Sunday, July 26, 2009

Roommate Retardation

Recently I was listening to an All Things Considered bit about kids who were about to move away from home and start college, and about the roommates they were to soon encounter at their choice of higher-learning institutions. One kid was nervous about moving in with his gay roommate, and had his mom call the school to try to make different arrangements. Long story short: a lot of people wrote and called in to tell stories of their own experiences rooming with scary, culturally different people, and how ultimately, the experience of living with and getting to know these people who were so outside their realm of comfort ended up being a blessing, as they learned a lot and got to know someone who they continued being friends with long after college had ended.

As I was listening, I felt that the program had not addressed the situation in which I had found myself on my first day in college. What does one do when they are arbitrarily matched to room with a moron?

Those were different times, back then. One couldn't look up a new roommate on Facebook or Myspace. Maybe the two would exchange a letter, or a phone call. I opted for the latter, and I knew very soon: This guy and I are not going to get along.

A little background on the living situation: The art school I had chosen to attend had recently completed five floors of a state of the art dormitory, complete with suites with shared bathrooms, media rooms and a communal studio on each floor. 24-hour security stood sentry over the comings-and-goings of residents, and copious socializing space ensured that residents had ample opportunity to network and get to know one another.

This was not the dormitory in which I lived.

Baker Hall was to be my home for my first year of adulthood. Baker was owned by a nearby Technological Institute, and the Art College rented a floor for its overflow population, those who were too poor to afford the new digs, or were late to come to the party. I was a bit of both. Baker was five stories of dorm rooms that could favorably be called Spartan: Square rooms with ersatz cinder block walls, painted white to reflect the sickly fluorescent lights. Two bathrooms serviced the entire floor, one for boys, one for girls. Heavy steel doors with enormous deadbolts protected that 14 by 14 cell, consisting of one window, two beds, two wardrobes, and a low, rickety "work table" and a pair of stiff work chairs. Security was a rarity in this building, and it was a treat to have a security guard that would bother to spend the entire night sitting on a hard plastic chair behind a small metal desk. Homeless people would find their way in, break into the rooms on the abandoned fifth floor and squat until the smell of crack smoke or excessive b.o. would alert someone to their presence, in which case they would be ejected, only to start the whole process over again the next day.

I was the first to arrive to our dorm room. The date was September 6th, 1992. It was a warm and sunny day in Boston, a very exciting day for me, moving from the desolate woods of Maine to the Big City. I quickly set up my stereo and blasted Ministry's "Psalm 69", positive that musical taste was the surest way to broadcast one's personality and interests. For comparison, the room to my right was cranking hip-hop, while the room to my left was offering Kiss. I figured, as a former metal head, completely sold on the grunge revolution, I was sure to make friends quickly.

Then Derek showed up. He was dressed head to toe in Chess King. His hair was shellacked with gel and a "gold" chain hung around his neck. He smiled out the side of his mouth and offered his hand to shake. I took it, sizing him up. No good can come of this, I thought.

Fortunately I had a couple friends from high school who had moved in nearby just a few weeks earlier. I bid Derek a hasty farewell and went over to their apartment to reunite and indulge in some rooftop chemicals with them.

"How's the room?" Jared asked me.

"Is Cell-like a word?" I replied.

"Meet your roommate yet?" He asked.

"I dunno, man," as I hoisted the pipe to my lips.

Looking back on it now, I think there was a kind of Survivalist Mentality that settled in to everyone who lived on the floor. We all knew well that the other dorm was a sparkling hotel, littered with high thread-count sheets and mints on pillows compared to our shanty town. We were alone, left to cling to and support one another through our hardships. Needless to say, many very strong friendships grew out of this shared experience, some of which continue to this day, 17 years later. For a while, with no formal agreement or preparation, someone would wander from room to room, gathering people for dinner at the dining hall. We would all walk in en masse, like a biker gang. Everyone would turn to look warily at these wild and unruly savages, boisterously kicking open the doors and hooting like madmen.

Yet, despite this sinking-ship togetherness, there were some pariahs. As I mentioned in this post, a poor lad earned the unfortunate nickname Stinky Fat Elvis due to his reluctance to shower and his striking resemblance to the Rhinestone Jumpsuit-era Elvis. Many nicknames came out of that building: Wicked Smaht, The Yeti, Kurtlet, Pretentious-H Jhenn.

And then there was Derek. He earned the unfortunate name Corky due to his seemingly lower-than-average intelligence. That poor bastard. It was no secret he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. It probably didn't help that I was his roommate. I certainly did nothing to help his cause.

Some stories to illustrate the point:

Derek had a tattoo of Jessica Rabbit on his ankle. This was well before tattoos were commonplace and widely accepted. But even then, I know that this was the work of a douchebag. The thing was, Jessica was depicted only from the waist up, and Derek would spend a LOT of time making sure that his sock covered up the fact that she had no pelvis or legs. I was never able to ascertain what the reason for this was. Was it designed this way? Did the tattoo artist not know how to do bottoms? Was Derek too much of a puss to endure the bottom half of the tattoo? Or too cheap to pay for the whole thing?

Freshman year means that there are a lot of required courses for the young scholars to take. Unfortunately, Derek and I were placed into a writing course together. At one point, we were having an in-class exam. Derek happened to be sitting ahead of and to the right of me. 10 minutes into the exam, he turned around, and with no attempt at subtlety went:

"Hey roomie" I tried to ignore him. He tried again. Then again.

"What?!" I nearly hissed at him.

"Is #1 like the thing that we talked about last night, when..."

"Derek. Shut the fuck up and turn around," I glared at him. He took on a slightly confused look and slowly turned back to his paper. I looked to the front of the class, where the professor was glaring at us.

A big part of dorm life is just hanging out. It's kind of like summer camp. Spontaneous events would spring up in a room, in the hallway. Sing-alongs, movie screenings, spirited debates. Often these were participated in while wearing casual, at-home garb. After all, this was our home. I remember many a conversation where the theme seemed to not only be Gardner's Art Through The Ages, but sweatpants. But not for Derek. Oh no. Please try to understand, gentle reader. I could not make this stuff up if I tried. Derek would routinely walk around the halls dressed in black socks (positioned to display Jessica, natch), a Dallas Cowboys half-shirt tee, and blue bikini briefs. Again. Not Kidding. He would then go on to complain about "How cold it is," while my fellow dorm-dwellers would look on, mouths agape, and incredulous.

Eventually Derek moved out. He lasted maybe a semester. I don't know the reason for his departure, and I don't know if he continued his studies at the school. I did help him move out, however. Loaded his crap into his father's station wagon, stood on the curb waving goodbye as they pulled away, went upstairs and jumped on his bed, joyously yelling "Mine! Mine! Mine!".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

100 Words

For the first six months of 2002 I participated in a project called Since then, it's become a dotcom. The idea is simple: Every day for a month, write and submit exactly 100 words. This collection, known as a "batch", would be published along with all the other members' batches every month.

It started off innocently enough, an exercise (as this blog is), an excuse to write, with a certain type of pressure in the monthly deadline, and another type of pressure in keeping it within the confines of One Hundred Words. Eventually though, it became oppressive, and it shows in the overall body of my "work". Full Disclosure: I was in the midst of a profound bout of depression at this time, coupled with the pressure of completing my final semester in college, in which I scrapped all of my work with seven weeks left to begin a new body of work from scratch. It came out in the writing, and in my everyday, person-to-person interactions. As I became more and more bored, I would lash out in that "I'm on the internet and anonymous!" type of way. Pathetic.

It got to the point where I was randomly picking through other members' posts, copying and pasting bits and pieces into my own posts, writing "poems" with the scraps and shards.

At another point, I was perusing spam email, posting its content into Babelfish, translating the English into German, copying that German translation, then translating that back into English. BTW: German is teh Funniez.

I herein present a few choice selections from those sad pathetic six months, consisting of some of the Cut/Paste Poems and the English-German-English freakouts. Enjoy?

A captain of Fury
By age twenty.
To my surprise I’ve survived this long. Disgustingly precise.

I am trying to slow down,
For some reason I’m not afraid.
But I have enough trouble -
I can’t seem to do anything but choke.
I’m more nervous than I look, brutalized with punching.

They just don’t exist. I’m alone, but I don’t care
Because I'm doing ol' number nine right now.
I’ve been struggling to know more.
I made a decision,
Brought it to my bed.
Hand has ceased shivering
Like a child-murderer's lullaby.
Where the hell’s my hammer?
I need this.

We all suffer, but I declined once again.
I love it here, heart and head riding a winning streak

"Don’t Quit The One Thing You Can Do Right"

Fine beyond her fear: Six hours of other people’s plates.
I was a ghost along the rails,
Deemed "missing" in today’s Post,
Spilled out all over the leg of the man with the big fists.
I’m slightly amused, covered in dirt and weeds.

Dirty, I stood, trembling with anger.

"Nothing. I'm doing nothing."

Just sit around
People are sharing their stories with me
Frankly we can’t win in a world of snares.

Because its like okay think brain think.
I just couldn’t face all the grossed out faces smelling my creation.
Like its fucking pink.
Like they’re supposed to look out for you.
My dad wants me to side with the union, he’s been loyal to his for like 20 some Years.
Like incredibly lots!
I forgot to renew my plates and registration so technically my car wasn’t insured so Its like endangerment of something or other bullshit.
Before I was like hoping that the time would go by slowly.
Then its like family allowance day or something.
I totally congratulate you!

This is how I lost my innocence, so long ago that I'd forgotten:

My fever broke, dogs stood rapt;
Genius is a secret that I keep. I don't feel I need to fill her in.
She said she was having a hard time with it.

Today is tomorrow, and I've got this black angel that rides with me.

We have trouble talking.
We're going to counseling to try and work it out.
Right now, she is the Anti-Christ. She'll be with me.
At certain moments we will catch each others' eyes,
See we are not what we pretend to be.


I learned, like one fish between my back parts squeeze together.
When I was not any more than one boy with a load in mine diaper,
I dreamed over this job.

Bemuttern you means to me, in order to be more practical,
But I would like to become only bottuck fish a Squeezer.
I studied very strongly at the university
And each temptation of the Schnaepse and the inexpensive sex Avoided.
And now I stand the proudest moment ago in my life.
I remember for the remainder of my life
First on feel the professional back part fish squeezing.

I guess, you hide that matter in yours underpants.
In order to see the fact that I means to adhere to finger
Into my hot slot wet-made.
Two women in hot tub, which receives to it, you bet your donkey!
Do you click here, in order to find out?

They left photos to 'confidence friend '.
Apparent they wanted to show the world:
What material lezzers to the rear closed doors to rise!
Friday has the largest boobs, which you at all and a delightful body saw,
In order to go with it, and it really loves cords...

They are need more Fraurapists.
Kueken with Brueckeons those even taking it of a man to gunpoint;
Were probably still away received and to fall in love itself...

"AWW. As sweet. They put my piston in for free..."

Yep is which I, Mr. Fuckbutt,
Because I feel strong over to the hand the topic.
It gives, somewhat wrongly with that straight.
Me meant this already? They are an idiot.
Well, possibly Patsy are sometimes also..
Except... which I not the Ivana Trump hairdo to go has on...
I'm which with the blond angel...
...ha hectar hectar...
(people that clings to)
hectar hectar hectar charlies, MOODS!

A jewel from Mom’s cakehole quite came out today.
"The Urologist saw my blister by a camera.”
Los Angeles gives me boogers.
It lets me watch out to football and fights begins to wish.
"It's very wet. That’s a good thing."
All my last juices out into a promised five month window,
Squeezing together from now on and continue carrying on
In any new place in which I mean ideas drop
Dwelling around me do not leave.
...receive drunk now and a Bumsen not, giving.
I am that, who receives, to wash all those pots?
I formed mean understanding!

It’s awcrunch: the cruel heart of listening, it
Lets you know, with no hint of letting-in.
The bleak fear of letting down turns away in short order, passing out.

By the way, Saturday’s my rotary,

WHITE GIRL: Yo Mutha Fucka, I Holla back!
ME: What?
WHITE GIRL: You heard me motha fucka
ME: Why are you talking like a white girl?
WHITE GIRL: I’m ‘onna fuck you up!
ME: Now we’re getting somewhere. Some wine?
WHITE GIRL: Yo I gotta go hook up wit my peeps
ME: What’s your hurry baby?
WHITE GIRL: Got any cookies?
ME: Right here.

I read the first valid horoscope I have ever seen today. “Libra: ...anger management starts in the home and ends at your fist.” Amen sister. I’m gonna go put that fucker to work RIGHT NOW. To quote that beautiful song, “...roll up my sleeves, take my crowbar in hand...” I will now punch kitties and flip the bird to children. I’ve got a can full of gasoline and I can’t find my matches. I am a delicate blend of rage and hurt. When I want to hear my opinion I will beat it out of myself. Or beat off. Whatever...

I have reached that point:
I'd said goodbye.
It was something I just had to do.


Transfixed by the shadows, the world was about to be washed away In a new flood.

Ruddy face flushed with pleasure,
She closed her eyes, “It’s the big one!”
We called them “breeders”.
The department store believed the staff lockers correctly surmised That soon would have to save himself:
See his pink snout fat, pink belly.

‘I’m worst at what I do best. I don’t sleep much.’

Trained to deny her instincts,
Her eyes would meet mine,
Then glance away anymore.


It’s hard enough not to wake up.
I’m considering euthanizing the best birthday gift I’ve ever received.


A fleeting buzz is like a contagion.

A man of god can be so persuasive.
I later realized he may have just had a runny nose.

Crazy piece of work, to fix what has been broken.
You do well with sharp objects.

What a shame:
Everything is an excuse to 12-step.
Impossibly clumsy.
Maybe I’m just hopelessly wanting to hang it up and walk away.

I have stopped worrying about me – for now, at least.

_soaphead_> i'll quote:
jimboelrod_1> please....
_soaphead_> hang on
_soaphead_> ready?
jimboelrod_1> aim
jimboelrod_1> fire
jimboelrod_1> same hand?
JGBLONDIE> dont u just hate that
jimboelrod_1> yes...

_soaphead_> ..." 'Bitch, you are nothing but a funky zero.
Before me you had one chili chump with no rep.
Nobody except his mother ever heard of the bastard.
Yes, Bitch,
I'll be back this morning to put your phony ass on the train.'..."
jimboelrod_1> sorry
_soaphead_> but wait there's more...
_soaphead_> "...'Bitch, I don't want a whore with rabbit in her. I want a bitch who loves me for life..."

Often one to want
I’m typically unfortunate.
After some free bowling, and an unbalanced budget,
I was too aware of all that I wasn’t.
At various passing moments.

I’m going to crawl into my childhood:

A collage of pebbles glued to Styrofoam, my name written backwards
Panic if someone has dropped out of sight.
I have a history.
It wasn’t good.

I’m back home now.
I feel surrounded.
I have things on my mind that I can’t sort out.
Life has surprised me.
To end a chapter:
some things rapidly sour.
I need to cut things open more promptly.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Douchebag Conundrum

I was having dinner recently with my dear friend Valerie. We had met in college at Student Government Association meetings, and had once worked together after college. I was telling her a story about Bad News Gary. It went a little something like this:

I was at work and needed to go outside to fetch something from my truck. Bad News Gary was standing outside smoking a cigarette.

As I walked by he said, "Man, you've got a lot of gray hair."

I looked at him, "Yeah, maybe. I doesn't bother me any."

"You should dye your hair, like me," he says, with that creepy smirk of his.

"Yeah?" I said, "Lemme see." He pulls off his ratty baseball hat to show what can best be described as a six-week-old Just For Men wash-out of a dye job. I sort of snort and cough a little, trying not to crack up. "Dude. Your hair is purple. You look like a douchebag."

"Whoa whoa WHOA." Valerie waves her napkin in the air for extra emphasis. "That is COMPLETELY inappropriate!"


"Douchebag? DOUCHEBAG?!?"

This was shocking to me. I felt "douchebag", "douche", and "douchiness" were perfectly acceptable terms when used in a casual conversation. Granted, I wouldn't call someone a douchebag in front of my Gramma, but we were old friends, and this word was tame compared to some of the conversations Val and I had had in the past. She was a stalwart opponent to its use. She seemed almost scandalized.

"Do you even know what a douchebag IS?" she asked. Jokingly, I said I did not, but that it had something to do with walking with your mom on the beach. We asked our server if she could give us any insight on the matter.

"Well, personally, I NEVER swear," she said. This was, again, shocking to me. Swearing? I put calling someone a douchebag on par with calling them a putz. Surely, not the nicest thing you can call someone, but it's not like saying something nasty about a fella's mother. Plus, it seems as if it has become something else, a way to describe a certain type of moron, usually a "dude", overly confident, and oblivious to how ridiculous he is. There is ample proof on the interwebs to prove this. Like this. And this. And this.

I would love for someone to prove me wrong on this, if you are out there.

[Thanks to my lovely friend Morgan for some help on this post. Check out her blog, she makes some pretty, pretty things. And buy flowers from her, dammit.]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Songs that, despite my hating them, get stuck in my head on a regular basis

Sometimes I think I've been cursed. I'll get an idea, or an image stuck in my head and I can't get it out. The stuck songs are the worst. Very rarely will I get a song stuck in my head that I actually like. Usually, it's a song I hate, or worse, a jingle, as in the time late last year when I had this insidious tune from a commercial by that awful scam lodged in my brain, playing on endless loop for at least three weeks. I felt my grip on reality loosening. I wanted to jab a sharpened stick into my ear and extricate these poppy demons. I guess that's what sucessful marketing is all about. You be the judge:

So following is a list of just a few songs that I seem to get wedged into the gears of my mind on a regular basis, and whatever inane mutterings I care to add about said song.

1. Blinded by the Light.

I actually don't really hate this song. I just find it repeating Ad Nauseum recently. I suppose it's my own fault, as, when I heard it recently, I began "writing" a parody version of it. It's called "Goddamn those pants are tight", and I really didn't get much further than that. It goes a little something like this, or something:

Goddamn those pants are tight!
Dressed up like a douche
you know that you're a hipster, right?

Goddamn those pants are tight!
Dressed up like a douche
big sunglasses at night?

Goddamn those pants are tight!
Dressed up like a douche
have you got your bangs done right?

2. The Joker.

Again, this is another example of me trying to entertain myself by inventing parody lyrics to this awful, awful song. Where Steve Miller writes:

I really love your peaches
Want to shake your tree
Lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey all the time
Ooo-eee baby, Ill sure show you a good time

I go:

Really like canned peaches
Diet Coke is caffeine free
Huggy huggy in a Snuggie it costs $12.95
Ooowee baby, buy a Corona, get a lime...

Also, I genuinely hate this song.

3. Dude Looks Like a Lady

This one is the worst. THE WORST! I hate this song for its insidious ability to lodge itself so tenaciously in my brain for HOURS, usually right before I decide to take a nap. Man! Once upon a time, Aerosmith was actually a pretty good band. Toys In The Attic was a great record, IMO. But this is the absolute nadir of midlife mediocrity. Self-indulgent crap. I fucking hate this song, as well as this era of music in general. It just serves as further proof that, as a band, once you stop doing drugs, you start sucking.

Stay tuned, misanthropic hipsters, more to follow.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Heart Lunatics

I found this piece of lined notebook paper folded up on my front stoop as I was about to embark on my evening constitutional to fetch booze and porn. (What?) Is it an ominous warning? Should I be worried? What is the message this crazy mess is trying to get across? I now present, verbatim, this missive I discovered not one hour ago:

[side 1]

tears for Mchl Jcksn?


N 6 13

Un dabieux ne viendra loin du regne,

La plus grande part la voudra soutenir:

Un Capitole ne voudra point qu'il regne,

Sa grande charge ne pourra maintenir.


Which, roughly translated, means:

W will not come far from the reign,
The greatest part will want to support it:
Capitole will not want qu' it reigns,
Its great load will not be able to maintain.

I love it when raving loonies take the time and effort to rhyme!
It continues, in English:

This is my gift to
you upside down flag


eat shit + die. losers.

I told you so 2 years ago

wake the fuck up!
tatoo schmuks like like like like I was like your generation is like suckworld. like idiocyness OMG how else like can I describe you like Liberals? retarded. true

Wow! My generation IS like suckworld, now that I think about it. And our idiocyness IS profound. This person knows me well. It goes on:

[page 2]

enjoy your donkey party brief
stayin power. you fucking suck



Dronemaster AFGHAN
wasting villages nightly those
are babies being blasted you fucking
piece of low life shit you have
no reason to live. you don't think.
you are a fucking parrot. try try try
to like rise above your like
roomtemp. IQ ----- think for
yourself. can you do it?! talk to
your friends -- think [triple underlined!] don't parrot

maybe you can possibly see that
liberal deal is a sham. RICH DOCKSUCKERS are
out for themselves -- you are fodder fool for them.
R? not nec. but think USA is not evil but D yes now.

I won't begin to try to debate this well thought out document. It's too pretty. It's precious. I hope this little conspiracy theorist drops off more messages for me! I feel I have much to learn.

The one thing that I can't shake though, is, what the hell is a docksucker?

[EDIT: I posted this note to the "missed connections" section of Craigslist. I'll keep you posted of any weirdos crawling out of the woodwork. You can see the ad here.]