crusty adventures

Undergoing Home Surgery in my Vietnam Apt

namchickenIn Saigon, Vietnam, my roommate Sweet Chucky B is disinfecting a small razorblade. It will be inserted into my leg really soon. “I’ve done this before dude, I made it halfway thru Med school,” he says reassuringly. My foot hangs over the bathroom sink as he numbs the buldge in my leg with ice. I have some weird cyst in my leg, and we’ve spent the last 2 hours on Youtube studying how to cut it out.

Sweet Chucky B is a tall gangly white man from Iowa, and we are best pals/roommates in Saigon, Vietnam (circa 2012-2013). Chucky B walks the line of sanity, speaking his highly-intricate inner monologues out loud. The man is a human genius. He once went an entire year without masturbating just to say he did. I’ve also seen him stop 6 lanes of traffic in the middle of Saigon to fist-fight a crew of angry Vietnamese men who cut him off in traffic. The city’s intensity could drive Buddha to the brink.

Losing your mind is inevitable in Vietnam. No one speaks English, everything smells like fish sauce, and you are 9,000 miles from any fraction of normalcy. It is as close to living on Mars as we get. At this point, Chucky B had been in Nam four (4) years, so he was long overdue to go postal. “I hate Gary Glitter. What an ass hole. So glad my friend called the cops on that guy and got him kicked out of Vietnam. F*** that guy forever,” said Chucky B.

I trust Sweet Chucky B, always have. As his cheap razorblade dives into my leg, I should have more doubts than I do. Trying not to look, I observe a small Vietnamese lady machete the head off a fish out the bathroom window. As the blade wiggles around in my leg I hear, “sorry man, the cyst is too big, we gotta go to the hospital”. shit

We get on the motorbike, trailing behind a family of four on a $100 motor scooter thru the steaming streets of Saigon. The Vietnamese motorist is carrying two chickens and not even hanging onto his bike. Thousands of motor scooters battle for inches of space. I remembered what my friend Jackie once said, “It’s way too easy to kill yourself in this country.”

“When Nirvana broke up and Dave Grohl started the Foo Fighters, I was like ‘Jesus, what a pussy…about your leg dude, you’re gonna be fine’”, rages Chucky B as I wallow on the back of his motorbike. We walk into the “hospital”. Hundreds of frowning Vietnamese people wait in a cue. Chucky B hands the clerk 100,000 Vietnam Dong ($5) and he lets us skip the line. We are ushered to a back room and instructed to wait. My leg is pretty bloody. A man in a white t-shirt and blue jeans emerges.

sweetchuckyb“Hello, I doctor”, says a small Thai man. Finally I’m scared. This guy is barely dressed to drink Miller Genuine Draft at a White Sox game, much less perform surgery. No gown, no gloves, no uniform. I lay on a wood desk wrapped in plastic wrap. Sweet Chucky B provides commentary as the Doctor removes the cyst from my leg. “Okay B-rett, he’s cutting out some stuff, it’s pretty much all liquid….almost done…He’s awesome at stitching. There’s slime everywhere. This is sweet.” I get bandaged up and the nurse hands me an invoice for five dollars. Chucky B informs me that I could probably afford 1,000 colonoscopies in Vietnam. I have a new leg.

Check out more crusty adventures with Sweet Chucky B at:

How to avoid death at an Argentine Futbol Match

April, 2008 - Buenos Aires, Argentina Boca-Juniors-fans-celebra-007When the Argentina guidebook tells you to avoid “Boca: the most dangerous neighborhood in Argentina”, it kind of makes you want to go to Boca.

Boca is home to one of the most famous soccer teams in the world, the Boca Juniors. Unsurprisingly, Boca yields some of the most violent fans on the planet. We would later find out that a soccer fan died in a fight before this game. These are cheap thrills people. For just $9 USD, you can watch a futbol game behind barbed-wire fencing while opposing fans throw garbage and literally pee on you.

Back at the hostel, we contemplate the pros vs the cons of making this trip. The innkeeper recommends we wait until there is a daytime game to avoid added danger. Our crew of four young men (myself, Mick Fallon, O.D., and "The Other Brett") comes to the following conclusions…

Cons: Getting heckled, robbed, stabbed, nunchucked, injured, dead. Pros: Probable fun

We pick up Jerseys of the hometeam to decrease the chances of getting shived. The sun is falling behind the skyline, leaving the neighborhood in cold darkness. An opposing fan begins to heckle my pal O.D. as we are pushed like cattle through a maze of barbed-concrete walls. O.D. talks some shit in Spanish as the natural density of the crowd separates the two men before an altercation presents itself. Shoulder to shoulder with hostile drunk strangers, we do our best to cover our pockets and keep each other’s backs. After 15 minutes, we are still being herded through concrete barriers toward the stadium. It feels like a zombie apocalypse film as the infected city is being evacuated.

We arrive at the holy gates of Boca Junior Stadium. The stadium resembles that of a prison playground where Ving Rhames would make Hell’s Angels his twinks. Tall, baren walls keep the compound surrounded as Boca fans in blue are kept on separate grandstands from opposing fans in red. Construction fencing topped with barbed wire separates the insane fans from the field. In South America, soccer is as much of a religion as it is a game. Due to violent Boca Junior support groups, Boca Stadium is one of the more dangerous places to see a match. Fireworks are commonly smuggled into the stadiums. Subsequently, “Football Hooliganism” has been added to Wikipedia. Noting the following about Argentine soccer…

In 2002, the Argentine government announced emergency security measures because football violence continued, with three people dead and hundreds injured in two weeks. Argentina also deals with three of the most dangerous organized supporter groups in the world, which are Los Diablos Rojos (from Independiente), Los Borrachos del Tablón (from River Plate) and La 12 (from Boca Juniors).

In March of 2011, Colombian soccer fans dug up the coffin of a deceased friend who was also a huge fan of the local team. The group of hooligans carried the 300 lb casket past “security” and into the stadium, passing the dead teen like a crowd surfer as the game played on. Authorities commented that they “didn’t know how the men got the (8 foot) coffin past security.”

Recoleta Cemetery / Buenos Aires / 2008In the stadium there are no seats, only large concrete steps covered in old gum and sandwich wrappers. It's a grand dirt nest of true futbol glory. As the game goes on, our friend Mick Fallon complains about having to “push a Harris”, college-code for the need to poop. As it is not a good idea to go the toilet solo, we urge Fallon to wait until the game is over. Fallon goes dead silent for 10 minutes, fighting the good fight against an oncoming turtle head. A fart cloud surrounds our vicinity. Smelling quite poorly, “The Other Brett” and I urge Fallon to use the toilet regardless of the risks. He agrees. I go with. Like two schoolgirls, we squirm through the crowd towards the toilet area. Fart clouds are trailed every step of the way as I take them straight to the face.

The Boca Stadium restrooms are the apocalypse. Fire code doesn’t exist and there is no plumbing. A line of soccer fans forms behind a small floor drain in the restroom, which fits only a third of the patrons in need of relief. The remaining people pee in the hallway stairwell. There are now more people urinating in the stadium hallway than the restroom itself. Void of options, I wizz in a corner next to a bearded gnome guy and proceed back to the game, leaving Fallon in line to wait for the only toilet stall. I climb stairs as rivers of urine run onto my shoes. Rivers.

Boca_diego_retroThe score is 3-0, Boca. With only six minutes left in the game, we begin to worry about Mick Fallon, who has been gone for almost an hour at the toilet. With 60 seconds left in the match, Fallon returns completely shirtless. There was no toilet paper. He grins a little. You might say it was a shit-eating grin.

The final horn rings. Boca wins 3-0. Fans of the away team begin to rampage on the upper deck directly behind us. I look behind me to see opposing fans unzipping their pants, dicks are everywhere. Piss pours down upon us. Ive never seen so many cocks. Argentine peckers hang over the guardrail as golden showers pour from the sky. Garbage and dirty water complement the gold streams. We pull our shirts over our heads. Shirtless Mick Fallon takes yellow rain directly on the shoulders, comic relief to the demoralization consuming us.

May we never speak of this again...