Friday, September 18, 2009

More stand up, this time it's even less funny

I swear I'm writing still, but these past few weeks have been devoted to writing one long essay. Hopefully I'll finish it some day. Here's more shitty stand up for you. Sorry.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tune in, stand up, cop out

You'd think that with all the time I spent not working this week, I'd have a killer essay for you today. Sadly, this is not the case. Instead, please accept this chunk of mediocre stand up comedy. If you like it, let me know. If not, also let me know.



Thanks for listening, see you in a week.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Things that scare me

I live a life of constant fear and paranoia. Everybody's afraid of something, I'm afraid of most things. Worse yet, I'm afraid of things that aren't material - my fears are nebulous, my fears are mostly intangible. Sometimes these fears paralyze me. I curl up in a ball late at night, worrying that someday, I may have to deal with these fears. In an effort to reduce the number of nights I spend weeping myself to sleep, terrified of something that probably won't happen or isn't true, here is a list of my fears, complete with rationales for all of them. To be fair, some are more rational than others. The goal of this essay is to gauge how reasonable each neurosis is, and rank them on a totally not gimmicky or arbitrary scale, where the reasonableness of each fear is given a score from one to five Woody Allen films. Shall we begin? Let's shall.

Abandonment!

I'm afraid that one morning, I'm going to wake up and everybody I love will have left me. My wife will disappear, my friends will stop answering my calls, even my cat will have run away. I'll be alone, with nobody left to love me. The only thing worse than being alone is the knowledge that once left to my own devices, I'd probably end up living in a pile of filth and eating shoe leather to survive, periodically shuffling back to civilization to weep in front of the local DSW in the hopes of receiving some old adidas Gazelles to eat.

This fear, the armchair psychologist might say, comes from the fact that my biological father did, in fact, abandon me and my mother when I was very young. The fact that I somehow managed to survive being raised by my mother tells me that I'd at least be able to carve out a decent life for myself, even after the wheels fall off. More importantly, I know that while my wife may leave me for an orthodontist some day, my cat will love me forever, or at least until she sees a squirrel in the tree outside our apartment.

Neurosis score: 2 out of 5 Take the Money and Runs

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Being a bad parent!

I have no children, thank God. Someday, my wife and I plan to buy a couple of daughters from China and raise them as our own, and when that day comes, I'm sure I'll be a terrible parent. Not “keep one of them in a Rape Shed in the back yard” terrible, but bored, disinterested and selfish. This comes from the related fear that I could never love anything as much as it truly deserves to be loved.

Luckily, my wife is a wonderful person. She'll take care of our children while I spend my time with a worthless hobby that distances me from my family. I'm guessing building ships in bottles or something.

Neurosis score: 2.5 out of 5 Hannah and Her Sisters

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Losing my mind!

Another wonderful fear of mine is the inevitable day that I will be sitting in my bedroom with, as the great Tony Kornheiser would say, “a rat in my mouth and drool running down my chin.” Not that I'm 100% with it all of the time as it is, but I fear that at an advanced age, my faculties will fail me and I'll eventually slip into a stupor, forcing my loved ones - assuming they haven't abandoned me yet - to care for me.

This comes from a tangentially related fear of mine - the fear of someday having to take care of my own mother, despite the fact that I hate her with a passion that burns like 1,000 dying suns. However many times I told her as much, I know that there's no way I would be able to put her in one of those crooked homes you see all the time on 60 Minutes, if for no other reason than I probably won't be able to afford it. Then again, if my kids hate me as much as I hate my mom, hopefully they'll kill me in my sleep like the Menendez brothers.

Neurosis scale: 4 out of 5 Bananas

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I'm bad at my job and all of my friends and coworkers secretly hate me!

I work at a movie theatre, and apparently I'm good at my job. At least my bosses think I'm good at my job - they want me to train other people, which is super-weird to me. I think I'm terrible at my job. This is a vestigial fear dating back to the days when I really was terrible at my job. I'd fuck around at the supermarket all the time, catching Peanut M&M's in my mouth that people would throw from ten feet away. At Olympia Sports, I'd take ten breaks a day to smoke cigarettes in the parking lot with a drifter named Chaos. I can't go into what I did to fuck around at adidas, because one or more of my accomplices still work there, and I don't want to get them into trouble. That's all at my old jobs though, and if my new bosses think I'm good at my job, then I must be good at my job. Similarly, I'm sure all of my friends secretly don't like me. Not in a Mean Girls/The Hills kind of way, but more like they spend time with me because they pity me. They know I'm fragile, and without their approval I'll break like a Fabergé egg. They're doing me a favor. Goddamn I'm a wreck.

Neurosis score: 3.5 out of 5 Broadway Danny Roses

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Snakes!

Pretty self-explanatory. Every snake in the world wants to kill me, and will stop at nothing to do so. They hide in bushes, piles of leaves, trees and ponds, just waiting for me to let my guard down and then bam, I'm fucking dead. Luckily, I live in the city now and all the snakes I see have been turned into belts for assholes.

Also, to save Dave Mahan some time, I'll just add this: Aaaah! COBRAS!

Neurosis score: 5 out of 5 Purple Rose of Cairos

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Immortality, the death of my pets and secretly being the source of the destruction of everything I love!

This one's kind of a doozy. I lump them all together because they all involve the death of the things I love. First, there's the idea of living forever, while watching my friends and family waste away and die. I'm not sure how I first developed this fear, and it's not like it dominates my every thought or anything. It's just that I worry that although it's never happened before, there's a chance that I'll be the first person to live forever. This is one of the reasons I stopped smoking pot.

Secondly, the death of my pets not only frightens me, but the mere thought of if eats me up inside. I feel a gnawing inside my chest, right around the xyphoid process, that once I think about my cat dying, I can't shake for days. This is one of the many reasons I have yet to buy a turtle. This fear is so bad that it's tough for me to get new pets, because I know that someday they will have to die, and the idea of having to cope with that - despite the fact that it's probably over a decade away - is usually enough to deter me from getting an animal companion in the first place.

Then there's the most insidious, most nebulous, most incredibly weird fear of all. I'm afraid that somehow I will end up ruining everything I love. All the things that are important to me, all the friendships I have, my marriage, my impressive collection of old Loveline episodes, all of it will be gone, and I'll have nobody to blame but myself. And there's nothing I can do to cure this one. Well, maybe therapy, but fuck that.

Neurosis score: 5 out of 5 Love and Deaths