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.