His room was functional enough, consisting of a bed, a cheap chest of drawers that had the ripped remnants of some child’s penguin decals fading off it, a battered desk that was missing one of its drawers and a paint splattered chair. At one point, a few years ago, he had splurged on a small bar fridge and microwave oven. Those and a small kettle were what he used for cooking. On one side of his twin bed was a small bookshelf containing the complete, paperback Narnia series in a box, a battered Lord of The Rings, and a dusty Bible. On the other side a bed table that housed his clock and a cheap lamp in the shape of a horse. In the corner was a closet that smelled of dust. One day, he had been feeling whimsical and had stuck a few glow-in-the-dark stars on his ceiling that had pleased him for the first month and were now there because of inertia. These and a warped full-length mirror that had no frame and which was glued to the door were all that he owned.
Every morning he lay in bed with his eyes open until the shrill, metallic screech of the dollar store alarm told him that it was now 5:30. Every morning, middle-age stiff muscles brought him to his feet. Then, even before his morning piss, his bladder achingly full, he would pad over to the cracked brown valise that accompanied him everywhere, and open the secret compartment. “It’s still there,” he would sigh in relief to himself, and only then would he allow himself to relieve his screaming bladder in the dingy, urine stench of a bathroom that he shared with three others. He would brush his teeth with the toothbrush that had needed replacing for the past three months and, after shaving in the scum-encrusted, mildewed shower with yet another in a series of dollar-store razors and no soap, he would retreat to his private room to boil a cup of instant coffee. He would sip it and gag at the taste as he dressed into his daily jeans, plain grey t-shirt and sneakers just like he did every morning.
Rain, shine, hail or snow, at 6:30 he would sneak out of the house. One morning he had bumped into Joe, who had muttered about blood and zombies and body parts chasing him. Dennis was no better, screaming about how the CIA was going to steal his brain. Ira had accused him of murdering his family. Since those incidents, he made it his business to leave before anyone else was awake.
Then, having locked himself outside, he would walk the three blocks to the bus stop, carrying the brown valise. While he waited for the bus, he would sometimes open the valise up and look inside, making sure it was safe. Sometimes there was someone else waiting and he would attempt a conversation only to be stymied by the headphones in his companion’s ears.
If he could afford it that day, he would stop en route at the Starbucks on the corner for one of their exotically named coffees, just for the companionship of sharing an order with the saccharine barista whose name tag said she was Heather. Then, he would cross the street and wait for the streetcar that would ferry from the bus to work. Once safely aboard the car, he would read a library book, peeping in the valise every few minutes. He would arrive at work and sneak to his cubicle and he would peep into the valise again, and then hurry about the building, ensuring that the printers were supplied. Once he was safely back at his desk, he would peep into the valise again and seeing that it was safe, he would sigh in relief.
On an average day, he would continue feeding paper to the printers and tending to their toner needs. Sometimes he would pass co-workers and, not knowing their names would nod a quick greeting. Once he had passed two co-workers in the hall and had smiled at them but they were too busy discussing office intrigue to acknowledge him. He slunk back to his desk, again defeated, and had taken solace by checking into his valise and making sure that it was still there.
Some nights when the weather was fine, he would imagine that he had a date with some woman that he had finally gotten the courage to speak with. In his imagination, she was demure with chestnut hair in a ponytail and sea blue eyes, and they would go for a stroll along the street in Little Italy, and maybe stop for a coffee at a cafe. Trying to live the dream, he would actually walk the streets looking for her, or for at least a friendly face. Before he left he would open the valise and check in on it and after, although his room was secure, he would hurriedly enter and make sure that it was still there safely, as if somehow his absence had given it the power to free itself.
Most nights he might watch some television or read a book and, like a man suffering from a curse, every hour he would be compelled to sneak over to his bag just to look at it. Every night after brushing his teeth, just before he went to sleep, he would look into its special compartment and, satisfied it was still there, he would touch it softly, as if it was a small mouse. Only then could he go to sleep and dream the small dreams that he would allow himself.
On weekends, he would forcibly deny himself until late in the day. He thought of it as he tidied his room, did his weekly laundry, bought a few groceries to fill the small refrigerator. He would avoid the valise, as best he could, knowing that later today, only later and not now, would it be the proper time. Then, when it was finally evening, like a pagan priest purifying his soul before a grand ritual, he would meticulously shower and groom himself. He would dress carefully in what he thought of as his “real clothes” and only then would he would approach the bag and sigh as he freed it from its home. He would gingerly approach the mirror and having turned away from his reflection, breathing it on, he would plant it on his face. Turning then and facing the reflection, he would beam, feeling at last like his true self again. Finally, he would turn away and remove it and, smiling and crying, he would wipe it off and, ensuring that it was antiseptic, place it back in the compartment of the briefcase where it lived. He would dream terrible and wonderful dreams those nights and he would wake up screaming.
When he was three years old and thought it might still be safe, he would sneak into the garage and gingerly say “Daddy?” Daddy would take him onto his knee and he would see the numbers tattooed on Daddy’s arm. Daddy would sing songs in a strange language that sounded like crying. Other times, Daddy would tell him about the stars and how they made pictures, called constellations. Or, sometimes Daddy would get mad and it would hurt when the adult fists landed on his small body. Then Daddy would hold him and cry.
When he was six, he had received a prize for being second in spelling. He bore the prize proudly until he got home. “Look Mommy”, he said, “I came in second!”
Mommy was blonde-haired, blue-eyed and 300 pounds of disappointed rage. “Why not first?” she demanded as she ripped the certificate in two.
He started to cry and she would not console him, just dismissing him with the phrase “I love you despite everything.”
“Despite what, Mommy?” he asked tearfully and she didn’t answer. She just started talking about her father, who was, to her, a saint.
One time Daddy had sought after him. It was his seventh birthday. Mommy was nowhere to be found but Daddy had presented him with a hammer, a real working hammer, silver and shiny with a black rubber grip that smelled of metal and machine oil and love. He slept with the hammer that night and kept it safe in his room with the rock that sparkled and the coins from England and the teddy bear with only one eye, until, like everything else he loved, during the day when he was at school, it had been taken away. The hammer reappeared when he was nine, in Daddy’s garage, bent and rusted and used hard, like his heart.
When he was thirteen, he remembers that Mommy had been telling him about the great depression over breakfast. She was drinking coffee and saying, “My father kept our family going and even though others might, my Pa wouldn’t take a penny he hadn’t earned. Not one penny.” Daddy had come into the kitchen and tried to kiss Mommy. She didn’t even step away or push Daddy back and didn’t break conversation, but instead had just turned her face away as if she was about to vomit.
He had had lovers. When he was twenty-three, Gwen the Librarian had spent hours playing scrabble with him. One day she met a man and never came back. When he was twenty-five, Allison loved him for his cooking. When he tried to kiss her, she laughed at him in the way that reminded him of Jeremy, so he never called her back. When he was twenty-seven, Hilary from Vancouver said she loved him, but Benjamin the Doctor got her pregnant. There were others. All of them had eventually gone away or he had let them slip past.
In his thirties, he had even married. He met Laura in an Internet chat room and her simplicity had enchanted him. She had abandoned her life and showed up at his door all the way from Texas, based on a few conversations. He let her in and three weeks later he married her to make her happy. One day, coming home early from work, he had found Laura in the bedroom alone, talking on the phone, her lower body wet. There was a vibrator between her legs and she was laughing saying “Bill, do me harder!” He desperately ignored her, ignored everything, and despite her profuse apologies, just packed a bag, and left for a cheap motel and never returned. The next day her father called him and outlined the terms of the divorce. He never saw her or spoke with her ever again.
Some nights, in terrible shame, he would dial the phone number he had copied from an anonymous advertisement on the internet. Jasmine, whose cleavage radiated perfume, would show up at his door. He would let her in and she would smoke a cigarette and talk about music or the news. He would pay her a hundred dollars in cash, and she would just hold him, fully clothed at first. Slowly she would undress herself and then, standing naked, she would undress him until she was holding him, body to body, her pointy nipples poking into his back and then his chest. She would hold him silently, just breathing, and he would soak in the touch of another human being. After 45 minutes of this, she would dress in her clothes, kiss his forehead, and leave. Later, looking in the mirror he would be disgusted at his sagging skin and greying chest hair.
Too infrequently, he would receive a phone call and he would write the appointed date and time and place down in the special book. When the day arrived he would try and sleep in until mid-morning. Instead of gulping instant coffee he would treat himself to breakfast at the diner down the road. As he ate the scrambled eggs, sausage, potatoes and brown toast with orange juice and a cup of coffee, he would hum to himself. After lingering luxuriously over his second cup of coffee, he would walk for three or four blocks and window shop at the pet shop and the book store and even the jewelry shop. He would return home and nap peacefully as if nothing else existed. Mid-afternoon he would shower and, still humming, he would shave and shower meticulously. He would, for the thirty seventh time that afternoon, ensure the valise was packed correctly. Then he would dress as he always did. He would take the bus and be careful not to miss his stop. He would stop midway and again treat himself, this time, to a burger combo but he would eat it as if it was foie gras. Then, he would triple, quadruple and quintuple check the address as he made his way to the theatre. On entering, he would feel a toe-curling tingle down his spine. In the green room, or bathroom or, wherever they allowed him, he would take off his street clothes and change into his real clothes. Finally, from its special place in his brown cracked case, he would take the red nose and place it securely on his face. Only then would he look at the mirror and he would feel the transformation into what he thought of as his authentic self. He was finally Jeremy the Clown again. Jeremy, who could talk to people. Jeremy, who could dance and laugh and sing. Jeremy, who other people loved and Jeremy who was capable of loving back. Jeremy, who he loved and respected and despised and feared.
Andy showed me this article about some comic who did an LA County Sheriff’s Luncheon for “600 or 700 people.” : http://www.salon.com/2013/07/26/sheriffs_department_in_hot_water_over_race_jokes/
Andy suggested that, since people DO NOT KNOW how to book comedians at professional and…
I was just finished at a gig on Saturday night and headed to meet some friends when the radio in the car reported the verdict on the Zimmerman trial. The man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin had been found not guilty by a jury of his peers. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.
Full disclosure: I am a North American Jew. I currently live in Canada. I have lived in the USA. People in the USA have been, to a fault, friendly to me. When they discovered that I am a Jew, they inevitably were as friendly but a wall came down between us. It was as if there was a separation.
Even here in Canada, there exists what I call the “Oy Vey” test. When a non Jewish acquaintance of mine uses the term “Oy Vey” out of context, to let me know they are friendly, I get it. It means they are racist. That I will never fit in.
In Texas, when I was living there, I was told that I shouldn’t call myself a Jew, That I should be nicer to myself. That I was “almost as good as white people”.I felt like I should have been selling this man sheets.
I keep being told that it is not about race. Then an ex friend asked if it was okay to hate on Trayvon’s killer because he’s Mexican. There is so much wrong with that statement that I need to unpack it.
1: is it okay to hate: No.
2: Is it okay to hate Trayvon’s killer: No.
3: Because he is Mexican?: This needs lots more unpacking.
(a) Trayvon’s killer is not Mexican. He is American
(b) Trayvon’s killer is from a Hispanic background. Peruvian to be exact. This makes him NOT Mexican.
(c) It is also not okay to hate people based on where their parents are from.
And this is the crux of the matter. It is NOT okay to hate.
Trayvon’s killer is getting the American dream right now. He is famous. He is being talked about. Everyone knows his name. And it is for that reason that we can no longer make a celebrity of this man.
When John Lennon was killed by a man who sought fame, I erased the man’s name from my life. Better to be wiped out than live in hate. Same with Trayvon’s killer. He is a non person.
It has been over a week since the news broke. Gawker has seen the incriminating video as has The Toronto Star. It’s on every newscast. I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the Mayor’s name I cringe a little inside.
He has enemies you see. Invisible ones that camp out outside his house and write terrible things. They report things like the fact that he was arrested in Florida on February 15, 1999 for drinking and driving. They report the fact that he has remained mayor on via via legal technicalities. they report bizarre behavior, like darting from a meeting with his constituents to place fridge magnets on their cars. Ford has a call in radio show and on it he offered unsolicited advice to women along with his home phone number. That’s right: 416-233-6934. A number of women did call and got a recording advising to call his office 416-397-FORD or leave a message. I can only imagine the messages the mayor has been hearing from his enemies.
Now his staunchest allies including the deputy Mayor and city council all want the mayor to address the issue. His chief of staff was fired for advising the mayor to ‘get help’. His own brother and city councilor, Doug Ford, won’t deny the allegations. City business is not getting done. All because the Mayor has a problem.
In fact, it seems that Rob Ford, while vigorously denying any and all allegations of any wrong doing prior to this episode, seems to enjoy the attention. His ego seems to get a thrill from the amount of news that he is generating. While he continues to shame the city that we all love so dearly, Rob Ford is actually getting off on being the person about whom the news is concerned. You see, while being Snookie or a Kardashian might be cool, it certainly is no fun for those in the way, whether is be family, friends or a city you have sworn to be the mayor of.
Drug addict’s brother enables drug addict. Helps prevent ‘bottom’.
I saw Star Trek - The Dark over the weekend. It contained some life lessons that I wanted to share with you.
It’s okay to have sex with cats if they’re twins.
It takes longer for the Enterprise to reboot than it does my first cell phone.
Kirk is smart when it comes to cute women and is stupid when it comes to cute men.
The true title should have been “How I met Your Space Mother”.
It’s okay for Uhura to date a Vulcan but it’s not okay for same gender humans to get married.
As time goes on, Klingons get more and more ornate.
Tribbles generate spontaneously (appear out of air) when either a joke is needed or a guinea pig is needed for animal testing.
Speaking of which, for some reason It’s okay to lab test on non earth species.
Khan Noonien Singh is a Caucasian (not that there is anything wrong with that).
Cold fusion bombs, unlike reality, create cold.
The Enterprise can go underwater and in space.
Khan blood is a great remedy to radiation poisoning.
The best thing to do with a medical miracle is to freeze it.
Dr. McCoy isn’t sure how to thaw Khan’s people. He sure knows how to refreeze them, though.
When the studio promises you over and over again that it isn’t Khan, they’re lying. And the best way to tell that the studio is lying is that they keep assuring you that it’s true.
The Eugenics War of the 1990s never happened unless by that they mean that Nickelodeon Studios opened.
Rob Ford and his Samoan Attorney are holed up in a Toronto hotel taking copious amounts of drugs and trying to maintain their sanity
Have a look!