Archive for January, 2013
It’s rare that a day goes by in which you don’t see a celebrity doing something that makes you realize how much you hate them. Whether it’s Richard Gere having lunch with the Dalai Lama or seeing which gorgeous model Louis C.K. is speckling with his comedic love juices.
And why? The Dalai Lama meets Gere because he made 2.3 good films? Or maybe because he screwed Cindy Crawford…oh, I see now. If Louis C.K wasn’t famous, he’d be having as much model sex as the guy who works at your Dunkin’ Donuts.
But there are times, and these are voluminous, when you are thrilled not to be a celebrity.
If you ever get glum watching Danny DeVito get tall women or anybody from *NSYNC be allowed to live, here is a list of reasons it’s great not to be a celebrity.
I am having beers with a friend; it’s been a while since we have met and we are having a one-on-one drink to catch up. A few minutes ago, in a somewhat abrupt manner, she opened her IPad and began doing something. This something did not end quickly, and since then I have done the ‘I’ll check my messages’ move, the ‘Oh, I forgot to jot down that appointment’ glance into my date book and now I’m just staring at the table waiting for her to finish so we can get back to our conversation.
Finally, I ask what she is doing. She answers, “Just taking my turn on Scrabble.” She isn’t sitting on a tram or in a large group of people. Why would you make a present friend secondary to an online Scrabble game?
I look around the restaurant to see a number of bored faces staring into plates while their clueless friends are chatting on the phone or scrolling through messages. Or maybe it’s something really important like Facebook, Twitter or Scrabble.
But on the bright side, my friend hit Quidditch on a double word score, so it was all worth it.
If you have ever sat in an interview for anything—university admittance, job, exam—and enjoy some cognitive function above that of a paramecium, then you have some idea of the basic do’s and don’ts of an interview. Sit up straight, make eye contact, give a good, solid hand shake, don’t curse, don’t be late and don’t vomit. Simple, right?
As an interviewer in any capacity, one is apt to go a little insane. Asking the same questions and hearing the same exact answers over and over again makes an interviewer want to finish the sentence, “…you want to learn about a new culture,” and then leap out of the closest window to the sweet release of death. Still, as we call that name and the candidate comes in, we hold a candle of faith that the person sitting across from us understands the basic rules and will make our job as painless as possible.
We assume that most people harbor these tidbits of knowledge, often concealing them under an exterior of a nose-picking abject stupidity so epic that every day these people don’t poke out their eyes while using a fork should be a celebrated national holiday.
And, as always, we are wrong.
I am bustling down to my flat as though a swarm of bees is chasing me. Everything that is propelling me to my house is embarrassing. My testicles have frozen to my leg, I’m hungry, and I have to urinate like Austin Powers. And if I don’t see an episode of Monk, and I mean now, I am going to lose my monkey ass.
I get inside and the sadness begins. I set up the laptop while doing the time-honored in-place chicken dance meant to dam urination (pee dance) and sing the Monk theme song to myself. Once the show is loading I breathe a little easier, once I pee it’s like Shangri-La. And in that post-urinary bliss is when it all comes to me.
I’m addicted to Monk.
I am showing all the signs: I sing the theme song, I talk about it too much and then try to conceal the fact that I am talking about Monk too much. I dream about Monk, I daydream about Monk.
I am looking up something on the internet. I can’t remember what, but you can guarantee it was going to tell me about someone who’d just died or show me a picture of someone who had just taken off her clothes and straddled a washing machine. In any event, while scanning a search engine result, I come across “The 10 Supposedly Quirky Behaviors of People Who Live Alone” from Psychcentral.com.
My bloggysense goes: “Jackpot!”
Being a single dwelling Hobbit man who sings to his cat and cooks spaghetti sauce in the nude, I figure this was the weekly fodder I need on which to base a fun blog post. But, as I have said to friends, girlfriends and students for many different reasons on countless occasions:
I’m sorry, I was wrong.
This groundbreaking and brave article really shatters the glass walls that hide us single-living lunatics from the rest of normal society. It was published in the New York Times and is titled “The Freedoms and Perils of Living Alone.” Oh, and a warning to readers, below are some suggestive and explicitly dull activities enacted by apparently ‘quirky’ people who live by themselves. Do not continue to read if you are operating a motor vehicle, a razor or a fork.
But it’s time the other half knows how we live.
About 2,000 years ago a young shepherd settled in a mountain village in Japan, married, had three kids and lived quietly until he died at the age of 106. His name was Daitenku Taro Jura, but you probably know him as Jesus Christ.
Jesus in Japan, you ask? Yes, Jesus in Japan. And believe it or not, it gets better. According to the residents of Shingo, Japan, Jesus’ adventures begin with his escape from crucifixion, continue with mistaken identity and involve intrigue and a grueling journey.
The unfortunate gent on the cross was Jesus’ younger—never heard of before—brother Isukiri, whose ear Jesus took for his global trip to Japan (along with a lock of Virgin Mary’s hair). This trip was epic, bringing him across the bitter wildernesses of the Steppe, Russia, Alaska and eventually to Shingo, a tiny mountain hamlet in Northern Japan. The trip lasted four years and totaled out at about 6,000 miles.
Sounds bad, but I suppose the alternative would have been worse. And apparently, Jesus had the aural keepsake to prove it.
“Use these five structures to make three different complaints about your program. You have four minutes.” The task is good, clear, timed and goal oriented. I can’t go wrong. Adding a little excitable jest to it, I grab my watch and assume the ‘I am timing you’ position. “Ready? And then I let them loose with an exaggerated, “Go!”
For some reason, I expect them to sprint towards the goal like curious cheetahs across the academic Serengeti to attack the linguistic gazelles grazing on the fruits of the information they demand. But instead, it’s as though I’ve overturned a box of kittens, and then asked them to march in a parade. (n.b. No metaphors were harmed in the writing of this post)
There are eight university students in the room, so one assumes they’d have the mental ability to concentrate on a task for more than, say, 8 milliseconds.
This Sunday afternoon I am finishing Mika Waltari’s The Egyptian, which is a historical novel set in Egypt in 14th century B.C.E. The Egyptian follows the life of the physician Sinuhe and his many loves, adventures and changing philosophies.
The novel is the When Harry Met Sally of the historical novel world, meaning it should be the barometer by which other historical novels are measured. It’s picturesque, cleanly written, its characters are memorable, detestable and lovable and it makes you want to get on a tram and end up in 14th century B.C.E Egypt…especially if you can do so without all the plague and festering.
Here’s why I hate it.
Learning while reading is one of the great perks and joys of reading, that is, unless it’s something you really don’t want to know. Or hear.
Sex. On. Paper.
I zone in on the screen, after a moment the words of my example sentences and instructions meld together; the black and white becomes gray and then forms itself into a rickety linguistic ladder. A few moments later Donkey Kong jogs along them hurling gerunds at a pack of personality idioms. A flock of unicorns runs across a verb tense activity. By the time I snap out of my daydream, they are running across the page, ran across the page, have been running across the page, will have run across the page and had run across the page…damn!
I stand and leave my office, following the time-honored rule that you abandon your test at the first glimpse of unicorns. It is also time for coffee. It was time for coffee a while ago. In fact, it has been time for coffee for a while…Damn!