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Monthly Archives: October 2009

Dear Ms. Baird,

Sometimes I google myself too, but writing this letter still makes me feel a little weird. Actually finding a way to send you a physical copy scares the living daylights out of me–“facebook stalking” jokes have perpetually made me uncomfortable. Stalking is weird. I know it’s also weird to be comfortable making jokes with the vast majority of people I know and meet, but knowing more about you than what I read in interviews makes me cringe. I want nothing to do with your Twitter account or to read what you’ve Twatted. Gross.

I remember reading in Maxim that you find sarcastic men attractive. I’m all about that but since you flying out to seduce me because I wrote you a letter is about as likely as me contracting ovarian cancer, I’ve prepared a list of things you might enjoy. Well, I’m not saying you can’t drop everything, fly out to New York City, discover my supersecret identity and do everything on this list with me, but it’d probably just be easier if you just do these things if you get a chance whenever you’re in town. I haven’t thought up a supercool name for it or anything so we could go with, “Chris’ List of Funny Things to do in New York.” (Note how I did not write, “Funniest,” because there are probably funnier things to do. Probably, but that’s only because I haven’t done those things yet.)

1. Upright Citizen’s Brigade, Sunday night, 7:30PM show (ASSSSCAT 3000). Easily the best laugh-per-dollar ratio at a reasonably priced $10. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a show without crying (from laughing so hard) less than twice. Most nights there’s either an SNL alum or current cast member and this is the place they get to make all the jokes they can’t on TV. If you’re in New York and you want to laugh, this is where you go.

2. I mean, while we’re on the subject, I guess you could go to SNL, too. I’m hoping that means you’re hosting, but I’m sure sitting in the audience will probably deliver the same amount of laughs. Well, you’ll actually get to laugh when you’re in the audience, but that’s neither here nor there. You should also consider Late Night with Dave Letterman, but, again, fingers crossed for mostly as a guest. Say hi to Paul for me, I’d love to be like him except playing guitar and a little less effeminate.

3. If you’re not here on the weekend–Oh God, how’d your agent spill so much lame sauce all over your schedule?!?!–I suggest, although sort of obvious, a comedy club. Caroline’s seems to be the go-to jumpin’ joint all the kids love (I hear Robin Williams built his career there) but I’ve also heard good things about Dangerfield’s. Realistically, I don’t want to waste your time with this when you can literally google “NYC Comedy Clubs” and find more information in less time than it will take you to read this entire letter. So I guess the moral of point three is that 1) there are a lot comedy clubs in New York, 2) rumor has it humorous jokes are made in said clubs, and 3) there’s too many of these establishments for me to sort out–a good sign for someone in search of comedy.

4. Go to Times Square with a teammate, find a cafe on one of the busy streets and play Find the Tourist. They’re usually the ones pointing at things, walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk and into other people. A word of caution, though: this can easily be misinterpreted as misanthropic. What you’re looking to do is not make fun of everyone who’s lost and awed, but get a glimpse of human nature (by making fun of them). I’d recommend a teammate funnier than you and a general understanding that, yes, tourists do really stupid shit, but we all do; during their attempt to live New York in a week, they’re revealing everything that’s silly, goofy and absurd about our own lives. Look! A pointy building! Light bulbs! Dogs humping! Mullets! People paying exorbitant taxi fares!

5. Read The Clean House. The only thing this has to do with New York City is that it had its second run here, but it’s mostly just a good play that I can easily recommend to you. Dying laughing seems pretty ideal.

K bye,

Chris

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So I’ve been reading this self-help book and I don’t think there’s anything more difficult than helping yourself. It’s easy to admit that considering how it’s working and all, but telling you which book I’m reading is actually far more difficult.

Over a week ago, I went out and bought a bracelet like my mom’s been trying to get me to since high school. I was terrified I was going to be ridiculed for decorating my wrist with something that serves no purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worn anklets and bracelets before, but usually they said something–for years I kept making “I love boobies” bracelets because it was something I supported (PUN!). And I say, “kept making,” because they kept breaking during lacrosse practice and games (SAVE! Awww, broken anklet. Loss). I also had some from Abercrombie & Fitch that my mom spent like $25 on only to have them break because they were poorly constructed (“I know! We’ll use a bead as the latch!” Dumbasses). I also had one of those sailor’s bracelets that reminded me of my aunt’s house on Cape Cod. But it always smelled terrible because I couldn’t take it off. Sweat, soap, shampoo, vinegar, pretty much anything I got on my hands stayed on my bracelet. The sailor’s bracelet was also a complete anachronism; it’s a New England thing and I lived in Texas.

Regardless, I was a little terrified I was going to get criticized for wearing man jewelery and yet absolutely no one has said a word about it. No one. It turns out everyone is far more worried about how they look or whatever else is on their mind than about something wrapped around my wrist.

I also had an epiphany that had its roots back on Tuesday. I slept 11 hours before work and was still tired when I got in. I know this happens a lot when I’ve overslept, but as the day went on, I felt pretty amazing. I didn’t get a headache or decide to get coffee with my lunch.  And yet, the soundtrack around me was starting to sound like I’d heard it before: “I’m tired.” “I’m hungry.” “I can’t feel anything below my hips.” “I need a coffee.” “I drank too much.” “I’m tired, too.” “I want a sandwich but I’m fasting.” Different shades of the same thing. Beyond that, I don’t know why I need to know about it–I don’t think I can make you sleep, eat, drink or work. All I can control is me. It made me think back to Buddhism 101: the world is suffering.  I realized that all these complaints are sort of our way of conveying how we’re still alive. “I’m suffering, thus I am part of the world.”

Fucking crazy, right? But suffering for the sake of suffering feels terrible. Have you ever noticed how sometimes conversations are simply an attempt to relate to one another in the only terms you both understand?

1: “I’m tired.”
2: “I only slept for 4 hours last night.”
1: “My baby woke me up every 30 minutes.”
2: “I have a headache now because I’m hungover.”

When talking about how much suffering everyone has, sometimes it starts to feel like a battle to be suffering most. But what’s the point? None of this can be fixed by talking about it–take some ibuprofen or grab a coffee or a nap or take this as a lesson and schedule more time for sleep tomorrow.

At any rate, I donated blood after work that day and by the time I was in bed, I was showing the first signs of a cold. My personal theory is being down a pint of blood and amongst a bunch of sick employees and cramped subways was severely detrimental to my immune system. I have no proof, but I was very sick and poorly rested for Wednesday and yet I got into a conversation with another girl who apparently has “severe allergies.” I’m allergic to everything airborne except ragweed and the way I felt Wednesday was nothing compared to having a headache and a runny nose. And yet, we still got into this whole escalation of symptoms that ended with me pulling the trump card: “About every thirty minutes I feel like I’m going to throw up.” Though true and allowing me to secure the victory, I had to take another water break and reconsider: “So what? I’ll get better and her prescription will be refilled soon. We both wasted our time arguing when we could have been doing something productive and/or enjoyable. In the scope of the world, this is jack shit. No one cares. My body may be in a lot of pain, but pain is totally relative and my body, even if sick, is in pretty damn fine shape. (High Triglycerides be damned! I love sugar and beer!)” I even went to the gym that night. (Sorry, whoever came in after me: you’re sick and you got it from me.)

Later, I hopped myself up on a slew of pills and went to a networking event where I made a hilarious attempt to open a tab for ginger ales. Hot bartender girl says, “Oh, no. There’s no charge for ginger ales” and I realized I’d never been to a bar and ordered something without alcohol. A little later, the awesome editor and my friend/coworker show up and they make attempts at mingling while I follow them (my throat already hurt enough that I wasn’t ready to yell over Lady Gaga for a business card). My friend is first and foremost, totally awesome, secondly, the kind of girl who, when she gets nervous, speaks more instead of shutting up like the editor and me, and, thirdly, kind of a babe. I’m constantly glad she and I went to school, worked in a group together and developed a healthy platonic friendship because otherwise I probably would have tried to ask her out and then lost a really, really cool friend.

And here’s where the self-improvement book comes into play again: somewhere in it, they describe this practice called “pecking.” You’ve seen every guy you’ve every known do it. Hell, I’ve done it. But it’s–and I don’t know a better way to characterize it–immature. By leaning in to hear what the girl is saying, you’re basically using body language to tell her, “You’re hot. We should bone.”  So we were all circling the room and every time a dude introduced himself, he shook the editors hand, leaned in to catch my friend’s name, and shook my hand. We all have name tags on. If you didn’t hear it, you could just read it, you silly fuck. It was weird, I totally judged every dude we met that night for poorly hitting on my friend in a professional setting. However, I did take thorough pleasure in the little tics they made every time her boyfriend came up (Still want to meet him, he sounds kind of awesome).

So Thursday comes and I’ve slept poorly again, yet I’m working as if I’m not tired–a beautiful thing I cannot explain. Towards the end of the day, the girl working nearby has been complaining since she got in and I think my attempts to avoid engaging her actually made me exhausted. Maybe that and manual labor. I walk to the other cash wrap to give her some “Please shut the fuck up” body language and, to my great surprise, some applicant catches my eye and asks if I’m a manager. That’s literally never happened to me after working in this store for a year and two months. Later the complaining girl actually asks me if I’m a manager. Obviously, I don’t know her that well because she has no idea I’m just a nerd who’s surprisingly strong and making an honest attempt outside of work to never have to work in that store again. Then she tells me that I’m “cute,” that I “look older than 23,” and that I “should have a girlfriend.” I didn’t want to tell her about how that’ll fix itself but the job thing will not, so my focus unreservedly lies in cover letters right now. I also didn’t want to tell her that she wasn’t exactly my type, and that her whole “mother of one” thing doesn’t really work for me (because I already have a hard enough time supporting myself) and that I cannot, for the life of me, remember her name. It’s an R-something. Maybe.

But indulge me a second–I know I’ve made an argument about how no one cares about my suffering in this very post but I need to illustrate a paradox here. I haven’t shaved since September 30th. That’s about a two-week beard, which means this thing is patchy and it’s most likely got mucus chillin’ in the moustache area. My mother, my grandma, my sister and many of my female friends have all told me I look much more attractive without a beard and yet on this day I’m sporting this scruffy little thing that’s not even a full-fledged-man beard. I’m down a pint of blood, alternating between the water fountain and the bathroom every fifteen minutes and emitting a death rattle instead of a cough. My breath mints are Halls and my cologne is Purell and Lysol. I literally told this girl to stop complaining about the work she has to do while at work and she comes back with compliments and undeserved expectations of authority.

So I guess what I’m saying is not that I’m going to start pretending I’m sick all the time but rather that exercising, keeping my minuscule suffering to myself and doing my damndest to radiate positivity is obviously a good thing. Also, this is something I think I’ve known but have simply placed in the back of my mind: I’m an attractive guy. I sound exactly like Stuart Smiley, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. I know I’m not going to be an Abercrombie model or anything, but I am, at the very least, “cute,” something I’ve always chosen to ignore. Getting a date with a cute girl always felt that much better because the underdog surprised everyone–but more importantly, himself–and not only talked to the cute girl but also used his humor to trick her into finding him attractive.

But no more. Attractive dudes with attractive senses of humor and solid groundings in Buddhism 101 deserve attractive girls (amongst other things that bring said dudes happiness).

YAAARRRR, I’MMMM COMMINNN FOR WHAT BE MINE, WORLD. GIMME FREELANCE COPYEDITING, SONIC GREATNESS AND MONETARY SECURITY POSTHASTE OR YOUR WENCHES SHALL NOT ROAM FREE AND UNMOLESTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ME RESUME BE SICKER THAN ME!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!

Yep, just hit the wall–I’mma sleep like a newborn baby right quick.

Fuck you, pickles!!! Get out of my sandwich!!!