16 posts tagged popular
16 posts tagged popular
Growing As An Artist
By Bill Dixon
80% of the emails I receive through this website go as follows:
Q: No matter how hard I try I feel like I will never be a good [writer, musician, painter, cook, burlesque dancer, comedian, tap dancer, juggler, misogynist, cow tipper, cat collector, etc.] I really want to be good but I just feel like I will never get there. Did you go through a crisis of confidence? What should I do?
The photo above represents a theory I have about artists:
Let (X) represent time in years (left to right: 0-10)
Let (Y) represent how awesome you are at your particular art form (bottom to top: “Someone please drown me in a urinal” to “I’m Awesome!)
So what does this mean to the aspiring artist?
If you think you are an amazing and talented individual, chances are you have not been participating in your artistic community for very long.
I call it the, “Dude, I could totally do that” phenomenon. It occurs in art galleries, restaurants, concert halls, and comedy clubs across the planet every day. Someone watching, listening to, tasting, or experiencing a piece of art leans over to a friend and says, “I could totally do that.”
“I could totally do that” is Day Zero. Now Day 1 is an important day:
Now the horrible irony, the overwhelming, earth shattering, bat shit crazy irony is there is only one statement that can get you to Day 2.
“Dude…I can totally do that.”
So if you think your work is shitty and contrived, and for some reason you still wake up with that nagging voice in your head saying, “I could totally do that,” I would say you are on the right track.
Read more Dangatorium Popular
The Pros and Cons of Dating An Artist
By Bill Dixon
Pro: Never Want For A Pen Ever Again-It’s like they come with a kit! Every artist is permanently equipped with writing instruments at all times.
Con: Unforgivably Vicious Emotional Damage -Artists are unforgiving bastards and will viciously tear your heart out. Breakups usually include personal possessions being hurled into the street, personal possessions being set on fire in the street, and personal possessions being defecated on, on fire, in the street. Also, Lets not forget the public displays of “fuck you” in the form of song, beat poem, blog post, etc. depending on the artist’s medium.
Pro: Never Need Help With Your Computer Again-Because of the exploratory nature of most artists, they generally know their way around a Macbook.
Con: You Will Be Murdered In Your Own Home-Because of their unyielding fascination and romanticization of death, you will probably be the vessel through which they live out their sick homicidal fantasies. You’ll be holding hands as you walk through a quiet park in the summer twlight and they will look at you and whisper something like, “I’ve never felt this way before.”
This may seem like a beautiful sentiment but what they really mean is that they have never before felt this hunger- this insatiable lust- for murder.
Pro: Exposure To Local Art Scene-You will get to meet interesting and fascinating people within your significant others particular local artistic community.
Con: Your Parents Will Probably Be Murdered Too- Artists are highly intelligent and often seduced by the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. They have no respect for human life and they believe in nothing, so after they murder you, they will surely think, “Who will be the person most interested in finding the killer?” In no time at all they will surmise that your parents must be viciously murdered as well. Everybody has an art and this artist’s art is murder and he or she is painting their masterpiece in blood.
Pro: Artists are Crafty!- Why go buy coffee coasters when you can make them yourself? Artists are Do-It-Yourselfers to the bone. Look forward to memories forever solidified in the homemade trinkets that will last a lifetime.
Con: You, Your Family, and Your Extended Family Have All Been Viciously Murdered By A Sociopathic Nihilist Who Plays In A Pop-Punk Band All Because You Watched 500 Days of Summer And Decided You Wanted To Try Something Different-All you ever think about is yourself.
Read more Dangatorium Popular
What Happens In North Dakota, Stays In North Dakota…Because No One Goes There.
By Bill Dixon
The above image is from North Dakota’s new ad campaign. Truly brilliant.
“Arrive a guest, leave a legend.”
I assume this is North Dakota advertisement slang for, “Arrive a guest, we promise you will get a blow job from a bevy of women of different ethnic backgrounds, wearing sensibly sexy pastel-colored evening wear.”
This is the conversation North Dakota wants you to have:
Guy 1: Dude, I have an awesome idea for Brandon’s bachelor party.
Guy 2: Vegas? Miami? Cancun?
Guy 1: Pssh, fuck that noise. Look at this ad I found on the internet.
Guy 2: Oh shit, I didn’t know North Dakota had sluts!
Guy 1: I know, right! It’s like an untapped resource up there. It’s like domestic oil exploration, they just recently loosened up federal regulations so we can go up there and drill all we want!
Guy 2: I didn’t really understand the words you used with your mouth hole but I think you are talking about bitches to drill, right?
Guy 1: Hell yeah!
Guy 2: YEAAAHHH!
Guy 1: YEAAAAHHH!
Guy 2: YEEEEAH I’M SEXY AND I KNOW ITTTTT AHH!
Guy 1: WOOGA WOOGA WOOGA WOOGA WOOGA WOOGA WOOGA AAAAYYYEE!
Guy 2: We should probably keep it down, we are at a funeral.
Guy 1: Yeah, good point.
Guy 2: So, I’m totally down for North Dakota…do you really think there will be black chicks there?
Guy 1: Oh yeah, for sure. Way more than here in San Diego. Beautiful, exotic women love the cold, rural countryside.
Guy 2: Well that’s awesome…but there is just one more thing.
Guy 1: Yeah, I know.
Guy 2: It’s just that…I mean, we are at Brandon’s fiancé’s funeral. Do you think he’ll still want…you know…a bachelor party?
Guy 1: He’ll man up.
Guy 2: YEAH, B-ROCK DON’T FUCK AROUND! NORTH DAKOTA! NORTH DAKOTA!
Guy 1: Shhh, whisper!
It would almost be less offensive if North Dakota just ran an ad with a more direct message.
Creative Writing And Masturbation
By Bill Dixon
I wouldn’t dare call myself an expert in creative writing. Although it’s something I do daily, it feels pretentious to apply a hierarchical model to the creation of art. Words like “expert” or “professional” seem silly when applied to something as arbitrary as creativity.
This is the classic writer’s cop-out, deputized at Thanksgiving when you return home from whichever metropolis you have chosen to sublet a closet-sized bedroom. Family and friends ask you how the “writing thing” is going and you regurgitate the prepared statement you concocted at the airport while scanning the never-ending parade of black luggage as it spilled onto the conveyor belt at baggage claim.
You’re a writer and you don’t write for The New York Times, The Daily Show, or Two and a Half Men, so you will need an excuse for not achieving the non-writing public’s apparent minimum requirement to be called a “real writer.”
“You know what show I like? That Breaking Bad!”, your functionally illiterate uncle declares. “That’s a good show. You should write for them.”
Thanks, Uncle Hasn’t-Paid-Child-Support-In-Three-Years. When I was digging through the couch cushions looking for change to buy bologna I must have totally spaced and forgot to call Bryan Cranston to let him know I’d put together a few episodes this season and that it would be best to just make the $22,000 check out to cash for accounting reasons.
But I can tell you with no trepidation that I am in fact an expert in masturbation. I mean that in the purest sense. I mean expert as in if there were masturbation murders, I could give expert testimony in the court of law. I mean expert as in Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule expert. It’s not a paying gig but to friends and family, on the scale of professional achievement, it’s probably on par with writing.
“At least it’s physical,” mom might say, “My son, the professional athlete.”
When you consider it, the similarities between masturbation and creative writing are uncanny:
And most importantly:
The Color Purple Rain: Prince leads slaves to freedom on his motorcycle, thus beginning a journey to the purifying waters of Lake Minnetonka
The Green Mile High Club: Death row inmates are granted one conjugal plane ride in this Conair sequel
2001 A Space Honda Odyssey: A wacky suburban family finds out that their 2001 Honda Odyssey is a spaceship. Now it’s up to them to save Earth
10 Things I hate about Jews: Schindler’s List as seen from the other side. Also titled, Himmler’s List
The Lion King’s Speech: Phil Collins spends hours trying to teach a Lion to talk
Venus De Milo & Otis: Story of a pug dragging an ancient sculpture up mount Olympus
Ted Turner & Hooch: Billionaire has annoying slobbery dog put down
Yo La Tengo & Cash: Kurt Russel hangs out with a less-than-relevant band
Men In Blackface: Horribly offensive romp where racist vaudevillians save the planet
Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil Dead 2: A local millionaire is murdered by a dismembered, possessed hand in this campy thriller crime drama
Citizen Kano: Australian born Kano gets his citizenship and has a brush with materialism in this 1941 Mortal Kombat offshoot
The Deer Hunter S. Thompson: Hunter S. Thompson plays Russian Roulette for 3 hours
No Country For Old Men At Work: 2 garbage men spy on their neighbors with a telescope and find some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash
There Will Be Blood In, Blood Out: A story about family, greed, religion, and oil, centered around a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of East L.A. Latino gangs.
Gone With The Windtalkers: Scarlett O’hara learns the Navajo code for 7 hours
A Street Car Named “Desiree:” Marlon Brando stars twice in this film about Napoleon Bonaparte tormenting a disturbed Blanche Dubois in New Orleans
Fargo Baby Gone: Two Boston area detectives investigate a little girl’s kidnapping in Minnesota
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless, Dangerous Minds: Michelle Pfeiffer teaches ghetto children to forget all about their baby daddies
A League of Extraordinary Gentleman of Their Own: Gena Davis and Tank Girl play baseball as men in an alternate Victorian age world
A Generation Lost In Space.
By Bill Dixon
As I scroll through the deceased’s Facebook page, this is what I find:
“We missed you in social studies today ;) Luv u always!”
“smokn phat blunts in heven im sur :)”
“what about prom lol! awww were goin to miss you”
It was a car accident. She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt or maybe she was. It doesn’t really matter. The universe spun the giant globe and brought its finger down with a thud over the Ventura Boulevard exit on the 405. Then, zap.
The universe doesn’t flinch before giving the globe another spin.
Now I’m scrolling through a dead person’s Facebook feed, paging through hundreds of comments. Some are nice. Some are thoughtful. Some googled “good quotes about friend dying,” copying and pasting their greeting card sentiments onto the improvised digital memorial.
But most were written as if she wasn’t even gone. A profusion of “see you later :)” and “LOL you’re going to miss homecoming! c u soon!”, completely detached from the reality of the situation. Maybe the relationship they had with the girl stemmed from a place of total detachment. Maybe the totality of their relationship resided in the text messages, tweets and status updates. Maybe they would have been just as surprised to see her on their doorstep yesterday as they would if they saw her on their doorstep today.
To me this would be like going to a funeral, walking to up to the casket and knocking on it, “Steve, I know you’re in there. You owe me 40 bucks, asshole, and I’m not letting them bury you until I get that…Father O’Connell, get your hands off me, I know he’s in there.”
I’m not interested in writing an “in my day” critique of contemporary American youth culture because, ultimately, I think they’ll be fine and I’m not removed enough to feel nostalgic about something that happened less than a decade ago.
But this does raise the question, what is going to happen to me when I die?
I don’t mean an afterlife, who cares about that.
I’m talking about my Facebook page, Twitter account and my writing. What if my last status update is something like “No seriously, who let the fucking dogs out?” or some snarky quasi-intellectual remark like, “In conclusion, i’m avoiding cliches like the plague.” What if that’s the last thing on my internet headstone, carelessly carved into digital granite at the top of an online presence I spent so many years so carefully curating.
I also have concerns as a comedy writer. What if my family decided to read some of my work at the church service as posthumous tribute to my illustrious comedy writing career? What if their favorite work I did was some horrible celebrity hit piece for a college humor website?
I cringe imagining my grandmother speaking to a crowded church with mascara running down her face, her voice reverberating through the chapel, “Lindsey Lohan is looking for a personal assistant. Really?” Choking back tears she turns the page in her hand, “Lindsey Lohan doesn’t need a personal assistant, she needs a fucking AA sponsor…now I would like to read a verse from the book of Romans…”
I scroll back to the top of her Facebook page and click the box to write a comment. I watch the cursor blink in the box for a moment. I click out of the box. Now, grey text appears:
I open a word document on my desktop and begin typing.
“As I scroll through the deceased’s Facebook page, this is what I find…”
An Atheist’s Guide to Christmas
By Bill Dixon
When I was 17 years old, I was much more militant about my atheism. I would lay the groundwork for religious discussion only to become combative of my own non-religious beliefs. The coaxing of a religious discussion was tough but can be best explained by this food metaphor:
Me: What are those round, ground beef patties in a bun called?
Person: Um…You mean hamburgers?
Me: Yes! Hamburgers. Interesting topic you just brought up independently of external cohesion. Do you like hamburgers, those thing you just brought up?
Person: Yeah, hamburgers are alright, I guess.
Me: (Rolling eyes) You’re an idiot. I mean, no offense, it’s just how you were raised. You were indoctrinated to love hamburgers as a child. Your parents did this to you. I mean how could you even consider - I mean, just think about it, just really think about it, man.
I didn’t do this to educate or even to convey my opinion, I did this to feel superior. I wanted to convert. I wanted to win. Ultimately, I had become what I had found so abhorrent about religion: I had become an evangelist for my point of view. I was soliciting my wares door-to-door. But I was becoming a conversation that people went out of their way to avoid and I didn’t even know it. Jehovah’s Witnesses, can I get an amen?
As I get a little older, I find that I am not growing out of my atheism as much as maybe growing into a mature state of secular isolationism. I have no interest in conversion or even talking about secularism unless I feel directly attacked for my beliefs. But I do my best to live and travel within progressive liberal America (North East, Chicago, Southern California) to avoid the conversation altogether. Residing in cities with gay vegan free-trade coffee shops and solar powered marijuana dispensaries doesn’t lend to a lot of questions at the comedy club Monday night like, “We didn’t see you at mass on Sunday, what happened?”
When I go home to visit my family for Christmas, avoiding the topic of religion seems to be a bit more difficult. But you would be surprised how much Santa does to buffer people from the religious aspect of the holiday. If Christmas is the Super Bowl of Christianity then Santa is the Super Bowl commercials. If you’re lucky, the commercials will steal the spotlight. Sometimes you luck out with the half-time show— your drunk aunt who accidentally exposes her breast. But regardless of the distractions, you are going to have to tread lightly to avoid confrontation.
A Few Pointers If You Wish To Avoid Confrontation:
The holiday is only as hard as you make it. If you don’t like hamburgers you better get cozy with the idea, because Christmas with the family is a birthday party at McDonald’s. Besides, we all know the fries are the best part anyway.
The holiday season is upon us once again. Well, I guess that is a bit of a lie.
The holiday season has been upon us since before Halloween and because Congress is currently in deliberation over instating one mandatory Black Friday a month starting in May of 2012, I have compiled a list of 5 things you can do to preserve your sanity and become the best consumer in your neighborhood.
Keep in mind that this is a basic list. Feel free to combine any of these to solidify your choke hold on holiday cheer.
Happy Holidays and best of luck to those of you willing to break enough laws to land you on death row this upcoming year.
By Carly Yansak
“What does she have that I don’t?!”
I’m watching fictional characters plead with each other on T.V., and when the question is blurted I want to step into their non-reality and ask: “does it matter?”
A problematic characteristic of people is we always want to understand why. We never accept something just for what it is - we need to decipher it next. It’s the fault of our higher brain functioning - we know all too well there are motives and psyches and subconscious’s coming into play during our decisions; it’s human nature. Where we go wrong is wanting to grasp those elements when they are outside of ourselves.
I’m a terrible example. I constantly have friends tell me: “Carly, you’re thinking too much,” which is why I’m taking a different approach. I call it The Bottom Line Theory.
Similar to my Bare Bones Theory, where you whittle down your best stories into a quantified sentence, you take the situation and you put it to the bottom line.
For example: You date someone. You think things are going great. Man, are you a lucky one to have found them. Suddenly, you’re hearing from them less and less. A small and awkward slow dance around each other proceeds until one day, it’s dropped. You’re confused, right? What happened? You two had such great chemistry. You wonder your pretty little head off over things such as: was I too available? Was there someone else? What was it about me that wasn’t good enough?
But fuck that. The Bottom Line is: it’s over.
The reasoning won’t change this or make it any different. In fact, it will probably make it worse. Imagine if someone were to actually answer the question: “what does she have that I don’t?”
“Well, if you’d really like to know… her legs are skinnier, her sense of humor is more on my level and all around, she’s just more interesting.”
Let me know how long it would take your ego to recover from that shot.
It just doesn’t matter. What matters after any puzzling event is how you’re going to proceed - not what led up to the procession. Your life will achieve homeostasis again, and much quicker if you leave out those time consuming questions which leave you bat in hand, over top the dead carcass you can’t seem to beat any more blood out of. It’s a very simple concept, and while some may be skeptical to apply it to complex situations, I’d urge those to take a look into their past. Think of something you thought was monumental, changing, the most important thing to happen yet! And while yes, you may have came out a different person, how much does it really matter now?
This is another thing to understand about the theory - whatever has happened will change you. But that’s just another bottom line: you will be altered.
When put in such blatant terms, this can sound intimidating. Really, it’s the best part. The alteration only makes you more rounded out, more experienced, and just a tad bit the wiser. It also makes it so when the next whatthefuck situation crashes around your corner you can go: yeah, I’ve got this.
Read Part I: Letter To Santa
Part II: Cassette Recording From Santa
By BIll Dixon
[Whispering, jolly voice]
Is this recording? I think I’ve got it.
Billy, this is Santa. I wiggled out of the cables you used to restrain me in your basement. I don’t know how long I’ve been out for. Whatever you drugged me with must have been pretty heavy stuff because I couldn’t tell you if I’ve been in this basement an hour or a week. The only light down here is a string of white Christmas lights you spooled around the basement railing.
I found this tape recorder I gave to you when you were 10. It was in an old box labeled “donations”. You loved this recorder dearly when you were a boy. It’s amazing, the things we find so important in our youth are so easily discarded as we- (coughing) I can’t - there’s no time.
I tried to escape through the basement door but it seems you have replaced the door with some sort of reinforced…something, Jesus, I don’t know. The door could be made of graham cracker for all I know. I barely had the strength to climb the stairs.
Your parents are in pretty bad shape down here, Billy. We’re all very ho-ho-hungry and I think they are in some kind of coma or shock or something.
According to the note you wrote me, you little son of a bitch, you are taking my sleigh to deliver Ayn Rand books to the children, but if that’s the case you are not going to make it very far before…
Billy, there is something you need to know: The elves, Billy. They are not good people.
Do you think it was me watching you all year long? I’m a 230-year-old morbidly obese bearded man in a red suit. How long do you think I could sit in the maple tree outside of your window with binoculars before a dozen cop cars materialized in your driveway.
I’m realistic. I know my general disposition screams Amber Alert so I had to deputize others to do my watching for me. It wasn’t me watching you, it was them; their cold black reptile eyes gazing at you from the closet or the ventilation shaft. Only they aren’t interested in bringing you gifts and they don’t care if you’re naughty or nice.
They envy your world and I have done my best to keep them at bay as long as possible, keeping them busy building toys isolated from the world. Why else would I build a factory at the North Pole? Have you considered how much work it takes to maintain a toy factory off the power grid in negative 100 degree temperatures? The engineering is a goddamn miracle. I did this to keep you safe but- (coughing)
But as soon as they get wise to the fact that I’m out of commission…all bets are off.
Soon their cold black eyes will fix onto a 150 lb. beardless asshole in a sleigh crashing reindeer into the the side of a 7-11 somewhere in Phoenix and they will turn your world into an unimaginable nightmare.
So I ask that you please return-
-Loud metallic SLAM!-
[Frantic, less jolly whispers]
Oh, God…they’re here. They are at the door.
-SLAM! SLAM! SLAM! SLAM!-
I’m going to hide under this staircase as long as possible…but…tell…tell…Mrs. Claus that I love her and-
- a step creaks-
[Barely audible voice of what sounds like a child.]
[Multiple voices - sounds like whispering children]
Play Santa Santa Santa play play with us Santa come afraid play play hide Santa pray (prey?) Santa pray (prey?) Santa smell Santa Santa-
I see Santa. Pray Santa.
-Explosion of jollyless screaming over what sounds like children singing Frosty the Snowman-
By Bill Dixon
I received a text message from someone who must have accidentally saved a contact number wrong so I thought I would have some fun.
The person never wrote back. They must have figured out how to operate their proton pack effectively. That, or they accidentally crossed the streams. Regardless, I think a “Thank you” would have been nice.
By Bill Dixon
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Levitt,
Long time no talk! I’m sure you’re surprised to hear from me again! In case you have forgotten, I am the young lady who babysat your son Kaleb and daughter Kara last weekend while you went away for a couple’s counseling retreat in Temecula (I know you told me you were visiting your wife’s sister but I stumbled upon the reservation receipt in your wife’s underwear drawer). There are a few things that I did that could easily be misconstrued by you as inappropriate and I just wanted to clear them up so there is no animosity between us.
First, I would like to acknowledge that I understand that leaving a person alone in your home with your children requires a great deal of trust. It was a massive responsibility and I am honored that you trusted me enough to leave me with your son and daughter. They are both truly wonderful children.
That being said, I still don’t fully understand why you insisted on getting the police involved for - what I consider - a few fairly harmless indiscretions.
In retrospect, I would not let Kaleb give the dog, Bruno, an unsupervised haircut with a pair of scissors. But I think that the issue is not that scissors are dangerous tools but rather, an angry and dangerous boy should not have a pair of scissors. I think that instinctively blaming the babysitter is a reactionary move and maybe you should take some time to sit down with Kaleb and explore some of his anger issues. Instead of working on a failing marriage in Temecula for a long weekend, you should be spending more time saying, “I love you” to Kaleb. I think he is a very angry 4-year-old.
However, I will apologize for not taking the dog to the veterinarian’s office immediately after it happened. I was under the impression that dog ears grew back. I later came to find out that this only applies to lizard tails. But I am not a scientist; I’m just a babysitter. That was my mistake and if there is anything I can do in the future - financially - to help relieve Bruno’s unfortunate mutilation, please take it out of the pay I have not yet received for the weekend I babysat (another can of worms I do not wish to open.)
I would also like to apologize for letting Kara make breakfast for her brother and I. When she tried to pour the milk into the cereal, she dropped the milk jug on the kitchen floor and became very upset, as a 9-year-old girls tend to do. I hardly thought that this was a valid reason to involve law enforcement.
My attorney has informed me that apparently the bigger issue was when I let Kara take the keys to the minivan so she could run to the grocery store and pick up some more milk. But technically, she is the one who crashed the car into the garage door, the mailbox, the neighbor’s mailbox, and the neighbor’s foyer. I didn’t ask her to go to the store. She volunteered with great enthusiasm! Why would someone of sound mind ask to drive a car if they don’t know how to drive! This seems like common sense stuff to me so I just don’t understand where all this finger-pointing is coming from.
Again, I would compel you to explore the possibility that maybe this isn’t a “negligent babysitter” issue as much as it is a “mom and dad are maybe a little too self-concerned and need to spend a little more time with their angry boy, mentally unstable daughter, and horribly mangled dog” issue.
I hope this letter finds you in good spirits. I’ve been seeing you on the news lately and that Dateline NBC piece they did on the whole event was very lopsided in its reporting but that’s all water under the bridge.
I guess I am just writing to apologize for my end of things. I know in my heart you are feeling guilty about your end as well, particularly about not paying the person who, while you were trying to repair your crumbling marriage, babysat your kids for almost a full day before the cops showed up.
My lawyer and psychiatrist told me not to write this letter but I needed to get this out of my system in the spirit of reconciliation.
You can send the check (preferably for the entire weekend, as that’s the amount of time I was promised) to the North Star Rehabilitation Facility C.O. Dr. Yang.
Also, once this whole thing is straightened out, I would love to see the kids again and babysit when needed. They are truly adorable!
Praying for Bruno,
Dear Ms. Johnson,
I am writing you this letter to cordially thank you for meeting with me on the 2nd of December and allowing me to interview for the In-Home Caretaker position at the North Star Retirement Cottages. I appreciate you taking the time to meet with me and look forward to working with you in the future and again thank you for the opportunity.
I would also like to take this time to apologize for a few things I didn’t, at the time, realize were in bad taste. I have just relocated to Chicago from Philadelphia and there are a few regional colloquialisms that may have made parts of our interview uncomfortable. In the spirit of maturity and professionalism, I thought I would address these issues in this letter so that we might be able to put them behind us and move forward with no friction if we choose to work together in a professional environment.
First, I would like to apologize if my behavior was, interpreted by you or your staff as, “inappropriate.” As we know now from the court-ordered blood test, I was in fact slightly intoxicated (some might say 4x above the legal limit, but I’m not a scientist and only God can judge me) at the time of the interview. Job interviews make me nervous so I had a few drinks to unwind beforehand. I know now what my limits are in regards to drinking and will never again drink Grey Goose and Gatorade out of a milk jug before an interview. Some people can pull it off; I can’t. I know this now.
I also apologize for vomiting in your desk drawer. I was just feeling sick from all the pushups. And yes, you were right about that as well, showing you how many pushups I could do was not relevant to the job or relevant to anything besides a pushup contest. Once again, I was nervous, intoxicated, and eager to impress you.
Second, I have to tell you that I did not mean those things I said about people of Hispanic heritage. I am from Philadelphia and the word “spic” is part of the vernacular there. In my neighborhood, the word spic is just like the word man or dude. But again, you were right, looking back now I realize the word was irrelevant given the context of the statement.
“Well there ain’t no way I’m touchin’ one of them nasty wetback dudes, goin’ home every night smelling like tamales. I hate dudes so much!” So I get your point. I did not mean for it to come across in a disparaging way. Again, I have to blame my anxiety and intoxication.
I would also like to apologize for bringing a handgun to the interview—I realize now that this was in poor taste. But you have to understand, I am from Philadelphia and everyone has a gun there. In fact, in large spans of the country, it’s considered patriotic to be generally armed in a professional atmosphere. However, I make no excuses for brandishing the weapon in an attempt to intimidate the others who were in the waiting room waiting to interview that day; that was simply uncalled for. I also apologize for pointing the gun at you. In truth, however, it was only a .22 caliber, hardly powerful enough to kill a person (this, of course, excluding a headshot).
Again let me say it, I’m sorry. And I want you to know that this is a sincere apology. Even though this letter is court-ordered, I want you to know I mean every word in it and I really hope we can get a chance to work together in the future, hopefully between 18 and 24 months depending on behavior.
Thank you for your time.
Inmate No: 45781B
Cook County Correctional Institution
Chicago IL, 60622
“Billy, mommy is very sick. She has some substance abuse issues and is going away to a nice place to make her all better.”
This is the euphemistically plentiful line I would hear from law enforcement officials as a child, seated on their knee in the yard of whatever house we were currently renting as a gurney rolls out of the house with my drunk mother securely fastened, lifting her hand to wave at me, as they lift her into the ambulance.
“I think she is waving at me.”
“Now Billy, she’s just sick and needs to go away to get better.”
“Did you know ambulances can go as fast as they want?”
“Yes, Billy, They’ll go as fast as they need to go so they can get your mom to a hospital so she can get better.”
I thought it was unfair she was rewarded with an ambulance ride, speeding around turns, rolling through stoplights, sirens roaring.
One morning there were no more ambulances. No more cushioned talk about getting better, no more hurried sirens or flashing light. No, She’d have one more opportunity to neglect red lights but this time she would be leading a caravan of cars and minivans with hazard lights blinking violently out of chorus except for a few moments where the line of cars would blink in unison for one moment before falling out of sync again. If you are looking from the right perspective and have the patience to watch the flashing chaos long enough, you might be rewarded with that single brilliant moment where the individual amber bursts collect and fire in one great harmonic blaze, a collective moment of together in an otherwise isolating experience. Then, the great flashing fire is swiftly snuffed out like a collection of birthday candles and then, they resumes their self-centered, confused, blinking.
I don’t think the undertaker was careless with my mother; I just think she looked like they may have applied foundation with a paintball gun. I suppose in a job as thankless as human-taxidermist, there needs to be the occasional valve decompression in the form of superficial human graffiti. In retrospect, I bet my mother was probably buried with gang signs scribbled across her ass in the fashion of a handicapped toilet stall of a Denny’s, “Wez Side Motha Fuckaz” cleverly hidden under her burial dress. It’s neither here nor there, I suppose. Mother always fancied herself Thug Life.
I was 12-years-old when my step-father and the mortician took me into a small room at the funeral home to allow me to view my mothers “remains.” I didn’t like that word, remains. Remains, to me, felt like whatever was left over at a yard sale. Like I was being taken to a view a casket half full with a bent sand wedge, Kool Aid stained beanbag chair and a single size-13 ski boot. I was weary of euphemistic language. It was this same defanged talk that was spoon fed to me when explaining my mother’s “condition”, countless trips to rehab, and ultimately her demise.
“Your mom was sick, she really wanted to get better but this is God’s will and she’s in a better place.”
I lean over the open casket and look inside.
“Her boobs look a little…flat.” I say.
I remember mom being curvy, and that’s how I want to remember her. Chesticles in life as they shall be in death, asses to asses, bust to bust…through Christ our Lord, Amen.
I don’t remember what the mortician said in response to this wildly bizarre accusation of de-boobing mom, but I do remember the words he used were with the same cadence and temperament of a person who’s trying to explain to someone that they have spinach in their teeth. Very polite, hushed tones, “She’s in a better place and you may want to just make a quick trip to the bathroom because…right there, yeah, no go like this. There you go.”
I ultimately gave my approval, it’s not like sending a hamburger back at a restaurant, “I’m sorry, I asked for this corpse well-done and clearly I can still see pink in the middle…and please don’t just put it in the microwave and please don’t spit on it, thank you.”
I reached out and touched her one more time, like ringing a doorbell. No one was home. I thought that maybe I would cry. I didn’t. I had lost that connection to her when I was much younger. Not intentionally, there’s just only so much you can take before the brain decides that it’s going to be too difficult to continually invest in this person emotionally only to lose your investment a short time later. The market was turbulent so my heart made safer investments in Bugs Bunny and Ninja Turtles; they were on once a week like clockwork. They were the good investment.
What was hardest was not that she was gone but that I never had a chance to trust her and love her like a mother instead of a maintaining a dark comic detachment that I maintain to this day. i.e., “No, Ms. Marshall, I don’t know why my mom didn’t pick me up from school and no, trust me, she’s not ‘probably stuck in traffic’ unless there is beer truck toppled over on 95. I suggest we call my grandma because something tells me mother dearest shall be ‘stuck in traffic’ for 6-12 weeks until she shows up in an ER in Philly drunk on rubbing alcohol looking for a Percocet prescription for her tennis elbow.”
What was hardest was not that she was gone but that we spent so many years blinking in the same house. She would blink on the couch, drunk, alone, broken. I would blink alone in my room with the covers pulled over my head. It wasn’t until she was gone that I wanted to glisten with her, in unison, in a temporary and beautiful chorus, if only for one glorious amber burst and then blink into darkness—together.
Does Michele Bachmann Dress…
a. like the sous chef at a $30-a-plate seafood restaurant in Dayton Ohio.
b. like the concierge at Sandals Jamaica. or
c. like she thinks she’s running for Mayor of Cloud City against incumbent Lando Calrissian.
D. All of the above?