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Goofy At The Gates Of Hell

By John Saleeby

(Note To Readers - Since the events described in this article occurred on the Deep South during the summer, please imagine them unfolding against the constant roar of billions of ice cubes rattling around inside millions and millions of glasses of iced tea.)

Now I don't know about where you live (Which is pretty damn insulting since I have been writing these articles for you people all this time and you still haven't invited me over for the weekend) but down here in De South you are shit outta luck if your air conditioner dies on you in the summer time. Air conditioning is the only thing that holds the modern South together, I don't know how they kept things going without it back in the old days. Oh, I remember. Never mind. Forget I brought that up.

Cause my air conditioner went kerblooey on me a coupla weeks ago and I'll probably never get over it, man, The Heat just went on and on and on, like this - The Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee - and the "at" part didn't show up until the very second before my new air conditioner was finally plugged in and turned on. I'm telling you, The Heat was just as oppressive as the advertising campaign for "Tomb Raider" starring Angelina Jolie. That oughtta give you some idea.

The first sign of trouble was when the air conditioner started making funny noises. But I didn't give it any mind because the noises were much funnier than anything that was on TV at the time. I made a tape of it that I sent to the local radio station and they offered my air conditioner a job as their new Wacky Morning Show DJ. But by then the damn thing had quit the funny noises and was just blowing out hot air. So they offered it a job as a Conservative Phone In Talk Show Host. Get it? Cause it was blowing out "Hot air"? Man, I was sweating my brains out. Literally! One morning I woke up and my brain had slipped out of my ear and was laying next to me in bed demanding to know how long it had been since I changed the sheets. I can't tell you how nice and peaceful the inside of my head was without that thing in there with it's endless philosophizing and composing of silly ass comedy routines all the time. I've never felt so relaxed and all the shows on TV were sooo interesting all of a sudden! But then I remembered that I would be needing it for my job so I dried it out in the sun, chopped it up with a razor blade, cut it into lines on a mirror, and snorted it all back up into my skull. Oh, well, back on the chain gang . . .

But what about what they call "The Poor Man's Air Conditioning" - Beer? I can't indulge in that because I am already taking around five and a half pounds of various anti depressant mood stabilizing "John, don't kill those people! Don't say anything, John!" medications that if I consume even a small amount of alcohol I just fall asleep and wake up in a police interrogation room with a very satisfied looking cop holding a piece of paper and saying "Thanks for signing this statement, punk. You just saved the District Attorney's office a lot of trouble!" "Uh . . . Can I read that?" "No! The film rights have already been sold to Hollywood! You'll just have to wait until it comes out next summer with Morgan Freeman as me and either Anthony Hopkins or Anthony Perkins as you." "Isn't Anthony Perkins dead?" "Yeah, so he can play the girl we found in the dumpster!" But you know what? Guess I'm a real tough guy cause I eventually began to adapt to my environment. Having found out that laying on the floor was more comfortable than standing erect, I took to crawling around the floor on my belly, slowly developing a scaly green skin, a four foot tail, and a twelve foot long sticky pink tongue for grabbing hamburgers out of the hands of little kids in the playground in front of McDonalds. Geez, I couldn't have been any creepier than if I was in a Tool video.

I woke up the next morning and I was back to being a hairy, pale forty year old man with spectacularly large sex organs. Why, it was all a dream! I mean, the part about me having turned into a lizard was all a dream. Okay, okay, okay, the part about me having turned into a lizard AND the part about me having spectacularly large sex organs. But I had been awakened from dreaming about being a Lizard Man by the Maintenance Dudes! They were here with my new air conditioner! It was just like Christmas only Santa Claus never banged on our door yelling at us to get up out of bed so he could come in and leave a lot of presents under our tree. And when you hopped out of bed, pulled on a pair of jeans and a t shirt to let him in Santa never walked in and made mean cruel nasty fun of The Shrine To The Late Great Joey Ramone on the front of your fridge you made out of a bunch of pictures of Poor Ol' Joey you cut out of some magazines and stuck up there with your Elvis refrigerator magnets. Okay, so you weren't cool enough to have done that but I was and those rednecks were standing there in my kitchen making fun of Joey Ramone right there in front of me! Okay, so Joey Ramone was a pretty goofy looking dude and Southern Rednecks never got into Punk Rock anyway, but, Hey - I'm a hip guy - I feel bad when Country Music stars die tragic deaths. When was the last time a Country singer passed away and I felt every bit as sad about it as all the hard core Country fans? Hhhmmm . . . Uh . . . Uh, let me see . . . Hhhmmm . . . Oh! I remember! When Hank Williams died! Oh yeah, man - When Hank Williams died - Whew! I was almost as freaked out as when that guy in Blues Traveler died. Oh, yeah. Country Music means a lot to me.

Of course, I didn't have time to tell the Rednecks all that - They were too busy rushing into my bedroom where my air conditioner was and doing their cover band tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd in Room 208 of the Trenton, New Jersey Ramada Inn in '76. See, what rock and roll fans outside the south didn't realize about Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the seventies was that when they were throwing furniture around and turning beds over in motel rooms all over the country they weren't just being destructive - No, they were taking out the motel's old air conditioners and installing their own Super Southern Summer Air Conditioners that they carried around with them everywhere they went on the road. I don't know why those British bands like Led Zeppelin and The Who were always smashing up those motel rooms - Maybe they were just dicks.

So that was going on in my bedroom - The mattress and the box springs were tilted up against the wall and all the books, magazines, and pieces of paper with comedy bits scribbled on em I had carefully filed away in my patented "Look At The Pieces Of Paper Until I Find Myself Looking At The One I Need" system underneath my bed were being kicked into a completely disorganized pile in the corner. For one brief moment there I thought I saw the Ghost of Steve Van Zandt looking on with approval. That's the name of the original lead singer in Lynyrd Skynyrd, right? Oh yeah, sure. Sure. They finally got to work on taking out the dead air conditioner, making so much noise out of it all I decided to just grab my Star Wars pillow and go outside to my car to get back to sleep in the back seat. But every time I managed to snooze off and feel a little better (There is no such person as Bill Maher when you are asleep) the little black kids who are always playing in the parking lot would sneak up and start banging away on the side of my car with Voodoo Fervor. You know how sometimes it seems like the world is in conspiracy against you? Well, relax - We're not all out to get you, you bastards are all out to get me. But when I saw their happy smiling faces looking up at me I forgot all about voting Republican so they'd spend all their lives in misery and poverty "Aw. I can't stay mad at youse guys!"

So I went back in my apartment to see if the Rednecks were finished and I found em lounging around in my living room drinking Gatorade and speculating on if I'm queer or not.

"Amscray!" I commanded "Me and the kids wanna watch 'Pokemon'!" But that's all over cause I got my brand new Comfortaire here and I haven't gone out since. Check out the high tech controls I got on this thing - First, there's FAN ONLY - You know, like playing acoustic guitar instead of electric guitar or watching network television instead of cable or drinking beer instead of tequila or reading Dave Barry instead of John Saleeby, you know, like jerking off. Then - POWER SAVER - Did Al Gore win the election? No, he did not. Screw POWER SAVER! Then, LOW COOL - What, is that for Lent or some shit? Keep goin' . . . MEDIUM COOL - That's the name of a shitty old movie from the sixties you don't even wanna watch when it's on TV. Keep crankin' all the way to Eleven until you get to . . . . HIGH COOL!!! Yeah! To hell with High School, we've got High Cool and we won't settle for anything less. Man, this is so great I - Sniff - This is so great - Sniff, sniff - I said, this is so - ACHOO!! Oh man, I need some tissues. Better put on a sweater, too. And make some soap.


John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email -