My favorites, Nostalgia

Nisse Goes To Rural

The back of my woods seems like a safe place to write. Had I artistic intentions as a adolescent this is where I would have wrote. I should make up for lost time. I used to read out here. I once ran neck first into a newly installed electric fence because King Arthur’s journeys were so enthralling. The tree I sit in now was the homebase of my reading adventures. I had built ladders up to branches of the tree. By “I” I mean Alf, my mother’s father, Morfar. By ladders I mean that on one side is a series of skinny tree trunks nailed together to look like set dressing for a movie about gnomes. Hanging from the other side is a rope and two by four creation that could easily act as a 4th grade science project explaining the pulley in an interesting way for fellow classmates of the wilderness academy. The project would have gotten a C+.

This tree became a key point in my detour walk created in defiance of the concept of paths. This detour was not created by me, but co-opted by me in a self deprecation act of declaring equality to animals. An act that correlates to deer droppings lining the path in front of me as I mount the gnome ladder.

It’s an animal trail and it sucks, but it meets up with the real trail, surrendering its usefulness to an overgrown fern path surrounded by a thicket of maple, birch, and cedar all on the verge of death. I’m walking down the hallway of a retirement community for poor trees, but upon collapse they serve nicely as bridges that might be accidental. I know they were stacked next to each other over boggy areas as protection for a traveler’s feet, but without that knowledge, an outside viewer might question the concept of coincidence as these fallen trees seem to create a perfect path across moss. How beautiful is nature that even the members of its collective who’s life ceases to exist maintain their worthwhileness? An ignorant but well meaning wilderness wanderer would remark at the sight of these purposely placed bridge-trees. In front of me is the environment of discovery, centered around what looks like a the ruins of a sad native tribe, one who consisted on berries and their salamander recipe known only to he four archaeologists who studied these people and the twenty annoyed friends who had to bear through stories of the ingenuity of the extinct tribe whenever salamanders were brought up in conversation. Luckily that was rarely.¹

I know this to be my 7 year old version’s attempt at a fort. My mom probably helped me build it. She’s from a tribe of Swedes whose ingenious methods of putting wood together comes from a poverty induced lack of childhood toys and a rural induced plethora of childhood trees. The roof has caved in, in what would sprained the ankle of one of its three inhabitant if this truly were an archaeological discovery that I was in the midst of.

I scream.

The scream was not blood curdling, but it was the type of scream that you wouldn’t put in your blood because just by smell you could tell it might curdle. It was the type of scream you’d only use if it were too late to buy other screams and you only had beer and blood cereal in the house and it was just not the type of blood cereal that you ate dry.

The scream was because of a frog. The frog had leapt into my path, and then out of my path. A path that I had considered too mainstream as a 10 year old and had to create a detour homed a frog.

In Brooklyn, the home I now call home a man walked across 4th ave into the establishment at which I barista. I barista because I’ve baristad – a past tense verb that does not imply that I know how to spell the correct past tense verb to describe my former and current employment. The man was spewing both in literal act and in reference to the vitriol with which a racist diatribe came out of his mouth. Also possibly in reference to the way in which he attempted to pay for a small coffee with an assortment of change from his pocket. He was $0.15 short, but the $0.15 was a small price to pay to help a man full of spew get on with his day and life and therefore get out of my day and life as quickly as possible. I didn’t scream.

1. Adverbs!

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Hungry, Lazy, Nostalgia

Shit Works Out For the Best

A week ago I pulled each coat out of my closet stuck my hands into the pockets and scrounged for change. I needed it to buy cheese and tortillas which I needed for quesidillas which I needed for nourishment.

The last time I had worn these coats was in the fall when I had enough money that change coming my way was a cause for dismissal instead of rejoicing – coins were a thing I deposited in my pockets as opposed to my bank. Now my bank account had such little money deposited in it that the $4.63 that I found in the depth of the folds of cloth that hung from my clothes would have to feed  me.

I don’t want to be rich. But I don’t want to be dig-for-change-poor anymore. I also don’t want another job. I know that with a little more work, I could afford to live comfortably. By comfortably I mean with snacks.

Snacks to me are all I ever hope for. They are the ultimate luxury. Luxury is some that that you use not because you need to but because you want to. And the only thing I ever want when I need nothing is food. Salty, addictive, crunchy food.

But I can’t afford snacks.

I can’t afford to have a pantry full of chips and crackers to choose from when I’m bored.

Growing up, my basement was our pantry, and it was stocked like a grocery store’s dumpster. This was because my parents owned a grocery store that sold a small range of food from Kettle Chips to Fruit Leather. All food that had expiration dates despite not really expiring. All these dates were before the date that I ate the food, but I had so many snacks. I lived the most luxurious life I could possibly live, and I wish to do that again, but in order to do that I would need about an extra $100/week for snacks and (why not) beer. This would involve working about one more day a week instead of pretending I’m writing while watching Hulu.

This risk reward problem was really frustrating.

I say “was” because my parents have shut down the health food store, and are sending me boxes and boxes of food hat they never got to sell. I have my weight in snacks against the wall of my apartment.

I’m living in luxury while working 16 hrs/week.

I love me.

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Gender, Indignant, My favorites, Nostalgia, Selfish

My Dudes.

I like to claim that “dudes” is a gender neutral term to describe the people you hang out with most. I’ve also attempted to claim “bitches” is a gender neutral term to describe people you are excited to see. There’s a problem with both claims, in that interpretation largely forms the meaning of the word. If the image conjured up when I say “my dudes” is that of burly men on couches then that context informs how you read the rest of what is said about said “dudes.”

The fact that you have such a clear vision of who one is referring to when talking of “dudes” is the essential problem . When 90% of relationships represented on TV and film are between men, it is hard to not find archetype idols to follow. It’s tempting to simply fill in the template already created by society with slightly different traits in order to achieve uniqueness, as opposed to discarding the template altogether.

Problems arose when my group of “dudes” in college all grew facial hair. It may have been out of a mix of laziness, fear of being perceived as childlike, and an attempt to subscribe on only a minor level to the hipster subculture that was anything but a subculture at our school, but the result was that the conjured image of burly men on couches was fully realized.

Our common interests were hard to find. Each of us fashioned ourselves intelligent in our field, but our fields had little overlap. Psychology, History, Gender Studies, Mathematics, and Philosophy may seem connected, but only in that they all involve a college education. Instead our common thread became that we had all not had sex with girls that we had wanted to have sex with. Even our closest non-hetro dude (who unsurprisingly found our fulfillment of Apatow fantasies unfulfilling and began hanging out with us less over college) was connected because he was not having sex with men that he wanted to have sex with. So that became what we talked about. It’s not that I don’t like talking about that. I love talking about that. But it’s that that constant of a conversation begins to affect actions. Our other common interest was the nostalgic playing of Super Smash Bros. on N64. Since all we ever spoke of was our inability to achieve our sexual desires, the games became less about Falcon Punches and Down B’s of Yoshi and more about taking out anger on who we thought subscribed to the virtues of the book of “Not Getting Laid But Wanting To” worst – who was least dudely.

This was not a happy house. We once got into a screaming fight because half of us wanted to go to Noodles & Co. and half of us wanted to go to Subway.

Again I have found myself living in a world where my life revolves around a game and some men. Now, though, my conversations with each are different. They revolve around comedy & monogamy, fantasy sports & not getting laid, lady gaga & kanye, and granola & efficiency. I like every one of these conversations, but, more importantly, by diversifying what we talk about, our game (Settlers of Catan) stays about our game. When someone blocks a trade route t’s because that’s the best move for them not because that person has been backwardly bragging about the fact that they made out with some girl. They aren’t better people, and, honestly, I have no desire to hang out with good people, but our relationships are much healthier. The diversity of individual relationships creates a world where conformity becomes more difficult – where there is no template to simply fill in. Where you get to write your own template.

It’s not lost on me that my groups of dudes is significantly less heterosexual, but I think that has less to do with the differences than one would originally assume. Women obviously played a role in both groups, mostly that women became less and less interested in interacting with us the more and more our conversation revolved around our inability to have sex on them, but I think near the beginning of my college dudes’ group our relationship to femalia was similar. That’s all I’m going to say about other theories as to the quality of life because I like the theory that I’ve been writing about for a while and want you to think that it’s true.

Each of the men I’ve talked about from college and now are great people… great dudes, but Darjeeling Limited is a much better movie than The Royal Tenenbaums - relationships between individuals are more interesting than the individuals themselves.

I’ve often said that the only person I hate more than myself is all previous incarnations of myself. I hope that that continues to be true because that will mean that I’m always changing for the better.

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Death, My favorites, Nostalgia

I Hate Age – Specifically Having More of It

As I waited for my parents to get back from their journey to the airport buffet, the child behind me didn’t have to wait alone while his parents made him watch the bags. Mostly because he was 4 years old and his parents couldn’t legally or morally leave him alone.

“Let’s tell the funniest jokes!”

Despite our 20 year age difference we wanted the same thing.

“What did the parrot say to the banana!?”

What? What? Holy shit, please tell me!

“The um… he… um said.. um… You’re not a banana!”

Fuck me! Yes! You are correct in laughing hysterically at your own joke and your mom is a dumb bitch for saying “oh that’s just silly.” “Just” is the worst word.

“Knock, knock.”

OMG, you have more?! Please, continue.. I mean, I have a book of knock, knock jokes at home, but I’m sure yours are better, oh.. Look at me. I’m rambling.. I mean: Who the fuck is there?

“Dinosaur!”

Good start.  I agree with your methods. Don’t think of an ending, just think of the coolest word you can say and then more cool words will come.

“You have to say ‘Dinosaur who?’!”

Oh, right. Dinosaur who?

“Dinosaur… um… on top of your head!”

Exactly! Perfect!

Oh, shit. Now your stupid Swedish dad wants to tell a joke.

“What did the one tomato say to the other tomato that got run over and squashed by the truck”

Holy shit, could you use any more unnecessary words. And we get it, something about how ketchup sounds like catch up.. oh, you’re actually going to finish this joke.

“C’mon, let’s go, ketchup.”

Ugh, you fucked up the punch line too. You said ketchup with the wrong intonation and it really didn’t make sense. Wait. Stop laughing. Your jokes were better than your dad’s. Don’t laugh at that. Don’t give him the satisfaction.

“What did the one tomato say to the two tomatoes that were squashed and run over?!”

Yes, good idea. Show up your dad by increasing the number of tomatoes. Show up daddy!

“C’mon, let’s go!”

Perfect! Antijoke! Undidjoke! Perfect joke!

No! Stop explaining to him what he did wrong. He didn’t do anything wrong. He only did right things. You were wrong. His joke was better.

He was having fun and isn’t fun all that we should be living for? That wasn’t rhetorical. I want it to be rhetorical.

Later I saw two adults walking past a toy store. One toy had fallen out of a bin and made its way to the floor. The first adult accidentally kicked the toy. It started to sing. For a brief moment a smile crept over her eyes, but her mouth stayed in surprised disgust. “Ew, toys” it said, lying. She had a chance to kick the toy again. A chance to have fun again.

She didn’t.

I wanted to yell out “Let’s tell the funniest joke!”

I didn’t.

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Attention Whoring, Nostalgia, Pathetic

Recycley Unproductive IV (Random)

I was supposed to meet this guy to show him around the city. Big Mistake.

I forgot to give any indicators as to what my appearance would be, and he did as well. So, here I am, asking people if they are Daniel – the guy I’m supposed to meet.

I’ve past this guy thrice on my awkward trips to the water fountain attempting to make him initiate eye contact with me – this guy with the skinny jeans who looks 20 something and vaguely Swedish – this guy who fits the undescriptive description that I have of the person I’m supposed to meet.

Finally I ask.

“No, why do you ask?”

What the fuck kind of question is that? Who cares why I asked? What other option is there besides that I’m supposed to meet someone named Daniel here. “I just thought you looked like a Daniel.” “I’m doing a name survey.” “I’m going to murder the first person I meet with that name.” Asshole.

 

This woman is very self-conscious about her teeth. Laughing is such a chore. Too bad she’s talking to someone she finds so funny.

 

I realize why I want fame. I want people to have the same instant reverence and disgust for me that I have for them. I am constantly frightened, nay sure, that people hate me, and yet I hate them back. I strive for equality. I want people to look at me and assume they are not worthy, yet look at me and think: he isn’t worthy.

It is also how I see myself. I am not worthy of the barrage of compliments I silently give myself.

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Gender, Nostalgia, race, Socialism

Recycley Unproductive III (Politics?)

On one subway ride and walk out of the subway I wrote four short essays. Here they are!

Sarcasm and Symbioticism
They were the odd couple. One guy’s zip up hoodie was white. The other’s was black. One guy wore blue jeans, the other word dark blue jeans. One gelled the little hair he had and placed on top a pair of Gucci sunglasses. The other donned his Armani sunglasses on hair that was too short to gel. One wore Adidas – black with white stripes. The other Nike – white with black swoosh. You couldn’t find two people were more different.
Don’t Call it a Construct
People told her that she looked like Rashard Lewis. He was a basketball player only recognizable by face to the general populous in her home town of Orlando because he was on every billboard facing the camera but hiding behind a basketball extended out in front of him at the length of his arm. She thought Rashard Lewis was cute, but she didn’t have high self-esteem.

Rashard Lewis had a little goatee. How could she look like a man with a goatee? Did she look like a man enough that people could easily imagine her sprouting facial hair?

When Rashard Lewis was a teenager he was called the “tallest bitch on the court.” He was 6’6,” but his face resembled many of the women that his teammates tried to hit on. He responded by learning to compliment his height and low post abilities with a deadly accurate 3 point shot. She hasn’t responded yet.
Capitalism Don’t Fart
I farted on the subway. It wasn’t a quiet fart, though it was still muffled by the seat and my jeans. I knew it wouldn’t be silent, I was aware of the rattling of my buttcheeks that was about to occur. These were subway people though. They sit net to dead homelessmen. they have no right o be scared off by a fart. It wasn’t hat they had no right that saved me. it was that hey had no desire to fight me. Who knew what I was gonna do? We need fear of the unexpected in order to keep us humble. We need that fear from a lack of protection or knowledge to keep us on level playing fields.
Struggles in Racial Identity Class and Court
He can’t ball. He has an I-pod though. None of them do. Does that make him better? Does that make him worse? Does that make him different? He figured the answer was yes. he wasn’t allowed to play ball with them no matter how hard he stared at the court. His hair didn’t naturally cornrow itself no matter how long he grew it and tied it back. He was so white that his shirt was purple.

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Depressed, Nostalgia

Recycley Unproductive II (Other’s Depression)

Here’s some things I wrote about people I watched while in the subway!

1.
It was his job, nay his requirement, to make the world better. Sure, it would exist without him, but if not in shambles, closer to them in his absence.

He would make it better.

If a person stopped at the red light a little further out then they meant to (blocking the path of any pedestrians who wanted to utilize their rights  to the right edge of the crosswalk) he would knock on their window and explain the error of their ways. If a paper describing a service unneeded or a band unheard of was on a post (littering our sight with his presence) he would tear it down and find the appropriate receptacle.

He was. Not very useful.

2.
At age 52 another woman thought her to look not a day over 45. Though the mistake was supposedly flattering, she knew it didn’t mean she was attractive.

At age 24 she had celebrated her little sister’s 21st by escaping to a local pub. Though her newly legal sister had to force her ID on the barkeep, our protagonist was asked and analyzed by the same man because her legality at this establishment was in question. After the embarrassment of seeming to be a lawbreaker as opposed to the mentor she desired to appear as to her younger sister, she then wasn’t able to show of any skills of seduction either.

Her family liked meals together and didn’t mind meals alone too. Neither did they mind the extra weight that came with those meals. She had the unluckiest metabolism of her family of fatties. Nobody made her feel bad about her weight. Nobody except the world. A world that thought she looked like a perfect piece of veal – young and plump. Delicious. Too bad we don’t like food the way we like people.

3.
His throat hoarse from a full day of howling on the subways, he once again perched himself against a pole and strummed his out of tune guitar and attempted to make his voice heard over the rickety train wheels. His fingers were hard with calluses that prevented bleeding and his forehead was sweaty with sweat of a person who was overweight and yet decided physical exertion should be a constant in his life. He scurried from train to train, half panting, half regurgitating sound from a throat rawer than any WWE fan’s wet dream.

I didn’t give him any money.

4.
I sat awestruck by the performance being put on in front of me.

He wasn’t just playing Hey Jude on a wood whistle with a recording of someone else’s piano exploits backing him up. His face made all the jerky, near orgasmic movements that a bass player at a public school who is a little more talented than the rest of his jazz band makes to prove his passion for the art of music. When the music that he played had rest, he did not. Instead he opted to mime large smacks on the imaginary piano that rolled a foot in front of wherever he decided to be. Where he decided to be was always the most dramatic place to be. Whether it was with his back to the mic, walking toward the exit of the subway platform or if it was crouched down, eyes closed “feeling” the recorded piano and Incanese woodwind playing a bastardization of the Beatle’s hit, his poses illustrated how much he cared. And he cared a lot. He posed a lot.

The subway train came. It was loud. He no longer was. At least relatively. He reached down and turned off his boombox and his emotions.

 

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