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It kills you every time: footage of some soldier who’s just come back from Iraq or Afghanistan or some other really shitty war and he surprises his son or daughter at their school. Right? The kid’s in class, sitting at one of those torture desks with the metal frame, wooden seat and “book cave” underneath (those storage spaces below the seat that, when you took their contents out, always look like gaping, yawning, toothless mouths open in dreadful screaming; maybe they don’t have those anymore). And soldier-dad in full uniform walks in unannounced (perhaps the only time a guy wearing camouflage can walk on a school campus now and not scare the shit out of everyone). His offspring sees him, runs to him, hugs him, and both proceed to lose their shit. As we do ours. It’s always great and emotional. And yes, I feel the love. Yes, I feel how long it’s been since they’ve seen each other. Yes, I see how much war indubitably sucks. But here’s something else I see whenever I watch these heart-melting clips:
The other kids in the classroom.
I’m always curious about them. They have a wide array of different reactions, these less important kids. There’s the good-spirited girl who’s all excited at her friend getting to see the dad again. There’s usually a perfectly puzzled kid who’s looking around and wants to know why there’s a television crew in his classroom. But there’s also those kids whose faces go jealously slack at the event that’s taking place. They watch the reunion with eyes of yearning and envy, some of them no doubt wondering: “Ecch. Again?” or “How come my dad isn’t a piece of shit?” There’s always one kid who’s got his head propped up on his hand, rolling his eyes, going: “Oh, great! Another military dad/military kid reunion at my school! My dad’s not in the military, but I wonder if I could get him to come to school dressed like a soldier so he can take me to the arcade and shut this whole day down!”
If I were one of those other kids, I’d raise my hand while the crew was still filming and ask the teacher: “Excuse me, Miss Opportunity! I assume this means we get the rest of the day off. Right? I mean, what else could you possibly hope to teach with these kinds of media-orchestrated distractions?” Maybe there’s another kid who wants to know: “Do any of us get extra credit for having fathers who aren’t in the military?” Maybe there’s a kid who takes full advantage of the diversion and steals pills from the teacher’s desk. God, that’d be great.
And what about the teacher? You can’t tell me that every fifth grade school teacher is overjoyed to put her lesson plan on hold so the feelings department of CNN can roll into her classroom and tell America when it’s supposed to cry. I’d love to see the dad and kid hugging and crying and then the teacher steps in, points to her watch and says to the dad: “Uh, we’re gonna have to move things along here. Back when the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were novelties, I would’ve let this tearful reunion go on forever. But those wars have been around for a while now, and I got the Boxer Rebellion to cover. See, I’m trying to teach these kids about history so they won’t repeat it. Ha ha. You know, like go to war and stuff. Oh, oops. So, whattaya say? Five more minutes and then dad goes back to the barracks, eh?”
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Several years ago—about six—I got audited.
(Sexy start, right? What more enticing carrot can you dangle in the first eight words of your blog than “audit”? If there’s anything that wets the appetite of a world starving for story it’s images of IRS letters stacked atop one another and photocopied calendars crammed into a high cabinet collecting the dust they deserve next to my roller hockey equipment I don’t use anymore. Buckle up, thrill-seekers. This is gonna get downright rambunctious! For all I know, by the end you’ll feel like you’ve been audited.)
As a result of this audit, I started keeping things. Like everything, not just receipts: envelopes with pay stubs, phone bills, credit card bills, car shit, business tax info, reimbursement letters, signed documentation from agents saying I pay them what I pay them. Really riveting stuff! Then, after years of this paranoia, the inevitable happens and I see that I’m running out of room, that the pay stub files are ripped from being stuffed way past their capacity, and it’s now time to purge my life of this stuff. But I know that I can’t just throw it all in the dumpster, because that’s how your identity gets stolen. (By the way, if someone did steal my identity, I’d be flattered. If you can do something with it that I haven’t already done, I say go for it.)
So I go to Staples to buy a paper shredder.
Have you been to Staples lately? Do you like echoes? Do you like alone time? Do you like huge, cavernous warehouses full of calculators and writing implements? Oh, then get your ass to Staples! The place is deserted. I almost call the cops because maybe everyone’s bound and gagged in the back. I say hello nine times before someone notices. It’s like the castle in Edward Scissorhands. “Hello?”
I say to a guy: “I need a paper shredder.” He says: “What are you trying to hide?” Good question, actually. It’s a little suspicious, needing a paper shredder. He’s funny. He’s all: “On the lam, huh?” I’m like: “Just doing some cleaning, really.” He’s all: “Yeah, I bet.” I go: “Will this thing shred my fears and frustrations?” and he goes: “Not that I’m aware of, but if it does, let me know because I work at Staples, man.”
I check out their paper shredder selection. And I’m really eyeing them, moving up and down the aisle, giving little furtive glances to these sharp-toothed honeys. I raise my eyebrow to one in particular. “That’s the Swingline,” the guy says. “Swingline, huh?” Even the name sounds suggestive. Sounds like a burlesque troupe. He says: “60X.” And I’m like: “I have no idea what that means, but I see you can stack a pretty large bunch of papers on top of each other in that upper tray instead of just feeding them one by one.” “That’s right. That’s very right,” the guy says. I say: “I’ll take it.” He says: “We don’t have any in stock right now, but we will the day after tomorrow.” I say: “I’ll order one and wait.” He says: “Yeah you will.”
Two days later I get a call. “Your shredder’s here,” he says. “Yeah, it is,” I say.
I carry my sweet little shredder home like a newborn, plug it in (also like a newborn), grab a dusty stack of check stub envelopes from—I’m sorry—2006 (I know), and, one by one, feed them into the thin yet accommodating maw of the black and brand-new Swingline 60X. Cruuuunch! Cruuuuuunch! Putting ancient, unnecessarily kept check stubs from years ago repeatedly into a paper shredder sounds pretty boring, doesn’t it? Sounds tedious, right? Sounds like a thoroughly dull and dreary way to spend your day, yes?
No. No! It was fantastic!
After shredding for what I think is fifteen minutes, my clock tells me that in fact a full blissful hour has gone by. With no other distraction, no music, no TV, no anything other than the robotic repetition of rending to tiny pieces the ancient proof that is my life, I gladly—nay, joyfully, excitedly, even sneeringly—shred everything in the file marked “Check Stubs 2006.” Gone. Next: 2007. Gone. 2008? Gone. I get to 2009 and go: “Well, I don’t know, 2009’s kinda recent, maybe I should…naw, fuck it!” 2009: Gone! I shred bills, medical insurance info, old work contracts, new work contracts, old tax returns, receipts, copies of receipts, car maintenance bills, old movie ticket stubs (“Oh. There Will Be Blood. I remember that.”), dental floss, shoelaces, arch supports, a tie I never wear, a couple of bad memories. I shred it all. I shred things I don’t need to shred. I shred a birthday card. I shred paper clips. I wanna shred nickles. I try to figure out a way to shred my laundry I haven’t put away yet. I hate my bed; I wanna shred it. I’m trying to figure out how to put a pillow in there. I think about shredding my comedy notebook (but, admittedly, I think about shredding that thing every day). And I can hear it all being torn apart: the grinding blades churning within and digging into the files like piranha. It’s as if the documents are crying out in pain as they’re rended into unreadable fragments, forever mauled into permanent incomprehension.
The Swingline 60X comes equipped with a heat sensor that goes on when it gets too hot, and it always gets too hot. It’s a little orange light next to a thermometer icon and it tells the shredder to stop shredding for as long as thirty minutes sometimes. That’s a long time to not be shredding. Whenever this light goes on, I look up to the ceiling, clench my fist and yell: “Why? Why do you halt my pleasure? I was on a journey of purification and basic, fundamental tidiness! And you dare to stop me!” The Swingline toys with me. It knows how much power I’m feeling. In shutting down, it says unequivocally: “Time for a break, big boy.” And I’m all: “No! No! I want this! C’mon!” I resent the time taken away from shredding. I want to keep going! In shutting itself down, this machine has also shut me down. I’m Martin Sheen with his green underwear, broken mirror, and bloody hand in Apocalypse Now: reeling, searching, scrambling for a path out of the chaos of not shredding. I’ve got a taste for it now. And I want more!
Two days later, I’m done. I can’t find anything else to shred. It’s a dead, empty feeling. I gingerly carry the Swingline 60X to a chair in the hall, climb on it, and slide the beautiful thing to the back of the cabinet. I whisper: “Thank you,” and close the door.
It’s now been a week since I’ve shredded anything and sometimes I’ll go look at my files and admire all the space left by all the items that aren’t there anymore. That’s right: I take peaceful satisfaction in the absence of things.
I’m telling you: Shell out for a shredder. It’s an enema for your apartment.
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Found out yesterday that James Lipton, dean of the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University and interviewer for Inside The Actors Studio, worked as a Parisian pimp after World War II.
Hopefully this won’t tarnish his reputation for being an ass-kissing sycophant.
Of course, he doesn’t call it being a “pimp.” He calls it being a “mec” or “mackrel” or “agent” or “procurer.” As if those terms are less creepy than just flat out “pimp.”
“I did a roaring business!” he says. I’m sure he did. The only business to rival it is probably an acting school.
(At first I didn’t think Lipton was old enough to have been an adult in Paris that shortly after World War II [because he looks younger than my dad], but I guess he is. The guy’s eighty-six. It’d be great if instead of plastic surgery he used ordinary theatrical make-up to maintain his fifteen-years-younger façade. “What surgeon do you go to, Jim?” “Two words, my friend: Ben Nye.”)
As far as this pimp business goes, I don’t think Lipton’s got anything to be ashamed of here. There was a definite clientele who required a definite service. He acted as the liaison between that clientele and the workers. Money was paid, services rendered, and satisfaction achieved. The tawdriness of prostitution aside, it seems to be a pretty straighforward, transparent business. “I did not exploit the women,” Lipton says. “I represented them. Like an agent.”
Shit. Pimping sounds like a much more honest career than being the dean of an acting school.
I bet there’s a lot less lying in pimping than in deaning. (Yeah, it’s called deaning. Look it up. [Don’t look it up.]) Which sales pitch sounds more credible? “You give me money, you get laid.” Or: “You give me money (close to thirty-five thousand dollars a year for three years), you get imbued with the skill to garner yourself a professional career as an actor.” Which one of those are you more likely to get for your money? Or your parents’ money (assuming your parents would foot the bill for not only your arts education but also your need to get laid)?
When they were looking for an acting school dean, they must’ve been like: “You know who we really need for this position? A guy who’s worked with whores.”
They’re too old or too dead now, but it’d be great if Lipton had some of his old prostitution colleagues on Inside The Actors Studio to speak to all the students. Those seriously stern actors could probably learn a thing or two from the desperate anecdotes of an old whore, especially if they’re planning on moving to L.A.
After a long day of toil and trouble, there are those who unwind by putting their tired feet up on the divan and relaxing with maybe a small glass of wine or perhaps a beer. There are those who like to put their head back, close their eyes and chill out to some fine, mellow music. There are even those who enjoy lounging with a nice, fun game of Words With Friends.
But me? I like to watch courtroom brawls on You Tube.
Oh! You say you know of a video where a child rapist on trial for murder throws a little tantrum right there in the courtroom because he feels he’s being treated unfairly, huh? Well, let me at it. What’s that? A link to a sixteen-year-old murderer wearing a t-shirt that says “KILLER” in black Sharpie as he’s flipping the bird to his victims’ families while they address him about his crimes? Why, don’t mind if I do! A guy in prison orange threatening to kill the judge? I must! A woman lunging at the judge after being found in contempt and then shouting: “What did I do? Get off me!” as she’s subdued by deputies? Thank you! A guy shackled while hissing and barring his teeth at the judge as she reads him his rights? I can’t think of anything I’d rather do more.
I can watch this stuff for over an hour. It’s sick. Nothing will make you more appreciate your upbringing (no matter what it is) than watching families brawl in a courtroom. Nothing will make you feel a little less depressed about whatever’s bumming you out than knowing you don’t have to deal with the stuff you’ll see in these courtroom blow-ups. I guess what’s satisfying about them is they show how the criminal going away deserves to go away.
These guys should learn that when it comes to defending your behavior, instead of throwing a tantrum in court, they’ll get into a lot less trouble with the judge if they say: “Look, your Honor, you weren’t there.”
SPANK • PADDLE • P&P (crossed out)
IN THE RIGHT WAY 4
THE RIGHT REASON
TAKE USERS(S) CONSENT
HOST • MODERATE GROUP
Yeah. If there’s one thing I’m sick of, it’s getting spanked for the wrong reason. “Hey! What was that for?”
I know what the gist of the stuff on this card means, but I’m so glad I don’t know what all of it means. From the handwriting, I have the feeling P&P stands for Probation and Parole. And I believe this font is called Criminale.
What’s the most unsettling thing about this picture? The subject matter of the card, the handwriting on the card, or my creepy shadow looming over the card?
Since all this blog stuff is about my dumb life, lemme talk about how this reminds me of one of my many brilliant jokes.
“At the S&M Awards ™, it’s an honor just to be dominated.”
Thank you. No, seriously, thank you.
“In the right way, 4 the right reason” sounds like the person who wrote this has had some bad experiences with getting paddled in the wrong way 4 the wrong reason. And user’s consent? As in “Use me! Use me!” I’m so out of this scene. Maybe this guy’s into getting dominated by people who wear clothes from the movie Tron. “Oh! You’re a user! Well, I’m here to be used! Show me your master control! I wanna be masterly contolled!”
And I guess the last two lines are an offer to host a group in which firm penalties will be issued. How weird is it to put up an ad saying: “Who’d like me to penalize them for something?” “Hey, I’m having a penalty event over at my place next week. You wanna come over?” Are whistles blown? Flags thrown? Humiliations to follow? Sounds great. Lemme bring Kleenex. For my tears!
I wonder if this person would write me a ticket for something. “Hey, you know what really excites me is getting punished by city officials. Can you write me a citation for something? For, like…I don’t know…mumbling or something?”
And I know he’s offering to moderate a group, but it’d be funny if he was looking for a group that was moderate. “Yeah, what I’m really looking for is a group of people who are into being dominated to an easy, temperate degree if that’s cool.”
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There is no more frightening news story than one about a sinkhole.
In Florida, there was a man in his home, on his couch—I’m assuming watching Wheel Of Fortune, I’m assuming covered in Cheetos—who got swallowed up by a sinkhole. Just like that. Gone!
Of all the statistically unlikely ways there are to die, the sinkhole has got to be the most diabolically random, malignantly sinister, cosmically unfair way to meet your end. Let’s go through the most statistically unlikely ways to die:
Struck By Lightening: Probably not gonna happen. But if it does, at least it doesn’t come out of nowhere. You can’t go: “Wait a minute! How the hell did that happen?” You’re out in bad weather, you can see those clouds are black, it’s starting to rain. You might get hit by lightening. But a sinkhole?
Shark Attack: Probably not gonna happen. But if it does, you can’t go: “Where did that shark come from?” Probably from the ocean you’re swimming in! But a sinkhole?
Plane Crash: Probably not gonna happen. But if it does, you can’t go: “How is this happening to me?” You’re on a plane, man. And it’s going down. But a sinkhole?
I bet everyone who’s ever been killed by a sinkhole has probably yelled this as they were meeting their doom: “THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT, MAN! I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GOING OUT LIKE THIS! THIS SUCKS!”
I bet people have literally yelled: “OH, C’MON, MAN! REALLY? I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!”
No one does. No one signs up for a sinkhole. There are no forms for that.
You never hear anyone say: “Well, he was in suburban Tampa during sinkhole season. You mess with the bull, you get the horns.”
They should call them suckholes. Because it sucks to die in one. If you die in one, you just won the shittiest lottery in the universe.
“Today’s Pick Six numbers are: 3, 22, 26, 29, 38 and Brad from Jacksonville, Florida. No criminal record at all. He just disappeared into the ground with no warning whatsoever. We’re hoping he did something wrong.”
But he probably didn’t. The sinkhole is the sniper of natural disasters. The sinkhole is the natural disaster other natural disasters cautiously gossip about. Tsunamis, hurricanes and tornandos all get together and go: “Look, we’ve done some pretty shitty things in our time, but that sinkhole shit? Fuck those guys.”
Whenever a sinkhole gets called an act of God, God says: “Uh, excuse me? I’ve done some pretty shitty things in my time, but that sinkhole shit? Uh-uh. No way.”
Sinkholes are so shitty, I bet not even Satan likes them. Which is weird, because where do you go when you die from a sinkhole? Hell, obviously. C’mon! It’s a sinkhole. Where else are you gonna go? I bet Satan hates sinkholes. I bet he thinks they’re a pain in the ass.
SATAN: What the here? Who are you?
BRAD (who just dropped into hell through a sinkhole): Brad.
SATAN: Brad? This is hell. What did you do?
BRAD: I don’t know. I really don’t know. Live my life?
SATAN: Don’t tell me. Sinkhole, right? Ugh. Get back up there. Go back. I deal mainly with murderers, rapists, pedophiles and genocidal dictators. I wouldn’t even know where to put you poor sinkhole people. You don’t belong here! And do me a favor: When you get back up there, tell everyone I’m not so bad okay? Yes, I am the Prince Of Darkness, fine, but that sinkhole scene is evil! I got nothing to do with it!”
Imagine being the realtor who has to sell that sinkhole house in Florida.
"Well, here we have a lovely two-bedroom, two bath, one sinkhole residence. It’s got a huge backyard which I’d love to show you right now.
“I’m sorry. What was the third thing you said there?”
“Oh. Two-bedroom, two bath…one sinkhole. HUGE backyard!”
“Just one sinkhole?”
“Yes, but it is the master sinkhole.”
Did you hear about Mark Mihal, the guy who got swallowed by a sinkhole on a golf course? He survived fortunately. I don’t know what’s worse: Getting swallowed eighteen feet into the earth by a sinkhole with a relatively small diameter on a golf course, or all the horrible golf puns the reporters use when they interview you.
REPORTER: So, Mark. Tell us about your hole in one.
MARK: I fell into the earth eighteen feet and dislocated my shoulder.
REPORTER: Would you say that’s your handicap now?
REPORTER: Has this put a wedge in your love of golf?
MARK: I saw the devil.
REPORTER: What was it like when the fairway gave way?
MARK: Really scary because I almost died.
REPORTER: That sinkhole probably had you really teed off, right?
MARK: I wish I were back in it right now.
By the way: Every open mic should be called “The Sinkhole.”
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Hey Beckett. Nice meeting you today. I don’t know if babies can remember back six hours, but I was at a McDonald’s commercial audition with you and your parents today where they asked me to watch you while they went in to read for it. That’s right, Beckett: Your mother and father left you with a childless, forty-three-year-old stranger so they could get work in a commercial. You just received your first dose of precisely how diabolical this town is.
“Oh, you’re leaving him with Matt?” the casting director asked your mom. “Well, that makes sense because if there’s anyone who exudes parental energy, it’s Matt.”
Kind of a dig, right? I didn’t think so. I smiled. So did you, if I remember right. Because I can see that you already know how to process sarcasm. That’s a huge plus in this business. If you’re around sarcasm long enough, you’ll almost be forced to become a stand-up comedian.
I’m always surprised when people ask me to watch their babies for them. Especially today. Because if you needed someone to watch your baby, who better than a guy reading—at that very moment—a book about the Rwandan genocide?
Before leaving you alone with me, your dad was leaning his head into your cool little stroller and making silly, blubbering mouth noises close to your cute little face. I saw that and was immediately alarmed. “I don’t have to do that, do I?” I asked him. “No,” he said. “Good,” I said, “Because I don’t do that.” And boy don’t I!
Your dad put a little device next to your ear that played the sound of the ocean, covered your stroller with a blanket, then went in to try and get a job in a commercial. I could only see your feet. They kept moving. That was good. I didn’t have to read to you from that book on vegetables your parents got you. Do you even like vegetables? They mostly suck. These parents of yours. Are they really your parents? When you’re older and you read this, you should say to them: “I can’t believe you left me with that guy! I’m lucky to be alive!”
Why am I telling you stuff that you were there to see yourself? You’re probably all: “Dude, I know. I was there.”
Your parents came back out and saw you were still there, that I had not eaten you. Before I went in for my turn, I said: “Nice meeting you, Beckett” and I’ll probably never see you again, but I just wanna say I hope I get that commercial and not your parents.
“So, the chili cheeseburger. Can I get that without the huge demon tongue emerging inexplicably from its center? That’d be great!”
It’s supposed to be a chili. I guess. But it looks like a tongue. And I can’t see anything else when I look at it. Like this cheeseburger’s going: “Eeeeh! I’m exhausted!” Or: “Shit…I am drunk!” That’s a drunk-ass chili cheeseburger. It’s like it’s saying: “Kiss me! C’mon, jerk! Kiss me! You know you want it! Show me respect though! And pay first!” Or: “Doc, I gotta tell ya, I feel like crap!” This chili cheeseburger has had a rough night. Go to bed, chili cheeseburger. Your tongue reflects light.
But is it a tongue? I’m looking at it now and I don’t know anymore. What is that? Shit. Who drew it? Let’s talk. I’d like to commission the artist to do some other drawings of food items with enormous tongues lolling out of them.
“Can you do a huge box of nachos with a tongue? But not just sitting on top of it. Rolling out of it, like Jabba when he Frenches Leia!”
“Here’s what I want: I want an enormous chimichanga mural, but, protruding from one end of the tortilla, like a dragon getting a check-up, is a fat, bad-ass, bright-red devil tongue. But make it light-hearted. Like it’s mocking you. Like it’s going: “Nya, nya, nya!” and then blowing a raspberry. I don’t want people to feel like they shouldn’t eat it.”
“Thank you for agreeing to draw a picture for my restaurant Les Amis. We’d love a painting of a shiny, saucy plate of delectable boeuf bourguignon, but instead of porcini mushrooms, can you just paint a huge-ass tongue coming out of the center of the beef and extending out toward the viewer. Sort of a 3-D bourguignon kind of thing. I want my customers to feel as though the beef will lick them. I want them to be licked by beef.”
This chili cheeseburger is about to go down on you.
I first wrote about the monstrosity above some years ago. Like a crotchety neighbor with a municipal bone or two to pick, I spoke of the tumor tree ensconced in the middle of this wall like an unyielding knot of disease. Not on one side of the wall; not on the other. But—as you can see—in it. For years. For more years than I’ve been living here. And in so standing there in the midst of that concrete structure, it stood too in the midst of my brain: an interrupting irritant that wouldn’t go away (like me in this neighborhood), that had long since layed down roots (like me in this neighborhood), that persisted in its presence like a dry, unmoving vagrant (like me in this neighborhood, one day maybe).
“Uh, isn’t it the wall that’s in the way of the tree?” you say. “This seems to be a zoning issue, not a tree issue.” However you’d like to see it, this picture above is what you’re looking at. Due to property lines, there’s no room for the wall to be moved any farther east nor west. As a result, you get this horrific result. For many, many years.
That is, until now:
I halted dead in my tracks when I saw this. It was like a beautiful crime scene. A Mexican laborer leaned against a junction box eating chips. He was covered in bark and other arborous debris. I walked over to him, but kept looking at that wall: that continuously bricked, uninterrupted, treeless wall.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Yeah,” he said. “You cut that tree down,” I said. “Yeah,” he said. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was dreaming. I said it again. “You cut that tree down,” I said. “Yeah,” he said again. “You repaired the wall,” I said. “Yeah,” he said. “I can’t believe you cut that tree down,” I said. “Yeah,” he said. “Do the owners know you did it?” I asked. I didn’t care if the owners knew. I was just glad someone did it, this cleansing. I was glad it was gone. I admit it. He said: “Yeah” again but it was at this point I knew he didn’t speak English. It was at this point I knew that I never had to ask him anything. All I needed to do was look at his work. And I did.
And I said: “Thank you.” I told the guy: “Thank you” again.
“Yeah,” he said.
I think I even said: “You have done the community a service.”
I wondered if I had ever seen this guy before, passed out drunk on various lawns in my neighborhood. Maybe. Didn’t matter.
“We need to throw a party,” I said. He stopped saying “Yeah” at this point. I said: “Thank you” again and walked away.
Someone old must’ve died, and in so doing relinquished not only their life but their custody of that tree. That malignant tree. That deformed wall. This should be on the cover of the L.A. Weekly. Shouldn’t there be some kind of ceremony with the mayor or something? I look forward to whatever grass grows in that dirty patch there.
I told that guy thank you three times.
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You got a list of things to do, errands to run, goals to accomplish, and occasionally you get preoccupied. Occasionally, there’s an urgent call to tend to something that may not be on your list but is still nevertheless urgent: Randomly in the middle of your day, you see two flat surfaces that are some distance apart; you visually gauge the space between these two flat surfaces; and ask yourself the all-important question of the ages:
“Can I jump that shit?”
Now that I look at the shot above, I wish I had gotten something else in the picture to give it some scale, but I really think I could clear this green water. I thought so at the time I took it, and I definitely think so now as I view it from the safety of my pajamas. I honestly believe I could bound over that shit. What is that, ten feet maybe? Can anyone jump ten feet? How far is ten feet? The phases of the jumping event occur swiftly and systematically in my head: Barefoot, converging on the gap at an arc, running seven point five miles an hour maybe, full sprint (of course), legs at full stride (of course), pushing off from one side with toes clamped ever so briefly into the cement (for traction only), then quickly open again for full launch potential (almost typed “full release potential” [that’s different]), standard hip flexion thrust for as much midair momentum as possible, then the inevitable and successful landing on the other side.
This—like that girl with low self-esteem you met last night—is thoroughly do-able.
If I’m to be arrested for something in my life, I say let it be this.
“Sir, would you mind telling me what you were doing down there?”
“I was jumping over that stream.”
“Stream? Sir, that’s the L.A. River.”
“Well, then looks like you’re talking to a man who just jumped over a river.”
I’d also like to make this jump whilst wearing a suit. Barefoot and in a suit. I’d also like to pretend the water is lava.
(You’ll notice that nowhere in my imaginary prep for this feat is there a plan to have bail money set aside.)
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