until Mr. O’Shaughnessy, the little leprechaun, appeared on my chess table and began to bust my balls about America’s unfair trade policy toward Ireland.

I had to excuse myself. I headed downstairs, but Mr. O’Shaughnessy wouldn’t go away. Other hallucinations came by to hassle me. Tattoo from Fantasy Island began to lecture me on the development of the modern day dual propeller aircraft. I kicked that little piece of shit down the stairs.

And then, there he was, John Goodman, inducing a grumbling from my stomach. I turned to run only to face Ernie from WaWa, holding out a pack of Marlboro Lights and three cents change. “Reds! Ernie,” I cried in desperation, “Marlboro REDS!”

So, there I was, on the stairs, caught between John Goodman gnawing on my leg and Ernie trying to ram a pack of Marlboro Lights down my throat. At that moment I could hold back no more. Deftly dodging Goodman’s paws and evading Ernie’s sheepish gaze, I darted into one of my housemate’s rooms and slung my head over his trashcan. I proceeded to foul my housemate’s garbage can, coating the inside with a mélange of beer, bile, Main Garden pork fried rice and a couple of very special brownies.

Why did I boot? I was only smokin’ buds. This isn’t supposed to happen. Then it hit me, along with another round of uncontrollably firing chunks of pork—I didn’t completely rinse off the Grunge Off!! I was tripping off the chemicals! Not a recommended form of entertainment, in fact, it really sucked.
“So what’s the moral of the story, Mr. Dormouse?”
Use Palmolive.

—The Dormouse is the YFP’s correspondent to the Underworld

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contents. By the same
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