No prize pig myself

0 notes

Many Popular Artists Lied To Me

Working Saturdays in a wine shop in Manhattan means you see a pretty consistent midday crowd. Relatively young couples who are looking for nothing in particular and only refer to each other as “babe” and describe everything they see as “hilarious.”

Still, they all seem happier than me. There must be some comfort in the banality, right? 

People in long term relationships are happier overall, so studies have told us. Not that you needed academic research to convince you to seek one out. It always seems like a good idea unless you’ve just gotten out of one but let’s face it, if you’re interested in reading about this sort of thing, you haven’t. 

Therefore, you could be in a mindset that I’ve found myself in countless times and still end up stuck in because I don’t learn from mistakes, “If I just had *WHOEVER*, I’d be happy.”

This is the sentiment of many songs and movies, so of course it seems totally reasonable. “Livin’ On A Prayer” is not, to my knowledge, based on any true story. Anecdotal at best and ham-fisted, schmaltzy, pablum at worst.

(It’s the second one)

This is a bad mindset for several reasons. The first one being that you’re wrong. If you’re the sort of person in the market for a cure all, you’re probably the sort of person who needs improvement in several areas. Being in a relationship only fixes the crippling loneliness part. If you’re also in wild debt, or overweight, or have been putting off going to the dentist for WAY too long(That one is me), all those problems are still there, but now what you want to watch on Netflix is being vetted by someone else. 

The past is prologue. What you’ve done before you’re likely to continue doing unless you really focus on changing that. Your new boyfriend/girlfriend/genderqueer partner(Don’t want to be normative, this is Tumblr, after all) can’t do any of that for you. 

A new area rug will not fix your rotting floorboards. 

Secondly, that’s a lot of pressure to put on someone. “Fix my life” isn’t really something people are desperate to get involved in. 

Some people are, but I won’t focus on them. That’s a certain personality type. Sandra Bullock might be, I think. Remember when she married the motorcycle man and he cheated on her with an actual Nazi? 

Cautionary tale. 

Seriously though, please consider how much strain you’re volunteering onto someone else. In addition to their own problems, and the stress of any relationship, being responsible for your happiness is not going to make things any smoother. If everything else in your life is still terrible, and this relationship is a tentpole of your existence, if it doesn’t go well you have nothing. 

I’ve definitely cost myself an important friendship because I put that pressure on someone and then got very resentful when she, quite reasonably, wasn’t interested. Yeah you’re sad, yeah it’s hard, but try to see how desperate and terrifying it looks from anyone else’s perspective. It’s a very selfish way to behave. 

The only real advice I can give, and I know this seems impossible, try to calm down. 

If you’re the sort of person desperate for a relationship, you probably don’t meet many new people. That I can’t help you with. Once I figure out how to meet people interested in dating you I’m cashing in and I will type these things in a much more expensive chair. 

I can say this though. If your new relationship prospects are few and far between, don’t get 100% emotionally invested immediately. That’s difficult as well, but you’re not doing yourself or your new love interest any favors. If it all blows up, what can you do? You’re still allowed to feel bad. If you need a night of undignified, drunken, wallowing I don’t think anyone will begrudge you that. 

Once you’re done though, maybe start working on your pile of unread books or something. If you HAVE to be alone, you might as well use the time to get some things done.

Idle hands, etc… 

Filed under anxiety depression dating bon jovi

1 note

How Attractive Is Your Suffering?

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being spellbinding, how would you describe how interesting your mental illness is? 

Not to you, of course, you probably find it excruciating. Others though, what do they think? And if you’re giving real answers to these questions, how carefully are you crafting your wallowing? 

This is a thing. Everyone who does it probably does it a different way but in the end, mental illness is something no one can see, and what you let people see often isn’t 100% the truth. I mean, do you want to tell someone everything? There’s a lot of very embarrassing things in your head that are difficult to cope with. For the sake of your pride, reputation, whatever; sometimes it all shouldn’t come out.

Before I go any further I’d like to preface this by saying that all pain is valid. If something hurts you no one can tell you it doesn’t. Expressing any feelings in regard to this is healthy and it’s a step towards getting help. 

What I’m talking about is something different. I’m talking about the fetishization of misery and the narcissism that can slow down the recovery process.

Remember, we’re talking mental illness. It makes total sense that unfathomable sadness can see seen as a form of currency.  

Consider this: Patrick Stickles of the immense, all conquering indie rock band Titus Andronicus made a brilliant point and I’d like to borrow it. 

The third pillar is that of the self-lacerating confessor. We call this “emo,” and it is just as narcissistic as the most braggadocio rap, because in both cases the artist says, “What is going on in my brain is the end-all-be-all of this universe and more important than any other event up to this point in human history and will likely remain as such forever.” This theory also demonstrates why the best English MC is Morrissey”

Misery could be your thing. For all the people that can get positive, healthy attention, maybe you can not. Some people act out sexually, some people make fart noises in the back of class, and some people send cryptic texts, waiting to be asked “what’s wrong?” because then they have a pass to say what they really feel. 

(A note to those people: I am one of you. Your friends and family are genuinely trying to help you. Don’t make them regret it. Be open to suggestions and try not to argue. I know that’s hard because I know you’re sure of your own situation but they’re doing their best. They may see a future that you can’t right now, so be responsive.)

The reason anyone does any of this is because it feels good, albeit temporarily. Like all unhealthy behaviors, they can patch that hole in your heart but in the end they just leave it a little bigger. Like a frozen pothole. 

(I’m not calling your heart a pothole)

As a writer, I have about 100 people I could point to that drank a lot and died, either by suicide or the crippling alcoholism that fueled much of their great work. 

There were a lot of things written about it after Robin Williams died. The creative brain is a bad place to be, and when you’re a young, impressionable creative person who is likely drawn to depression, looking at, say, Jack Kerouac, well… good luck. 

Kerouac was a very dedicated drinker. He died vomiting blood. Could he have written On the Road if he had control of himself? Hard to say. 

So then, your young writer says, “Well, he was onto something” and opens himself up to a lifetime of issues. 25,692 people died from alcohol in 2010, and I’m drinking a whiskey right now. Why? Because I’m writing. It’s for show. No one is watching, but it feels essential. 

It just has a credibility to it. Misery, alcoholism. Staring death in the face. Scream into the void and maybe echo returns a masterpiece. It’s something to aspire to! 

Glamorous isn’t the right word. Maybe authentic. Realness.

Personally, and this could vary wildly from person to person, there were plenty of occasions where I didn’t want help. I knew how to be depressed. Depression made sense. Depression was a fantastic crutch.

"Of course I didn’t write anything today, look at me!"

"Pills will make me lose my edge."

"I like the idea that I’m one of those people who won’t survive their genius"

I’m an excuse maker. Depression is fantastic for that. You can blame everything on your depression and it’s valid. The way around this, person trying to help, is to say “Well why don’t you change that?”

You can suggest diet and exercise and taking improv or joining a softball team but the answer will always be “I’m too depressed.” When you say “Well if it’s such a problem, why don’t you fix it?”, you put them on the back foot. 

They’re acknowledging the problem, but now it is on them. Would they rather wallow or get help? And I’ll tell you from experience, wallowing is VERY comfortable. 

Wallowing in your own misery in the face of overwhelming support from friends and family is the mentally ill equivalent of laying down on a bunch of warm laundry. That sort of comfortable. It feels great and fixes nothing. Are you happy? Absolutely not, but change is terrifying. 

I eventually decided that wasn’t for me. I got help, it’s going okay. I’m not without my issues. I drift in and out of a complete meltdown, but that’ll happen. I liked the persona I thought I’d crafted for myself, this shambolic, sad eyed, alcoholic clown who might not make it but dammit if he wasn’t really going for it. Nobody else saw me that way though. Everyone else saw me as a friend, or brother, or son who they really didn’t want to lose.

Occasionally, love means putting the needs of another in front of your own, and others desire to see me alive trumped my disinterest. So here I am. 

I still think Keith Richards is cool, by the way. I’d love to be Hunter S. Thompson. Iggy Pop, destroying himself every day for the sake of rock. They’re special though. A different species. To borrow a Thompson line “One of God’s own prototypes.” You will die trying. 

All self destruction in moderation. 

31 notes


November 5, 2010 I hate the muppets bcuz of the Pig girl, she was disgusting, i hate her with my life, she doesnot leave the lizard alone
— jawbroken (@jawbroken)
November 7, 2010

The Twitter Criterion collection is the best thing online today, and potentially this whole week. 


The Twitter Criterion collection is the best thing online today, and potentially this whole week. 

4 notes

Good Guys Win

Consider this a long form drunk text. You’re not supposed to delve deep into emotions immediately after the fact. You sleep on it. You process your feelings and then, rationally, you look back on the situation and understand it in totality.

This is no time for any of that. 

Anytime in the last three years, if you had asked me what’s my favorite thing, you’d have been told Arsenal Football Club and The Best Show on WFMU. One is a multi-billion dollar global soccer team and the other is a show on free form radio done for free, for the last 13 years. Guess which one I’m losing?

The Best Show on WFMU is a three hour call in show based out of Jersey City, NJ that airs 9-midnight every Tuesday. It has aired, current as of 10/30/13 at 12:53am, 556 times. Thirteen years strong. The last episode is happening December 17th and I’m honestly heartbroken.

The host of The Best Show, Tom Scharpling has shaped my sense of humor more than any other single person apart from perhaps Jon Wurster, who writes along with him(in addition to drumming for Superchunk, The Mountain Goats, and Bob Mould all of whom I love). Tom has always taken the position of the fighter. Scrappy, crafty underdog who is fighting on behalf of everything that is good. Or his idea of good, anyway, which I happen to subscribe to. Tom is the voice of the downtrodden. A genuine working class hero raging against the man in all his forms, be it Hollywood, third rate game show hosts, Brooklyn tall bike culture, or Chris Christie. 

The last one is especially important. I don’t think Tom has made a big difference politically, but he’s especially invested in the state of New Jersey as a lifelong resident. Having spent 24 years in New Jersey myself, this means a lot. 

After Hurricane Sandy Tom sat in the WFMU studio playing an all New Jersey music set(Titus Andronicus, The Feelies, Ted Leo, Misfits, Monster Magnet, Yo La Tengo, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen) taking calls on a $9 burner phone. The power was still out in half the state. People’s homes and business and lives in general were in tatters, but Tom was there. The Dollar Menu Dickens was on air, finding ways to raise money to help victims and the station. 

The Best Show has also introduced me to a near endless amount of music and comedy that I love and brought me closer to the things I loved already. Julie Klausner, Ted Leo, John Hodgman, Marc Maron, Andy Kindler, Chris Gethard, Titus Andronicus, AC Newman and so, so many and I am forever grateful. 

Then there are the people I’ve met through the show on twitter and in real life. They’ve all been incredible. They make the show even better, laughing along with everyone following the #BestShowWFMU hashtag every Tuesday. Hell, even spending an hour and a half on the phone with Jason from Huntsville, the Alabammy Comet, talking about improv.

I left New Jersey for New York City in February. I came here to do comedy. Tom inspired me so much and instilled an attitude that I always try to emulate. If I’m being honest with myself, I know I don’t have his work ethic. Not many do, but that’s the next step. The end of the show means there’s a huge void and someone needs to fill it. If you’re a fan of the show, and you do comedy, I think you have a responsibility to step up now. This is it, man. Make the things you’d love to see or hear because Tom isn’t there to do it for us anymore.

We’ve got seven more episodes, and while this really hurts, it’s our chance to show how much it meant to us. I love Tom and Jon and AP Mike and everyone else who had anything to do with getting the show to me.

Tom does this for free, by the way. This has been unpaid for 13 years. It’s all part of the struggle. That’s New Jersey. The state makes you who you are, but at some point you need a bigger stage, and I hope that time has come for Tom Scharpling. I hope his decision brings him bigger things. Springsteen so often sang about getting out, but equally important is getting over. It’s Tom’s turn to get over. 

199 notes

Fans that I meet, they’re like me, they have this optimism to them. They’re smart enough to know how brutal the world is and they know all the ugly words for all the things that are bad about everything, but they’re compelled to want things to be better. They want to be happy. They want to like people. They want to hug people. They oftentimes don’t know how to do it. And they have a lot of stories about how they failed to do it right in a world full of people that know how to hug people and take it for granted. They are misfits that are proud to be misfits, but at the same time, desperately hunger to fit in because it feels good.
Dan Harmon, from this interview (via allthingsbrightandbold)

(Source: allthingsbrightandb0ld, via levelfivelaserlotus)

62 notes

Improv Nonsense: Watching Zip Zap Zop


I like watching people do zip zap zop.

See the real world slip away. See them smile despite themselves.

They transform each other. The teacher doesn’t have to say anything. They start off tentative, giggling, apologetic. And after 30 seconds —- which is nothing, that’s NOTHING — they are more…