Colgate Money Shot

“Oh man is she pissed,” he said.

I met my friend's husband for the second time - the first was at their wedding - at a bar, and he gave his wife a kiss, and then I asked, where's mine, and he gave me one with tongue, like this. To which I had to cock my head. It'd been a month since anyone had kissed me like that. And then I shrugged. Whatever, we're drunk.

Then we went back to their place and ordered Chinese. I was bragging about my life, which looked good to me, right then. He asked if I wanted to go to a big concert, and I said, “yeah, well,” and he said, “come on,” and I said, “the thing is,” and I said, “yeah, see,” and he said “what's your excuse?” and I said, “see, I have backstage passes to that, I know the guy who-” and he leapt on me and began to beat my head with his fists. We were all laughing.

Then he showed me his computer, a laptop running Linux, and we talked about window managers. His wife was ready to strangle us. “Where's the porn collection?” I asked.

“Oh,” he said. “Go into the tee-ee-em-pee slash goodstuff directory in my tilde and fire up crossover. I have a cron job at work that downloads the new stuff.”

“Wow,” I said, a little surprised. I had been joking. I followed his directions. “This is really something.” I fired up the video player. I said, “There's a lot of files here.” The sound of fake orgasm came through the tiny speakers in the laptop. A massive cock was being thrusted into the pink anus of a young woman, the video 200x200 pixels. Looking at the penis, I asked, “Does that thing have a spine?

I looked over to his wife, whose eyes were shooting billion-watt ruby laser beams at her husband. She got up and went into the bathroom, slamming the door.

“Oh, God, shut that down. I fucked up,” he said.

“She didn't know about this?” I asked.

“No, she's-” The bathroom door opened and she came out, her cheeks puffed in anger. She stood a few inches from him. He looked up at her. She sprayed a huge mouthful of white toothpaste all over his face, shirt, and pants. He just nodded.

She turned from him and gave me a hug. “It was great you came out. Stay over,” she said. “It's late. We'll go get breakfast.” Then she went into the bedroom, another door closing hard.

I looked at him. There was white fluid on his hair and cheeks, on his chest and collar. “You never told her you had a porn collection?”

“No, she really thinks porn is, you know. Demeaning to women. I mean, it is. She's right.”

“Yeah, it is,” I said. I'd been thinking a lot about that lately. “So why did you just show me in front of her?”

“Because I'm really stupid.” He said it with a voice full of melancholy.

“No, but you were -”

“No, see, I'm just really stupid.”

“Yeah, but you -”

“I'm really stupid.

I looked at him. He got up and went into the bathroom, staggering a little bit. We'd probably had 15 or 20 beers, bottles and pints, between us. He came out a few minutes later in a new shirt, the toothpaste mostly gone from his face, except for a dab on his cheek.

“She is an amazing woman. Oh man is she pissed.

“She's great. I really like knowing her.”

“She's beautiful and brilliant and I love her.”

“You've got a lot of movies on that machine.”

It was quiet and late. We were both slouched in our chairs. “Erase them, right?” he said.

“You're sure? are-em minus are-eff?”

“Yeah. All of it.”

“Okay,” I said, and very carefully - carefully, because the rm -rf command should not be used when drunk; it's as dangerous as driving, and can destroy everything you love about your computer - I issued the statement. The hard drive made a noise, then was silent. “It's gone,” I said.

“You should stay over.” It was 3.

“No,” I said. “I want to go home.”

“Stay over.”

I thought about it, but my own bed seemed right after all this. He and I shook hands and I walked home, about 10 blocks.

.  .  .  .  .  

I called the next day, and everything was calm. The real problem had been the secrecy of the collection; even though she didn't like pornography, the fact that he would suddenly spring a fairly sizeable porn-movie-clip in conversation infuriated her more than the collection of jack-off movies itself. “Oh, we're fine,” she said, and they were. “You should have stayed over.”

“It was pretty amazing, the big comeshot moment with the toothpaste. Sort of anti-porn cleanliness shot all over his face.”

“That connection didn't even occur to me, you know. I just was angry.”

This all happened months ago, and the toothpaste-spraying made it a funny story that I told to a few people, but what kept with me was the statement, “I'm just really stupid.” I couldn't get it out of my head. He didn't have a rationale. He didn't excuse his behavior. He wasn't looking to get out of the consequences. He just took it, right on the chin, and knew he'd have to put it right - not weasel out or explain it silver-tongued, but earn back some respect. I had to admire it, the willingness to face himself down, to admit what a piece of shit he could be, which is, I think, the sign of a worthwhile person.




Ftrain.com is the website of Paul Ford and his pseudonyms. It is showing its age. I'm rewriting the code but it's taking some time.


There is a Facebook group.


You will regret following me on Twitter here.


Enter your email address:

A TinyLetter Email Newsletter

About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at ford@ftrain.com and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


Syndicate: RSS1.0, RSS2.0
Links: RSS1.0, RSS2.0


© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for TheMorningNews.org. (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

Tables of Contents