Monday, March 19, 2007
The Non-Conformist Cult Radio Show 3/5/04 - 3/9/04
Here’s the deal… My cousin Dan Lively and I were always birds of a feather. At times, we knew each other so well that we would look at each other and laugh because we were thinking the same thing. It was usually about making the same joke.
Dan and I were also two very different people. Not that we were so different from each other, but different from the “normal” folks around us. Dan was the nut willing to put himself in harm’s way for the laughs of any prank or joke and I was the straight man with the zingers.
Those who “got us” would hang around and enjoy the ride. Those who didn’t simply dismissed us as “dumb asses”. We caused trouble for our parents, trouble for those whose care we were left in, and damage to a church once.
Dan lives in West Virginia. We don’t see each other that often, but when we do, we generally attract an audience. Whatever we did, we usually attracted a crowd.
I’m not sure about the year, but I’m guessing that what I’m about to tell you happened in the late 70’s.
Our Grandmother Clarkson (“Maw-maw”) was working as the housekeeper for a lawyer and former a candidate for Governor of West Virginia, Jim Sprouse. The Sprouse’s lived near Union, WV on a nice little spread complete with a mansion on the hill. It may not have been a mansion per se, but to my young and impressionable eyes, it was.
Our grandmother lived in the smaller and older Sprouse House on their spread. I don’t really think that it was so much smaller as it was older, but I found the place magnificent. The rooms still contained the furniture and many of the items decorating them. It was like strolling through a museum. It was a place of endless discovery that I believed was occasionally visited by the folks that once lived there. I never broke or took anything because I never felt alone in that house. And it wasn’t a scary type of never feeling alone, it was a peaceful place.
One Christmas or Thanksgiving (I can’t remember), the majority of the family got together for our celebration. After a couple of hours of boredom and not being able to explore the house (after all… We did damage a church once), Dan and I hatched a plan to keep ourselves busy and entertained.
We got ourselves two large glasses to fill with every non-toxic liquid or semi-liquid in the house. After a little bit of every non-toxic substance was collected from the house, we were going to drink it.
We started in the refrigerator with milk, water, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, orange juice, soy sauce, raw eggs, and anything else considered a liquid or semi-liquid. From the cupboards we found other delights such as red and white wine. There was also food coloring, vanilla extract, and other liquids used for cooking or baking. Even medicines like Pepto-Bismol and cod liver oil went in the brew. If it was in a somewhat liquid state, it was going to be mixed in.
We were like pied pipers strolling around the house with our glasses and the younger kids in tow.
Every now and again, Dan or myself would stroll into the group of adults to ask if something was “non-toxic”. For some reason, it didn’t attract too much attention. Perhaps it was because they secretly wanted us dead. Dead and in the ground where we would cause them no more trouble or embarrassment.
We ended up with two big messes that looked like congealed blood. I’d say that we each gathered up at least 16 ounces of the worst smelling, non-toxic, semi-liquid concoction the world had ever seen.
With all the items found worthy and non-toxic to be included in our elixir, it was now time to drink. We both found our gulps to be quite disgusting and we managed to swallow it. The foulness of the drink caused us to make Mr. Yuck like faces…
The audience of younger cousins and siblings all howled with disgust during our tasting. If I recall correctly, I think my cousin Paula actually gagged while watching us drink.
We offered the mixture for tasting, but only one brave soul stepped up to bat. Dan’s youngest sister Melanie (I think around 6 years old at the time) bellied up to the bar and took a slug. And what disgusted us the most, especially Dan and me, she took another drink and proclaimed it “good”.
It was a stupid idea that turned out to be great fun and a lasting memory for all who witnessed the event. I offer you this suggestion… Do not try it yourself.