Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Blog Post About Gold & Shit

Apparently 29 is the age where you start telling teenagers sitting and blocking a narrow stairwell that "maybe this isn't the best place to sit."
Hot yoga 3x/week, 3 mile run 2x/week,
lift intermittently.

I turned 29 a few weeks ago, but my girlfriend says I'm actually thirty now because since you are born at age zero you are really celebrating the completion of the previous year. Whatever the case, I'm older than I was yesterday and younger than I am tomorrow but still just a missed breath or misstep from not existing at all.

So I guess I'm not growing out of my neurosis... or my asthma. 

Which is good because I'm able to afford private insurance to cover both medicines to manage my flaws: Xanax and Advair. In fact, I'm able to afford a lot of things nowadays that I couldn't three years ago when I was a Bohemian in New York City and decided to leave "the biz" in pursuit of travel and financial freedom.

Now I find myself firmly established in another "biz" having learned that it's all biz and while I'm good at this biz I miss the old biz but am scared at returning to the old and failing but the new biz has become sad and morally taxing and I look at my unfolding adulthood wondering, Is this it? Is this what the next five minutes or five days or fifty years of my life will be like?

Because the things that I've touched that have turned to gold are not necessarily the things I want to be touching. But still, it's fucking gold. And I know I'm fortunate to have it, but man, I'm tired of covering terrorism. I've learned a lot on this beat and it's provided me with ample opportunity, but it's hard to smell the fruits of your labor when you're constantly wading through a septic tank of the shittiest aspects of "humans."

So I'm not gonna wade through it anymore. I'm going to swim in it. Because this is my life. And while sometimes all I want to do is go home to Minnesota, I know that isn't the answer. I have read enough and had lived far too many places to know that. 

I have to swim in shit because while I've been dodging drinking poop milkshakes, it provides me the means to take class and write for myself. And somehow, miraculously, that energy I've been using to trudge through diarrhea water has given me the grit to do more of that and do it better. The universe has responded.

In April, an old agent of mine emailed me a request for an audition for a new play. I booked it. And last week, I finished my book I've been writing for the past six years, Samson's First Haircut. All things I wanted to do before I was thirty (or celebrate the completion of my thirtieth year, whatever, Belinda.)

Thoreau wrote in Walden, "It is surprising and memorable, as well as a valuable experience, to be lost in the woods any time."

I may have spent the last couple years in Willy Wonka's scat fetish uncle's Poop Forest, (who wants that golden ticket?) but I've been swimming in fertilizer. 

Let's find some seeds and make shit grow.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Blog About Jihad

You know you're getting old when you don't know any of the performers on Ryan Seacrest's Rockin' New Year's Eve.

#crossfit2016 became #ouchfit2016 in two weeks.
I haven't felt much like writing lately. Months even. Which is difficult because both my income and happiness depend on it. The way I write is also non-traditional and possibly Darwinism in action: I walk around Manhattan, earbuds in with music on, and tap away in “Notes”—like right now somewhere in Midtown West, dodging cars, 37°.

I don't mind the cold. I don't even feel it. And therein lies my problem. I don't really feel anything nowadays. I get up at six, make coffee, and work until later when I have plans with friends or the girl I'm seeing.

My life is sane, stable, and affluent. And I hate it. Because the serendipity of what New York has to offer is lost on someone with a growing savings, a mortgage, and a $50k unused credit limit that offers airline miles for free travel.

And no I'm not trying to show how big my dick is. (It's big enough.) I'm trying to sort it all out mentally right now for me because every night I go to bed with a headache and when it comes to pushing pen to paper, or at least continuing the motion of fingers on a keyboard, the desire is not there. Which is sad because writing used to be like sex to me, where I used to get this sensation when I'd write, free and open verse that seemed to resonate with people because it resonated with me. Like some fucked up Tibetan singing bowl after a bomb ass yoga class with a hot girl (or guy for some) in downward dog in front of you.

But now when I write, or at least try to, I get this weird headachey feeling in my third eye that stares forward waiting to be inspired by something it sees but it sees nothing and as I wait for that sight I decide I should probably be working and making more money. And then I come across something about the Syrian Civil War and ISIS, since that’s my beat, and begin to write about that but not for me, and end up covering up that new headache and the fear I’m losing my creativity with a glass of wine with a Xanax mixer.

Except this time the headache did not go away. This time when I went to work instead of write, the word "jihad" was used a lot on this terrorist Twitter feed I was following and it got me thinking: that's how I feel.

And no, I don't mean I feel or have any terrorist inclinations or sympathy for the Islamic State. I'm a proud and happy American (USA! NSA!) who just happens to work in extremism journalism and right now actually know the traditional definition of “jihad”:  the struggle for one’s self, for one’s own soul. It's the same sort of feeling Thoreau had in those Massachusetts woods when he tried to break into Eastern esotericism, or if you want to stay in the more familiar Judeo-Christian sense, the same sort of feeling Jesus had when he sat and contemplated God in Gethsemane. (“Why are you sleeping?”)

If everything was going so well, why didn't I feel well?

Because I wasn't living up to my true potential. And to write that, to say that, on paper for me is the same as having it tattooed on my forehead like some prayer bump on an Islamist zealot.

"Are you unhappy? Depressed?" My doctor asked me at my latest physical.

"No." I said flatly.

"Good. Drop your pants."

He massaged around my balls, checking for a hernia. “So you want the Advair refill,” he said, making small talk about things we’ve already discussed for no reason other than he was an assumedly straight man currently jiggling another man’s genitalia. “Do you still want the Xanax refill?"

“I wouldn't be able to fly without it,” I said, referring to the fact I am usually on a transcontinental flight about every other month.
There's some good shit in this book.

But then it hit me: I can't fly with it.

The headache at the end of every day that I managed with a glass of wine and the panic of impending doom I squashed with Xanax were manifestations of real emotions, but not my traditional ones that inspired me to write.  But they were still emotions that I could write about.

And now here I was at the end of the day contemplating writing and all I wanted to do was crack a bottle of wine or pop a Xanax but I knew that wasn’t the answer. I had read enough and had lived far too many places to know that. And still, the same question lingered in my head: If everything was going so well, why didn't I feel well?

The Quran says, “And he called out within the darknesses, ‘There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.’” And I’m going to say what I think it means as a Midwestern-raised, middle class, white, American, male, with no Islamic theosophical knowledge other than that I realize I’m one who’s forgotten to question the darknesses.

I think it means I’ve got to get my ass in gear for 2016.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Blog About Bulimia

Forcing my parent's dog to sleep with me by picking him up and holding him until he cuddles me is not analogous to my love life but kinda.

I started this blog post not really knowing what I wanted to write about but feeling an urge to write. Which is good because I’ve been sort of slacking on writing or creative thinking lately. May was slow for me at work so I was more concerned about making money in June and July than making art, which is something that every artistic individual can relate to. I’m good now and I never truly struggle anymore, but maybe that’s the real issue at hand: J.K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter on a napkin and I just bought a new Macbook for 2k.

#scruff for your new iPhone wallpaper.
At first I was going to write "The Blog About the Sex Show in Amsterdam”, which I attended with some friends in May while touring Europe. As one can derive from the titular title, I watched people have sex on stage. And while it was well and good to see a Shrek- and Morticia Adams-lookalike go at it doggy-style while drinking Dutch beer, I left the theatre feeling a lot like I felt waking up in some strange girl’s bed in Manhattan on any given Monday: nothing. I got up, peed, walked out the door, and assumed the duties of humanhood.

Which is something that has really irked me recently, not only after watching a girl smoke an entire cigar with her vagina. Because I catch myself being cold nowadays and I can’t tell if it’s me getting older and wiser and realizing that not giving a fuck is a lot easier than giving a fuck, or that I really don’t give a fuck and it has nothing to do with age.

I turned twenty-eight last month and I haven’t done what I said I was going to do six years ago when I moved to New York Ciity with stardust and glamor and a rope tied to a cloud. I haven’t become a Broadway star. I haven’t written a best-selling book. I haven’t had a serious girlfriend longer than a year, or one that hasn’t crushed me into pixie dust so she could throw my ashes behind her and attempt to fly far away. And yet somewhere deep down, I still believe in fairytales.

I got drinks with a girl that I thought wasn’t good for me recently. Two wine bottles in she asked me, “Tell me your deepest, darkest secret.”

And I decided to answer truthfully because why the fuck not? I’m twenty-eight. There was a lot to be divulged about the parts of me that stuck to the shadows but seemed to grab ahold in just the right light and that I fought off or suppressed until some days I turned inward or inside out and let the doubt creep in and the world out.
Before my eyes were scarred from the Amsterdam sex show.

“I struggle with suicidal thoughts sometimes. Nothing serious, always fleeting. Like when I sit on a building ledge overlooking the city, my initial reaction would be how awesome it would be to throw myself off of it. For that brief second I’d be flying, or as close as man can get without wings or an engine.”

The girl looked at me. Her eyes reflected the neon of Manhattan.

“I don’t know where they come from or why. I’m sure it has to be rooted in something about how I don’t feel good enough ever. What’s yours?”

“Well, I wasn’t expecting you to be real…”

I shrugged and sucked on my beer foam. “I don’t give a fuck anymore. I’m nearly thirty.”

“You’re twenty-eight, Sam.”

“You’re twenty-two. I could be your father.”

“My father?”

“In some cultures, yes.”

“What culture is that?”

“I don’t know. The indigenous walkabout culture of Fuckoffery. What’s your secret?”

“I’m bulimic.”

I choked. I had come at her swinging with teenage angst and antagonism in the facade of flouted adulthood and all I got was gospel truth. She was twenty-two and older than me.

 “So I want to die to live and you want to be skinnier to be happy,” I said.

“Yours sounds a lot more poetic.”

“It’s just 50 Shades of Fucked Up. I’m not Lord Byron.”

“No you’re not.”

I turned the other cheek. “Women have it rough nowadays, don’t they? I mean it’s fucked up, incredibly fucked up how superficial it has all become. A hundred years ago people were more concerned that their sod house didn’t get destroyed in a tornado, not that their caloric intake was less than their calories burned. Fuck, my grandma grew up in rural Texas with an outhouse and not being able to afford shoes and she was born in the 1920s. When did it become this?”

“I don’t know.”

“One of our distant ancestors must have had some wonk spunk to contribute because I doubt a bunch of cavewomen were running around sticking their fingers down their throats complaining how they ate too much woolly mammoth meat. Where did these ‘I’m not good enough’ thoughts come from? And why do I have them too but in different facets? Is this what makes us human? Doubt? Does the fact that I want to make something of myself make me human, or is it the doubt that says I won't?”

The girl put her hand on my hand. “You’re really cute right now.”

I looped my fingers up around her fingers and looked down at them. “You’ve gotta stop sticking these down you’re throat. You must pay a lot to be this manicured.”
Read. Bukowski.

“I might as well cut off my hands.”

“You’d be a pretty amputee even if you were fat.”

“Thanks for being honest with me. You have a way with words, Mr. Prince.”

So did Bukowski. He wrote: "People owe each other certain loyalties even if they weren't married. In a way, the trust should run deeper because it wasn't sanctified by law."

“It's all that keeps me from jumping off the roof."

I paid our check.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Blog About Threesomes

I high kick urinal handles so I don't have to flush them with my hand but I kicked too high and fell on the floor so I probably have Ebola. Is this how Icarus felt?

After my last blog post about controlling Wi-Fi enabled vibrators, I've had a lot of people messaging me, namely friends but sometimes curious readers who follow my blog, wondering if what I write about in this virtual tome of mine is not only true but also if my parents read it. Both answers to these questions are “yes” and I'm fucking happy about it.
Your new iPhone wallpaper.

One of my good friends told me that the idea of one of his parents reading about his dating and sex life would make him sick, but to me my sickness is rooted elsewhere: women I've dated. I find the fact that I have terrific parents who can roll their eyes or look away and smile and realize I'm working on myself out loud to be one of my biggest assets. Not everyone can be so free. But like any man, I built my cage elsewhere.

For my entire life up until now I have always written stories but published them with stifled subject matter because I didn't want to offend anyone, namely the kind of women I thought I was attracted to or the kind of women that I thought I should be attracted to because they looked good on paper and would subsequently help me look good on paper. But the problem is, that’s not the kind of story I want to write. They can keep that stationary because: Fuck. That.

So this blog post is about threesomes. And I've had a lot recently.

Let me rewind to the beginning. There’s an app for everything, especially for dating. Of course there’s Tinder, which I've talked about before, but to me it’s more of a video game I play when I get tired of reading ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror on my Kindle app on the subway because it’s so fucking depressing but also so incredibly interesting. I've met a few girls off of Tinder, but it wasn't anything special—which should be expected from a looks-based dating app. But also when a girl asks me on Tinder what I do for a job and my answer isn’t “finance” I tend not to get replies.
It was in December 2014 that a friend of mine told me about 3nder, (pronounced “Thrinder”), an obvious pun on “Tinder” with obvious connotations: it’s meant for connecting “kinky, curious and open-minded people.” While I don’t consider myself kinky or curious, I am open-minded, and also it seemed like a fun app to have to play with friends at a bar without ever really making any follow through. It’s the same reason I downloaded the “Registered Sex Offender Locator” app: morbid curiosity. Both polyamory and Chris Hansen are enigmatic to me.

I downloaded 3nder, made a profile, and played with it off and on until about March without thinking much of it. I matched occasionally with couples and singles, was occasionally contacted, but I never made any real effort to reciprocate. It was still a video game to me, and like my love life, I wanted my fantasies to happen organically. I have had a threesome before that had manifested itself out of a night out with two girl friends and I had falsely assumed it would happen again.

Then I matched with Ellen and Clara on 3nder.

They were two straight girl friends from college who had a fantasy that better fit meeting someone off the Internet for than daring to ask a real world acquaintance, although I'm sure many guys would be happy to oblige—friend or otherwise. Ellen and Clara are hot. They asked me out for drinks.

We met outside a bar near Union Square one unassuming Sunday night in April. It was starting to rain. They arrived together, Ellen a busty but petite dirty blond and Clara a leggy, dark featured brunette. I was nervous.

“Hey, I'm Sam.” I said. I stuck out my hand out at Ellen for a handshake and smacked one of her boobs. Idiot.

“You just touched my boob.”

“Yeah I did. I did do that. I touched it. Your boob. I'm so sorry…” my hand was still out.

“I’m Ellen.” She looked at my hand like I had offered her a handkerchief after she had sneezed, a bit intrigued at the formality of it but understanding the gesture. We had met on an Internet threesome app.

“I’m Clara.” Clara cut in with a laugh. “You're probably going to touch a lot more than that.”

We drank wine.

It was refreshing to me that sex was on the table with no pretentions alongside a $50 bottle of Chianti. And the fact that all three of us could afford a $50 bottle of Chianti, or more, was also extremely cathartic. I was used to sitting across from not only actresses or models but also “aspiring” ones at that. The check was always unabashedly mine.

“I work at a startup,” Clara informed. “I really enjoy it.”

“I do graphic design,” Ellen added. “You?”

I explained what I did and I expected the worse. How do you explain that you're a self-employed writer and performer at 27 if you're not a “name”? People always expect you to have a side job… but instead of a deprecating look, both Ellen and Clara looked upon with me increased approval.

“Oh thank God,” Clara exhaled. “I'm so tired of finance guys.”

“Guys who pronounce it fin­­­-ance,” Ellen added. “Kill me. Kill me now.”

“Is that a thing?” I asked.

“Yes!” Ellen said as she set her wine glass down. “Nobody else pronounces it like that. It’s like they're a part of some secret cult.”


Clara nodded. “The thing is if they were part of a secret cult, it would be something we've never heard of. Otherwise it would be a terrible secret cult.”

I laughed. “So they are just ostentatious douchebags with an afflicted vernacular.”

“Very much so.”

My eyes lit up. They got what I said in my last sentence. Previous girls I had dated struggled with pejorative words like ‘pejorative.’ “So why are you guys on 3nder?”

They looked at each other. Ellen kind of chuckled to herself. “We just have this fantasy and want it to pan out with someone that we have no strings to.”

Clara spoke up: “But still like enough to want to consider strings, like friendship. You seem to fit that. I think we found the 1% of non-weirdos on 3nder. You should have seen some of the messages we got.”

“I can only imagine. Man, 2015 is fucking weird, huh?”

I repeated that last line as I laid naked between them in Clara’s bed in the Lower East Side.  “Man, 2015 is fucking weird, huh?”

“You're telling me,” Clara said with a laugh.

The rain had stopped outside the open window. A sweet smell drifted into the lamp lit room. We all seemed to simultaneously inhale and exhale with it.

“It’s called ‘petrichor’,” I said.

“What is?” asked Ellen.

"My sexually transmitted disease. It's new. Straight out of Africa."

Clara smacked me.

“I'm kidding. Petrichor is the smell of the earth after rain."

“That’s really pretty,” Clara said as she drew her hand across my stomach.

“It comes from Greek petra for earth and ichor, like the blood of the gods in ancient Greek mythology. I learned that last part watching Xena growing up.”

Ellen laughed. “Yeah?”

“Lucy Lawless always sounded like it would be better suited for a porn star than a television actress.”

“It does sound like a porno name,” Clara agreed.

One of my favorite words, up there with "superfluous."
“Anyway, they say humans appreciate the smell of petrichor because our ancient ancestors relied on rain to grow food for our survival… and now millenniums later, us, the descendants of petrichor, can lay post-coital, three across in a bed in machine Manhattan and pretend that we still have a connection to the earth."

“The earth is just the charger, we're the connectors,” Clara said. "It's only how you want to plug in that makes us different."

It was the truest thing I'd heard in a long time.