28th April 2013
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(I went to a house party completely sober last night and stayed for hours. As a result, I woke up remembering everything. Here are a few things worth mentioning)
I am immediately overwhelmed by how hot and thick the air is on the dance floor. “Call Your Girlfriend” comes on and everyone goes insane. Suddenly a self conscious wave of clarity comes over me and I realize I’m DRENCHED in sweat. If I was 4 beers in I would have bypassed the shame stage and skipped right to “dance like no one’s watching,” but I’m 4 cups of water in, so I head to the upstairs bathroom with a handful of paper towels. I wipe myself off and realize that not only have I sweated through my shirt, but my hair is also drenched. I do my best to clean up and head downstairs, where the drunkest and most aggressive strangers are congregating.
At any house party, there’s bound to be a few dudes who are way too drunk and way too eager to “rage.” This party has a 7 to 10 man strong cadre of lunatics screaming in everyone’s faces about making a pact to have the wildest night of our lives. They’re asking who wants shots? They’re requesting, nay, DEMANDING hi-fives. They’re asking about girls that are standing right next to them. They’re shoving cake in their faces. They’re drinking Kirkland Signature bourbon straight from the bottle. They’re losing their voices and having the best time. I’m still sober, but that generic brown liquor is starting to look pretty good.
I spot an acquaintance who smiles and asks, “Hey man, did you see the shirtless dude?” I say I haven’t and he asks again. “You didn’t see the shirtless, sweaty, fat, bald dude run through here a minute ago?” I repeat that I didn’t, but that something seems to be going on at this party. Something’s up. The tide is turning. The bros are mobilizing. Someone’s doing a kitchen joke with a butcher knife. There’s some bad juju brewing. He seems to not know what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s me. As he sips his beer I realize it probably is me. Stupid, sober, old, me.
12th March 2013
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Yesterday I was seated in the Virgin America terminal of Logan Airport waiting for my flight to board. I was sitting next to a woman in her early to mid thirties. Her probably three or four year old daughter was standing/pacing next to her, vying for her attention. “Mom! Mom! Mommy! Can I show you a game I made up?” The woman didn’t answer, and instead scrolled through party pictures on her iPhone. Countless images of her and her girlfriends out at some bar, doing the duck-face together. The girl, who was totally adorable, again begged her mom to look at her. “Mooooom! I want to show you a game!” Without glancing up at her, she uttered, “ok.” The girl got excited and prepared to show her her game, but she never looked up from her phone. “MOM I need both of your hands for the game,” she insisted. The woman doubled tapped a photo of her and her friends in party dresses, zooming in on their hair. “Mommy’s looking at a picture,” she said to her phone. The little girl wandered off to the muffin case and sang every word of One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” perfectly to a chocolate croissant. I still don’t, at the time of writing this, know if I want children, but after watching that girl try and fail so miserably to get her mom to look at her for thirty seconds, I know that if I ever do, I’m going to spend a lot more time looking at them than I do my phone.
4th March 2013
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Regret and guilt are my roommates. We live in a railroad style apartment, which means you have to go through their rooms to get to mine. We thought it was worth it when we saw the price, but once we moved in, we realized what an inconvenience it was. And forget about bringing someone home for the night. Nothing turns a potential partner off quicker than regret pounding on the door at 2 am because he has to “make like a cloud and bring the rain.”
I regret things that I did when I was young as much as events from my adult life. I regret small conversational foibles as much as huge life altering mistakes. Every time I think of these things, I cringe. It’s times like these I wish I had a time machine to slightly alter my course of action. If I had access to one, I know exactly what regrets I’d target, and exactly how I’d fix them.
1. I regret being five years old, with a wooden rod in my hands. I was sitting in a chair trying to snap the rod in half. For leverage, I put my head between my legs and bent the wood over my knee. When it finally snapped, it send a shard right into my eye. I had to wear an eyepatch for two weeks.
Easy Fix: Go back in time to late 1982 and stop my parents from conceiving me. Possibly call in a bomb threat on my own house or rig their box spring to break, landing at least one of them in the hospital with a debilitating bad back that would take months of physical therapy to fix.
2. I regret stealing five dollar bills out of my brother’s piggy bank when I was ten. I told myself that he was five and didn’t need the money, while I happily spent the money on Ninja Turtle action figures.
Easy Fix: Go back in time to when Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were young children and discourage them from ever having creative thoughts, possibly through a Clockwork Orange style slideshow with their eyes pried open. This would for sure prevent them from ever creating the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
3. I regret calling a girl in the 4th grade, after it had become glaringly clear that I had a crush on her, and telling her that I did not, in fact, have a crush on her. I specifically regret having my mom help me make the call.
Easy Fix: Go back in time and murder Alexander Graham Bell right before he invents the telephone.
4. I regret saying “Nivea” instead of “Aquafina” in a college improv show. I was trying to reference bottled water, and instead said the name of a lotion, and so the reference made no sense and the joke failed.
Easy Fix: Go back to 5 seconds before I said that, and place a bee into my mouth so I would be unable to speak, thereby erasing my mistake from history and instead making me the recipient of sympathy and aid from my friends and peers.
5. I deeply regret breaking up with my first ever girlfriend, one short day after agreeing to be her boyfriend in 6th grade. I succumbed to the peer pressure of my 11 year old friends, who had convinced me that she was a snob. I think we had a real shot at happiness and I blew it.
Easy Fix: Go back to that moment I passed her friend Stephanie a note saying that I wanted to break up with her and tear up that note. Stuff it in my pocket. Say “never mind” when she asks me what I wanted to talk to her about. Vow to make it work with “TK,” as he friends called her. Become a great listener. Pledge my devotion. Be there for her. Grow a deep and lasting bond all throughout middle school. Make that rocky transition to high school and stay together the whole time. When college comes around, don’t apply to schools. Instead, support her as she matriculates to the University of Michigan. Get a job at a local calzone shop near campus. I’d start small, sweeping the floors, then move up to busboy. After I’ve proved my worth, I’d graduate to cashier. Next thing you know, the owner, Brian McCarthy, offers to make me a manager at the crosstown location he’s thinking of opening. I say sure, it’d be a significant pay bump, and I need all the money I can get if I’m going to buy a house and settle down in the beautiful suburbs of Michigan. It’s slow going at first. We’re not close to a major metropolitan area or a college, and the locals aren’t exactly clamoring for calzones. I suggest we start selling garlic bread, and get shot down. I pitch an Addams Family pinball machine, and McCarthy fires me on the spot. The 401k I tried to set up turns out to be completely fabricated. The accountant I used has taken all my money. My one true love begins sleeping with her ethics professor, and I regret not making a joke about how ironic that is. In an alcoholic stupor, I run onto the field during a UMichigan football game and have my neck snapped by a gigantic running back. I immediately die.
That’s what I would do differently if I had a time machine.
19th February 2013
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Once in middle school, a friend and I were walking down the hall between classes. We were a few paces behind a very well liked classmate of mine. Years later he would become a good friend, but at the time he didn’t like me very much for whatever arbitrary reason kids come upon. Maybe it was because I couldn’t grow a JTT/Culkin-era mushroom cut and instead had an accidental Fresh Prince-esque fade. It didn’t matter. He had done a local PSA for WIC (an organization that supports low income women and children under 5 and provides them with food) and a national commercial for Cookie Crisp (he was the kid who popped up at a table with a bowl of cereal after the animated part and said “for breakfast!” It ran for years), so he was something of a local celebrity. As I approached him, he was laughing with a group of friends. I like to remember it as about 6 girls and one male counterpart. They were laughing with him just as loud. When my friend and I got pretty close, he turned and looked at me. With note perfect timing, he sniffed the air with grand theatrical flair, and proclaimed, without breaking eye contact with me, “It smells… LIKE YOU!” His friends erupted into even more boisterous laughter and continued on. He didn’t linger, didn’t point a finger, just made his joke and moved on. Now, I can promise you that I did not, in fact, smell. But did that matter? No. The damage had been done. The bomb had been detonated. Eleven year olds, society’s cruelest, most brilliant little shits. God bless their creepy precision.
20th January 2013
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My jaw is crooked, I have a slight underbite, and my tongue is too big for my mouth. My orthodontist told me in 10th grade that they needed to “reset” my jaw, which entailed breaking it, moving it, wiring it shut for 6 weeks, and giving me braces, to which I said “I can’t have my jaw wired shut, I’m in high school!” Ironically, that would prove to be the time I needed my jaw the least. I got a second opinion because it was so expensive and thankfully that doctor said I didn’t need it. Now, I bite my tongue multiple times a week, and it happens almost anytime I chew gum, which is often. If I’m talking to you at a party and I start to wince, it’s not because you’re boring me, it’s because I have a mouth full of blood.
7th January 2013
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Once at a party in college, a girl came up to me and asked me if I played soccer when I was younger. I enthusiastically launched into a story about playing in a rec league in kindergarten, watching Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Muppet Babies before practice, the traveling soccer team I briefly played on, my foray into wearing Sambas around the time I was in an indoor league, and my two years playing for my High School.
Then she segued into asking me if I liked The Clash and I responded equally enthusiastically. I went on and on about how amazing Combat Rock was and how London Calling was obviously great but maybe too hyped and how Sandinista was bloated and weird but had a bunch of gems on it. I went on and on about how great they were and then I asked her why she asked.
“Oh, that guy over there asked me if I was nervous to be talking to dudes at a party and I said kind of. He told me that it’s not that complicated, and that every college dude has something to say about soccer and The Clash, so just stick with those. And he was right!”
So, for the 18-22 yr olds who read this, take note: Soccer and The Clash. And for anyone else, the older ones are just as easy to peg. Dudes are a simple bunch. And we LOVE us some Joe Strummer (RIP).
4th January 2013
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I saw Men In Black III this summer. I never think about it. It was terrible. It was poorly written and weird and unnecessary and Will Smith’s character is angry and sad(?) most of the time and Emma Thompson has to make humiliating animal noises in it and I was high when I saw it and there’s a weird alien character that looks like Joaquin Phoenix and sounds like Michael Cera played by the star of A Serious Man who is in maybe half the movie explaining what is happening. Literally entire scenes that should only have Will Smith and Josh Brolin have this weird looking guy who knows what’s going to happen in the future explaining the boring, inconsequential plot because the writers probably realized their movie made no sense halfway through. Bill Hader is in it as Andy Warhol and he’s so good that you wish he never left, but he’s in and out in maybe 3 minutes.
I watched it with two friends, and for the first 15 minutes, I was really worried. I thought, oh no, this is terrible. These jokes are awful. I want to laugh. Please something funny happen. Then I got distracted. I looked around at the families and the young teenagers and I remembered how old I was when the first MIB came out and I started to feel gross and old and I thought, “I could leave! I could leave right now and never come back to this terrible movie.” And then Tommy Lee Jones looked at a gigantic fish monster who was withholding evidence (or something, who cares, it’s literally the worst), and says, “You’re a real piece of shit.”
I died laughing, and the relief I felt was instantaneous. I almost never laugh out loud at movies, and I cackled the loudest out of anyone in that huge theatre. I lost my goddamn mind. Every line of dialogue up until that point was terrible, and this deadpan, grizzled old man talking to a CGI alien (and let’s be real, he was actually talking to a tennis ball on a string) and telling him he was a “real piece of shit” was such terrible, wonderful relief. I KNOW I scared two kids sitting next to me with my uncontrollable laughter. But it didn’t matter. The relief I was looking for was finally mine. I could feel eyes on me as I slunk down in my seat for the rest of the terrible hour and a half of that movie, but in the back of my head I thought, well, we’ll always have “you’re a real piece of shit,” won’t we, movie?
11th December 2012
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I stopped at the water fountain and waited behind an attractive blonde girl. She had with her a Corgi puppy. So far, if you’re lost already, we’ve got one (1) pretty lady, and one (1) Corgi puppy. I’d place the puppy at 6-8 months, to give you an idea of the size. If you need a visual representation, it was roughly a dozen muffins big.
At this point, she started scooping water from the fountain into her hand and leaning over and offering it to the Corgi puppy so it could drink out of it. And it did. It drank the water. And then she did it again. And it did. It drank the water again. And then she did it again. It was like the record was skipping. The repetition was overwhelming. It kept happening until the Corgi lost interest in the water. It walked away from the fountain, still on the leash, and she would bring the water down in her hand and the dog just didn’t want anything to do with it. And then it would wander over after all the water had fallen through her fingers and sort of lazily lick her wet hand a little as if if to say, “I get it. Water.”
And that STILL wasn’t the last time she did it. Her commitment to hydrating her little bag of muffins was so staggering that I wondered why she hadn’t brought a bowl for it. It went on for what felt like a full two minutes, but was actually one and a quarter. Time stood still, then lurched forward rapidly and with no warning. Civilizations were erected and brought crumbling down. Pilots were made with Jenna Elfman and recast with Judy Greer. Grapes became raisins. Corgi puppies aged.
And then it was my turn to get some water. So I did.
10th December 2012
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A Real Thing That Someone Said To Me Once
- ME: You know, I actually hung on to the ticket stub from our first date.
- HER: Me too.
- ME: Oh, really?
- HER: Yeah, but for tax reasons.
22nd November 2012
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Happy Thanksgiving! I found a box marked “tapes and CDs” in my childhood bedroom and here’s what was inside.