Thursday, January 29, 2009

Psych Ward Funnies

NB: Most of this post was written by Josh, but everything italicized after the Arlo Guthrie quote was added by John. Enjoy!

“I said ‘Obie, I can understand you wanting my wallet so I don’t have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you want my belt for?’ And he said ‘Kid, we don’t want any hangings.’” – Arlo Guthrie

I grew up in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts and lived the first eight years of my life there. When I was in the second grade my mom got married to my stepdad, who had a nicer house in a nicer town, so naturally we moved in with him. This wasn’t really a problem for my mom because she had a car. I, on the other hand, was eight years old and was unable to keep in contact with my friends. I never saw any of them again. This would have been much less of a problem for little me if I hadn’t moved to West Barnstable, a town where you meet your friends when you’re an embryo and never let anyone else in your circle ever again. There were other kids in my neighborhood, but none of them seemed particularly interested in spending time with me. I thought something was wrong with me, but in hindsight it was probably my mom who scared the parents of the other kids.

The only kid on my street who I spent any real time with was also named Josh. He lived about three houses away and we would hang out all the time and play video games and such. His mom never wanted me to come into their house, which I still don’t really understand. By the time he had moved away, I had made other friends so it wasn’t a terrible loss.

My life at the Soul-Crushing Public High School wasn’t all bad. There was a lot of good that came out of getting back into regular society. One of the perks was spending a lot of time with my friends from middle school that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. This, naturally, included Josh, who I hadn’t really talked to in years. He had turned Angry in the time we had spent apart. He wasn’t really goth or punk, he was just Angry about everything. He liked music that was about being Angry, he liked drawing Angry things, he liked reading Angry books, often containing an Angry manifesto or two. He was in my senior year physics class along with his Angry Friend who liked wearing a weird metallic finger guard that was shaped like a talon, his girlfriend Amanda, future Mousebed columnist John Cabral, a fat balding guy who looked like a catfish and various other characters who will be drifting in and out of this story.

JC: This blog's proprietor/protagonist's disdain for the oxford comma may lead some of you to believe that I was fat and balding in high school.  To clarify: I was only fat.

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Right after Thanksgiving of my senior year, I got a job working at Staples. The Staples in Hyannis is fucking miserable. They treat their employees like shit and the management team was utterly brain-dead. There were five managers, four of whom were named John, Paul, George and Richard. Naturally, the first thing I said was “Oh, like the Beatles!” Nobody in the six years they had worked together had noticed that the four of them were linked by this coincidence.

One time Paul asked if I knew any other languages.

Me – Yeah, I took four years of French and I can translate Latin fairly proficiently.
Paul – Latin, huh? What country are you from?
Me – Uh, this one.
Paul – Right, but which one originally? You look Latin.
Me – Like, Latin American?
Paul – Exactly. That’s how you learned to speak Latin.

I’d like to take this time to mention that I’ve lived in Los Angeles for nearly three years and anyone who spends more than three seconds speaking with me knows right away that there’s no way my guero ass could be from any country but the good old U S of A.

So I was miserable at Staples. So what? I’ve been miserable before. Hell, I spent most of my life miserable, so this was just another crapstream feeding into the shit tributary that was my life. There were a few things that made me happy that winter. I played pool with John, Will and Bryan every week, I was going to concerts all the time – I even had tickets for Ben Folds in January – and I was finally getting my shit together as it pertained to dating.

JC: Josh would later bring an autographed Ben Folds set list in to show our Physics class because it also included a Physics formula of some sort that he had written on Josh's Physics quiz.  Sadly, it would be three more full years before I would come to comprehend how awesome this was, and how awesome Ben Folds is.  Seriously, buy up some iTunes tracks if you're unfamiliar.

Angry Josh and his girlfriend had hit a rough patch in their relationship. She was too sweet-natured to be Angry, and his Anger started to grate on her. What better time for me to be a rebound boyfriend? We started seeing each other on a regular basis and before long, we were making out in my station wagon every few days. The best part of dating her was that she always offered to give me gas money. She had never owned a car, so she just assumed that I needed to fill my tank every time we went out. I would pay for dinner and she would pay for gas. I made money off of this relationship. It was great. Unfortunately, nothing else was.

My job was getting worse by the day. I would get off of school, drive over to Staples, work my ass off, trudge back home, fall asleep and repeat every day. It was hellish. One day I finally snapped. I went into my boss’s office and told her that I couldn’t work anymore and would be checking myself into the hospital for psychiatric evaluation. I was going to kill myself otherwise. They wouldn’t let me leave until my dad picked me up and took me to the hospital. I was to be held for three days. It was miserable and scary, but it was better than working at Staples. There were fewer sex offenders at Cape Cod Psych, at least.

JC: In the days leading up to this check-in, Josh would casually reveal to me that he hadn't slept in 30+ hours, and would ask what day it was because he'd lost the ability to keep track.  To this day, he's the only person to have ever shown and offered me caffeinated breath mints.  I have no idea where one would obtain such things -- certainly not at his current church.  I must say, though, that they were pretty fucking delicious.

While I was in the psych ward, I met a woman who gave the greatest insight I have ever received in my entire life. She told me that everywhere I went for the rest of my life; people would be the same as they were in high school. When you graduate from high school, you go to college. College is high school part two. Everybody is a few years older, but still immature and thoughtless. Then you graduate from college (oops) and get a job. The working world is high school part three. She couldn’t handle being in the outside world and had serious problems interacting with others. It was my job to make sure that what happened to her never happened to me. After our talk, we went to the common room and watched an episode of Dharma and Greg. I don’t remember what happened on Dharma and Greg but I do know that I never want to relive that pain again.

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A few days later I was discharged and I tried to resume my relationship with Amanda. For someone with such a long neck she had a short memory. I called her and she told me that she was back with Angry Josh. What was worse, she had never really broken up with him in the first place. Rather than acting like an adult – which, ironically I had just learned would be a talent she would never foster - and telling her boyfriend that she had sought me out and hooked up with me, she told him that I, using reserves of charm that I kept somewhere in a silo or something, had seduced her. Believe it or not, he was Angry.

I went to physics class that Monday expecting very little to go on. We’d watch a Paul Hewitt educational video, go over some homework, and maybe do some hands-on stuff. Instead, I walked into a hotbed of gossip and chatter. I feel the need to take a moment to explain the bizarre makeup of this classroom. Barnstable High, like all high schools, had a caste system.

There were cool kids, cooler kids, drama kids, football kids, cheerleader kids, band kids, anime kids, fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks, tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox love hot dogs, Armour Hot Dogs, the dogs kids love to bite! Oh, and the stoners.

JC:  True enough, but Josh neglected the Arthur Rhodes Fan Club.  Funny, girls seemed to do the same thing.  Secondively, readers should know a little background on Amanda.  Prior to Angry Josh and Josh, she had dated our class president for a long period of time.  They were contenders for class couple, she started on the pill for him after months of deliberation, and all those other things that high school couples deem important.  If you had tried to bet someone that the two would live happily ever after, you would've had trouble finding someone to take you up on it and say they wouldn't. Amanda's response to the breakup was a bizarre one.  She began serial dating dudes up and down the rows of our Physics class - a misfit hodgepodge of social castoffs conveniently gathered in the same room four times per week.  This girl checked her neighbor alright, over and over again.  This is a clear-cut plot with the promise of comedy.  Please tell your friends about this blog.

And then there were the 35 kids in Bernie Beveridge’s physics class. We, like the aforementioned Armour Hot Dogs, were the cast-offs of all the other cliques. For the record, I wasn’t cool enough to be an anime kid. None of the kids in the class were used to the drama that the cool kids were constantly a part of, and they were thrilled. There was a schism, and people had to pick sides. There were two bitterly divided factions, one backing Angry Josh, and one backing Me Josh. Apparently Amanda fooling around with me had pissed Angry Josh off enough to get his Angry Friend With The Metallic Talon to start some shit in the classroom. It was brother against brother, lab partner against lab partner, Cabral against Fornasaro.

This particular day we had physics for lunch block. Barnstable High had a separate cafeteria for the senior class with better food and freedom to go outside and enjoy the fresh air. Because of some weird logistical snag, our class was the only senior class to have our particular lunch period, and as such the only people in the lunch room that day were my fellow physics students. Normally there were a few different tables. There was a cool table, a jock table, and what was affectionately called the ESPN table, which was situated next to a TV that always had PTI or Sportscenter on it. Not today. Today there were only two tables.

It was at this time that every student had to make a life-altering choice: Do you sit at the Josh Table or the Josh Table? As I recall, the Josh Table representing Angry Josh had more people sitting at it. This could have been a result of Angry Josh’s Angry Friend With The Metallic Talon. Before lunch he pulled me aside and told me he was going to slash the tires of my car if he ever found out which one it was. To let me know he was serious, he reached in his pocket and pulled out his duct tape wallet, which he had cunningly chained to his belt loop to make sure nobody would take it. Anyhow, inside the wallet, where one would keep a photograph of a child or girlfriend, AFWTMT kept a photograph of a panel van that he and some equally Angry friends had presumably vandalized. The windows were broken; the sides were spraypainted and dented up. Apparently he would show this picture to anybody who was having trouble with another person. He’d pull it out of his wallet and say “Wanna see what I did to some guy’s van?” and insinuate that he would do the same to the vans of your enemies. He was so proud of that van.

JC: This story about AFWTMT is 100% true.  In the interest of character development, both AFWTMT and Angry Josh would wear all black getup to school each and every day.  The one time Angry Josh wore a white surfing company t-shirt, he was reprimanded by AFWTMT.  What was one of AFWTMT's favorite jokes?  I'm glad you asked!  It went a little something like this:

Q: How many babies does it take to decorate a room?
A: That depends on how much paint's on 'em when ya start throwin' 'em!

After an utterly retarded lunch, we all went back to class. The seating was assigned, so I was forced to sit with Angry Josh to my left and his Angry Friend in front of me. They told me that they were going to kill me. Joke’s on them, I would have gladly done it myself had I been forced to work another week at Staples.

JC: During the lunch table standoff, there was rumored to be a Josh on Josh donnybrook out in the quad after our food was consumed.  It never materialized, to my great chagrin.

The next day was a Friday, so I figured I’d just stay home and let the fire die down. When my dad asked why I wasn’t going to school, I told him that some kids had threatened to kill me and I was just going to lay low and take a long weekend to let the whole thing cool off. He got really mad and freaked out demanding to know who threatened his son. I explained that it was Angry Josh and told him as much of the story as I felt like telling, to which he replied, “You know, that kid was fucking weird.”

JC:  I'm facebook friends with him.  I wonder if he'll click through from my status.

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I ended up not getting murdered by Angry Josh and his Angry Friend With The Metallic Talon. That weekend, Amanda dumped Angry Josh for real and started dating someone Angry Josh and I could both agree was a horrible human being. I try to avoid using names in these posts to protect the innocent, so I’m just going to say his name was Dave and he looked like a catfish. What’s worse is that the Catfish was in the same physics class as the three of us. He saw the whole thing go down between me and Angry Josh. He should have known that she was going to cause him a retarded amount of trouble. She only dated him to get back at Angry Josh and me – they would make out in class when Mr. Beveridge wasn’t around. This stopped after someone threatened to slash the tires on his red Mercury Villager minivan.

JC:  I'm facebook friends with him, too.  You may recall him from showing up to the prom in the same suit as Josh...with Amanda.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Radio Free P-Town

“Television people are smart and evil; radio people are stupid and evil.” – Adam Carolla

One of the benefits of going to a Non-Traditional Fuck You, Man School was access to a lot of weird things that 15-year-olds shouldn’t be doing. During my sophomore year of high school, my friends and I were given an opportunity to host a two hour radio show on a public radio station. Who the fuck had that terrible idea? Every other Saturday my dad would drop me off in South Yarmouth to meet up with my friends Sean and Mike and we would all carpool up to Provincetown, MA, the home of 92.1 WOMR. I had always been fascinated with radio and the year or so I spent as a public radio DJ provided me with some valuable knowledge about people. The lesson I learned over and over was that people aren’t very smart.

For the first few weeks our show was terrible. None of us really knew how to operate any of the equipment; our voices would always be broadcast talking over the music. Mike didn’t want to play any music that could possibly offend anybody, so naturally we tried to find music that would piss him off. He once flipped out because Mrs. Robinson contained the word “Jesus,” so naturally that became our theme song. We started every show off with Mrs. Robinson, which was our way of letting people know that they should turn their radios off. We improvised horrible comedy sketches, Sean would showcase his skills on the wheels of steel by scratching records on air, and I would play music that nobody likes. We definitely played more Bjork than any other station on Cape Cod, that’s for sure. One beloved staple of our show was the on-air chugging contests we would have. I wish I could sit here and tell you that this was a calculated foray into the world of Dadaist anti-art, but we were just really terrible DJs.

Our time slot was from noon to 2pm every other Saturday. The weeks that we weren’t in studio, there was a reggae show hosted by two brain-dead, be-dreadlocked heshers who called themselves The Dank Buds. I wasn’t a fan of The Dank Buds, or their terrible music, but one thing united us all – our hatred of That Fucking Opera Show. The most popular show at the time on WOMR was the opera show. It consisted of two old people who would set up an opera to play on-air, and sit there and do nothing but listen the whole time. What bullshit is that? They didn’t talk! There was no between-song patter! They didn’t even make fun of the other shows on the station? Fuck that. That Fucking Opera Show wouldn’t have been a problem, but our show was in their old time slot. They moved from noon every Saturday to 2pm so they could have more time to say nothing on the radio. We were on the air for 18 months and every week we would get calls wondering where That Fucking Opera Show was. Naturally, we decided that the name of our show would have to become Anything But Opera. This was not a popular decision with our station manager, but she was a hateful bitch, so there you go.

One of the benefits of working in community radio was a lack of oversight. We would often be the only people in the entire station, giving us an opportunity to rob the place blind. In our time there, Sean and I managed to lift approximately 12 bajillion CDs from the poorly organized clusterfuck of a record library they had. Nobody noticed, or a least nobody said anything. We would leave every week with backpacks full of music that nobody would miss.

Anything But Opera had 18 glorious months on the air. Like so many sweet things, our meteoric rise from relative unknowns to the second most popular show in our own time slot would be ruined by my love of the word “motherfucker.” Sean and I thought we had figured out a way to censor our own music by lowering the switches as the songs got vulgar. Actually, all this did was made it louder on-air. We got away with this for three or four songs, but our station manager called and made us stop the music and apologize, and we were told never to darken the door of the apartment building that WOMR was broadcast out of ever again. I’m surprised we made it so long. I still can’t believe for the life of me that a professional radio person would be stupid enough to allow three teenagers run a two-hour show without any kind of supervision. This fact became a lot easier to believe once I found out that every single person responsible for our radio show being on the air has since been fired. The only thing that remains is That Fucking Opera Show. I never listened to it, but the elderly like it, and they’re the ones who donate to public radio.

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I did a little sleuthing for this post and found out that the old time slot for Anything But Opera/The Dank Buds is now in a three-show rotation consisting of Singing with Sam, Into the Zone or A Cupful of Sun, all of which sound much worse than our show. Also, That Fucking Opera Show now has a fourth hour. If for any reason you want to listen to any of that crap, go to http://womr.org and click listen live!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A photographic tour of the six or so blocks to the immediate east, west and south of my apartment

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This is the fountain outside my building. When Aurora was scouting apartments for us to live in, this was her main selling point.

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Now it even has fish in it. We can hear it running all day outside our room.

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Musso and Frank’s is a pretty famous restaurant up the street from our apartment. Notice that the sign says “OLDEST IN HOLLYWOOD.” The oldest restaurant in Hollywood is less than a century old. The oldest restaurant in Boston was opened in 1741, so there you go.

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The Geisha House is a sushi restaurant/night club with mediocre food for super high prices. It used to be cool to go there, but then everyone found out about it. In March of 2006, I saw Paris Hilton vomit in the parking lot of the Geisha House.

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The closest star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to my apartment is Leonard Nimoy. You’ll notice the mark from the bicycle tire and the streak of homeless urine.

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Scooby’s Hot Dogs is a fine little hot dog stand up the street from my place, and you’ll notice that it’s attached to a church that used to be a movie theatre. The entrance to the church is where a lot of homeless people sleep.

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The only t-shirt in the history of time with Joe Biden’s face on it.

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Just east of Scooby’s is the World of Wonder Storefront Gallery. This is where my wife and I went to see an exhibit called “Golden Girls Gone Wild” featuring paintings by local artists of the Golden Girls cast in various states of undress. Believe it or not, there were a lot of “thank you for being a friend” jokes. As you can see, the current exhibit is RuPaul-related, and it’s fucking awesome.

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Kung Pao Kitty is a delicious Asian food restaurant a few blocks away from the apartment. The first time Aurora and I went to eat there, our food took forever and was not what we ordered, but what a neighboring table had ordered. Also, there was a super-long hair in my rice. Bad times.

This past April, we were sitting at the table next to the window. Aurora got up to go to the bathroom, and I witnessed a double vehicular homicide. An SUV ran a red light and launched a homeless woman and a youngish Latin guy about 20 feet before speeding off. They were killed instantly. Don’t let these stories freak you out though, the food is still really good.

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Doheney… Cahuenga… La Brea…

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(10:51:40 AM) Josh: I'm buying super cheap used records down at Amoeba and selling them to people on ebay.
(10:53:01 AM) Jean Cabral: you've got the same mindset as a part time drug dealer

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This is Boutique de Moi, a store for the nine year old girl who wants to feel like a princess. I feel like there must be something going on in there that the government doesn’t want me, Josh Grimmer, to see, because Goddamn do I never want to set foot in that place. It makes my skin crawl.

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This is the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum. They need to fix their roof and that dinosaur isn’t helping things one bit.

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This is a billboard for a hockey-themed show on the Soap Opera Network called “MVP.” This makes me mad for so many reasons. First of all, in hockey it’s called the Hart Trophy, which makes for an easy name for the main character. He could be trying to win the hand of Lady Byng from the treacherous Conn Smyth. Instead, it’s just about hockey players romancing middle-aged actresses. Laaaaame.

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This is one of two American Apparel stores on Hollywood Blvd, spaced about three blocks apart. Last month, the window advertisement was this same model, but in a sheer body stocking, exposing her nipples and pubic hair. I’m okay with 20’ nudes, but I’m sure they were taken down after somebody protested.

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This is one of the many sex shops on Hollywood Blvd. If you love fake dicks, this is the place to be. One time I saw Midwestern tourist family walking down the street. Fat parents and a fat son. First they walked past this store and took pictures. Then they walked by a tattoo parlor with a woman getting her ass tattooed in the front window. They then passed by a head shop and were shocked, flabbergasted, appalled and disgusted by what they saw in the window. BONGS! Good Lord, not bongs. Sheesh.

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Nothing says Christmas like Scientology.

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This is a statue at the beginning of the Walk of Fame. It commemorates the pioneers of the film industry, with statues of the four most important actresses to represent their minorities. There’s Delores Del Rio, who was Latin, Anna Mae Wong who was Asian, Dorothy Dandridge who was Black and Mae West who was fat.* You’ll also notice that on the top of the statue is a tiny gold Marilyn Monroe, which is to remind you that Whitey will always come out on top.

*fat Mae West joke courtesy of my wife

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Without further ado, the time I got dumped by my guidance counselor!

“At this point I feel the need to remind you that you’re on my side here.” – Mike Birbiglia

You may recall that for the first two years of my high school career, I went to a weeeird school. I went to a school with about 250 or so students but little funding to go around. As such, the school had fewer amenities than the Big Soul-Crushing Public School, Man. Most schools had things like cafeterias, auditoriums, libraries and teachers who got paid. One thing that our school had was a guidance counselor who took an interest in the lives of her charges. Since we had so few students, she was the guidance counselor for all of us. She knew every intimate detail of every member of the student body. Non-sexually, of course.

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I dated two girls my freshman year of high school, neither of whom really turned out the way I thought they would. I failed in both relationships. The first, you may recall, dumped me on my birthday because her parents thought I was a bad influence on her. The second dumped me on her birthday because I wasn’t a bad enough influence on her. I thought I was pretty cool for dating a girl who smoked at age 15. Knowing what I know now, I’m positive I was pretty cool for dating a girl who smoked at age 15. I was too square back then to be her type, but that’s a different story for a different day.

Going into my sophomore year I decided to start anew. I’d rework my “image” so that I’d be more appealing to girls. I eventually got around to asking a girl out. As always, I was way out of my league. She was smart, classy and dignified. If you click those links, you’ll know that those are three words that don’t describe me. Whenever people asked me why I felt insecure with her, I told them about our summer jobs. I worked at the A&P Supermarket; she worked at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. I couldn’t compete.

There was one other thing that made me uncomfortable with her – she was afraid to kiss me. Anybody reading this who was ever the age of 15 knows that it’s impossible to convince a girl to kiss you without sounding like a date rapist. You just can’t do it. Instead of working through this roadblock, we just ended all of our dates with awkward hugs and I would sneak a kiss on her cheek on the doorstep of her parents’ house. Romantic, right? Well she hated it. I can’t be sure, but I think her parents didn’t approve of me being – believe it or not – a bad influence on their daughter. I couldn’t fucking win, man. I tried to hip myself up after getting dumped by the smoker and it backfired like you wouldn’t believe.

During this time I was eligible to be confirmed as a member of the Catholic faith. The bargain I struck with my parents was as follows: once I went through the rite of confirmation, I no longer had to attend mass with my parents anymore. I couldn’t have been more stoked to be confirmed, let me tell you. In my confirmation classes was a redheaded girl who I had never seen before. Apparently her parents moved from another town and she was to be confirmed at the same church as me. She was much more my type – angry, rebellious and a smoker. We had similar taste in music and that was really the most important thing to me at the time. She and I spoke for hours on end every night after I’d get off the phone with my girlfriend, a habit I would repeat two more times before I was done dating. Long story short, I fell in love.

That summer I grew apart from my girlfriend. Like I said earlier, she worked at Woods Hole and I worked scanning groceries, so we didn’t have much to talk about at night when we’d get home from work. It didn’t help that her dad wouldn’t let her stay on the phone past 9pm, which at the time I considered totally fucking lame, a position I hold to this day. We spent little time together that summer, and when we were together we’d sit around and watch movies. Her favorite movies were Benny and Joon and Harold and Maude but sadly not Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.

As our relationship grew stale, I started talking more with the Girl From Confirmation Class. We’d see each other fairly often and she knew she had me wrapped around her finger. We would hang out all the time, doing things that could only be described as perfectly normal and perfectly healthy. We’d watch Internet porn, talk about our favorite hilarious Internet-only fetishes and listen to Tori Amos albums, all while never having sex. I wasn’t about to cheat on my girlfriend, after all.

Then one night we had sex. One night she came over because she wanted to learn how to play Dungeons and Dragons, and instead we had sex. I know I don’t need to tell you how this all happened, it’s a tale told since time out of mind.

The next day I called my girlfriend, planning to tell her that I had to break up with her, possibly telling her about how horrible a person I was. I got a hold of her and before I could say anything she was crying. Her fucking cat died. I couldn’t believe it. There was no way I could dump her then. If I ever got dumped the same day my cat died, I’d throw myself off of a cliff. I put it off, hoping that things would just kind of figure themselves out, as things are wont to do. Believe it or not, they didn’t.

I kept cheating on my girlfriend that summer, and that September we all had to go back to school. My girlfriend, the Girl From Confirmation Class and I all went to the same school of approximately 250 students, so we all saw a lot of each other. Needless to say, things were pretty nerve-wracking for me. There’s no worse feeling than being constantly reminded of how horrible you are as a person.

One night I was with the Girl From Confirmation Class and we were just starting to have sex when I stupidly decided to have a conscience. I told her I would have to break up with my girlfriend before any other sex could be had, but I would do it at my soonest convenience. We fell asleep without speaking to each other.

The next day, I was invited to lunch by my guidance counselor. Remember my guidance counselor? It’s a post about my guidance counselor. We went to lunch at the hippy restaurant near the school and she told me that my girlfriend would no longer need my services as a boyfriend. I couldn’t believe it – the GFCC told my girlfriend about our tryst(s) and was she ever pissed.

Small class size is a good thing if you’re a teacher. It’s less of a good thing when you’re a bad person and everyone knows in under an hour. I was virtually blackballed from school and I had to transfer to Barnstable High just to avoid the constant shame. You’ll never fucking believe what book we were reading in English class that month. Say it with me: The Scarlet Letter.

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A few months after I transferred, my now-ex-girlfriend and I started talking again. We talked about how much we liked being together and how I should have just asked her to have sex with me. She’d have said no, but at least we’d have broken up before I cheated. A few years later I’d be on the other end of infidelity and I finally understood how horrible it felt. Whenever I think about it though I always feel like I deserved it for how I acted in high school.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Beat the meatles

Don’t tell me what you’re putting in my lunchbox
Don’t tell me what you’re feeding me today
Don’t fill my head with trouble as I’m scarfing down a cheese soufflĂ©
I wanna be a new, original creation
A cross between a moose, a monkey and a fig
I’m ready Monsanto, let me be your guinea pig


Moxy Fruvous – Guinea Pig

In high school I became a vegetarian to impress a girl who I had no chance of ever dating, which almost always works. It didn’t work for me, but I’m sure it’s basically foolproof, so feel free to try it for yourself. Even though I didn’t win the love of my life, I felt healthier and was given yet another reason to act like I was better than most people. You may recall that I was completely goddamned insufferable.

Being a vegetarian is a lot easier if you’ve got a friend to do it with. It’s nice to be told that you’re right, and with something like vegetarianism it’s nice to have other people to commiserate with. “Oh man, can you believe my mom tried to give me Skittles? Doesn’t she know those contain GELATIN? JESUS CHRIST MOM UGH.” In high school I had my friend Bryan, and in college I met Teresa and Wayne, who were vegans. I knew Teresa had a boyfriend, but my impulse to impress girls I had no chance of ever dating kicked back in and I decided that if Teresa was a vegan, then goodbye milk. I never really wanted to date Teresa, by the way. She’s awesome but she and I both knew that I would be marrying Aurora some day.

To get back to the point, I eventually fell off the meat wagon and ordered a bacon and broccoli pizza one afternoon. It was delightful, and I’ve been more or less omnivorous ever since. I have very little problem eating meat now. I’ve even discovered meat that I didn’t like before I stopped eating it. By the way, have you ever heard of lamb? It’s like veal but even cuter and more delicious.

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with food, and I’ve been learning to cook new meals. I’ve always been pretty good at making pasta dishes and I can microwave a burrito with the best of them, but I was always either too scared or too grossed out to cook with meat. I don’t really have a problem with steaks or chicken breasts, because I can place those on the animal. I know where the breast of the chicken is and I know where flank steak comes from, but ground beef grosses me out. It really could be anything in that package, man. I’ve read pamphlets man, and you wouldn’t believe it man. Like, wow. Wow, man. Fuckin’ Monsanto, man.

Last week I went grocery shopping and was charged with the unenviable task of taking $30 and making it magically turn into a week’s worth of food. This cannot be done by picking up pre-fab dinners and microwaveable desserts; I needed to actually plan meals and pick my ingredients with an eye towards what would make good leftovers. After much consternation, I finally broke down and bought a pound of ground beef. We’ve got a George Foreman grill, so I figured that burgers would make an easy and delicious dinner and would require very little work on my part. Seemed like a perfect plan.

My wife got home from work and I started cooking. I cut open the package and grabbed a fistful of ground beef, shaping it into a vaguely patty-like slab. Not bad. It was a little greasy and a little smelly but I survived it. I did the same thing for a second patty and realized that I had about half of a patty’s worth of meat left. I threw the remaining meat into some Tupperware and figured I would brown it the next day and add it to some pasta sauce, just like my dad used to. We ate our delicious burgers and life was grand.

The next day Aurora reminded me to cook up the leftover beef before it went bad. I bravely took the meat and tossed it into the frying pan. I cooked it up, drained the gross fatty grease into an old cat food tin and tossed the meat into some sauce. We had pasta for dinner later that night and my wife laughed as she looked at her dinner.

- “What’s funny?”
- “Oh nothing, you just left the beef like that?”
- “Like what”
- “You know, like it came in the package. It’s still in little, I dunno, meat worms, I guess.”
- “Bluuuuuuuuuugh.”

Apparently you need to smush the meat into little pieces before you grill it up. It doesn’t change how the meat tastes, just how it looks. This practice, by the way, of making your meat not look like meat is funny to me. It’s still a dead thing, never forget that. Anyhow, I will probably end up smushing the meat before I cook it from now on, because every time I think about beef now all I hear is my wife saying “meat worms."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

State of the union

Most of my life has been spent convincing people that I’m right and they’re wrong. If ever you have been charged with the task of telling people that what they believe is simply untrue, then you know that there’s no good way of doing it and you always end up looking like a dick. I remember being in middle school and having my friends go through my CD collection and making fun of my Bob Dylan albums. Now everywhere I go, I see some snot-nosed 12-year-old fuck wearing a shirt that says “This Machine Kills Fascists” with a picture of Dylan on the back. First of all, Dylan got that from Woody Guthrie, and second of all, where were these people when I was in seventh grade?

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I sometimes find it hard to remember that I’m just a white guy. Like, sometimes my internal monologue changes my race to fit what would be funnier to me. I’m going to get my black ass a drink.

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I really like to be scared. I don’t actually like fearing for my life, but I like haunted houses and scary movies. My wife doesn’t understand this. I’m able to tell my brain to submit to being scared but still recognize that my life isn’t actually in danger. At Universal Studios there’s a haunted house filled with classic movie monsters like Frankenstein and the Wolfman and shit. When my wife and I go through she’s not scared because she works there and knows all the people in the costumes, and I cower behind her and she leads me through the maze. I’m sure we’re quite a sight.

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My biggest fear, other than snakes, is losing my mind. The thought that some day I’ll not be able to recognize my wife terrifies me. What’s worse is I’m convinced that the more I think about it, the more likely it is to happen. I already have a poor memory. We don’t keep photographs; we have no mementos or trinkets. The only thing I have to remind me that I’m married when she’s not around is my wedding ring.

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Sometimes I think everyone around me will finally realize that I’m no good. They’ll catch on that I’m a fraud - I’m not really fun or funny or interesting or smart or good at my job. I’ll be exposed and I’ll have no defense. I don’t know where this comes from. I figure as long as people think that I’m fun or funny or interesting or smart or good at my job, then I must be. I just don’t know why, and since I don’t know why, it can’t be true.

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I’m incapable of planning anything for more than six or seven minutes into the future and even then it’s not something I’m particularly good at. I’m bad at saving money, I’m bad at deciding what to have for dinner, I’m bad at rationing. I’m always running out of things earlier than I ought to. I never see it coming, even though it happens all the time. It’s like the past never existed and the future never will.