I’m sorry your wife died…
I didn’t steal those artifacts…
Of course I packed your parachute…
Your mom is nice…
I’ve never seen those handguns before…
This pocket watch belongs to me…
Your painting is really good…
Honey, we’re just friends…
That was on fire when I got here...
I love you...
Author’s Note: Dust off your time machines and turn the dial back to the distant era of 2016, which is when I wrote this piece. Things may be different in the online dating world nowadays. Maybe middle finger pictures are cool now and all you Neato Reados will scoff at how sad and out of touch I am. (Testing out this nickname for my audience, please provide feedback by writing your disapproval on a bar napkin and throwing it into the ocean.) Although I’m pretty sure public opinion hasn’t changed about dick pics. If you send an unsolicited dick pic to a woman who is just trying to find someone she can pick her nose in front of with wanton abandon, you are a toilet. The end.
“My grandparents met on Tinder”: “I saw this on Buzzfeed. I still quote Borat a lot.”
Shirtless selfies: “I can crush a walnut with my butt cheeks but I’m still not clear on who Paul Ryan is.”
Fishing pictures: “My dad dragged me to Wisconsin for a ‘guy’s weekend’ and I had to miss Lollapalooza, but I made the best of it and murdered this fish.”
“I’m laid-back/easygoing”: “I have the personality of a packing peanut.”
Reviews (e.g. “The best guy I know!” -My Mom. “His breath always smells like chamomile and unicorns!” -New York Times): “The only original thought I ever had was for a sitcom called ‘Carol of the Balls.’ I was six Jack and Diets deep when I thought of it, so I don’t remember the premise. Except Carol’s a skank. And something about the Yankees. I was hungover until midnight the next day.”
Picture at Machu Picchu: “I, too, studied abroad in college.”
Middle finger picture: “I have a Limp Bizkit tattoo.”
Career listed as “Entrepreneur”: “I am unemployed but I’ve got a lot of big ideas. Like an app that tells you when there are dogs nearby. Or an ejector seat on a subway train for when a fight breaks out. Or dessert tacos with icing instead of cheese. Do you know anyone who’s hiring?”
“I love craft beer”: “I just learned about IPA’s. I wear unique pants.”
“I love whiskey/pizza/tacos”: “Get this! I also like having fun. And being happy. And not asphyxiating under a flaming mountain of moldy gym socks. It’s crazy, I know.”
2+ pictures in funny hats: “My exes would say I’m ‘a bit much.’”
“I’m very sarcastic”: “I’m the kind of person who rips into someone in front of a group and then says, ‘It was just a joke, dude. Don’t be so sensitive.’”
“No hookups”: “I copy-paste messages like ‘Hey beautiful! Why r u not my girlfriend?’ to every woman I match with. I am wearing a backwards hat in all of my pictures and my job title is listed as ‘Sales Dynamo.’”
Bald with a beard, no tattoos: “I do improv and own a lot of dope hats. I have a whimsical necktie for every occasion.”
Bald with a beard, tattoos: “I play bass.”
Sunglasses in every picture: “My eyes are two buttholes I must hide from the light of day lest the demons find me and return me to the fiery throes of the underworld whence I escaped so many centuries ago.”
“No drama”: “I get into a lot of Facebook fights with my elderly relatives.”
“Please respect yourself”: “I will try to dazzle the pants off of you with a dick pic, and when you decline, I will call you a nasty bitch hoe. Also, you’re fat and ugly. I only messaged you as a joke.”
“I’m spontaneous”: “One time a barista gave me the wrong scone and I ate it anyway.”
*Snaps fingers and a lackey appears*
Bring me the man responsible for this.
You call this coffee?! *spits*
Fly, my pretties!
Anybody else have somethin’ to say?
Heads will roll!
You’re on thin ice, pal.
Say it again. Say. It. Again.
Let that be a lesson to you.
You will not rest until you bring me his head on a platter.
Tell my husband I’m gonna be late.
We move at dawn.
You think it’s MY job to make sure you get to your son’s christening on time??
In due time, gents. In due time.
I sat upon the train today
Having had enough of work.
A dame was seated next to me
As the train began to lurch.
She made a move as if to leave
So I offered up a path.
“Oh no,” she muttered quietly.
“I’ve a different pressing task.
“My glasses have got lost, you see,
And I think they’re where you are.”
“Oh dear,” I said, “They are not here,
They must be somewhere in this car.”
“Tut tut,” she said, “Forget it all,
I don’t want them anyway.”
“But do you not need them to see?”
I protested in dismay.
She heaved and sighed and shook her head,
Then turned her face from me.
She scoffed and huffed and rolled her eyes,
Irked by my audacity.
“I said I do not need the things!”
She snapped with rising ire.
“I told you to leave it alone,
You kids make small things dire.”
And then she stood and brushed right past
As I sat with mouth agape.
She shuffled off the train with haste
And tripped on a suitcase.
The last I saw my irate friend,
She was glaring through the glass.
I swear I only tried to help,
But she thinks I’m an ass.
While playing Euro Truck Simulator 2, in which he is a truck driver making deliveries:
I’m delivering cheese safe and sound according to the law.
Why would I not want my side view mirrors on, am I a monster??
(Sips beer) I’m drinking on the job.
He cut me off! I’m bigger than him! I could have hurt somebody!
I got a speeding ticket again! For $200… this job’s costing me more than it’s worth!
(Asks Siri): How do I know the speed limit in Euro Truck Simulator 2?
I’m making great time!
Let’s play it safe, let’s just back that ass straight up.
Hey Mr. Tambourine Man, shut the fuck up.
While playing Fortnite:
I hit him twice, three times a lady!
Oh, I am getting exponentially better at this game! Don’t play like a dingus is the number one rule.
Don’t fuck with me, I’m an astronaut for now, boys… oh this is gonna be bad news.
Kate, these guys are jerks!
I’ll take that! Or you will, go ahead!
So I can kick the soccer ball but I can’t shoot the soccer ball. Are they trying to tell me something?
Oh thank you for being so generous, fuckface.
I have no ammo, nothin, just jumpin in a dream!
I’m ready to fuck shit up space style!
Did I just get one shot?! I’m not down with that.
Hi Carol. Thank you for coming in. Please shut the door behind you and have a seat. How’s the day treating you? I know, I’m absolutely swamped. Hopkins used the wrong slide deck template again, so I’ve been playing catch up all day. TGIF, am I right?
Look, I wanted to touch base with you this afternoon because I don’t like the direction we’re going in. To be honest, I’m not finding you to be much of a value add anymore. We’ve gotten way off target over the last few months, and as much as it pains me to say this, I think it’s time to table this relationship. In Q3, I was willing to give you another chance. We put you on a PIP, and it really did seem like things were improving. You tried to double down your efforts, you really did, but if I can speak frankly, your performance has been less than satisfactory, and going forward, I think we should see other people. I know this is unpleasant, but come next fiscal year, I think you’ll see a lot of growth. Give it some time. You’ll love the margins.
To your point about the apartment, I’ve already terminated your access and had you removed from the lease. I’m sure you’ll find another apartment in no time. It’s a great market for it and demand for your pay grade is high this year, so I wouldn’t worry too much. You can always stay with a friend and live remote. I think you’ll find that’s more than reasonable.
I’m sorry, I just don’t have the bandwidth to follow up on this anymore. I’ve used all my cycles reaching out to you, and, I have to be honest here, I’ve been pinging Jeanine. I know you’re going to want to circle back with our mutual friends, but there’s been a re-org, and they now all report to me. I can reevaluate your candidacy next quarter if you stay heads down working on a solution, but for now, let’s put a pin in this. I’ll give you back the rest of your hour, if you can close the door behind you. Kindest regards, Bob.
I went most of my life without a credit card because I have the kind of self-control that would likely start with me buying a few moderately-priced but unnecessary items (“Hedgehogs are on sale? I’ll take thirty.”) and would promptly spiral into a situation in which the floorspace in my apartment would be replaced with puppies, stylish boots and “As Seen on TV” x-ray goggles and then I’d have to buy a jetpack to get to the bathroom without smooshing them all. This way of life is probably not a good idea for health and noise complaint reasons, but the thought of jetpacking around my apartment shooting dog treats from a hand cannon while drinking milkshakes out of one of those beer helmets almost mitigates the fear of devastating credit card debt and potential eviction, particularly the prospect of training my seven puppies to howl in harmony like fuzzy widdle von Trapps and riding their coattails to the top since I seem to have no discernable talents of my own. I’d make my curtains into dog costumes if they weren’t so ugly and my idiot hands didn’t have the dexterity of a toddler doing calligraphy with their feet.
I did have a credit card when I was younger for emergency purposes only…
My biggest problem, if I had to admit to one (aside from my totally rational fear of fruit), is my seeming determination to make the same mistakes over and over again. Like how I keep thinking I can pull off blonde hair (it might help if I didn’t keep going to cheap salons and ending up with a color less “Blonde” and more “Dehydrated Pee Yellow”) and how I have made out with not one, but three, improv actors. Which is great if you like noisy dudes in skinny ties, but problematic if you are made uncomfortable by emphatic gesticulation and disproportionate reactions when doing such innocuous things as ordering a beer they’re not particularly fond of or breaking up with them out of left field. (You’re clamorously pretending to ride a statue in a city park for the third time today? Yes, and... I think we should see other people.)
I had a hard time finding a full-time job after college, and it got to a point where…
Writer’s note: As I have sent this to a few friends for review, it has come to my attention that the inspiration for this story, this absolute masterpiece of a song (also embedded below), may not be as widely recognized as I had hoped in writing this. I feared that an introduction might sap some of the drama of the story itself, but then I thought, who gives a shit? Everyone should listen to this song every day. In fact, how do you NOT know this song? Blu Cantrell is a genius and a treasure. I burned this song on three consecutive mix CD’s in high school because it’s a banger, and because I don’t know a lot of other music. And the story is utter nonsense without context, so just do me a favor and give it a listen. You probably already know it, you just don’t know you know it. I bet you grinded on some sweaty guy in a puka shell necklace at your freshman turnabout to this song, clammy palms hoverhanding over your rainbow spaghetti straps, your platform clogs putting you a solid three inches above his sticky middle part. You remember. Either way, this is a story of betrayal, unabashed misdeeds, and the most gratifying vengeance. This is thrilling stuff. This could be Shakespeare. But it’s not, it’s a one hit wonder from 2001 (but one that I truly adore.) And with that, I’ll leave you to it…
I started a new job in March after almost six months of unemployment. I had worked at my previous company for six years, so beginning a new role at that point was a herculean task, like diving headfirst into fog-obscured depths or dragging yourself to the kitchen pantry when you’ve run out of bed-donuts. Unemployment is a slippery beast. You always think you’re going to get all this stuff done when approached with an abundance of free time, but then suddenly it’s two months later (or is it three? Who can tell?) and you’re picking crumbs out of your bed sheets while Friends barrels through its fourth consecutive loop. You didn’t clean the apartment like you meant to. And you definitely didn’t write that novel. But you did discover several plot holes in a show that’s been off the air for fourteen years and you only posted about it on Facebook like twice, so accomplishment comes in many forms. Successes like these make the world go round. And so does self-delusion.
A few weeks after I started…