A True Shakespearean Tragedy

Good ‘morrow, ye goodest of readers! It hath been many moons since our last jovialities. How hath thine stuff been? Verily, this is how I have always spokeneth, no need to question it. I’m actually just writing like Shakespeare so that my works will rise to prominence and endure through the ages. And yes, that was exactly how Shakespeare wrote; I said “verily” before one of my sentences, so I’m golden. Throw a couple (thousand) dick jokes in there and you’ve got a Shakespearean play! Oh, Bill. What would you write if were alive today? I’m guessing a play or two about Trump. It would be like Richard III, but with a much less competent pro(an?)tagonist. Like if Richard had a much worse grasp on the English language but the same paranoia of being poisoned. I don’t care how you feel about Obama, but don’t tell me you prefer Spray-Tan Satan. I wasn’t Obama’s biggest fan, but he was a decent President that brought hope to folks. I’m tired of white people lecturing me on how to feel about Obama. His election meant something to a lot of people, just ask Young Jeezy. If you lost your shit when the Red Sox won their first World Series, I don’t want to hear shit from you about how minorities should feel about Obama. Won’t you at least allow us to celebrate as hard as you? Like, the same amount of accepted public jubilation? Can’t we get just one serious riot, where you get essentially a slap on the wrist and a bunch of TV people say “Ok, Bwoston, you can’t have another riot fah five years! I mean it! I am SO mad at y- wait until your father heahs!”. The Denver Broncos turned out two million fans in the streets for their parade, but what do you think would happen if two million people of color took to the streets wearing the same jersey while cheering at the top of their lungs? It’s a white cop’s worst nightmare. Who should they shoot first? My minority riot idea is surely a pipe dream. African Americans can’t even protest peacefully, buy Skittles peacefully, or even take a nap at their college… peacefully. I guess most naps are peaceful. Except if you’re a black student at a predominantly white college. Minorities literally can’t even dream about rioting, because someone calls the cops on them before their first REM cycle. If Montreal gets to riot a full four times between 1986 and 2010 for a sport that doesn’t even make it onto the list of the top 10 most globally popular sports, minorities should get to have one riot for Obama. If Cleveland had a riot just because the stadium sold the beer too cheap, minorities should get to have a riot for breaking a nearly 220-year Presidential streak. It’s true! Cleveland’s baseball stadium hosted a promotion called “Ten Cent Beer Night” on June 4, 1974, which later sparked a riot from sheer widespread over-intoxication. This was a stupid price even then, because that same beer was normally 65 cents, and hanging signs around town that advertise “85% Off Beer Night” should be considered admissible evidence if you want to prosecute someone for inciting a riot. If the Egyptian Premier League soccer that game prompted a riot that killed 79 people and injured over 500 more when Al-Masry handily defeated Al-Ahly 3-1 in 2012, then American minorities get to overturn and light one old police car on fire. For Obama. African Americans were enslaved for hundreds of years in this country, and when the story arc for your people moves from points like “legal property” to “3/5 of a person” to “5/5 of a person” to “ok you can use our schools and our drinking fountains” to “I suppose you can vote, too” to “you, sir, would still be statistically more likely to be murdered by the police than a white person if you weren’t the Democratically elected leader of the free world”, then at least black people should get a true slap-on-the-wrist riot. Is that too much to ask for? It’s really not that much. Or, how about we just let them peacefully protest police brutality? I’m pretty sure there’s a document that Nick Cage fingered a bunch in that movie that says they can do that, what’s the word… Consolation? No… Constellation? Not quite, but I’m getting close… Just let me think, I know I’ll get it here in a sec- Consummation! See? United States Consummation. Nailed it.


Bus Hero

Well hello there, readers, long time no see! Then again, most of you will never see me since this is just a written blog and I only have, like, 10 friends who actually read this. I also only have, like, 10 friends so you know… at least I’m batting 1,000. But about my friend number, I may turn that up to 11! I don’t know if that’s how that phrase was employed in Spinal Tap, but I’m sure my usage is more likely to make it into colloquial use. They should make me a genius. A genius with 11 friends, thanks to my new-found awesome superhero skills! Allow me to relate my adventure like I’m shooting one of those ubiquitous Marvel movies. Scene: dawn in front of a dive-y bar, where patrons still drunk from the night before harass a mild-mannered and sleepy vet tech waiting at the bus stop mere yards from the bar door. Casting ideas for the lead character: Mos Def, Martin Sheen, or The Vamps’ hit song “Oh Cecilia”. Actually, I think I’ll just play myself, I’m much more likable. I heard that snicker, fuck you, I’m LIKABLE. Back to the story. I check my watch in what I imagine is a nondescript, superhero secret identity way, only to realize that the bus is very late. Resentfully, I grumble under my breath that superheroes’ buses are probably always on time. After just two minutes, or in ADHD time, 17 distractions, the bus shows its ugly, boxy head down the road. Damn. It’s one of those double-long fuckers, like if you attached the ass end of one bus to the head end of another using the middle part of a huge accordion. Are we allowed to say “fucker”? What’s this movie gonna be rated? It’s ok, we’ll fix it in post. These buses are especially annoying due to the uproariously loud “hee-haw” sound they make when the ass end almost catches up to the head end, which is basically every 20 seconds. It’s like sitting inside of an accordion that only has two notes being played by an especially untalented seven year-old, just at 5:44 am. I sigh a superhero sigh as the bus wheezes to a stop in front of me with a forlorn “hee… haw”. I load my bike onto the rack as the other passengers at my stop form a somber line and shuffle aboard with all the enthusiasm of inmates entering the cafeteria on chicken meatball night. Loading my bike means I always have the last choice of seats, which always aggravates my anxiety. Who should I sit with? It’s like choosing seats at a new high school, just with a higher likelihood of getting stabbed. The people at the front of the bus are The Cool Kids. They’re a group of five mostly middle-aged women who jabber mindlessly at each other and into their phones nearly constantly, who gesture with an alacrity of movement that my 5:44 am brain simply cannot process. They’ve recently adopted an elderly racist fellow who enjoys a half-pint of vodka during the ride; they entertain his rants as he drunkenly bemoans the minorities that have taken his jobs. I move right past them, as I haven’t the heart to tell the old man that they’re laughing at him, or that “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” means 5 pm. The next group on the bus is three stoic Hispanic women who converse intermittently in quiet tones. They’re The Professionals. They’re on the bus in uniform every day, rain or shine, ready to work the second they step off. Everyone else on the bus, including myself, belongs to The Burnouts. I walked to an open seat behind The Professionals and claimed my place among my people. As the bus lurched and hee-hawed into motion, I admired the voluminous hair of The Professional in front of me, and wondered how long it took to style it that way. She probably wakes up at 4 am to get ready for work while I pee in the shower to save time because I get out of bed 25 minutes before the bus arrives, but that’s why I’m not a Professional. As I took that moment to denigrate myself, I noticed something moving in her hair. A small thing. An insect. Oh god. This is the moment I’ve feared for a long time. Bus Lice. I was ready to move from my seat and embed myself further amongst The Burnouts when I realized this bug was far too big to be a louse. At first I felt relief knowing that it wasn’t a louse, then I felt worried because larger bugs on people are usually bad, and then I felt indifferent, because the bus suddenly screeched to a halt with an ear-rending donkey cry for a passenger with a poor sense of time and worse sense of how many bugs I was currently dealing with. He exited, eliciting a slurred insult from the drunk racist and a cackle from The Cool Kids, but I was busy examining the bug. As the bus jerked into motion, I violated my rule to avoid human interaction at all costs and leaned closer to identify its large body, bright red color, and long, translucent wings. I sucked in a breath through gritted teeth. Not the flying red ant. El Diablo walks among us. I heaved another superhero sigh as I realized I had to reveal my superhero identity. I tapped The Professional on her shoulder and said “Ma’am, there’s a bug in your hair.” She shot me a quizzical, panicked look in return and shrugged, murmuring “Ingles”. I tried to pantomime a “flying insect” and “hair” and pointed at her, but she seemed to deduce that I wanted to take her on a flight to get her hair done, because she clutched her purse to her chest and shook her head while recoiling from me. I spoke louder again, making a buzzing sound and saying “BUG” and “HAIR” and pointed at her, drawing stares from nearby passengers, and a horrified gasp from her as she finally understood. She froze and stared at me with wide eyes. I tried to think of how to gently help her, but 5:46 am grumpy me decided this was too much human eye contact for this early in the morning and took over, so I rasped at her “Jus’ let me gettim’!”. Much to the horror of everyone on the bus, I reached into her voluminous, heavily-scented curls and extracted none other than the devil himself. I showed it to her so she would know that I’m not your typical morning bus hair-fingerer. Bad move. She saw the ant and let out a cry that drew the attention of the bus driver, who slammed the brakes the same way a parent does when the kids in the back seat won’t stop fighting. All eyes turned to me, a strong young man holding a madly wriggling flying fire ant by the wings in the face of a small, elderly Hispanic woman. I dropped it on the ground and smashed it with my foot while saying “It was in her hair!” in what I imagined was a placating way to the driver’s angry face in the mirror. I guess it was placating enough, or he just sees lots of bugs on his passengers, because he looked away from the mirror, and the bus again heaved into motion while making Steve Buscemi sex noises. The Professional gave me a small smile and turned away as the bus returned to normal. The Cool Kids resumed their chatter, The Professionals continued polishing their demeanor of rugged stoicism, and The Burnouts tried to keep the various metal edges of the bus interior from causing cranial damage as they napped. No one applauded me or asked for an autograph, and no freckle-faced child said “Golly Mister, you saved the day!”. I exited the bus at my stop, and the driver, normally genial, simply gave me a curt nod, as one gives to a bus hair-fingerer. I wanted to tell him I wasn’t a pervert, but that’s also the best way to be labelled a pervert, other than putting your fingers in an old lady’s hair on the bus. I rode my bike slowly to my second bus stop, lost in thought. Maybe everyone thinks I’m a pervert, but at least I saved that lady from a venomous insect bite, and if that doesn’t make me a superhero, then maybe I should just expose myself to a venomous insect bite. Ok Spiderman nerds, maybe it’s a bite from an arachnid, camelid, whatever. I don’t know things; I’m not a geologist. And I’m way more likable than “Oh Cecilia”. I checked my watch in a proud, unsung superhero way. My second bus was late.

Love, Actually (Sue Me)

What’s up, champ? How’s it going, buddy? Doing ok in school? Is this how to start a post? I don’t really know anymore, so I thought I’d give the “well-meaning but awkward and distant step-father” approach a try. I guess it worked, seeing as you’ve read this far, so maybe we can go get some ice cream after your mom gets home from work! Because it might be weird if it was just us. I’ve always had trouble starting a post, but the alcohol usually takes over once I build some momentum. That’s one of the things that hasn’t really changed in my writing over the years, along with my sense of timing, penchant for fantastical daydreams, and my love of lists. You could count the Oxford Comma too, but that’s a separate post. Separate like how the items in your list should be to avoid ambiguity, uncertainty, and misinterpretation, you fucker. As much as I love routine and habit, my uncharacteristic foray into Throwback Thursday illuminated some changes in my writing as well. I’ve started sharing my old posts on the Facebook page for this blog as a way to keep up traffic and to make it seem like I produce more content than I actually do, but before I share an old post, I make sure to give it a once-over to ensure it’s a representative representation of how I’d like to represent myself. I’m sad to say that at least a few of them have required sensitivity editing, and one required absolute deletion. Mostly it’s just replacing the r-word with something less toxic or deleting an insensitive joke, but my second-ever post entitled “Overweight, Shmo…verweight” was just a catastrophe of someone with a great metabolism talking out of his ass as he tries to lecture people who struggle with weight problems. I’m sure anyone that I offended with that post isn’t reading now, and I don’t blame them, but here’s as heartfelt an apology as the internet will allow: I’m very truly sorry. I deleted the post, and I’m much more empathetic and sympathetic to your struggles than I was four years ago. I’d post a GIF of a sad-looking cat doing an apologetic gesture, but the Google search for that was just overwhelming and I don’t want to get derailed while searching for it. Because hyperlinks. What’s potentially worse is that I may never have realized the painful potential of that post had I not met a spectacular person that somehow still lets me sleep in the same bed as her. My partner of 3.5 years somehow took this crazy man that avoided vegetables like the plague and cared little for experiences outside his sphere and showed him the value of listening and empathizing. For example: I formerly employed the word “gay” as “dumb”, and now I employ the word “gay” as “dumb” but in a way that I’m ironically making fun of the people that actually employ the word “gay” as “dumb” (my past self included). It doesn’t sound as nuanced on paper as I actually use it, but then again, this is just imaginary internet paper. GROWTH. ACKNOWLEDGE IT. I’ve never felt animosity towards any marginalized group, I’ve just previously scoffed at the idea that we need to listen to them. A large part of that was due to my upbringing, I was raised on the idea of American assimilation and stories of previously-interned Japanese Americans grumbling “The government took all my possessions and shot my brother for wandering too close to the camp fence but I still enlisted and fought the Germans in WWII”. Propaganda aside, I still should have known better, considering the racist treatment I’ve been subjected to in my life. Weirdly, I used to internalize it as a shortcoming in my American assimilation, rather than utilizing the critical thinking skills necessary to realize that racists don’t really care about how you comport yourself. That’s a particular self mindfuck, considering I was born in Colorado and have never lived anywhere else. Well, I did visit France for six days, but that doesn’t count (insert post-9/11 Freedom Fries joke here (ask 2002 me)). My partner was able to take (some of) my self-hatred and re-direct that energy towards understanding the importance of deeply empathizing with people. The result? I moan and groan when we fight about things, but when it comes to people, she’s pretty much always right. There’s been a quite a few instances where I believe I had the stronger, more supported argument, but I can’t remember those three times. When I eventually come around and listen to her, I find that marginalized folks mark me as an ally and want to be friends! I know I wasn’t raised to succeed in this way and free will doesn’t exist (that’s yet another post, but don’t worry, it’s much shorter and more straightforward than the Oxford Comma one is), but she still shouldn’t have to spoon-feed me ethics. See how I’m somehow constantly self-critical yet remarkably defensive of myself? Can you imagine living with that insecure nutcase for the last three years?? It’s almost like I’m terrible and not terrible and always trying to convince myself of both. However, she only ever tries to convince me that I’m not terrible, so the vote ends 2-1 for not terrible, and I somehow manage to keep eating and pooping and blogging. Speaking of eating, she’s an amazing cook that somehow managed to incorporate things that didn’t run for their lives into my meals. It was a rough transition for me. I used to send her pictures of the salads I ate so she’d be proud of me (and feel like she’s had a positive impact on my life and health and whatever). She’s also helped my writing grow; my recent posts tend to focus on one thing (with many small asides, but that’s what they invented parenthesis for (or maybe to fuck with students learning the order of operations (that’s not how they work in writing so I hope you didn’t read this sentence first))). Her gentle and (very) persistent touch somehow showed me more understanding ways of representing myself in every aspect of my life, while she avoided losing her hair and suffering the random dizzy spells accompanied by nosebleeds more commonly associated with the sheer effort of repeated marathons. I’m lucky in that when I don’t know how to deal with something, I just wait for her to get home, because she always knows what to do. She kicks my butt, but also touches it! Just like your mom, kiddo. If she can fix Dad, then she can fix anything. I know, I know, I’m not your real dad, you don’t have to keep saying it. Step dads have feelings, too! I think.

Let’s Keep Talking About #MeToo

I’m known to occasionally write a serious post with actual paragraphs, and it’s finally time for another! It’s not even about a dead dog, but something even harder to deal with! America, and hopefully the world at large, is in the throes of a cultural awakening that, for some, is throwing gender interactions into chaos. The consequences of the #MeToo movement has allowed more women to be heard when describing incidents of sexual assault and harassment, and some men have begun the uncomfortable process of self-examination. Other men (and some women) have begun blaming women for the shifting tiles beneath their feet, as their sacred institutions of male privilege are called into question. Now, if you’re one of the fragile men threatened by any hint of feminism (libertarians, meninists, Mike Pence), you’re probably thinking right now that I should stick to comedy, but let’s be honest – I suck at that. While I figure out how to write real jokes, maybe you can read on and try to learn how to not condone date rape, ok, pumpkin?

Let’s start with the national #MeToo conversation. MOST, and I emphasize MOST (that’s why the ancient Greeks invented caps lock and bolded print) of the people I’ve discussed this with seem to agree: Harvey = monster, Louie = monster, and Aziz = monster or my experience at prom. What’s lacking in the whole conversation, and in most conversations, is the word that most fail to fully grasp. No, it’s not “scherenschnitte”, the word that Vanya Shivashankar spelled to win the 2015 National Spelling Bee, it’s “nuance”, the word that I failed to spell correctly the first time I typed it just now. Thank Vanya for spellcheck. There HAS to be more nuance in this conversation, because the recent celebrity indiscretions fall onto a spectrum that ranges from dark alley rape with a knife and ski mask to “that time I jokingly tried to poke a coworker’s shoulder but she turned at the last second and I instead poked the upper part of her boob”. If there was another axis on the spectrum dedicated to apologies for sexual assault, Kevin Spacey would be on the very end of the z-axis that extends straight into the depths of hell, because gay people don’t routinely assault underage children, even though assholes routinely accuse them of such. Let’s forget Kevin “Spacey” Spacey and focus on the assault spectrum. Obviously, Harvey’s level of premeditation and coordination with other monsters puts him at the very bad end. No one’s saying “Hey man, we’ve all used several other wealthy and influential people that worked for me to set up one-on-one meetings my hotel room with actresses that then I coerced and scared into holding still while I lifted my stomach rolls to find my penis to rape them with”, or anything like that. Just like Dracula 2000, 10/10 would not recommend. Yes, he was an Executive Producer on that movie, and yes, we should have known he was a shitty person when it premiered. No one is on Harvey’s side on this issue, and many use him as a bookend on the bad end of the #MeToo spectrum because of the amount of forethought and planning that went into his rapes.

Let’s move into more controversial territory: Louie and Aziz. I endorsed nuanced conversations earlier, so let me begin with an unequivocal, un/im/not/anti-nuanced statement: They both fucked up. Please forgive my grammar; I only learned how to spell “nuance” two paragraphs ago, and you want me to conjugate that word now? Vanya, please. They both fucked up, they really did, but in very different, specific ways that are exactly rooted in the manners in which they deal with consent. First, for the sake of a specific argument, I will only address the incident where Louie masturbated in front of Dana Goodman and Julia Wolov, and the way he fucked up with them. He was incredibly predatory and inappropriate in many other ways before then, and I will never watch him again, but the specific incident that many cite which serves as a good example for a discussion on consent is when he invited the two female comedians up to his hotel room and asked to masturbate in front of them. This is one route to obtain consent. You can ask first and act based on the answer, or you can assume implied consent and wait for pushback. Louie took the first route. He did ask for consent before exposing a penis that probably resembles a pre-steroids Carrot Top cock, and then he jerked off. Some men think that’s ok, because we have male privilege that allows us to think more linearly about consent: We ask, they give, PENIS TIME! Or, we ask, they don’t give, let me change into compression shorts and then we can watch Lost. Unfortunately, the interaction is much more complicated than that. The first thing to understand is that there is a power dynamic in play. At the time, Louie was a more well-known member of the stand-up comedy scene than Goodman and Wolov, and they said to be invited to hang out with Louie was exciting. He then asked if he could masturbate in front of them, and they agreed because they thought he was joking, maybe because he’s a COMEDIAN, and then presto penis! If his dick is half as big as his balls in that moment, it’s hard to blame him for wanting to show off, but YOU STILL CAN’T ASK THAT. Louie was a person that could influence their jobs and careers, and he’s also a large (if un/im/not/anti-athletic man) that could make them fear for their physical safety in a small, private space. At this point, many men tune out of the conversation. They say stupid things like “If anyone tried to fuck with me, I’d fight back!”. They espouse victim-blamey things like “kick them in the nuts” or “hit them and run away”. This is why the term “male privilege” exists. It’s not the same for most women. Many women have learned, from years of sexual harassment, that rejecting a man’s advances can make men turn ugly. Go ahead, ask some of the women you know. At least a few, statistically speaking, have a story of a time when ignored or rejected catcalling or flirting devolved into insults and/or threats. Sometimes it gets to the point of physical violence. Again, some men say “oh, men are just being dumb, they don’t mean it” or something along those lines, but that’s not the point. They don’t have to mean their words for them to feel menacing, because they’re a stranger. I once declined to give a homeless person my spare change, after which they threatened to stab me. Even though they were seated and obviously not very fast, I didn’t stick around to find out if they would keep their word, because it doesn’t matter that they’re MOST LIKELY bluffing. When the potential consequences of a threatening interaction are exactly what an aggressor describes, the best course of action is to take them at their word. Men can often dismiss such threats because they aren’t accosted as often, they’re far less likely to be sexually assaulted, and they’re just fucking BIGGER. The average female (globally) gives up about 6-6.5 inches (some may be tempted to make a penis joke here, but don’t flatter yourselves, men) and 20-30 lbs to the average male. In any female/male interaction around the world, the woman is statistically likely to be physically outmatched by the man, which would obviously make any woman with a history of sexual harassment or assault more wary of men, because the stakes are far higher for her if a man begins to act violently. Male privilege allows most men to dismiss such issues because they have never been sexually harassed, assaulted, catcalled, followed home, drunkenly fawned over, or the like. This is not to say these things don’t happen to men, or to diminish the pain they have experienced from these things, I am saying that THESE THINGS HAPPEN FAR MORE TO WOMEN. I’ve been catcalled before. A Jeep full of young women was stopped an intersection that I crossed in front of, and they all proceeded to tell me what they’d do to me in bed. My honest opinion? It was fucking awesome. I strutted for a week after that. I took it as a compliment because I knew that even if all four of them jumped out and tried to have their way with me, like they said they would, I was never in any real physical danger. Imagine the opposite. If four strange guys in a Jeep told a woman they wanted to rip her shirt off and expose her genitals right in the middle of the street, she’d probably be terrified, and for good reason. I got to walk away while thanking them for the compliment, and THAT’S what male privilege is. If you still doubt it exists then you’re a fucking piece of shit and should do some self-examination, but it’s probably not going to help, because as a vet tech who’s looked at hundreds of fecal samples, I can tell you this: you can look at shit all you want, and sometimes theres interesting shit in there, but at the end of the day, it’s still shit. Like Louie.

It’s time for Aziz! Circa 2016, I’d be stoked. Not so much anymore, but let me preface it with this: Overall, he’s not nearly as bad as Louie, to my knowledge. All I know about him, on this topic, is the single incident that was publicized everywhere for weeks. His incident was bad, yes, but he also doesn’t have a long history of harassing women like Louie, or a long history of raping women, like Harvey. Comfortable with that word, yet? Not “Harvey”, no one should ever be comfortable with that. It’s the word “rape” that so many people won’t use. I don’t mean that we should ever be comfortable with rape happening, but we do need to be comfortable saying “rape” when that’s exactly what happened. We try to avoid the word “rape” because it’s inflammatory and scary and we’d rather not think about it, but to avoid saying “rape” when a rape occurred does a disservice to the rape victim and rape victims everywhere, and it allows rapists to feel like they’re not rapists. You can just SAY the word, it’s not fucking “Voldemort”, Kobe Bryant isn’t going to appear in your living room and start raping you and then change his number after he gets away with it. Sorry for the aside, but I have a problem with not calling rapes “rape” when someone was raped. It’s a hard word to vocalize, but the more we refuse to say “rape”, the less likely we are to admit that rape happened in the first place. Not that Aziz raped anyone, I’m just angry about language that enables cop-outs and also bad at paragraph organization. Back to Aziz. Yes, his incident is controversial, and for good reason, because it has forced us, as a nation, to identify and delineate the meaning of sexual assault. Much of the reason why there is so much gray area in this specific interaction is that the logistical definitions of sexual assault are not nearly as rigid as the dictionary definition, which boils down to one word: “unwanted”. In other words, it’s about consent! Remember when Louie took the first route of consent, to ask first and whip it out milliseconds later? Aziz took the second route of consent, to just start doing stuff and wait for pushback. That style isn’t ideal for several reasons, the first of which is you can put a partner in a defensive position where they have to question your motives and their own perception. Do you remember the last time someone made you uncomfortable? Did you second-guess your feelings, maybe question if you misinterpreted the interaction, thinking your were doing them a disservice? Did you replay the situation in your head, searching for answers? This is the position some victims of assault or “bad dates” find themselves in, but it continues to unfold in real time as they question themselves, and there are very scary potential consequences if something goes wrong. It’s especially scary when someone demonstrates that they’re unwilling to listen while testing physical boundaries with regularity. You shouldn’t do that to people. Personal boundaries aren’t electric fences in Jurassic Park, and you aren’t a velociraptor. Aziz’s approach isn’t necessarily problematic if he hears his date’s words and internalizes her reluctance. The main problem occurs when she pushes back against him and he continues his advances. Once someone says they aren’t ready or don’t want to or need a break or shows any other form of consent withdrawal, the ball is in their court, and they get to choose if the game goes on. Completely, absolutely, without question. Yes, the article makes it seem like Aziz is in a rush to get back to his place and get busy, which doesn’t always make for a good date, but there’s nothing wrong with being horny. But, when you begin placing your horny-ass needs over the human experience of a person whom you just met, who believes the best in your intentions because you have performed stand-up bits devoted to your understanding of feminism, who, at her core, is a just person who wants to give their date the benefit of the doubt, the situation becomes scary. Aziz failed to let her have the ball. Consent needs to be enthusiastic, whether it’s whispered intimately, uttered quickly as they rip your clothes off, or choked around a ball gag as they hang upside-down from a tree in a public park at midnight during a full moon. Any sign of reluctance needs to be addressed, or at least, internalized. A common argument in Aziz’s defense is that his date would express reluctance in some form, but then would engage again in sexual acts later. As a man, I know that this is a very confusing situation, because we usually aren’t taught that consent is specific. As far as I know, few people are, but it doesn’t change the fact that performing certain sex acts doesn’t mean that others are automatically available. Even very vulnerable and one-sided acts like giving oral sex doesn’t mean that penetrative intercourse is on the table. Or on the bed. Or the hammock, if you’re a champ. If you invite someone into your home, it doesn’t mean they get to eat your leftovers too. If someone has you over and offers you a beer, wouldn’t you ask before you drink the whole six-pack? I wish I could say the whole point of this post is for men to learn to treat women like their friends’ beers, but I think we can aim even higher! Guys, I know what it’s like to have a boner so hard you feel that if you sprinted for 18 strides and tipped forward you could shatter the Olympic pole vaulting record, but we have got to let that epic boner go if a partner seems reluctant! You have to listen with your ears and your eyes too! If a partner displays any signs of reluctance, you need to ask yourself why, and really try to put yourself in their shoes. Think about their past, and especially any potentially troubling sexual experiences they may have had. If you’re with a woman, the odds are high that she’s had at least one. Think about the dynamic you have with them. Are you at your place or theirs, how well do they know you, and how different are your physical abilities? Truly, all you have to do is make an effort to empathize with your partner’s situation, which doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, but everyone knows that men are best known for empathetic acts like leaving the toilet seat up and routinely passing anti-abortion legislation. At best, Aziz was simply inconsiderate, but being inconsiderate in a romantic encounter with your date can literally traumatize a person who doesn’t know you all that well and feels at your mercy when you’re more influential or just bigger than them.

This last paragraph will detail the exploits of someone unnamed in the #MeToo movement but who is more important than all of them put together! No, it’s not Hugh Jackman or even the Pope, it’s me! Did I sexually assault someone? Well, I am a man, and was socialized as a man, so it’s fair to question my ability to think critically about and empathize with women, especially during sexual encounters. The answer, however, is no, I have not sexually assaulted anyone, but I did find myself in an encounter similar to Aziz’s, but I listened, and that made all the difference. My current partner of 3.5 years and I had dated for about 6 months when it occurred. At this point in our relationship, we were still having sex approximately 6,815 times per day, which almost always meant we started chopping wood for the fire before the sun came up. I woke up before her that morning, and as the first person awake, tried to make some curry with the lady. She kissed me back initially, but stopped after a bit to get some water. When she returned to bed, I resumed my attempts to change a fluorescent lightbulb, but she again pulled away and sat up. I tried to say something playful and sexy, but if you’ve ever met me, you know that sounds like Steve Buscemi crying the lyrics to a Nickelback song, so she stood and walked over to the window. We had watched a lot of Mad Men recently; I finally got to be Don Draper trying to sweet-talk a mistress into bed! Initially, I felt cool, secure in my knowledge that I would never physically aggress upon her, but I also became wary of her behavior. This wasn’t how our mornings usually went. Obviously, something was up. I abandoned my attempts to put together IKEA furniture and asked if something was wrong. She told me, hesitantly, that I was making her uncomfortable, and that I was triggering traumatic memories of a time she was raped. OH FUCK. I thought over the last 6 months she had come to know me as a not Bill Cosby-esque person (I’m not funny, either), but it turns out, you can’t get to know someone well enough. She had actually been raped multiple times, and before anyone gets victim-blamey, one of the rapists was a former partner of three years, so don’t think your bullshit about screening or dating better people. Even though I am 100% sure I’d never rape anyone, and even though she was 99% sure that I would never rape her, the consequence of her being wrong is getting raped since I am a larger man who, if he decided to, could use force to get what he wants. The difference between my experience and Aziz’s? I stopped when I noticed her reluctance. Before starting this, I asked her to help me write this post so that I could capture her experience and show how different the two sides of the same interaction were. Her response? She didn’t really remember that much about it. She told me she remembers being afraid of my advances and telling me why, but she doesn’t remember much else. She told me that the fact that I listened to and respected her prevented the experience from becoming a traumatic one, so she was just able to move on from it, and that’s why she wasn’t able to contribute much of her perspective to this post. If you’re going to be intimate with a partner, you have to really listen to their words and pay attention to their cues. I did not do a good enough job of that; I should have recognized her cues far earlier. I didn’t internalize her reluctance. I didn’t immediately empathize with her experience, or the differences in our statures. Sure, television and music had diluted my of sense of how much resistance is too much resistance, but that’s not an excuse at all, particularly when the stakes are so high. That’s what it means to live in a rape culture. When Indiana Jones, Han Solo, James Bond, and a hundred other leading men routinely cajole, coerce, harass, and assault women in extraordinarily successful film franchises without anyone blinking an eyelash, that’s rape culture. I still should have known better. I should have read the room better and paid more attention to what was clearly less than enthusiasm, much less consent. I should have opened a dialogue far sooner. It’s not nearly enough to think you know that you aren’t going to hurt someone. I managed to come around before doing any lasting damage, but that shows just how easy it is for even a well-intentioned person to create and perpetuate a situation that scares someone else. I can’t take it back or do it over. All I can do is try to break down that interaction to hopefully help someone recognize any hesitation in a partner, and to help them address it with empathetic and collaborative methods. Most of the women that I’ve talked to about this exact kind of encounter say the same thing: they don’t want rejection to fuel escalation. That’s why they sometimes aren’t as blunt with their refusals as it takes to get through to a horny man. If they’re worried about escalation from ignoring a impudent stranger on a public street in broad daylight, it’s particularly dangerous for a situation to escalate in a private residence in a one-on-one situation with a male that is likely to be larger and stronger than they are. Men need to take that into account when attempting to solicit consent. Some of the women I’ve talked to about their rapes say that the man grew so aggressive about having sex that they were afraid he would become physically violent, so the woman “consented” to sex, just to avoid potential physical injury. To this day, some of those rapists don’t know they raped someone. They don’t know that their actions scared someone into doing something they didn’t want to. All I’m asking of you fellas, is to really do your best to obtain ENTHUSIASTIC consent. I know it’s troubling to be lectured on feminism and consent by a man, but when you live in a patriarchy, sometimes that’s all you have to work with. I recognize that I brought up plenty of issues worth nuanced discussion and that I haven’t explored all of them to their depths, but there’s only so much internet. There’s probably like, 6 megabytes of internet, and this post is nearing 3,800 words, so thats gotta be like… 5 megabytes. Sorry for using all the hot internet. The point is, now that some men have actually started trying to listen to women, some men also question which behaviors are acceptable when interacting with them. The rule is simple, but its practice is harder. Think of women, like all people, as autonomous human beings, who have every right to feel their feelings and set their own boundaries, and try to empathize with both. Anyone can be unreasonable about anything, and it’s fair to attempt a reasonable and nuanced discourse about such topics when you’ve done the emotional labor to really try to understand their perspective, but you have to respect boundaries when a person does not consent to a conversation or interaction. When I bring up this point with men, many say “I just go by the golden rule.” It’s an ok place to start, but it completely ignores male privilege and the distinct differences between men an women when just walking down the street or applying for a job. Men, how many jobs have you worked that required you to wear makeup? Have you ever had problems finding comfortable clothes with pockets? Even if you have, you’re in the minority of men, and the majority of women. My point is, women, on average, have a harder time with many aspects of their life because of male-imposed rules, and such hardships must be accounted for when empathizing with their experience. Men need to stop feeling sorry for themselves when they get kicked in the balls when women suffer similar abdominal pains once a month just because evolution decided they were tough enough to bear the brunt of the reproductive burden. Even if you got kicked in the balls every hour for a few days once a month, at least you wouldn’t have to pay money to keep blood from leaking all over your clothes, or pay for drugs that reduce your cramps and keep you from accidentally getting pregnant while increasing your risk of cancer. Maybe you suspect that the author of this piece is in fact a woman, possibly from the praise aimed at women or level of empathy not normally achieved by men, but let me say: a woman would have written this better. Libertarians and meninists often like to raise the topic of male rape victims. They fail to grasp that women almost never rape men, and since men are much more likely to rape men, that doesn’t really support their idea of male victimhood. Yes, men get sexually assaulted, but not nearly as often as women and it’s never glorified as lady-killing heroics. The topic of men being raped by either women or men is a similarly troubling issue, but for once, I’m trying to stay on a single topic, so let it suffice to say: When trying to get into a vagina, don’t be a dick. I know it’s a seemingly insurmountable task, but if we try to better ourselves and we don’t shy away from the conversation, maybe someday, people won’t have to say #MeToo.


Bus Legolas

Hello again, friends! What’s it been, a week? That’s like several centuries in internet time, so I’ll just start calling myself a time traveller and tell you about my adventures. Most of my recent escapades have just been bus experiences, given that my car is probably total-ed from the accident that I practically wept about to you last time. Poor Mighty Wings. I really loved that car, much more than most people love a used 2002 Subaru Outback. How many people do you know named their car after a Top Gun song? I loved my car more than Maverick loved Goo… his plane. One is a sensual, perfectly-engineered vehicle that exemplifies the very pinnacle of humanity’s technological triumphs, and the other is just an F-14 Tomcat. The F-14 has its perks too (I guess). Sure, it has landing gear that routinely withstands being launched off a boat with a catapult strong enough to throw 40,100 pounds of metal into the air and it can attain Mach 2.4 after that, but my Subaru seats five and won’t start if I drive too far on a hot day, so I think it’s a toss-up. Even now, in its totally useless and wrecked condition, it still draws stares from all the neighbors, mostly from those who complain that it’s an eyesore, but fuck those people, because they clearly don’t know a goddamn perfect invention when they see one. The Subaru Outback is the most important human invention, ever. I’d take it over scissors, plumbing, and electricity. Yeah I know, it requires electricity and some plumbing principles like flow rates and visible asscrack, but I’ll leave that dilemma for the scientists to sort out. Since my kingly chariot is most likely just kingly scrap metal now, I have been using the bus for the past few weeks. Well, buses. And a bike ride after that. I catch my first bus at 5:44 am, which means it usually arrives at 5:38 am, then I catch my second bus at 6:06 am, which means it usually arrives at 6:03 am, and after that I bike for 10 minutes to arrive at my destination, the place where I work for 10-12 hours per day. It does indeed blow as much ass as you think it does, but I’ve decided to think about it as a character-building experience, because there’s NO way getting less sleep and having less free time is going to sour my disposition. And yet, somehow, it hasn’t. A lot of that is due to my perpetual mental effort to appreciate the best of my circumstances, but you lot aren’t here to read about that GARBAGE! You’re here because of my ADHD, which also helps a lot on the bus, because the bus serves as a prison of boredom if you get motion sickness from reading or looking at a screen for too long like I do. Indeed, in just 3 weeks of bus riding, I have crowned myself the King of Bus-Sleeping. I know all the tricks. Some buses don’t have very high hand-grips on the back of the seats, so you can’t rest your head on those. Find a window seat, put your hood up, and snuggle that fucking corner like it’s Paula Deen’s buttery bosom. If such a seat is unavailable, you’ll just have to close your eyes and hang your head straight down like you got into a car crash that wasn’t your fault which you were still faulted for which also total-ed your vehicle 3 weeks ago. Hypothetically speaking, anyway. If your bus does have the high hand-grips, you’re in luck! Just put your hood on and rest the softest part of the base of your skull on that bad boy! The RTD bus engineers have somehow found the magic combination of measurements to make those grips stab efficiently and frequently into one of the most vulnerable parts of the human skull, no matter what height the human is! They should re-design the F-14, maybe it wouldn’t be so shitty, then. If you’re unlucky enough to ride a route with lots of potholes, the bus hitting one of those at 40 mph with your head resting on a thin piece of metal just feels like getting punched hard in the base of the skull a bunch of times. But, being the King of Bus-Sleeping, I have conditioned my mind to rest in a semi-aware state. I still manage to nap on my long journey, yet I somehow maintain enough consciousness to pull my head up fast enough when I feel the drop of the bus so as to avoid getting clocked in the back of the head when the tires hit the other side of the pothole a millisecond later. I also don’t miss my stop. I somehow always hear the stop announcements, which register enough for my sleeping brain to process that it’s not the stop before my stop, and the next thing I remember is just the next announcement. Eventually, I’ll hear the right stop, wake up, and leave. Insanity. I’m like Legolas in The Two Towers, who runs hundreds of miles chasing Orcs while sustaining a restful nap with his elf-magic, except I don’t shoot arrows particularly well and the only people dressing as me for Halloween in 2003 were just very mean kids that went to my school. But you know what? I don’t care. I am Bus Legolas. Like regular Legolas, but more nauseated. I’m also not white. Does that make me an Orc?

Read This, Fuckwad!

Ok guys, I’m gonna level with you: I know I’ve been meaning to write more, and mostly I have, barring this recent month-long stretch. I’m still working on that monster of a post that runs over 4,000 words now with many edits and additional thoughts yet to come, but even with that post, I still haven’t written much. A big part of it is because I go through depressed spells in my life, and it’s harder to work, sleep, etc, and my self-esteem also takes a bigger nosedive than Facebook’s stock this month. Ok, maybe not quite that far, but it’s far enough that I doubt my ability to make other people laugh, so I just stop trying, sometimes for months at a time. Since an unhealthy part of my self-esteem is attached to my ability to make others laugh, this tends to make me extra depressed, so I can’t let myself do that anymore. I just have to write through the shitty feelings and hope someone gets a chuckle or two out of a short post that took a lot of willpower to start and complete. So yeah, some posts from now on might start with a boring report on how I’m doing, and some might not be funny at all, but remember this, fuckwad: I’m in charge here. In this unpaid-for, largely ignored, bullshit corner niche of the internet, I decide what’s going to happen here, and sometimes you’re going to have to hear my shit because I can’t afford therapy. Also, sorry I called you a fuckwad, R. Lee Ermey taught me that dehumanizing people with constant, targeted obscenities is the best way to inspire people to win the Vietnam War. Wait, we won that one, right? ‘Merica never loses. For real though, I thought Ermey was a great actor, and in that specific way, he was, but that’s because that’s just who he was. I did some homework, and turns out he was a Marine during Vietnam, a board member on the NRA, and a spokesperson for Glock. So, yeah. I don’t mean to disparage his acting, but if you threw me in front of a camera and asked me to literally be myself, I think I could knock that out of the park as well. You fuckwad. That might have seemed hypocritical since I don’t believe in dehumanizing people for sport or that we won the Vietnam War, but as a scientist, I’m just going to keep the experiment going and see if I feel empowered by insulting people by the end of this post. The reason that I haven’t written anything in the last week is that, well, it’s been a truly shitty week. I’ll try to be brief. Last Wednesday, two doctors in my clinic got into such an argument during work that all of those present were involved in the negative fallout and one of those doctors is leaving the clinic. Small potatoes, right? True. Well listen here, fuckwad, I’ve got some larger potatoes right here! (Gestures to crotch). Maybe I should get those checked out. On Thursday, one of our clients who is old and very mentally ill lost his shit at the clinic and started screaming at everyone and threatening them. He’s the type of person that just attaches to certain people, and I was the only one present that he liked and listened to. The other two weren’t there that day, and when he became aggressive enough that the cops were called, I had to be the one to escort him out of the building. Right after he put his dog in the car, a cop car screeched into the lot and parked right behind him. My client dashed into the driver’s seat of his car, as if he planned to ram the cop car in reverse and then drive away, like he wanted to set a world record for oldest person in a high-speed chase. I kept the door open, because that was terrible idea even for people that don’t take 10 minutes to get into their cars. The cop got out of his car and told our client to exit his vehicle, addressing him by his first name. Oh, shit. Turns out, our client had a long history of behaving very nastily towards animal care professionals to the point that legal action was required. Our client refused, and he started cussing the cop out and continued to refuse to the point where the cop aimed his taser at him. I let go of the door when I saw the a laser dot appear on our client’s chest. Then, a horrible thought occurred to me: he was so old, he might not survive getting tasered. As the only person that he listened to present, I felt responsible for him. I tried to reason with him to get out of the car. Eventually, he did, because I’m a sexy-ass motherfucker. Then, for whatever stupid reason, he turned around, went head-first into the car, and started rooting around in the center console and passenger seat. The cop reached for his REAL gun and asked, again using his first name, what our client was reaching for. “My keys,” our client hissed, exiting the car and shaking his keys in the cop’s face. He started screaming “Pig Motherfucker” at the cop and kept shaking his keys in his face. I kept trying to intervene, since I didn’t particularly feel like watching someone die that day, until the situation became too volatile with the arrival of four other officers who eventually managed to arrest him without tasering a mentally-ill man in his 70’s. He asked us to take his animals, and when we referred them to animal control, he later threatened to get a gun and kill us.  Fun day. That night, I went to my great-aunt’s funeral, a woman that decided she was going to fill the role of a grandparent, since one of mine died when I was just months old. She and my uncle sent Christmas and birthday gifts every year, as well as invites to every family event with my second cousins. I miss her more than I thought I would and not as much as I should. Friday’s the real doozy, because I got into a car accident. Long story short, the car in front of me on the highway slammed on their brakes, I did the same, and came to a stop a foot or two in front of their bumper. Relieved, I looked up from the bumper in front of me to notice a flash of gray in my rearview mirror before a car plowed into my rear, punching my front end into the car in front of me. I thought everything would be ok since I didn’t do anything wrong, but the cop didn’t believe me, since the damage to my front end made it look like I hit the car in front of me at full speed, when in reality, the car behind me hit me into them at a speed high enough to fuck up my front end and my neck muscles. I was found at fault, my car was fucked, and I managed to catch a cold from standing on the side of a cold and gusty highway for hours while waiting for the state patrol and a tow truck. I was very sad for my car (see post about new car from about one year ago). My insurance company wouldn’t find me “not at fault” for the accident based on the statement of the driver in front of me for four more days, so I barely slept those nights. One of those nights was the first morning I had to wake up at 5 am to catch my first bus at 5:44 to go to work. There was an old lady in the front of that bus, yelling at the driver that Trump’s recent behavior made her look like a “stupid fucking idiot”, and that he wouldn’t be saying and doing such terrible things if Obama didn’t have a fake American birth certificate. Bus logic. I made it to my second bus without incident, whose ride was luckily similarly uneventful. The last leg of my 1.5 hour journey was a 25 minute walk. It had been a while since I walked long distances, but I was revitalized by being a pedestrian again! No one could touch me without consequences! If any car so much as nicked me, they’d be liable! I know that pedestrians always have the right of way, but I didn’t fully realize that they could Moonwalk across the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge and cars would go into the water before they splattered someone. I reveled in my new position of power, crossing crosswalks in the maximum amount of time allowed by the crosswalk countdown. The crosswalk countdown is like The Final Countdown, except it essentially just keeps going if you just stand in people’s way. I was a god among men, unless you count the fact that even getting clipped by a mirror moving at 40 mph could cause me serious injury or death. Nay, I was greater than a god. I was a pedestrian. I could punch a cyclist through the heart and fuck their left ventricle with their water bottle while moaning the Gettysburg Address like a rookie porn star until the cops came and I still would be the victim. I went to school in Boulder, walking and cycling heaven, I’ve seen a drunk pedestrian throw their shoe at an empty parked car and still win a settlement. I could have stripped off my clothes and stood on the median without fear if I wanted to, since I’m not Harvard’s only black student. I’m sorry, that’s not true, which I know because I just visited the admission statistics page of Harvard’s official website, since I like to know shit before I rant about shit. Turns out, Harvard is so focused on promoting the ethnicities of SOME of their students that they broke them down into four ethnic categories. Yep, just 4. Check it out yourself: https://college.harvard.edu/admissions/admissions-statistics. African American: 14.6%, Asian American 22.2%, Hispanic or Latino 11.6%, Native American or Pacific Islander: 2.5%. Now, I didn’t get into Harvard, but I do know how percentages work, so lets do a little math: 14.6%+22.2%+11.6%+2.5% = 50.9%. They were so concerned when making their little chart that 49.1% White admissions versus 50.9% all Non-white admissions would look so bad that they just excluded it from the chart. Harvard is so convinced that it values intelligence and integrity more than any other variables, yet they’re 3.36 times more likely to admit a white person than a black person, and 100 times more likely to hide that fact. It would be intellectually consistent if they vocally argued that black people were systemically punished and impoverished to the point where less than 1/3 of them even got to apply to Harvard, or in a fucked-up way, if they argued that white people were 3.36 times more intelligent than white people. Intellectual inconsistency aside, it would still be less of an issue if they didn’t intentionally hide it. Does Harvard have such a low opinion of their prospective students that they think they can’t add four percentages, or just think the students won’t care that the school takes enough of an issue with their admission statistics that they deliberately hide some of them? Only Pedestrian knows. The point is, being a pedestrian is like being a white American: accidents are never your fault, and bad things are less likely to happen to you, things like getting arrested inside Starbucks or getting arrested outside Harvard. Maybe it’s just a “getting arrested” problem for black people, since the client at my clinic was not black and still managed to cuss out and advance upon a cop after he suddenly dove back into his car while reaching for an unknown acquisition without being shot or tasered. Sorry for ranting. I just get mad that even with how shitty my week has been, on average, it’s still worse to be a black person in America. Can you imagine how bad things would be if we had lost the Vietnam War? Maybe your parents would have used a condom and you’d be less of a fuckwad, fuckwad.

Hey Mensa, Unscramble This Anagram: YOUFUCK

I apologize for not posting lately; it’s not that I haven’t been writing, I’m just not done! Unfortunately, you’re not getting another Vegetarian Chronicles chapter because I’d have to read the previous posts to know what’s going on and J.K. Rowling still doesn’t want to do a crossover blog post. The post I’ve been writing has over 1500 words and I’m about halfway through, so try not to be impressed that I know 1500 words! I don’t actually know that many words – about 2/3 of them are “the” or “a” or “shitfuck”. Try to stop wondering at my genius, you’re making me blush! What can I say, I was in Mensa before I refused to pay my membership dues (IQ points), so they kicked me out. I even staged a protest at their headquarters to get back in, but no one listens to a naked man brandishing an upside-down picture of Einstein who’s screaming “I know calculus!” at a nondescript building in Arlington. Perhaps they were afraid that a genius of my caliber might destabilize their precious monopoly on smart… ness, that I may bring down their architecturally-exemplary ivory tower of smug intellectual superiority, or perhaps they just knew that I’d forgotten most of my calculus long before my college calculus final exam, either way; I’m not in Mensa. Whatever. If being dumb means never curing diseases or improving our ways of life, then I don’t want to be smart! Maybe you smart folks designed helicopters and self-playing pianos, but I’m the only one that I know who’s ripped a callus off his own knuckle, thrown it at his dog, and then lied to their face that it wasn’t them. He knows it was me. He watched me through the whole thing. Maybe he should be in Mensa. Although, he probably wouldn’t get in because he’s black, since Mensa primarily uses IQ tests to filter membership, which disproportionately discriminate against poor people, who, in the United States, are disproportionately people of color. They’re almost as bad as Harvard. Perhaps you don’t care if you’re privileged enough to attend well-funded schools throughout your life, the schools that have the time and resources to teach the kind of problem-solving and critical thinking skills that IQ tests often skew towards. Is my dog less likely to get into Mensa because he’s a dog or because he’s black? ‘Tis much to ponder for a simpleton such as myself. I just want to be smart. My dad tells me I’m smart, but he also used to hit me and told me he didn’t care if I died, so let’s take his testimony with a grain of salt. My partner tells me I’m smart but she’s a WOMAN, and as a country we’ve decided we’re somewhat ready to hear women but aren’t ready to believe them, so perhaps I’ll just try to mansplain to her how it feels to be a person that isn’t heard. She’ll know what I’m talking about. James Blunt once told me I’m beautiful, but it turns out the scheming shitbag sang that to literally millions of additional people. It’s true. Fuck you, James Blunt! You and J.K. Rowling can go join Mensa so you can all take a collective shit on my impoverished, black dog! Actually, J.K.’s dope, I follow her on the tweets. She definitely don’t hate black or poor people. Hey J.K., can we for real do this crossover post? Have your people call my pe… I mean, have your people call my phone! I don’t have people. I barely even have a phone.

“Ah, Geez!”

What are you ashamed of? Probably at least a few things, I’m sure, and reading this blog is certainly one of them, but you, just like most people, are probably ashamed of a few of your other habits as well. Is it smoking? Is it chewing your fingernails? Is it shooting heroin? These are all examples of bad habits, although some are worse than others, I will grant you. Heroin? Not great for your body, and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal, but you may have to check with your local sheriff’s department. Chewing your nails? Good luck finding a job with your beavered-up hands, you degenerate junkie. Want to know how to quit the keratin? I’ve actually developed a 12-step plan to help people like you! It’s “JUST FUCKING STOP” written 12 times on a chalkboard. You disgust me. I’d give you a disapproving look right now if we weren’t interacting through written words on the internet, and if I hadn’t shot up heroin ten minutes ago. Don’t worry, I checked with the sheriff, it’s not illegal in my state! Besides, he’s the one that sold me the dope in the first place! All jokes aside, if you’ve read my blog, then you know that I’m a perfect human being with just a single bad habit, which the people in my life know as “Ah, geez!”. What’s that habit, you ask? Or more accurately, what’s that habit I ask rhetorically, for you, for the sake of advancing my narrative? I’m very glad I asked that for you. As a veterinary technician, I have a duty to remain supremely professional in very unique, dangerous, and unprofessional settings. More specifically, my employment contract prohibits me from swearing in front of clients, despite the fact that the nature of my job places me in many situations that call for a choice “SHIT ON A SHITTY PIECE OF SHIT!” or “FUCK ME AND EVERYONE FUCKING I KNOW!”. For instance, once when asking an owner about the urination habits of the cat laying calmly on the table next to me, the fucking demonbeast, like a goddamn KGB sleeper agent, was triggered by the phrase “And how would you describe his urine color?” and he suddenly sank his claws into my arm. I wanted to scream swear words, but I also enjoy having a job, so I overrode my initial response and uttered through gritted teeth “Ah, geez!”. I scruffed him, but not before he managed to flex his paw enough to push his curved claw deeper so that it started pushing my skin upwards from below, a phenomenon in my field known as “getting hooked”. I was filled with horror in that moment. Not because of the fact that I would have to drag the claw deeper into my flesh before I could extract it, no, but because my tame utterance in response to my injury would make a middle-aged suburban white woman proud. Such a woman once needed to use our restroom once while Lil’ Jon’s “Get Low” was playing in the employees-only area, where the restrooms are. “ALL SKEET SKEET MUFUCKAAAA! ALL SKEET SKEET GOD DAMN- AGODDAMN!” She asked “Are they saying ‘skis?”. Ah, geez. I couldn’t believe that of my prodigious “naughty words” vocabulary, I resorted to “Ah, geez” in a crisis. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve internalized my job requirements so much that I don’t swear in front of clients anymore! Yes, you read that right. I’ve changed. I’m lame. It’s true. Is this what coming out of the closet is like? I feel like this is harder. Worse, I can’t stop! Once, a dog repeatedly bit my dominant hand due to a disagreement over the necessity of his preventative bloodwork, once even to the bone, and all I could summon was a somewhat-disheartened “Ah, geez!” for every bite. Dog vomits on my shirt? Ah, geez! Cat thrashes too hard when I’m trying to draw its blood and it punches the needle straight into my arm? Ah, geez! Anal glands sprayed on my lips? Silent “Ah, geez!”. I’m so lame now that I’ve decided to buy a bunch of sweater vests and talk about the most boring NPR segments with my neighbors. I’m so lame that the rheumatoid arthritis TV commercials make me nod and rub my knuckles as I watch. I’m so lame that I’m thinking about opening a 401k. How do I combat this? How do I come back? Do I need to drink Patrón tequila and krump to Get Low until I puke? Or should I grow a mullet and sing karaoke on weeknights? I don’t even know how to not be lame anymore! Ah, geez!

The Merits of Camouflage

Dearest readers, I regret to inform you that I won’t be blogging much longer. ‘Tis a sad day, I know, but one that we knew was coming for a long time, and I must move on to bigger and better things. What could be bigger or better than this blog, you ask? A blog with cat pictures? Fuck off. Truth be told, almost nothing is better than this blog in its current form. Fame? Not even close. Money? Don’t make me laugh! A warm chocolate chip cookie? Absolutely, I agree with you 100%. I dislike most sweets, but I’d eat a fresh chocolate chip cookie even if it was young and hot enough that R. Kelly kidnapped and pissed on it. Hell, I’d abandon this blog without a second thought for half of a stale Chips Ahoy. It’s lucky that my grocery store runs are limited to rotisserie chickens and Lactaid Pills, else I may never have created a blog in the first place. No, the reason for my departure is much more believable than the far-fetched idea that I managed to get my hands on a chocolate chip cookie. The real reason is that I am now the proud owner of a ghillie suit! For those who don’t know, a ghillie suit is a camouflaged body suit or cover that allows hunters, snipers, or more importantly, wildlife photographers, to stalk and shoot their targets. No, I’m not a hunter, because I like most animals and don’t want to spend money to kill them. I’m not a a military sniper because the idea of superior or inferior human lives based on arbitrarily-drawn country lines is, well… supremely moronic. I’m not a wildlife photographer because that involves remaining immobile for hours, which everyone knows only wizards can do. And no, I’m not stalking anyone, I swear! Well, technically, I guess I am stalking Anne Hathaway (see post from like, 3 years ago), but that doesn’t involve a ghillie suit as much as it is just me screaming “Anne Hathaway, do me!” every time I summit a flight of stairs, like Rocky Balboa if he could articulate real words. No, with my new ghillie suit, I will hunt the Most Dangerous Game: fun. Don’t you see? The camouflage provided by a ghillie suit will keep others from seeing me, ergo, ghillie suit = invisibility cloak. “Use it well.” No, Dumbledore isn’t going to do a crossover in this episode, he’s busy in The Vegetarian Chronicles doing… doing something. I forgot where I left the story. Fuck it. I ask no forgiveness for my memory lapse, for I have transcended this world! I can become invisible! With this ghillie suit, the possibilities are endless! I could smoke a blunt in a movie theater without anyone knowing. I could swim in my apartment’s pool without being afraid of sharks. I could even work my Sunday routine of wandering the King Soopers parking lot and leaning on expensive cars while winking at passing women without being arrested! If a woman brandishes a purse weapon at me I usually shit myself and then do a tight-legged waddle back home, or I just get maced. But, the next time a woman sprints away from me screaming for security, I will glide, serenely, as a contented duck drifts on a still pond on a summer afternoon, behind a nearby vehicle, whereupon I shall don my invisibility cloak and make for the nearest BMW to ply my trade once more. Ghillie suits fix everything! I’ve gotta say, the whole “ghillie suit = invisibility cloak” really throws a huge wrench into the plots of a lot of movies. Why didn’t Laura Dern wear one when she left to reset the fuse box in Jurassic Park? Samuel L. Jackson’s detached arm probably wouldn’t have landed on her if she was invisible! Clever girl. Why didn’t Keanu Reaves mind-wear a ghillie suit when he was running through The Matrix? Leather trench coats with sunglasses indoors says “I’m edgy and I don’t care that you know,” but ghillie suit says nothing because YOU’RE INVISIBLE. Why didn’t Rose even try to fit Jack on that door? Sorry for the aside. Unlike Rose, I’m actually never letting go. If everyone wore a ghillie suit, no one would end up as a frozen corpse at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, that’s all I’m saying. Or maybe they all would, because they’d be invisible to the search and rescue people, who knows? Maybe if the Titanic had been wearing a ghillie suit, thousands of people might not have died from a glorified icicle that night. Maybe it’s ridiculous to camouflage an entire ship, but I think it’s also ridiculous that they just had to get the boat to America without hitting the oceanic version of ice cubes and they still couldn’t do that, so fuck off. Anyway, I came here to tell you that I’m gonna be doing some badass invisible shit instead of blogging for the foreseeable future. Maybe my future will be even more foreseeable now, maybe the invisibility cloak magic will seep into my body like the asbestos from the abandoned factory I played in for a while as a kid! Or maybe I’ll just use it to invisibly eat chocolate chip cookies. I don’t want anyone to judge how many I can eat in one sitting, because I can usually crush four entire… never mind. It’s a lot.

Cult Name: TBD

Remember the good ol’ days when I’d crank out three or four blog posts a week? I miss those days of free time and mental plasticity, when I was less burdened by personal or external stress, when I claimed all the freedoms that accompanied studying for a degree in molecular biology. Ah, youth! Higher education is wasted on those that study for it; slackers will inherit the earth. Write that down, it’s one of my wisdoms. I know it doesn’t make sense. Seriously, write it down, trust me! I’ll wait. I’m giving you time to write by just saying things, even though I’m aware that’s not exactly how it works when you’re reading. I hope you followed directions, because if you did, then you passed the test! Your prize is that you get to join my cult! Oh shit, I forgot to mention that. Since you’ve already demonstrated your blind obedience to me, forget what just happened and act surprised and excited after the next sentence. I’m starting a cult. Hooray! Celebrations! Now, calm yourself, plebeian. The time for celebration has long passed, and we have much cult work to do. The main cult priority is to supply me, your beloved cult leader, with a nice house, ideally one with a large yard for my dog to run around and eliminate in, and for you to sleep on. So, get on that. WORSHIP ME. The second item on the agenda is to bring me a whiskey, because I’m quite sober right now. REVERE ME. The third item is to “build me an army worthy of Mordor.” I’m not exactly sure how we’re supposed to do that, a giant eye made out of fire inside of a crystal ball commanded me to do that and apparently it’s crucial to the plot of an entire TRILOGY of books, so, you know… go to Home Depot and get some axes and torches or something. But not Tiki Torches! Not those! We don’t want to associate ourselves with the White Virgin movement that carpooled to Charlottesville and cowered in a gazebo in Boston. The last person that sought refuge from aggressors in a Boston gazebo was probably an effeminate high school male being called gay slurs by his classmates so that… that’s something. BOW BEFORE ME. Anyway, back to business! The next task is to tell my boss that I need a raise, because I deserve one, but I’m too nice to ask for it. Send her a letter on official letterhead or something, or cut out letters from a magazine and use them to create a threatening message, whatever gets the job done. Tell her you have permission from your cult leader, just don’t tell her who I am, because then she’ll know. LOVE ME. Next, please tell my next-door neighbors that while they think it’s cool to scream at each other 5/7 days a week at 2 am, other people… don’t. You can phrase it like that if you want to land a poor joke based completely on timing, or you can express yourself like an adult, it’s up to you! See what a compassionate cult leader I am? TELL ME MY HAIRCUT ISN’T STUPID. The sixth item is to get yourself a blanket. I know, I know, I’m being cult generous, but you’re sleeping outside in January and there’s an old cult saying: don’t let your followers freeze to death. So next time you’re out, grab a blanket! Just make sure it’s a thin one. You’re not made of money. PICK UP MY DRY CLEANING. The next item is for you to carve a bunch of spears from the neighbor’s fence posts. I don’t know a lot about cults, but something about nightly spear fights around a bonfire just screams “cult” to me. And of course I’m not gonna use my fenceposts because they’re busy holding up my fence, duh. FIND A WAY TO CLEAN THE BIG STAIN FROM MY FAVORITE SHIRT BECAUSE I CARE LESS ABOUT WEARING A BADLY-STAINED WHITE SHRT IN PUBLIC THAN I DO ABOUT FIGURING OUT HOW TO REMOVE CLOTHING STAINS AND I’M NOT SUFFERING THE INDIGNITY OF GETTING KICKED OUT OF MAGGIANO’S THREE DAYS IN A ROW. Next, we just need to name the cult! I’m especially partial to Journey and Gangs of New York, but I don’t want to fight Steve Perry or do anything involving Harvey Weinstein, no matter how hard he presses. Seriously, Harvey, no means no! Although, even the phrase “no means no” is inherently harmful and often weaponized against women, so let’s just postpone naming our cult and agree on “Fuck Harvey!” as our official cult slogan, for the moment. Well done, fellow cult people! I’ll sleep in my 1-bedroom apartment for tonight, but tomorrow I expect to move into my new cult house, surrounded by adoring cult members! Speaking of which, I think I can see one of you through my window right now! Do I see my most dedicated worshipper, who’s loyalty may eventually earn them the title of my second-in-command? The one who will command my vast legions of Uruk-Hai, once I determine the nearest Home Depot location, and if they carry multiple torch brands? THE ONE WHO SHALL- hang on, I think that’s an actual homeless person sleeping by the dumpster. Come to think of it, they’ve been there for quite a while. Go check on them, will you? But first, look up the dress code for Maggiano’s. I didn’t think a mediocre Italian restaurant that once offered a “Buy a meal, take one home for free” deal would get to judge people based on their clothes, but fuck me, right? Do they know I’m the leader of a cult?