Gender, Lonely, My favorites, Pathetic, Selfish

What’s in a Name?

My parents wanted me to suffer. They got mad when their little mistake came out with exterior genitalia and they immediately thought: how can we make sure this child experiences constant hardship throughout their life without doing anything tangible to be blamed for? So they named me Elf. The first gnome ever discovered was a wooden carved statue in northern Sweden with the name Nisse carved into the pedestal. Thus my parents; people who grew up small and were going to raise me a vegetarian – people who knew my fate of an adolescence cursed with miniature stature, decided to name me after one of santa’s little helpers.

This name also offered an opportunity for my late-blooming puberty to offer me even more hardships in the form of misunderstanding the gender of my name and therefore being. And it assured that I would never have my name pronounced right the first time and each first day of class would start with the entirety of my schoolmates laughing at the teacher’s earnest attempt at reading a foreign word. This name caused a bird-apocalypse with one stone.

I no longer have first days of class, I now grow too much gross scraggly hair on my body to be confused for a female, and I stand a reasonably tall 5’9″, so the name has lost some of its power. That is not to say that my parents’ desire to see my constantly suffer has not come to fruition. Now I deal with an introduction conversation that is so routine that I begin answering people’s questions before they ask them. [What was your name? – Nisse – Wh..- It’s Swedish. – How.. – My mom’s Swedish. – And.. – It means elf. – (Then they say something that I don’t listen to but I laugh afterward because I know that they attempted to tell a joke)] Now I deal with girls who get excited about my name because they are “obsessed with gnomes” (This is far more common than any of you assume) – girls who have high pitched voices and were treated well in middle school. Girls who remember fondly the time when they thought leprechauns and Santa and the Easter Bunny, but now recognize that it’s not cool to like those things and therefore go for the Arcade Fire of the imaginary being world – gnomes. The girl who is the hipster child. The girl I typically have no interest in but is always attractive in a mousey brunette with old navy shirts and capris sort of way.

Then I get stuck being told that I need to understand when you weigh as little as I, and when you dress as absurdly as I, and have as little sexual confidence as I, that I need to count my lucky that Miss. Mousey and Typically Attractive talks to me let alone wants to let me make out with her. And, yes that is all Mousey desires. Mice don’t like to fuck. Why do I weigh so little? My parents raised me to not eat meat. Why do i dress so absurdly? Because my parents lined my dressers with free health-food t-shirts. Why do I have such pitiful sexual confidence? My name is not H2$, but rather a name of elfish proportions. And this forces me in this pathetic cycle of being told to keep chasing mice that I don’t want to chase.

So I thank my parents. Because without their desire to torture me, I might have turned out sans neurosis. I could be sitting in an office married to some vaguely mousey girl who went to Boston University with me instead of typing hateful words while sitting in a pile of my own peanut butter and jelly sandwich crumbs with fresh memories of female rejection swarming my head.

Thanks for not letting me become boring.

Lazy, Lonely, Media, My favorites, Pathetic

My Community

I’m trying to sell my fridge. For some reason the girl who lived in my room before me felt a need to keep her groceries separate from the other two members of my apartment. My theories are that she was embarrassed about her love of cajun style tofu, she was a vampire, or she was using it as a make shift air conditioner with the fan. Since I am neither full of shame, a bloodsucker, or hot I want to get rid of this large white block that is serving only as a table for my sparse belongings.

I originally thought about moving my food over to my fridge so that I could have the ability to never leave my bed, put on pants, or live a functional life, but then my food became another one of my belongings that was sparse. It didn’t seem worthwhile to keep a whole refrigerator plugged in for my block of cheese, corn tortillas and jalapenos.

I re-setup my room to make the white table into a centerpiece that tied the room together, but the dusty back grate was not the best image to see as I was attempting to go to sleep. So now I’m trying to sell my centerpiece to one of the members of my community – my community being the people of craigslist.

I belong to a group of people who spend decahours online looking for free chairs, look for a sexual partner that want to post pictures of their penises on the internet, and look for job listings that accentuate their importance via ALL CAPS!!!!!! I like this community. We all are desperate. We are all looking. And what we are desperate looking for is separated into little cliques via easily clickable tabs. I get my haircut from the people in my community. I get my furniture from people in this community. I get money from people in this community for my tutoring abilities. I attempted to give free therapy to this community. I find places to live through this community.

By submitting that we are pathetic enough to get stuff from some random person we are already a part of a self-deprecating crowd of people needing something from someone else. If you use craigslist enough, you end up giving stuff too. I’ve given away free furniture because I’ve gotten free furniture. Someday I will go on craigslist and get a tutor for my kid. Someday I will offer a job via craigslist. Because these are people I respect. These are dreamers, these are lovers, these people are creative, these people are reasonable, these people know what they want, these are people willing to put themselves out there, these are people.

Lonely, Nostalgia, Pathetic

Alone: A Braided Narrative

It was 3:30. Typically after school I walked home with my friends and we played basketball at Jacob’s house or N64 NBA JAM at Tristan’s house . Today it was 3:30 and I was wandering around my school looking for Tristan or Jacob or any of the other people who were my typical walking/bball/fake-bball partners. School had ended at 2:57 and I had gone to the bathroom before grabbing my backpack and searching for my friends, but they were nowhere to be found.

My life was starting to work out. After moving to New York and suffering the deep lonliness that comes with 22 hrs by yourself each day, I had things to do. I was tutoring. I was writing. I was on my way to a comedy show with some friends. I had friends. In my right hand was my newly purchased composition notebook. Already I had started filling it up. On the first couple pages were notes on how to teach intro level calculus. There were equations and formulas and descriptions of derivatives and functions. After that there were fun math games I created for a 6 year old. There was a game with dice and beans, there was a speed addition game, and there were lists of materials needed to make a new game. In the back was a schedule. It listed the times I worked per week along along with the money I would make per week. These added up to 8 hrs and $300 respectively. This was plenty enough money to pay for the apartment/closet I had found earlier that day for $380/month and plenty little hours that I could spend a fair amount of time on hulu and writing. Just before that was the start of a story and a script.

I was 11 when my grandma died. I was in Sweden visiting my mother’s family with the knowledge that there was a 90% chance that the grandmother I left at home would be dead before I got back. I knew this because my parents told me this and also told me that they would call when it happened. When it happened my mother’s mother sat down on my bed with me and let me cry into her arms. It didn’t matter how sure I was that she would pass away, it still was hard to realize that the person I had spent the most time with in adolescence was gone for good.

I knew how to walk to their house from school. I knew the half mile path to find my way at the doorstep where they would be hanging out. I could make it there on my own. I marched out of the school attempting and failing to jump and touch the overhang in the hallway near the library. I was the only male in my grade who couldn’t touch the overhang. Even every boy in the grade below me could touch the overhang. No matter how many times I jumped and how close I seemed to be, I would swing and miss. I wanted to know what it felt like. What that satisfying smack against the wall left on your hand. Was their dust up there? Would I leave a mark? Would people respect me?

My grandma lived a block away from school and my parents worked 60 hrs a week. Every day brought cottage cheese blintzes and saltines as grandma told me the same story she had told me yesterday. It was a routine I enjoyed because her blintzes were fantastic, I liked saltines, and every time I predicted pieces of her story she became more impressed with my psychic knowledge. There were times that were hard when she would forget where she was or write a note on her favorite picture and then get mad at whoever wrote the note, but most of the times were happy. When she died, I didn’t know where I would get my blintzes and saltines from. I didn’t know who would tell me that story.

My new composition notebook symbolized how great my life would be in New York. I would go to cool comedy shows, I would perform cool comedy shows, and to make money I would spent less than double digits of hours working on maintaining my dwindling math skills and creating fun games. Everything in my book was awesome and everything in my life was in that book. Therefore, by the transitive property, everything in my life was awesome. I pressed on down 26th St. toward UCB theater.

A year after her death, my 7th grade class had to do monthly creative writing pieces. It was during this class that I wrote the first thing I was ever proud of. I had hating writing up until then. In 4th grade I used to fake stomach aches every day when writing period came around so that I could go to the nurse and read The Subtle Knife. I never felt a sense of accomplishment when I wrote until 7th grade when I wrote a story about a boy who takes his grandmother to the zoo. She is the true parent figure to this little boy and when he loses her behind the monkey cage, he gets scared and goes on a journey to find her. I spent three months writing the three chapters of the story and I thought it was fantastic. It was a comedy.

Marching down Cottage St. toward the basketball hoop I knew I would find my former friends at, I passed Jeffery. Jeffery was the crybaby. Everybody else picked on him by pulling off his backpack or throwing his books on the ground. I didn’t do this because I thought it was wrong. Did I stop people from doing it? No. Did I laugh along with them uncomfortably? Yes. This was my chance to make up for it. “Hi Jeffery” I started “Go away” was the response. I wasn’t making up for it today.

I entered UCB earlier than my friends and began to wait. I was used to waiting as I was usually the one there earlier, so I opened my book and began to revel in the beauty that was my 8 hr a week work schedule. I got a call. It wasn’t my friends explaining why they were late, instead it was the apartment I had visited earlier telling me that they had filled the room with someone they liked better. Someone who fit their lifestyle better. Someone who was cooler. It wasn’t the end of the world, I would find a better apartment for a little more money and I’d still live, and my friends showed up, so now we could watch the show. The improv show was dull, we had to sit in the aisle, and when I left I forgot my composition notebook.

I made it to the basketball hoop to no success and I began to hate my friends for leaving me to walk home alone. Why did they not care about me enough to wait for me? Was it because I was annoying? Did they not want me around? Was it because I smelled? Was it because I couldn’t touch the overhang near the library? These thoughts raced through my head as I took the final steps towards Tristan’s house. I knocked on the door. Brian opened the door to my face with tears forming rivers on my cheeks. Had he opened the door two seconds earlier I would have had a clean face, spotless from both tears and the possibility of facial hair, but a volcano had erupted from my eyes and salty water was the magma. “Thanks for fucking ditching me!” I screamed and marched off toward my parent’s health food store. “We didn’t know where you were!” Was the call after me, but it was too late and I was off to drown my sorrows in carob covered rice cakes and fruit juice spritzers.

Everything that had seemed in such perfect, working order was now lost. Literally. Comedy shows weren’t funny, I didn’t have a cheap place to live, and all the perfect pieces of my life that I had in that composition notebook were being perused by a confused janitor.

My teacher let me read my story in front of the class (I wasn’t special, she let one kid a month do it) but decided it her job to preface my story. “Now class, I want you to listen to H2$’s story. There might be funny parts, but this is about a serious issue. This disease: Alzheimer’s, is very difficult for the person suffering and the family members surrounding them. So this is no laughing matter.” She had ruined my story. Of course it was a laughing matter. It was hilarious when Grandma Mae needed the instructions to Sorry explained to her for a 4th time. It was hilarious when Grandma Mae would thank me for letting her stay in my home even though it was her home. It was hilarious when Grandma Mae would refer to my dad as her dog’s name. Her disease and suffering weren’t sad to me, they were means for which I created comedy. What was sad was that she had left me.



Yesterday I almost shit myself.

After forgoing the option to take the subway home in favor of a 2 mile walk back home, I found myself running the last six blocks like a penguin on meth as I forced my sphincter closed. Having only eaten ramen and cereal all day, I knew my toilet expedition would be sloppy, and I wasn’t excited about the possibility of that sloppiness happening in my pants.

Using one hand to manipulate the keys needed to open my apartment door and the other to hold my buttcheeks shut, I frantically danced the dance of distraction to try to trick my mind into forgetting that I had liquid poo attempting to fall out of my ass. I swung open the four doors needed to get to the bathroom leaving keys and clothes on the floor in my wake and found shit falling out as I began my descent to the toilet. I had made it!

As I sat, letting waste drain out of my body, hoping that no intruders would take this opportunity to walk into my apartment as all the doors were still wide open, I thought what would have happened if one of my roommates had been taking a shower or had their own waste removal process happening at that time.

This blog entry would be a lot more interesting, that’s for sure.

Depressed, Lazy, Pathetic

Why similes seem like a lot of work

I have finally found the perfect simile to describe life. Maybe not life, but life as a working person. I have only been working 40 hour work weeks (49 hours typically) for less than a week now, but I am also forced to take care of a farm of animals I hate, and live in a place I hate, and interact with people I hate, and be in a society I hate, and not be able to write on the internet about all that hate because my job takes up too much of my time to let me spend 20 minutes on the internet ranting. Well, I spend those couple of free hours playing NBA Live instead of producing “creativity.” That’s right, I just called my ability to write the same thing over and over on a blog “creativity.”

As I said, I’ve found the perfect simile to describe this life that I hate so much. I discovered it during lunch break. Lunch break happens between my two chunks of Graduate Theater class. This is the class where I attempt to teach 14 and 15 year olds how to create and perform sketch comedy. I spend the entire show telling stories from my life, acting like the cool teacher with my seat all backwards, and creating charts and maps that make comedy unfunny. In that split where my students go outside and run around with their prepacked sandwiches, carrot sticks and joy, I typically make a lonely trek to the nearly empty vending machine in the cafeteria searching for a non-crumbled dollar in my pocket with which to purchase a replacement lunch since I rushed out the door without time to pack myself something from my kitchen full of condiments.

This camp is run in my old high-school, so these vending machines are not refilled throughout the summer, so I am the only customer of the four placements of strawberry pop-tarts that get staler by the day. Today I decided to switch up my routine a little. Only in that I didn’t get pop-tarts to eat untoasted. Instead I went for the six cream cheese and chive crackers packaged into a neat little rectangle.

That time I spent watching my $0.75 “lunch” get pushed forward to its eventual death by a 124 lb. body eating demolition is how I feel about life. You sort of regret your decision to do it because you think you are paying too much and there might have been a better choice of what to do. Though you do feel a little nostalgic for a time when this would have been exciting and you hope you are wrong and this will be just as exciting as it used to be. Behind all that you sort of hope that something goes wrong and things get stuck because then at least then you’d have some task to accomplish.

Therefore life (especially in the working world) is like the time spent waiting for your purchase of cream-cheese and chive crackers to fall to the bottom of the vending machine. Life doesn’t sound that good.

Also, take my poll (last time I ask).

My favorites, Pathetic, Selfish

Why witty seems like a lot of work

I walked over to table 7 with the bottle of Pinot Grigio that I had had to card the customers to make sure they were of legal age to imbibe. The female, attractive (I say it like that because that’s the way to say it with her – a side-note of attractive), was born in 1986. The same year I was born. My first attempt at opening the wine bottle ended in scraps of foil falling to the floor, my hands ut up from the sharp end of the bottle opener and a very polite, though demeaning, offer from the attractive female to help me with my job. I finally was able to pour them two glasses – then I asked the two if they were local. The female, attractive, responded that she had been a part of my small community since sophomore year of high school. To which I responded: “Did we go to school together?” to which she responded: “Yes. I think so.”

You think so? We went to a school with a class of less than 200 students – we all knew each other, and though I have forgotten her face/name/person, she sure as fuck didn’t forget me. Stop playing coy, bitch. She knew me. I felt like shit for not knowing her.

She explained away my inability to recognize her due to the fact that she was the “new kid.” I then described myself as the “weird kid.” Not a great description of me, nor a funny one, but I thought it was a throw away self-deprecating remark that we could then snicker about and move beyond my high-school-Alzheimer’s. Instead, she and her boyfriend just felt bad for me, and told me that it was: “okay.”

This was a horrible interaction. The rest of the night I thought of things I could have said that would have made me come off as clever, psuedo-aloof (therefore providing meta-commentary on the situation), or interesting like: “Now I feel guilty for not remembering you, but realize I don’t remember what I had for dinner.” or “I was so self-obsessed in high-school that I don’t even remember my best friend. That wasn’t you was it?” But I didn’t say any of those things.

I think this is a normal reaction to an awkward situation. We all think of wittier things to say when the time is wrong. I don’t think I’m special for my ability to come up with these witticisms. Yet we applaud writers across Hollywood with their ability to write characters who don’t think like real people, and instead act in this Wittopian world of clever anecdotal responses.

This leads me to this:

My rant against clever people in entertainment.
There is an assumption that I need you all to make with me. Art has two goals that it should attempt to accomplish. is it should provide some sort of commentary on some social or political statement and it should be entertaining.

There is a wave of art that has been sweeping our fair nation that feigns accomplishing these goals really well. Yet, they accomplish neither for me. I will start by giving examples of shows and movies that fall into this category: Juno, Weeds, The United States of Tara, Gilmore Girls, and Desperate Housewives. Every one of these shows has two things in common. The first is what makes me hate them all. The second makes me sad for society. 1st: Obnoxiously open characters using absurdly witty dialogue. 2nd: Female protagonists.

The reason that this witty dialogue is opposed to good art is that it conflicts with conflict. That is to say that when people are completely open about their feelings, and creepily clever about dispensing that information, then it becomes impossible to delve deeper into any of these issues that art is supposed to provide commentary on. It’s not just that it’s unrealistic – I don’t mind a lack of realism – it’s that they blow a golden opportunity to discuss topics of social and political importance by making every character completely defined by their honesty and hilariousness. The societies that exist in these shows/movies are Utopian societies where no one has any conflict because they all act the way people should act. Sure, I wish everybody approached every issue by sharing all their feelings, and I wish everybody was able to have a sense of humor about it, but people don’t do that. All of these uber-witty bundles of openness are not only unrealistic, but also dangerous as they don’t  allow us to get to the bottom of any issues of import because they are laughed off with a smirk and .

The second problem is that all of these shows have female protagonists. And they are the voice of the female “comedic” protagonist. This is a problem. Let’s look at the male comedians who have been thought of as the funniest men in modern entertainment: Larry David, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Seth Rogan. One thing all of these people have in common is that none of them are smart, good at life, or funny. Sure they are hilarious, but the people in their world don’t think that they are funny. Some are somewhat likeable, but none are completely redeemable.

This is not to say that women can’t be funny in this way. Elaine Benis, Lindsey/Momma Bluth, Maggie from Extras, and Sweet Dee from Always Sunny in Philadelphia are all great examples, but lately those characters have been done away with in favor of quirky weed dealers who deal with a smirk, pregnant teens who make witticisms beyond the ability of the Oscar Wilde, and Psycitsophrecis whose personalities all have one thing in common: unbearable cleverness.

Let’s stop being sexist and start writing some dumb, obnoxious, ugly women into comedy. Then maybe my inability to recognize others and awkward self-deprecation would just seem like life imitating art. Mostly because I’m asking art to imitate life.