Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter L

“L” represents the ongoing love affair I have with the written word. L is the perfect letter. L truly is the embodiment of life’s dichotomy. During the day, in block print, L is stiff and unyielding in its angularity. But at night, in cursive script, L can be loose and loopy and sometimes languid. The letter L has birthed some of the greatest words in our language like “love” and “lust” and “life” and “lips” and “licking lollipops.” It has given us ladies and labials, lamebrains and lushes, laughter and lardasses. It’s given us lewdness, lexicons, and lesbians. And, some might say most importantly, it’s given us liberty, libations, and libidos. But, it has also brought us liars and lightning. And without L, we wouldn’t have limbs, linguistics, literature, lineage, or light. And we wouldn’t have lingerie! My god, can you imagine? Who would want to live in a world without lingerie? I’d give up limbs just to save lingerie. I could even do without litigation, locusts, and lobotomies, but lingerie? Never! Without lingerie, women would be stuck with just boring old underwear. And that would be lame for all of us. If we didn’t have the letter L, we could never lounge or lie down or get loaded and there’d be no lovemaking or lubricants. And, if that were the case, we would be feeling terribly lovelorn, low, and limp, but we wouldn’t even have those words to express what it was that we were experiencing. I mean, really, can you imagine a world without lunch? Or lyrics? Or librarians? Or LSD? And there’d be no land. We’d be constantly swimming! That would suck. I would get tired.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter K

“K” is my girlfriend. K is my girlfriend now. We met in San Diego six years ago. And by “met” I mean I only remember meeting her for the first time six years ago. Actually, we had apparently met several times through a mutual friend over the course of years before that and she said I was dismissive each time. She said I acted like, “Who the hell is this blonde hanging out with me and my drinking buddies? She doesn’t belong here.” I guess I was quite the snobby drunk then. I don’t recall meeting her any of those times and one of them includes spending a whole day together at a Padres game. She said I was pretty preoccupied with the girl I was dating at the time. When we finally did “meet for the first time” six years ago, I had been sober a year and was hanging out with my friends. It turns out that our mutual friend had been trying to fix us up all those previous times and she had given up on me ever getting with K. Instead, she was now trying to hook K up with some other single guy she knew. I took notice then. I saw this idiot embarrassing himself trying to impress K and I could see that K was not impressed. And I remember thinking, “Who is that? She is super cute. I need to introduce myself to her.” So I cockblocked the idiot and introduced myself for what I thought was the first time. “Hi, I’m Greg.” “I know, we’ve met several times.” “We have?” We’ve been together ever since. A year ago, we moved to Portland and are now trying to have kids. People are always asking me, “Shouldn’t you marry her first?” I can never seem to get the order of things straight. But fortunately K finds humor in everything. Including me and the story of our “first” meeting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Between “Doing” Is Fantastic Dullness

What is this obsession with “doing?” Why must we always be “doing?” “What are you doing?” What have you been doing?” It’s as if our lives are invalidated if we are not in the act of doing something. I watch as regular, everyday folks engage in a game of soccer. And they attack it with such vigor and intent. I am envious. They seem to be doing something. Even if the final score ends up being zero to zero, they can still congratulate each other for sharing three hours together running themselves ragged back and forth the length of a soccer field, kicking and heading and yelling at each other. I wander over to the lone swing set and swing myself back and forth and higher and higher. I long for those times when I was more enthusiastic. I recall times when simply swinging on a swing brought such joy. I remember attaining the highest possible heights and then throwing myself from the swing just to see how far I could launch myself. I consider doing that now, but I don’t think it would end well. It seems that if I’m going to suffer a bone fracture, I should be “doing” something more than just swinging on a swing set. I should be downhill skiing or throwing fists in a cage or playing football. Except, oh yeah, I suck at doing all of those things. I’ve never skied in my life, I’ve never been in a fight, and the two years I played football in high school as a freshman and sophomore, I couldn’t tell my ass from my elbow. I know that because my football coach told me so every day he saw me play. Now, if I could draw a salary from staring at breasts all day, that is what I’d rather be doing. If there’s a way to make money “doing” that, please let me know.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dear God

It’s time I resume. I am feeling on the cusp of everything and nothing. I walk the streets of my neighborhood and am struck by the fact that one street can feel happy and welcome, and then just one street over can feel scary and distraught. I weave my way up and down parallel streets; one is cheery, while the next is distressed, back and forth like some kind of necessary, balanced rhythm. The up and the down. The evil and the good. On one of the pleasant streets, I notice a poem tacked up in front of a well-tended garden. At the top it says “poem of the week.” This week’s selection is called “The Two-Headed Calf” by Laura Gilpin. I read it and feel compelled to know a person such as this who lives at a dead end street and takes the care to share a poem each week to no one, to anyone, and to everyone. Instead, I make my way back down the same street and make eye contact with a dog lounging on his stoop. He lifts his head to let me know that he sees me. I smile back to let him know that I know that he knows. I make my way across the street and towards the river’s edge. A shirtless man is digging through a dumpster and pulling out recyclables. I wonder how much he earns from each haul, where he lives, and how he spends his money. Booze? Women? Shelter? I make my way down the dock and walk out the length of the pier. The way it extends over the river, I feel like I’m walking on water. On the horizon, the blue sky bleeds red. As I make my way back, I notice an empty can on the pier. I scoop it up and walk it over to the shirtless man. “You collecting cans?” “Yep.” As he takes it from me he says, “Thanks.” I reply, “Thank you.”

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where’s My Reality Show?

What motivates you through your days? It seems to me that if we were to measure our lives by the popularity of our “reality” shows, there is much about ourselves to be revealed. Our ability to manufacture celebrities is astounding. As an artist, my own dreams are modest. I don’t imagine I’ll ever be presented with an opportunity to “sell out,” because I think you probably first have to attain some level of success to even be tempted by anything that could be defined as selling out. And among all of my personal heroes, really, nobody knows who they are. What does that mean? How come I am forced to participate in discussions involving the latest American Idol, the latest Celebrity Apprentice, the latest True Beauty, the latest Biggest Loser. Why must I subject myself to these programs just so I can have conversations with other people? And how come second-place losers can still achieve platinum-selling careers while creating the most vapid, useless music? And at what personal cost? And why? One of the dopes on True Beauty said that he really hoped he would win because he said it was about time that the world heard what it was that he had to say. That the world needed to know who he was because he had so much to say. And, while saying this, he actually said nothing at all and I wondered who the fuck does that guy think he is and what the fuck could he possibly have to say that would be of any importance or interest to anyone? But Donald Trump makes me laugh. That guy is a comedian. The witticisms he offers week after week: “I hate people that drive under the influence.” “I hate people that smell.” Brilliant.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter J

“J” was my first “first.” J and I were going out and both virgins. I was a junior in high school, she was a senior. The guys I played ball with on the varsity baseball team assumed I wasn’t a virgin and I never corrected them. I didn’t want to undergo the ridicule that our left fielder underwent. He was a senior AND a virgin. The guys ragged on him so hard for his virginity and they laughed at him. And I ragged and laughed right along with them. Judge me if you must, but the guys gave me an out and I took it. I was only a junior and feeling fine that the seniors thought I was a plundering stud with a hot senior girlfriend. J and I decided to have sex and it was storybook. Prom night, all dressed up, and her parents were away. So clich├ęd. We went to prom and then I didn’t even know where to buy condoms. I called a friend of mine at a party that I knew was going on and asked him where to buy condoms and he laughed and told me to go to 7-Eleven. We went and got some and went back to her house. I was on top and tried to ease it in, but there was much awkwardness and she was in so much pain and I just wanted to stop, but she insisted that I continue. She continued to scream and I just wanted to stop, but she insisted that I keep going and said she was going to have to get used to it sometime. It ended up being bloody. That was my first “first.” We had lots of great sex after that, but that first time was traumatic. J and I split after seven months. I broke up with her when she went on to college. I was a selfish prick and wanted to be single entering my senior year.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter I

“I” was a one-night stand stretched out over a weekend. We first met at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. She flashed me her tits, I gave her my phone number. Later, she flew halfway across the country to spend a weekend with me. She stepped off the plane with a bottle of wine that she had gotten for free during her flight and that she had already completely drank. She was swinging the empty bottle and dragging a carry-on along. My fantasy wore a short black skirt and Doc’s. This nightmare shuffled towards me in thick black heels and tight black pants that only went halfway down her shin. I had committed to showing her a good time, but felt immediately challenged. I drove her around for half an hour. I pretended to show her things and she pretended to care. I couldn’t wait to get her out of those pants and shoes for all the wrong reasons. We got to my apartment and I showed her around. I removed her shoes and pants and, beneath it all, she was very attractive. I looked into her eyes and they were beautiful. I actually wanted to be looking into her eyes while I was coming inside her. Her hair looked much better destroyed by my pillow than any way she tried to fuss with it. I tried to tell her that, but she refused to believe me. She didn’t need makeup either and I told her that and she laughed. Beneath it all – her eyes, her hair, the freckles on her nose – was true beauty. But then she quickly assembled her mask before we went out for food. After three days, we fucked nine times. She came nine plus, I came seven. She won. I couldn’t get her back on that plane fast enough. Sorry, but true. She sure was damn happy about that free bottle of wine, though. It made her whole trip.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Harte Spam Emails, Part 4

Some spam emails clearly have been written out in somebody else’s native language first, then run through some online translation tool, and then cut and pasted directly. I can imagine them as they brainstorm their latest spam masterpiece, ‘I want to say that the women will line up because my drug will turn them into a major romantic figure from history.’ Which then gets translated into, “Women form queue, when you got as much night energy as this Don Juan maker gives!” I mean, really, why did they insert that comma there after queue? Or, on this other one, they must have been thinking, ‘I want to say that their penis will look so sculptural that it will be as if it were created by a much known, contemporary designer.’ Which, in turn, gets translated into, “Your tool will be so well designed like from Dolce & Gabbana.” This, to me personally, is a poor choice because I would be afraid that Dolce & Gabbana might fashion my penis into some kind of effeminate eyewear and then what? Or, on this other one, they were probably thinking, ‘I want readers to think that by taking my drug it will elevate their experience in bed and it will guarantee them an erection.’ This gets translated into, “Heave your bed event with aid worthwhiled meds. Saluting effect assured.” Will this create an erection or a Marine? What will my girl think if my erection starts saluting her? That does not sound like it would be a turn-on. Here’s one that also seems translated, but the author was just lazy, “Feeling useless worthless in bedroom? We can change it to opposite feeling.” They couldn’t even imagine what the opposite would be. That’s just sad.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter H

“H” was my creepy landlord for many years. He was an older man in his late forties who struck me as the kind of guy who was gay but never came to terms with it and never came “out,” as if revealing so would have diminished his supervisory status somehow. Or maybe he had come to terms with it and it manifested itself in ways I’d prefer not to know about involving leather-clad role-playing with ball gags and blindfolds, or paraphilic infantilism and diapers. Of course, it may have just been my overactive imagination, since the guy was just a nice, doughy man with a goatee. But, it was my perception about his sense of purpose that had me on guard. He was serious most of the time, but other times he chuckled at the wrong things. H thought he was funny, but he really wasn’t. Fortunately though, H lived two blocks away and was not in the same building as me. However, I was not spared from other, more colorful characters in my building. One asshole that lived above me came down one night and accused me of raising the volume of my stereo in response to the volume of his television, as if I would rather engage him in some kind of perverse “my stereo vs. your TV” volume war than come knocking on his door and ask him to turn down his TV. I never even heard his TV, he was just a paranoid prick. And, as a result of his paranoia, I became paranoid myself in that “I’d-better-watch-my-back-or-my-neighbor’s-going-to-knife-me” kind of way. There must be a correlation between loneliness and paranoia. It seems that the deeper a person’s loneliness, the more elevated their levels of paranoia. That the ever-present “man” is always out to fuck them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter G

“G” is me. At age 3, my father took me out to teach me baseball and we started by playing catch with a real hardball. He saw that I was picking it up quickly and he kept taking steps back and throwing the ball harder. One of his tosses missed my glove and smacked me right in the nose and knocked me on my backside. I was crying and my father was mortified. He figured I’d never want to play baseball again. He said, “Sorry about that, Bud. You okay? You want to go home?” I sniffled and said, “No. I want to keep playing catch.” My dad was so proud. I ended up playing baseball through college. At age 5, a dog nearly bit my nose off. I was running through the neighborhood with a blanket tied around my neck pretending to be Batman. I saw the dog on the neighbor’s porch and I had pet it before, but only when the neighbors were there too. I didn’t know any better and as I slowly approached, it leapt off the porch on top of me and took a bite into my nose. My nose was hanging there barely by a flap of skin. I ran home screaming to my mom who was horrified. She took me to the hospital and a surgeon stitched me up. I had to have gauze shoved up my nose for a month, just to make sure the nostril kept its shape. You wouldn’t even know anything happened unless you move in really close and I point out the faint scar. My mom thought I would be fearful of dogs the rest of my life. I’m not. I love dogs. When the property owner heard about what the dog did to me, he promptly shot the neighbor’s dog dead in his yard with a gun.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Got This Gift

It all comes around to me. And while placing my carefully picked grocery items on the belt, I notice that I seem to be partial to grocery items colored yellow, orange, and red. Egg Bagels. Home Pride Bread. Nacho Cheese Doritos. Single-Size Celeste Pizza. Safeway Cola. Carl Buddig Ham. Bud Light. All yellow, orange, and red like a fire marching slowly down the beltway. This makes me think, I wish I would start seeing the smoke before the fire, because I owe the IRS 1,000 dollars and I owe the state of Maryland 600 dollars and I owe GEICO 240 dollars and I owe my car 1,800 dollars (well, 250 dollars deductible anyway) and just to put life into the recently deployed air bag alone will cost 600 dollars. I am dazed by the fire but am shaken from my thoughts because I now owe the lady 28 dollars and 39 cents for placing my yellow, orange, and red into blue plastic bags. It all makes sense to me as everything marches down the beltway and comes around to this. I only wish that I’d start seeing the smoke before the fire so I can avoid the blues in my future. I give the woman I owe 28 dollars and 39 cents to, an even 34 dollars. She takes it and gives me a puzzled look and I just nod at her and think, “Just punch it in there honey and you’ll see what a four-year college education made me capable of calculating.” She reluctantly punches it in. And then she understands as she gives me one five and some change. I pick up my blues and walk away, alone. Just me and my blues. And my ability to calculate change. (Excerpted from my book, Loser Makes Good, available here.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Harte Spam Emails, Part 3

The search for a wiener continues. I am still looking for the best subject line as it relates to penis enlargement spam. So many choices, so hard to choose. “One big instrument is much better than two small ones.” If you have a small one, are you relegated to a category that requires you to partner with another guy who also has a small one just to satisfy your woman? Are you forced to share your woman with another man? Essentially, what the email is saying, if you acquired a big instrument, you would then be permitted to forgo being forced into unwanted threesomes with another small-instrumented man. “The bigger the tool, the further it can reach.” Is this about farming? Yes, as compared to say a hand trowel, I could probably reach much further with a garden shovel or a hydraulic hole digger. “Women will be singing odes to the majestic monster in your pants.” Odes? I mean, odes are nice, but I’d prefer an oral dissertation or an aria. “Odes” sounds so medieval. Plus, I’m not sure I want a majestic monster. That sounds like a cross between a pretty sunset and Shane MacGowan. I would not want that going on in my pants. “You can wear your swimming trunks like a crown.” I can do that now. Not impressed. Now, try fashioning your swim trunks into an origami flamingo and that would be something. “You can break the ice by having bigger size.” Awesome! Say you’re at a party and the moron responsible for bringing ice brings an ice block instead of cubes. You could be a hero and say, “Step aside please, I got this,” unzip your “icebreaker” and start chipping away with it in front of everyone. That might even spark a conversation.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Seeking a Grant

Wild raspberry juice in my vodka is providing me with the most inspiring shade of red. I’m living comfortably towards my next paycheck and I’m sitting here looking to mess it all up. Somehow, I strongly desire messing it all up. Wouldn’t that be great? I’ve cleaned up my act and all I want to do is mess it all up again. Don’t you ever just get sick of your own skin? Don’t you ever just want to mess it all up and start all over again? Wipe it all away with one manic swipe of the hand and start over? I just want to contribute to the growing pile of frustration that is collecting in the corner of my living room. Can’t I just get paid for that? What price is a continued pattern of frustration worth? What if I was willing to explore a lifetime’s worth of frustration? Just for the sake of knowing? Wouldn’t that be an incredibly worthwhile document to own? I am willing to be a growing pile of frustration in the corner of my own living room for the duration of my lifetime and I can’t get anyone to fund that kind of endeavor. Couldn’t some rich guy smugly claim with pride that he was funding some nutsack (me) to sit at home and capture a continued pattern of frustration at his own expense? Isn’t there some valuable peace of mind found within such an investment? He could then say, “Yeah, I’m never frustrated by anything because I’m paying this poor bastard to burden any and all frustrations for me. I mean, there I was, about to have a frustrating experience when I realized, ‘Hey, that’s what I pay Greg for.’” (Excerpted and abridged from my next next book, The Idiot Parade.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter F

I’ve, unfortunately, crossed paths with many Fs. And by “Fs” I mean fuckers. We all have, they’re abundant and unavoidable. F is that guy who stands too close to you in the grocery store checkout line. F has no understanding of a respectable distance and constantly invades your personal space. F is that really tall guy who stands right in front of you at a rock concert. F cuts you off on the highway and flips you off for good measure, as if the act of cutting you off isn’t aggressive enough, he has to punctuate it with a fist shake and a middle finger. F is that baseball fan who purposely bought a front row seat beyond the left field fence when the Giants were in town so he could yell really smart shit at Barry Bonds every time he took the field. “Hey Barry, you need another needle?” and “Hey Barry, you’re a bum!” and “Hey Barry, your career’s going to be one big ass-trick!” F is incapable of pronouncing the word “asterisk.” That same F is also a face painter when it’s football season. But not all Fs are male, some Fs can be female. F is that shopper at the front of the line on Black Friday right before they open the doors and thinks that any trampled casualties on that day are just “collateral damage.” F thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to be a bitch to anyone and everyone because it is her (sweet sixteen party) (birthday) (wedding day) (bad hair day) (Monday). F is that drunk chick who’s trying to dance, but instead elbows you incessantly with her flailing. F answers her cell phone when she’s at the pharmacy window being attended to by the pharmacist, even though there are a dozen of us waiting in line behind her.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter E

“E” was my first crush. I was twelve. She was in my class and we rode the same bus. She had a bright smile, full cheeks, and feathered hair. It was the 80s after all. Everyone’s hair had a slightly feathered style, guys included. E and I were boyfriend and girlfriend for one day and held hands for the duration of one bus ride. The next day, she sat next to someone else and I guess we were over. That’s all I remember. I wonder what she looks like now. Where is she? What does she do? How many people have passed through your life that still pop into your mind from time to time? For me, E is just another funny story that happened in my life. It’s funny because I remember thinking she was cute and how nice it would be if she was my girlfriend and we might have even shared a peck that one day we were together. For me, E will never age past that day. I could strain myself trying to imagine what she went on to do, who she went on to become, or what she went on to look like, but why bother? What would be the point? Maybe she’s a pediatrician now who ends each visit with a lollipop reward and she’s married to a nice handsome doctor herself and she lives in a suburban home with a Golden Retriever named Max and she still styles her hair with a feathery flair and still has cheeks you want to pinch and vacations in France. Or maybe she’s a shut-in who’s ballooned to eight hundred pounds and surrounds herself with 37 cats with names like Tabby and Bean Dip and her favorite color is Blueberry Slurpee. But, back in 1982, she was my girlfriend for one day only and we held hands on the bus the whole ride home.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

I was driving me and my girl home from somewhere and it was really late (or really early) and she was asleep beside me and it was pouring rain. The weatherman would have described the rain as “torrential” which I always thought was a lame word choice, but then there I was driving in it and it was torrential. As I passed beneath a bridge, the most amazing thing presented itself to me. The rain was coming down so vertically that beneath the bridge was pure calm. The difference was so extreme that it demanded all of my senses. If I had been in a sedentary driving trance before that, I was suddenly very alert and aware. I pulled a U-turn just to experience it again. Pure downpour, then pure calm, and then pure downpour again. After I confirmed my senses, I pulled another U-turn and headed back again. This time though, while under the bridge, I stopped just short of the wall of rain, parked, and stepped out of my car. I walked up to it. It was the kind of straight down rain that you could stand right up against and not get wet. You could run your hand across the face of it. It occurred to me that she had to experience this too. I went back to the car and woke her up. She protested, but then she saw. There we were, standing there alone, side by side, facing this tremendous wall of rain, experiencing it, and filling our every sense with it. There was no noise except the furious rain smacking the street. No cars went by while we waited for something greater to come swooping down to claim us. It was like we were obeying something larger than ourselves. Like we were one with it. I closed my eyes, reached over for her hand, and she took it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Eating Cheer Laundry Detergent

When does the stress end? The stress I don’t want. The stress I don’t need. My own mind tries to kill me on a daily basis. It plots to give my body ailments. It is trying to talk my body into dying, begging it to quit, to just expire. I just want to die. I don’t want to wait for the inevitable diagnoses of ulcers and heart problems and cysts and sickness. Somebody, please, just kill me now. I grow careless in my present existence. I beg a group of people to kick my ass, but they’re confused by my request. “Come on! Kick my ass! I know that’s what you want. Just kick my ass!” They’re disconcerted by my desire for a beating. They look for asses to kick and create situations that will result in ass-kicking, but they’re unaccustomed to having the ass handed to them. “Kick my ass! Please!” They are bored with my offering, too easy. They leave. And I am left alone, still begging for someone to crush me. I watch as detergent commercials beat the dirt from the fibers and I get an idea: I am looking for something to purge my blackness, so I start eating detergent. The smell attracts me to it and draws me in. I have acquired a taste for several different brands now. I like the way it feels as I choke the grains down and they scrape their way down my throat. The stress keeps piling up though. I think my fish feels it too. I caught him trying to jump out of his bowl as he was picking up on all my negative energy. I stared at him as he made an attempt to leap out of his bowl and end his life, but I knocked him back in and told him that he was in it for the duration with me. (Excerpted and abridged from my next book, Piss Artist.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I Harte Spam Emails, Part 2

The internet is very disappointed with my penis. It’s a relentless assault on the poor guy. I receive at least twenty emails a day about how he could be so much bigger, or performing at a higher level, or even hipper, or drive the ladies more wild. I’m quite pleased with him myself, but it’s hard to ignore the consistent feedback from all the critics. They are brutal in their assessment, but explain that they are just trying to help. I’ve decided to take their advice. How could so many people be wrong? Since the volume of emails I receive is so overwhelming on the subject, I’ve decided that the email with the most thoughtful and inspired subject line probably also offers the best solution. That seems right, doesn’t it? If the subject line is good, the solution must be good. The ones that rhyme don’t appeal to me. “You will be mega cool if you get a bigger tool.” “Give her double portion with your new proportion.” “Women will flow like a tide just to view your biggie pride.” “It will be hard to hide your bulgy male pride.” These immediately get deleted, I’m not impressed. Then there are those that just don’t ring true to my ear. “Add more meat for better taste.” “The power in your pants will be really breath-taking.” “With such a developed huge monster in your pants you can catch a real gold fish.” A real gold fish? Really? These get tossed aside as well. I read others with really strong action verbs like “hoist your lover” and “heave your darling” but I can’t imagine any woman who’s interested in being hoisted or heaved. (If you are though, please leave a comment below.) The winner is still to be decided…

Friday, April 24, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter D

“D” was my first French kiss. D was in 7th grade, I was in 8th. It happened at her birthday party and resulted from a game of spin the bottle. It seemed the whole objective of the game was to get me and D alone and, eventually, there we were locked in the laundry room and it was dark. I didn’t know what to do, so I sat on the dryer and tried to sound cool, “Well, I guess they expect us to kiss or something.” She surprised me when she moved in close, placed her hands on my legs, and said, “Yep, I guess so,” and proceeded to French kiss me. And I liked it. I had never French kissed before, much less kissed at all, and there we were, her hands rubbing back and forth on my legs and she had her tongue in my mouth and it was phenomenal. We eventually emerged and I went and told my friend Vince that we kissed, and not only did we kiss, but that we French kissed, and that was my first French kiss. He was so amazed and shocked by this fact that he decided to announce it to the rest of the party, “Hey everyone, that was Greg’s first French kiss!” I was so embarrassed by the silence that followed. D spoke up and said, “Oh really, I didn’t even notice.” And I decided that I really, really liked this girl. I felt proud. We went out for awhile, but she was much more experienced than me. I was pretty intimidated. We would be sitting watching TV, she would be lying in my lap with only a pillow between her head and me. She’d take my hands and place them on her chest and I didn’t know what to do next. So, there were my hands doing nothing else but just lying there, desperately wanting to know what the next move was.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter C

“C” and I had a class together in college called “The Modern Novel” with coursework slanted by our lesbian instructor. I didn’t mind, I was introduced to Jeanette Winterson whose work I still love, but the overall homoeroticism in the air was charged and pervasive. The class brimmed with gay men and gay women, and me. I sat in back as if banished from the circle by my straightness. I remember seeing C, in front, sitting next to a guy who was always flirting with me relentlessly. I tried to ignore his looks and stares. I knew he was trying to hook up. By association, I assumed C was a lesbian. I ended up getting a C in that class (no joke). Fast forward to summer and I was working as a concierge at an upscale mall. I wore suits and had to know things. I was chummy with the security guards. We acted like we owned the place, walking around with our chests puffed out, acting superior. It was fun. One day, I was on break and chatting with Chick (that was his nickname) when I noticed C working at the costume jewelry store. They specialized in high-end jewelry reproductions. Still do. I spun back around to Chick and said, “Holy crap, I know that girl. We had a class together. She’s so beautiful. But I think she’s a lesbian.” Chick said, “No way. C? A lesbian? Really?” My break ended and I returned to my desk. A few minutes later, Chick came running up to me, laughing hysterically, “Yo man, I was just talking with C. She said she remembered you from that class too. And she thought you were gay!” C and I went out for three years after that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Harte Spam Emails

Can you think back to your first spam email? You wondered, “How was it that ‘Trixie’ got my email address?” And you became excited because she wanted to connect with you and have a good time. Now, admit it, how many of you responded feeling hopeful? One of the first spam emails I received read like this, “Hello, do you remember me? I’m Abdul Washington from NY. Remember we spoke about a problem of short penis? I have found at last a good product which is capable to correct this problem!!! My power and pleasure has trippled, my wife can hardly keep up, my penis has grown 3.5 inches to just over 6 and is still growing! Try it necessarily!!!” And just as I was straining to remember if I had ever met an Abdul Washington from NY who I just happened to have a discussion with about the problem of short penis, I received the exact same email from John Crews, Jeff Patterson, Coleman Belanger, Lance Pollard, Carlton Khan, Dirk Fitzpatrick, and Morris Lamb, all from NY. At the time, I was thinking that the inclusion of a person’s actual last name somehow gave it validity. I was then trying to remember any occasion where I had an open conversation with a whole group of people from NY about the problem of short penis. Even the misspelling of the word “trippled” seemed to lend to the enthusiasm and credibility of the email, as if the typist was so excited by the ongoing growth of their own penis that the extra “p” was intentional for emphasis, or it was Freudian because they were thinking about nipples. But, I figured it out with “Try it necessarily!!!” The word “necessarily” just didn’t sit right.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter B

“B” was my best friend in high school. B and I met after a girl lured me into joining the drama club. I had no idea what I was doing. When girls pointed, I pretty much followed. I couldn’t act or sing, so I was drawn to the crew. B, who was also a junior like me, was the guy working the sound board and lights from a booth built above and behind the audience. We’d hang out up there, do some work, but mostly we checked out girls. One day, when there was a lull in the action, we snuck off to 7-Eleven and bought a pack of Swisher Sweets Cigars. Even now, I can close my eyes and taste those cigars. We returned, climbed up through the ceiling, and onto the theater’s roof. We then smoked through that entire pack of Swisher Sweets. I lacked any sense of moderation and kept lighting up one after another. I’m not sure precisely what happens physiologically when two teens smoke through an entire pack of Swisher Sweets in a short period of time, but it made us wired. We started running sprints back and forth across the roof like we were experiencing wind for the first time. Meanwhile, our drama instructor Mr. B (no relation to B), who was leading rehearsal, started waving his arms and shushing everyone to be quiet. He then turned his head and listened as we ran back and forth above him. We were oblivious to the din we were making. Only when Mr. B’s bald head breached the same opening we had climbed through did we realize we were busted. He gave us a “What are you morons doing?” look and made us get down.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Alphabet People - Letter A

“A” broke my heart. I met A through a married friend of mine. The married friend wanted to get with me, but I didn’t want to be “that guy” again. She hooked me up with her cousin, A. I was immediately attracted. A had naturally curly blonde hair, was tall and slender, and wore smart glasses. She also possessed a sarcastic wit and was flirty as hell. We met and had dinner and then she took me back to her place. I think I fell in love while we did a crossword puzzle at her dining room table. I know, it’s not the most stirring of romantic activities, nor was it a dirty dance mating ritual, but it worked. There was something about the proximity of our bodies, the leaning into each other, the banter, the teasing, and the thrill of getting the words right. I caught scents of her and I wanted to plunge into her neck. And then finally, we kissed. It started in the kitchen, rolled into the living room, and went on for hours. When we finally came up for air, the sun was rising. I had to leave. For the other coast. We attempted long distance, but it was tough. When I returned months later, she had already started a relationship with another, but she neglected to inform me of this. We spent an evening together where there was no kissing, which made no sense to me. “I want us to be friends,” A said. “I want to pick up where we left off,” I replied. She said, “We should work on being good friends first and have a good base.” I was dumbfounded, “That foundation was laid months ago. You were at the groundbreaking. Don’t you remember?”

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Miss USA

She had little talent, but scored high on originality. The other contestants were threatened by her long, perfect legs and sought ways to eliminate any chance she had of winning. They rifled through her luggage and discovered Polaroid pictures of her and her boyfriend naked and engaging in sexual acts. They took the photos directly to the judges. Most of the judges were disappointed that she didn’t emulate the wholesome Miss USA image. Others were disappointed that the talent portion of the competition didn’t include the kinds of acts she clearly had a knack for as illustrated in the photos, but kept that disappointment to themselves. The judges pulled her aside and explained that she could continue competing, but that she would not be winning for obvious reasons. She was upset, but understood. In the final competition, during the interview portion, she was asked, “During these stark times of economic downturn, wars, and future uncertainty, what has you scared the most?” To which she replied, first remembering what her coach told her to repeat the question before answering it, “The thing that has me the most scared is green Jell-O. I can’t stand to even look at green Jell-O, it makes me want to cry, I don’t know why. Especially if the green Jell-O has shredded carrots in it. That is the worst! It terrifies me!” She, of course, didn’t win. The pictures were leaked and she became an instant celebrity. She went on to a lucrative career in soft porn as the Near Miss USA and bought a big house in the hills with a pool.