Monday, August 31, 2009

The Xmas Luncheon

An open bar is a rare gift. Look it straight in the mouth and check the teeth. All the free top-shelf bourbon I can drink? At an office party? On my employer’s tab? You mean, in front of my pretentious, overpaid, well-to-do, piece of shit, art director coworkers? Bring it! I’ll drink your expense account dry, jackass! I’ll pour expensive whiskey down my throat until I pass out in my seat and piss myself. It'll take three people to carry me back to my desk. Merry fucking Christmas!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Necessity of Limitations

Observe the mantra of the arrogantly pretentious, pseudo-creative buffoon: “No Limits.” This statement, though superficially innocuous and creatively inspiring, is a load of sophomoric tripe. So far removed from the grit of real creation is this utterance that it isn’t even qualifiable as an ideology or mode of operation. It is a childish illusion. Limitations are the framework within which all tangible creation occurs. Limitations provide the ground upon which you stand. Without limitations, one is left groundless, non-referential, irrelevant, and often altogether unintelligible. The confines of language (as art is ultimately a language) provide the architecture and context for a statement. Meaning is made possible by limitations. Precision is made possible by limitations. Creation is made possible by limitations. The absence of limitation, confinement, boundary, and rule is the absence of form and structure. This is not to say that immutable, inflexible, permanent values need be established and respected. Values are only values. There is no cause for allegiance to a value. Values should be constantly re-evaluated in order to remain current and relevant. They should be relevant in the context of creation. To be red is not to be blue. This is a limitation. These colors are only as we define them, and that definition entails that they are not anything other than what they are. Limitations do not imply lack of vision or innovation. They provide structure. It is the correct balance of limitation and creativity that nurtures an ideal environment for the creation of art.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Vibrator

It was July. We had all come from completely different places. They were our age and apparently pretty wealthy. I’ll admit that it made me self-conscious. We’re not poor by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d never been around young people with that sort of money before. I don’t know what he did for a living. He may have earned it all himself. He may have inherited it. I don’t know. I know that she worked in retail, which is certainly respectable, but retail doesn’t pay like that. So the money was clearly coming from him, one way or another. They were both very nice people, incredibly gracious and generous. We went out for drinks with them and then followed their Jaguar back to their place. We relaxed in the Jacuzzi in their backyard and drank more. They told us all about their boat, how much fun it was, and how we should hang out with them on it in the future. We followed them upstairs to one of their guest rooms, all tense nerves in wet bathing suits. We stripped, and started. It was a little awkward. I was embarrassed and angry with myself for feeling that way. I struggled to force an erection and eventually succeeded. Self-consciousness is a motherfucker when you’re trying to get a hard-on. We swapped a little. The women went at it a bit. Eventually my wife and I finished each other off. They were still going strong. They were nakedly fucking, smelling of alcohol, sweat, and hot semen. They were completely committed to it, shaking the bed, and nearly the whole room with it. As it turns out, a doctor friend of his had hooked him up with some Viagra, which will allow you to cum, sustain your hard-on, and just keep fucking, endlessly. I was not chemically enhanced. It was awkward. The chemistry wasn’t right. It may have been my fault. We did it to do it, and for that reason, we just wanted to exit now. There were no bad feelings. There were just no feelings at all. As they were finishing, he asked my wife to shove a vibrator up his ass while he fucked his own wife. I’m sure he would have preferred that it was me and not a vibrator at all, as he had made allusions to that scenario earlier in the evening, but I was clearly spent. Just wanting it to end, my wife obliged, albeit a little reluctantly. We just wanted to get out of there. At around 3am, we left and found our way home safely. I felt terrible about it afterwards and I was frustrated that I had let my own internal bullshit compromise what should have been an incredible time.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Hangover

The air is cold on my ribs and I’ve got the shakes. My liver is furious with me and he’s not leaving any room for doubt in my mind. He wants me to know that he’s upset. That’s fair. I deserve it. My stomach doesn’t play around, though. He’s fine. I rarely puke. My stomach is world-class. He can hold just about anything down. Additionally, I’ve met the morning with aggravated allergies and I can’t breathe through my nose. My pounding headache is simply the cherry on top of the giant sundae that is this miserable 200 pound jackass. I need to be at the gym in an hour.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Sweet Spot

When drinking, it’s important to hit the sweet spot, and stay there. You’ve got to get in it and maintain it cautiously. Much like fucking, if you come into it with too much gusto, you’re likely to go over the top too quickly and look foolish. A good buzz is a wonderful thing that makes everything sing to you. It’s also just a few more drinks away from a sloppy and useless state. You don’t want that. You want to hit that buzz perfectly, and then maintain it. Water it gently, like you would a houseplant. You don’t want to drown it. You want to water it evenly and put it in the window for the neighbors to admire.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chameleon Junction

This bar is like a third world country. It’s hot. They have about half a dozen ceiling fans and only two appear to be working. Each fan has a combination of three differently colored light bulbs, selected from any of the following options: red, blue, green, purple, or white. Some of the fans are missing paddles. They all have a thick crust of dust accumulated on them, as though they were batter-dipped and deep-fried in dust. There is a disco ball in the center of the ceiling and it’s either broken or simply not turned on. Xmas lights have been strung over anything that will accommodate them. One of those things is a giant series of mirrors on the right wall. Four large, square mirrors, each about three feet across, all side-by-side, with all their edges traced with Xmas lights. The music is terrible. We got suckered into coming down here to see somebody’s band play. It’s all bad. Everything. The bar is impoverished. They have a small handful of moderate-quality booze sitting on a fold-out banquet table behind the bar. Three taps, all bad. Fifty-cent drafts of chilled piss. No food. The bartenders are mutants, like everybody in here. Fifteen years back in time and just slightly deformed. There are lots of posters of girls with big tits, bad beer, and race cars. My head is somewhere else entirely. I’m furious that I’m even here. Cranky as a child and tired, I’m a prisoner at the end of a fucked-up gravel road, under an overpass, in the middle of the goddamn woods, watching high school garage bands embarrass themselves.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Firehouse Lounge

The three flights of carpeted stairs leading up to this place are crooked. As I climb them, it occurs to me how difficult it will be to walk back down them later, when I’m hammered. I will need to be careful when that time comes. The lounge is on the third floor of this building and I have no idea what’s on the other floors. Don’t care. The front of the lounge is comprised of three enormous, arched windows. The sun isn’t completely down yet, and it’s flooding the place with a warm pink glow. I feel like I’m standing inside a giant, gaping, square vagina. The bar is top notch, like everything here, other than the corny paintings of palm trees on the wall. No idea what that’s about. Everything else is great. Couches everywhere. Big cushions. Excellent interior design decisions abound. Everybody dressed nicely, except me. I don’t belong here. Fortunately for me, I don’t give a shit. Impressing corny, vain jackasses is not an aspiration of mine. It’s my friend Dana’s birthday and I will be drinking…a lot. Our waitress is stunning. She’s a black girl, about 5’7.” She’s got a nose ring hanging in the center of her face like a door knocker. Normally that looks bad on girls, but it’s cute on her. She’s got dreadlocks, about two feet long. Some are dyed pink or bleached white. There are lots of nice tattoos on her arms. They’re not overcrowded with them, just spaced out tastefully. The DJ is spinning nothing but funk, soul, and R&B hits of the '60s, '70s, and '80s. Everywhere our waitress walks, she’s dancing and smiling. I don’t know if it’s a strategy to get tips or if it’s a sincere expression of joy. I don’t care. She is amazing. She can rotate her hips like a belly dancer, and smile like it’s all she knows how to do. There are lots of other girls here but she stands out. My wife is talking with Dana and I’m making small talk with various other people. I don’t really know them all that well but we’ve got friends in common. It’s a good night. The gym will be closed tomorrow morning, so I don’t have to wake up and go there. I can stay out later than usual and drink more than usual. I just need to be able to make it down those crooked fucking stairs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

John’s Going Away Party

Steve is doing lines off the table and pulling on my nipples, trying to figure out the gauge of the rings I’ve got in them. I can’t figure him out. Karl is a good guy, but can’t argue to save his life. He has failed to convince me that there is a God or that I should care about football. My wife is enduring everything with remarkable patience. She has stepped into the god debate with Karl and has alleviated me of that burden. John and I are both very drunk and he’s decided to pick up where Karl left off. He doesn’t necessarily want to convince me that any god(s) exist but that it’s at the very least possible. He argues much better than Karl, though I’m still not buying it. Jimmy is an asshole with no reasons or stories, so fuck him. He’s not compelling. There are two other guys here. I don’t know their names but they’re nice. One of them understands Sartre and just explained him to John much better than I did. It’s been a few years since I’ve read Sartre and he’s difficult enough to grasp when he’s fresh in your mind and you’re totally sober. All the whiskey in my belly has rendered me Sartre-proof. We’ve toasted a lot of things here tonight: Hunter Thompson, France, Iron Maiden, John’s fiancé, and my wife. Our conversations have sprawled long and wildly, like a stripper’s legs. We’ve left god, found art and music, semantics, then more booze, then my wife. I thought she might show all our friends her tits, but didn’t. I don’t suspect that she’s drunk enough for that. I think everybody’s a little disappointed. I’m still encouraging her, though. I wish my friend from work was here. I would proposition her again. I’m sure she still wouldn’t sleep with me, but it would be fun to try. It would be fun to make her mildly uncomfortable. It’s not a difficult task but it’s always rewarding. That’s how people grow. She’s a great person, very moral. Tonight, I’m an engine, all internal combustion and torque. I don’t drive. I’m driven.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Miscellaneous Asshole

I can see that you’re an asshole from 15 feet away, before you open your mouth or rise from your barstool. Here are the clues that tipped me off. You’re wearing a cabbie hat, ridiculous glasses, expensive pre-worn jeans, distressed pre-worn t-shirt, and expensive European-looking shoes. You’ve also got a perfectly groomed, fancy goatee,which implies that you enjoy shaving a little too much. You’re not actually gay but you want to look like you are. Add to that the cheap, shitty beer you’re drinking, despite the fact that you clearly have money. You just want to look like you don’t. You are obviously pretty vain and concerned about your appearance, as evidenced by the items listed above. However, you’re apparently not so concerned that you would do the physically demanding, painful work and/or disciplined dieting required to lose your baby fat. Doubtless, you hold women to physical standards that you don’t apply to yourself. You are not a man. You are a big boy with no permanent identity, imitating what you see on TV.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

My 27th Birthday

She’s trying to show off “the goods” in the best possible light. That light is alcohol, neon, and Prince’s “Little Red Corvette.” I’m lit and nursing a double of Maker’s Mark on the rocks. She wants to pick up some mediocre shithead with no sense of identity. She might not realize it but that’s what she’s shopping for here. It’s not her fault. It’s not what she explicitly wants. That’s just all there are - mediocre shitheads. And there are a lot of them. We’ve come to the right place for that. Shallow, pretentious, fashionista wannabes, art school flunkies, assorted failures, and miscellaneous people that don’t realize they live in Pittsburgh. Motherfucking Pittsburgh.She’s absolutely beautiful, though. She always is. I don’t need to be drunk to see that, but I am anyway. She undercut herself when she walked into this bar. She fancies herself some sort of party girl or socialite. Which, of course, she isn’t. We work together and are friends. My wife is here too. My wife’s the driver and she’s not oblivious, drinking, or jealous. She knows. She has given me her blessing, as I would never pursue “the goods” without it. Given that, I haven’t lost the pursuit yet, but she’s above sleeping with a married man. Though she knows I’m attracted to her and I believe the feeling is mutual.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Swing Club

It is our practiced opinion that swing clubs are a bad idea. Good ones might exist. We’ve only been to one, though the experience was sufficiently horrifying that we’ll never try another. My wife and I had found one online that looked promising. Their website was terribly designed and constructed, though it contained incredibly thorough information about the establishment. No pictures of patrons were included, as that would be indiscreet and in very bad taste. The interior of the building itself was, however, thoroughly documented, photographically. The various rooms looked a little goofy, but by what I could gather, were very clean and well-maintained. It was a secluded two-story house that had had its interior converted for the purpose of housing sprawling orgies. No exterior pictures were provided. It cost $50 per couple per night. The elaborate rules were all appropriate, made sense, and were laid out explicitly. Located in Irwin, it was a substantial distance from our place. On one summer Saturday evening, we decided to go.

The drive was long. Finding the place was relatively simple and consisted of big main roads, until the final few miles. The final few miles to the place were all through heavily wooded back roads. Houses were separated by no less than a mile each. We didn’t see many on our way there. It was late. There was no remaining sunlight and no streetlights. We drove through pitch-black woods until we found the place. The house looked like any other, except for the long gravel driveway filled with what must have been about a dozen and a half different vehicles of varying expense. There were a few decrepit-looking domestic compact cars, a new-looking BMW, and just about everything in between. At the entrance our IDs were checked. Our money was taken. Our shoes were removed – I’m not exactly sure why. The tour started immediately. Just around the corner of the entrance there was a hot tub. Nobody was in it, though it bubbled and looked inviting. All of the patrons whom we had seen entering thus far, as well as the couple who hosted the event, looked to be well over 40. This was a little discouraging, though we maintained hope that we’d find some people our age somewhere in the rest of the building. There was a meager bar and refrigerator in the connecting hallway. The contents of both were generously offered without reservation. Just past the bar were two large rooms that must have been living or family rooms back when the house served a more familial purpose. The one room had a giant TV with porn playing on it and a great number of people watching. We got a lot of stares as we walked through.

We were becoming more and more aware of a trend in the demographic that comprised the clientèle that filled this place. At the time, we were both 24. The next youngest patrons looked to be about 20 years older than us. Moreover, none of them appeared to be in very good physical condition. I won’t go into merciless detail, but suffice to say there weren’t any marathon runners or gymnasts in the house that evening. Compounding the discrepancy in age and physique between the other patrons and us was the discrepancy in general appearance. This is not to say that anybody had poor hygiene or was badly dressed but that the cultural divide between my wife and I and everybody else under the roof was very pronounced. Beyond this, most of the women were wearing various types of lingerie and the men were wearing robes or just boxer shorts. My wife and I were still fully clothed, though we were each wearing our nicest, most form-fitting attire. Walking through these two rooms was like walking a gauntlet. Other than the gracious hosts providing the tour, nobody said anything to us. I could see all of the women glaring angrily at my wife and all of the men looking at her like a piece of raw meat. It was very funny. I laughed silently to myself. At that moment, I knew that we wouldn’t be taking any of our clothes off at any point under that roof. I reconciled myself to that fact and simply began to view the experience as a sort of gonzo sociology adventure. At the end of the TV room, there were stairs that led up to the other rooms. Our hosts led us up and showed us each of the themed rooms. Christmas lights were strung up the stairs and down the length of every corridor. They were all basically bedrooms, with minimal decorations and a bed or beds in the center of each. There was also a “dungeon” with a sex swing in the middle of it.

Further lessons in etiquette and detailed explanations of the rooms were provided. A fully closed door was to remain undisturbed. A partially closed door was safe to peer through but not to enter. A fully open door could be entered at will. If people happened to be screwing on a bed in a room with an open door that meant that you could enter and watch the proceedings. If you wanted to participate in what was happening, you were to place a hand on the edge of the bed and wait for an invitation. If none was given, you were not to invite yourself further. Fortunately, we didn’t see any sex happening anywhere. Not so much as an errant tit. Contrary to our hopes, though in line with our suspicions, the people upstairs were no younger or fitter than the people downstairs. They were, however, much friendlier. The people upstairs seemed much more interested in keeping us around and talking. Fortunately, nobody propositioned us, though a few did corner us and talk to us for a while. They were all very nice.

After a while, we made our way back downstairs and decided to make a move for the door. When we had entered, the hosts were very emphatic about their no re-entry policy. Once you leave, you can’t come back that night. We were ready to accept those consequences. We made our way back down through the gauntlet, past the bar and the still empty hot tub to the entrance area. Once our shoes were on, we were out the door and across the parking lot to our car. When we were about halfway through the lot, I saw the male host emerge from the door. He was wearing a robe now and didn’t say anything as he watched us leave. I wondered silently to whom the BMW belonged. We drove quite quickly through woods, possessed of an irrational fear that somebody might be following us.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Drinking Holidays

Fuck Cinco De Mayo. I don’t mean that to be rude or offensive. I think Mexican people are cool. I think Mexican culture is cool. I think Mexican immigrants are cool. I think Mexican food is really cool. I completely dig Cinco De Mayo, but I hate drinking holidays. More specifically, I hate amateur drinking holidays. St. Patrick’s Day can go get fucked too. It’s a day when your favorite bars will be full of asses who don’t know how to drink but want to pretend that they do. Every bar will be filled with binging middle-aged accountants and Jimmy Buffet fans wearing plastic green hats, getting drunk, telling stories and acting stupid. It will be full of frat boys wearing every stitch of green clothing that they own, establishing the foundations of the lame stories that they’ll embellish and retell later, after they've become binging middle-aged accountants and Jimmy Buffet fans wearing plastic green hats. These fratboys will be there, crowding the space and ruining the ambiance for what could have been a decent night to get buzzed.

I drink like a fish. I don’t need holidays to motivate me. It seems like drinking holidays are just excuses for affluent Caucasians to bar-hop and be obnoxious. The real face of a degenerate parasite is a blue-blooded motherfucker who gets riled up about illegal immigrants and illegal aliens, then puts on a novelty sombrero for a day, gets drunk in public, and acts like ass. OLE!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Three Cunts

There are three cunts at the bar and only one of them is a woman. The other two are men. They were here first and then this woman showed up. They are all friends. She has just bought a new pair of shoes and she is ecstatic. She loves her new shoes so much that she has taken them out of the bag, out of the box, removed the white tissue paper wrapping, and flopped them on the bar for all to see. Apparently, they are the most comfortable shoes in the world. I immediately begin to despair, as I now know that the most comfortable shoes in the world can never belong to me, and that has been one of my lifelong aspirations. Goddamn my luck. Regardless, the other two cunts begin to fawn over her new shoes. They’re gay men. Generally, I’m a big fan of gay men. I tend to be a big fan of anything that challenges or offends tepid, mainstream Christian American values. These two are cunts, however, because they’re shallow, catty, prissy, bitchy, and condescending. Those qualities are repulsive in anybody. I don’t believe that sexual orientation excuses that sort of bullshit. Man or woman, doesn’t matter. I’ve been listening to them talk and now they’re fueling the diluted, content-free, rented identity of this woman. She’s young and pretty and she’s got a few tasteful tattoos on her ankle. They’re some sort of Asian calligraphic symbols. She’s not Asian and I seriously doubt that Asian culture means that much to her. The small tasteful tattoos are absolutely inane. They’re a fashion accessory. Literally translated, they mean, “Fuck you, Japan. We bombed you silly about 50 years ago, and now we’re going to steal and bastardize your culture. It makes me feel enlightened. Would you like fries with that? Please pull around.” She’s also got a hemp necklace containing big, brightly colored glass beads, and a pair of expensive sunglasses worn atop her head to hold back her curly brown hair. Everything the gay men are wearing is expensive, nondescript, and not worth listing. The three of them are complaining about a “frumpy” woman at the gym, who often smells bad and wears ridiculous, unkempt clothes. Everybody at this bar is pretentious and cancerous. I want to cover them with gasoline and burn them all alive. They’re not looking down at this end of the bar. I suspect it’s because they hate us and we don’t belong here. We would not come here if they didn’t have such great beer and pizza at such great prices. It’s so cheap, and so ironic, given that this bar is located in the most expensive part of town. It’s a very posh neighborhood and I guess that explains the clientele. They’re rich, pretentious, bitchy, shallow pieces of shit who have never worked or suffered. They have no permanent sense of identity or lasting content. They’re rented. High rent, but rented. Fortunately, there’s an Internet jukebox with lots of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Kiss, and I have lots of small bills.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Art Directors

There is at least one breed of person that natural selection should have weeded out long ago: the art director. It would seem to me that self-importance is the drug of choice for these creatures. In that way, they have a lot in common with pigs. Pigs, however, do occasionally use their self-importance to serve and protect the community. An art director’s self-importance is only there for the purpose of protecting his right to make six figures without tangible qualification, and sport expensive pre-worn jeans, vintage t-shirts, generic tattoos, ridiculous glasses and retro haircuts. An art director is a hack who is generally creative, in a nebulous, useless kind of way, and lacks the vision and/or fortitude to be an honest artist. None of them have soul. They just want to look like they do, which is appropriate given the nature of their profession.

Monday, August 17, 2009


If you work in advertising, the only course of action available to you which will yield sufficient penance for the damage you’ve done to humanity is to take your own life. It’s really the only honorable option you have. A thoroughly sincere and apologetic suicide note, expressing understanding and regret for what you’ve done, will also help leverage people’s forgiveness. Art for the purpose of marketing is such a gross, depraved perversion that rapists and pedophiles look down their noses at the practitioners of this profession. What is an art director but a failed artist with no vision of his own? What is a copy writer but an uninspired writer with no ambition? These are people who are professionally full of shit, parading around in a pretense of creativity. If you can find fulfillment in that, you need to run outside into the real world and ask the first person you see for help. There is no doubt that that person will have a fuller, deeper understanding of the meaning of life than you do. Even if that person is a child, their advice will be worthwhile.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Waitress

The waitress is beautiful and she hates me. It’s okay. I don’t blame her. I would hate me too. My wife thinks this is all too hilarious. She said it’s what I deserve for staring. The waitress isn’t even waiting on our table. Instead we’ve got some frat boy with a corny goatee. The stunning waitress is waiting on a nearby table but walks by frequently. Her uniform is comprised of a great deal of cloth, keeping her very concealed. It is, however, like an excited child who cannot keep a secret. It pulls tight, relaxes, and lays close across her figure, describing what lies beneath. It’s magnificent. She’s magnificent. She’s caught me looking twice and that’s sufficient to classify me as an asshole. Fair enough. I probably am. Doubtless she’s used to it. My chicken Marsala is here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hall Lake 1995

Two boys lived in my upper-middle-class neighborhood in derelict western Pennsylvania. It was a precarious little pocket of faux opulence, buried in the hills of nowhere. The boys were both about 15 – more or less my age. They were inseparable by virtue of geographic proximity, convenience, and love of mischief. They shared in minor vandalism, shoplifting and drinking.

Our neighborhood sat near a very small pond, which was called Hall Lake, in the same spirit of overestimation which had led people in this area to feel worldly and relevant. It was not a lake. It was a manmade byproduct of the land movers sculpting the neighborhood. Road construction in this area was frequent. One late summer evening, these two boys decided to steal one of the construction horses from the road. It was the kind with the circular blinking lights on top. They took it, ran down to the pond, and threw it in as far as they could. It only made it about ten feet. It wasn’t a very good throw. One of the neighbors saw the whole thing and took no action. It was such a pointless, uninspiring act of rebellion. Proportionate to its small size, the pond was also very shallow. It was no more than four feet deep at its deepest point. This played a big role in the accidental brilliance of their art. Given that the pond was so shallow, and that the blinking light was waterproof and battery powered, it continued to blink underwater in the pond for about the next two weeks. It could be seen from the road at night. The near shore of the pond blinked orange, like a miniature sunrise was about to be birthed from it. It was beautiful and powerfully evocative, like performance art.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sometime In July, 1994

We fucked under the hot July sun, as god intended. Ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit and so humid you could have swum through the air. We did it whenever we could, wherever we could. That included the hot, humid woods behind our high school. I wasn’t especially skilled at it and needed all the practice I could get.

Ferns, sweat, cum, mosquitoes. Wearing sweat-soaked, grass-stained cotton clothes that would be washed by our mothers. Good kids. Good grades. Good families. She had been born with crooked legs. Bent slightly inward. As a young child the doctors had broken them and put them in braces to correct them. By the time she was a teenager, the time I met her, they were essentially straight. She was simply ever-so-slightly pigeon-toed, barely noticeable. By then, her legs were actually very muscular from running and they seemed to go on for miles. They looked especially good over her head, lying in the ferns that covered the hill just off the path through the woods. She also happened to be a hemophiliac, so she had to be on birth control pills or her periods would last forever. Thus we had no need for condoms. When we finished, my semen spilled out of her, into the leaves and soil. We walked back through all of the rusted, old, empty beer cans that littered those woods and talked about our future.

On numerous occasions, we screwed in her parents’ basement. We did this once or twice every weekend for the length of our relationship. Her parents were upstairs but generally left us alone, for whatever reason. I’m still not sure if they trusted me or just didn’t care. Regardless, on one summer day her period had just ended, and we assumed it was safe to do our thing. After we finished, I hurriedly pulled up my pants.

Later when I undressed to shower after the bike ride home, I noticed that the front of my underwear (tighty-whities) was blood-stained. Alarmed, I pulled the waistband forth to see what had happened. My dick looked like a blood sausage or a murder weapon, and I immediately started combing my memory of the day’s events, trying to determine when I had so grievously injured my dick. I inspected it thoroughly, looking for the injury that must certainly have produced all that blood. Then I realized the blood wasn’t mine. I knew where it had come from and I was relieved. At this point, though, a new problem immediately presented itself. How would I dispose of the blood-soaked underwear? I decided to just throw them in the hamper with the rest of my clothes. I’m not sure why I thought that would be a good idea, but that’s what I did. My mom must have washed them without noticing, and the blood must have come out. They found their way back into the clean laundry pile. Nothing was ever said.

Our senior year, we broke up. I believe that girl from my high school days has since finished her doctorate and is much happier and more successful than me. I recently heard from her, after a long period without contact. Apparently she lives down south somewhere. She’s an engineer of some sort doing quite well for herself.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


My old friend Dave sat at the bar with me. It had been quite some time since we had seen each other - almost a year. We’ve been friends since we were eleven, or maybe twelve. I’m sure a lot has changed in the past 16 years, but I’m not sure what. We always talk about the same things. Though we look completely incompatible now, we’re still on the same page. We drank to everything. For that night, we owned the bar. Nothing could touch us.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Parts Car

There’s a garage that I drive past on my way to and from work every day. There are always a few cars and trucks parked out in front of their lot, designated as parts vehicles. Decrepit and beyond repair, they’re in various states of being cannibalized. They’ve all still got windshields. The word “PARTS” is written in giant, bright orange wax letters upon said windshields. Some are missing doors and other obvious parts. Some are very old, others surprisingly not. There’s a beautiful ’79 Caprice Classic that reminds me of my friend Dave’s first car. It’s almost as old as me. That’s not too bad for a car. There’s also a late '90s model Nissan that just doesn’t seem like it should have burned out that quickly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Going Out Alone

When I go out alone, I’m at my best. I’ve got the window down and I go far. There are no deadlines, but there is purpose. Though they won’t every time, storms can clear as quickly as they form. It’s important not to forget that. Their release brings joy, like going out alone under bright skies to hang a show at a gallery on a Sunday afternoon with Jane’s Addiction blaring over the stereo.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Life In a Box

Another day, another incremental reduction of pride. This is what your life will be. The real advantage is gained once you’ve shed all of it. Things will become much easier. It won’t feel right at first but it will get progressively less difficult, until it’s nearly effortless. There’s no shame in it. We all do it. There will be good days and bad days. Distractions are helpful. Anything to help you look away is advantageous, anything to make the humiliation feel more worthwhile and rewarding. The trivial, perhaps even illusory, amount of power and control that you’ll acquire will help you rationalize your complacency and submission. Buy a bigger car. Take on an intern. Decorate your office or cubicle with artifacts that point to your success. Drink expensive coffee. Wear designer clothes in seasonally appropriate colors. Master the lingo. Exude satisfaction and professionalism. Get a stylish haircut and maintain it meticulously – extra points if you pick it out of a magazine. Find an “A-List” celebrity and try to emulate his appearance as closely as possible. You may even want to try to identify with him. Go to church. Invest in an afterlife. Watch football on Sunday afternoons. Drink lite beer. Develop poorly informed, overly simplified, but strongly expressed popular opinions about complex political, social, and moral issues, but don’t feel compelled to hold yourself up to the implications of those opinions. Have a spouse and a child. Have a few of each. These things are all important. “A little bit of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Frankly, the more sugar, the better. Anything to get it down is fine. Anything to keep you docile and malleable is worth its price. That’s one of the great mysteries which you’ll unravel at your places of work. Your success was never based upon your brilliant intellect or your performance. It’s based upon your temperament and commitment. These things are what make you valuable to your employer. Too much spine or intelligence is undesirable. You must be accommodating and convincing. You have to want the yoke.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


It's not so bad, and that's really the best that I can hope for. Happiness only comes in short, lucid bursts. I move as life dictates. I react. I evade. Whatever kills the immediate discomfort is always the right answer. It might be a shortsighted mode of problem-solving, but long-term planning is not typically an option. When it is, I employ it, and work with what I have. I'm not proud. Right now, I'm enjoying one of those bursts of joy. It's relaxing. The window is down. I'm stuck in traffic and a cocktail of different types of exhaust are making love to my lungs. The fumes lick my head and face like a giant tongue and creep down my airways into my lungs. It's a wet, obscene orgy of toxic smells and mucus. The sun is on its way up. I'm stuck in traffic in a bad neighborhood, not fully awake yet, and in no hurry to get there. Neil Young is playing loudly. I've got roughly 15 minutes of commute and five of unpacking and preparation before I've got to "work." My sense of time has become so shortsighted and desperate that a 20 minute buffer of downtime feels pretty good. It's something that I'll try to enjoy and savor. The solitude is really what this moment is all about. Right now I've got early morning sun, the familiar scent of exhaust, and "Down By the River." Alone is priceless. It's worth more than everything which I endure to earn it. Solitude is a bargain at any price.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Apartment Bathroom

The toilet in our apartment was backed up. We only had one bathroom, and the toilet in it was clogged beyond plunging. We notified the landlord that evening, and he said that he’d be by with a snake the next day around 8am. He would let himself in. Fair enough. The only problem is that I’m out the door for work by 7:30am. Generally, I need to shit before I leave for work. It’s one of the first things I do when I wake up. This immediately concerned me and I tried planning for this fast-approaching eventuality. I suppose I could have used a neighbor’s toilet, but I didn’t know any of them well. So I went to bed without a plan, simply hoping that all would be well in the morning. It wasn’t. I was able to hold it until my wife made it out the door for work, but it was clear that I’d need to shit before leaving. The toilet was still out of commission. So I grabbed a bunch of newspapers that we were about to pitch and spread them out on the linoleum bathroom floor. I removed my pants and braced myself with my hands on the side of the bathtub. I squatted and took a big shit. Two massive turds fell from my ass to the newspapers on the bathroom floor. I wiped, folded up the newspapers around the offending items, and dropped them into a plastic grocery bag. I tied it in a knot, put my pants back on, washed my hands, walked the bag out to the garbage cans beside our place, and drove off to work.

Friday, August 7, 2009


The right elevators inspire confidence, security, and a clear sense of purpose. They also enrich the space in which they sit. The elevators at my office are of this sort. You are led up to the doors on a platform of ceramic tile. This platform sits in the middle of a massive atrium. Everything that surrounds you is white or beige, with the exception of the fake plastic plants. The environment is completely soulless. There are six elevators, two banks of three sitting opposite each other. Whereas most elevators travel within a shaft, these ones are fully exposed. They move on rails, and do so exquisitely. The movement is exceptionally smooth, so much so that it appears and feels seamless.

The backs of the elevators are glass. These elevators are very elegant, and serve to open up the architecture, unifying the space. Once inside, one is overwhelmed by the refinement and attention to detail. Everything exists in right angles. Wood-paneled walls with brushed steel trim sit adjacent to the glass back. The glass back faces brushed steel doors. Below your feet is lush green carpeting. Above your head you will find small, dim, recessed can lights - eight of them.

The floors are represented by small brushed-steel panels with raised, painted numbers. Just below them, you will find Braille labels conveying the same information. Unfortunately, the buttons themselves are circular and plastic. They each sit right beside their corresponding rectilinear steel panels. Not only is this redundancy wasteful and confusing, it is insulting to the rest of the décor and crippling to the overall effect. Even worse than this, you might occasionally find that a custodian has thoughtlessly left the phone box ajar. On these rare occasions, the elevator is like a man with his balls hanging out through the zipper of his pants.

There are seven floors in my building. I work on the fifth. While riding the elevator, the floor numbers are displayed digitally, red on black, as you ascend or descend. On each floor, the elevators empty onto an S-shaped catwalk. The doors all open in the middle of the “S.” Both ends of the catwalk deliver you to an entrance to the walkway that circumscribes the void at the center of each floor, the void through which the elevators travel. This entrance is formed by large glass doors which stand between the railings. All of the office space sits beyond the glass doors. From the walkway you can see all of the other floors. You can triangulate your position very easily. It is both reassuring and discouraging to know exactly where you stand in relation to the larger structure around you. The skylights mingle with the ventilation ducts at a suicidal, vertiginous height, far beyond anyone’s reach. Such is the nature of ideals.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Job at a Big Ad Agency

There’s obviously something very important going on here. It’s good to know that you make a living doing something important. It’s good to be a pasty Caucasian in a cubicle, wearing a collared shirt, working from a laptop, dealing exclusively in the abstract and intangible. We’re living the dream, the pinnacle of corporate arrogance, delegating recklessly, circulating the money and not getting our hands dirty. Where am I now? Where do I want to be? I want to be staying on top, staying in the loop and protecting my interests. Because my interests are your interests and everybody’s fucking interested.

This is a brick in the foundation of the structure that supports us and our culture. Wholesome, hardworking, Protestant, American corporate culture. How’s that for impotence? How’s that for cancer? You work, and essentially live, to contribute to and benefit from this great entity. It is a collection of confused individuals with personal interests. Teams are for suckers. Upper management benefits from teams. The relationship between upper management and the teams below them is always parasitic. The teams contribute and upper management reaps. They will always extract their money from you, fake money, play money, soft money, make-believe money. It’s exponentially growing, endlessly inflating money. You will sit inside this monster and create data, information, filling up network space. All of this information will be totally non-referential, irrelevant, and without redeeming aesthetic value - servers and servers of it. All of it will be useless and irrelevant. Technology has served to facilitate the propagation and proliferation of useless, vacuous, poisonous information. All of it is crucial to the arrogant Caucasian orgy of money. American corporate culture is copious, ropey jets of financial jism, decorating the face of an underage prostitute. It is soulless work that contributes nothing to anybody but takes something from everybody. This is why I went to college?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Train

The train moved slowly. Alongside it, in my car, I moved in the same direction. Parallel, but moving slightly faster than the train, I approached from behind. My progression up the length of it was a climb. My car on the road, and the train on the tracks, and the river, and the trees lining the road all went in the same direction. We were all lines. The river pretended to move, but ultimately went nowhere. The trees didn’t even pretend to move. Their numbers simply implied movement. The train moved, but had no choice. It moved on a track, and it pulled an enormous weight. It was a beast of burden. I, however, had a choice. I pulled a different sort of weight, but one no less heavy. I could drive along the river or I could not. I chose to move along the river. We each had purpose. The world fell off into oblivion behind us. There was no road behind, only road ahead. That road is all in one direction, the only direction, forward. It’s perfectly simple. We’re pulling all of that weight. We’re pulling slowly but with purpose. We’re pulling until we stop.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Broken Toe

She had a 1995 Honda Civic, beige, with no hubcaps, lots of rust, and lots of miles. Not her miles. Somebody else put them there. They came with the car. She had big sunglasses that faded from the top down to the bottom, with rhinestones around the frames. She had a smile bigger than her tits, which were considerable. She had dirty blond hair and a tight middle - a gorgeous girl. She was 20 and taking classes at her local community college. Eventually she wanted to be a doctor. Who was I to argue? I’ve never had any interest in smashing dreams. Not my thing. She was from New York somewhere, the western part of the state, just above Pennsylvania. We rendezvoused in a mall parking lot in Erie (about geographically halfway between our residences), and followed her to the hotel. We talked and all got pretty drunk on vodka and orange juice. Nothing fancy, though it got everybody loose, and served its purpose.

Admittedly, I was a little nervous, and I sat Indian-style on the bed, sort of squeezing my toes in my hands. I’m not sure why I was doing this, just a nervous behavior. At one point, I squeezed a bit too hard and broke one of my toes. It’s a disgusting and fascinating thing to do to yourself because you can feel it two different ways. I felt both the pain of my toe breaking and the toe breaking in my hand. It was remarkable, accidental, and incredibly stupid. I don’t know why I was that nervous in the first place; probably just leftover anxiety from less than smooth past experiences. Since I’m extremely familiar with the pain of broken fingers and toes, I didn’t visibly react. Neither my wife nor this girl had any idea. When I walked, I limped a bit, but we hadn’t driven up there for walking.

After the toe break we got down to business pretty quickly. My wife excused herself to use the bathroom. The blond girl took that opportunity to pounce on me and things got started very quickly and naturally. There was a great deal of screwing and it was all incredible. She had absolutely no gag reflex at all. I was astounded. I had never been with a woman who could perform that task quite so vigorously. Apparently, though, she had never been with another woman before, and applied that same reckless fervor to my wife. It was very hot to watch, though somewhat rough for my wife’s taste. I thought it was fantastic. My wife disagreed. Her irritation was poorly hidden but this girl was so consumed with performing that she was oblivious. She really wore my wife out and it gave me opportunities to recharge and recuperate. We had a great time getting each other off well into the night. We parted friends, though we haven’t stayed in touch.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Roadside Emergency

Most people keep some emergency materials in their cars. A jack. Spare tire. Flares. Tire iron. Jumper cables. I’ve got these things in my car, and I’ve used them on many occasions, except the flares. I’ve never needed those. My wife also has these things in her car, though she’s never had to use any of them. I doubt she would even know how to utilize any of the items if she needed to. She does have one particular item which she says is immensely helpful. She keeps a book of gothic horror stories under her seat. “In case of emergencies. You know, like if you’re stuck in traffic, or waiting for AAA to show up.” She plans well. You wouldn’t want to be stuck by the side of the road without stories of homoerotic vampires, blood and buttfucking. That would be insufferable.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

An Impotent Tyrant

This jackass beats his dog all the time. I suspect it’s because his dog has a bigger dick than he does and he’s jealous of that. Regardless, this man takes out all of his disappointments and frustrations on his family and this animal. He lives next door. People near him live in fear of him. Nobody else does. Nobody else is impressed. He extracts his vengeance not on the deserving parties, but vicariously, on those who love him. And they do love him. Each time they forgive. They still snap to attention when he yells and do whatever they can to bring him contentment. The dog takes the worst of it and the dog loves him the most. That animal has heart. He can take a hit much better than his owner. You can see the cautious distrust in his eyes. I wonder how the dog sees him. Does the dog understand that he’s owned by a 46 year old, fat alcoholic boy who beats his wife and two kids? That he’s owned by a man who drives a broken-down, rusted-out F-150, and left the previous broken-down, rusted-out F-150 parked and unmoved on the street for a year, taking up a valuable parking space in a densely populated neighborhood? That he’s owned by somebody who dresses up in camouflage and runs around in the woods “being a man?” That he’s owned by a Bush voter? That he’s owned by a man who has a couch and miscellaneous garbage on his front porch? That he’s owned by a weak, imitation dictator who came from Wal-Mart? Does the dog know and understand all of these things? Is the dog that strong?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Corpse Teeth

I never knew that teeth could decay completely down to small, greenish brown nubs without actually falling out. She had the most remarkably hideous teeth I had ever seen. Around the office, we all referred to her as “Corpse Teeth” - behind her back, of course. She drank three cups of coffee a day, at the very least, and also smoked constantly. As you can imagine, she had the most fragrant breath I’d ever smelled. It was a bouquet of stale cigarettes, coffee, and gingivitis. If you caught her on the right day, you might get a hint of whiskey as well. Forty-five years old and looking every day of 60. I suppose that chain smoking, barely restrained alcoholism, and rampant drug abuse will do that to you. A bipolar personality, a fondness for skipping out on work, and a penchant for lying only added to her list of attractive qualities. She had red hair, cut like Farah Fawcett. To compliment her own hair, she wore a great deal of her cats’ hairs too. Unfortunately, she wasn’t morbidly obese, as that would have completed the ensemble too perfectly. No, she was just kind of chubby, definitely overweight but not obese. She employed the “…and lastly, remove one piece of jewelry” approach when composing her identity, as perfection is so boring.

Eventually she decided to have the front four teeth removed and replaced by a bridge. A fantastic idea! Of course, this was done without announcing the plan to anyone around her beforehand. But, the efficient and effective nature of office gossip quickly circulated this information. She was absent from work for about one and a half weeks for this surgery. When she returned, her angular brown and green teeth had been replaced by big, straight, white ones. Awesome! Can you compliment somebody on that? “Hey there! Look who doesn’t have a mouth full of broken glass and dirt anymore!” But alas, it only took two weeks before they were beige from all of the coffee and lack of cleaning. I suppose you can’t change who you are.

Corpse Teeth (also known as the “Horse-Toothed-Bitch,” affectionately, of course) did have one exceptional quality. The most fascinating detail about her character was her daughter. She had an 18 or 19 year old daughter who was not to be believed. I never learned her name but her daughter was gorgeous! She had great, full breasts, a tiny waist, nice hips, delicate facial features, and long, straight, thick, red, hair. Every aspect of her appearance encouraged procreation. I’ll never understand where in the hell those genes came from. It will always be a mystery how something so gorgeous came from something so cancerous. Corpse Teeth had pictures of her all over her desk. She was proud, and rightfully so. Being newly divorced, resembling a corpse, reeking of stale cigarettes and coffee, having the personality of a badger, displaying constant embarrassing professional ineptness, and most recently, achieving toothlessness certainly aren’t personal attributes upon which you want to dwell. If a few well-placed pictures of her beautiful daughter can distract from the cumbersome weight of her own wreckage, more power to her.

One day, Corpse Teeth quit. Three months later, as we were all losing our jobs and our little company was going belly-up, it came to light that she had been not only sabotaging our success, but had also been stealing clients away from our company. She had been fucking up her own job on purpose and slandering our company so she could take the clients for her own. Remarkably, as a result of the indifference and ineptitude of our company’s owner, no lawsuits were ever filed. We were all amazed. Many of us were angry. She sank our battleship! Corpse Teeth had won. I didn’t feel that a lawsuit was necessary - it would have been redundant. The burden of her existence was sufficient punishment. Inevitably, she will fail with her new company. It was a tangled mess of semi-literate, malignant underachievers, all fighting over a failing idea. I was just fortunate enough to be there for a year to watch the collapse. Regardless, her daughter was stunning.

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