Archive for December, 2013


the greatest hyperbole of all time

My publishing career got off to an inauspicious start in the fourth grade, when I spent two months collecting wallet-size photos from all my classmates so I would have the complete set before the yearbook came out. The project, in which the accumulated pictures were assembled and pasted in a spiral notebook, was a success of sorts, with the only entry marred by a “photo not available”-emblazoned silhouette being the school nurse Mrs. Ruhl, who would prove to be a thorn in my side many other times before my graduation to junior high. A follow-up attempt in the eighth grade was met with not nearly as much cooperation, and I soon abandoned the project, resigning myself to the institutional dreariness of a yearbook whose glossy pages would be adorned with impersonal, half-hearted wishes from my compatriots to “have a kick ass summer.” I did so, but only out of a sense of obligation.     


ladies love a man in uniform so i been wearing the same clothes for a week

“You have a keen eye for beauty,” the merchant said, framing his hands artfully around the medallion I had been inspecting. A sudden gust of wind blew across the marketplace, and he raised his billowy sleeve to shield his good eye from the accompanying blast of sand before continuing his sales pitch. “Many have asked me its price, but I have been waiting for a buyer who could properly appreciate its rare delights.” In all my years of collecting, I had never seen anything like it. The exquisitely crafted ceremonial eagle at the piece’s center stared into my soul. It wasn’t until I had got it home stateside that I began to notice the changes. Several financial ventures I had a stake in suddenly became staggeringly profitable upon my return, a development which coincided with an abrupt change in behavior among my menagerie of exotic birds. They became quite agitated in my presence, only calming down when the staff moved their cages to another wing of the house. Most noticeably, I found I had been blessed and cursed with the ability to see people’s ultimate potential- what they could have done in their lives unhindered by bad fortune, illness, poverty, poor decisions, or other limitations. Haunted by every encounter with pizza delivery guys that could have been Supreme Court justices or would-be astronaut pedicurists, I soon cloistered myself in my chambers, unable to engage with more than a few attendants.


the greatest trick god ever pulled was inventing the platypus to fool the world into thinking He had a sense of humor

How familiar is Mick Jagger with the catalogs of lesser classic rock artists? Back in the 1970s, did he feel any need to keep up with anyone other than his direct competitors in the Bowie/Who/former-Beatle stratosphere? When his assistant would deliver Mick’s weekly slew of swag (back before we had a word for swag), was a freshly pressed vinyl copy of Foghat’s “Fool for the City” in the basket, nestled somewhere between a pair of trousers custom tailored by a then-unknown Gianni Versace and a kilo of complimentary cocaine? Did he get introduced at parties to Mark Farner, then have to nod courteously and pretend to know who Grand Funk Railroad was? How many hits did ZZ Top have to record before Mick found it necessary to dig deep into their discography to discover an altogether different track called “Brown Sugar,” one less overtly racist and sexist- but no less jammin’- than the Stones’ 1971 classic? Has Mick Jagger ever sat in a Camaro? Drank beer straight out of the can? Thousands of nights Mick Jagger has spent in hotel rooms- surely there exists some infinitesimal percentage of those nights he has spent flipping through the cable channels: has he ever seen a rerun of WKRP? Did he find Dr. Johnny Fever cool or a little bit pathetic? “I think Howard Hesseman intends him to be both, actually,” Mick says to Mark Farner at a party. “Say, have you met Dr. Joyce Brothers? I think you’d get on smashingly. Now let me leave you two alone so you can get to know each other.”


what if i don’t want to sing songs about shaking my booty anymore

I suppressed a cringe as my fingers carefully parted the edges of the poinsettia-festooned wrapping paper to reveal the gift inside. The color, a decidedly unfashionable beige hue, was not one I would have chosen, and the size would likely have been too small had I received it the year previous. My disappointment, however, was overshadowed by guilt as I imagined Grandmother having taken such care to select it, even hand-lettering the attached note in her unsteady calligraphy. If this was to be her last Christmas with us, as the doctors had been sure, we all had a role to play in showing her our appreciation. “Try it out!” someone exhorted in a voice thick from brandy-touched egg nog, negating any possibility that I might later quietly exchange it for something more suited to my taste. Politely I feigned excitement as I pushed the vibrator’s switch to the highest speed setting and vigorously worked my hole as the entire family watched.

December 2013
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