I drink for a reason, p.1
I Drink for a Reason, page 1
Copyright © 2009 by Liberal Jew-Run Media Productions, Inc.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
“We Have Got to Stop Calling People ‘Heroes,’ ” “Oh, I Forgot You Could Do That,” and “For the Love of God!” were previously published in Vice magazine and are reprinted with permission.
“Letter from the Future” originally appeared in Playboy magazine under the title “Dear Friends, Get Me the Fuck Out of Here” and is reprinted with permission.
“Top Ten CDs to Listen to While Listening to Other CDs” is reprinted courtesy of Pitchfork Media.
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I couldn’t have done it without you.
Don’t Abandon Your Baby
But It’s Good for You!
I Think Rich People Are Boring
Minutes of the Development and Programming Meeting for FOX Television’s New Season
I Ain’t No This or That
A Non-Sponsored Look at Holidays in America
The Mystifying Allure of Gratuitous Luxury
Scrapbooking in Michigan
I Would Be the Shittiest Survivor in History
A Little Bit about Me, ’Cause It’s My Book
A Free List of Quirks for Aspiring Independent Filmmakers
Sitting on a Pole Trying to Win Some Money
I Hate America! or, I Hate America?
The Five People You Meet in Limbo
Ideas for T-shirts to Be Sold at Urban Outfitters
In Anticipation of Reading This Right Now
You’ll Never Guess!!!
Sweet Mary J.
Hey! Free Advice!
Correspondence with Dave Eggers
Involuntary Random Thoughts I’ve Had Not Always When I Was Pooing but Certainly Sometimes When I Was Pooing
Ask a Rabbi!
A Short Request to Lame Friends
Things to Do When You Are Bored
The Golden Age of Cowardice
Top Ten Top Ten Lists List
Bill O’Reilly Fantasy
How to Play “Mafia,” the Funnest yet Most Unnerving Game Ever Invented
I Don’t Have Children
A Short List of Videos with Babies in Them that I Have Not Seen on the Internet but Most Likely Exist and I Would Like to See at Some Point
Other Ways in Which Jews Can Utilize Current Technology to Get around God’s Strict Laws for the Sabbath
Beef with Jim Belushi
Excerpts from the Galley Copy of James Frey’s Latest Memoir, Lesson Learned
Top Ten CDs to Listen to while Listening to Other CDs
An Open Letter to Larry the Cable Guy
We Have Got to Stop Calling So Many People “Heroes”
Oh, I Forgot You Could Do That
For the Love of God!
Cigar Corner: Bonus Story!
Cigar Corner, Part 2
Letter from the Future
HELLO. THIS PREFACE WAS ORIGINALLY ONE HUNDRED AND NINE pages long and one hundred percent unnecessary. But a contract is a contract. Especially if it’s legally binding and written in lamb’s blood on parchment from olden times. I love to write. And, at the very same time, I hate to write. It’s kind of a pain in the ass and really impedes my video-game playing and completion. I’ve written in several forms—e-mails, award-winning sketches, movies, Post-it note reminders to let the baby out, award-winning gravy-soaked possum biscuit recipes, instructions on how to use the cable remote for guests, French lessons, “The Who’s #1” in drying cement—but never a book… until now. I like very much the idea that I’m writing a book and by extension am now a “writer,” because let’s be honest, no one considers sketch or stand-up “writing,” even though of course it is. But writing a book, well, that puts me in the same rarified air as Voltaire or Sue Grafton or Tim LaHaye. The bitch of it all is that writing is at complete loggerheads with my desire to not be writing right now. There’s a good reason I’m known for having the “softest hands in showbiz,” and I am loathe to jeopardize that title. It’s amazing what I will let myself be distracted by or pretend is suddenly important and urgently needs attending to, merely so that I can put off, for however brief a time, the writing that needs to be done. For example, here’s a partial list of things I’ve thought and ways in which I have dillydallied while trying to get this goddamn fucking pain in the ass thing written:
I need to get ready for Thanksgiving.
My eyes feel funny.
I should check out some porn for inspiration.
My dog wants to play probably, I think.
Wait… do you hear horses?
I should really see if that wine’s still good. That shit’s not gonna drink itself.
Really? St. Louis is playing Pittsburgh? Huh, I should check that out. (I don’t care about either team in whatever sport you first thought of.)
Maybe if I jerk off I’ll be able to concentrate better. (This is then followed by an hour and a half of surfing for just the right 42-second porn clip to jerk off to.)
I swear to God I hear horses.
I should really think about doing twenty push-ups and then eventually not doing them.
Is that painting crooked?
This place is fucking dusty!
They’ll be calling any second now, and rather than get started just to have to stop, I’ll start writing after the call.
That call took a lot out of me. I’m wiped. Naptime!
That’s not to say I don’t want the riches and rewards that come with being a fancy-panted writer (“author,” on the East Coast), although how this book will get written is still a mystery at this point. Perhaps an as-of-yet invented computer program called “AutoWriter” or something like that will come about. Then I can just punch in a few lines and run it through the “Pithy” program and that will be that.
I imagine that I will be asked to attend marvelous parties where witty bon mots and cutting retorts meet each other in midair where they joust in a gentlemen’s game to the death. In fact I am quite sure that I will be feted at the rather large Upper West Side co-op of someone I’ve never met but who will host my literary “coming out” party. Her name will be something like Deidra Harwick, granddaughter of Knute Harwick and heir to the Harwick fortune. (Knute Harwick invented the non-disposable condom, look it up.) She is very generous with her time and money. Just some of the numerous charities that she works for include Operation Hang Upside-Down for Africa, Friends United to Eradicate Blind Indians, Society for the Improvement of Performance Enhanced Athletes, and Diamondcology, to name a few. I can only imagine (’caus
Then the big day arrives. Because I am so cool, I will ride my bike up to the imposing building, feigning ignorance that there is a town car that they’ve sent waiting forlornly outside my East Village apartment. “Oh, shoot. Sorry about that, I had no idea. I just rode my bike up here. No worries. It’s a beautiful night out, and I rode through the park. I liked it.” They will now look on me as a “real” person with no pretense or shame.
Tight, elderly women will grab me by the arm and direct me toward various groups of well-behaved and turtle-necked adults. “Look, there’s Joan Von Whistler, author of And the Devil Went to the Bathroom. She very much wants to meet you. And in the kitchen is Donovan Yeast. He wrote that wonderful On a Winter’s Wind We’ll Ride: A Susan Gerber Mystery. I will meet them all and look down at my shoes humbly, although I will be in quiet ecstasy. I will laugh softly and secretly play with my erection through the hole in my pocket. Ha ha! That hole is from my nine-year-old pair of pants that I’ve kept as a reminder of when I was poor and irresponsible. Now look where they are! In a rich lady’s kitchen! If my penis only knew! I will entertain… no, delight strangers with true stories of my semi-tragic youth. My broken family. What it was like to be a poor Jew in suburban Atlanta. Will there be any amongst them that can relate? Will someone step up and, through the use of a clever but not particularly apt analogy, be able to capture what it was like for me in one pithy comment? If not, I will provide the analogy myself and move on, in a feigned attempt at not wanting to make my hosts uncomfortable. “Yes, yes… who wants another Pimm’s Cup?”
I will of course be invited to accompany my new friends on their “little vacations” to all kinds of glamorous and colorful locales. “No, I’ve never eaten a Plush Fruit before. I’ve never even heard of it,” I’ll say, resulting in overdramatic and urgent inhalations followed by pleadings that I must promise that I will go with them on their boat to Guigjna Island, where they have the best, THE BEST (!) Plush Fruit in the world. You can pick it right out of the basket that the local children put all their just-picked Plush Fruits in after scampering down the tree trunks. I will be sort of a mascot for these Richie Rich’s—the personification of their charity and largess.
Perhaps I will find myself in the middle of a bidding war between Grand Central Publishing and the Royal Family of Great Britain, who, after reading this book, will offer me an honorary title ship and an all-expenses paid, ten-day muckabout in England in exchange for writing a humorous calendar for them in which for each day there will appear something amusing to think about. Example: “If your sister wears the same tampon to her wedding and your mama’s funeral… you might be a Redneck!” There would be an illustration to accompany the text in case of any potential cultural misunderstanding. Well, enough wasteful daydreaming. Let’s write a fucking book, shall we (I)?
Don’t Abandon Your Baby
THE OTHER DAY, I WAS DRIVING ALONG BY MYSELF IN LOS ANGELES. I was listening to NPR. An elderly woman from Macon, Georgia, was reading a story she had written for Pecan Nights magazine about a switch (Southern for “tree branch”) she had been made to bring to a teacher to enable the teacher to punish her by beating her with it when suddenly the switch was turned to licorice by a forgiving and practical-joke-loving God. But because she was old, she was taking FOREVER to read it! Her gravelly, halting voice was barely above a whisper, and she clearly needed a drink of water. She sounded like when my mom eats bananas in silent anger. Why does NPR insist on letting its authors read their own stories? Most of them are terrible. It’s painful and makes me anxious to listen to them. I slowed down as I came to a light and pulled up alongside an L.A. cop driving his L.A. cop car. Like everyone else when faced with being next to a potential bully with a Kafkaesque ability to get away with whatever they want (unless of course there’s an amateur videographer nearby), I got a little self-conscious. I did what most people in cars do when they imagine cops are watching them. I fiddled with my radio like only the innocent would ever do. People guilty of crimes, no matter how severe or petty, absolutely never adjust the settings on their radios. This is a proven fact * and one that has guided me through many of these episodes.
As the light turned green I let him pull up ahead of me because I didn’t want him to see my “I ♥ My Dog” bumper sticker on which I had Sharpied over the heart symbol and replaced it with the work Fuck. That bumper sticker has turned out to be one of my all-time best pickup lines, by the way. Anyway, as the cop got in front of me, I noticed one of his bumper stickers. Alongside the ubiquitous and highly effective “D.A.R.E to Keep Kids off Drugs” bumper sticker (remember when people used to sell and/or take drugs before that bumper sticker was conceived and applied?) there was a new, state-sanctioned, police-issued bumper sticker. At least it was new to me. It read “Don’t Abandon Your Baby.” Hmmm, okay. Thanks for that. I know that’s not meant for me, as I am not planning on attending any proms in the near future. But has our society really come to this? I realize that our culture is so violent and we’ve become so coarse that we can support more than three dozen violent cop shows that feature sick killings nightly, each more shocking than the last. “Chief, we’ve got some sicko out there who’s killing random male stock brokers.” “Jesus that’s terrible.” “Wait, I’m not done. And he’s sawing off their arms and using them to rape college co-eds.” “Son of a bitch!!” (excerpted from CSI: Grand Rapids.)
Do we really need to be told not to abandon our babies? Especially by authority figures with guns and shoot-to-kill dispensations? I suppose the answer is yes. It’s one thing when a dear friend or family member asks us not to abandon our baby. Or even a much-loved celebrity, but the cops? Although I will concede a gentleness to the pronouncement that I find interesting. Unlike the demanding and suggestively violent “Buckle Up, It’s the Law!” one could read their own intonation into it. Say it to yourself (in your head—you don’t want to end up on any lists) like an Allied confidant whispering in the ear of their lover as they stand on the banks of the Seine during the height of the student riots. Seems almost sweet. Or try saying it with a bit of wistful melancholy, like a wise old “mammy” talking from experience and passing on her sage advice to the grandchildren as they snap and de-string pole beans on the porch during a hot, swollen, summer day in Georgia. Hey! Where’s that NPR lady? Maybe she could try it. She’s probably just now about to finish reading her story. Just six more words to go and they can leave the station. Anyway, it takes on a different tone. It’s sympathetic and well meaning. It’s not at all angry. It doesn’t instantly cause your rebellion gene to switch on. It doesn’t make you think, “Fuck you, cop! I’ll abandon whatever baby whenever the fuck I want, you fucking fascist! It doesn’t even have to be a baby, either! I think I’ll abandon my car, my pets, and my teeth as well!”
Which leads me to this: what kind of person needs to be told, or “reminded,” that they shouldn’t abandon their child? People who sit around all day, daydreaming and fantasizing about a future they’ll never have because they sit around all day, daydreaming and fantasizing about a future they’ll never have? What does it say about our selfish, stupid, and cruel society? I guess that we can be monstrously selfish, stupid, and cruel. The Iraq war (or rather the war we started in Iraq; there really wasn’t much of a fight until we set up colonization school) is a good example. It’s an amazingly disappointing realization to know just how thoug
Tossing a thing you don’t want or no longer desire to the curb is not really that bad if it’s biodegradable, which a baby is, I guess; but come on now—let’s apply some standards.
Abandoned babies are unfortunate unwanted results of a once urgent desire to have an orgasm. That desire is now long, long ago in the past. A distant memory. And much like getting a bill in the mail for a nice meal you ate nine months ago, you see it (baby or bill) and think, “Huh? That was nine months ago? I’m not paying for this!!” And we toss that baby or bill into the bin. Life is cheap here in America. It’s the living that is expensive. Perhaps that abandoned baby would have grown up to shoot someone point blank in the face for twelve dollars and some (admittedly) pretty cool sneakers. That’s still no excuse.
Isn’t that Jesus’ job anyway? Shouldn’t he be whispering in the fevered hallucinating imagination of the drug-addled mom while she passes by one of the hundred of thousands of churches in this country? Why is the cop forced to clutter up the back of his car with a sticker like that? That space might be better used to remind people that if a cop wants, he can beat the shit out of you and can often count on the tacit silence of a thoroughly corrupt force to get away with it. I think that might be a much more effective deterrent to would-be baby leavers. “I will beat the shit out of you so that you lose the sight in your left eye and pins will need to be implanted in your jaw so that you will be able to eat again if I catch you so much as even thinking about abandoning your baby!”
Now there’s an effective bumper sticker!
But It’s Good for You!
THE PREVALENCE AND SHEER AMOUNT OF “GOOD FOR YOU,” “healthy” snacks is nothing short of amazing, yet completely understandable in America. Understandable simply because along with our gullibility and consumerism, we are very much fat and lazy. And we are fat because we are gluttonous. And we are lazy because we are conditioned to achieve as much pleasure as possible with as little exertion as possible. Thank you to computers for helping with that. There’s no “Dear Leader” here making us eat an un-researched diet of rice and fat. No one is mistaking ice cream and candy for oatmeal and tuna fish. We just love to fool ourselves by lazily believing that massive international companies with holdings all over the world producing a hodge-podge of products like tires, C-4 plastique explosives, and paint thinner can also make “Healthy Acre’s All-Natural” wholesome chocolate caramel cups—and that they really are healthy.
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