May 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The first submission in me giving… dating advice? (Really, me?!) Believe it or not,
I’ll help you here I come!
“Three Days Grace Period” asks:
Anyways, one of the reoccurring problems I have with men, is I will meet one and we will text nonstop for on average about three days. He will be totally digging me, me reciprocating. And we just text all day for about three days.
Then the next morning he will never reply to me again.
Just done with me. Out of nowhere.
This happens consistently enough, that I have now begun to expect it when I start texting a guy I like.
I’ve even begun to suspect (not seriously) that there is some creepy stalker I have who after three days of contact with me, goes and threatens these men to stay away.
Or something like that!
What’s wrong Kenneth? Am I only interesting for three days? Do I start saying stupid things after three days?
And why does every guy lately do this?
Dear 3 Days,
In the classic film The Room, Denny is caught with Chris-R on the roof in some sort of drug deal gone wrong. Lisa’s mother poses the question to Denny, “What are you doing with the drugs? Giving them, taking them?” One can not really comprehend why a person would “give away” drugs but I guess technically that’s a possibility. Though it seems rather wasteful to have all of these drugs and then just give them away. It’s bad business.
I read your question and then I pondered it for a couple days while I was prepping this first post. And then I read it for the second time and realized that I should now make sure to thoroughly read all the questions at first and then ponder because in about less than 20 words I was able to dissect at least one major part of the issue.
“one of the reoccurring problems I have with men, is I will meet one and we will text nonstop for on average about three days.”
“one of the reoccurring problems I have with men, is I will meet one and we will text nonstop for on average about three days.”
“I will meet one and we will text nonstop for on average about three days.”
“we will text nonstop”
In a way, texting has become the best and worst thing to happen to relationships in at least the last 100 years. It’s very possible that after three days, you literally know more about a guy you met one time than what your grandmother and grandfather knew about each other by the time they were married. And most relationships of that era lasted 100000000x longer than ours do in the current generation.
It’s like how Unsolved Mysteries used to be this awesome show about things we couldn’t disprove and then we got better technology and gave everyone an HD camera on their phone and now it’s just:
UnSolved Mysteries – Turns Out It Was A Guy In A Suit, What’s On TLC? Oh Hoarders I Haven’t Seen This One… Ew Gross.
Textual Harassment is one of the leading killers of possibly getting laid or even finding a potential significant other in the year 2013. Check out reddict.com/r/CreepyPMs and watch seemingly normal people dissolve into Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Some of the best/worst advice on texting comes from Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation when he asks an interviewee about what to do when you get a girls number in the club. Text her the next day that it was nice to meet her?
“Wrong. I wait 8 weeks and then text ‘What’s crackin?’”
That’s an extreme version of it, but the principles still apply. Even in today’s world of constant interaction and the ability to literally be a tiny talking head inside someones front pocket, there’s plenty of room to leave for mystery. There’s plenty of time to sit back and say “If you want to get to know me, take the time and effort to actually get to know me.” Think of guys as T-Rex and this is you when you “text non-stop for three days”:
Make a guy wonder, “Where the heck is this chick? She must be really popular with the fellas, damn it I’m gonna lose my chance!” Don’t be unavailable, but don’t hand yourself to him on a silver platter. Texting nonstop for three days in the very beginning used to always be my undoing too and it’s also not a bad practice to put in place even if you’ve been dating for a few weeks to show that you’ve got a life outside of just that persons every word, letter, and emoji.
Chat with the guy, but let it be known early on that you’re a girl that’s worth taking out on a proper date (or just coming over for a proper “movie” whatever floats your boat) but when you text nonstop in the very beginning, that’s like giving away free drugs. It makes no sense.
If you thought that was decent advice y’all, please send in more questions with the Contact button on the left!!
May 19, 2013 § 4 Comments
When we last left off, Sam was worried that Diane had become more distant since he announced he would be turning their long-distance friends with benefits ship into a short-distance “I-have-no-idea-what-this-is” ship by moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco. (Part I is here) I told him that in my opinion it was time just ask her what was up, despite this one supposed dating “rule”:
The #1 rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club, but a little known fact is that actually the #2 rule of fight club is that you don’t ask the person you’re dating if something is wrong.
What was Sam to do….
Many men are raised to believe that having emotions is a “chick thing, man!” but the reality is that many guys grow up with plenty of emotion anyway. We’re raised one way but our bodies tell us something different. Sure, I know a bunch of guys that are able to have a disconnect between the physical and emotional relationships they have with women, but I know plenty more that fall in love. That lose sleep over someone. That spend the entire day thinking about what their future could be like with that special someone. And that go crazy wondering if “this distance that Diane is putting between us is the product of being “busy and sick” or if she’s starting to have second thoughts.”
We hurt too, ladies. We spin our hair in our fingers (well the ones of us that have sweet p-tails, do) just like you do with worry. And while we say we don’t want to play games, we still abide by a certain set of rules. In a way, we’re all playing some level of a game whether we like it or not, but just like Chess, some of us really suck at it!
I sunk your Rook!
When Sam was finally letting it all out, what was bothering him, I guess it was my outsiders perspective that allowed me to see the bigger picture and put two-and-two together. That it had been about two weeks since Sam had decided to move to San Francisco, and that was the same time that Diane started to turn into Kirstie Allie. (For the younger readers out there, sorry you don’t get the shit out of these references. They’re pretty good!) We started to talk about how Diane hated relation ships but that she was clearly feeling safe with the fact that they were separated by golden bridges and mountain ridges with lebowski’s so big you’d have to call Jeff Bridges. (That didn’t make sense but it felt wonderful to say.)
Sam was folding up the space-time continuum and would become an everyday part of Diane’s life. ”That’s probably freaking her out a little bit, dude. Ask her about it.” That really started the advice-giving and I think it’s the most simple piece of advice to follow and yet the most difficult for many of us to overcome. Think about the fact that we are scared to ask the people we care about if there’s anything different in the way they care about us.
“But what if I make it worse?”
The number one reason people are scared to come out with the “is anything wrong?” bit is because they think it could drive a person away even further but I disagree with that sentiment. Any time that I’ve ever truly cared about a person, them asking me if something is wrong one time isn’t going to change my opinion about them. You wouldn’t drive a person away for asking something like that — but of course there are the people that ask that question every single day and then yes, something is obviously wrong. But if you’ve been with each other for awhile and one of the parties behavior starts to change you can ask them if something is wrong. There’s a two-pronged possibility:
- “Nothing is wrong. I’ve been busy and sick. Sorry I haven’t been able to talk as much because I’ve misssssed you ” That’s good.
- “Nothing is wrong. GOD!” Something was wrong. And you didn’t make it any worse, because the fact of the matter is that there is no way in Hell that a three-word question would be the tipping point from a life of 50 years of wedded bliss to a broken heart and an empty tub of ice cream on your bathroom floor. That’s just not real life.
I told Sam that in my opinion, something was probably up with the fact that she was freaking out about his move to San Francisco and that he was breaking down the barrier between them. As the poet laureate Gavin Rossdale once said: “The chemicals between us. There is no lonelier place than lying in this bed. The chemicals displaced.” (You figure out the meaning.)
But Sam wanted to bring those chemicals together. If he was getting negative signals he should ask Diane if something was up, at least once. Because it wasn’t just killing him that she was all of a sudden starting to act differently towards him, it was also the unknown that starts to make a person unravel. Sometimes it is absolutely a misunderstanding, but on the other hand, it’s often a sign.
Don’t ignore signs.
(Unless it’s saying 25 MPH and it’s not a school zone, like yo, I can get around this neighborhood at 35!)
(Also don’t ignore Signs. It’s a really good movie.)
Sure there have been certain times in my life where I’ve been a paranoid annoyance but I also like to think that I have a pretty keen sense of when something is up. We should all be able to sense when something is wrong. When Larry David left Seinfeld, you could tell the difference. When Dan Harmon was fired from Community, you can tell the difference. People can sense the slightest differences from one thing to another, and you’d know that if you ever filled out a Highlights magazine at the dentist.
November – You’re texting me all the time. You’re anxious to hear from me. You reach out when it’s been awhile.
December – I have to be the one to initiate all the conversations. You don’t ask me questions, you seem less concerned about my life.
You said “Fuck off” and changed your email?
A day? No worries. Three days? That’s curious. A week? You should seriously start considering whether or not this person is still interested in you unless they explicitly stated before the relation ship that they were in the CIA.
Sam knew what to do, I just had to be the one to push him off the plank. He finally asked Diane if something was wrong due to her behavior over the last couple of weeks. She responded first with the usual:
“No, I’ve just been busy lately like I said and dealing with this illness.”
Okay…. Wait for it.
“I suppose I also just don’t know what you’re expecting when you move here.”
It had seemed apparent to me, an almost complete outsider that has never met Diane, that Diane was fearful of certain expectations from Sam. The approach of Sam moving to San Francisco obviously has to be taken with careful measures because it’s a major decision. Not just for their ship but for his life, and possibly for hers.
But he may have never known that if he hadn’t overcome the fear of simply asking “What’s wrong?”
I might be a very difficult hurdle to overcome, to come off looking like an insecure little boy, but I think that there are many contexts in which it comes off more as the secure move of a man. To say “I am aware of the changes here and I feel like even if you were sick or busy, you would make time for me as you used to do. So if something has changed for you, please let me know because I’ve still got to take care of myself.”
I think that when you are simply “dating” someone, you have to tread very carefully with feelings. I have spent too many days and nights in confused anger and depression based on things that happened with people that I wasn’t even on the relation ship with.
Don’t waste tears on a person that wouldn’t spend tears on you.
Of course, the three intense, mostly non-physical months that Sam and Diane had spent talking, it would be near-impossible to not have feelings attached. Whether she likes it or not, even Diane has developed feelings for Sam. But Sam has to really evaluate whether or not her feelings and his feelings match up because if they don’t and he doesn’t ask some of the important questions that we’ve been conditioned not to ask, he’ll be the only one crying.
Sometimes if you don’t want to know the answer, you probably need to ask the question.
To be continued…
(Remember that I’m looking for more questions RE: the opposite sex so please use the CONTACT button also I’m lonely.)
May 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
I will get back to the story of Sam and Diane shortly, but I’m going to throw this up because I’ve already written most of it and I think it’s always a relevant topic: The “Friend Zone.”
I was on Reddit recently in the /r/relationships section and came across a despondent young girl that was worried about her friend. He used to be such a great guy to hang out with, but had fallen apart after his high school sweetheart left him for another guy. The full (and lengthy) post is here. The “too long; didn’t read” version is this:
“Longtime friend had a gradual devolution into being a Nice Guy, spurred by a horrible breakup. Refuses all help and surrounds himself with other Nice Guys who only makes things worse. What can I/we do to help or should we just give up?”
The slightly longer version is that “Calvin” is pushing away his best friends all through childhood (Hobbes, Susie, Tofukitties) because of his broken heart and complaining that all girls just want to be his friends and that they are terrible people. Calvin needs a kick in the pants. This was my response:
Calvin, Calvin, Calvin, Calvin, Calvin…. my man. My broseph. My buddy. My pal. Wait no– Your buddy and pal, I mean. But speaking as if I was speaking to Calvin…
The good news is that you’re 24. You shouldn’t be exactly the man you will become when you’re still just 24. Nor will you be the man you will become when you’re 30… or 40… or 60… We are ever-changing, or at least we should be, just in the way that you, Calvin, were not the man you used to be before you met the love of your life, who you were while you were with the love of your life, or who you were after she did you so wrong and so dirty. I feel for you, Calvin, I really do.
Relationships aren’t easy. Trusting another woman again, in the way that you entrusted your entire body and soul to one person and believed that one day you would be married and be the first and only people to sleep with one another, and to have that taken away from you — Nobody’s going to say that life is fair. Because it’s not. You had visions for your life, and they were destroyed by the girl you loved more than you’ve ever loved anyone including yourself. And because she never slept with you and only slept with the “rugged Army guy” who may have shot guns at people and been a tough guy, you believe that all women must want this and you’ll never be this, so therefore you will fail at every turn.
But that’s not true. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Some women like tough guys. Some women like smart guys. Some women like book guys. Some women like art guys. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.
You’re a certain type of person. You care very deeply for people, you’re kind, you’re genuine, you believe in things to their very core, and you’re not bad looking either. Almost every type of person is a person’s type somewhere so you shouldn’t focus on thinking that no girls will be into you — not every girl is one girl. And you’re so worried about getting into the friend zone with a girl, that you have forgotten that within that actual friend zone is a girl that cares about you so much that she’s asked Reddit for help on how to help you, rather than abandon you. Even if she doesn’t love you in that way, she loves you. Forever Alone? Not when someone, anyone, loves you. Let’s remember that you’re good enough to be loved, and start to work on finding out how you can genuinely return that love of friendship towards Hobbes, Susie, and TofuKitty and remember that with a group of friends like that, you’ll have a support team for the rest of your life.
The only possible way to be forever alone at this point, is if you continue to ask for pity about your own life and put yourself in that position. Look at you right now– You’re not too far gone. Stop what you’re doing. Think. Assess. Evaluate. Think about all that you have and cherish it. Assess all the you want in your life. Evaluate how you’re going to man the fuck up and get it.
You’ve got a great group of friends, people that love you. A buddy that might not be around now, but will stand by your side as your best man if you get your life together.
You want to love a woman as much as you loved your ex, have her love you back just as much. How can you find her? How can you start to show that you believe in yourself, that you love yourself, and that you’ll provide value to her for the rest of her life? Because nobody wants to be with somebody that wouldn’t want to be with themselves.
Evaluate how you’ve treated the people around you that spent months (maybe years) of their own lives trying to pick you up because they loved you. Evaluate why you didn’t return that love and understanding when they started to question your motives and become upset with some of your behavior. Evaluate what you’re going to do to finally make amends with them.
And then put that shit into action because you’re 24. You’re young. You’ve had one serious girlfriend and you’ve proven to be a great friend and great boyfriend in the past, which puts you ahead of the game at 24.
You can either remain where you’re standing and distance yourself further and further from the only people that have ever truly been “home” to you or you can continue changing every day to be the best person you can be.
The sad truth is that I see a lot of myself in Calvin. I grew up thinking no girl would ever want to be anything more than a friend. I got angry and lashed out them when they wouldn’t instead accept me as a boyfriend. I was ripe for “forever alone” membership.
Then I grew up and realized that the only person that puts themselves in a “friend zone” is the one that is constantly complaining about it’s existence. There are plenty of ways to start relationships that are romantic and stay that way.
Dudes: If a girl says she just wants to be friends, then be just that. Be her friend. Be a hella good friend. Don’t ever try to make it more than that unless she is starting to make it explicitly clear that just being friends isn’t working for her anymore. Frankly you’ll show her your value best by being a friend and the worst case scenario is that you have a great friend. If you say “yeah lets be friends!” and then ask her to kiss you or send you naked pictures the next day, you’re fucking up.
Ladies: There’s a likely possibility that some of your guy friends could be into you or would totally date you. Just… know that.
As I was saying yesterday about Sam and Diane, think about the ships you embark on and establish early if it’s a relation or a friend kind of ship. Any confusion on that, and you’ll be sailing in the wrong direction.
May 17, 2013 § 2 Comments
A friend recently came to me with a broken heart. I gave him some advice or at least tried to talk him through the difficult time. That’s what sparked this recent quest to see if I could give advice to anyone else or at least… help talk you through it. Before we get started, this is the story that started it all.
This all started recently with a co-worker who was telling me about a girl he was talking to on instant messenger. We have offices all over the world you see, and certain people have to communicate with other people in the company over instant messenger. It’s funny how we can meet strangers in this current era of humanity, people we would have otherwise never known existed; sometimes I wish it was still that way.
I’m certain that at this moment my co-worker, “Sam”, wishes the same thing.
I remember him telling me about her (over IM of course) right from the beginning. ”So there’s this girl “Diane” over in San Francisco and I can’t tell but I think she’s flirting with me.” (Yeah, I realize what I just did there with their aliases, what of it?) Of course, when me and Sam talk, it’s always something along the lines of “I think this person is flirting with me!” When in reality its more like “Kate asked me if she could borrow my pen and when she picked it up she said “Oh cool pen” so you think we’re like going out now?”
Yeah, I don’t think that my friends and I have matured past the fifth grade quite yet.
But in this case, there really was some serious flirting between Sam and Diane. What I thought was just another “Yeah okay sure you’re gonna hookup with the girl that lives a few hundred miles away by winning her over on work instant messenger” (why do I write “another” as if this happens all the time?) it was in fact instead another case of “Yeah… okay! You’re gonna hookup with the girl that lives a few hundred miles away by winner her over on work instant messenger!”
Of course I never thought that
Romeo and Juliet (wait, mixing up my aliases) Sam and Diane would be able to develop a real relationship when they were separated from Los Angeles to San Francisco, especially doing so while they had to first talk about work, let alone being a Montague and a Capulet.
But mostly I can’t believe that two people would ever have romantic thoughts while they talked about the mundane bullshit we do at our company. (I can’t get into much more detail than that to protect the innocent, but I can tell you that this place doesn’t build flying microwaves that drop hot pockets into your mouth automatically.)
And so Sam and Diane built a ship together and sailed away on it. There are several different kinds of ships:
- Friend ships
- Relation ships
- Kin ships
- Partner ships
- Ghost ships
Definitely stay away from the last kind of ship, unless you wanna get got, but the other ones are always fun. Sometimes people will mix friend ships with a singles cruise, which can be fun too, but the most important thing to know is that when you go on a ship with someone that you’re both on the same ship. Otherwise you’ll risk being stranded in the middle of the ocean, and your best hope is a peaceful drowning.
Early on, they were both getting onto a friend ship and they both liked that because they had a lot in common and talking to one another was so easy and natural. It got to the point where they were even going to be the kind of long-distance friends that traveled many miles to see one another and Diane came to Los Angeles to visit and they kissed and junk. (Just like in the romantic movies!) And then Sam went to San Francisco to see Diane where they could drive across the Golden Gate Bridge in a red convertible with a baby in the backseat, roll down hills, and take Comet for a walk down the big hills.
They were also “doing it” on their friend ship, which can have a lot of benefits, but the easiest part about that perhaps was that it wasn’t complicated. ”I am here. You are there. That’s the way it is!” and Diane had made it clear that she wasn’t a relation ship type of person. Sam was okay with this.
And then all of a sudden, Sam’s best friend Woody got a job at Google and was moving to San Francisco. And now Sam saw an opportunity to move out of LA (which he was interested in doing) and going to the Bay Area with his best friend (which he thought would be fun) but also be closer to Diane (which seemed like a good idea at the time.) But then things started to change between Sam and Diane once she found out that he’d not only be moving to San Francisco, but transferring within the company. They’d go from long distance lovers to seeing each other a minimum of 40 hours per week plus weekends if it all works out okay. They’d possibly even hop off of the friend ship and onto the relation ship, a boat that Diane wasn’t very comfortable with.
Diane started to distance herself. Sam got worried that she had become more aloof and less talkative and cancelled her most recent plans to come to Los Angeles. The story of Sam and Diane… was starting to go from a fairy tale of “how easy love can be” to the realities of it all: That relation ships are the hardest ships to navigate.
Let’s face it.
Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go:
- Where nobody knows your name
- And they’re indifferent as to whether or not you came
- You wanna be where you can see, that nothing in your life will change, you wanna go where nobody knows your name.
(doo doo doo doo do do)
Now what you’ve already read, all 1000 words of it (jesus christ I need to learn brevity), isn’t even getting to the point where I started to give advice or talk it out with Sam. You see, for a couple of weeks, Sam held all of this inside of him. The parts where Diane would go an entire day without talking to him for the first time in months. The parts where he’d wonder why she’s not quite being the same person she once was, causing him to stress out over if he had done something wrong or if the “ship” that he’d held so dearly was sinking and un-salvageable. The parts where the “Good morning” texts had disappeared.
(Side note on “Good Morning!” texts — In the year 2013, this appears to be the number one symptom or trigger(?) of a broken heart. I think what many people want, what I’ve always looked for and cherished in my 30 years, is that you’re a person’s first and last thought every day. Because you’re bookending their dreams, which might as well mean that you’re that person’s dream. You’re that person’s everyday and everynight. You now care about that person at least as much as you care about yourself or anyone else, and the balance in the universe is that they feel the same about you. But then when something goes wrong, the universe is out of balance. Because they’re not texting you “Good Morning!” anymore, or they’re not responding for three hours after you know they’ve woken up. You’re not their first thought anymore. You’re not the last thing they think of as they unknowingly make the shift from awake to asleep. And that kills you — because you still care about them at least as much as you care about yourself, but more importantly you don’t feel that anyone now cares about you either. You feel like an empty shell. All your love is with them. And all of their love is… with them. Or even worse, with someone else. The universe is out of whack. It kills you. And it all boils down to…
But then finally Sam broke down and typed to me over instant messenger that Diane was very distant lately. That he wasn’t sure if things were going wrong because she was “busy” or “sick” and he didn’t want to come off as being weak and vulnerable if he had flat-out asked her if there was something wrong.
(While I was in the middle of writing this story, I found out that what was once supposed to be a little intro has now become over 2,300 words and I’m not done yet. Y’all don’t wanna read a wall of text right now, so let me break it out a little bit. Coming up next:
The #1 rule of fight club is that you don’t talk about fight club, but a little known fact is that actually the #2 rule of fight club is that you don’t ask the person you’re dating if something is wrong.)
April 23, 2013 § 7 Comments
I’m on that pursuit of happiness. And I know. Everything that shines ain’t always going to be of the gold variety. I will be fine once I get it. Yeah. I will be good.
[dub step reeeeemiixxxxx] wub wub wubbbbwubbwubbbbbb
I have had a few interesting conversations lately about happiness, as well as some important internal reflection in regards to the topic at a time when I was starting to feel unhappy. Let me try and put my thoughts in the correct order now in order to inflict the most happiness onto the brains of you, the reader. It shall feel good for both of us, on this journey to pursue happiness!
Awhile back I was talking to a person, let’s call this person “girl”, and I told girl that talking to her felt like I had little marbles of happiness stored in my brain for safekeeping that would explode magical fairy dust of happiness all into my brain parts. This could be one of several things:
- Chemicals, such as endorphins, being released into my brain
- Aneurysm, or stroke
The likely answer is probably number two, those little guys that show up when you’re “doin’ it” or eating a killer taco that tell you to be happy. I like to think of a billion endolphins swimming through your frontal lobe and all the other lobes.
But the problem with attributing all of our feelings to chemicals and processes in the body and brain is that it doesn’t produce enough endorphins because we’d much rather believe in something bigger! We’d much rather believe in magic, and love, and higher powers that are possessed in ourselves, in our souls, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I want to believe that too. Controlling our emotions is still a power higher than chemicals, and that’s just as important.
“Girl” and I don’t really talk anymore, so the happiness bubbles aren’t popping anymore. This leads to the idea that sadness is the absence of happiness, and that’s not really true either is it?
It’s a really interesting question to ask if you are happy with the person you are today. Well, I wouldn’t say that if I could choose a life that I would have chosen mine. I might go with “The Gos,” Ryan Gosling, or even Topher Grace, but I’d definitely think I would go another route. But then again, would I? I’m not unhappy with the person that I am, and I think that the fact that I have always strived to be something else has molded me into something else already; the characteristics that make up Kenneth, both positive and negative, are all a result of wanting to be something else. I’m perfectly okay with my positive attributes, and it only takes a little bit of light to fill up a lot of dark space.
But then when “girl” goes away, it feels like she takes the light with her. That’s not how it is supposed to work; never give your happiness to anyone. That is your happiness. The happy is always contained within yourself, never give it to anyone, only let other people touch it, not take it. Am I happy? Well, not constantly! But if you always remember that your happiness is a bag of gold that’s kept in your backpocket, and not gold pen that you can only borrow to sign this birthday card and then you have to give it back, then you can never be unhappy for too long.
Happiness is a motion-activated porch light that others can turn on with their presence.
Happiness is your favorite memory with your dad, or butcher. In some cases, these are the same person!
Happiness is your favorite fake memory. I visualize the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl on a regular basis. I have the fantasy on a regular basis, they don’t win the Super Bowl on a regular basis. Yet.
Happiness is the song that makes you believe that anything is possible. Like “The Promise” by When in Rome or “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” or “I Want It That Way.”
Happiness is the movie with a happy ending, like when you find out that sometimes you actually find a guy in ten days.
But no matter what happiness means to you, always keep in mind where its always resting like a sleeping Andre the Giant (the happiest of giants): Inside of you. People, places, things, and any kind of noun you can think of that bursts glitter bombs of happy into the recesses of your brain (why do you think they call them RECESS?) are always contained within you, not feelings that others get to keep. It’s yours. If you’ve given your happiness to someone else, even if only to borrow, you’ve taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
Also yours: Sadness. And it’s an addiction as well, otherwise nothing would be emo!
I used to have this metaphor for my life, that’s not especially uplifting but it is true that sometimes this is how it feels:
Sometimes I feel like I’m on a rowboat in the middle of a dead calm lake without any paddles, and sandbags keep being dumped into the boat, dropping it further and further into the water. And the person dumping in the sandbags is me.
Now I don’t know how it’s physically possible to do this (where am I getting the sandbags from?) but sometimes I feel like I tend to add in sadness on purpose just to feel pity for myself. For every happy place there is a sad dungeon. (Not one of those dungeons with candy and video games, but a sad one without video games and with beets only.) And we hold onto this dungeon, and it’s ours, and you can’t have it because it’s personal – stay away from my dungeon! You don’t get my dungeon!
Why don’t we do that with happiness too?
“I’m chillin’ in my dungeon today because you took away my cotton candy fields.”
Absence of positive isn’t presence of negative. Absence of positive is an opportunity to go in either direction, all you have to do is not choose to go to the dark side but instead stay with Luke and the Ewoks. If you’re thinking about throwing another sandbag into the boat, think instead of cuddling a fuzzy little Ewok. And money can’t buy happiness, but it could possibly allow you to rent a small person and put them in an Ewok outfit and cuddle them for two hours but no kissing. And that would make you pretty happy for awhile.
Talking to “girl” could feel like glitter bombs danced in my head, but “girl” did not place them there, she only elicited an action or feeling. Those pockets are always inside of you, it’s just a matter of knowing how to make them jump instead of sandbagging yourself. Now, show me on the doll where touching makes you happy. Oh, I think I know
April 12, 2013 § 14 Comments
Let’s lay out some unwritten “rules” of dating:
1 – If you were the last person to send out a text, you are not allowed to send the next text.
1a - You may only break this rule if you “saw” or “read something” that would be of significant interest to the person that has not texted you back yet OR If it has now crossed over into the next business day OR If you have “concern” about this person’s well-being and whereabouts.
1b - You sought out that thing reminded you of that person, you’re only concerned that they haven’t responded to you, you won’t wait until the next business day because of the other two exceptions to breaking rule 1.
1c- Twitter and Facebook are an excellent reminder that the person who is not texting you back has full access to a computer or technological device such a phone, which you already knew anyway didn’t you.
2 - If you like a person, don’t let them know it* up until the very last possible moment when they are fed up and just about to give up on you. A good way to do this is to rigorously be on the other side of Rule 1: Ignoring a text message. (We all know you got that text message and that you are fully aware of Rule 1.)
*The more witholding you are of affection, the more the other party will desire it. As soon as you give it, they no longer want it.
2a - If you find the person you are dating to be beautiful, the worst thing you can do is tell them that, especially if they really are beautiful**. Why would a person want to hear a compliment like that?
**A graph displaying “Beauty” to “Tell Them About Their Beauty” looks like an X. The more they are, the less you say so. The less they are (in the classical sense) the more they appreciate it.
2ab - Find a physical characteristic on your dating partner that you know makes them self-conscious, and bring it up. As much as you want.
2ac - You’re ugly.***
***Look, you’re not really ugly. But your perception of yourself tends to be more negative than other’s perceptions of you and this lack of self-esteem can cause others to take advantage of you. Not by complimenting you mind you, but by putting you down while spattering in words of encouragement here and there. A person that is constantly trying to tell you that you’re actually quite beautiful is obviously lying to you*^ so be suspicious of him*^^.
*^no he’s not
3. Looks are really important but do not ever list looks as the most important characteristic you’re looking for in a person, even if it probably is.
In relation to rule 2a, It’s important to note that the first thing people look for in a person, is looks on a person. From the time you are born, people are judging you based on your looks. ”That’s a cute baby” or when the parents aren’t around “That is one. ugly. baby.”
One can not always accurately assess your character, your personality, your traits, your sense of humor, or other things that make up who you are just by looking at you. But they can always judge your looks by looking at you because they are looking at you and so you are always judged by looks on some level. It’s important to you when finding a mate, very important. Do not say that it is important though because then you are shallow. Here are some handy tips for things you can say are more important than looks:
- Sense of humor
Most people will tell you that the most attractive thing is confidence.
3a. A good tip for gaining confidence is to become more attractive.
3b. Most people have some level of shallowness.^* The author of these rules is shallow, though most would probably rate him at “about a 4″ (see rule 2ac), but the author likes attractive people. He’s attracted to them. The more attractive they are, the more attracted he is. See: How attraction works. Acceptance of of this fact will help us absolve ourselves of the myth that confidence and sense of humor are greater than looking like Marion Cotillard or Ryan Gosling.
^* that’s meta
3bc. Even if we have our own personal preferences, attraction is what attracts people to people, not how many 1000-page books you’ve read or that you perform at the Laugh Shack on Thursdays open mic night.^^^
^^^Most would classify this as “cynicism from a bitter author” when in reality it is “reality from a bitter author”. The author enjoys an attractive female and also knows some very attractive people that he would never consider dating because of their terrible personalities. In rule 3bc, the author displays “honesty”, “creativity”, and “sense of humor” but still lacks “handsomeness” because the author had “a whole pizza last night”.
3d. Those traits, deeper explained:
Typically confidence comes from a person that knows they “got it goin’ on.” The difference between “cocky” and “confident” is rather undefined by those that use it as an excuse.
- Sense of humor
Typically, attractive people never developed this. Jesse Kotsopolis was attractive and his humor was rooted in things he did with kids because “look at how fucking cute it is that this hunk loves kids” and not in actual joke-telling. Joey Gladstone was unattractive and had to develop a sense of humor to make friends and defend himself against attractive bullies.
See above: Sense of humor.
See the case of Rebel vs Cause when the person looks like James Dean.
See the case of Dumb v Dumber when the person is Harry and Lloyd.
See above: Maturity. Men are typically most ambitious when it thinks it will land them a “hot babe”.
Honestly. This author might be an author for only that reason.
And then develop creativity. A lot of the world’s greatest visionaries became that way for the opposite sex. If all of a sudden tomorrow “chicks dig cricket” then it will become the most popular sport in America.
The author does not know much about this. Watched a lot of TV as a kid.
There is a distinct difference between being a “nice guy” and being a “good man”:
3da. Don’t be a nice guy, be a good man. Even if you’re a complete douchebag asshole.
- A nice guy will be kind to you, tell you nice things, tell you what he thinks you want to hear. (See all of Rule 2 as to why this is a terrible idea.)
- A good man is not precluded from also doing this, but is not intrinsically tied to doing so. A “good man” might also be a complete asshole to his girlfriend or wife. A “good man” takes care of certain things in his life and therefore is seen as the protector and patriarch of the family as long as he provides. This even includes a “good man” that is abusive. Or it could literally be a “good man” that is kind, humble, generous, and giving, but it is not a requirement of being a “Good man”
- A nice guy is often characterized as being a “pussy” and “finishing last”. ”Girls want bad boys, but not women” is what some women or girls would say. Innately, the desire to simply be with someone that will swing a club over someone else’s head if the enemy gets near the cubs is still most important and nice guys aren’t deemed to do this.
- A good man is entrusted to do this.
*^*^*^* Author’s note
These are just some of the unwritten, now written rules that I am laying out today. The awful truth about why it is better to play games and lie to people while you’re dating them if you want to continue dating them. Why is it awful? Well, it sure would be nicer to live in a world where you could just tell a person how you feel and then they reciprocate and then you move on, wouldn’t it.
Here’s how the rule book looked 100 years ago and further back:
Rule 1. Is Mary-Ann ready to bear children?
If yes: See if the Anderson boy is single
If no: Wait until she’s had her first “visit”
It might seem primitive and unromantic to us now, but it sure was a lot easier.
April 6, 2013 § 6 Comments
Last time on Sub-Standard: After a less-than-pleasurable experience at two different Subways awhile back, I wrote this letter to Denise in customer service. It was fun and funny. I was hardly upset with the sandwich conglomerate, just a minor setback in our decades old relationship, but now I’ve got to say…
I’m a little perturbed.
I never did hear from Denise again. I imagine her sitting on a beach somewhere, maybe Cancun, and she’s just happy. Living the life I had always dreamed for her to live. I really wish I had though, because Subway pulled the absolute worst move that a food chain can pull when they’re trying to make up for mistakes gone by; a phone call and an appointment for me to pick up a free sub.
“But Kenny, you’re getting a free sub!”
“But reader, I asked for redemption, not an errand that I have to run!”
The “come in and ask for the manager” move is the absolute dregs of customer service in this society we live in. If it were in the Brat Pack, it would be Judd Nelson. What if I don’t feel comfortable talking to a manager at the Subway that I complained about trying to get something for free? What if, and I know this is impossible for you to believe Subway, but what if I don’t even want Subway for the next month or two? Oh, and by the way, what if they don’t believe me?
Bingo! Now you know why I couldn’t drop this complaint, a minor setback that would have been better solved by silence than by giving me a chore to do. You’ll be hard-pressed to get me to go to an appointment at the doctor or the dentist, let alone a fast food chain for a free $5 footlong. But that’s what they did when I got a call from some guy telling me that I could come in and ask for the manager (whose name I don’t recall because it’s not my job to recall names when you fu*k up my order. I have cousins whose names I don’t know) and that I would get a free sub of my choosing.
I took them up on their stupid offer anyway. That was a mistake.
It’s time for another edition of “My complaint to Subway”! By the way, I love that above the box on their “message customer service” box on the website are these words: This is where you write your message
Thanks. I would have never figured that one out. It’s a wonder that I ever managed to interact with society long enough to order a sandwich without shitting my pants and stripping off my clothes.
Here we go:
First off, I want to congratulate you. After years of escaping custody or detection it appears you are finally on to me. Yes, it is I, the Sandwich Bandit! Also known as the Sandit! All I have to do is go into any of your 1,000,000 locations across these grand United States and tell your employees that I received a phone call from a manager telling me to come in and get a free sub after they had screwed up, and they would give it to me. Unbelievable! I mean, we aren’t talking about just any free item here, we’re talking about a sandwich. Thanks to this scam, I haven’t had to work for 13 years.
But that’s not why I do it. It’s not about the tens of dollars I save on sandwiches, though it is nice to know what Donald Trump must feel like. No, I do it for the thrill. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to have adrenaline rushing through my veins as they are unwittingly toasting a sub that I will get for free even though I am totally fooling them.
It was all as my dad taught me to do from the time I was a little kid. You see, Curly Sue wasn’t only based on a true story but it was based on me and they changed it from a boy to a girl because Alisan Porter was too cute for words. I didn’t mind though, and I got a free signed six-inch meatball sub from Jim Belushi. He was kind enough to give me a free sub, and so to have you been doing for all of these years.
But today was perhaps the final day for me. I walked into your Subway on National Blvd and told them what I’ve been telling thousands of artists for years, that I had an issue with my last visit and was told I could get a free sub. As I waited for them to apologize and work it out, you can imagine my surprise when they didn’t comply.
“Look, I would have much preferred just a coupon but I was told to just come in and say what I am saying right now.”
She looked back at me deeply, silent, speechless. I wondered what her life must be like, what her hopes are, what she dreams of, and for that moment we weren’t a customer and a sandwich artist; we were one. We were friends, soulmates, lovers, dreamers, children, animals, we were wind and water and fire and stone. But only for a fleeting moment did we hold this glance of perfect understanding.
And then she told me that she couldn’t help me because she didn’t know what I was talking about, and so I paid regular price for a sub. Regular price?! I guess I’ll have to get a job again. I took out a loan just today to make up for buying a whole sub.
I’ll try again tomorrow and see if perhaps the dream isn’t dead. I just pray that never the day comes when a person makes a minor complaint and you simply send them a coupon, not much different than the millions of coupons you send out in the Daily, rather than make them go talk to a manager to make up for their last unpleasant experience at one of your 1,000,000 Subway restaurants in these grand United States. Please, don’t ever ever ever do that. It would be too sensible. I’ll just be here, finishing my full price sub and waiting for the day when Prince Charming comes along and simply buys my subs for me.
And now, we wait.
Here is a little bit more to the story, because that wasn’t detailed enough. I walked up to the Subway nervous because I felt like maybe they wouldn’t believe me because why would they? But that’s what I was told to do. I leaned in closely to the sandwich artist and whispered softly, “Yeah, I had a minor issue last time I was here and they told me I could come in and get a free sub?”
Then she sort of stared back at me like, “What the heck are you talking about?” Then she asked the other girl making a sandwich for someone else and when she stopped making the sandwich for the other customer, I was like “no no no, go back to her sandwich it’s no big deal.” I was embarrassed that I had to go into a Subway and ask for a free sandwich but THAT’S WHAT I WAS TOLD TO DO. After minor quibbling, I told her to just make me a sandwich (that sounds so misogynistic even if you’re AT Subway) and if it didn’t get worked out I would just pay for it. Because here’s the secret that I dare never tell anyone but I’ll reveal it to you just this one time.
I can afford sandwiches.
I don’t go around trying to screw over major corporations by stealing all of their sandwiches. But as a company providing something to a customer, when you fuck up, make up for it. Have make-up sex with me, in the metaphorical sense. Bang me hard with your cold cut combo and tell me it’s free and I’ve been a bad boy. Don’t give me a chore to do and then when I do it, make me pay for another sub. Which is exactly what I did because I felt like a FOOL in the first place. You do this to us because you know that a large percentage of people that complain will never take you up on your offer. The right thing to do would be to send me a coupon and tell me to go to hell if I don’t like it. Want to save paper? Great, you had someone email me in the first place so have her email me a one-time coupon. It’s so easy to do, even a moron like me that wouldn’t know “Where the message goes durr duh duh duh” would be able to do it and figure it out.
What could have been ended weeks ago rages on. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go tell a wealthy widow that I’ve got a great investment for her and that I love her.
March 4, 2013 § 15 Comments
On Saturday morning I got up at around 8 AM in a bad way. (I don’t see this phrase “in a bad way” used a lot so here it is with my first usage of it.) We got superbly hammered on Friday night and I didn’t eat very much so the hangover was especially worse and my cure for any hangover is usually “way too much food” because how much more damage could I do to my body?
I decided on Subway. I went to a Subway that I don’t usually go to because when I started driving I didn’t know where I was going then I said, “Subway b-fast is pretty good actually” and I probably actually said “breakfast” and not the shorter version in my head but I said it shorter there to save time. See how much time I saved? I decided on a six-inch something on flatbread. I don’t remember exactly what but it had egg (yellow) and other things. Use your imagination! I paid for it and left. No, I paid for it and also spend over $4 on a frappacino at the next door Coffee Bean. I’m not good with money or eating habits or drinking habits. So far this story is incredibly unflattering.
It gets worse.
After I demolished that six-inch sub (the size choice of six inches because I decided “I don’t need a whole damn foot of breakfast sub”) I went to a different Subway and ordered another six-inch breakfast sub. Damn it damn it damn it damn it. The first sub was okay, but mostly I was still not feeling well and just wanted to eat more things. I went to the other Subway and ordered a different six-inch breakfast sub. After we were wrapping up (pun) the order, the woman asked me if I wanted coffee or soda. ”No, I’m good” (which is code for, “I would love some more stuff but I’ve spent like $14 already on this random morning breakfast outing”) ’twas my reply. But there’s more she explained:
“Oh but it’s the same price.”
“BWAH!?!?!” because I probably did have an audible freakout over free soda or coffee. But mostly I was concerned that either A) The first Subway did not inform me of a free soda or coffee or B) that one of the Subways was just giving shit away without rhyme or reason. (Or maybe C) Different store policies because this is a franchise, but I just doubt that explanation.) I’m not mad at the first Subway, but I was curious as hell as to what was happened. I had to contact Subway and keep them abreast about the situation and what’s going on with some of their Los Angeles area Subways.
(by the fucking way, when I did a location search for Subways near my zip code, the below image is my result. There are more Subways than there are McDonalds, and holy shit that must be true. This is maybe an example of one square mile…)
It sort of reminds me of what maps will look like when a zombie invasion or virus outbreak happens in the world. ”This is what the country will look like after one hour. /next slide. After 1 day.” and then it keeps growing except in this case it’s just more and more Subways until the whole world is covered in Subways except for the oceans, in which only about 15% are covered with floating Subways.
I sent Subway an email through their website, which I sadly do not have anymore. It was kinda funny but I basically just wanted to know which Subway was right and that the woman at the second Subway did an excellent job of informing me of this free soda, unless there wasn’t supposed to be a free soda in which case reprimand her I guess? I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble!
Oh, the flatbread at both places was also stale and I did not even finish the second sub. This was 75% because it turns out I only need 2 more inches (lol!) of sub to satisfy myself but 25% because the flatbread was so stale that it was sort of like eating a sandwich in which you’ve used cardboard as the slices, which I guess you would call a “Hobo Sandwich” trademark.
Denise at Customer Care sent me this response:
Thank you for taking the time to share your comments with us.
In order to better assist you, I will need to know the exact location of the SUBWAY® restaurant that you have visited so that our regional office can investigate this properly. Would you please reply by e-mail or by calling me at 1-800-888-4848 ext. 8201 to provide me with a complete address of the location you visited or a nearby landmark. Please refer to the Customer ID listed below when replying.
I appreciate that you took the time and effort to contact us and am looking forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Fair enough! I was honestly wondering if Subway was going to respond because it had been two days and conglomerates usually have an entire nation of customer care people but then I realize now that it was the weekend and they also get a lot of complaints. I guess I’ve been soured too because I sent Apple an honest-to-God “this is Bullshit!” complaint a little while ago and they ignored me… twice!
I am actually a pretty sweet man to customer service people. Their jobs suck and they’re doing the best they can and it’s not their fault and they can only do so much. So on the phone or whatever I will try and make their day and be a fun-loving customer that’s had a rough interaction with their company. I am not mad at Subway, their reputation for stale bread precedes them anyway, but I decided to have fun with this one. I ended up having maybe too much fun, but could also have an Emmy-award winning show on our hands. Here is my response to Denise:
Hi Denise (that’s my mothers name too!)I looked up the locations on your handy website. Man, you guys have a lot of locations! Not a problem, everybody needs sandwiches and that kind of convenience certainly doesn’t sub me the wrong way.Subway #13028 was the second location. That girl should be given a raise, but I don’t know her name so I guess give all the girls there raises. They’ve always been nice to me. Oh wait, except the flatbread was so hard that I didn’t finish half of it. Keep everyone at the same payscale actually.Subway #13477 was the first location. I think that they should just know “Hey, free drinks!” if there really are free drinks when you order a certain breakfast sub, because that’s a great deal. If it really is a deal, you should be advertising it more. It could go, “Free. Free dollars. Free dollars driiinkkkss! Come on down to Subway and get a free coffee or soda with every sub sandwich purchase before 9 am! Can you believe we’re just giving this stuff away? Tell ‘em Jared” and then Jared comes on and says, “You guys should really just be getting water anyway.” And then McKayla Maroney is all “I’m not impressed, get me a diet coke!” and then the two of them, Jared and McKayla Maroney stand back-to-back with their arms folded and a look like “This guy!” Maybe it could even be a sitcom this fall on NBC? The show could be called “Sub-Standard” and it’s about Jared from Subway and he’s dating McKayla Maroney and he’s always trying to lose weight or gain muscle and do better for her but always falling short and her catchphrase could be like, “Oh brother!” and his catch phrase after she burns him with another mean look will be “I didn’t ask if you wanted it toasted or untoasted!” Is she 18 though? Look, I haven’t thought this all the way through yet, I’m just spitballing. Tell me if you think that will work Denise.Also get back to me about the stale bread I guess, but mostly your thoughts on “Sub-Standard”.Thanks and have a wonderful day!Kenny (writer and creator of Sub-Standard. Also plays the whacky neighbor ”Mr Fundek”)
March 1, 2013 § 4 Comments
I don’t think that I am the first person to ask questions in relation to existentialism. In fact, I know that I am not because I just used the word ‘existentialism’ and I certainly did not just make it up. I don’t think that I am the only person to constantly ask myself questions like “What the hell am I doing here?” and “Why do I have to exist?” and sometimes wishing that I had never existed in the first place so I wouldn’t have to worry about eating too many hamburgers or drinking too much alcohol. My boss wants me to work tomorrow night from 8 PM to 4 AM…
Again, why the hell am I here?
Why do I have to deal with my idiotic boss? Why do I have to go to the gym later? Why do we have water, and air, and fun size Crunch bars, and Lollapalooza, and dinosaur fossils, and World War II, and the word ‘often’, and Push Pops?
It’s such a damn frustrating question, trying to figure out why the hell any of this was brought here, and after billions of years of the universe it doesn’t seem we are any closer to any answers. If most things appear to have a purpose then certainly the biggest thing of all, EVERYTHING, has to have one too, right? But there does not appear to be a logical purpose to the existence of everything we’ve ever known and if the universe was wiped away from existence right at this very second… So what? What would be the loss, really? We don’t know because we really don’t know what we have ever gained. The dinosaurs roamed the Earth for over 150 million years which is like 750 times longer than humans and our ancestors. Or just think about how long modern humans have lived or how long since the start of the industrial age or how long since we’ve had the internet and it’s ridiculous to think about how short our existence has been and if the only purpose of the dinosaurs was to give us oil and the Jurassic Park trilogy after 150,000,000 years of existence then what the hell is the good of us?
I feel like such a pompous ass to even bring up the question as if I could grasp a small fraction of what Kierkegaard or Nietzche could understand, or that even asking “Why do we ask why?” is going to make a damn difference, or that it might look like I would assume that nobody else but me is bothered by these questions (see, I could be making a pompous ass out of u and me) or the age old problem that even bringing it up is rather another exercise in futility… but fuck!
That’s the best that I’ve got. That’s me as a philosopher. And it might not be deep and it might not help anyone, anywhere, any time, but I am just so frustrated that we all must wallow in our existence and not even be given a clue as to WHY? Fuuuuuuuucccckkkkkkk.
In my next example, I don’t want to just say “humanity” because animals deserve answers too. I don’t want to just say “creatures”, because plants deserve answers too. And I don’t want to say just “life”, because inanimate objects deserve answers too and to be honest with you who am I to say there isn’t some life in a star or an ocean or a planet? So I will just say, “STUFF”:
I just wish that STUFF could go on a daytime talk show like Maury and the topic of today’s show is “WHY?”. And then Maury would get to setup the show and play clips of STUFF and WHY and lay out the concept of today’s show.
Maury: Take a look at this.
WHY: I’m gonna be who I be and ain’t nobody gonna tell me that I gotta give ‘em answers.
STUFF: I’m just so frustrated with WHY and I don’t know if I can put up with it anymore. WHY is worse than an out-of-control teen and I need to send WHY to the Answers boot camp.
WHY: I don’t care. /finger wave
STUFF: Maury, please help my teen, WHY.
Maury: Okay, please welcome WHY to the show!
(audience boos and hisses)
WHY: FUCK YOU! YOU DON’T KNOW ME!! FUCK YOU!
Maury: Why, everyone wants to know…. Why?
WHY: I’MMA DO WHAT I WANT!
WHY: FUCK YOU!
Maury: Let’s bring out, STUFF.
STUFF: I don’t know if I can take it anymore, Maury. I just need to know WHY.
Maury: WHY, doesn’t that hurt a little? To see STUFF in pain?
WHY: (calmer) I don’t care.
WHY: FUCK YOU!
Maury: Well, WHY, I’ve got a surprise for you. You’re going to ANSWERS camp!
Maury: We’ll be right back, and that’s when you’ll get the ANSWERS!
And then the show goes to commercial break and never comes back.
For Christ’s sake, WHO IS THE FATHER?! Oh, speaking of Christ and father’s, I don’t want to get into a religious debate. This isn’t about religion. But even religion doesn’t actually have answers, it only has a peace of mind but it doesn’t have answers. God created the heavens and the Earth (and other planets too I assume now that we know about other planets and other things, right?) because he was bored and stuff — Cheers was a re-run that day.
The most frustrating part about life is life. The fact that it even is. I spend all day looking around at shit and thinking, “Seriously? Pens?!?!” or ”Oh wow… calenders!” and “What genius came up with cups, am I right?!”
Will we ever get any answers or is it going to be more disappointing than the Architect in the Matrix? Was there ever a purpose or a being or a something that would be around to give us any answers? Do we find out after life? Therein lies the problem with even starting a post like this: They just end.
February 26, 2013 § 10 Comments
This is my experience throughout school: I wasn’t cool enough to hang out with the cool kids. I wasn’t nerdy enough to hang out with the nerdy kids. I wasn’t popular enough to hang out with the popular kids. I wasn’t old enough to hang out with my grandparents. That’s basically how I became a “floater” in high school. I had acquaintances everywhere, I had casual friends all over, I changed best friends every year just like I changed the first day outfit every year.
I never felt like a loser because of this. Never. And I still don’t think that it made me a loser, because it wasn’t like I had a bunch of people that disliked me, I just didn’t have a bunch of close friends. I wasn’t picked on or anything, I wasn’t made fun of (that I know of) and I didn’t get wedgies or stuffed into my locker. Partly because I was twice as big as everyone else, partly because I was more of a harmless class clown than the subject of ridicule, but I keep in contact with very few people that I went to school with from the K-12 years.
Some of my best friends from middle school started drinking and doing drugs in high school, and since I didn’t really do that, we grew apart and I couldn’t hang out consistently with them. I had a group of friends that I hung out with that were a year younger than me, and that didn’t always work. I had another group of friends that were a year older than me, and that didn’t always work. I could never get too attached to anyone, but I would never want to drift too far away either.
I played sports for awhile, but I was terrible. No, let me re-phrase that: I played sports for awhile. Football, baseball, basketball, and track & field, and I was the worst athlete you’ve ever seen in your entire life. If you tried to imagine the worst athlete you’ve ever seen in your entire life, you still didn’t go far enough into just how bad of an athlete I am/was. So playing on the football team didn’t help me become popular. Spending life at the end of the bench of the sophomore basketball team didn’t get me dates with cheerleaders. Throwing a javelin 8 feet didn’t land me “Most Likely To Be Awesome!” in the yearbook.
So I wasn’t cool or popular, but could I at least find a home? Not with the nerds.
I loved movies, and I loved Star Wars, and I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation, but it’s not like I could keep up with a conversation of an actual Trekkie (offensive terminology I believe, not that I would know for certain) or Star Wars nerd. I had some Magic: The Gathering cards, but I don’t know that I actually played in any real games. I played some video games, but not intensely. My hobbies, watching movies and reciting sports statistics, didn’t really make me a part of any group of people in high school and by nature can be rather isolating. Even being a “class clown” (some would have probably just called me a “clown”) doesn’t necessarily help you either. People would rather laugh from afar, and then stay afar as I’m being sent to the principal’s office. I spent so much time in there that eventually she did become my pal. The mnemonic device really works! (I always remembered to spell mnemonic because of the episode of Full House where Stephanie incorrectly spells mnemonic. How meta.)
“Hey, remember when Kenny said that thing about the teacher?”
“Want to invite him to the party?”
By college, things were able to change a little bit. I made a few friends that I’ve had ever since and now that “cliques” and “cool” have not become a part of your societal status, I don’t have to worry about where I stand among my peers now that I am 30. Still, it doesn’t mean that most people still don’t like to think of themselves as being “cool” once in awhile or having people that see value in you where others might not have. That’s what I used to have with somebody. That’s what I think I lost recently.
I grew up with one sister, one half-sister, and one half-brother. My half-brother and half-sister are more than decade older than me and we never really lived together. We have relationships, but it’s distant. My sister is four years older than me and we did grow up together and the only three people that know for certain what our childhood was like are me, her, and our mother. That’s not a bond that can ever be replaced, but still we aren’t that close. She could not wait to move out of the house as a teen, and she never hid that fact, and she absolutely bolted when she could. Being four years older than me, no teenage girl wants to be associated with their four-years-younger brother. You would have thought that would be mostly a teenage girl thing, but since the time that she moved out of the house over ten years ago, I don’t know how many times my sister has actually called me. Maybe five times? None of them were to just see how I was doing. And I don’t know how many emails I’ve received “just because”… Maybe a couple.
I was the youngest sibling of all, and most of the time I’ve still felt like an only child. I know that all of my siblings would be there for me when I needed it, and vice versa, but none of them have ever really needed me. I just wanted someone to provide some value to, maybe even to look up to. Finally after college graduation, I became closer to some extended family and found some of that peace. but even that could only last for so long.
My mother’s cousin was not someone that I saw very much as a kid. I remember going over there once, I might have only been thirteen or fourteen, and playing with her kids (or maybe just the one kid at the time) for awhile. ”E” must have only been a tot back then and “B” might have either been a newborn or a very young toddler at best. (It would make the most sense if she was a newborn, hence giving me a reason to go over there with my mom at the time.) But fast forward to after college graduation, when I was now 23, “E” and “B” were both young ladies and over the years the family grew closer and I spent more time hanging out with my mom’s cousin and her kids. For the first time, I felt like I had someone that needed me to be a brother, that needed some guidance maybe, and that I was actually going to be the “cool” older person that wouldn’t judge you and that you could confide in.
Me…. cool?!? You’re darn tootin’! that i’ve already lost my “cool card” haven’t i? aww nuts. /kicks dirt.
When I showed up to their house, I could see the excitement on their faces that I was there. When I talked to E on the phone, I could hear how happy she was to be talking to me. The same with B. With this “new” extended family, I felt more like I had a purpose within a family, and that I could finally beat up boys for someone and give advice and be a cool dude. In high school I thought it would make me a cool dude to do freestyle raps and sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” with perfect pitch (that’s perfect-pitch, mind you) but no? Does it not make me a “cool dude” to say that I have won two karaoke contests, know the lyrics to every song on the Boyz II Men “II” album, and have seen every episode of Saved by the Bell at least ten times? If that doesn’t make me cool, then I don’t know what does.
I don’t know what does.
But to them, to E and B, I was just cool. I didn’t have to prove anything, I didn’t have to be anything other than myself, I was just a second cousin that loved my family unconditionally. We never got to spend too much time together, I moved to Los Angeles from Seattle only a few years after college graduation and have been back sparingly since, but when I was back up in Washinton we always have a good time. Most recently we got together at a Thanksgiving function where I totally kicked ass on a Wii dancing game for tween girls and if that doesn’t make me unconditionally cool then I really am completely lost on the meaning of cool.
A few months ago, E told me that she wanted to come down and visit me in LA for her 19th birthday. I don’t exactly know how to host a teenager in LA, but somebody actually wanted to come visit me! She was very excited for the trip right up until the time that I picked her up from LAX and I could still hear that same “you’re cool to me, Kenny” in her voice that morning. It just didn’t seem like long after that though when I started to switch from feeling like “cool older bro” to “lame Dad” or “weird Uncle” and NOBODY wants to be seen as an uncle. I even hope that my actual niece and nephew see me as something other than an uncle. Friend? Sure. Confidant? Yes. The kind of guy that if you threw a party would give you the biggest gift and the card attached would say “Thank you for being a FRIEND and NOT an uncle!” Hell yes. But never a weird uncle.
We spent all day Friday at Disneyland, and by that I mean we were at Disneyland from 8 AM to 11 PM. Now I really started to feel old. My feet and back had given out when there was “only” nine more hours left until the fireworks display. But none of that bothered me as much as watching the look of admiration from my cousin evaporate and turn into a distance of “we ain’t got shit in common” that might be too far to travel; Even further than the 20 or so miles that we had trekked in Disneyland that day. And it’s a reasonable reaction for her too because just what exactly do I have in common with a person born in 1994?
I said “Let’s go on the Roger Rabbit ride!!!” (with at least three real-life audible exclamation points indeed) and I don’t know what could be cooler than a 30-year-old man wanting to go on a Roger Rabbit car ride, but she hadn’t even heard of Roger Rabbit.
She hadn’t even heard of Roger Rabbit.
She wouldn’t know of Boyz II Men. She’s never seen Saved by the Bell. Golden Girls? Get out of town. That’s when you realize that an eleven year difference isn’t just eleven years; it’s a generation. Maybe on some level this really did make me more like a “brother” figure, since I’m not close to my own actual siblings in that way, but on another level I also felt like I lost one of the last people that might have thought I was cool in the whole entire world. For a time when you think family could bond, instead it seems like getting closer can sometimes pull you apart.
When I sent her off back to Washington and said “Goodbye” I knew I wasn’t just saying any regular goodbye. I was saying goodbye to the kid I had once known and saying hello to the next phase of her being a young woman that didn’t need me to beat up any boys or provide any advice or be a big brother. Maybe B would need that one day, with another four years of being a high schooler still ahead of her, but I also won’t be around for much of it. Sometimes you just have to accept the situation you are in and find a way to mold it into the situation that makes you happiest. I never had a group of kids growing up that I ever felt fully accepted me, and I never had a sibling that I felt ever really needed me, and I never had a label of being the most popular, or the smartest, or the coolest.
But labels don’t define you. Labels are like the difference between “infer” and “imply.” You could be inferring that I am lame, but I’m trying to imply that I am cool and if you didn’t notice my “ALF” t-shirt that’s your problem. If you can’t tell that I’ve got LA Looks in my hair, sorry pal move along. Maybe I’m not the broad definition of cool, maybe I’m not James Dean or Marlon Brando or AC Slater, maybe I can’t ride a motorcycle or even cite to you every character from Star Trek, but I’ve got other things that make me cool because cool is what you make of it. Cool is being yourself and not giving a heck. Cool is doing what you do because you love it, not because someone else does.
I’ve got family that’s there for me, even if we don’t talk all the time and even if they insist on growing up and getting older. I’ve got friends that accept me for who I am and actually enjoy my jokes about politics and fart puns. And I’m not going to shy away from showing my insecurities to the world in a blog post, even if it leaves me bare and exposed, because maybe it’ll relate to just one other person and let them see that they weren’t the only one.
I actually think that makes me pretty cool.
/breaks out into Adele “Someone Like You” in perfect pitch. Perfect. Pitch.