May 2017 Archives

annus horribilis

I just decided that if I ever develop hemorrhoids, I shall announce it in a post entitled anus horribilis. It's almost worth rooting for hemorrhoids.

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Until such a time that I develop bleeding vaginal warts on my eyeballs, the post-Fucking Amy year will surely retain its title as my worst. For me to pretend otherwise would be absurd. I have, however, lately wondered if I don't have a new #2. I find myself asking "Is my current year worse than my divorce? Than my mom dying? Than managing Dorkass?"

That I'm even posing the question is a testament to how utterly shit my life here has been. I have beaten-dog syndrome, at this point. "Can I use your bathroom?" someone will ask of a bathroom I've never used, and I feel a wave of anxiety course through me. Rule #1 in this house: if I've never used it before, it will spontaneously explode at my touch. Rule #2: if I just used it two minutes ago, it will still spontaneously explode at my touch.

It's kind of liberating, really. There's a certain sense of peace that comes with sleeping in a nitroglycerin tanker parked on railroad tracks.

pants aflame

My friend and onetime realtor has, I have realized too late, a certain detachment from the truth. I first noticed this when she would tell stories about moments at which I was present and they bore no resemblance to what had actually transpired.

"And then John said 'Fuck you, motherfucker, come over here and say that.' I thought the guy was going to piss himself," she recounted right in front of me. I had said nothing of the kind. The actual incident: a guy was being belligerent, and I quietly suggested that we pay our tab and leave.

That is typical. To say she feels compelled to punch up a story suggests that her stories are rooted in any fact whatsoever. Worse, she does not seem to be conscious of this. She'll tell me fabricated stories about myself. It's a curious thing.

It's also proven costly. Whenever I hear her lying, I think back to her summation of my house inspection, for which I was absent. "The inspector was just shaking his head over how great this house is. 'I can't find anything wrong with it! What would you like me to say on the inspection report?'"

In hindsight, I now recognize this as exactly the sort of nonsense she makes up. I don't even need to ask the inspector. I'm sure of it.

A fatefully unfortunate characteristic in a realtor.

"Hi, John!!!" chirped the message. A woman wanted to see an item I have for sale at 7pm that night. She said she would get back to me. She didn't.

"Screw this," I thought. "I want to watch hockey with my friends. I'm just going to tell her not to come. Unless she's really hot."

I googled her. She was supremely hot.

And thus did she get an extra chance she did not deserve, and of course, she neither showed nor replied to inquiring messages. I'm not sure whether I hate her or myself more, really.

war of the worlds

I just watched a documentary about Orson Welles' infamous War of the Worlds broadcast and the hysteria, recriminations, and investigations that followed. The below headlines caught my eye. It's some small comfort, really, that my country has always been able to manufacture outrage over vapid distractions while the world burns.

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shadows and echoes

"When the president does it, that means it is not illegal."
—Richard Nixon

the petulant right

I've decided on a term for distinguishing the problematic portion of the right wing. My choice of adjectives was inspired by the only philosophy common to all of their positions: the petulant right. I thought about the "spiteful right," 'cuz it rhymes and all, but petulance is more accurate.

Ditzy left, meet the petulant right. Due in no small part to your tireless efforts at correcting and chastising people, they are now in charge. Thanks heaps.

the _____ right

I've been trying to come up with the right-wing equivalent of the term ditzy left. The faction I want to target are these vacuous, petulant trolls whose beliefs are completely unmoored from any sort of coherent unifying philosophy and which often, in fact, conflict with actual conservative principles. For example, let's consider the scientific method. There's nothing more conservative than cautiously forming hypotheses, testing them, and incrementally revising them based on the results of the tests. Yet these shrill airheads proclaiming themselves "conservative" are often hostile to the scientific method, because they already know what's true.

Yeah. Real "conservative." I think the word they're actually looking for is "fuckheaded."

Example two: self-proclaimed "conservatives" rammed the health care bill through the House before the nonpartisan OMB could perform its budget/risk analysis.

You can just feel the conservatism emanating from them, can't you?

And so I'm left with coining the disparaging identifier for them. Faux conservative comes to mind, but it's so nonspecific in a way "ditzy" isn't.

Petulant, gun-fetishizing, bigot-fellating intellectual and emotional 12-year olds who couldn't pass a high school civics test borders on being, perhaps, too specific. I need something in between.

the ditzy left strikes back

The term doesn't come up often anymore, as I'm no longer surrounded by Seattle folk, but today I must dust off the term "ditzy left." This is how I differentiate between thoughtful liberalism and, well, this:

Seattle Mayor Adds Diet Drinks to His Soda Tax ‘To Tackle White Privilege’

Do they like having a President Trump? Because jerking off like this is how we got President Trump.

pant, pant, pant

Although my friends here know I'm dumping my house, only two know I'm dumping Pittsburgh entirely. I simply don't want to have the conversation. I love this town, but it's a bad fit, and the thought of explaining that to the natives does not appeal. I don't want to shit on their town. They're justly proud to be from here. It's just not for me.

A month after I mailed all those 2016 tax payments, yesterday I mailed six more for Q1 2017. One of them was for $14. "I'd pay up to $32 not to have to write that check," I thought. And that's when it hit me. I found the perfect way to explain my discomfort here: everyday life in Pittsburgh is exhausting.

Things I used to do without breaking a sweat are laborious now. Taxes are so labor-intensive, my accountant fees have quadrupled. I have to nag people to take my money. This includes the accountant. I have to pester people to answer emails. Driving is harder. Finding someone to paint my window trim and not my screens is harder. Having dinner with friends at an agreed upon hour is harder. Going a day without something in my house breaking at my touch is nigh-on-impossible.

I'm spent.

the clothes unmake the man

There's a gazillionaire in my circle. I have no idea how much he's actually worth, but he's in six-car garage territory, that garage being filled with a Mercedes, Porsche, Lotus, and Ferarri. Those are the four cars I've seen, anyway. I assume there's a gold-plated Rolls with spinning rims in there somewhere, too.

He's a nice guy. A sweetheart, really. The combination of his kind disposition and fat wallet leads him to being abused by the riff-raff. When they're turned down for a mortgage, he's the first person they call. And they expect him to pick up every check. Perhaps I'm projecting, but I think he finds it wearying.

Two weeks ago, three of us went out for drinks. He left our gathering first, so he handed me $40 to cover his tab. "Your money's no good here, Rod," I said, handing him his money back. He protested politely, but I waved him off. "The universe says you're due."

He thanked me and departed. In the intervening time, he's pestered me to allow him to reciprocate. The texts got more intense. He clearly detests feeling like he's in anyone's debt. It's like watching a man implode in text form. I get it. I hate feeling indebted, too. Naturally, I canceled on him twice.

Finally, last night, I relented and let him take me to an expensive restaurant, where he promptly picked up my $200 tab. He was extraordinaily satisfied, like the island castaway who finally gets to take a shower. "Have you ever had a steak that good before?" he asked chipperly. I told him I'd had that exact steak a few weeks ago. He was surprised.

It was then that I realized he thought I couldn't afford to eat at this restaurant without his benevolence. I don't blame him for thinking that, really. Everyone else in our circle is broke. And then there's the confusing matter of presentation.

"I only dress like a homeless person," I explained.

on north korea

Huh. In most dick-measuring contests, it's about whose is bigger.

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