The Cramps

biul_cramps

Honestly, I’m tempted to dig out my old yearbook and show you how well I captured the girl in the second panel. It’s better to leave things in the realm of legend, however. My buddy’s cousin did not resemble Jughead, I just thought it was funny. Plus Jughead is easy to draw.

I kid, but I actually do suffer from scoliosis* and tinnitus, just like my dear old dad did. My spine has never been completely straight, because I carried heavy books in a knapsack on one shoulder for five years. I felt I would look like a “nerd” if I carried my backpack properly.

*Misspelled in the strip. If you want to bust my balls about a typo, there ya go.

Do you realize how stupid that is? Because I didn’t, until I was around 21. I started wearing sneakers with some cushioning, instead of the Chuck Taylor All-Stars I’d worn since grade school, which had turned my knees and ankles into wicker. That’s two instances where my well-being suffered thanks to an imagined peer reaction.

I stretch and exercise to keep my back from curling up, but crooked is straight to me. This is where the weird sensitivities probably hail from. I get sick when I’m lied to, because I can smell it. I’m easily crazed by obscure and intangible energies. Think about where the chakras lie; now think of their path as a snakelike waveform. The spinal cord is the brain’s tail. If it wags, amazing and terrible things can happen.

I have tinnitus because I am a proud American, which means I achieved it through exposure to heavy metal music. I finally started wearing earplugs at concerts around 2000, out of fear that I would totally destroy my hearing. Oh, except at the EARL a few years later, when I saw Jucifer unprotected.

Jucifer

Jucifer

If you’re unfamiliar, the only thing louder than Jucifer is deaf. I was warned about their volume just before they started up, and still not fully prepared for what I experienced. Out of curiosity, I made careful steps towards the duo, to see how close I could get. There were people by the stage; obviously, it wasn’t fatal. 

At thirty feet, the legs of my pants began to agitate violently, as though they were being nipped by playful dogs. When I reached twenty-five feet, a knob spun on my equilibrium, and I went limp as lasagna. The sound waves literally turned me around and waltzed me back to the door. I was surprised I wasn’t picked up by the neck and thrown out by them.

Jucifer could be heard down the block, just like the table saw in my basement that caused my dad’s tinnitus. If you don’t hear a hiss of tree frogs at all times, be thankful; your hearing is intact. That’s what mine sounds like; Dad said his was like amplifier feedback. Pete Townsend’s is so bad he is deaf. Kids: take care of your ears. It’s all fun and games until someone loses their hearing.

I confess that I’m still not ready to yammer on about The Cramps, since the passing of Lux Interior in 2009. Paired with Poison Ivy Rorschach, Lux was Halloween incarnate. I prefer to think of him as “undead”. I bet he’d like that.

cramps1

If anyone’s wondering about the “Eject” logo on my shirt in the final panel…

In 2003, when I drew the Cramps strip, my friends and I conceived of a production called “Project: Eject”. It’s not that the production failed, it’s more that we were advised to discontinue it, for the sake of our health and the environment.

Fasten your safety belts. 

eject

Around thirteen years ago, I attempted to make a full-length vomit video. Without money, or insurance.

I came pretty close, but the best recordings can’t be used because I didn’t know about consent forms. There is footage of me taking a shot of beer every minute for 100 minutes. At one point, I appear out of nowhere and knock out a tiki lamp with a single punch. This is where the opening of the following video came from:

And obviously, Eject is where the “Burrito” video originally debuted:

See? The vomit motif in my art makes more sense now, doesn’t it? I mean, more sense than it did, anyway.

The money shot of Eject (which opened with a disclaimer from Joey Pikkels, utterly condemning the project while wearing a suit and wielding a giant robot) was when two friends consumed a gallon of milk apiece in 13 minutes. The entire backyard was blanketed with half-digested moo juice, rendering it uninhabitable for weeks. When my friends started puking, they did so upon each other. Once they’d staggered inside to clean up, one friend ate something off the other’s shoulder. All of this is narrated by me desperately gagging and retching. It is million-dollar footage.

Or, it mighta been, until 2005, when YouTube came along. You can see from the Burrito video’s time stamp that I jumped on board that train pretty early. Eject was heavily influenced by Bumfights, which rapidly went from success story to cautionary tale. We went so far as to purchase tempera paint, which we planned to consume and vomit onto canvasses, when things thankfully fell apart. Even though the paint was “safe”, I’m pretty sure we were going to end up killing ourselves.

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