I have this longstanding theory that no one wants to hear what you have to say if you begin your story with “This one time, I was really drunk,” or “I had this crazy dream last night!” Unless you have the best drunk story ever, and you don’t, or the crazy dream was a crazy sex dream about the person you’re talking to, these openers are going to make everyone’s eyes glaze over. I now have a third topic for this theory: no one wants to hear about any injuries you are currently suffering from.
A few months ago I noticed my foot was hurting, so I decided I should a) ignore it, and b) try running on it. I like to take my own medical advice, since I have a degree in English and all. That worked out really well, and by last week my foot hurt so badly that I couldn’t even put all of my weight on it. When you walk with a limp, you look pathetic, mostly because you just look like you’re faking. So I went to a podiatrist, who took some X-rays and was like, Oh yeah, you’re totally fucked. I had some ultrasound therapy, which was basically this nurse about my age rubbing cold goo on my heel with a metal wand for five minutes while neither of us spoke or made eye contact. Then they gave me an aircast and I’m supposed to go back tomorrow to get fitted for something called orthotics. I didn’t think to ask what orthotics were exactly, but judging by the name, I’m guessing they’re totally hard-on inducing. If there’s one thing guys love more than a girl with a limp, it’s a girl with orthopedic shoes and/or possibly a prosthetic of some kind. I’m not even going to google “orthotics,” because that way I’ll have a surprise tomorrow at the doctor’s office. My life is that boring. Did I mention I also have gray hairs? I’m thinking about just throwing in the towel right now, start canning my own preserves, calling people dearie, clipping coupons to mail my relatives along with a cute bit out of Reader’s Digest I thought they’d get a real kick out of.
Anyway. So I shuffled all over the place this weekend, and at Ryan’s barbecue yesterday, everyone I talked to was very nice and asked me what I’d done to my foot. The explanation was so long and boring, and everyone made this wincing face while I told them, and I felt like a real downer just by answering. It’s like when people ask me what I do for a living: I want to say, ah, we don’t really have to talk about that, because trust me, you’re just going to have to pretend like you want to hear the answer. Likewise, you don’t get parties started by talking in detail about your bone spurs. Then, last night, my roommate Caroline gave me the best advice she’s ever given: when people ask what happened to my foot, just shrug and say, “Snakefish.” Like, you know how it is, tale as old as time, whaddya gonna do? Snakefish.
Looking at the Look Book
Fun fact: I wrote this little fashion and lifestyle critique of a man who could probably kill me while eating microwaved pasta and not wearing pants.
We’d spent the first part of the evening sitting around Josh’s room in the basement, drinking and talking about sex, just like everyone does on Saturday night before you get around to going out. Massie came home from work around 1:30 and joined us. Buddy Holly turned into Bob Dylan, and Josh silenced us all while “Don’t Think Twice” played, and then broke the silence by hurling his empty whiskey glass against the wall, shattering it all over the room. No one spoke for a second, and then Josh laughed and Massie said, “Can we FINALLY go out now?” Ryan shook his head, I shook the shards of glass out of Josh’s shoes on the floor, and at 3 am we walked a few blocks in the rain over to Capone’s. The magic of Capone’s is that you get a free pizza with every beer you order. The other magic of Capone’s, especially for Josh and Massie, is that you can keep going back no matter how many times you get thrown out. After talking his way into and out of a fistfight with some idiot on the roof, stopping to kiss me on the way up the stairs and then falling halfway down them, taking me with him, Josh moved on to tequila shots with Massie at the bar, both of them talking about how they weren’t going to talk about love gone sour, and I went outside and hailed a cab with my skinned hands. Two blocks into the fare, the cabbie stopped the car and offered to let me drive home. I asked him if he was kidding and he said he wasn’t, so we both rode in the front seat and sang along to “Pure Energy” by Information Society on his radio. I tipped him one hundred percent, limped upstairs, and fell asleep to thunder in the distance around 5.
Dawn at Weehawken
I’m currently re-reading The Moviegoer by Walker Percy. The last time I read this book, I was 18. I know this because I write my name and date inside the front cover of all of my books each time I read them. This leads to an interesting tree-trunk look at what I deemed worthy of underlining at different times in my life. The majority of these underlined selections make me think “Uh, okay?” For instance, in 1995, on page 77, I underlined the sentence, “I am Jewish by instinct. We share the same exile.” Wha? Did that really resonate with me, an 18 year old girl in the Midwest? A girl who spent her entire summer before college depressed in her bedroom, completely wasting her youth and her time but more importantly, her long tan legs? That girl was some kind of asshole, let me tell you.
Last year I revisited some books from my adolesence, and not all of them stood the test of time. To Kill A Mockingbird was even better at 26 than it was at 15, but Franny and Zooey made me roll my eyes a lot. I always regretted not reading Salinger until I was 20, which is way too old. I mean, I can appreciate it, and I’ll always have a soft spot for For Esme, With Love and Squalor, but you’ve really got to be barely legal in order to make Salinger stick for a lifetime. Had I read Catcher in the Rye at 16 like everyone else, I might have fallen in love with it, but at 20, I’d already dated Holden Caulfield a few times and was sick of his shit.
I have very little patience for dramatic mopey men, just like I have no tolerance for people who cannot get past the fact that they were once gifted children. I went out once with a guy who made sure I knew right off the bat that he read at an 8th grade level in the 2nd grade, and then spent an hour telling me stories about his early childhood, the kind of stories that you act embarrassed if your parents tell, but you secretly like that they’re telling them. The thing about those stories is that YOU DO NOT TELL THEM YOURSELF. He wound it all up with this smug little half-smile and chuckled, “I guess you can tell I was rather precocious.” I wish you could see the look on my face right now just typing that. My first impulse was to kick him hard under the table. Who SAYS that? Needless to say, this guy was so self-absorbed that it took him several weeks to notice that I wasn’t returning his calls.
Even worse than saying the word “precocious” to someone you’re trying to sleep with is affecting some tormented creative genius persona. You are only allowed to be tortured for your art if war or famine has killed all your family and the only girl you’ve ever loved, you’ve been maimed and persecuted, and maybe the Spanish Inquisition was involved somehow. Not because oh, sometimes when you’re nineteen and live in a small town, it’s hard to get laid! I mean, find true love! It’s for this reason that I cannot stomach Bright Eyes for longer than one single song. Oh, you’re really upset because… remind me again? You have a big anime girl face and sing songs about how you can’t find love, which in turn has you knee-deep in moony-eyed, hoodie-clad trim all across America? Shut up, Conor Oberst.
I’m sad to say that a recent casualty of this aversion was my beloved Alexander Hamilton. Ever since we watched this documentary on New York last winter, Liz and I had harbored a crush on Hamilton because he seemed so dashing and effectual and romantic, born a redheaded bastard in the West Indies and becoming Washington's right-hand man and establishing the financial center of the country before going out with Burr’s bullet. Then we went to the Alexander Hamilton exhibit at the New York Historical Society a few months ago, and suddenly it all became very clear that AHam was nothing but a big old emo boy, carrying on a million affairs despite being married, publically pledging his love left and right, and generally just being a total drama queen about everything. What finally turned me off for good was learning how not only did he enter into the duel INTENDING TO SHOOT AWAY FROM BURR, thus going out in a useless romantic blaze of fake glory, he had ADVISED HIS OWN SON to do this exact same thing a few years earlier! Funny story: his son died. I’m sorry, but telling your kid to aim away on purpose because a Christian wouldn’t kill someone but a gentleman wouldn’t turn down a duel doesn’t make you honorable; it makes you a dick. And not learning from that experience, a real actual horrible experience that you’re sincerely allowed to be torn up over, that just makes you a dumbass.
I guess I should sum this up. So, in summation, I’ll say that all of this has taught me that my ideal man would be a combination of Atticus Finch and John Leguizamo, if only for no other reason than: wouldn’t it be funny to see that guy drunk?
TheraFlu is total bullshit.
I’m sick, which is for crap. I had planned on observing Cinco de Mayo by going to the Olive Garden in Chelsea with my roommates, a guilty pleasure we indulge about once every three months. This began back in November when Caroline and I spent an entire hungover Sunday in our pajamas, putting together a dresser from IKEA. That’s a lie: Caroline put together the dresser from IKEA, and whenever she said, “Screw this in here,” I’d screw that in there, but only after getting it stuck the first three times. Anyway, for some reason we watched an ABC Family marathon of Full House and Boy Meets World, and this marathon was apparently sponsored by Olive Garden, because that horrible “When You’re Here, We’re Reinforcing Racist Stereotypes” commercial came on every five minutes, and by the time the dresser was standing, we had the following embarrassing conversation, held in the same nuanced tones used when you want initiate something in the bedroom but you’re not sure if the other person would be into it:
“Ha, you know what kind of sounds good right now?”
“Uh, Olive Garden?”
“Yeah, I know, right? Is that gross? Ha ha!”
“Ha, do you want to go?”
“I’ll get my coat.”
And thus our secret household shame was born. Every family needs a tradition steeped in humiliation, right? So ours involves all you can eat breadsticks once a season. Please don’t tell my favorite restaurant in Little Italy about this.
Anyway, so I’ve got this raging case of miners’ lung that’s making it hard to breathe or talk or do anything but languish about the house like I’m Camille. Earlier today at work, I was workshopping this joke in my head about the Sun’s address being 123 Sun, but then I got tired and decided to just eat some ice cream and stare out the window instead. Then I came home, got in bed with Maus and some hot tea, fell asleep for three hours, and am now wide awake at 11 pm, so you’re getting this rambling stream of cold medicine post. Also, I have a fever. Sweet! Let’s do this!
While I was falling asleep earlier, I had my window open, and I could hear the neighborhood kids playing outside. Going to bed while it was still light out made me think of that Robert Louis Stevenson poem my mom used to read to me, and I started to get wistful for my childhood, at least until I heard the kids outside calling each other shithead.
This lady I work with gives me her month-old People magazines for some reason, and I usually just throw them away, but today I was looking through the one with all the Oscar fashion photos, and I got this huge jolt of ridiculous superiority, like, oh, they still think Charles and Camilla are getting married on April 8! They don’t even know about the Pope dying! Stupid people in the recent past for not knowing the future! I sure did have one up on those non-time-machine-having People editors! Then I turned the page and saw that my co-worker’s elderly mother had filled in the crossword puzzle, and it just sort of broke my heart and I couldn’t go on.
You know what I hate? People who still use the word “hipster.” Just stop. When you say “hipster,” you really just mean “asshole,” so say that instead. Another thing I hate is when people refer to their significant other as “the boy” or “the girl.” That’s some sneaky shit right there. You’re trying to sound all carefree and clever and oh who knows what will happen here certainly not me I can’t be bothered to worry!, but dude, it’s so obvious that ALL YOU’RE DOING is thinking about this, so quit analyzing it and being passive/aggressive and just call them your boyfriend or girlfriend. What is this, the thirteenth grade?
One trend I’ve noticed lately is a lot of people on the street wearing big headphones again. Let me go on the record right now as saying I am ALL FOR this. Fuck those little iPod earbuds; I think everyone should go out and buy the biggest cans they can find, like the giant kind Matthew Sweet wore on the cover of 100% Fun. In a similar vein, why do all new cars look like they’re half-melted teardrops now? Do we really need to be so aerodynamic that our dashboards can’t have a right angle? America, I should tell you, because the car makers aren’t going to: You are not traveling on the Autobahn. You don’t need to sweat wind resistance when you’re loading Dakota and Dakota into your SUV to go get frozen yogurt. Bring back the big old boxy cars, the old man shoebox boats! I just finished reading the final piece in a fascinating and depressing New Yorker three-part series about how the global climate is changing due to carbon dioxide emissions, and mankind is basically fucked, and the Bush Administration not only won’t do anything to stop it, they’re making it worse, so sure, big dinosaur cars: why the fuck not? I want to drive my first car again, a 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, and I want to wear the most gigantic headphones I can find plugged into the 8-track player while I do.
Wow. Apparently if you get enough Quil in me, I turn into someone’s cranky dad. No way is anyone still reading this anymore, so I’m going to go watch the Clone Wars animated series from this link Josh emailed me earlier today. On dial up. That should work out great. Did you know that I still have dial up? And use AOL? And that my computer is older than my cell phone? And that my cell phone is from the year 2000? And that I only make popcorn on the stove, because the microwave is Lucifer’s red-hot womb? Hey! You kids! Get off my lawn!
Apartheid against the freaks
Cringe last night was a total success—twice as many people as our first one, standing room only. I fear we’re close to outgrowing our venue if this keeps up! A big thanks to everyone who came out, especially those who read, like:
- Dan, for his rhyming poem celebrating the oft-overlooked heroes of stagecraft (titled “Unsung”)
- Aaron, for sharing the first (and only) three lines of his attempted rock opera about the Devil and a guy who may or may not have been named Juan
- Chris, for reading her step-by-step kissing instructions circa 1988 (with illustrations!)
- Liz, for reenacting her 6th grade telephone call to Brian S., asking him to go out with her, even though he demanded specifics on the where
- Heather, for the remnant of the high school paper she wrote about how corpses play a large role in literature (she got an A)
- Bryn, for being a brave volunteer (again!) and reliving her junior prom night
- Megan, for her musings on how to properly observe the last day of 1991 (“I want to accomplish something… maybe I’ll buy a hat?”)
- Blaise, for sharing her cringeworthiest sentence ever, directed at the Boston police force for cracking down on the after-school loitering of her and her punk friends: “It’s like an apartheid against the freaks.”
We’ll not mention my own list from the 8th grade dance of boys I slowdanced with and the corresponding songs, except to say that in 1991 I couldn’t use the word “whom” to save my life. But all the rest of you made me laugh so hard that my standard cough-and-cold seems to have morphed into a hearty case of black lung today. High fives.
Info on the next Cringe coming soon. Thanks again to everyone for coming out and laughing.
Cringe Reading Night
Freddy’s Bar and Backroom
485 Dean St.
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
2/3 to Bergen, any train in the world to Atlantic/Flatbush
I don’t want to give anything away, but I have on good authority that someone is going to read a love letter they wrote to Mariah Carey “when they were just a tiny baby homosexual.” Also, my roommate deals with some teenage rage via planning the offending party’s deportation back to the Dominican Republic. Who here can’t relate? Good wholesome fun. I’m doped up on cough medicine and plan on drinking and it’s going to be awwwwwwwesome. You should come.
What have you
The other night at the bar, Dan and I commandeered Sarah’s camera because we thought it would be funny to hold it at table-level and take a picture of her boyfriend Jeremy’s crotch. When we looked at the screen a second later, this was what we saw:
THERE WAS NOTHING TO THE LEFT OR IN FRONT OF JEREMY WHEN WE TOOK THE PICTURE. Nothing in the area that could have even remotely looked like this, or reflected light or anything! I realize it looks like the inside of a left hand, but I was sitting on my left hand and taking the picture with my right! And it also looks sort of like an OTHERWORLDLY nose and mouth! Which really freaked out a table full of semi-drunk people! Clearly the only logical answer here is that this is a ghost, and this ghost was at my rack level, probably sitting in my lap, all up in my grill.
I hope it’s the ghost of a lost sea captain and he followed me home and is watching me type this in my underwear RIGHT NOW.
McENIRY BROWN SULLIVAN TEMPORARILY MINUS SULLIVAN
My old college pal Kerry was in town this weekend. Back in the day, you couldn’t separate Kerry and me and our friend Laura, and we got into many a coed caper that was part Babysitters Club girlish fun, part How Did We End Up at the Adult Bookstore Across State Lines Again? I think my favorite part of our friendship was that the three of us would refer to each other by our last names, which made uncoordinated me feel like I was part of some athletic team or something. No one ever calls me by last name, but man, it makes me feel so tough. Anyway, when I first knew Kerry, she was an art student with mismatched clothing who printed up business cards that said “Momma K’s High Priced Bitches: If Momma Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy” in order to win the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey’s Pimp of the Year contest. Which she did. Kerry now works for a fancy law firm in Houston and lives with her boyfriend Cleve, a former Ultimate Fighting Champion. Cleve’s best scar (at least to me) is the one he sustained from a glass pan full of fresh-from-the-oven cookie bars to the face when Kerry totalled her car.
Kerry showed up at my door at 11 pm Friday, and we went straight to my neighborhood pub, where she told me she was full of Tylenol 3 and Flexeril from her (second) car wreck last week, and then in the same breath turned to our waitress, ordered a double round and said, “Could you just bring us an entire chicken?” We decided over breakfast the next morning that she and Laura and I are going to Dollywood in the fall. So Laura, if you’re reading this, we’re going to Dollywood in the fall. Just shut up about your PhD crap right now, because you can’t fight this. Need I remind you of the Los Hombres Latinos episode, and who won? I mean, aside from everybody.
The Hold Steady’s new album comes out tomorrow, which is six minutes from now, and you should go get it as soon as you can. I’ve been testdriving it since the end of January, and it’s still in my constant rotation. So far I’ve deemed it awesome music to listen to while cooking, cleaning, running, showering, driving, drinking, and making out. If you don’t like this album, you should check yourself into the hospital or something because you’re probably dead inside. They even have the lady from Schoolhouse Rock singing backup! Get it now.