DUFFEL BLOG PRESENTS: Stephen King gives your weekend safety brief

Rubbers. Too many times I avoided the use of a prophylactic. What else can I say about this? The truth? The truth is that the first time you get The Clap is one of the most unnerving experiences of your young adult life.

There was a time when I was young and stories didn’t much matter to me — of course, today is as good a day as any to talk about those old days; halcyon as they were.

All said, there are and have been moments throughout this life where my ability to ignore sanity for the sake of a good time has been legendary. You don’t go through a life with a name like Chadwick Foreshadow and expect to be considered any type of normal. Normal and I are estranged.

The second time I got The Clap was while on a trip through Bangor, Maine. In those days, Bangor was on the up and up as a factory town. Industrial enough to keep some around, but not always.

Can’t say much about the woman I was with back then. There were rumors about her, but I didn’t much mind. She wasn’t going to be my wife. At least, that’s what I told myself. We were along for the ride.

If you ever get an opportunity to avoid The Clap, I would encourage you do so.

Because the sensations are otherworldly. The discharge. Burning. Sensations. Standing above a toilet that should be filled yellow that isn’t filled with much else besides milk. And when the liquid does manifest, it feels as if it is being accompanied by the tentacles of a creation outside of our known universe.

Drugs were most often my catalyst. Can’t say I’m proud of those days, and if I could make a suggestion I’d say to avoid most of the drugs running through your mind right now. The powders, syringes, ground up leaves and chemically sprayed potpourri from the depths of Hell. Have you seen the briefings and the pictures of what these things can do to a man’s testicles if used improperly?

I have.

The fifth time The Clap entered my life was one of the worst realizations. The bender that I found myself on put me somewhere within a desert. It’s hard to remember where or why. But the hotel room could tell you. I’m sure those walls still hold the memories of a thousand screams and mourning as my soul understood that two things were about to start that day: a hangover, and painful urination due to the massive amount of properly conducted hydration the night prior.

Sins are still sins, and I took responsibility for those actions by ditching the room and running away from those responsibilities.

Let me tell you, that was a mistake, because the walls really could hear more than they let on, and those walls had friends of near untold abilities of both clairvoyance and frightful timing.

The screams still fill the dreams of my evenings.

“Don’t hit your spouse.”

“Don’t drink and drive.”

“Call me if you need a ride, but seriously don’t.”

All said through the lips of a clown that did and does not belong to this mortal coil. Blue eyes, blue lips, and an icy white skin tone that was spiderwebbed in blue veins the way my bloodshot and hungover eyes must have looked during the first moment we locked eyes.

The clown discovered many things about me in the months and years after our initial encounter. Enough to now claim alimony, as there was also a marriage involved.

But the ramblings of an old man who has had The Clap a dozen times should not bother you so.

If there’s one thing I could impart, it would be to be safe while going through this life. Because you never know when a rabid dog may try to rip out your throat, or a vampire may visit you in Alaska (I’m told that’s a real thing on some of those military installations), or you may even get struck by lightning if you decide to go boating during a thunder storm. Life does those things to people.

Trust me.