Savoy Magazine Farewell

GOODBYE SAVOY

Savoy ceased regular publication March 1, 2000.

“And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!”
—William Shakespeare
Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 5

“Thank God it’s over.”
—G.K. Nelson
Savoy Editor

 

AN EDITOR’S FAREWELL

GOODBYE, SO LONG, ADIOS, FAREWELL

It is better to live in a corner of the roof,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
— Proverbs 21:9

For nearly three years, Savoy has been, if not a labor of love, certainly a labor of passion.

Conceived in the imaginations of my friend Thom Holcomb and me, she was born out of our passion for the power of words to change things. And as she grew into maturity, she was a brawling, lusty, full-throated, red-lipped wench. I was driven by her, seduced by her, taunted by her and — on rare occasions — fulfilled by her. One might say I shared my living quarters with a relentless, desirable shrew, one I could not tame.

Now, after nearly 36 months of trying to make her respectable, I am worn by my passion to a frazzle.

Thom and I (and later my most excellent friends Linda Alvarado and Katherine Chahrouri and I) nurtured Savoy with the pure milk of an idea: We wanted to encourage a democracy of writers by providing them with a Web showcase for their talents, one as polished and professional as we could bring into being given our limited resources and talents. We wanted Savoy to reflect a microcosm of the great democracy of talent on the Web itself. Rather than discouraging those enamored of words from developing their gifts (however modest), we wanted to encourage writers, poets and artists. We made an agreement. “When it stops being fun,” we told one another. “We’ll quit doing it.”

It stopped being fun for Thom Holcomb nine months into the project. As he explained to me more than a year later: “It came down to a choice between maintaining my sanity and divorcing the shrew. You should have done likewise.”

But how could I? Especially when there were moments — wonderful, lucid epiphanies — that rattled me to my bones. Like the day I opened an email from the very gifted Bjorn Thomson and read his first film review; or the day, some months later, when an upstart named Marrit Ingman wrote to ask, “Do you ever review independent documentaries?” and enclosed her brilliant take on The Decline of Western Civilization, Part III.

There were the mornings I opened Laura Denham’s “Topless” and Dennis Must’s “Soil” and simply could not believe they had been submitted, gratis, to Savoy. And I was always humbly grateful for anything from Charlie Dickinson and Steve Duggan, writers I am convinced we will one day be plucking from the shelves of our libraries and purchasing at our favorite bookstores.

Our columnists were among of the best on the Web, bar none. In fact, I’d put the bellicose Mr. Ray Abruzzi, the wry Ms. Cally Taylor, the sometimes hysterical and always absorbing Mr. C. E. Chaffin, and the learned and insightful Ms. Kathleen Burk Henderson into the ring with any of the Web’s celebrated heavyweights. In a verbal tag-team match, they’d be certain to emerge victorious.

And if poetry is the Prince of Literature, then Savoy has been graced with royalty on more than one occasion. I won’t begin to recount all the fine work we published, but I must offer a note of personal gratitude to Thom and Linda for sharing their gifts at crucial moments in the life of our experiment, and to Mr. Alan Kaufman, who worked tirelessly to build a reputation for Savoy among “outlaw poets.”

There simply are not words enough to express my appreciation for Katherine Chahrouri, my fellow-editor, my confidant, and my very good friend: “Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know / That things depart which never may return…” (Shelley)

For all the wonder of Savoy over those three years, the last three months have been the surreal blend of a gazillion filtered-out pieces of Spam, the thunder of pompous asses determined to explain why we “weren’t editing it right” and the whining of rejected submitters who wondered (incessantly) why we wouldn’t use their work when “XYZ Magazine, far superior in content and quality to Savoy”, did. It culminated on an evening in February when, while surfing other online publications, I realized that in many cases we were not contributing new work to the body of Web literature, but simply echoing work that had already been more than adequately represented.

On that evening, my enticing shrew became a harpy. And I decided to live on the corner of a roof.

So this is goodbye, our divorce, as it were.

My deepest thanks to everyone who shared her or his gift with Savoy. Your generosity overwhelms me.

And thanks to those who offered Web space to keep Savoyfunctioning; unfortunately, it takes more than Web space to pump life into a dying publication.

Finally, thanks to those who offered to take over the publication of Savoy on our behalf. While we are flattered that you think highly of the magazine, we are egotistical enough to decline the offer. It would be too much like Othello watching Desdemona give herself up to Roderigo. We’d rather take her out ourselves.

And the future? Who knows?

I was a huge fan of Savoy Mag, enjoying the prose as well as the amazing photographs and digetal images. Your viewers,such as myself, were sadden to see the notice posted by the Savoy Editor, G.K. Nelson. But hey, if the "fun" is no longer there, it's perfectly understandable. Although we, your audience, casually, passionately, eagerly, visited Savoy Mag and engaged, we never had to do any of the hard work which went on behind the curtains.

Early mornings, I would step out onto my deck clad in bluejeans and one of my many Batman hoodies that I collect. Aside from being passionate about reading, I also am into DC and Marvel Comics and all their amazing heroes and villains. Right now I am in a all things Batman phase. I found a great new site online that does a great job offering loads of Batman related T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts. I have very graphic images on some of my hoodies, while others look like amazing illustrations. And don't let me get started on my collection of Batman T-shirts. I love the new sublimated prints. They look so awesome. Anyway, every morning I would hang out on my deck, enjoying the view of Castle Valley just outside of Moab, drinking a warm mug of coffee, reading email, checking out Savoy Mag, speed reading through the news, posting a bit on Facebook, and generally putting off getting to work. Just the start to another day.

Recently I discovered that the domain for Savoymag.org was available so I bought it with the goal of saluting all the hard work done by the editors, so we could enjoy the artists and writers who shared their work with us. I definitely didn't want someone else purchasing the domain once more and re-purposing the site for something that had nothing in common with the original website. I apologize for not posting all the wonderful content that was available in the site's archived pages. I have included just one piece of prose, The Doubler by Raymond Abruzzi although there were dozens of others available, along with three examples of the type of photographs & digital images found in the Savoy Gallery.
Needless to say, we miss you, Savoy Mag, but are glad that you exisited for those three wonderful years.

Savoy Prose

+++

Raymond Abruzzi

The Doubler

In an anything-for-a-hit bid for popularity, Savoy resorts to toilet humor. Next we’re featuring naked women. Essay
See complete story at the bottom of this page

+++

Linda Alvarado

Christmas Parade

Linda Alvarado encounters an interesting entry in the Carpenteria, California, Christmas parade. Happy holidays! Essay

I Can Hear the Dove Laughing

Harper Lee warned us to have a healthy respect for avians; here’s the reason. Humor

Endangered Species

Linda Alvarado considers the plight of extinction. Fiction

+++

Terry Baker

3 Cities

Terry Baker remembers three American cities in these prose poems and illustrations (images are large). Memoir

+++

Nicole Blake

Phantom Pain

Nicole Blake recalls a cancer ward, a paraplegic, needles in her father’s arm, the story of a dog, and a sudden silence. Fiction

+++

Robert Brumfield

Exhibition Entitled Phil

According to Blake, a dead, half-eaten bird portends certain catastrophe. Fiction

+++

Steve Brownlee

Home

Many of us in rural areas can’t imagine urban meaning home. steve brownlee begs to differ. Essay

+++

C. E. Chaffin — The Eric Chronicles

A View from the Crib

In the first of his Eric stories, C. E. Chaffin takes a broad view from the crib. Fiction

Following the Light

Eric’s first adventure in the real world ends in an encounter with the police. Fiction

The Broken Buddha

C. E. Chaffin tells the story of a shattered relationship and a broken relationship. Fiction

My First God

Like a first confession, C. E. Chaffin recalls a first religious experience. Fiction

+++

Jim Chandler

A Conquest of Sorts

Jim Chandler spends an evening ruminating in the Last Ditch Attempt Saloon and goes home with the barmaid of his country-western dreams. Fiction

+++

Kate Chenier

Above Board

Care to know why they call snowboarders athletes? This essay explains it all. Essay

+++

Charles Corbit

Free Fall

In his latest short fiction, Charles Corbit takes a dive to build circulation. Be careful of that ripcord, Eugene... Fiction

Under the Table

Remembering the history of a dining room table. Essay

Reprieve

Charles Corbit stakes his future on the toss of a coin. Fiction

To Kill a Man

Charles Corbit considers the realtime consequences of killing an intruder. Essay

Laura Denham

Chicken or Fish

Following an auspicious debut with Topless, Laura Denham weaves the masterful tale of a businessman flying cross-country to visit a college-aged daughter. Fiction

Topless

A former topless bar hostess comes to the realization that everyone is selling something. Essay

+++

Charlie Dickinson

Zigzag

A neo-noir tale opens on a moonlit, foggy night, a would-be suicide, the I Ching, and a Jaguar slipping through the darkness. Fiction

Past Perfect

The story is as old as families are: the child is anxious to flee the nest and the mother wants to hold him for as long as she is able. Fiction

Just a Skosh of Kyoto

Charlie comes away from a trip to Kyoto with a Hanshin Tigers baseball cap and a nod from the Amida Buddha. Travelogue

Talking Cabbage Heads

That lettuce crisp enough for you? Need the makings for a good salad? In his latest story, Charlie Dickinson takes a walk down the produce side of life. Fiction

A Page among Books

From the Reformation Papacy to the present, the life of a library page remains largely unchanged. Essay

Timed Out

“That night, he slept only because imagining what was next from this retro-Sixties flower child was too much for him to bring up on his screen.” Fiction

+++

Steven Duggan

A Moral Victory

Our Dublin native celebrates the new-found peace in Northern Ireland. Essay

Conway and the Devil

Steven Duggan further demonstrates an astute insight into human nature with his look at an peculiar love triangle. Fiction

Ruskin’s Daughter

Where does a father turn when his carefully constructed universe begins to unravel around him? Fiction

When Jesus Cut Ruth’s Eye

In a remarkable short story, Steven Duggan recounts the formative years of a unique child. Fiction

+++

Martha Nemes Fried

The Last Summer

Martha Nemes Fried recounts the events of a last summer fling before the end of innocence brought by World War II. Fiction

The Matinee Idol

A matinee idol teaches Martha Nemes Fried a valuable lesson in becoming a great playwright.

+++

Preston M. Heller

Illinois

In the world of noir, they say a woman with blue eyes can walk into a grocer’s and change a man’s life forever. Fiction

+++

Kathleen Burk Henderson

From the Shade of the Ivory Tower

When the New York Review of Books laments the decline of English departments in American universities, Ms. Henderson not only identifies, she thinks she understands the reason why.

Clinton and the Jesuits

Kathleen Burk Henderson considers President Bill Clinton’s behavior on the witness stand during the White House sex scandal, and decides a Jesuit education may be, in part, to blame. Essay

+++

Thom Holcomb

Passage

In a frank, almost brutal discourse, the writer remembers his alcoholic grandfather. Essay

+++

Michael Jarrette-Kenny

The Simple Truth

Michael Jarrette-Kenny pays homage to the chaos theory with his study of the six characters involved (directly or indirectly) in a serial killing.

+++

George Johnson

My Funny Valentine

George Johnson maps the territory of a crumbling relationship. Fiction

Alan Kaufman

500

In a magnificently macabre tapestry, Alan Kaufman weaves the tale of apartment 500, a pair of exterminators, some Buddhists, and a grisly cockroach infestation. Fiction

The San Francisco Literary Scene

In a shameless (and charming) bit of self-promo, poet Alan Kaufman takes a look at the current state of letters near the Golden Gate. Essay

Marie Kazalia

Quake

In her Savoy debut, Marie Kazalia is shaken up in San Francisco. Everyone evacuate! This is not a drill! Fiction

+++

Dylan Kinnett

The Grand Mother

A failed actress is another in a long list of deaths for an old woman. Fiction

+++

Sharon Kourous

Snailmail Submissions: Submit No More!

In her Savoy debut, Sharon Kourous takes time to answer all her paper-pushing editors. Humor

+++

Garry Ladouceur

Red Dress

In a poignant depiction of his childhood, Garry Ladouceur remembers a phantom red dress. Memoir

+++

Alex Machurov

Rebuttal: Answering the Doubler

Wherein the author pleads for compassion from Ray Abruzzi in the name of male bonding. Essay

Reclaiming the Edge

There is a tightwire between love and hate: Alex Machurov wants to walk it. Essay

+++

Michael Maiello

So Sue Me, Maxwell Stillwell

When a freshman obsession blossoms into a budding romance, is the outcome a mature relationship or the meeting of two suck monkeys? Michael Maiello sketches the course of a college society.

+++

J.M. Martinez

Gulp!

J.M. Martinez finds the dramatic possibilities in a 43-year-old woman, a chow dog, a greasy diner, beer and some napkins.

+++

Karen K. Masullo

Adelina’s Story

In her Savoy debut, Karen Masullo recalls a grandmother’s recipes and indiscretions. Fiction

+++

Rory Miller

Me and the Big Guy Down in Baja

Web diarist Rory Miller went to Baja in search of peace of mind and brought more than he bargained for. Essay

+++

Dennis Must

Soil

In the narrow, mythical world of Hebron, a single willow tree takes on almost religious significance.

+++

G. K. Nelson

Mercy

In Savoy fiction, G. K. Nelson considers a quality of mercy strained to its reasonable limits. Fiction

Breakfasting

Sharing the morning repast with a unique companion. Prose Poem

Sunflowers

Meet musician Jesse Tyler, therapist Mary McAlister, cancer patient Paul Murphy and an entourage of quirky friends in this serialized novel. Fiction

Nine Cats

Just after the turn of the twentieth century, my grandmother wanted to become a cat; this story records her attempt. Fiction

Two Stories

When night ascended, we went into her bedroom and opened all the windows and turned out the lights and took off our clothes and climbed into bed and made the most solemn love this side of Golgotha... Fiction

+++

Patrick Nilsson

Brunch in Heaven

On the way to their mother’s cremation, the characters in Patrick Nilsson’s “Brunch in Heaven” kick up a little moon dust.

+++

Scott Ott

Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Chicken Soup I Learned from the Celestine Women of Venus

Want to know the meaning of life? Forget the usual pop psychology and check the psychobabble at Savoy.

+++

Rishad Patel

Evening Out

Reflections on the meaning of a dance repertory company’s performance. Fiction

The Ostrich

On a rainy afternoon, an ostrich considers burying its head in the sand. Fiction

The Feminist at Home

The husband has a flash of illumination and defends women’s rights; how will it effect the wife? Fiction

Tell Me When You Finish

A story of composure and shirt stains on the eve of the apocalypse. Fiction

+++

Elisha Porat

Projecting a United Will

From his perch in a treehouse aerie, poet Elisha Porat imagines how the universe might be changed by a world community united in one step and in one accord. Translated from the Hebrew by Hanna Lasch.

+++

Larry Retzack

The Guns of Nippon

An American educator living in Japan considers cultural differences in attitude toward guns within the two societies. Commentary

+++

Sharon Rose

Aftermath: Nothing Much Happens at Suburban High School

While pundits discuss platitudes, high school teacher Sharon Rose copes with real world adolescent fallout in the wake of the Columbine shooting.

+++

Chad Sanborn

Broad Daylight

Chad Sanborn teaches a lesson in the merits of back seat necking in this short story; we are, of course, attentive pupils. Fiction

+++

Martin Schneider

Losing My Voice

Martin Schneider reflects on the recent history of the Village Voice, now that Stern Publishing has announced that the Manhattan alternative weekly is for sale.

+++

Patti K. See

When Sweet Meant Good

In her Savoy debut, Patti K. See recalls a time when sweet meant good. Fiction

+++

Christopher Stewart

The Flowers and the Gun

Christopher Stewart tells the story of the shooting of a hapless victim in an expensive garden. Fiction

+++

Vasu Sunkara

Wood Carving

An old man bends to the task of whittling eternity. Fiction

+++

Cally Taylor

The Face

For the protagonist in Cally Taylor’s latest short story, erasing history comes at a high cost. Fiction

View from the Floor

“I wear my bruise like a crown...” begins a simple tale of domestic violence. Fiction

The Sea

Cally Taylor weaves a tale of insomnia, would-be romance and the restless sea. Fiction

Mirror, Mirror

“Of course I’ve tried to diet. Do you think I’m a complete imbecile as well as obese?” Mary snapped irritably. Fiction

Perfection

Attention, students. Today we get a lesson in the execution of the perfect crime. Fiction

The Shell

The lover watches the brain-damaged beloved deteriorate in a hospital bed. Fiction

A Nasty Surprise...

An escaping prisoner plots a nasty surprise for the delivery boy, and gets one in the process. Fiction

+++

Don Taylor

The Piccolo Player

Did you hear the one about ... ? A fresh retelling of an ancient joke brings a hitchhiker face-to-face with the world’s greatest piccolo player.

Ambrose Scott Handel and the Crazy Girl

She isn’t much in the looks department, excepting her green eyes; but, MAN!, can that girl ever suck candy canes! Fiction

Seizing the Fleece

In his latest very short fiction, Don Taylor recreates the aftermath of a daring robbery. Hey! We’ve been fleeced!

Cartwheel

Don Taylor outlines thirty years of romantic history in this very, very short fiction. Fiction

+++

Bjorn Thomson

Sketch Comedy

From Saturday Night Live to Kids in the Hall and beyond, Savoy’s resident film critic pays homage to television sketch comedy. on Television

The Other One

A pleasant afternoon picnic turns macabre in a dark tale by Savoy staffer Bjorn Thomson. Uh, honey, I've changed my mind about the catsup. Fiction

The Glass Teat

Bjorn Thomson has just plugged his electronic umbilical cord into the cable system. Humor

Taboo

From the safety of his locked room, Bjorn Thomson explores a few of society’s taboos. Humor

Love Is...

Mr. Thomson turns his acid wit on the fair emotion. Humor

Memo to Sophocles

Savoy unearths a series of memos to and from the Greek dramatist, Sophocles. Humor

Great Art

What distinguishes a good painting from a great one? Or a good play from a timeless classic? This essay explains the difference. Essay

Bad News

This just in to the anchor desk: bad news is inevitable, and everyone will get some. Essay

+++

Edward M. Turner

Cats

For Edward M. Turner, the small drama in a boy’s life may play out in a pail of water. Fiction

+++

Larry Van Guilder

Better Safe Than Sorry

In a tribute to the noir genre, Larry Van Guilder figures it’s better to be safe than sorry. Fiction

The Power of Prayer

Larry Van Guilder asks: Do you believe in the power of prayer? Fiction

Fridays

In Larry Van Guilder’s world, Fridays are no cause for celebration. Fiction

+++

Bob Vestal

Wait for Me, Daddy

Bob Vestal wonders who gives him work and why does he do it? Does work really define who we are? Essay

Picture This

It is said that a picture paints ten thousand words. While he doesn’t want to offend the makers of pictures, Bob Vestal disagrees. Essay

Reflections

What do you say when a close friend reveals his plan to begin reflecting in print? DON’T! Essay

Boys Will Be Boys

Bob Vestal sees Bill Gates’ legal issues in the light of the baseball diamond. Knock it out of the park, Bill! Essay

+++

Timothy Waldron

Welcome to the Balkans

After drinking a dozen caffiene-laced soft drinks, Timothy Waldron presents Savoy with a brand new definition of the cola wars.

Captured Pieces

In his Savoy debut, Timothy Waldron considers a life-and-death chess match, and the consequences of not thinking through all one's moves. Fiction

 

Savoy Gallery

Photographs & Digital Images

 

- Jeff Russell Allman -
Windows


By combining recent images with found photos, Jeff Russell Allman creates a surreal universe of stark, spectral figures.

+++

- Kenn Lichtenwalter -
Bucharest


Kenn Lichtenwalter’s series of portraits from Hungary and Romania are engaging glimpses from fresh perspectives.

+++

- Kathryn Ash -
Pity’s Sake

Eight eclectic digital images from the Southern Hemisphere.

+++

- Charles Corbit -
Troubled Sleep

Drift through an insomniac evening with this gifted photographer.

+++

- Bård Edlund -
Overcoming Hippocampus 22

Sample the digital images of Norwegian artist Bård Edlund as he interprets everything from an elevator ride to Tori Amos.

+++

- Terry Baker -
TV Talking Heads


Terry Baker is fascinated with the endless parade of faces that march across our television screens. These images record his interest.

 

Raymond Abruzzi
The Doubler


In an anything-for-a-hit bid for popularity, Savoy resorts to toilet humor. Next we’re featuring naked women. Essay

I’m no prudish freak. I’ve lived with as many as nine other Rugby players at a time, in college, and have two house mates now. If you have any grasp at all of the social graces of a rugby player, you can get an idea of what manner of behavior I have witnessed, and unfortunately participated in.

So, I don’t really mind the stink of my friends, or hearing their bathroom tales of “foot-longs” or torrential squirts. There is a very distinguishable camaraderie associated with rest rooms, locker rooms and other areas designated as males-only. But something about the work environment, the air of formality and etiquette, lends a sense that there should be a higher standard regarding poopy politeness.

The Doubler is a specific person, but anyone can double. In the office where I work there are two men’s rest rooms located on my floor. The nearer consists of two urinals, two stalls and two sinks. Another 50 yards down the hall is the other john, with two sinks, two urinals and one super-sized stall, built to accommodate handicapped employees. This is referred to rather unimaginatively as the Throne Room.

Now, when the unfortunate need to go number 2 arises during working hours, as it often does due to the ungodly amount of overtime my department works, I will hasten to the rest room. I bypass the nearer in favor of the more private room at the end of the hall. Simple enough. My body, being wise in the ways of such matters, calculates the distance and time to this rest room, and begins sending increasingly urgent signals to my bowels as I get closer to the door, so that by the time I get through the door it is seconds to show time.

Preparation for show time requires two paper towels, one wet and one dry. I nervously dance from one foot to the other as I wipe the seat with the wet, then dry it with the other before placing the little ring thingie over the seat. This extra wiping, sadly, is necessary as several of my co-workers somehow have missed the raise-the-seat portion of their up-bringings entirely. That completed, it’s bombs away and business as usual. Should someone happen to come into the rest room I am occupying to use a urinal, wash-up, or use the Throne (indicated by the door opening and then closing without someone entering) I bide my time, sitting patiently until they leave, before I exit the stall. I will often refrain from wiping or squeezing—as I realize these sounds are unappealing—until after the coast is clear. I also do not like to exit the stall in someone else’s company, because I cannot escape the feeling of “I did a BAD thing,” and don't want to meet their eyes and exchange bathroom pleasantries with anyone when I am feeling so dirty and disgusting about what I have done.  Seems like pretty common courtesy to me.

However, apparently these simple courtesies allude many of my co-workers and one in particular: the Doubler. An unlucky chain of events usually precedes the arrival of the Doubler. In order to be doubled, one must be using a stall in the dual bathroom. This occurs when: a) You had something extremely disagreeable for lunch and have to make bad potty. Though your mind may say  “Let’s go to the bathroom down the hall and be alone,” your body says, “No, you get into that near bathroom this second or we’re going live right here in the hall.”

So, you listen to your body. I have attempted to override its dictatorship on more than one occasion, which almost resulted in my demise each time (and the pre-poop-bowl-wipe job was certainly very shabbily done). And b)a worse fate, which can also occur, is that when I reach the Throne room, court is already being held, and I must about-face and beat feet back to the People’s Stalls. Those are some tense moments. The tensest. I have a 100% success rate, though, where inter-pants accidents are concerned.

So you enter the near john, and pray that it is unoccupied. If both are, it’s probably over, Johnny. If one is, well, there you have it, you’re about to double someone. It does happen, but at least you made an effort.

My special rules and tactics for doubling,or being doubled are simple, if only marginally effective. Number one: Never at any time do you address the occupant of the next stall. It doesn’t matter if it is your buddy from production or the guy from next cubicle over. Nobody is anybody in the stalls, they are just shoes to you.

Number two: Keep it quiet. Be aware of the sounds emanating from your ass, your mouth, and your wipe. Keep it to a minimum, and that includes relief sighing. Nobody needs or wants to know you had a happy little movement. Keep it special by keeping it to your self.

Exiting has it’s own set of rules. Not only must you try to avoid urinal and sink users (you dirty, filthy boy) but you must be extremely careful to avoid the other stall guy. The guilt would be unbearable. I have known myself to wait as long as five extra minutes, sitting silently in the stall, done with my business, simply to avoid contact with others.  It’s the rule. I have even been caught once in a waiting game with another, equally polite player, that ended only because I had to get back to my desk to take a call I was expecting. My unknown friend had the courtesy to wait until I left. Good player.

A good tactic to use in the event that you have fallen into a doubling experience is the “thumbs in the ears, pinkies in pushing the nasal passages closed method.” I invite you to try this at your desk right now. While not entirely effective, it goes a long way in blocking out unpleasant sounds and odors. (Note: Be careful to avoid loud mouth breathing while employing this technique, and be aware that your own, other sounds are muted to you, so be extra quiet.

As you can see, a lot of issues revolve around crapping at work, and into this delicate world comes the Doubler. He has a name. Most know it. But he is better known as the Doubler to all. He’s middle-aged, kind of short and balding. He’s generally affable, though somewhat long-winded and given to tangents. The Doubler rarely changes from his sneakers to his shoes upon arriving at the office (unless there is a meeting or something), and it lends personality to his under-the-stall persona.

His first mistake is that he has never been seen to make even an attempt at using the private stall. He is always in the two-staller. Those Nikes seem to leap out at you when you walk in the john. They add an element of surprise. He doesn’t hesitate to plop down next to you, if you happen to be stuck using the community chamber pot.

He also breaks rule number one, whether he is there to use a urinal or a stall. “Hey, Ray, How’s it goin‘?” And I think, “Well, ***, there’s a big log of smelly shit hanging out of my ass right this second, how’s it going with you?”

If he does sit next to you, assume an extremely defensive position. I mean, JAM the thumbs in there and PUSH on the nostrils, cause when he goes he really goes: “Great weather today, huh, Ray?” Kerrrr-splash! FART FART Splash FART! Kersplashhh! “Oh, Boy, that’s better!, So you believe this fucking deadline or what? These assholes!” Ka-blammm! Fart Fart Splash Fart! Wipe Wipe Wipe! Grunt! Sigh!

And so on. He leaves at exactly the moment you do (actually, fleeing is more like what you are doing at that point), looking to make eye contact and everything else short of shaking hands. Attempts to wait him out aren’t worth it, due to the torrent of sound, smell and small-talk pouring out of the booth adjacent to yours. So you make a break for it, and I swear, he senses it and is out after you in a zip and a flush. It’s almost as if he wants to high five and say “Good Game!”

I fear the Doubler. And I accept the Doubler, because I have, by necessity, assumed the role of a doubler on occasion. But my performance pales in comparison to the all-senses-encompassing experience that is The Doubler’s way. He is the scourge of etiquette, a Mecca for foul odor and the conductor of a butt-symphony that has no known equal. And he has no concept of his fame. A true Hero.

Copyright © 1998 Raymond Abruzzi.

Used by permission.

SavoyMag.org