Let Me Repeat That: Time

I have always been hysterically and hyperbolically morbid about the concept of Age. It’s not a quality I’m particularly proud of, partly because it’s one so endlessly exploited by the era of the internet and its accompanying relentless nostalgia. I resent that my own neurosis about the transient nature of time has so easily been subsumed by a digital savannah of cliches and clickbait, and a crop of even younger people wearing clothes that, heretofore, I have seen only on Shania Twain.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about capital-letter Age and Time more than usual. There are a number of reasons for this, not least of which is that I work now on a college campus where an entirely new batch of students has come in to my view, and they have a reverence for a time they did not live in — but I did.

My internal clock stopped around 2000. In my Truth, movies like Ocean’s 11 came out a couple years ago. Perhaps the trauma of Y2K — as you’ll recall we all lived in bunkers for days, surviving on nothing but gallon drums of water and gun powder — was enough to freeze my consciousness in time, or, just maybe, I have finally come to experience the past-sell-by-date anxiety that comes from the VMAs no longer being geared at my high school class.

Why it alarms me that people I went to college with are now entering their 30s, I can’t say with certainty. I’m sure they live full existences, not consistently concerned about their pending mortality. Actually, I’m not sure of that at all. They probably act the same way I do, only looking anxiously at their peers and mentors and former beer pong opponents staring down 40.

I don’t have a point to all of this. If you’re looking for one, there’s no shame in jumping ship now. I have no more relevant movie clips to share.

It simply fascinates and terrifies me, the fleeting nature of time — how one year, I write a goal to empty, routinely, the Tupperware containers in the back of the fridge, and how, in the blink of an eye, another year has gone by and all that is left of that promise are some merely adequate words on a screen and a fungal infestation on what once was grilled chicken.

Will that moldy poultry be my legacy someday? Like the scraps of paper, half-finished to-do lists or photos torn into two to erase jealous lovers are for the generations before us? Will this site and its timeboxed contents be as compelling in 100 years as the snapshots of humanity on Letters of Note?  Probably not, but do not feel the need to answer that. It was rhetorical.

I am 27 and this is silly. Understood. And if I were truly concerned and ambitiously morbid, I would be penning a will instead of indulging in WordPress. That said, if I die tomorrow, won’t someone please make sure my dog doesn’t eat the chicken in the back of the fridge? Or drink the milk. It’s expired. No, not that milk. The one behind it. OK, that milk, too.

A Non-Comprehensive List of Things I Wanted Today

  • A hummingbird feeder
  • Succulents I can’t kill
  • A Toyota Prius
  • A driver for the Toyota Prius
  • The Scooby-Doo house shoes I had when I was 9
  • To know whether I am in Taylor Swift’s squad
  • To know what she does with the bodies of people who refuse to join her squad
  • A tattoo of an okapi and a sad nudist, only without the sad nudist
  • A hedgehog
  • A carrot costume for the hedgehog
  • A niche, disruptive pop-up store called “Hedgie Veggie” that sells high-quality pet food and vegetable costumes
  • Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: The Greatest Hits of Kenny Loggins
  • Mo’ money
  • Mo’ problems, if it means mo’ money
  • One of those cats with fluffy ears
  • One of those cats with fluffy ears and a distinctly non-catlike personality
  • For cats to use real toilets
  • For dogs to use real toilets
  • For drunks to use real toilets
  • Basic human decency
  • The red pleather catsuit from the “Oops! … I Did It Again” video
  • Maybe a chinchilla
  • For Jim Henson not to be dead
  • A library with one of those sliding ladders
  • One long, loving look into the eyes of Sam Bradford
  • A wider variety of animated GIFs from Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland
  • A Holodeck program that allows me just to shoot the breeze over brunch with Jackee Harry and a Bloody Mary bar
  • The Crayola 96-Count box with built-in sharpener my dog ate last year
  • Fewer emails
  • Zero emails
  • A lint roller the size of a Zamboni
  • A career as a Zamboni driver
  • Reassurance that Zamboni drivers don’t get emails

A Trivial Pursuit

Reports of this blog’s death have been mildly exaggerated. A mere two months ago, I extended an offer of editorial democracy, opening a vote for my next post. It’s only taken me a changing of the seasons, but here I am to make good on that promise.

Eventually, I hope to get to several of the options, as well as a few write-ins, but for now: the Craigslist ad for the perfect trivia partner.

First, however, we’re going to talk about trivia. This weekend I had the unfortunate experience of my second trivia-related dream in as many months. In this one, my subconscious actually formed questions — apparently from the ether — to torment me. Among them:

1) What is Pink’s best-known song?

This is incredibly subjective and unfair, especially considering that since at least I’m Not Dead (if not before), every Pink hit single has followed the same catchy and successful formula, which can be summed up easily: phonies < people who are OK (i.e., people who buy Pink records) < Pink.

Right now, I cannot mentally conjure the track list of Funhouse, but Dream Me did and argued vehemently, after running through every song on the album, with Ghost Dream Trivia Team that the answer was clearly “So What.” Which is completely correct if you go by Billboard’s rankings. (I woke up seething over this, because my Dream Team opted for some fictional track from Missundaztood, and I had to prove them wrong.)

2) Which famous bicyclist did Abbott and Costello send to northern India to comment on that country’s caste system?

I’m not kidding. From my mind’s diaspora came this random assortment of words strung together into what would be an incredibly interesting film directed by George Clooney. I Googled every aspect of this too when I woke up just to make sure I wasn’t accidentally a genius and had retained this awesome fact.

I am not a genius, though I’m thrilled I woke up before we could get to more questions about Golda Meir’s favorite brand of soap or lists of the world’s most famous defenestrations performed by circus clowns.

That said, I can piece together why I am dreaming up questions to stump myself. Because I spend 1-2 nights a week with this motley crew of characters on our endless quest for self-love gratification and trophies.

The cast and crew of the notorious Figgy Stardust.
The cast and crew of the notorious Figgy Stardust.

As a result, I may be losing my mind. But before I do, let me leave you with what I consider the perfect addition to a trivia troupe.

Seeking Trivia Partner Slightly Smarter Than Me

Looking for a new member for an ensemble of grizzled bar trivia veterans. We play competitively most nights at an advanced level. Other nights, we crawl to the door in sheer embarrassment of living. Hoping to round out the rotation with someone with knowledge in the following areas: late ’80s music, early ’90s non-children’s cinema, astrophysics, recent studies on human sexuality, the nuanced politics of world conflict in the early 20th century, obscure candy varieties, comics.

Key attributes I’m looking for:

  • Intelligence of which you are not fully aware
  • Zen-like calm in the face of Before & After questions
  • Willingness to shut up when necessary
  • Past experience in crisis management
  • Disposable income to buy favored teammates margaritas
  • Proven talent for amusing doodles
  • A+ penmanship in dimly lit spaces
  • Likability
  • A real degree in something useful

Please submit a headshot, current resume, three references and a credit score.

9 Lessons I Learned From My Toys

They should have known when they handed these tools of instruction to someone who actively feared immaculate conception that there would be life-long consequences.

Tamagotchi

It’s unhealthy to neglect your friends, because if you do, they will poop themselves to death.

Physical deformities such as turds as large as the creature itself should also be overlooked. photo: wiki

Don’t Wake Daddy

Yes, honey, Dad’s nervous breakdown is actually all your fault.

“Troll! Troll in the dungeon!” photo:thosewerethe90s.tumblr.com

Furby

Codependency is a learned behavior.

“Feed me. Pet me. Put my batteries back in. You need me. You love me. You want me.” photo: buzzpatrol.com

Bop It

Disciplined obedience will get you far in life.

Sky Dancers

If you’re beautiful, you can indeed just get by on your looks.

Until your inevitable tragic collision with the glass ceiling fan. photo:fanpop

Pokemon

At the same time, picking your friends by their appearance will do you no good in the long run.

All Eevee, all the time. Lolwut. You want a Tentacruel? Go fish.

Polly Pocket

No lesson here, except how to make a damned fine toy.

You really can have it all, girls. photo: powerhousemuseum.com

Beanie Babies

Sometimes investments don’t pan out.

And eating Happy Meals for weeks just to get the special edition ones will make you a fat, unhappy cog in the machine of commercialism run amok. photo: aol

Pogs

Finally, there are just some mysteries in life you’ll never understand.

Don’t hate the player. Hate the game you never knew how to play. photo: pogs.tumblr.com

10 Things You Will Do in 2014

January has almost come and gone, and so too your hopes of finally becoming that great person you fantasize about late at night. But fear not, pudgy, unambitious friends. There’s still time to do some things for yourself in 2014 if you dream a little smaller, darlings.

This is what you will do in the remaining 11 months of 2014, or as we’ll call it, the Year of You.

You will plan your trivia team name before getting to the bar.

Having a preplanned, topical, appropriately whimsical team name will take some of the sting out of losing to charmers who call themselves the Pig F***ers.

You will start carrying cash.

The swapping-debt tango between friends’ debit cards can be exhausting: “You paid for the pizza Tuesday, so I’ll pick up the tab tonight, which means you’ll now owe me $3.” And it’ll be good for your health, too. Paying with your card at the bar encourages you — nay, implores you — to drink more, for there is a minimum charge and tipping etiquette to consider. Plunk down a $5, however, and you’re free as a bird to teetotal as you please.

You will pick your battles.

Only striking when there’s something truly important at stake.

photo (5)

You will stop dating people who do the following:

  • Wear open-toed shoes when he hasn’t trimmed his toenails in this century.
  • Consider it appropriate to sit on the same side of the table at restaurants.
  • Use the phrase “I know what you’re going to say” as you’re speaking.
  • Smell.

You will enter another room without bringing your phone.

The drones cometh, circling the skies with our packages, driving our cars, printing our food. Be not one of them. Long live homo erectus, heads nobly raised to greet the world, instead of burrowed deep within the screens of our robot overlords. Bring back the pleasure of being untethered to instant communication.

You will limit your impulse purchases.

Or at least the ones at Target, which is a suburban First World crack den of bargains.

photo (58)

You will unsubscribe to email lists.

Speed-deleting unread morning emails will be an Olympic competition in Rio, and I its Apolo Anton Ohno. Logic, however, nowhere enters the equation. Save yourself precious bed minutes and get yourself off the mailing list of that place you bought that one thing that one time. No coupon is worth the exercise in futility.

You will open and clean out the Tupperware lurking in the back of the refrigerator.

Chunking the whole plastic kit and kaboodle is not a sustainable habit, but it is exactly what you will do once the food decay reaches Level Zombie Rot. At that point, all that’s left to do is to nuke the hell out of the whole biohazard as your Depression-surviving grandparents weep silently into their saved, decades-old wrapping paper.

Preemptive strikes, everyone. Preemptive strikes from now on.

But most importantly, you will enjoy the little moments.

Maybe a little too much.

photo (59)
“Soon.”

And you’ll make time for some quality family bonding because, after all, they’re the reason you are the way you are.

Idiosyncrasies and all.
Idiosyncrasies and all.

Good luck. God speed. Get lucky.

Get a life, they said

My life has become nothing to blog about. Now, I am become Boring.

Not that before every night was party-hopping with the Olsen twins and doing molly, naked as a jay bird on a piece of industrial equipment. Or whatever the kids are up to these days. Still, my day-to-day routine hews closer to Al Bundy. Or Al Borland. Maybe Amanda Bynes the early years.

Perhaps this is what it’s like, the eventual plod into oblivion. Each day is going to work, coming home from work, discovering what creative things the dog hath wrought — You ate what? You pooped where? How’d you get that motorcycle up there on the high dive? — staring into the fridge with anguish and despair, removing pants, reopening and closing fridge, reading a book, rinsing, repeating.

I’ve been urged repeatedly to find this thing called a hobby. That that is the next logical step. Because apparently getting carded for the pure, unadulterated thrill of feeling young or live-blogging the demise of Western democracy aren’t “hobbies.”

Fine. The need for extracurriculars has never seemed more urgent than now, as the mysterious free cable TV we received has been cruelly taken from us, with nary an explanation. But it’s not like suddenly developing interests in things other than Lorde and ready-to-bake cookie dough is easy. I’ve tried.

Running is boring, unless you’re running from something. Most sport-y things require being outside, which is a no-go because in Florida, every time you step out your door you cheat death. Like the time there was that snake in my air-conditioning unit. With that in mind, racquetball seemed a perfect indoor fitness option. But …

photo (57)
American Gothic, 2013

The Squidward Tentacles aesthetic is a look — not a good one — and no one told me racquetball was bladder-emptying, balls-to-the-wall terror. Tennis is such a genteel sport, but put a wall in there and you’re dodging drone strikes.

My delicate sensibilities are perhaps more suited toward the arts — in theory. In practice, well, Exhibit A:

"Duchamps' Funnel"
“Duchamp’s Funnel” by Artist, Aged 18

Everyone has suggestions, philatelists, philanderers and philistines alike. And before anyone says “cooking,” you can ask my crock pot for comment, if you can reach it via Ouija board.

Maybe this is an entirely incorrect way of looking at it. Maybe drinking boxed wine on the dusty porch lanai is really all you need to be fulfilled. Maybe through years of constant stimulation, we’ve been conditioned for perennial states of activity, lest we allow ourselves to be bored. Maybe I don’t have to go weekly to the farmer’s market to be considered a qualified human …

Nah.

I’ll just go buy a yoga mat.