Book Review: Bright Lights, Big City – Jay McInerney

I ran through this book in an entire sitting where I couldn’t sleep because I’m a dip shit who won’t buy A/C. Fuck You, I live in a city where winter last 9  months out of the year. I figured the odds were in my favor.

I started with page 1 and almost gave up aster the first paragraph. It’s all in 2nd person.  It’s not that I’m against 2nd person but it sometimes feel too much like someone yelling at me. It’s like writing in all commands all the time. I mean who the fuck am I, some one first year Army Recruit? I can think for myself.

No. I’m a reader. I’m not going to do all the things that the Michael does. Then again, he talks to a punk rock girl with a shaved head at a club when it’s 6:00am. That sounds like me.

You clever fuck you, Jay.

So I kept going. Screw it, it’s 6am , 90 degrees and only going to get hotter.

A hundred pages in I WAS HOOKED!

This man is compensating. The boose, the women, the parties, the coke. We all know it. It’s like a six sense that comes out as you turn the page. I don’t acknowledge it. You don’t acknowledge it. But it’s there and it bothers us.

When he realizes a he loves the girl that he always forgets to buy shit for and she tells him to fuck off, I realized I was this man. My friend Jen will call me tomorrow. She gorgeous, has depth, but unless I’m in a super self loathing mood, I probably won’t give a shit.

The majority of the book is centered around this idea of him and his exe wife Amanda. He remembers all these vivid emotional gems throughout the story. But towards the end he realizes he never really knew Amanda at all. It’s a simple story you can hear in line at Starbucks, but Jay paces it quite masterfully. I found myself realizing it just as Micheal did. Well done.

I won’t give away the ending, but it’s where you lost me Jay. I’ve had my fair share of break ups. Sometimes they end before they begin, but very seldom does anyone just “win” in a big way like that. Sure is the main character living in his own world, you bet your ass he his. Does this lead to everything changing, and him not recognizing it? Damn right. But all that kinda sounds like his fault, not hers.

Things seem to work out a little too perfect for Michael. Plus he gets a little needy to Tad’s sister. Why call her at the end, when it’s in the early am during the week and say a bunch of shit that doesn’t matter because you’re hopped up on Coke? We learned in a previous chapter y’all hit it off. A little bit over kill for me.

Overall, I loved this fucking book.

9 out of 10

I Wrote a Piece for McSweeny’s

I wrote a piece for McSweeny’s. It was about an argument I had about this guy’s laptop bag.

Or according to him it was an “Attache”.

Not a laptop bag, even though the leather bound container was only stuffed with one electronic item.

I guess when you pay over $150.00 dollars for a bag, you need to call it something else to remind yourself you didn’t just do that. As a guy who once made a $400.00 drunken ray-light eye protection purchase, I can respect that.

But at the same time, I don’t have the fucking urge to correct someone when they give me a complement. I can’t choose that someone digs my scuffed up Aldo boots I bought at Ross’s but not my new shirt that totally acknowledges the fact I step foot in the gym.

You don’t hear me stop someone mid-sentence:

“Wow, I really like your–”

“Astute observational humor. I know me too!”

I don’t do that.

Anyways, I was in the middle of typing this monster out on wps–the poor man’s Word Processor– when I read a section of the requirements of submission. Embedded is a hyperlink titled “It wouldn’t hurt to read this” explaining how to write a humorous piece.

Something about this bothered me.

It was like Lean Manufacturing meets Creative writing. It was literally bottling up the formula for humor. I’m surprised no one tried to sell it for ten easy payments of $19.99.

I expect this from someone teaching an 18 year old how to get laid, but not McSweeny’s. I understand upping the bar of your submissions, sure. Editors get a lot of shit. I know this, because I send out a lot of it myself. But you’ll never get any feeling out of a process. Worst of all, a reader knows when a writer is going through the motions.

I feel like to get published by McSweeny’s, I would bitch about Trump like everyone else. It would follow the exact formula outlined about how humor pieces should be written. Some fat dude on would tweet that “I won the internet”, like that is a measurable merit badge I can impress some rando girl four Vodka Sprites deep about, yet somehow I pull it off.

The next day, I would wake up in a strange bed, hangover, and a pounding sense of shame. I’d try to get a pick me up by staring at my published article, only to find it lower on the main page. Above my words of glory, someone would post a different piece, yet the same outcome.

The world keeps spinning.

McSweeny’s keeps publishing.

And I wasted one of my precious 10 minutes of fame, on a girl who thought if she joined the cross country team at DePaul, she would “so be skiing all day”. Sounds like we’re both in for a rude awaking.

…So long story short, I submitted, fingers crossed.

So I Told This Joke Once…

We should’ve just stayed outside the Irish Pub after last call. It would have made everything easier. I wouldn’t be standing in front of these two girls and their six guy friends, trying to calm down this race war. The tension was like a reverse Native Son situation. Last time I share a joke about a skirt on McKinney ave.

I should’ve seen it coming though. I’m part of the most disposable group of humans. A born Lex Luther everyone loves to hate. According to Rastafarians, I’m the definition of evil. If I was a cop they would riot against me. Apparently I should just accept the societal definition that I’m a raping racist who’s tries to buy his way out of everything. It’s fucked up when you don’t even feel like you fit in where everyone says you should.

But look, I get it. It’s wasn’t the best way to start a conversation, and I should’ve done a better job of reading the room. Lesson learned. It doesn’t matter the original joke I wanted to share was about a privileged BMW princess. This girl just heard what she wanted to hear. She took out all the words of the sentence and just heard “Trash” and flexed her southern muscle.

A couple years back, I would have tried to plead. I’d tell her how my girl is Black, or how I was one of five blonde hair, blue eyed, people living in Miami. But that shit is stupid. The reality is that I’m not arguing with facts. I’m fighting with old memories of high school of thinking you’re not enough. I’m fighting with jealousy of not getting into college you wanted. I’m fighting with the anger of not getting bothered by police officers on a more frequent places. I’m fighting with the constant media stream that reinforces every type of negative stereotype.

Never mind that I grew up in a trailer park and have cigarette scars from my dad. Never mind I grew up in a small town where I had regular run in with the law because my hair was cut in a blue mohawk. Never mind I got picked on for wearing pants that didn’t fit me because they were my brothers. Never mind the media tells me I need to move completely out of the way for everyone else now that I worked hard to barely make the middle class. All that shit is irrelevant.

Trust me, I’m aware. I understand it better than most. The whole world is fucked up. It’s a random chaotic sting of events and most people only care about the shit that directly effects them. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about you, or any of those things that happened to you in your childhood. I just wanted the opportunity to share my humor and try to brighten your day. It’s not just your point of view out there. We’re all scared. We’re all insecure. Everyone is a lot more alike than different. We all feel the same emotions, but justify them differently because the situation is unique to us. It’s kind of funny when you think about it.

All I’m trying to say is, next time hear the whole fucking joke before you crucify me.

The Networking Event

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A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to a Networking Event with her.

A Networking Event.

I don’t mind meet and greets, nor do I mind conventions. But a Networking Event? These words alone make my testicles shrivel up. Leave it to the Millennial Generation to design some bullshit ritual like this. We’re so busy that we have to designate a time and place for us to ask the simple question “What do you do for a living?” We can’t just be polite at the train stop or airport bar. No.

We have to go to some hotel lounge to brag about what we do for 10 hours of the day and hand out business cards, so they don’t collect dust on the shelf. It’s like a High School reunion for successful people, except you didn’t go to school with any of them. What the hell? One night every ten years isn’t good enough for these people? They chase success like a junkie because the feeling of owning an E class Benz is better than a C class. Fucking Millennials.

This thing sounds awful. I have to pay 15 bucks to get a name tag that has my name and my company on it. I also get a complementary free drink in which I have to wait in a Black Friday sized line for a small Dixie cup of Mohawk Vodka and Cranberry Juice. During the line, Dan Scott from a Pharmaceutical company, will try to impress my friend Erin by telling her he just won the March Salesman contest, while he sneaks mental shots of her cleavage. I guess I can’t blame him, she is quiet endowed in that category.

I heard back in the 70’s the Grateful Dead got invited to a party at the Playboy Mansion, they didn’t want to go to. Jerry, Phil, and the rest played bartender and spiked the cups with Acid. All the Bunnies were tripping their skimpy skirts off. Even though I hate psychedelics, it still sounds like my kind of party. I want to see how these people act when something they didn’t plan for happens. That’s when you really find out if someone worth being in your network.

Anyways, I’m going to go because she said the place had good burgers, so there’s that.