6.23.2008

"Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck."

I remember discovering an old George Carlin stand-up routine on some old VHS tape someone had lent my parents. It was one of his old HBO shows from the early '80s or maybe even late '70s, and I remember being excited and frantic at what I had just discovered while simultaneously horrified that my parents might find out.

It was an entirely alien point of view to me. He was so adept at pointing out the absolutely absurd and stupid things we do and accept every day as just part of life. It blew my mind and I was hooked.

I started scraping my dimes together and snagging one of his tapes and later on CDs whenever I could. In high school I would recite his act word for word at the lunch table while all my friends were either impressed or faking it very well.

It felt great to get the laughs, even with someone else's stuff, but the real thrill for me was the fact that the words coming out of my mouth were poignant. They were intelligent, they were counter-culture, and they called people on bullshit...I just didn't happen to write any of it.

I realized that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to say things so people would react in that same way. I wanted to be relevant and real and FUNNY.

I'm still working on making my words mean something, but watching a guy like George Carlin (or Bill Hicks, another dead hero) makes me feel good because even if I fuck this up, at least someone did it right.

6.11.2008

I am a champion of gay rights

I went to a bar last night with some friends from my old job to watch the Laker game. It was also a warm-up for the going-away party Brittany was having since she's moving to Texas Monday (and we're gonna miss you, BRog).

So Marie, Brittany, Ryan and I are sitting at our PRIME location table (we showed up an hour before tipoff) in the corner enjoying various fried things and some drinks when the bar starts filling up. The table next to us has about seven people sitting and standing at it, one of which is a Korean man with glasses, a shaved head and a nice looking dress shirt. Probably mid- to late-20s, some sort of professional judging by his appearance, and incredibly annoyingly loud.

"YEAH YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! BOO-YAH!" was his mantra. Any time the Lakers did anything remotely good, including not tripping and falling down on a fast break, the guy was jumping out of his seat and screaming expletives at the screen. It was incredibly annoying, and I made some loud-enough-that-he-should-overhear-this comments to my pals about what a douche he was.

Still, he continued with little regard for Brittany's ears, as she was sitting closest, and his own dignity. The people at his table, one of which - judging by the nasty tongue kiss he laid on her - must've been his girlfriend, repeatedly asked him to calm down and reminded him it was only a game. Of basketball. On TV. And he was about 15 miles away from the stadium. So it's not like Kobe's going to hear him screaming and suddenly find the will to take it to the hole.

So I already didn't like the guy.

My real problem with him began when he started calling the Lakers "faggots" for blowing a play or missing a shot. I wasn't uptight about someone insulting the Lakers, mind you. I give less than two shits about basketball in general. But screaming "FAGGOT!" at a TV in a bar not only insults any gay basketball fans in the bar (and gays in general) it makes you look like an ignorant bigot fuckhead and now I'm guilty by association too if I don't put you in your fucking place.

I made a very exaggerated disapproving head shake and stared the guy down, but he was undeterred. The yelling continued, but I was prepared to let that slide if we could have a cease-fire on the F word. Nope. He was just waiting for someone in the game to screw up.

"OH COME ON YOU FUCKING FAGGOT!" I turned to disapprove again and he was staring right at me. "What? You tryin' to tell me he's NOT a faggot?"

"Tell you what," I said a little more confidently than I would have if I hadn't just downed a shot and three beers, "Why don't we just start calling them GOOKS every time they fuck up?" I seriously called a Korean man a gook. To his face. I was now no better than him, but I felt I had to get my hands dirty to prove a point. He stared at me. I stared at him. I was right on this one, and even though he looked like he might be able to beat my ass and his four buddies could probably whip the shit out of Ryan and I collectively I knew I had the moral high ground. I wasn't exactly prepared to get beat up, but I was willing to fight this guy. I was kind of fired up.

"If you're going to keep staring at me you'd better buy me a drink," I said. Yeah, that's the ticket. Make the homophobe think I'm gay. That'll throw him off.

"Maybe later. You're kind of cute," he said sarcastically. Why do these frat boy mentalities insist on using "gay" as a synonym for bad, stupid, useless, and pretty much any other negative adjective they don't have in their vocabulary, yet they constantly pretend to be over the top queens as a joke?

After that it simmered down. Ryan inadvertently dumped a beer on me so THAT perked up my confidence. Soon enough it was time to roll to Brittany's party and we left at halftime. The Korean guy asked politely if he could have our table as we were leaving.

So it's a pretty neat story and I end up looking kind of badass because I stood up for what's right and I didn't get the shit kicked out of me, but the more I think about it the more disturbed I am that no one else said anything.

Ryan was ready to break the guy's nose, but thankfully didn't act on that impulse. He said he wanted to lay into the guy but I got there first so he let me roll with it. But everyone else must've just figured, "Oh well."

Would it have been cool if he had called the players niggers? Whops? Dykes? Spicks? Why is it okay to say that when someone screws up they're gay or a fag?

In the interest of full disclosure I've totally been guilty of this; of course then I went to college and actually met friends who were gay and it changed my perspective. There's a certain level of insulation in places like the Midwest that allows this shit to happen. If you grow up never knowing a gay person (or a black person, or a Mexican person, or a lesbian, or a feminist, or any other culture) all you have to go on is what the people around you say.

My parents grew up in East St. Louis and saw some of the worst parts of society, black AND white, and yet aren't racist. I never heard either of them use the N word, never heard a story about "the blacks" ruining property values or stealing or anything. Now unfortunately I do have some of that shit in my extended family, but I was fortunate enough to get a dose of reality from my folks. I grew up in a tiny whitebread town that was basically a suburb of St. Louis but insular enough that if you didn't do much traveling (and not many people there do) you might never meet anyone different from you.

So when you've never met a black person but you're retarded racist grandpa drops the N word like it's going out of style you might end up thinking like that. Same thing goes for any race, creed or sexual orientation.

But what was this guy's excuse? He lives in LA, one of the most populous and diverse cities in America. He was also less than five miles from West Hollywood, which has one of the biggest gay communities in the area. How could he possibly think this was okay?

If you're going to be a bigot and hate people, fine. But if the fags or dykes or spicks or niggers or whoever is ruining your day, do the rest of us a favor and lock yourself in your house and never come out. They won't bother you, and you won't make everyone have to deal with you being an asshole.

PS I know this doesn't actually make me some beacon of tolerance, I'm not that stuck on myself. But I think it does make me a normal-thinking human being who won't put up with epithets, and I'm okay with that.

6.03.2008

It's still real to me, dammit.



Come on. How can you not want to just hug this man? He's so obviously ready to boil over with emotion at how awful his life truly is. At first he was really excited about attending a Q & A session with third-tier wrestling "talent" in the local high school gym. He probably won the tickets on a local AM radio station call-in because he knew that whatever butt fuck town he lives in used to have a statue of Popeye in the town square.

Then he had a day or two before the event to really take it all in. Maybe he went to the bar and bragged to his buddies. Then some dickhead kid home from college overheard and said, "Wow. That sounds incredibly stupid."

Those words stuck with him. He put on a good show at the time, all bluster and piss and vinegar. But when he got home that night he kept replaying the event in his mind. It started out with fantasies of putting that jerk kid in his place. Smacking him across the mouth or punching his lights out.

But the cold hard stare of reality wouldn't be denied. It bore into his eyes like huge augers of God until finally he had to accept what he had known his whole life: he was a loser.

But he was committed to attending that Q & A, dammit. Besides, he didn't have anything else to do. Once he sat on the gym benches with like-minded individuals the pain started to fade. He felt relaxed. He could enjoy this after all.

And in that moment, when the microphone was handed to him, it all came roaring back. His critical self-conscious mind started berating him for actually enjoying this. "You're a loser!" his inner monologue bellowed. And he knew that it was true. This was his shame.

As the words came from his mouth the burden of all that knowledge broke him. His voice cracked and the floodgates opened. He was a shell of a man completing the one task that would ever bring him joy in his miserable existence.

6.01.2008

Holy shit.

Fucking OUCH man.

That's hair. Minus the head. I was walking to the roach coach the other day and saw this on the sidewalk behind a bus stop.

What the hell happened here? It blew my mind. Was there a fight? Did someone's low-cost weave just disintegrate as they boarded the Dash Bus? Was someone collecting these things and happened to drop one?

I'll never know. But if you're out there looking for your onyx tresses, you can find it at Pico and La Brea.