Everything is wrong with me
Friday, July 15, 2005
On Sunday, I will be 26. 26 – damn! Dave Attell, the best stand-up comedian around, has a great bit in which he says something like, "I'm 38. I never thought I'd be doing stand-up comedy at 38. I thought I'd be in Hawaii solving murders with a half-Indian partner who drives a helicopter."

And that pretty much sums it up (well, not exactly, but bear with me). When I was a kid, 26 was old. Like, real old. My parents had me when they were 24 and 23, respectively. So naturally I assumed that when I was 26, I'd have at least one kid, possibly two. And I'd love them, as they wouldn't be blind or constantly lighting things on fire. I'd live with a beautiful wife who made the best chicken parmigiana in a house with a giant lawn and big, friendly dog. On weekends, we'd go to fancy dinners and take vacations to nice places. Yes sir, everything would be great at age 26.

Instead, at age 26 I don't have a wife, but I have a roommate who smokes pot constantly, owes me thousands of dollars, and one time punched me in the face in my sleep. I do love kids, but in the way that could get me in trouble. I live in a modest apartment above an Italian restaurant, spend a third of my income on alcohol and narcotics, and every night when I go to bed I'm so anxiety-ridden/hypochondriacal that I'm not sure I'll wake up again.

Such is life.

Further, I always thought I would be either a doctor or lawyer when I was younger. I didn't really know much about those profession, but I was a very cocky s.o.b. and knew that the smartest of the smartest became doctors and lawyers. I dropped the whole "doctor" thing in sophomore year of high school, when I learned that I, in fact, suck at science. Mr. Milewski was a great guy and all, but all that crap about plants and cells - no thanks. I spent most of that class in the bathroom, reading the Daily News, pooping, and wondering what it would be like to touch a booby. Maybe that's why I didn't so well, but it was a long time ago, so I don't really remember.

The lawyer idea stuck around a bit longer. For the first three years of college, I thought I was going to law school. Not because I was interested in law (I took a business law class my sophomore year and hated it; I spent the entire time staring at this gorgeous senior from Florida who I thought was perfect until she maced me after the midterm - twice), but because I didn't have much else to do. I think this is the reason why a lot of people go to law school. "Well, I don't really know what I want to do, and I don't mind being in school. I don't want a masters degree in something useless like history or math and I ain't going to med school, so I guess I'll go to law school."

That was my reasoning until one summer day after my junior year. I went, hungover, to the BC library to take my first practice LSAT. And I did so poorly that in three hours, the previous thirteen years of wanting to be a lawyer went right down the drain. I bombed the test and scrapped the law school plans forever. And now I'm an Internet Quasi-Celebrity, so at least it worked out. The moral: if you're not good at something, give up immediately and try something else. There is no shame in quitting. There is great shame and trying over and over again when you clearly suck.

[Actually, it wasn't until two years later that I learned that I didn't do as bad as I thought on that fateful first LSAT. Apparently, everyone (or mostly everyone) really bombs the test the first time the take it and my score was actually not that bad for my first time. However, since I'm a complete dick when it comes to things like this, I thought, "Well, if I don't get at least a 163 I'm never taking this test again." I'd say about 3% of people who take the test get a 163 or better on their first time. I didn't and immediately gave up. But again, I'm pretty much fucking famous, so it all worked out.]

And now here I am at 26, doing marketing/pr/financial research for a law firm. And in this department, I couldn't be happier. I like my job, I have good hours, and I make decent money. I see the irony here - that I wanted to be a lawyer but now I work for lawyers - but I don't mind. You all know by now that I don't have a lot of pride or shame, so as long as I get my rent paid on the first of the month, I'm cool. Besides, I work for partners. Partners are very different from associates: they've made it up the corporate ladder, are very successful, and are generally cool to deal with. Meanwhile, associates my age are putting in 90-hour weeks, giving their lives to the firm, ending relationships and friendships for a $100,000+ a year salary, and spending their free time scoping out the buildings of NYC, deciding which one to jump off of (for a good insight into this lifestyle, see here).

(Damn that was a long last sentence)

So at 26, I don't mind what I do. When I was a kid I didn't know jobs like this (the one I have now) existed. I only thought there were about twelve career choices: doctor, lawyer, cop, fireman, worker in a store, longshoreman, athlete, musician, actor, banker, person in jail. You'll notice "Practice Development Analyst/Internet Quasi-Celebrity" is not on that list. And that's ok, because at least it's better than being in jail. Mostly.

And so goodbye to 25 and hello to 26. 25 was a good year: fame, fortune, women, drugs (well, not those middle two - and not much of the first either). But now it's over and I must welcome 26 with open arms.

On Saturday, my friends and I will be having a little party to celebrate my b-day. No, you are not invited, mostly because I don't want you to see that I'm actually a fraud who in real life is in great shape, is devastatingly handsome, and doesn't drink. But you're also not invited because last year's party was a disaster. I don't want you showing up and having a bad time. But this time around I am cautiously optimistic. Of course, deep down I know it will suck. But fuck it - I'm going to get good and drunk. Stories (or complaining about lack of stories) to follow on Monday.

So have a good weekend and have a beer for me. I will have several hundred for you as I get officially get closer to 30 than I am to 20. Yikes.

[As a side note, thank you to all those who donated. I'm glad that you guys finally got it: a little bit to you means a lot to me, because when a lot of people give a little bit, it really helps me out. I just re-read that sentence and it doesn't make much sense, but you know what I mean. Even though my buddy John wrote to me and said:

Do you realize that you have effectively become a panhandler? What a disgrace. Why don't you just buy an accordion and sit on the L train?
Please keep the donations coming, because I am going to get so fucked up. Thank you again, and god bless.]

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