Que Sera Sera

Phrases that make me want to throttle someone

“party like rock stars” – Look, I’m sure that you and Keela and Larissa had a totally AWESOME time freshman year when you all put on your black pants and went to whatever dance club it was with all those Iranian dudes who drove turquoise I-ROCs and wore silk shirts and oh my god they bought you SO MANY KAMIKAZES and Keela TOTALLY PUKED PINK and you guys had to like DRAG her back to the DZ house and then Larissa even hooked up with that one dude later and it was SO RRRAN-DOM!, but you need to understand that this is not how rock stars party; it is how sad third-tier sorority girls party. Let’s just clarify this. Also, quit using “party” as a verb.

“shit and giggles” – This just makes me think of feverish giggly hobos covered in their own uncontrollably explosive excrement, which I’m sure is not the lighthearted, non-committal meaning you wished to convey.

“I could give two shits” – Okay, I think I just don’t like the defecation references, but this does not mean what you think it means. Same thing with “I could give a fuck”: I commend you on your much-practiced dry, disgust-filled delivery, but you could NOT give a fuck. Try doing that.

“shit ton” – Actually, this one is all right. I think it depends on who says it.

“shuffled off this mortal coil” – This has always skeeved me out because, for some reason, it reminds me of that Tool video with the little claymation man removing windows into the intestine full of filth, which is a hell of a lot more horrifying and unsettling than its actual meaning, “death.”

“co-inky-dink” or “redonkulous” – Either you honestly don’t know the correct pronunciation of these words, or you are purposely mispronouncing them because you think it’s cute. Either way, you’re a douche and even your closest friends grit their teeth when you call them on the phone.

“fro yo,” “convo,” “ASAP” – I strongly suggest you try having sex someplace other than a bed.

“blogosphere,” “blogiverse” – I strongly suggest you try having sex with someone other than your uncle.

“what the deuce?” – One time this guy I was interested in said this to me, and by the time it was out of his mouth and hanging in the air between us, all sexual chemistry I was feeling shriveled up and he suddenly looked like Morty Seinfeld. Very few people can pull off throwing around generations-old phrases. A good rule of thumb is: are you really, really tall? Because really, really tall people somehow manage to get away with almost anything.

“she’s a doll” – The only person guy I know who can say this and not sound like a bitch is my friend Adam, and somehow, when Adam says it, he actually sounds more potent and heterosexual than normal, probably because he usually emphasizes it by slamming down his empty pint glass and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Everyone else, however, needs to stop. If you’re a guy, it makes you sound frilly, and if you’re a girl, it makes you sound like a bitch, because we all know you don’t really think she’s a doll; you’re bitter that she’s tiny and your boyfriend pays all that attention to her.

“matoor” (mature) – Odds are you’re too frigid to even cry after sex.

“singer/songwriter” – Oh, just stop.

Spotlight ON! Joey, Pt. 4

Installment the Fourth and Last: All the Ways in Which Sarah is Annoying; Breakup, Aftermath, Revival

SB: So, the internet seems to be divided between people who think that I eat gold for breakfast, and people who think I believe those people who think I eat gold for breakfast. You of all people could tell them some annoying habits or horrible things I’ve done that’ll set them straight.

JZ: Wow, what an opportunity… offhand, I’d say that the biggest ones would have to be:

– When we’d make a date, and I’d come over and you’d be still in your pajamas, playing Tetris, or getting real excited because you’re about to beat Gannon

– Waking me up at 3am to come to your apartment to stomp around and make sure no bad guys are in your closet (or on your roof, as it were) --

SB: Okay, I didn’t make you come over, you were already there, snoring! And I believe your answer was to grab my umbrella and walk downstairs and open and close it menacingly a couple of times. Like that was going to scare away the ghost of the lady who died there! I think really I’d just stayed up late reading the dictionary of superstitions and freaked myself out, and then there was a raccoon on the roof.

JZ: – Falling asleep in the middle of making out with me --

SB: Whoa! What? Are you being funny?

JZ: Uh, no! Don’t you remember that?

SB: Uh, apparently not!

JZ: Probably because you were ASLEEP.

SB: Wow. You’re going to have to say something else, because there’s no way I’m putting that on the internet.

JZ: You better, because it’s the truth!

SB: Okay, I’ll allow it, but just because it makes us both look equally bad.

JZ: And then there was the time you got drunk, and kept slapping the asses of all the guys I knew—

SB: But Joey, I slapped the asses of everyone at the whole party, not just the guys! Kerry and I had a bet! It was just for the sake of the bet!

JZ: Okay, fine. But really, the biggest one would be how you immediately figured out exactly what to do to make me really mad, and then you’d just do that all the time. Like, arguing with you is impossible, and the facts get twisted around real quick:

“So, Joey, are you gonna come over?”
“Sarah, I’ve got like three tests tomorrow, and I live an hour away…”
“But… no you don’t!”
“No, seriously, they’re my finals and I can’t skip out on ‘em…”
“OK, see you here in just a little bit!”
“No, Sarah, I really can’t come over…”
“Well, goodbye!”

SB: Man. I was good. And by good, I mean so annoying.

JZ: You know, over the past few days it’s been a lot of fun seeing what people have to say about the Sarah-and-Joey years, but I find it pretty amusing when they’re all mystified over why we split. I mean, sure, it’s easy to sit back now and talk about old times, but when things were falling apart, they were really shitty. I mean, just awful arguments during long drives, hurtful glares, and all-around embarrassment and frustration. A point came when we were clinging to this wonderful, amazing thing that we’d had, not realizing that we had both really changed. And finally, when you made the decision, I was just furious, I mean completely outraged. There was a lot of yelling. And then we just didn’t talk for like, a year.

SB: God, it was so bad. We were so miserable by that point, but still struggling so hard to make it work, because we’re both the kind of people that are really dedicated and committed to making shit work. Then I finally realized that some things maybe aren’t supposed to work. You thought you were ready to get married, and the thought of getting married terrified me, plus there was the fact that even if I had been ready, we hadn’t figured out yet that you and I shouldn’t get married to each other.

One thing I’ve always felt bad about was how, before we broke up, I kept having all those dreams where we were getting married, only I was always wearing the wrong clothes, like a Little Bo Peep outfit or a barbecue apron that said BRIDE and laced up the back, and someone was always pushing me down the aisle, saying “Go, go!” and I was always protesting, saying, out loud, NO I AM NOT READY. Now when I think back on that, it’s so obvious that my inner self was trying to clue me in, but I was totally oblivious at the time. And then I’d wake up and roll over and be like, “Oh, I had the funniest dream!” and tell you about it. Jesus.

I felt so guilty for being the one to end it, but man, we needed a break. And then there was the whole not speaking for a year thing.

JZ: Yeah, that was rough, extremely painful. And it was a real weird time, too, since Tony and I were playing in Special Purpose together and we started playing out a lot, and I’d see you at shows. I’d try to be all suave, and like “So what’s shakin’?” And you’d kind of just be real stern and say “Um, nothing.” But the worst part was the fact that your taste in music had totally changed, and I’d see you, and kind of ask about what you’d been listening to, and really read into it, and if there was something I hadn’t already heard, I’d freak out and drive like two hours away to the indie record store and stock up. Same with emails, too… man, I’d spend hours crafting the right response to your messages, making sure it was just the right amount of “Yeah, I’ve totally moved on” with “And, oh, look at how cool I am, listening to all these completely obscure bands…” I think I might have even made some up to impress you.

SB: That makes me laugh so hard, because it’s not like I wasn’t doing the same thing, trying to name every single new thing I’d heard of when you’d ask. And then you MADE ME A MIX CD, like six months after the break up! You mailed it to my office! It was like you couldn’t bear not showing me what you were into now. And I had no idea how I was supposed to respond, but man, it was a great CD.

JZ: We both pretty much kept to ourselves during that time. I really had to break out of some well-worn habits, and find new friends and things to do. We both dated other people, which was both astounding and uncomfortable for a lot of our friends. I dated a girl for about a year, and then she and I split up, and I just kind of lost it again, and freaked out and called you up all High Fidelity-style to rehash some details. But more so it was just to get more control over my life and just try to understand things better. It was rough splitting up with you and then just kind of never having that connection anymore. I remember you’d email me from time to time and I’d just kind of roll my eyes, but then I’d read the messages and be like “Man, I forgot how funny she was!”

SB: I remember I tried to stay in occasional casual contact, after the initial hard times, but you were sort of iffy about it, which is understandable, since I was the one who’d done the breaking up. But after we quit speaking, even though I knew it was best not to be together romantically, and I had to have a break from you, I really felt a hole where you had been in my life. I mean, you’d been my best friend for four years! We’d shared so much, and knew each other so well. I didn’t know how to balance that out.

JZ: I thought I was fine with everything until my last show with Special Purpose. I was moving to Portland and just ready to get out of Tulsa. And you had brought your new boyfriend to our farewell show, and seriously, I tried to be cool, but it totally just backfired on me. Like I tried to be polite and like “Wow, thanks for being two of the eight people who came to our show… Oh, nice to meet you, sir.” And he was wearing this shirt with a plug or something on it, and I tried to act cool but then I screwed it all up, and made some horrible joke like, “Oh, do you work in a plug factory?”

SB: Oh my God. That was the most excruciating moment of my life. I thought things were cool enough with us by then to bring him to the show, and I honestly wanted to see the band, but then you guys met and even though we were all adults, it was like having teeth pulled. He obviously didn’t want to be there, and you seemed surprised that we were, and then that awkward exchange where you were like, “I like your nurse’s uniform, guy,”—I wanted to just crawl under the table. I’m sure we all did.

JZ: Exactly. So then we played the show, and the room was really small, and I’m a super-loud drummer, and I guess I played so loud that I drove you guys away. The sad part is that I was gonna dedicate Sugar’s “Favorite Thing” to you, which was one of the first songs I put on a mix tape for you, but you were already gone by the time we played it. Probably better off, since it’s not good form to dedicate songs to ex-girlfriends.

SB: Aww, that’s really nice. And whatever; he and I broke up like two weeks later. I doubt that would have made a difference.

JZ: What I find hilarious is that you and I really “got back together” only when I decided to get out of Tulsa and move to Portland. And now that I’m in NC, we talk all the time. Things have really taken off since we don’t live in the same city anymore! Maybe that says a lot more about our relationship than we’d like… As for why we’re such great friends now, I think it has a lot to do with recognizing the unique connection we had, and just working to maintain. I mean, things are totally different now, and it’s definitely taken a lot of work, but I really feel it’s worth it. I mean, we’ve seen each other at our extreme best and worst. No reason not to stick around.

SB: I totally agree. It just makes no sense to have had a great connection with someone, and then assume they can’t ever be part of your life again just because that connection has changed. Once we took a breather and realized we could still maintain our connection, just in a different context, I think we both understood. And I think growing up and apart some helped, too. We’re in different cities and trying new things, and I love that we can share all of these big things still. I’m still friends with most of the guys I’ve dated, but I know that recovering from something like what we went through and still being so close is really rare. I’m so lucky to have you as a friend, and I love that we can talk and laugh about old jokes and give each other relationship advice and not have to be hung up on why things went wrong. Now we both know we’re better suited for this kind of relationship.

Also, I am so proud of you for getting out of Tulsa and realizing you’re not ready for some things you thought you were, and that you are ready for some things you didn’t even realize you could handle. You were sort of my guiding light when I moved to New York, because I was like, okay, if Joey did it, I can too.

JZ: I remember yelling at you, being like “Sarah, just throw your shit in the Honda and DRIVE TO NEW YORK! It’s easy! Other people do it, why can’t you?!” And since then you’ve totally proven yourself. We’ve both done pretty amazing things on our own, things that I had no clue would ever be a possibility.

SB: I think that breaking up with you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the best decision I’ve ever made. It sounds harsh, but it’s not. Things are so much better now for both of us.

JZ: Man! So what now? I feel like we should have Phil Donahue come and open up the floor for questions from the audience or something. Are we done?

SB: Yeah, I think so. Oh: Superchunk Superchunk.

JZ: Huh?

SB: I just thought we should say that, since we mentioned them in all the other ones.

JZ: The Superchunk Coalition of Romantic Follies proudly presents “Joey And Sarah: An Evening of Storytelling and Lore.” (Not affiliated with Superchunk, void in some states.)

SB: Sponsorship! The final frontier.

Spotlight ON! Joey, Pt.3

Installment the Third: Friends; Bob Pollard’s Shot Glass

SB: I think one of the best benefits of our relationship was how all of our friends came together and intermingled and got along. It was like doubling the roster. All of my friends loved you.

JZ: I know that everyone I knew was pretty unanimously happy about our courtship. I mean, Tony introduced us, and Phil made out with like 4 or 5 of your friends, so it was good for him. I think the only ones who might’ve been a little unhappy were the girls from my crew in college… I don’t think they were ever catty about it, but it’s been revealed to me over time that almost every one of those girls had a crush on me at some point in time, and I think you coming in and wrecking it for all the others was kind of a bummer for them.

SB: Yeah, it didn’t occur to me until a lot later that once you and I started dating, it was the girls from my school pairing up with the guys from your school, and we must have totally cockblocked them, but at the time I was like, “Oh, new lady friends!” I am le retarded.

JZ: But on the flipside, all my guy friends just totally adored you. Like Henry and Mikey and David, man, they just ate it all up. I guess they weren’t used to me dating a girl who was cool and smart. And when you’d drink with ‘em, they’d just flip out, and yell things like “HEY JOEY SARAH’S DOIN’ SHOTS WITH US WHY DON’T YOU EVER DO SHOTS WITH US YOU PUSSY!” I distinctly remember the vibe after we broke up, and they were all like “Wow, that sucks. OK, well I’m gonna go hang out at Caz’s with Sarah, she’s a lot more fun than you. See ya!”

SB: Well, it wasn’t just me they were into. What was it those guys called my roommate Christina? Sir Pintor? Explain that one again for the GI Joe impaired.

JZ: Yeah, my friends immediately fell in love with Christina when they met her. They said it was almost like she was too hot, and they cooked up the theory that Christina was like a college-girl version of Serpentor, the evil mastermind from the GI Joe cartoons. Serpentor was manufactured using DNA from all the most evil geniuses of history, and Christina was apparently fashioned from all the best women of all time. She was really hot, super-intelligent, and smelled like apples. They were totally under her command.

SB: She was really good at soccer, too.

JZ: And she made a lot of oatmeal cookies.

SB: Anyway, the Christmas after we broke up, all those guys came into town and called me and wanted to know the hanging out protocol, and I was like, “Just because Joey’s under new management doesn’t mean we can’t still hang out!” That was so hard, though: divvying up the friends after the breakup. Especially Tony and Emily, who were like our other halves.

JZ: Yeah, that was like Kramer vs. Kramer. And then we both were trying so hard to be fair that neither of us ended up hanging out with them at all, and like a month after the breakup, Tony called me and was like “What is the deal here!”

SB: I remember that. He called me too, and we went for this long drive and talk and I cried for the first time. I think T&E might have taken the breakup as hard as we did. I remember that once you and I started speaking again, like a year later, you complained to me that they didn’t seem to like your new girlfriend, and I was like, “Don’t feel bad, they didn’t like my new boyfriend either!” Not that they really didn't like him; it's just that our dynamic was so rare. It probably made every one else want to vomit that in college you and Tony were roommates, and Emily and I were roommates, and we were all best friends and would go grocery shopping and on road trips and it was like a fucking sitcom. It was so fun, though.

JZ: My favorite road trip we took was probably to Columbia, Missouri, to see Superchunk open for Guided By Voices. The trip was really long, and you and Emily passed the time trying to out-ethnic-slur each other, and I was seriously speechless. But Tony cracked me up by repeating “fireworks, fireworks” in that crazy voice every time we passed a sign for Big Jay’s Fireworks Stand, which was every 50 feet. We all shared a room at some third-rate motel with a heater that wouldn’t turn off, and before the show, while we were all watching Rock’n’Roll Jeopardy, you looked at me and said “Daddy, who did Eric Clapton play with?” And you had no idea you had just called me Daddy.

SB: Oh God. I’d forgotten that! You guys all started laughing at me, and I was like, “what?” I had no idea I’d even said it. Also, before you tell me: I know, it’s the Yardbirds.

JZ: Then the show was awesome, but honestly too loud, and I think you and Emily left early, and went back to the motel. But Tony and I went to go get food, and decided to catch the tail-end of the gig. The concert was letting out, and this crowd of people was just milling around the venue, so we decided to go inside and hang with the loudest musicians in all of Missouri. We were chatting up Jon Wurster of Superchunk, and then I spotted Jim Macpherson, ex-Breeders drummer, who’d played with GBV that night. Man, that guy was hammered. I was talking to him, and he seriously starts to wrestle me, and we end up on the floor. The scuffle ends, and he pops right back up, and says, “I’m gonna go get more beer, you guys stay right here,” and we took off. We ditched Jim Macpherson! We got back to the hotel, and excitedly, I yelled “Hey look, Sarah, I brought you back the exact shot glass that Bob Pollard was drinking from!” and you just kind of rolled your eyes and replied “Great. I just wanted a sandwich.”

SB: Okay, namedropper, I remember that a little differently, and I think Emily Lytle will back me up. The show was SO LOUD, like ears bleeding loud, louder than Joey’s drumming loud, and after a few hours it just disintegrated into Robert Pollard being everyone’s Drunk Uncle Bob, which is funny, but we were tired and hot and starving, so Emily and I said, “We’re going to walk back to the room, but when you come back, will you bring some food?” and you guys said, “Sure!” So we waited up until 4am in that furnace motel room watching some boring softcore movie, starving to death, and then you and Tony busted in all drunk and excited, shouting about wrestling and ditching some guy named Jim Macpherson, and we were like, “That’s great, but DID YOU BRING SANDWICHES?” And then you made a huge production out of giving me Bob Pollard’s shot glass, and I was like, “Great! Thanks! Maybe I can LICK IT FOR NUTRIENTS!” Which is a really bitchy thing to yell, but man, I was so hungry and annoyed.

To your credit, Tony and Emily and I all passed out, but you went out looking for food and got lost, and came back when the sun was coming up with some little chocolate donuts as a peace offering, to which I just rolled over and went back to sleep.

JZ: I think that was the beginning of the end.

SB: Yeah, I think so too. Sorry, Daddy.

Spotlight ON! Joey, Pt. 2

Installment the Second: Family Time

SB: So, while we went out, you spent a lot of time with my family, immediate and extended. Tell me what you remember most about that, and what you think my parents and brother thought of you.

JZ: We really did spend a lot of time at the Brown compound. I recall being pretty scared of your dad, and just praying to god that I don’t screw up somehow and have him yell at me, or, even worse, take me aside and speak very sternly and directly to me. But he was always real nice, though, he’d ask things like “So, what was your favorite part of the movie?” and “What was your least favorite part of this weekend?” I think he was just impressed that I knew the song “Devil With A Blue Dress On.”

Your mom was always very hospitable. Sometimes you two would fight, but like in a secret-fight way, and try to be quiet about it, but I could totally hear you from the other room. Your mom would kind of stomp in and be like “Joey, would like a Pepsi?” and I’d be like “um, sure, ma’am.”

I remember meeting your folks for the first time, right after Thanksgiving dinner. I was wearing some crazy Cosby sweater, but had this bright orange Jon Spencer Blues Explosion shirt underneath it, like I thought your parents would be impressed with my indie cred. They were just like “So, you’re Polish, right?” And I just kind of thought “This is gonna be rough, man.” As for what they thought of me, who knows. I tried to be real polite and use “ma’am” and “sir,” but I’m pretty certain it came off in a very Eddie Haskell-sort of way.

SB: See, what’s funny is that when my entire family remembers this meeting, what they talk about is the shirt underneath, because you didn't realize that your sweater was open just enough that instead of JONSPENCERBLUESEXPLOSION coming through, all we could see was sweater/SEX/sweater.

Anyway, once they realized you made me happy, my parents loved you. To this day, you remain the ex-boyfriend my whole family asks about, in a good way. In fact, both my dad and brother separately made a toast to you on their respective visits to New York. And my mom still puts up that Christmas ornament you gave her every year, and when I say that it looks like an angel with Down’s, she gets mad. She always liked you best.

JZ: With your brother it was kind of a different story, because it seemed there was a minute chance I might impress him in the way a college guy can impress 7th grader. But alas, I’d be like “Hey, Stephen, I hung out with Superchunk last night,” and he’d be all “So? I got just got tickets to see God Lives Underwater!”

SB: No way. I totally attribute my brother’s excellent taste in music now to your influences early on. He was the only 7th grader in 1998 who was pumped to go see Frank Black. And remember when my parents let us take him to his first concert, Beck on the Odelay tour, and he was so excited, only then he got beaten down in the mosh pit and you had to go find his other shoe in the mud afterwards? Who the fuck moshes at a Beck concert, anyway? Also, when he was in the hospital after his accident, I remember you got to interview Superchunk, and you had all of them autograph a promotional poster for Indoor Living for him, and that poster is still on his wall. Laura Ballance wrote him a fucking novel. He had no idea how lucky he was! You know, for someone lying close to death in the intensive care unit.

JZ: My favorite memories with your extended family are probably driving to Texas all those summers and hanging out by the pool, eating barbecue and drinking Coronas.

SB: That’s my favorite side of the family, but it wasn’t until you came with us for the first time that I realized despite how much I loved those people, I really had nothing in common with them. I mean, when we go down there, we always split up according to gender during the day, and the women end up shopping while the men do… it really never occurred to me until my uncle asked you if you wanted to go with them what the men do all day. Go to the liquor store? Something involving a boat? Surely nothing that my boyfriend in Converse who drove a Honda with a “Hagfish Rocks Your Lame Ass” sticker would be interested in doing.

JZ: Yeah, there were some moments where I felt extremely emasculated, but they were always pretty good trips, for the most part. I think that your mom, drunk in the hot tub, telling dirty jokes about Scandinavians, is the funniest memory I have. Not that the jokes were that funny, but her reaction, and just how funny and scandalous she THOUGHT she was being -- that was funny.

SB: Oh God! The Oli and Lena joke! The only dirty joke my mother knows! She would be mortified that that’s how you remember her. I love it.

Now tell me about how your family felt about me. I remember the day I met them all: we went out to eat and then back to your sister’s house, and you left me to play Scrabble with your mom and dad and sister and brother-in-law while you got on their computer and went into Pavement chat rooms or something. I could have killed you. I was so afraid they wouldn’t like me, but then I got the Q and the X and spelled QUIXOTIC and your dad loved me from then on out. Until I broke up with you, and I figured they hated me.

JZ: No, they were always pretty taken with you. My mom was impressed by the fact that you’d graduated high school with more than 200 kids in your class, and of course my dad liked the fact that you really wouldn’t take his shit. Looking in a drawer at my house, you once asked “Bob, where would I find a rubber band?” To which let out a long sigh, and started in with, “Well, you see, Sarah, you would start deep in the jungles of the Amazon, where rubber trees abound…” and you just turned before he could go any farther and said, “Janice, where do you keep the rubber bands?” My mom giggled and said “Oh, in the next drawer.”

SB: They were always so nice to me. I felt really bad when we broke up, like I was letting them down somehow. I guess they were just as confused as everyone else, probably because they thought we were going to get married. Along with the rest of the world.

JZ: I think they were just afraid that they’d somehow run into your parents and have to throw down or something.

SB: Once, like a week after we broke up, I saw your dad walking out of Best Buy while I was looking for a parking place, and I ducked down in my car because I was afraid he’d see me. I am not proud of this.

Spotlight ON! Joey

I was going to borrow a theme from Erin this week and do a series of interviews with people close to me, but after conducting the first interview with my college boyfriend and it taking up five pages in Microsoft Word, I think this week will just be that interview, in serial form, which I’m sure will amuse a total of four people, but man, those four people are going to be really amused. (Hi Tony! Hi Emily!)

Spotlight ON! Joey
Installment the First: Meeting and Greeting.

Joey was my college boyfriend. We started dating when I was 19 and he was 21, and we broke up just three days shy of four years. Joey makes the best mix tapes of all time, plays the drums really, really hard, and your parents would love him. He was the first guy I could laugh with like a friend, not a guy. He lives in North Carolina now, and if you go to a show in the Raleigh-Durham area, he’s the one up front, yelling the loudest.

SB: I remember meeting you when I was out with my friends one summer night. You had green hair and I thought you were funny and cool, but Tony asked if you wanted to meet up with us later that night, and you said, “Nah, I have to go hang out with my old lady,” and I thought, “Wow, I hope no one ever calls me their old lady.” LITTLE DID I KNOW.

JZ: Actually, I remember officially meeting you once before that, at a dive club in a really awful Tulsa neighborhood. Our buddy Phil was playing in a band that night, and Tony had brought you out for a night on the town. I was the merch guy, and I plied you with a sticker and said, “Hey there, cutie.” But not in a cool way, more in a gross old-man kind of way. I’m pretty sure you rolled your eyes at me.

SB: Yeah, I thought you were just that kind of guy who hit on everyone, until one night when Laura and I drove up to your school for some party, and you were schmoozing us up, and all of the sudden you stopped in the middle of your sentence and said, in a completely different tone of voice, “Wow, you have really pretty eyes.” And of course, anyone’s a sucker for a compliment, but it was the first one you ever gave me that sounded really sincere, like you surprised yourself by noticing and saying it. You were on my radar after that.

JZ: So, technically, our first date was some sort of forced double-date action with Phil (again!) and your friend Boothe. He later sabotaged his chances with her by giving her a mix tape on, like, the second time he ever saw her, and it was chock-full of the melancholy strains of Radiohead and Yo La Tengo. Speaks for itself. Anyway, we went to some play and it was lame.

SB: It wasn’t Phil on the double date, it was Tony, who of course later dated Emily and now they're married. Phil didn’t manage to fuck it up with Boothe until the following weekend, after the Fish Under the Sea Dance, because she didn’t like the way he kissed. And Phil gave that sad mix tape to my roommate Christina, not Boothe, but it really was the most half-assed attempt to woo a girl I’ve ever seen. It started with “Why Bother” by Weezer and ended with “Accidents Will Happen” by Elvis Costello. I think his girlfriend had just dumped him or something. Anyway, yeah: that play we went to sucked.

JZ: But the next weekend, we had our real first date, which is probably the best one I’ve ever had. There was a dance at your university called Screw Your Roommate, and you rounded up a posse for my loser pals, and we all went together. It was still fun to get dressed up, so I spiked my hair and put on a tie, and I even had my mom pick out some flowers to give you. It was on the top floor of a skyscraper, looking out on the rest of the city. I remember sitting with you in front of these huge windows and just talking talking talking about love and romance, and where we were in life and what we wanted to do in the future. Yeah, that pretty much sealed the deal right there, I was pretty taken with you from that point on.

Kind of hilarious, considering I was wearing these huge Sally-Jesse Raphael glasses, and had sideburns shaped like hockey sticks.

SB: Oh man, those glasses! I liked the sideburns, though. It was 1996! They were hot! Screw Your Roommate Night was definitely the beginning of it all. There’s a picture of me and Emily from the party in my dorm room later that night, and you can practically see the stars in my eyes. I skipped a midterm to drive to your school to see your band play a few nights later, and you had made me a mix tape, and from then on out, it was just understood that it was on.

Next: Friends & Family; Bob Pollard’s Shot Glass; Breakup & Aftermath; All the Ways In Which Sarah Is Annoying


Here’s the audio from last week’s spelling bee at Freddy’s. I’m the voice who says she can’t do sports, which is an understatement on the level of saying that Ethan Hawke’s books aren’t that great. However, I’m very glad he went with that quote and not my others, because now I can tell my parents to listen.

Josh has informed me of the rematch on October 27. I’ll keep going, and I’m sure Linus will keep winning. Circle of life, beer, etc.

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