Tag Archives: drinking

The Last Pie Queen

On the night I became the Pie Queen, I was drinking rum and Coke out of a 2-liter bottle. At first, I thought I’d be civilized and buy the bottle of Coke and the bottle of rum and politely mix responsible amounts into a glass, like a person who had been places before. But at some point after dinner, when the square dance band started up, my brain sloshed over in its alcohol bath and said to itself this is just stupid, cut the crap and instructed me to just dump all of the remaining alcohol into the liter or so of Coke that was left in the bottle, using my hand as a funnel, one eye closed for, uh, balance? Now you only have to carry ONE bottle instead of TWO, you Smarty von Smartowitz!

The barn party was this thing that happened every year in the field next to the weathered barn and farmhouse owned by some of The Pants’ oldest friends. They lived way out in the flatlands of Indiana in a wasteland of a little town that had nothing but the Lions’ Club Pork Chop Boil and the Sweet Corn Social every few Sundays. Other than that, it was just dirt roads and tulip bulbs and corner stores with no lights on during business hours. So these friends invited all the city folk out to this fart hamlet near Old Dust City for a good old fashioned day and a half of cooking food outside and sleeping on the ground.


Come on, put Randy’s sausage in your mouth.

I had heard that there was a pie contest that took place sometime after dusk. I researched pie recipes for a week and finally settled on Banana Rum Cream, then set to work producing it and FUCKING NAILED IT. It was basically a graham cracker crust with rum-soaked bananas and a creamy topping that extended about a mile high. I wanted so badly to win the pie contest. It meant a lot to me that my identity as Best Dessert-Making Person was forever cemented in the minds of all of these strangers and acquaintances who happened to be sharing the same field with me for the weekend. I showed up and basically bolted out of the car with only the pie in my hands. “Where do I put the pie?” I frantically asked the hostess. “The pie, though. Where do the pies go??”

(Nowadays I think it’s sort of cheating to bring a pie based on an internet recipe to a pie contest. I mean, all you have to do is find something that looks good and will taste nice and slutty, follow the directions, and show up. Shouldn’t the winning recipe be something you slaved over and perfected and wasted 500 pounds of brown sugar in testing and re-making again and again? How is it fair that you find a recipe in a magazine and say “guess I’ll make this shit” and that wins? Basically it just becomes a contest for who can find the best pie recipe, not who can make the best pie, unless you’re a total baking dumbfuck and can’t follow instructions. If I had it to do over, I’d…probably do the same fucking thing AND STILL WIN.)


It looked just like this only I had to close one eye to see it right.

I had used about 1/4 cup of rum in the pie, and reserved the rest of the entire bottle for recreational use that weekend. I stashed the bottle in the corner of our tent, which, because only families with small children were allowed to camp in the shade of the few trees in the front yard, sat in a freshly mowed field in full sun. By the afternoon, the rum was heated to boiling, but wasn’t so bad mixed with the Coke and a handful of ice. “I’m just excited about the pie contest,” I kept saying to people I’d just met, because they all had jobs at liberal arts colleges teaching jewelry making or photography, because they all wore carefully curated thrift store wardrobes, because they all had ribbons braided into their hair and did things on the weekend like choreograph acrobatic dances for community theater performances or teach bees to make tiny sustainable pottery. “The pie contest though, right?” I kept saying to these Eames-chair-collecting quasi-hippies and their homemade ginger beer and apple sodas. “I wonder who will win?!”

What else was there to say? “Uh huh, I also like art and things and only eat conflict-free carrots and I clean my piercings with vegan butter because it’s got vitamin E, would you like to chew some of this chicory root and talk about design?” I only had mean things to say, things that are not usually appreciated by people who carry their babies in homemade cotton slings dyed with beet juice. Things like “oh my god, are they seriously all going to square dance now? That sounds like it could only be fun if there were guns pointed at everyone’s feet.”

I was definitely smashed by the time the square dancing started, and sitting it out by planting myself in a lawn chair on the perimeter of the concrete slab dance floor near the barn gave me plenty of time for pouting and swigging out of my 2-liter bottle of sweet burning goodness. Maybe I wasn’t even really pouting? I don’t know. I think my face always looks either concerned or pouty if I’m engaged in my own thoughts and don’t care about what’s going on around me. So I sat there drinking out of boredom and watching the dancers swing their partners round and round and I eventually had to uncross my legs and put both feet on the ground, because my brains were going round and round too. But no matter! Because the PIE CONTEST WINNER WAS ABOUT TO BE ANNOUNCED!!!!

I’m going to go ahead and own up to the fact that I had no idea that the pie contest was being judged behind the scenes during most of the twilight square dancing. I was blissfully unaware of it, and to this day I’m not sure exactly what I was doing that whole time (besides drinking) that allowed this exciting fact to escape my sloshbrains. I guess since I’m a person, I sometimes drink too much, especially in social situations. But this time wasn’t as bad as the time I drank a whole bottle of Skinny Girl Margarita and fell into Lake Michigan. Who DOES THAT? A trash person, that’s who!!


Gail, you need to get your shit together.

This time wasn’t that bad, I told myself. I wasn’t overdoing it! Not yet, anyway. In hindsight, I was probably stumbling around trying to stay level because the ground was doing that thing where it went up and down real fast and you had to do your best to walk on it and nobody else seemed to be having trouble with it what the fuck. I think someone came to get me specifically to tell me that the pie contest announcement was about to be made, and they pushed me up to the front of the crowd in the barn where the three judges were standing behind the array of sad, store-bought crust pies they’d been asked to judge. They said a bunch of things about honorable mentions and second or third place or whatever, and called out one entry for having tasted great but being in one of those Pillsbury pie crusts you find in the freezer aisle, which was “unfortunate because the filling was so good!” The offending baker threw her arms up and said “Ohhh wellll” as the crowd judged her mercilessly.

Ha, you bitch, I thought. You don’t bring a Pillsbu–hic–a Pillsurrby, a Pilsuh..hurby..to a pie fight.

Surprise, surprise: the winner was the entirely made-from-scratch Banana Rum Cream pie, brought by Yours Truly and shared with this crowd of Crystal-deodorant-wearing bing bongs out of the goodness of my own heart and in the interest of my own ego. The girl who announced the winner, who spoke for her two fellow judges, hollered at me to come down front, where I already was. I was jumping around, pretty sure that my shirt was going over my head but not really caring because I didn’t like anybody, anyway. Also I might have been a little bit drunk on sugar fire water. I couldn’t tell you. So anyway, I was down front in a 100-year-old barn in the middle of Whatthefuck, Indiana, high-kicking my way back and forth in front of a table built out of two sawhorses and a slab of wood, on top of which sat 9 sad pies and one AMAZING pie, and do you know what announcer bitch did? I guess she felt like she needed to take me down a peg. As she leaned in to slip the PIE QUEEN sash over my head and arm, she leaned in close and said, “Just wanted to let you know: next time? Bake the graham cracker crust a little bit longer, okay? It kind of fell apart a little bit and if you bake it longer it won’t do that.”

I can’t think of another time in my life when I have gone from so triumphant to so face-meltingly enraged in so little time. I wanted to rip that bitch’s fucking face off and staple it to a dog’s ass. If the title of Pie Queen had come with actual royal privileges, my first order would have been to roll this skank through the blackberry bushes and into the gravel parking lot, then pour vodka all over her, then strap her to a pyre and set her ablaze and cook pie crusts on her flames. I’d make everyone else stand back while I toasted bits of crust under her nose, screeching “IS IT DONE YET??? IS THE CRUST CRUUUUSTY ENOUGH FOR YOU NOW?! AHAHHAHAHAHHA!” We’d torch her until her black heart stopped, then we’d all pee on her to put her out and toss her in the pond and let the bluegill have her. But since I often let people say annoying things to me and don’t do anything about it in the moment, except swallow a big gulp of heartburn and use all of the muscles in my face to make Something That Looks Like A Smile until I can get away somewhere to complain about it, I did just that: weak thing that looked like a smile, then I said “Uhhh huh, okay.”


“And hereby she shalt no longer be a scourge on pie contests, for she shalt die choking on her own internal ashes, and we shalt continue to ask her if thine crust art yet done.”

Anyhow, it didn’t matter what this oily cunt thought of my crust. This was the winning crust. How dare she continue to judge it after awarding it Best Pie of the Year?? Was there an even higher prize it could have won? Well, I didn’t see any other desserts hanging around among the power tools and sawdust piles, waiting to be judged against the winning pie, so you tell me. So basically she was saying, “This was good enough to win, but it could have been better.” Which is impossible. Because all a pie has to do is be good enough to fucking eat. Good enough to win is just one more notch above that. There is no higher notch than WINNER.

Someone had quickly set about slicing the pies into taster slices so that the enormous crowd of guests could all have dessert. I snagged a slice of the WINNING PIE which was MADE BY ME before descending back into the crowd and somehow finding my lawn chair and my Rumsoda bottle. I couldn’t tell you what the pie tasted like (probably bananas and rum) because by then I was busted drunk and owning it and just shoving pie in my face because it was something to do besides talking to anyone, washing it down with sticky hot goo juice from Hell and hoping I wouldn’t die.

Here is another brief interlude during which I am not sure what happened. I somehow made it from the lawn chair to the end of the field where the circle of guest tents sat in the dark near the pond. That’s the next place I remember being. Specifically, behind our tent, clutching the empty soda bottle and barfing gallons of rum and Coke and pie into the grass, struggling to keep my Pie Queen sash from falling into the fast growing puddle expanding in front of my grass-stained knees. I would have fallen face-first into the puddle of Piebarf if not for The Pants grabbing me and getting me back into the tent. I barely remember groaning at the sound of the partygoers who had paced themselves, splashing around in the pond on pool toys by the light of the moon. They were having too much goddamn fun and keeping me awake and I had to pee a little bit and wondered if I would wander outside and end up peeing on top of the barf and oh god.

The next morning, I woke to the dismal feeling of the noon sun baking me like a dead body in a sealed apartment, and a headache that felt like a dog barking broken glass into both ears. The hippie commune was busy cooking enough pancakes for 75 people on a massive outdoor griddle that someone had built out of scrap. I pouted and stomped my feet and insisted that we leave ASAP because everything was awful and I wanted to puke again and also wanted a cheeseburger and I was QUEEN didn’t that count for anything?! Do as I say and pack the shit and start the car! In the driveway, I made a comment about the asshole with the ukulele who had kept me up all night, in between bouts of drunken unconsciousness, crooning Bob Dylan songs by the pond. A bunch of CSA-subscription NPR listeners scowled at me in a way that made me think the ukulelist was either among us or poly-married to at least one of the audience members.

In the side mirror, I watched the dust of the gravel road create a brown cloud behind us as we finally tore away from the unwashed, unshaven madness of dancing in a field with a whole bunch of people who wouldn’t know a good graham cracker crust if it chewed up their rope sandals. I spit on a Culver’s napkin and wiped a crust of dried brown vomit off my right cheek and declared that I was going to sleep all the way home, so deal with it. The Pie Queen tilted her royal car seat into the supine position and complained once more about the temperature in the vehicle before passing out again.

As far as I know, the title has not been revoked or reassigned. I am the Last Pie Queen.


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Monday Survey: Butt Poker

If you woke up as the opposite sex, what’s the first thing you would do?

Come on.  You and I both know I’d be obligated to play with my balls for about fifteen minutes.  That’s the first thing I’d do and also the second thing and the third and on and on from there.  I’d just play with my balls, all day, forever, because that’s just about all dudes do.  I looked up from my book on the train the other day and there was this loud frat boy standing there in those thin shiny basketball pants, yelling into his phone about what he was gonna do that night, and the whole time he was looking off into space and absentmindedly fondling his balls, just rolling them back and forth in his hand like a nice little ball of dough he was gonna put on top of a pie.  I just could not stop staring at that.  Another time I saw a guy dig at his balls and dick for about thirty seconds straight while waiting for a light to change so he could cross the street.  Then he switched things up and formed his hand into a claw and dug at his asshole for the rest of the wait and half the trip across the street.

I told The Pants I wished he could have a vagina for one day so he’d know what it was like and he said “Yeah!  I’d play with it all day!” and I can’t say I was surprised.

Are you addicted to anything?

For a while it was coffee, then it was Arizona Green Tea, then coffee, then for a couple of weeks it was Goose Island root beer?  Now it’s coffee again.  Because, by “addiction,” I’m assuming you mean “afflicted with a day-long brain-splitting headache if you go without,” right?

What do you see in a guy/girl?

A guy/girl?  Like both at once?  I saw some of those and they were mostly chicks with dicks in this video that popped up after I watched the Danielle Staub sex video.  They were boys with mannish chins and stubble and little sad excuses for dongs and floppy boobs.  But you hardly ever see guys with a vagina.  So I guess what I’ve seen in a guy/girl is, quite simply, a penis and some boobs that each leave something to be desired.

Do you find piercings/tattoos attractive?

God, no.  Everybody has the same ones, to0.  Girls always get birds on their collarbones or stars on their necks and stupid shit on their wrists and feet and guys always get something on their upper arm meat and it’s interesting for about five seconds and then it’s just not worth the cool points they thought it would be, so it’s awkward for everyone who’s been made to look at it.  My apologies if you have a tattoo, though, I really like yours.

Also there’s something about facial piercings that really bugs me: it’s the fact that people who have them on or near their mouths are always gumming and chewing on them and they basically walk around looking like gigantic drooly idiots.  Some girls can pull off nose rings and it’s cute, but some can’t, and boys almost never can.  I do like a nice healed ex-pierced ear on a boy, though.  That’s nice.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever licked?

Uh.  What?  Oh, hello, I didn’t see you there.  I was just trying to get this frosting off these beaters…yes, I know they don’t detach.  See, that’s why I was uh, down there.  But now that I am down here…

Do you actually believe Alaska is covered in snow?

Why??  Is it not true???  And do they really not go everywhere on a little sled pulled by dogs?!  And are there not igloos?  And can I not see the chimney smoke from Santa’s house from the highest point in the state?!  WHAT LIES.

Are you ever purposely irritating?

Well.  There’s always a moment where I’m accidentally irritating.  But then when I discover that what I did was irritating, I am filled with an ungodly desire to do it again and again and again.  Just ask anyone who’s ever spent more than an hour with me why their buttholes are sore.  There is nothing funnier than poking someone in the butthole with any sharp object that happens to be nearby!  Over and over and over, until they cry and say “I hate you!  Go away!”  Oh, we have fun.

If you could make someone disappear, who would it be?

Myself!  Fuckin A.  Then I’d go around saying things like “I HAVE MADE MYSELF DISAPPEAR.”  And people would have to believe me because I’d still eat nachos and walk through snow and shit.  It would be obvious I was invisible and I’d win Magic Person of the Year and I’d buy 30 KitchenAid mixers with the prize moneys.

Look behind you, what do you see?

Five volumes of the Library of Congress Subject Headings, and about thirty dusty binders full of classification schedules.  I’ve never opened a single one of them.  I’d probably only open one if a piece of candy fell in there or something.

What’s your fave thing about the opposite sex?

You can do it backwards!

What’s the most important thing to you?

I’m not sure but it’s definitely a thing.  I mean,  as a kid I used to make lists in my head of what I’d take with me if the world exploded or the house imploded or the Big Earthquake hit Southern Illinois and I had to run outside in the middle of the night for some reason.  The lists were organized in order of priority and I don’t think any people were on it.

What would you be doing right now if you were kicked off your computer?

If someone came in right now to kick me off my computer, I’d wipe the browser real quick, then toss up the policy manual I’m working on, then start crying because, look, I really need to get that policy manual done, man!  Also I just real quick like wanna Google image search “demi moore’s bush.”

How do you spend your weekends?

Sleeping late and eating giant breakfasts and going to the farmer’s markets and buying presents for people’s unborn babies and skipping the hipster indie skank den (even though they have better coffee) because the line is a million people long and everyone is knitting (why?  WHY), going instead to Starbuck’s down the street.  Eating pizza and watching movies and making fancy drink concoctions with whatever we can find and TRYING NOT TO LOOK TOO WHITE AS I GO ALONG.

What country would you love to visit?

Norway.  I heard that’s where Erlend Oye lives and I’d hump his leg.  Plus there’s whale watching every day and it’s free.  I’ve also heard that everything is lovely and clean and pretty and it’s the most pleasant place in the world.  Then I heard some other stuff that happened in Norway but we’re going to say that’s a one time occurrence and it damn well better be.

What’s on your mind right now?

Howwwww am I going to get all this onion dip out from under my K, H, and I keys?

When was the last time you went to a good party?

Halloween was pretty fun because I ate about a million of these chocolate and coconut covered yellow cake things and got all kinds of sugared up and THEN I thought it would be a great idea to pour vodka and red bull bombs on top of that, and danced around waving my tiny doll hands and tried in vain to pick up carrots off the floor with them.  And on the way home we pulled up next to the Congress in the shitty Halloween traffic and I made faces at all the Sexy Bees and Sexy Witches and Sexy Dead Girls lined up outside after whatever bullshit show had gone on and they did not like it, no, not one bit.

Can you lick your elbow?

No, but I can poke you in the butthole with this yardstick.

If you jumped out your bedroom window right now, how injured would you be?

Well if I could teleport to be in my room right now, I guess it would be stupid to jump out when I could teleport from the window to the ground, now wouldn’t it?  But technically if I teleported home right now and jumped out of my window I would not be hurt at all because I live on the first floor, which is only one floor above basement level but still sort of on rape level.

What would you do if your bf/gf cheated on you with your best friend?

Well I have no room to talk if I have a bf AND a gf, do I?

Do you like anyone you can’t have?

If I can’t have it, I instantly hate it, and that’s how I know nobody else has anything I want.  Easy!

Do you dance even without music?

The last time I did that, my sister told me I looked like farm equipment.  So, YES!

If a blind guy/girl started hitting on you, what would you do?

I’d start singing “Jeeepers, creeeeepers!  Where’d you get those peeeepers!”  No.  Kidding.  I’d run away, then come back and be like “What are you talking about?  I’ve been here the whole time.”  No, hold on, I’d take them to bars and have them lip read everyone’s conversations for me.  Wait–dammit!  That won’t work.  This blind person sucks, can I get a deaf person or someone with a real nasty cleft palate?

What was the last concert you went to?

I think it was when we saw Menomena.  I remember because a certain person talked through the entire set and then the singer came down and stood behind us to “cool off” and he was wearing the deepest Deep V from American Apparel I’d ever seen in my life, it was a total fucking joke, like a negative of a dickie.  And he just kind of hung out there and then the certain person talked to him for like 45 minutes and we couldn’t leave because they were just jabbering about music and beats and bullshit and all these girls in Salvation Army “finds” that still stunk like moth balls were standing around moony-eyed pretending they were checking their phones when really they were OBVIOUSLY waiting for that Deep V to come off and the certain person to shut up for a second so they could strike up an awkward non-conversation with the singer.  Blerg.

Do you speak your mind?

Yes, and I should do it less, because I’ve come to find out that most people like to be lied to and fellated into believing whatever they want about themselves or the situation.

What would you do if someone random on the street came up to you and started hitting on you?

I’d ask them which specific blog post pissed them off.  Ha!

Ever been caught naked?

Not fully naked, but sort of, about 3 apartments ago when I was standing in the kitchen doing dishes in a tank top and stretched-out, cruddy-looking day-off panties and I turned around and the maintenance guy was STANDING AT MY BACK DOOR STARING IN AT ME.

Ever been in a fight?

No, but I ran from one once!  There was this girl in high school who tried to hit me with her hair brush so I went into the principal’s office (I mean, why are you going to try to throw down right outside the principal’s office, girl?!) and calmly asked if he had time to see me.

If so did you win?

Well.  It’s been ten years, and she works at Wal-Mart and is dating someone who’s still in high school, so you tell me.

Name the most stupidest thing you’ve ever done?

“Most stupidest?”  How bout we let you answer this one?

But seriously, I stupidly keep thinking I don’t have any cumin and now I have seven stupid bottles of stupid cumin in my cabinets.  How stupid is that?  Nobody makes THAT much goddamn chili.

Would you talk to someone you don’t know on the internet?


Ever been in trouble for something you didn’t do?

Nope.  I almost always did it.

Ever done anything stupid towards a cop?

I pretended my headlights weren’t on because they wouldn’t work when actually I’d just forgotten to turn them on and I was embarrassed to admit that so I pretended to flip the switch over and over and then I was just like “They were working earlierrrrr!”  He let me go. WITH NO HEADLIGHTS.

Would you send money to a starving family in another country?

No because I’ll probably just buy them a goat they can eat and keep their young warm inside the carcass.  Over there, in other countries, they don’t have the fantastic banking system that we do, and if I gave them money, they’d be like whaaaat do we do with this?  Deposit it in our checking account?  Thanks a lot, our “checking account” is a guy with a machete who drops by every 2 weeks.

If you could speak another language, what would it be?

Farsi, so I could look up that stuck up asshole I ran into last year who listed “Fluent in Farsi” on his CV and start a conversation with him, then say, in Farsi, “Bull SHIT you know Farsi, you dumb mother fucker!”

One word to describe yourself?


What’s the last present you’ve received?

A little Hello Kitty in a nurse uniform.  She went directly on the Shelf of Cute Things in the kitchen.

What would you rather have as a name?

Klarnzorg the Destroyer. Also my arms would be guns that shot fists.  But when I was ten I wanted to be Nicole or Kelsey.  Just ask my brother, whom I told to tell any cute older guys we ran into at Lake of the Ozarks that my name was Kelsey.

Any siblings?

The aforementioned brother and two sisters, one of which might now actually think my name is Kelsey.

Are you a sporty kind of person or do you like to lay around and do nothing but watch tv or sit at the computer?

What’s amazing is that now we have this invention known as the Wii.  The Pants owns one and you can use it to do nothing, sporty nothing, watch TV, and also do computer-type things.  All at the same time!  I am Every Kind of Person.

Could you outrun a bus?

Sure, if I push a small child in front of one, I’ve found that it usually stops for at least a couple of hours and I can get a pretty good head start in a couple of hours, man!

You and your friends are bored. What do you do?

Hit each other!  No?  You guys don’t want to do that?  Why won’t anybody stand up?  I promise I won’t poke your buttholes anymore.  See?  I’m putting my old piece of TV antenna down.

Who hates Twilight as much as I do?

This girl for sure:

Wait, shit.  It’s the other way around, I don’t think she hates Twilight actually.

What would you do if the world were coming to an end?

Where did I  put my list of things to save?  I don’t know.  Oh well.  I’ll tell you one thing:  I’d go around punching everyone in the mouth who said things like “you guuuuyyys this is just like that movie Melancholia you guyyyyys” and I’d also eat a bacon cheeseburger pizza from Domino’s, dipped in sour cream, and then a whole quart of mint chocolate chip ice cream then go out in the street and be like KING KONG AIN’T GOT NOTHIN ON ME and then the world would end.

Biggest regret ever?

Going to school for writing.  Though it was a good way to waste the time and it gave me something to do between retail shifts and it did give me lots of good fodder for really lame, overblown, self-assured characters in case I ever write anything later about stupid people who love themselves.

Would you have given into peer pressure?

If anyone had bothered to peer pressure me!  I wasn’t cool enough, dammit.  And the only party I went to in high school where someone encouraged me to drink, there were already so many girls there pretending to be drunk that it seemed like one more would just be a pain in the ass, and also a lot of unnecessary competition.

If you could see your future in a movie, would you watch it?

Only if it was starring Kirsten Dunst and I was getting married and then the world ended!

Do you regularly indulge in drugs? If so, what? i.e Dope, Ectasy

Are you a cop?  Because I haven’t heard anyone say “dope” for a long time.  Not even to call someone a dope.  But, since it probably won’t get me in any legal trouble to state my intent, I’ll go ahead and say that I’ve been checking out these Darren Aronofsky meth ads and I think I’m gonna give it a whirl because no matter what I do I can’t seem to get my eyeliner to look like that without drugs.

Three things you would want if you were stranded on an island?

Man!  All the stuff you can’t do here in Camera Land!  The only  lame thing is that I wouldn’t have internet access so I couldn’t do all the web sleuthing and peeping and stuff I’d wanna do if my IP address was some remote location in the middle of the sea.

If you won a holiday but had to choose either a cruise ship or resort, what would you choose?

If I won a holiday, I’d choose Thanksgiving, and I’d have everything non-stuffing molded out of stuffing.  Also, why would I choose to be stranded on a cruise ship with a bunch of assholes and their kids, surrounded by a high ledge with certain death below?  I’d go with a resort because it’s probably not going to sink and kids are possibly not allowed and also they might have free sushi for breakfast.  I will take my chances there.

Favorite color?

Tits.  HAhhahahha kidding!  Not really, it’s tits.

What annoys you?

Ugh, being misquoted for the sake of bullshit drama:

“I broke down this morning and got all philosophical on some indie chick’s ass and commented on this.”

Of course, “got all philosophical” doesn’t sound as mean and hateful as “go postal all over,” so you’d have a hard time getting anyone to believe I was hating on you if you were telling the truth.  And you need everyone to believe it because it’s better than the thought that someone might not hate you, at all, might just disagree with something you wrote.  Siiiigh.

If your best friend and boyfriend needed you, honestly who would you choose?

Judge Judy.  I mean, hellooooo.

One thing that annoys you about your best friend / boyfriend?


If you could ask someone any question you want, what would it be?

I’d say “Why are you such an asshole?” then I’d compare their reasons to mine and have a good benchmark for whether I’m normal-asshole or extra tasty crispy-asshole.

If you won lotto would you still work?

Prolly.  Like on dried flower wreaths and building a gift wrapping station in my mansion’s work room, stuff you see old people doing in ads for rheumatoid arthritis medication.

Random crazy thing you daydream about?

I had this weird daydream that Thom Yorke made me a little change purse thing and I felt really bad because I thought it was stupid but I wore it around anyway.

Do you prefer a beer or spirit mix (vodka, bourbon)?

Lately I prefer White Cake infused vodka:










Current obsession:

See above.

I’m worried about:

See above.

Next thing I want to buy:

See above.

What’s your fav type of music?

Oh, I don’t know.  Let’s not talk about music, okay?  That’s the gateway to pretention.  Also, hearing what someone else thinks about music won’t sway my opinion either way.  Does it work like that for you?

Have you ever met anyone famous?

Oh sure.  I will now proceed to drop names nonchalantly while you envy my second-degree fame status from over there in your Lame-Z-Boy.

Any ideas for your wedding?

Ewwwwww shut UP

Song that has the best memories to it?

I guess that graduation song by Vitamin C.  I remember sitting there laughing and everyone was crying and we watched the goddamn Powerpoint of all our baby pictures 1000 times and they kept PLAYING THAT SONG and those are good memories because life is so much better than that now, for me, anyway.


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These Shits Is Yummy, Yo.

Why is it that poor people always have somewhere they HAVE to BE at six o’clock?  Is there some kind of poor people deadline every day?  While I’m working, are poor people jumping through a complex system of errand-running in order to survive?

I’m on the bus at 5:50 and stay on it until just after six, so every day, I have the perfect vantage point from which to view poor people freaking out over their soon-to-be-missed all important deadline.  There’s lots and lots of yelling into outdated cell phones, screaming about who’s going to pick up the kids and who’s got the check and please yell down to the basement and tell Marcus that the bus was twenty minutes late and I’ll be there in just a minute.  There’s always a dude pacing up and down the bus aisle, leaning at the front to see through the windshield, reporting each street that passes to someone who must be urgently waiting for his arrival.  “Western!  We just passed Western, dog.”

I am going to conduct the research.  I am going to get to the bottom of this.  I will find out why everyone in sweatpants loses their damn mind circa 6pm every day.

der Footenwaren

I just found out that the shoe company I used to work for was started by someone who was active in the Nazi party.  Seriously.  You can look it up on Wikipedia and everything.  I’m not sure how I feel about it.  I mean, not great, but when it comes down to it, isn’t the entire world run by three giant companies?  And every other little company is a part of one of the big ones?  And how do we know what’s in the closet and the origin of every person who started every one of those companies?

I always thought that the company-penned company history was a little vague.  It starts in 1948 with a guy who decides to make a running shoe, and that same year, it just happens to get big.  Uh huh.  Like there were no other running shoes that year.  Apparently, and in reality, this guy was a Herr Bigdickschtein in the SS or something.  And his brother, also an SS guy, went on to start his own shoe company, too.  Therefore, the “adi” in Adidas stands for “Adolf.”  Adi for short (and for PR reasons, no doubt).

I just think it’s interesting that a formerly Nazi-owned shoe company has a store in the middle of the most upper-class Jewish neighborhood in this city.  And all of those old Jewish ladies stop by after hitting up the deli next door to pick up some fly kicks made by Cambodian women and children (you know, where they HAVE labor laws, but no one to enforce them).

It makes me wonder how often someone buys an apple at a farmer’s market that was grown and sold to them by the ancestor of someone who killed and cremated their ancestor.  I’m sure that in some nasty way we are connected by the things we buy.

Yesterday at work, I heard this woman talking about how her trip to Europe went.  She was telling everyone that she’d really reaaaaalllyy been wanting to see the concentration camp sites, but getting there was “just a real hassle.”  She talked about how convoluted the transportation system was, “Just bus after bus and so many trains!”  I think they should take all complainy visitors and cram them into a cattle car and bang ‘em off to Bergen-Belsen in the old-timey way.

If you’re lucky, you get to make the trip in winter, when you can pay someone with the gold watch you stuck up your butt to scoop some snow off the window sill for you to eat.

Seriously.  Don’t be such a fucking deutschbag.

Bring in the big guns.

So last night, new roommate Agent Big Guns and I went half a block or so down to my favorite little bullshitty dive bar to play the jukebox and pour Hacker Pschorr down our throats.  I was happy to get Big Guns out of the douchetarded neighborhood where she lived before, and into the hipstertarded neighborhood where we are now.

We weren’t there for ten minutes (standing at the jukebox, our backs to the door) when I realized that this boy I hung out with once last year and his roommates were sort of hovering by our seats.  Trapped.  So we went back to our seats, and this dude saw me, and remembered me, and spent the rest of the night making it as awkward as possible.  He didn’t say anything to me, of course, but expected me to approach him, I suppose, because when I didn’t, he started saying loudly to his friends, “OHHH YEAHH, SO LIKE, I’M NOT EVEN HERE.  AWESOME.  NO, THAT’S COOL.  THAT’S FINE.  I LIKE, DON’T EVEN EXIST, OR WHATEVER.  SURE.  FINE.  I LIKE, WON’T EVEN LOOK OVER THERE.  LIKE THAT SIDE OF THE ROOM?  DOESN’T EVEN EXIST ANYMORE, MAN.”

It was gruesome.

I don’t even remember anything about this guy, just that he stared at me for about two hours one night, then came up to me and put his beer bottle down between me and my friend, then just stood there.  Tired, drunk, and wanting to continue with my conversation, I said, “Did you want my number or what?”  And I gave it to him.  And he called me the next day, and I told him where I’d be hanging out that night.  He came out with all of his roommates and sort of hovered nearby.  He complained about how early he had to get up the next morning.  He mentioned that he was 23.  He had that fluffy ironic crinkly Jesus hair and skinny hipster stache that all the Skinny Jean Club boys are after.  He had the worst dog breath I’d ever smelled.  He was about four inches shorter and thirty pounds lighter than me.  I mean, he was nice, but holy God in a pink car in Heaven, nuh uhhhh.

So when he called me the very next day, I didn’t return the phone call.

Sitting there in the bar, with the Spurned Date Show going on in full color behind my roommate’s head, I started thinking about how maybe I should have called him back and told him I wasn’t interested.  But I can’t imagine how that conversation would have gone.  Probably not well.  But then he would have  known I wasn’t interested, and probably would have refrained from making a drunk telenovela scene in a dive bar on a Sunday night.  So I was thinking about both sides of it, and how the Text-Messager sort of pussed out, and how that felt, and how from now on I am going to be totally upfront with this kind of shit.

I mean, it happens.  Someone turns you down (or leaves you hanging, or develops a crush on someone else simultaneously…all completely legal in the game of Dick-Around Dating) and you spend a day thinking you’re the ugliest, fattest, sluttiest person in the world, and completely worthless, and then you come out of your bedroom and eat a piece of cheese or something, and while you’re standing there at the kitchen counter, you remember that you’re kind of cool, and then stuff the person said or did that you thought was dumb but chose to ignore at the time becomes REALLY OBVIOUS.

For instance, I think every guy I’ve ever hung out with has made the comment, at one time or another, “Oh, so you’re that kind of girl.”  This comment is prompted by everything from how I like my coffee to what I watch on TV.  It’s like they’re trying to nail you down or figure you out, or fit you into one of the categories in the filing cabinet of females in their heads.  Like if they can’t put you into one of those, you’ve got some kind of power and control.  You’re a fucking space alien until they have a label for your forehead.  Well, that’s goddamn weird and annoying.  Lots of people like their coffee with cream and sugar.  THAT IS WHY THEY PUT CREAM AND SUGAR ON THE TABLE AT THE RESTAURANT.

So my response for that is usually, “I’m not a kind of girl…?”  And they look at me like they’re thinking “oh, so you’re actually THAT KIND of girl…”  It goes on and on, over and over.  Like you are perpetually just a facet of a million different girls who are a total possibility for them.

I think some of this might stem from the way people describe themselves, how they try really hard to fit into certain categories to make it easier to connect with other people.  Like matching DNA.  Like building a Lincoln Log house.  People just want things to be easy, to fall together.  They don’t want to know anything.

This is why, on that terrible online dating service, men swap around and mix and match the following phrases, in abundance, to describe themselves:

career oriented

pretty laid-back guy

easy going

look on the bright side of things lol



don’t take things too seriously lol

down to earth



sarcastic and funny

love the city

new to the city

looking for someone to show me around the city

know how to treat a lady lol




The BNDs

We live across the building from a bunch of bros, the Bros Next Door.  They have a ping pong table in their kitchen, on which they eat and iron and play ping pong.  They invited us over for a barbecue, but we didn’t go because all of them have their ass cracks hanging out and their beer bellies hanging over their pants and while they talk they scratch their dirty fingernails through their beards.  But last night they were blasting some Ludacris, which filled our kitchen, so you know, they’s aaigh wit me.

Stay away from them scrapeys.

Here are some conversations I overheard during my now slightly longer commute:

Fucking spaced-out hippie man, to chick with wilting dandelions stuck in her nasty hair:

“When I was doing my ummm…teacher training.  I had to do these observations.  Uhhh.  Umm.  This one teacher was like, You should think about cutting your hair and shaving your beard before you go out to look for jobs.  Worst advice I’ve ever gotten.  If I had done that, the kids would have missed out on…on so many learning opportunities.  When I come in, in the winter, and my beard is long, they can see it, you know, growing.  And they learn how hair grows?  And then you know, I put my hair in a ponytail, and they learn like gender stereotypes.  And what they are.  And then when I shave my beard on the first day of spring, the kids always, always say, “You look like a girl now.”  Because to them, long hair is for girls.  You know?  So that, you know, breaking sort of that gender stereotype is something that’s really valuable to their learning experience.”

Two loud black guys, fucking screaming at each other with only one seat between them:



Turn to the left

I am tired of fashion bullshit.  It’s really really really dumb.  Do people know how dumb it is?  I don’t think they do.

There’s this one girl who works for the RedEye.  She rides my bus.  She has the boy-style middle-part bowl-shaped haircut I had when I was eight years old, only now it’s fashionable or whatever.  Her clothes look more like an experiment in a high school sewing class.  Her column is this little half-page spread where she copies and pastes phrases like “new looks for fall” and “spring ing to spring with oversized sunglasses.”  The page is splattered with pictures of clothes you can buy, if you’re so inclined, and where to buy them, and how much they are.  Guhhh.  And as if that wasn’t bad enough, she stands there, in her Outfit, reading and re-reading her own column, apparently for inspiration for the one she’s going to write that day.

This season’s hot looks

Check out these sweet picks for summer sandals

This year’s fashion faux pas

Hit the town in these day to night looks

I can’t stand it.  It doesn’t end.

I mean, I know people who are into what they wear, and how it’s worn, I’m just kind of sick of people who obsess about dressing themselves.  Or people who hit on a theme and fucking run with it.  And I hate when I go to a bar and there’s a chick there who is so far into her Look that she could pass as Madonna on Halloween.  I can’t stand people who just go out and buy everything they need to put together their Fashion Costume, and they end up looking like goddamn clothesfags.

Like the girl who always wears Accessorieeeees!  She read an awful article in Lucky magazine once (the article they run on every page of every issue) about How to Brighten Up Your Look with Fun Accessories!  Try These Quick Fixes to Spruce Up Your Fall Look!  So on the page there’s a scarf, a hat, a shitload of bracelets, and some fake glasses.  So now every time I see this girl, she’s wearing a different fake glasses/big hat combination.  And everything that comes out of her mouth is about as useful to the human race as a fucking dog fart.

Or the girl who’s obsessed with “vintaaaaage!”  And when you tell her you like her dress, she says “It’s vintaaaaage.” Like when something is old, it’s automatically cooler than something new.

Yeah?  Well, my dead grandma’s asshole is vintage, but I’m not going to wear it around my wrist and talk about it like it’s a “serious find.”  Ugh, shut up.  Be into that shit all you want, but shut the fuck up.

And now that I’ve done nothing but be a salty motherfucker, check out these shits:

I'd eat the shit out of these shits.

I'd eat the shit out of these shits.


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My Humble Act Ends with a Tap Routine


My new-ish neighbors are total assholes.  I hate to sound like a really unfeeling human being, but I don’t understand how the economy could be so bad that a young couple could move out of a comfortable first floor apartment next door, and a family of fifteen could move in.  These people are so goddamn skanky and loud.  There is almost always a crowd in the 4×4 strip of front yard they have, up to the wrought-iron fence by the sidewalk, and a grill, and a baby pool, and trash, and a fat man screaming for everyone to take off their shoes before they go in the fucking house.  Beyond the sidewalk is another strip of (public) grass, next to the street, where they have been depositing each turd lain by their three dogs in their enclosed lawn.  I know this because I have been noticing the stink on my way past on particularly hot days.  Finally, someone busted them for it, because I saw the landlady explaining to the fat patriarch that no, you don’t own that property by the street, and even if you did, you would be expected to pick up your dog’s shit and dispose of it.  And the fat man responded by playing totally dumb, “Oh, really?  Okay, yeah, because, I didn’t know that, okay, wow, uh huh.”

If I lived above or below these people I would be so pissed.  I just live Next Door and I don’t like it.

Am I just a cunt for expecting a reasonable level of quiet?  I must be old and crotchety because I can’t stand it when they leave the bathroom window vent open and I have to listen to the only words of “Single Ladies” that the neighbor girls know.  And they have this new punishment for the baby when it cries, which is to leave it sitting on the sidewalk in front of my building, where its “time out” spot has been designated, while they destroy the sidewalk in front of their building with gang signs and tributes to Michael Jackson in pastel sidewalk chalk.  So the little thing sits there in its filthy diaper, screaming in its frustration, and I’m at the point where I’d go out there and pick it up and play with it just to get some peace and quiet, as it sits directly in front of my open street level window.  Mind you, that would be a sticky endeavor, because the skankbaby looks like it has been rolled in melted candy and dirt, in that order, and even has dirt between its little baby fat rolls and under its tiny fingernails.  I would go over and ask if I could wash their baby for them, but then I’m sure they’d get uncomfortable as their shortcomings as parents were pointed out by a gringa, then come over and collect their baby, cooing and smiling, then in a couple of weeks they’d just start leaving it in front of the other neighbor’s house.

Do the Basil

I really, really don’t like it when people say they’re going to “do” food items, or when people use the proper names of places as verbs.

You know, as in, “Ummmm….um um um um ummmm…I think we wanna doooo the tomato?  And basil?  Yeah, let’s do the tomato and basil, and I’m gonna do the blackened salmon.”

“I’m gonna do the turkey burger.”

“We’re going to do the pinot.”

People usually say shit like this WAY LOUDER than they need to, and while they’re saying it, they’re pointing to a menu as if the waiter is going to need to read it, like even though their voice is LOUD, the menu must be utilized to illustrate exactly what they want.  Sometimes, and this is the worst, they look across the table and nod, big-eyed, at whomever they happen to be eating with, like, “Do we agree that we’re going to do green peppers on the pizza?  Did I get that right??”

Okay, but waaaay worse than this is reading on someone’s Facebook or hearing someone designate where they’re going to be by turning that place into a verb.  Such as:

“I’m probably going to Denver it in the fall.”

“I’ll get in touch with you when we Chicago it.”

“We Seattled it in March…why didn’t you come?!”

This is quite possibly one of the most douchebaggy things a person can do.

Speaking of Facebook, however, it’s also really awful and annoying when people refer to it in public, in loud, open conversations, as “FB.”  Now, I’m guilty of abbreviating it as such when I’m writing an email, but I swear to Christ that in my head I’m thinking the whole word.  A tub of shit walked past me yesterday at the Art Institute saying, “Well then she put that thing on my F.B.”  Just like that!  EFF BEE.  I emitted another, now famous, audible “yeuuugh.”

Once I was at a movie with Agent Ventura and, just after something funny happened in the movie, a girl in the midst of seven or eight friends just behind us said, “Oh my God I’m gonna post that on someone’s wall when we get home.”  Like it’s not enough to laugh at it and enjoy it AS IT IS.  We need to immediately plan to post it on “someone’s” wall.  It doesn’t matter who.  Just someone.  Just get it done.

(As I recall, we thought that was really annoying, and we had plastic theater cups that were 1/4 Sprite and 3/4 Smirnoff.  Then we went to the bar next door and had some beer and she told me she was going to New York, and we got all emotional and cried and stuff, then I went home and puked in the sink, then I went to work the next day feeling like someone had filled my head with nails.  But I STILL thought the Facebook thing was annoying.)

Pancake Boots

I have now been job searchin’ for three months.  I have not gotten so much as a phone call.  I am seriously confused about this, as I have experience in things, and am a smart girl, and at this point I am even applying to places like that one place, which will not be named, which sells those famous pancakey looking boots with sheep wool on the inside.  YEAH.  I applied THERE.

It’s nice, though, that libraries which have not even offered you an interview send you a nice rejection letter to let you know they went with another candidate.  Duh, assholes.  But thanks for making me feel like I was, briefly, a candidate.

I don’t know, I guess I’m like, an artist, or whatever…

What bothers me sometimes is that I talk to these guys who have like a thing that they do…you know, like they’re drummers or photographers or painters or something.  This is the problem with Chicago, it’s that every dude you meet is so far “into” something that he’s got his head twisted backwards and crammed up his ass.  His art is the most important thing in his life.  I mean, it’s typical for guys to basically be more focused on themselves and their stuff than they are on anything else, and for the most part, I think that’s the way it should be.  I LIKE people who have a passion and are in pursuit of it.  You’d be boring if you didn’t.  But what annoys me are boys who are so focused on climbing, both socially and artistically, that they just become really phony and shallow.  It’s really too bad.  I don’t believe you can be true to any sort of artistic vision and still be into all that “networking” shit.

Uh, anyway, what I meant to say is that I always get myself into these “talking to” positions with boys who do stuff, and I never seem to like it, and I always have to pretend that I do.  Don’t get me wrong, a lot of what these guys do is good, but it’s never exactly anything I find any interest in beyond appreciating what it is for that moment.  Most of them can do their craft pretty well, they’ve got the technique, but son of a bitch, since when are technique and talent the same fucking thing?

So I smile and nod and say “Oh you’re really very good at it!” which is true, usually.  But it always starts to wear on me, like, Ugh, if I end up dating this guy I am going to have to pretend for a million years to be really moved by whatever he does.  And I can never be honest.  It’s hard to ignore the lack of respect you have for someone’s thing.

I was once accused of having a “humble act.”

I was accused of this by a boy who I was face down, ass up in loooove with*.  He was reminding me of something I’d written that he’d read, he was listing its merits and forgiving the things that were wrong with it, just going on and on about how greeeeaaaat it was.  At the time, he had his hand on my upper thigh, and I don’t know about you but I don’t trust anything that comes out of someone’s mouth when their hand is that close to my lady bits.  So I said he should stop it, that I didn’t want to talk about it.

He removed his hand from Lady Bit Zone, grabbed his beer, and as he brought it to his lips he looked away and said, “Oh, fine, go on with your little humble act then.”

This bothered me for kind of a long time, because I was in LOVE with him, so his simple opinions had the ability to tie me to a tree by my ankles and gut me and leave me draining blood and swinging in the wind.  It bothers me sometimes to this day, a little bit, because I am often scared of being as fake as I see others being.  But not so much anymore, because I’ve seen a true humble act now, officially.  It has a lot to do with cultivating attention, which is what the most self-serving of “artists” needs in order to keep creating, which is why some people feel the need to be so goddamn loudmouthed and open and public about what they’re doing while they’re doing it.  What keeps them going isn’t the drive to do what they claim to have the drive to do, it’s the attention they get for it along the way.  It’s sickening to have someone’s half-assed crap shoved in your face before they’ve given it a second thought, or to be asked to follow the “development” of someone’s art project every step of the way, while assholes with no accomplishments except stupid tattoos and checkered scarf collections constanly fellate their comments section with stuff like “Dude this is looking so rad.”  And they, of course, respond politely, humbly, “Aw, thanks guys!”

THAT is sick.

When did people forget about the benefits of solitude? If you’d shut the fuck up about yourself I might be inclined to look at what you’ve done.

*This same boy sometimes wore a t-shirt that said “I’M WORKING ON MY NOVEL.”  What’s funny about that is that HE WAS.


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That shirt makes you look pretty ugly

There are a whole bunch of drink tickets on my kitchen table that I don’t want, so if anybody wants to swing by and pick ’em up, that’s cool.  I’ll leave ’em on my front step.

Last night’s alley firework battle was like being in Fallujah, or whichever city it is that’s right in the middle of all of the action.  There was a huge party of people in front of us, across the street, and a group of people behind us, in their part of the alley.  Every once and a while, the fireworks from either group would zoom into our little crowd, causing us to scream and scatter.  Or they’d just cross invisible boundaries on either side and set something off on the ground right behind us.  The boys did an excellent job.  And one of them had a starter pistol, which I got to fire (unfortunately after it was empty).  I think that’s the only gun I’ve ever fired, unfortunately.  I didn’t expect the trigger to be so heavy.  Are you supposed to do finger exercises when you’re a gun-shooting type of person?

Finger exercises…hahhahahah.

I think I may have a slight problem with rage.  Here are the two things that make me think this:

1. At the grocery store self-checkout the other day, I swiped my card and the entire fucking card reader popped off the base and clattered to the floor.  In pieces.  It was like it had exploded.  Everyone stared, of course, for a good hour or so, I bet, and all I could do was go, “Haaaaaa…” nervously, then grab my grocery bag, and bend down to the floor to press “OK” on the broken reader.  It printed my receipt and I stepped over it and left.  HOW did I rip that thing off the stand and SHATTER IT?!

At least it took my angry swipe on the first try.  Because I didn’t want to face the people who run the self-checkout lines.  One of them is this guy who looks like Grizzly Adams and rolls his eyes and stomps around a lot, like he pretty much hates his life.  The rest are annoyed overweight women who bark directions at you if you fuck up, and always say something like, “Naw, see?  You done messed it up now.  It’s messed up,” like by pressing “lemons” instead of “oranges” on the touch screen, you’ve started an irreversible chain reaction that ends with a plane crash into a puppy farm.

2. At work, everyone was talking about being tired, and how tired they all felt that day.  Someone said, “I just want a nap,” and I said, “I don’t want a nap, I want this, like, room?  Where I can go, you know?  And nobody else can get in it.  And there’s nothing in there, but the walls are sound proof.  And I can just, like, scream.  For hours.  Without anyone calling the police.”

Everyone just stared at me.

Well excuuuuuse me for thinking that was a common desire.  It’s MY desire, you jerks.

And here is a quote from a book I stopped reading because the high point was the top of a downward spiral into boredom.  But I like this:

Goodbye, goodbye! she called out in her head as she ran, imagining the other woman he would find.  She would be prettier than Jemma but stupider, and she would be the type of woman compelled to uncover the past lovers of her lovers.  When she heard the story of Jemma’s behavior she would be utterly unable to fathom it.

-Chris Adrian, The Children’s Hospital

I think he read my mind on that one.


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Of Front Yards and Bone Shards

My neighbor is a lawn revisionist.

He must plan all day long, painstakingly dissecting a blueprint layout of his yard, adding flowers and small trees and calculating the best sunlight at certain times of day.  He must work on it all night long, when it’s not as hot out, rearranging shrubbery and tossing day-old geraniums into the trash like rejects from the bakery.  I say this because I go home after work, and the yard looks one way.  I go out at night, I come home in the dark, and he’s always out there with the hose, lurking in the shadow of the hedge, but not in a menacing way.  In the morning, I leave for work, and the lawn has been reinvented.

I think perhaps “lawn” is not the right word for what this is.  The man’s home is squooshed between a three story apartment building and a dilapidated church.  I think that he is somehow affiliated with the church, because I’ve seen him locking and unlocking the front and side doors, going in and out.  I’ve watched him dump garbage cans full of pieces of wood and dusty window coverings into the dumpster in the alley.  I’m not sure what else he has time for between maintaining the brokedown house of God and revising his yard, and I would like to know how one goes about making a living from cleaning up after a nonexistent congregation, because there is yet another abandoned church right across the street from the one my neighbor has laid claim to, and another just a block away, and I would be happy to quit my job and care for either, if that’s all I would have to do.  I would live on a street of dead centers of worship, pour rat poison along the baseboards once every week, and live happily ever after.

Anyway…what?  Oh yes, well, my neighbor lives in this little cottage-style house between the big deceased church and the apartment building.  It looks squatty and small in comparison, but it really is very shady and cute, and it has this path that runs along the side of it, over which he’s built an arbor of sorts for vines and roses (although he sometimes clears the arbor of all natural growth and starts over again, just the bare wood showing).  The front rectangle of lawn is what he spends the most of his concentration on.  He has outfitted the perimeter with a tiny fence.  The fence holds flower boxes, which sometimes contain transplanted strawberries, and other times African violets from plastic grocery store containers, and neither for very long.  Most of the patch of lawn is shadowed by the overhang of the little house, which provides extra shade as it’s covered with growth.  There are a few small trees lining each side of the lawn, and all do their part to add more secrecy to the center.

Last summer, the neighbor got rid of the hippie-style wicker chair that consisted of a base, a bowl-shaped center that settled down into it, and a pink pad that went into the curved center.  By “got rid of,” I mean he turned the seat parts into planters and threw out the pink padding.  He purchased a small black iron loveseat type of thing, with a shade over it, and a wrought-iron fire pit contraption to go in front of it.  The back of the seat faces the street, the front faces the fire pit, and beyond that is the giant picture window, the shade for which is always, always open, so that I sometimes see the neighbor and a friend playing a silent game of chess behind the glass on my way here or there.

A few days ago, the seat had been accented with a long, red satin cushion that looked like it was straight from Suleiman’s garden.  Not only was the fire pit blazing, but there were about seventeen mini tiki torches sparkling with tiny flames all over the place.  I couldn’t help but stop for a second and take it all in, it was very pretty.  The fences were spilling over with blood red flowers, flat pillows with sparkling gold threads lay on the ground next to the fire pit, glittery gold curtains line the sides of the loveseat and the edges of the picture window.  The tiny trees held mini strands of yellow lights, and the concrete path was overflowing with yellow and red flowers, bursting color like split arteries.  The weird thing was that nobody was sitting in the yard, the house was dark, and I got the distinct feeling that my neighbor was not even home.

And the next day, it was all gone.  Flowers, lights, cushions, curtains.  The ground along the path, the dirt in the fence boxes, it all looked like it had been dumped out and poured back in.  The fire pit basin was overturned on its stand, holding a giant Jif peanut butter can with a sick-looking sapling in it.  A rat darted out from behind the fence and across the street.

Meanwhile, my other neighbor is training her toddler in persistence.  I lay out in the sun, pretending to read, watching them in their yard.  She drags the plastic baby pool out of the shed and sits back on the swing, watching while the baby wobbles to the rusty spigot on the side of the house, struggles to turn it on, fills his plastic cup with water, which always overtakes him and splatters all over him.  With his cup half full, as the force of the water usually blasts off from the bottom and empties the cup, he strains to turn off the spigot.  He wobbles across the yard to his baby pool, pours in the few drops that have survived the journey, and returns, slowly, to the faucet.  Every now and then, she takes pity on him and puts the hose on a slow trickle and sticks it over the edge of the pool.  But most of the time she just watches and smokes and smiles at passersby.

The booze closet.

I haven’t had a drink in 27 days, and from what I can tell, it doesn’t do much but allow you to see all of the fine details on everything flying out of the unhinged archives in your mind.  I suppose that is the point.

Tomorrow I will have completed my self-imposed rehabilitation period.  I almost didn’t notice it, the absence of beer.  Sometimes on my evening jogs I will see a band of hipsters on their way to some lawn party, carrying black plastic bags from the liquor store, and thirsty and hot, I will think I’m going to die if I don’t get a freezing cold shot of Patron as soon as is humanly possible.  But I think that’s just because I drink that so cold, and it’s more like water than alcohol on its way down, which is all I want on mile 2.

Unfortunately, I am not sleeping any better, and the 4pm panic that hits daily still carries the same intensity, and goes from “I am not doing enough” to OH MY GOD I AM NOT DOING ANYTHING.  It’s the feeling of inertia that flattens me to the wall and sends me into a daily tailspin.  I have the constant thought of I should be more than this, now, which does nothing but answer the question of “Who are you?” with Not enough.  That’s enough self-inflicted pressure to drive anyone up the wall.

For instance: I feel extremely guilty for sitting here, on a Saturday afternoon, in the shade on this patio, analyzing the breeze and the human traffic and receding into my head, while there are people to be called and haircuts to be gotten and research to be done and emails to be written.  In between each sentence I read or write is a repetition of You lazy fucking asshole!  Get a job!

There is one change between my sober self and my actively drinking self, which is the amount of caffeine I take in daily.  This, you could say, would be the reason for my insomnia and rapid-fire panicked thoughts.  I basically swapped alcohol for extra caffeine.  I drink it in the morning to avoid a day-killing headache, and again in the afternoon I will allow myself a quad espresso so that I can function properly, maybe even positively.  I drink them all the time, but I don’t understand why quad espressos are legal.  They should not be.

My mother told me that when I feel my thoughts dragging toward the negative, muddling my brain, I should try a little trick she read about in some women’s magazine.  You’re supposed to snap yourself out of it by “thinking faster,” that is, speeding up the tempo of your thoughts.  I suppose the point is to get them over with in a hurry, or blast them out of your head just by multiplying them until they cancel each other out, but I think I must be adept at this already, too good at it to trick my thoughts into being positive.  If I sped them up any more, I’d be splattering everyone with gray matter and skull shards every five seconds, which is about the rate at which I remind myself that I need to be doing more, better, faster, sooner.

By the way

It’s not that I hate carefree or positive people, I just think they’re stupid.  If I ask what you’re doing, and you respond that you’re “chillin’ and hustlin’,” or something to that effect, I am just going to think that you’re dumb.  I wasn’t asking because I wanted to be entertained.  I was asking because I genuinely wanted to know.  This means either that you did not want me to know, or you do not want to know yourself.  If I ask you what’s up, and you respond “You know, I’m just workin it, bangin it out,” you are catching your ankle on that trip wire in my brain that makes me think, “Ugh” and not want to talk to you anymore.

Maybe I’m just bored with endless niceties and meaningless conversation.  Or maybe most people are just douchebags filled with cherry-scented antiseptic ointment.

At least it’s cherry.  I don’t think I could deal with vanilla.

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Drunk Tattooed White Trash – A Screenplay

Or, “Exactly What Happened as I Enjoyed Some Beers on Sunday Night”:

Scene 1: Drunk, tattooed white trash meets at bar on Milwaukee after work

Jacob: Tattooed white trash in all black, neck adorned with several silver necklaces.
Katie: Jacob’s girlfriend, tattooed white trash in all black with a skull bandana.
Vince: Tattooed white trash in all black with dreads and an oversized black ball cap, AAAAAND a set of contact lenses that make his eyes look like white snake eyes, in that “No-I-didn’t-play-bass-for-Static-X-OR-DID-I” kind of way.
Boss:  Tattoed white DRUNK trash, obviously a tad older than everyone else (his employees), and a shitload drunker than everyone else, in cargo jeans and a black hoodie.  And feelin’ bad about himself.  And possibly in love with Jacob.

Boss to Jacob:

“There’s somethin’ in you, Jacob, that reminds me of family…it uh, reminds me of honor…and tradition…and…intellectualism, and uh…sacrifice, and spirit.”

Boss to Katie:

“He is one of my most valuable…humans in my life.”

“There must be something good in you, because he’s a quality person.  QUA. LI. TY.”

Boss to Jacob and Katie:

“I’m not lying to you guys…I’m not lyin.  I’m not exaggerating, I’m not drunk.  I sincerely love him.  And I’m happy for you.  You guys deserve each other.  (Awkwardly places his hand on the side of her face.)  I would love to be your friend.”

Boss to Katie:

“I fired four of my best friends, which is a very difficult thing to do, oh my God.  Jake has Never. Given. Me. Shit.  Never.  He’s—he’s given me a good reason for any shit he’s given me, though.  He’s more than a good person, he’s an exceptional hu-human that is not…normal.  He is special.  He’s got something in him.  It’s a spirit.  I do apologize.  I get drunk.  Do you want another Sprite?  Or like a, a cola?”

“If you have a girl as a daughter, she’s gonna be a strong fucking woman, and no man is gonna fuck with her.  She’s gonna be uh, tough, and I’m not talking just guns.  She’s gonna be sixteen in a car with boys, because this is dating time, you know?  And you’re gonna have to say look, you know what?  Those boys?  They will tell you anything you wanna know all right?  Because you’re in a car.  Like, with my nieces.  You know?  You’re gonna have to raise her right, man.  Raise her right.”

“I will LOVE your daughter, if you have one, a daughter, you know, you guys.  I will LOVE your fucking daughter…like my own.”

“Jacob, I don’t know Katie, but I know you, so there must be some…virtue that I gotta see in her, okay?  Because you love her.  Just like, you know what?  I don’t know your sister, but I love your sister.  Because that’s how good you are.  We communicate.

Boss to a passing acquaintance:

“Hey, whoa, wait…do you know Jake?!  Jake is a bad motherfucker.  This motherfucker here?  BAD. MOTHER. FUCKER.  He is coming up with a graphic novel, a SICK graphic novel.  Have you seen it?  Sick.”

Scene 2: Drunk boss gets the shit beaten out of him in front of the bar.

In this scene, about two hours after the employee meeting, the drunk boss pushes one chick and supposedly slaps another, then gets his ass dragged out onto the sidewalk, mashed into a door, kicked in the head, and punched in the face until he is knocked unconscious for two and a half minutes.

He then stands and bleeds profusely from the mouth, all over his teeth, and therefore spits blood everywhere when he challenges his attacker, a big young buck in a Redwings t-shirt, to “TAKE ME ONE ON ONE!!!”  Which big young buck had already done, unfortunately.

Bar owner shows up, escorts drunk tattooed white trash boss across the street to his tattoo shop, and locks him in there to calm him down.  Meanwhile, the girl who had apparently been smacked around inside the bar, ex-girlfriend of the drunk tattooed white trash tattoo shop owner, thinks it’s a good idea to prance around in front of the tattoo shop, calling all of her friends and crying big crocodile tears about physical abuse.

Ex-Girlfriend, on cell phone:

“I’m just like, totally scared to go home because like, he’s gonna be WAITING for me!”

(Nevermind the fact that he was splattered all over the floor of his tattoo shop, which I now would not recommend to anyone who wants a safe and sterile tattoo experience, and nevermind the fact that the bartender was just then getting around to wiping up all of the blood and teeth on the sidewalk in front of the bar.)


“Soooo….sorry about that…you want one on the house?”


“Oh, well, okayyy…”

Scene 3: Katie and Jacob have a baby, tattoo it, and let drunk boss babysit it because he LOVES IT.


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