My cousin is so disgusting. He’s ten and he told me he could do this cool burp, but he needed three pieces of cheese.
“Three pieces of cheese?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said and he ran inside to get three squares of American cheese.
A few words on American cheese: that stuff is so nasty. Why does that have to be American cheese? Why can’t fried cheese curds be our national cheese? At least they taste good. My guess is that the individually plastic-wrapped squares are representative of three of America’s most celebrated virtues:
1. Synthesized food products are better than natural ones.
2. Convenience above all.
3. Complete disregard for the waste which the first two virtues inevitably spawn.
During college my roommate and I went grocery shopping and in the interest of thrift discovered the Hostess/Wonder bakery outlet store. Over the course of the next week my roommate ate nothing but grilled cheese sandwiches made with Wonder Bread and “plastic” cheese (as he lovingly referred to it). Needless to say when he dies I’m sure he’ll keep very well.
But getting back to the story, the whole burping with cheese thing came about because I downed a can of Barqs root beer and unleashed a furious gaseous emission. I don’t usually brag about such things, but it was quite the ten-second, monster burp, and I have never been a potent belcher. It’s one of a number of skills that I didn’t master at twelve when all of my friends did, but that I’m really beginning to improve upon now. Other such skills include: hocking loogies, popping wheelies, and teasing my siblings. These skills will not help you find a job, they will not help you find a girlfriend, they impress only the most immature members of the male species, but somehow such low-brow literacy helps a body feel complete. It’s reassuring to know that with these weapons in the arsenal, if I were magically transported back to fourth grade I would be the most popular kid in class.
All those present for my historic burp were very impressed, and of course my cousin, in the interest of familial competition, had to immediately attempt to one-up me.
One-upmanship is a strategy I have the utmost respect for. I first learned about it from a crazy pre-calculus teacher I had in high school named after William Wallace who used to wear a kilt to school on special days. He once sailed across the Pacific Ocean by himself and he was a passionate Ross Perot supporter in 1992. He pulled me aside before school one morning and told me how he used to one-up everyone during exams in college by arriving five minutes before the exam with nothing but a pen and a big grin on his face. Meanwhile everyone else would be rapidly reviewing notes and stressing out, painfully aware of his subtle tranquility. I often employ this strategy to stand only slightly above peers and coworkers when a possibility presents itself. It’s the slacker’s pass to moderate stardom.
So, it was then that my cousin boasted he could out-burp me with the assistance of three slices of American cheese. He got the slices from the fridge, unwrapped them and began to eat them. Actually, let me correct that, he began to chew them. Chew them very sloppily with his mouth open while laughing.
I’d like to end the story by saying: then he burped and the cheese fell out of his mouth, because in essence that’s all that happened. But that would not do justice to the spectacle of that putrid mass of orange goo swirling about in his mouth. A miasma of dairy wannabe and early stage digestive juices came plopping forth as he burped. It can best be compared to a regurgitated organ partially dissolved by acid or leprosy. It was a completely unimpressive nearly inaudible burp, but I was stunned, and needless to say…impressed.
The moral of the story is: never get into any sort of bodily function contest with a ten year-old, because they will always, always be willing to take it farther than you would ever imagine. And after you lose, all you can do is yell at them to clean up the mess they made with their cheese burp, and that just makes you feel old.