Yes. He sucked. But I, like you, could really use a day off, so let’s try to find that silver lining behind genocide and see what we can celebrate about Columbus Day.
There’s the great American tradition of fucking people over.
You know how your mom would discipline you for stealing cookies by rapping you on the hand with a spatula or something? Columbus did that too! Just with swords…
If we didn’t rape and kill all those indigenous people there would be no pumpkin spice latte.
Because, and by extension….
If Columbus didn’t put everyone on edge there would be no need for Thanksgiving & then there would be no Thanksgiving meal, no day off of nothing but football, awkward conversations with distant relatives, spongebob floats or cheap laptops on Black Friday.
If we didn’t feel bad about screwing over Native Americans, Cache Creek would just be a creek, and we wouldn’t get to gamble in California, you’d have to actually spend time with the elderly in your family.
With no Columbus Day, I wouldn’t be on my way to get a Costco pizza, quite possibly the greatest of all pizzas, right now, with my blue-haired girlfriend. She wouldn’t be singing Liza Minnelli, and I wouldn’t be explaining how the reserve light on her gas meter works, again.
I wouldn’t have seen the beach
With rolling waves
& post-brunch strollers
And had a crazy hankering for sea salt in a pumpkin spice caramel latte.
I wouldn’t have wondered if Starbucks even did such a thing
Nor would I have questioned my own sexuality for thinking that…
I would have questioned my sexuality anyway,
because my girlfriend showed me gay porn this morning
Just to see if it did anything for me
But I wouldn’t have seen that gay porn
If it weren’t for Christopher Columbus kind-of-discovering America.
Also, if it weren’t for Columbus and the eventual founding of America, the there wouldn’t have been the widespread persecution of the American LGBT community, and then we wouldn’t have all those lovely parades and street fairs in San Francisco.
…Wait no, they would have been persecuted no matter where they were or who they were living with…
“Son, you can be great at anything you set your mind to, but trying to be great at every single thing is unreasonable.
Think of the best people: Houdini was great at escaping, but couldn’t do any real magic & Jesus performed all kinds of crazy magic, but really sucked at escaping. So go easy on yourself.
Choose one thing you love, and you know you want to be good at, and then just do your best, and don’t rely on anyone but yourself and your own personal merits. You can’t ask for more. You’re Chinese. Affirmative action doesn’t work for you, and I’m a stereotypically withholding parent.
Also, these mangas are clearly being jerked off on. You’re not fooling anyone & the library asked me to tell you to stop.
No, doing that can’t be the one thing you’re good at.
Because there’s no career in that.
Well, yes there are people who do that professionally, but that’s not really a viable, sustainable source of income.
No, writing isn’t really bringing home the bacon either, but I don’t think you’re going to find lasting happiness doing that to ladies’ faces.
Well, yes, they do seem happy in the videos, but they’re all acting. Acting isn’t really viable either.
Pete, Pete… Your mother isn’t an actress. She’s a shoe model. You know that.
You say she does the things in the videos?
She’s in a bunch of them…
Now, Peter, can you tell me who else is in the video?
And the mailman…
Well the mailman and the UPS man are different people, which one?
Okay, and when did you see this happen, Peter?
All of them…
More than three?
How many, Pete?
You’re not sure.
More or less than a dozen, Peter?
Around a dozen, eh?
Did you recognize any others?
Well what kind of costumes were they wearing?
Just the midgets were in costume…
How many midgets were there?
Well gosh Pete, I don’t know how many would fit in a horse costume, but I imagine more than two.
Yes, seven horses times a least two is over fourteen. Very good. You’ve always been so good at math.
No no no Peter, I’m not mad. I’m proud of you. You told the truth, and it’s clear to me you’re keeping up with your arithmetic homework. These are both good qualities.
I love you too, Petey.
Hey, sport. Your baseball bat looks like it needs polishing. Why don’t you let your old man sand and lacquer it for you?
Well, Pete, maybe sometimes aluminum bats need sanding and lacquer. Better safe than sorry, right?
“Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.” -Irvine Welsh
My mom is one of those people. She is fifty, a doctor, and has cheated on my dad at least twice. They’re getting redivorced now. The first time it happened, she told us that “it was God’s plan,” went to Hawaii and lived on a boat with a guy named Bob. This time she just went, “meh,” went for a run and bought some produce at the farmer’s market. Other things: She didn’t realize reindeer were real animals until this past summer, and recently expressed a bigoted distrust against “East Coast Jews” over pie. When my dog was a puppy, mom tried to strangle her for peeing in the kitchen. She has, on multiple occasions, made grown men cry and punched moving cars. We went camping once. That weekend three women were beheaded. Her first time at Great America was the day that mentally challenged boy fell out of the Drop Zone. At a Chinese banquet, the man sitting behind her suffered a heart attack, and I don’t even remember her breast milk being all that…
As some of you know, I do stand-up. I’m not very good. Mostly short shock laughs from absurd dark two-line jokes with no hope of connecting with an audience in a meaningful way. I don’t like connecting. I don’t like sharing who I am. That is scary. You have to be way more vulnerable than I am currently willing to be. But I really want to try crowd work, and I think the ability to reach out with goodwill and honesty is a good way to start.
So here goes…
I recently finished a long form writing project. It is a 25,000 word epic poem. More on that later… Upon finishing my first round of edits, I was exhausted. I sent it to my good friend Alex, http://thebewildered20somethingwriter.wordpress.com (check it), for a secondary round of clean-up and tried to rest.
Resting is stupid.
I hate it.
But I could feel the sort of “brain tenderness” you get from overuse, and knew that throwing myself into another huge undertaking would be pushing it. Countless others have said it before, but for there to be good writing, there has to be lots and lots of not-so-good writing.
Don’t say bad. Especially when it comes to your own work. Why kick yourself in the brain like that?
Yesterday I was feeling not-so-great and got in that mood where you just want to spend money you don’t have. Or money you’ve been saving. It’s an anxiety thing. Buying useless junk is a pacifier. It’s childish. AND IT WORKS EVERY GODDAMN TIME.
So I make my girlfriend drive out to Target at 9PM, and all along the way she is trying to convince me, “Eric, you’re freaking out a little. Why don’t you buy yourself something that will help with your situation, like a spatula (adults need those…)instead of a distraction?”
Yeah, but Smash Bros…
“Okay, but pancakes…”
“I know, but… Smash Bros… You can be Mega Man in this one.”
“You would be the most mega of men if you could make bacon without squealing when the oil burns you. Spatula.”
This went on for a while.
Target is sold out. Gamestop is closed. My girlfriend asks me if there is an EB Games around. I haven’t seen an EB Games since 1999. I thought they went with Suncoast, Hollywood Video & Meg Ryan…
The anxiety starts creeping up on me. I don’t like how it feels, so I convert it into frustration and righteous indignation. That shit feels great. You’re in control. You’re smarter than everyone. People leave you alone.
Now I’m wandering the aisles of a Daly City Target alone. I go to look at pens. That’s what I do now when my girlfriend takes me shopping. I look for cool pens or notepads and think, “which one has a good joke or poem in it?” At this point it’s a bit of a reflex. After sifting through the cheap ones (because I am a little tightfisted) and having nothing grab me, I look at the top shelf journals. The artsy covers, tassels and skins from tiny moles, presumably sewn together…
Then I see those half-journals, where one side is just a massive quote, and the other side is a general reaction to it with a specific angle. They have ones on parenting, lists, insomnia and hating people (imagine giving one of those to a unapologetic racist). I chose the one about hating people, and immediately began filling it with unapologetically racist comments about… I didn’t do that.
I wrote the thing at the top, and realized why I was so upset that day.
Two days ago, I wrote a piece called “Angry Yelp Review Therapy.” (check it out here if you missed it: https://notesfromanarcissist.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/angry-yelp-review-therapy-other-bay-area-dumb-dumb-decisions/) I was fairly pleased with myself and as a self-identified poet, decided to share it amongst several Facebook poetry groups I recently joined, just to see what the online scene looked like. The next morning, I received a message from a moderator. In the text of the piece there is a link, which I placed in as part of a gag, but because of facebook’s weird “I don’t know how to distinguish art from spam” formulas, it populated an image to the actual site I referenced in the condensed preview on the page feed. The moderator had seen this, and without reading the piece told me to take the link down, saying that what I had written “wasn’t poetry.”
1. Poetry is one of those great “indefinables” and most things, if someone says so, is poetry. You know, like art…
2. Prose poetry is a real thing
2. Why can’t links be in poetry in an age where the Internet has become so fully integrated into our lives? I’m going to prove you wrong
I wrote the moderator a message in reply.
You sent me a message regarding my poem, “Angry Yelp Review Therapy.” Your request to take the link down has been completed, although I have decided to remove the piece in its entirety to preserve its integrity. This is a prose poem. It plays with the form of the Yelp review, which is slowly entering into the American consciousness as a form of consumer expression. The piece imposes the objective rules and structure of psychology over the subjective rules and structure of an Internet forum community. A book of poetry was recently released which features doctored “found” Wikipedia articles. This isn’t something new, but the piece could therefore also be interpreted as experimental poetry. I know it doesn’t look like a poem because it doesn’t rhyme, there are a lot of words, and I know for some people reading is tough. It’s easy to just look at the condensed feed on Facebook and make an ill informed, quick judgement about something flying at you on the Internet. If only there were a piece of poetry which would explore that part of our culture…
Then, to prove a point, I wrote this poem which is told IN ONLY INTERNET LINKS
AND THEN I POSTED IT FORTY SEVEN TIMES ON THE MESSAGE BOARDS.
They were quickly taken down, and I was removed from the group.
But for your consideration, here is my spite poem composed entirely of Internet links. It is about a woman who’s life is unravelling, told through her Internet search history. The original concept came from a derivative of a character my girlfriend came up with alongside San Francisco comedienne Molly Sanchez called “Spacemom.”
It is a common practice in anger management to write letters to those you perceive in an ill light, but to never actually send them. It is also common practice to project your own unhappiness about your situation onto others as a means of avoiding blame. The Internet has conveniently combined these two activities in a service known as Yelp.
I don’t have a Yelp account registered, but that doesn’t prevent me from logging on and reading way much about people’s lives in the context of how much they like or don’t like Payless shoes.
Life got the better of me these last few days, and after an experience at the vet this morning, I found myself so incensed that I downloaded the Yelp app and wrote my first negative review.
Before sending it though, I took a step back and had lunch with a friend. We went to the bluegrass festival and walked around for a bit. I came back to the review, glad I never sent it. Why? Because so many things happened that I didn’t want my bad day to effect the livelihoods of others, whether they did something to me or not. I still do not agree with many of the things the vet did, AND THEY ALL ACTUALLY HAPPENED but at the end of the day, Patches is okay, & happy as ever. I have however, copied it below, simply because I think it’s still enjoyable to read and it highlights some of the more ridiculous outcomes of San Francisco’s sometimes oppressively accepting attitude.
So for your consideration, here is what a bad Yelp review from me would look like:
Balboa Pet Hospital
If you want to give your pet unproven Chinese herbs and electric needle voodoo, then this is the place for you!!! If you want science and respect for your culture, then maybe try one of those dumb corporate vets, run by the man.
My dog hurt a leg, and was limping so I went in to just make sure everything was fine. She was clearly just limping on one leg. Our doctor came in in a homemade silk robe with pictures of animal skeletons.
His diagnostic procedure went like this: Your dog’s leg and neck hurts? Ok, what I’m going to do is put a ton of stress on that point until she yelps in pain. Ok she hurts there. How do I know? Because the dog is freaking out.
He then told me, “Yes, her neck is hurt. I can give her Advil as a painkiller.” Yep, that’s what I expected. (I won’t go into how the Advil cost twenty dollars, that’s just how city vets are, according to my vet school friends. Business is business.)
So fine, I’ll buy a twenty dollar Advil. Why not? Human hospitals do the same thing.
But then he turns to me and says there is an alternative! He is personally trained to administer acupuncture to dogs!
As a point in practice, try this for me.
Say the words, “Hello! I’d like to get my dog acupuncture, please!” And don’t laugh.
So let’s break it down.
To make sure my dog is hurt,
You hurt the dog.
Then you offer the solution,
Which is stabbing my dog with needles
& running electricity through them.
But wait, that’s not all. He also offered to give my dog, “Chinese herbs.”
Oh, that sounds interesting? What kind?
“A blend.” He says.
Can you speak more to that?
“There’s a lot of stuff in it.”
What kind of stuff?
“A lot of things.”
Can you tell me what it does?
“It helps me.”
Oh! Personal, unverified anecdotal evidence? My favorite! And it’s good to know you experiment on yourself too.
After prodding him a little, he couldn’t tell me what was in the herbs, or what any of the components was supposed to do. He was basically banking on the “it’s an ancient Chinese secret,” thing, which honestly may have been alright, and not weirdly racist, if I wasn’t Chinese and he wasn’t a white guy, and he wasn’t telling me how wonderful and misunderstood the medical techniques of my people were.
He showed me the bottle, and it looked like algae powder, or spirulina. Now, if he said it was algae, or spirulina or anything really in concrete English and/or Chinese even, I might let it slide, so at least I could Google something. But the label was so worn and old, I couldn’t even be sure that this was the original container. It could have been refilled countless times with whatever.
What kind of container was it? A sealed glass bottle, or perhaps something that DIDN’T look like a value sized Folger’s pre-ground coffee container? Nope. Folger’s box is good.
I really wanted to stay off yelp, so I went in a few months later to for a visit and to make a formal complaint in person. They were highly dismissive and defensive. The vet’s defense of him was, he’s an interesting guy. Kind of a hippie. He was born at Woodstock! So he’s not racist.
Cool. Not a racist,
But probably had LSD in his placenta.
I asked a vet tech (fellow Asian) if he thought it was all on the up and up. He said yes, unconvincingly, again offering unverified anecdotal evidence. I asked him if he would let Hippie Longstocking stick him with needles. He said no. The doctor wasn’t trained to do it on humans. But I was assured that Dr. Windchime Scissorhands had studied eastern medicine extensively. Which is comforting. You know, how there are doctors of ufology, and Canadians with degrees in Beatles history? He’s like that but with stabbing your dog with needles.
Interestingly enough, human acupuncture in San Francisco is a fraction of the price of dog acupuncture, and I’m thinking that’s because there is not really any competition for dog acupuncture in the area, because it’s not a real thing…
I won’t be negative though.
This place is perfect if you live in San Francisco, don’t have a car, are within walking distance, and you have an old dog who can’t walk much farther. Or maybe you’re someone who likes to experiment with your pet.
They also claimed that it is California law to have a vet give a full exam at most one month before a rabies vaccine can be given. That sounded like nonsense to me because even human doctors will forego the semantics of a routine physical if you’ve had one in the last year or six months. I did some research on the matter, and that happens to be a lie. I read the California laws on rabies while in the exam, pointed it out that the law said no such thing, and was told, “I don’t know the specific law.” Really? I do. Here’s the link.
So there’s that too. Now, what they should have said was that it was a liability issue. If they give your dog a shot without checking stuff out and it dies, then they are at fault. But to say they are bound by law is deceptive. So if you like doctors who make up laws for the protection of your pet (sorry, I mean themselves), these are the people for you.
My only suggestion for change is the name. “Balboa Pet Hospital” sounds so boring and medical. They should try to be true to themselves, and what they believe in. How about “Balboa Voodoo Shack?”
“Balboa Acupuncture For Dogs: No Really, We’re Serious”
“Balboa Center for the Misappropriation of Chinese Culture”