Saturday, June 29, 2002

Worst Songs to Play as a Professional Wrestler Makes His Way to the Ring:

"I Don't Want to Wait" by Paula Cole

"Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer

"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham! (The exclamation point is part of the name, by the way)

"Precious and Few" by Climax

"Music Box Dancer" as performed by Richard Clayderman

"Wet Dream" by Kip Adotta

"Time in a Bottle" by Jim Croce

"Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" by Crystal Waters

"Corner of the Sky" by Steven Schwartz (from the musical, Pippen)

"Luka" by Suzanne Vega

"Breakfast at Tiffany's" by Deep Blue Something

"Mandy" by Barry Manilow

Friday, June 28, 2002

Is it just me, or is the Heineken "Keg Can" just...a can? What possible research could Heineken have done to convince themselves that anyone would give a shit? I mean, its tough to tap a regular keg--how the hell and I supposed to connect my pump and hose to a tiny little can?

A little known fact about the "keg can": immedtiately after drinking one, you feel compelled to attend a Barenaked Ladies concert and/or date rape someone.

(NOTE: While looking for a picture of the "keg can" via Google, I stumbled upon this article. The next time you're feeling shitty about your life, just think: you could be a writer for Packaging Digest.)

Thursday, June 27, 2002

You should all go and check this out. It's a short film/wedding announcement by two of my friends. You will be impressed.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Low Rent Superhero of the Day: Platonic Sleepover Girl!

Mild-mannered college student by day, superhuman cocktease by night�Platonic Sleepover Girl is fighting crime one baffled frat boy at a time! Armed with a fantastic ass and a complete unwillingness to acknowledge a situation for what it is, our heroine incapacitates scoundrels by locking them in a temporary state of horny paralysis.

Her technique is flawless: First, she befriends him during freshman orientation. Although she claims to have a boyfriend back in Tucson, she spends the next two weeks flirting with him, mentioning on three separate occasions how she thinks thongs are much more comfortable than regular panties. Then, at a Delta Upsilon rush party at which she has greeted the villain by drunkenly sticking her tongue down his throat, Platonic Sleepover Girl casually mentions that her roommate is away for the weekend. Could he possibly walk her back to her dorm? It�s so late�he might as well just stay over.

Back in the dorm room, Platonic Girl is now wearing only her thong and an oversized t-shirt so sheer that the dark of her nipples can be seen clearly underneath. Then, just as the evildoer is about to move in for the kill, Platonic Sleepover Girl calls her boyfriend in Tucson to see how his night was. After exchanging I-love-you�s, she hangs up and turns off the light, leaving only a single burning candle on the windowsill. Confused and not wanting to presume anything, the scoundrel lays back and closes his eyes, as if to go to sleep. Why doesn�t he get under the covers, she wants to know. And why is he still wearing his jeans? He complies, taking off his pants and getting into bed.

�It�s so nice to have someone to �spoon� with,� she says. She�s now backing her rear end back into his crotch, seeminbgly oblivious to his raging hard-on. Or maybe she's trying to encourage him�I mean, this has got to be a hint, right? The hooligan simply has no idea. Finally, after maybe 20 minutes of internal debate, he leans over and kisses her on the neck. She twitches slightly and mumbles something unintelligible. Is she�is she�asleep? How the fuck could she be asleep? Is this girl for fucking real?? WHAT THE FUCK??!!!

What follows is three to five hours of exhausted torture. The evildoer�s arm, trapped under Platonic Sleepover Girl�s head, has long since fallen sleep. The rest of him drifts in and out of delirium, jerking awake every time her body shifts--is she trying to initiate something? What about that time? Finally, as daylight comes spilling into the dorm room, the tired villain drags himself out of bed and angrily puts his pants and shoes on. Platonic Sleepover Girl wakes up long enough to suggest they meet later for brunch. She appears to have no idea why the villain desperately wants to punch her in the face. �Thanks for keeping me company,� she says, cheerfully. �See you at the dining hall!� She then rolls over and goes back to sleep.

The vanquished boy slumps his shoulders and ambles off across the quad, far too weary to pursue anything villainous for the time being�another victory for Platonic Sleepover Girl!

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Writing that last list reminded me of a now-defunct hardcore band known as Anal Cunt. Delightful, eh? The music was pure shite, but they had a certain flair for coming up with song titles. I thought you all might enjoy reading the track listing for their album I Like it When U Die. My favorite titles are numbers 7, 22, 24, 35 and 45, but I'm sure you'll have favorites of your own. Track 41's title is infinitely more funny if you know who they're referring to.

Oh, you're quite welcome.
Worst songs to play at a wake:

"Panama" by Van Halen

"O Superman" by Laurie Anderson

"The Last in Line" by Dio

"Let's Hear it for the Boy" by Deniece Williams

"Girlfriend in a Coma" by The Smiths

"Rockit" by Herbie Hancock

"Do That to Me One More Time" by Captain and Teneille

"This is How We Do it" by Montell Jordan

"Feels So Good" by Chuck Mangione

"Aqualung" by Jethro Tull

"Solid" by Ashford and Simpson

"(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight" by Cutting Crew

Monday, June 24, 2002

Hey, check out the URL of the site you get bumped to when you try going to

I don't know about you, but I'm convinced.
Low Rent Superhero of the Day: Captain Tries-Too-Hard!

He's bringing villains to their knees by the sheer force of his shitty personality! Wielding an ever-present nervous giggle and a complete immunity to subtext, Captain Tries-Too-Hard wanders from party to party, thwarting the friendly and well-liked. That's right, evildoer--you're trying to enjoy a conversation with friends when in swoops our hero to bust things up! You are helpless as he launches into an exhaustive re-telling of a Saturday Night Live sketch he saw this one time. He has you locked into a conversational tractor beam, staring at you intensely and speaking much louder than necessary. Every time you take a small step backwards, he comes in closer--his breath is very, very bad. You try to bring the rest of your friends into the conversation, if only to dillute the staggering awkwardness, but they've mysteriously vanished. They're no idiots--they know the forces of social interaction are powerless in the face of such a brutal adversary. Eventually, you make the crucial mistake of pretending to find something he says amusing. Show's over, pal! He'll now reference this conversation every time he sees you for the next three years! He's bold, he's persistant, he forces you to prematurely 'call it a night'. He's Captain Tries-Too-Hard!

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Turn on your computer's speakers and go here. You will not regret it.

(This may be a tad slow to load, for those of you on dialup modems. Give it a try anyway.)

Friday, June 21, 2002

Just checking in, folks. I was hoping "Worst Songs to Have Sex to" would get some chatter going, and I wasn't disappointed. I'm up in "scenic" Hanover, New Hampshire for my step-brother's wedding. I'm writing from the Dartmouth College student Center. It's inspiring to think that, all around me, America's conservative douchebags of tomorrow are learning how to live and think in a vacuum!

OK, I'm off to the rehearsal dinner now. I plan on getting drunk on Sangria and giving the bride a piece of my mind". And then, the ceremonial 'lighting of The Fart'.

Remember, friends: you are loved.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Worst songs to have sex to:

"My Life" by Billy Joel

"Taking Care of Business" by Bachman Turner Overdrive

"He Needed Me" by Anne Murray

"Mr. Crowley" by Ozzy Ozbourne

"The Rainbow Connection" by Kermit the Frog

"Heartbeat" by Don Johnson

"You Fill up My Senses" by John Denver

"My Ass is on Fire" by Mr. Bungle

"Morning Train" by Sheena Easton

"The Superbowl Shuffle" by The '86 Chicago Bears 'Shufflin' Crew'

"Revolution #9" by The Beatles

"Shakedown" by Bob Seger

"Welcome to the Terrordome" by Public Enemy

"We are the World" by USA for Africa

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Last week I had one of those vicious, soul-crushing ATM visits. You know, where you withdraw some cash and make the mistake of also getting an account balance? If you have any deisre to enjoy your evening, DON'T DO THIS!! When I saw how little money I had in my account, I felt like God had taken a staplegun to my nutsack. I then staggered home and spent the next 25 minutes on the phone with the bank trying to convince them that someone had broken into my account and stolen all of my riches. I was even a bit rude, as I was sure someone had made a mistake. But after hearing the guy run down my various expenditures, I eventually realized that person was me--what the fuck was I thinking buying that autographed watercolor of Mickey Rourke?! When I realized that no one stolen from me, I felt bad for giving the Chase 'representative' hell, but I was too embarassed to admit I was wrong. So I just called him a 'kiddie fucking he-bitch' and hung up. That's what you call a 'win-win'.

So now I put myself to sleep every night by toggling through all of my elderly relatives, wondering how close each of them is to dying and what the odds are I'll be getting any money out of it.

In related news, I'm a scumbag!

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Dearest friends,

I'm headed out of town this evening for a wedding in idyllic New Hampshire. I will definitely be posting at some point whilst away, but it might get a little thin over the weekend. Unless the beautiful Hanover Inn has internet access, in which case I will probably be desperate for a reason not to interact with my family.

In the meantime, enjoy this.

(Note: I wouldn't necessarily recommend touring the rest of this site--it's not for the weak-stomached.)
Tower of Hubris, your source for up-to-date entertainment news!

Paging Armageddon. Armageddon, please pick up the yellow courtesy phone.

In spite of terrible reviews, the film version of "Scooby Doo" roared out of the box office gates to a record breaking opening weekend, demonstrating that the American people have exactly 54.2 million dollars more than they know what to do with. Industry experts attribute the film's popularity to its cross-generational appeal, noting that "Scooby Doo" is drawing both stupid children and stupid adults. The film poses actors the challenge of interacting convincingly with a Scooby comprised entirely of CGI effects, a task nearly as daunting as interacting convincingly with Freddie Prinze Jr.
Tower of Hubris, your source for up-to-date entertainment news!

From the "Gee, there's a shock" file:

Professional wrester "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has been formally accused of beating his wife in a dispute this poast weekend. The squabble apparently turned ugly when his wife, also a wrestler, failed to 'tag out' during a contentious game of Scattergories with a neighborhood couple. According to police, Austin locked up his wife in a vicious sleeperhold, from which she escaped by throwing a mysterious white powder into his eyes. After repeatedly slamming her husband's head against an ottoman, the woman climbed to the top of the minibar in order to perform a devastating maneuver known as "The Domesticator". However, Austin was able to roll out the way at the last moment, causing his wife to crash down onto the living room carpet. "Stone Cold" then commenced to pummelling the woman with a foreign object--in this case, a rolled up Pottery Barn catalog. Austin fled the scene when Triple H, The Undertaker and Hacksaw Jim Dugan unexpectedly rushed in from the dining room and broke up the fight.

(I will remind you all that domestic violence is never funny. Except maybe when it involves professional wrestlers.)
Tower of Hubris, your source for up-to-date entertainment news!

Jimmy Neutron, I'd like to talk with you about my special friend, Phillip.

Despite opposition from conservative watchdogs, Nickelodeon is planning to go ahead and air "My Family is Different", a special dedicated to children growing up with same-sex parents. Those trying to block the show's broadcast stress that it's not just the homo-friendly tone that troubles them--there is concern that host Rosie O'Donnell's gargantuan head might cause recurring nightmares for the children sitting in the studio audience. Unfazed, Nickelodeon plans to movie forward with other gay-themed children's programs, such as "Spongebob Squarepants has Two Mommies" and a controversial episode of "Powerpuff Girls" in which the team thrown into emotional turmoil after getting backstage at an Indigo Girls concert.
Tower of Hubris, your source for up-to-date entertainment news!

Finally, a movie to dumb-down young boys and girls simultaneously. Britney Spears has signed a deal with NASCAR to star in a movie set in the exciting world of stock car racing. The good news is that the movie will feature a lengthy nude scene. The bad news is that the controversial scene will feature seven time Winston Cup champion Richard Petty. So if this sounds like your kind of movie, get ready to drive your house on down to the theatre!

Monday, June 17, 2002

Oh, one last thing about the Mike Norton story. I actually ran into Ethan Hess at a bar when home for Christmas about 4 years ago, and he seemed perfectly friendly and mature. I'll admit it, I was disappointed. Assholes should stay assholes, for consistency's sake.

Sunday, June 16, 2002

At long last, here is the final chapter of the Lil' Peach saga. Yes, I'm aware it's fucking long as hell. And yes, you'll probably agree that it's a tad anticlimactic. Still, I think you'll enjoy.

(For you new folks, this is the conclusion of a long anecdote that began with my entry of June 8th, so scroll down and start there. Thanks.)

"We're fucked."

Watching the truck back across the parking lot, it was all I could think to say.

Who�s to say what crossed John�s mind at that moment. It�s possible that he was actually ready to kick someone�s ass, but I doubt it. Although he and I both experience feelings of intense rage (another thing that runs in the family), they're rarely directed at other people. No, Finnegan Rage� is of the petty and internal variety�the kind of rage that surfaces mostly in private, resulting in broken video game controllers and fist-sized holes in the bedroom wall. Sure, we�d each been in actual fistfights, but mostly with each other. Being that we�d both inherited the Spaz gene, these fights usually ended in humiliating fashion and always with one or both us crying. That�s about as close to genuine machismo as a Finnegan can get.

Still, John decided to assert his manhood by shouting at the departing Mike Norton caravan. He probably assumed they�d keep driving�he�d perform his empty little gesture, whoever was in the truck would go about their business, and then he�d be able to say he�d rescued his defenseless little brother from would-be hooligans. Unfortunately, he�d put a little too much oomph behind �motherfucker�, and now we had a situation on our hands.

�Let me deal with this,� John muttered, as the pick-up came to a stop. He was making his best �bad ass� face, pursing his lips and furrowing his brow�it was the same ridiculous look he made when playing air guitar. I could only shake my head.

As I mentioned before, my brother and I have never been what you�d call petite. I never made the mistake of equating girth with physical strength, but John had a tendency to delude himself�I�m sure he expected to tower over whoever was about to step out of the open car door. But John had never met Mike Norton and soon discovered that a pudgy 6�1� seems rather unimpressive in the face of a �roid-fueled 6�7�. As the color rushed from his cheeks and the once defiant air guitar face melted into one of open-mouthed fear, I silently forgave my brother for being such a goddamn fucking idiot.

As if performing a military drill, Mike Norton strode quickly over to my brother, grabbed onto his jacket lapels with both hands and began driving him backward like a tackling dummy.

�What the fuck did you say to me?!� Mike Norton shouted, projecting spittle all over my brother�s face. �I�ll fucking kill you, you fucking faggot!�

�What�fucking�you�your�problem?� John eloquently stammered.

�You wanna die?!�

I will say this: Mike Norton had a way of getting to the crux of the matter. And I can say with confidence that my brother probably did want to die�a quick death, the kind that might come from a bolt of lightning or a runaway boulder. Hell, at that moment, John would gladly have taken a swift-spreading case of pancreatic cancer, if it meant short-term deliverance from this horrid scenario.

For a moment, I simply stared. The two combatants were locked together at the chest, swaying back and forth in a Greco-roman style waltz�suffice to say, Mike Norton was leading. John was standing at nearly a forty-five degree angle, staggering back and forth, doing whatever he could not be thrown on his ass.

Eventually, I snapped out of my waking coma and immediately decided to take action. Oh, and when I say �take action� what I really mean is �start babbling incoherently like an amateur sorcerer trying to cast a complicated spell�. I guess I was thinking that if I stumbled upon some magic word or phrase, Mike Norton would simply shut down, a la Robocop. I ran over, tried to wedge myself in between the two of them and began shouting.


While trying desperately to trigger Mike Norton�s aural kill switch, I caught Ethan Hess out of the corner of my eye. Though strictly 2nd tier among my hometown�s many aspiring ass-kickers, Ethan Hess wasn�t exactly a shirking violet�at the very least, he was quite capable of kicking my ass. So I figured it was only a matter of time before he entered the fray. But to my complete shock (and relief), he seemed quite content to survey the tussle from the comfort of the pick-up truck. He had that awkward half-smile on his face again, as if he was trying to convince himself that this was a worthwhile pursuit. He looked almost�embarrassed. If anyone was going to join the fight, it was his little brother, who was leaning out the car window like a golden retriever, grinning from ear to ear. It was a facial expression most kids reserve get while watching the Harlem Globetrotters�the look of joyful expectation.

The ancient Greeks had a term called �deux ex machina� which, translated literally, means �god from the machine�. It describes a clich� from the great tragedies wherein a play�s seemingly irreconcilable conflicts would be summarily resolved in the final act by the sudden appearance of a benevolent god. This god would usually be rolled onstage on a cart or lowered from the �heavens� by some sort of primitive crane, hence �god from the machine�. In the convenience store parking lot, our god from the machine came in the form of a thirtysomething fat woman with a mullet and stirrup pants.

As I continued to shout nonsensically in Mike Norton�s face, the door to Lil� Peach edged open just far enough for the store clerk to poke her pudgy head out.

�I just called the police,� she announced hesitantly. And then, after thirty seconds of silence, �Um�just so you know.�

The local police don�t have a whole lot to do in Acton, Massachusetts, so word of a few teenagers pushing and swearing at each other in a parking lot is cause for SWAT mobilization. So if Mike Norton was going to make anyone bleed, it was time to shit or get off the pot. I could almost hear the internal debate going on within Mike Norton�s skull�it was like listening to a pair of old sneakers tumble around in the dryer. Eventually, it became obvious to us all that the drama of the situation was beginning to subside. Rather than the heroic gladiator beatdown I�m sure Mike Norton was envisioning, this little dance with my brother and me was just starting to feel a bit pathetic, like challenging a retarded kid to a double-dutch competition.

And again, from our mulletted savior, �I�m not kidding. You should all get out of here.�

after a short staredown, Mike Norton tossed my brother aside like a beanbag chair. He then wheeled around to me and cocked back his fist. This was the classic �make you flinch� move. I complied by, well, flinching.

�Fucking faggot,� he said, breaking into a goofy grin. Ethan Hess and his little brother once again broke into laughter�it was probably not the conquest Mike Norton would have preferred, but it would have to do.

As the truck pulled out onto Route 2A, I let out a three gallon sigh of relief. I knew John and I had dodged a bullet, and this in itself was something of a victory.

Or was it? I�ve always considered myself a rather sensitive and intellectual fellow, especially back in my black turtleneck, pseudo-Morrissey days. And if you had asked me that night, I�d probably have said that I wasn�t going to �lower� myself by engaging in fisticuffs with the likes of Mike Norton. But now that I have over a decade of perspective, I can admit that all of my wry facial expressions and attempts at peaceful resolution had less to do with ethics than with the abject fear of seeing my own blood spread all over the pavement.

But let�s say I decided to haul off on Mike Norton the minute he got out of the pick up truck�what�s the worst that would have happened? Sure, a punch in the face or two (or twelve), but with all the adrenaline, I may not even have felt it. The swelling would have gone down eventually, the stitches removed, and I�d have proven to myself that getting your ass kicked is not the end of the world. Instead, I�ve spent the last thirteen years lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and fantasizing about how it might have gone down.

If you�re curious, it usually plays out like this:

As Mike Norton steps out of his truck, I stand calmly on the pavement, my hands resting casually in the pockets of my black leather trenchcoat. I am squinting just a bit and sucking in my cheeks (in a 'tough' way, though).

�YOU GOT A PROBLEM?� Mike Norton, bellows, getting right up in my face.

And then, in an Alec Baldwin-esque breathy stage whisper, my reply:

�Not for long, pal.�

Like a bolt of lightning, my fist explodes into Mike Norton's sternum. Breathless and momentarily incapacitated, he stumbles backward a bit. I step in and deliver a brutal uppercut with the heel of my hand, catching him under the chin. The savage brute is dazed. I grab the front of his shirt and release a vicious flurry of blows to the face, leaving it a bloody mess. Eventually, I relase Mike Norton from my iron grip and let him collapse onto the pavement.

By now, Ethan Hess has gotten out of the truck and is rushing toward me, crowbar in hand (hey, don�t roll your eyes�this is my fantasy). I calmly step aside and bring my knee into his stomach, causing him to drop the crowbar. While he�s doubled over, I slide it across the parking lot with my foot�I don�t need that. Ethan Hess rights himself, trembling ever so slightly. Faced with the prospect of facing me �mano a mano�, his surprised expression lets me know that he has crapped his pants (not sure how I know this--I just do). He turns and scurries out of the parking lot and into the woods.

I return to Mike Norton, who�s moaning and rolling back and forth on the pavement. I stand above his head, make sure I have his attention and then proceed to hock up a major league loogie, which dangles for a good ten seconds before dropping onto his forehead.

Mike Norton has been sufficiently punked.

I walk to the pick up truck, where Ethan Hess� little brother sits, dumbfounded. I sternly lecture him on the perils of violence, homophobia and other types of antisocial behavior. Convinced I've set the boy straight, I toss him a Jolly Rancher and head off into the night, content in the knowledge that I did what needed to be done.

No, it didn�t happen like that. But hey, at least I didn�t cry. That�s got to count for something, right?

Yes, the end.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Okay, if you haven't already, scroll down and read the entries for Saturday (June 8th) and Monday (June 10th), or none of this will make sense. I hope this is of some enjoyment.

I walked outside and stood on the sidewalk in front of Mike Norton�s pick up truck. What followed was a classic game of �questions�, as popularized in Tom Stoppard�s masterpiece Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

ME: Yes?

MIKE NORTON: Did you just give me the finger, faggot?

ME: What the hell is your problem?

MIKE NORTON: You want me to kick your ass?

ME: Is this totally necessary?

MIKE NORTON: You suck any cock tonight?�

ME: Why do you have to be such a dick?

MIKE NORTON: Why do you have to be such a fag?

A good question, this. Not in terms of accuracy, but in the sense that there�s absolutely no way to answer it satisfactorily. Do you really want to enter into a debate as to whether you are or aren�t a homosexual? How the hell do you battle with Darth Vadar without unintentionally falling prey to the Dark Side? Forget about going the �smarter than thou� route�there�s nothing more pathetic than watching some poor fop try to defend himself against a punch in the teeth with a wry reference to Foucult�s History of Sexuality. Wit is wasted on the truly witless�especially when you�re your brilliant retorts are little more than flowery variations on �I know you are but what am I�.

The argument continued down this road for a while longer, Mike Norton ham-fistedly impugning my masculinity, me half-heartedly defending myself. I would occasionally throw in the word �fuck�, just to make him think I was willing to 'throw down', if need be (I wasn�t). But in an attempt to defuse the situation, I'd also sprinkle in �dude�, i.e. �What the fuck is your deal, dude?� The subtext here was �Hey, why are we even fighting? After all, we�re both just �dudes�, right? Once you decide not to beat the shit out of me, let�s be pals!� It�s a sad and mysterious fact that most �nerds�, �dorks� and �fags� would gladly befriend their oppressors, if given the opportunity. And I suppose, on some level, I envisoned Mike Norton seeing the error of his ways, and then we'd become bestest buddies. Oh, the fun we could have had! 4-Wheelin�, rocking out to George Thoroughgood, mutilating stray animals with a nailgun�we could have been two peas in a white trash pod!

Predictably, Mike Norton didn�t seem interested in making any new friends. His rhetoric had devolved into a simple mantra.

�Fag. Fag. Fag. Fag. Fag.�

Eventually, I stopped speaking altogether. I gave him a �this is getting old� look, which was my way of acting defiant without doing anything that could be interpreted as stomp-worthy. But the truth is, it was getting old. Ethan Hess and his little brother had long since ceased giggling�they just sat idly with hopeful smiles on their faces that seemed to say �this is still fun, right?�

Then, without warning, the truck�s ignition started. I could scarcely believe it. Could this actually be? Was Tropical Storm Douchebag just going to roll right past me without doing any real damage? It certainly appeared so.

Even a halfwit has an innate sense of theatricality, and Mike Norton wasn�t about to let this magical evening end without some sort of punctuation�I could almost see the wheels turning. After thinking for a moment, he unleashed let fly his masterpiece.

�Why don�t you go find somebody�s cock and suck it?�, he rhetorically declared. And then, the coup de gr�ce, �Fuck you!�

Ethan Hess and his little brother once again erupted in laughter. This is exactly what I mean about arguing with morons�how would I ever have been able to convince them that this was not the funniest, most incisive barb ever uttered? Instead, I simply nodded.

As they started to back out, Ethan Hess� little brother, a boy of maybe ten, leaned out the window and shouted �Faggot!�, much to the delight of his proud older brother. It reminded me of a small African village, where the town elders take young boys out on the hunt in order to give them a taste of the kill. I was pleased as punch to serve as a hapless wildebeest for Ethan Hess� kid brother, if it meant I was going to escape with all of my teeth. As Mike Norton wheeled around to head out of the parking lot, I quietly marveled to myself how well I�d handled the whole experience�I�d stood my ground without getting my ass kicked and done so without doing or saying anything too ridiculous. For a wussy, this constituted a genuine victory.

It was around this time that my older brother came bursting out of Lil� Peach.

I don�t know how much of the exchange John had overheard, but he�d apparently decided that it was time to spring into action, like a professional wrestler storming in from backstage to bail out his fallen comrade. As he strode confidently into the parking lot, my insides screamed �FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST, DON�T SAY A FUCKING WORD! PLEASE, JOHN! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!� However, what actually escaped my lips was barely audible. Years later, I would feel a kinship with Kate Winslet's character at the end of Titanic as she blew breathlessly into a tin whistle, praying it might make the rescue boats turn around.


My older brother John, who I love very much, cupped his hand to his mouth and shouted �Why don�t you come back here and say that, motherfucker?!!� A piece of me died.

Mike Norton�s pick up truck screeched to a halt.

Okay, I know your patience is probably running thin. I'll finish this shit tomorrow, and then it's back to silly jokes for a while. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

We interrupt this coming-of-age saga to remind you all that The World Cup can blow me. The more I see of it, the more I'm convinced that the rest of the world is just plain wrong. I'd rather watch snot dry than sit through another 1-0 "blowout" between Uruguay and Cameroon. While soccer may be great fun for spastic 3rd graders and their fannypack-clad parents, surely sensible adults can find a more gratifying way to spend their exercise and leisure time. Like here, perhaps.

Monday, June 10, 2002

If you haven�t already, scroll down and read the last entry (Saturday, June 8th) in its entirety, or else none of this will make sense. Many thanks.

When we last left our story, Mike Norton was motioning for me to leave the safety of Lil� Peach in order to receive what would probably be a thorough pummeling. Sitting inside the convenience store and waiting it out was out of the question�my self-styled executioner was now sitting back comfortably in his parked truck, a posture that said �I�ve got all night, faggot.� Besides, nights like this were the stuff of suburban legend, and I wasn�t quite ready to become �that kid who hid behind the Pringles for six hours like a little bitch�. No, I had committed the sin of resistance (albeit tepid) and now I was going to have to answer for it.

As I shuffled slowly toward the door, it occurred to me that I was not completely alone in this scenario. No, my older brother was also wandering the aisles of the convenience store�we�d gone on this late night junk food run only to break up the monotony of another holiday weekend in Acton, Massachusetts. For a brief moment, I considered asking for his assistance, which he�d have given without a moment�s hesitation.

My older brother John is one of those kind souls who simply cannot resist doing people favors, regardless of personal consequence. He's also something of a Finnegan family cheerleader, never passing up an opportunity to appear big-brotherly. So had I only asked, I'm quite sure John would have �had my back�. But the way I figured it, my only chance of avoiding a busted face was to pose as little actual threat as possible. Yes, I would meet my persecutors face to face. But my hope was that if I stood there firmly on the curb and absorbed a few dozen witless barbs without responding in kind, they�d eventually get bored and go about their evening�non-violent resistance, as Gandhi would have seen it. But walking out of Lil� Peach with my older brother in tow would surely be seen as an act of aggression, making a brawl all but unavoidable. And �brawler� was not a role John was suited to. For whereas I was a wussy, my older brother was thing only thing worse: he was a spaz.

The �Wussy� and the �Spaz� both have their roots in the same inadequacy: the complete inability to perform feats of physical bravado without calamitous and often humiliating repercussions. The Wussy eventually recognizes this penchant for self-disgrace learns to avoid any situation where it might reveal itself. Racquetball? No, but thanks for asking. Breakdancing? I think not. Fight you? Um, how about we just discuss this like adults? In terms of a practical definition, a Wussy is simply a Spaz with foresight.

By way of contrast, the Spaz is doomed to constantly get in over his head, rushing headstrong into situations so fraught with potential disaster, they become simultaneously difficult to watch and impossible to turn away from. Like the some kid goaded my brother into attempting a jump of what had to be ten feet on Darren Lewis� bicycle.

Some of the neighborhood kids had set up makeshift take-off and landing ramps in the middle of the street in front of our house and were taking turns playing Evil Kneivel when I suppose my brother must have said something disparaging about one of them. The next thing I knew, I was watching in horror as John came speeding toward the takeoff ramp on a bike made for someone half his size.

There was a moment where it looked as if my fears might have been unfounded�despite John being a rather husky child (it ran in the family), he got serious air coming off the ramp and looked as if he was going to clear the jump easily. But then John made a classic Spaz move: he sat down in mid-air. The front tire caught the lip of the landing ramp and both he and the bike did a full ass-over-head flip, landing in a screaming heap on the pavement.

Everyone was speechless. The neighborhood kids seemed genuinely concerned that my brother may have broken his spine, or something equally as horrid. Only after it was firmly established that the Great Acton Bicycle Crash of �81 had resulted in nothing more than a few minor cuts and bruises did the laughter come. Slow, building laughter�the kind that says �We will be talking about this moment for many years to come.�

It was probably at that moment, watching the whole bike debacle unfold, that I personally made the transition to Wussydom. Now that I�m older, I view the Spaz with a certain degree of admiration. How can you not respect someone whose inner voice consistently says �I can do this� when the whole of his experience keeps shouting �Dude, you�re fucked!�? Of course, it�s the kind of admiration that only reveals itself a decade or two down the road. And all grudging respect aside, a Spaz is definitely not the kind of person you want around when you�re trying to avoid getting your ass kicked.

I therefore decided against alerting my brother about my potential ass-kicking and walked out the front door of Lil� Peach to face off with Mike Norton, who was now glaring at me like I�d just punched his mother in the vagina. This was, perhaps, to be a defining moment.

Look, I know this is getting long. And I realize that I really haven�t gotten any further in the actual telling of the story. But I hope you�ll tune in tomorrow for the rest (probably) of this epic tale. Thanks, kids.

Saturday, June 08, 2002

Last night, I dreamt that I beat the shit out of Mike Norton in front of the Lil' Peach. This marks probably the 250th time I've had this particular dream.

Mike Norton was a kid I went to junior high and part of high school with in Acton, Massachusetts. He was probably a foot taller than me, which is saying something, as I was one of the taller kids in my grade. He was also a couple of years older than everyone else, having been kept back twice due to a cruel affliction: Unrelenting Stupidity. Seriously, this dude was as dumb as a goddamn ski pole. He once delivered an unforgettable oral report on how much he enjoyed "4-wheelin"--the word "awesome" was sprinkled liberally throughout. Basically, Mike Norton was a 1980's teen movie cliche come to life. And yes, he hated my guts for some reason.

One night, I was standing inside the Lil' Peach convenience store, flipping through magazines and I heard a knock on the glass in front of me. I looked up and saw a little kid I recognized as the younger brother of Ethan Hess, who was sitting in the passenger seat of Mike Norton's monstrously large pick-up truck. Ethan Hess was one of those giggling sycophants who always seems to shadow the school bully--the classic latent homosexual, potentially violent Punch 'N Judy relationship. As Ethan Hess hoisted his kid brother up into the pick-up, I noticed that Mike Norton was hunched over the steering wheel of the idling truck, staring intently at me and mouthing the unmistakable words "Fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you".

I should mention that I probably made a rather tempting target. In my younger years I was something of a bully's wet dream: a fat kid who cried a lot. Despite my being bigger than most of the kids my age, I was a complete an utter wussy. This made me a no-lose proposition for any angry kid with something to prove. As such, I spent most of my childhood avoiding confrontation, which seemed to lurk around every school hallway corner. By the time of the Lil' Peach incident, however, I had left my glorious hometown to attend a performing arts boarding school--my time in Acton was relegated to Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. By now, I'd gone through puberty, dropped a lot of weight and embraced my inner Robert Smith. I had one side of my head shaved and I had a liking for black turtlenecks and floor-length leather trenchcoats. So since Mike Norton had last seen me, I'd morphed from nondescript crybaby to budding Poet Warrior, an altogether more tantalizing object of derision.

So Mike Norton contined with his refrain of "fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you", while Ethan Hess and his little brother tittered with delight. Not knowing what to do, I looked back down at whatever magazine I happened to be holding. A minute later, he honked the horn. Then again. And again. Finally, I looked up to discover that Mike Norton had switched over the ever-popular "faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot". To this, I responded the way every defiant pussy responds to a potentially threatening sitaution: I gave him the always-disastrous Tentative Finger.

Now, I have this theory that if you're going to sink to someone else's level, you might as well plant you your feet and square up when you get there--you can't half-ass that shit. Trust me, nothing emboldens a sociopath like seeing his prey offer up a wilted middle finger. The split-second thought process behind the Tentative Finger is "Look, it's fine that you've emasculated me. I'll admit it, I'm scared shitless of you. You win. But will you please let me perform this one pathetic act of resistance, so I can retain the illusion personal dignity?" But in the face of a would-be predator, giving the Tentative Finger is like ringing the dinner bell--all the sudden, I was "starting something".

Mike Norton turned off the engine and motioned for me to come outside.

More to come tomorrow...

Thursday, June 06, 2002

As far as the debacle in the Middle East goes, I come down on the side of Israel 9 out of 10 times. But I do have to say that the ongoing creation of new settlements in the West Bank and Gaza is beginning to look like a deliberate "F you". It makes Israel look like the ex-firlfriend who calls you up just to tell you you're never getting your CDs back. And who the hell would want to live in one of these perilous and morally questionable shanty towns? At that point, you might as well throw a "MUHAMMAD CAN BLOW ME" doormat out front.

But just in case you're interested, I found this classified ad in the Hebron Courier:

Newly renovated studios and 1brs available in this
beautiful post&pre-war settlement. Hip, up-and-coming
recently demilitarized neighborhood just 60 miles south
of Dayr al-Dubban. Min exposure. Walking distance
to bazaar. Lots of local flavor! Must have huge balls.

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Yet another installment of "What My Favorite Album Says About Me":

MADONNA "The Immaculate Collection" -- Although I call myself a feminist, I fully expect you to pay for dinner

STEVIE WONDER "Songs in the Key of Life" -- You can trust me; I'm not like the other guys in the dorm

ANDREW W.K. "I Get Wet" -- No one can hurt me, up here in my fortress of irony

NAS "Illmatic" -- I enjoy making unecessary hand gestures during conversation

ERIC CLAPTON "Crossroads" -- I have to swing by Filene's and Suncoast Video, so why don't we just meet up at the food court?

JOHN COLTRANE "A Love Supreme" -- If not for the Ken Burns "Jazz" documentary, I wouldn't know John Coltrane from Roscoe P. Coltrane

PEARL JAM "Ten" -- I'm nostalgic for a cultural phenomenon that existed solely within the confines of Spin magazine

ROBERT JOHNSON "King of the Delta Blues" -- I think of myself as being from a different era--a handy excuse for why I don't get invited to parties

NICKELBACK "Silver Side Up" -- I'm in the band Nickelback (Because, really, what other reason could there be?)

THE BEATLES "The White Album" I make bland and unassailable decisions in order to evade harsh critique

Monday, June 03, 2002

WARNING: I think I'm about three weeks away from being sick of the Osbournes. Not so much the show, but the family itself. My prediction is that the 2nd season of the show will be cloyingly self-aware and unfunny, much like the second (and undoubtedly the upcoming third) Austin Powers movie. I'll keep you posted as this story unfolds.

Saturday, June 01, 2002

PERSON 1: Knock Knock

PERSON 2: Who�s there?

PERSON 1: Harold.

PERSON 2: Harold who?

PERSON 1: Harold, the guy who�s wife you�ve been fucking.

PERSON 2: I don�t get it.

PERSON 1: Just open the door, asshole.

PERSON 2: That doesn�t even make sense.

PERSON 1: Listen, if you don�t open this door, some serious shit is going to go down.

PERSON 2: You should kick that one around a bit more. Is it supposed to be a pun?


PERSON 2: Like because the guy is hairy, or something? Because that makes no sense whatsoever.


PERSON 2: Wait. Hold on a second, here. You�re not telling a joke?

PERSON 1: No! You�re fucking my wife�don�t try and deny it!

PERSON 2: Then why did you say �knock knock�?

PERSON 1: What?

PERSON 2: You specifically said �knock knock�. A guy says 'knock knock', you assume he's telling a joke. If you really wanted me to open the door, why not just actually knock?


PERSON 1: Because I have no hands.

(long pause)

PERSON 2: HA HA HA! That�s hilarious! Good one, dude!

PERSON 1: Thanks, Pete. See you tomorrow?

PERSON 2: Definitely, Harold. Have a good one!

PERSON 1: You too, pal.