Everything is wrong with me
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
 
vacation recap

[This is a long one. Consider yourselves warned. I was going to cut it in two to make it more palatable, but fuck it. It's done, so here you go.]

Whenever I take time off from posting, I find it hard to get back in the groove. This is especially true when many things happened during the time off. To write "On Friday...", "On Saturday...", "On Sunday..." etc is one of the greatest sins a writer can commit. Thank god I’m not a writer.

So I started writing a post in the "On ______" style mentioned above but I scrapped it because when reading it over even I got bored. That’s not a good sign, since reading anything that I write usually arouses me to the point of climax. Seriously. I don’t even need to touch myself – the warmth from the laptop on my crotch is enough to initiate the rise, work toward the celebration, and comfort after the fall. It’s actually quite beautiful, but we’re getting off topic here.

The following is a list of eleven things I learned or re-learned about myself, my life, my friends, and the shore while being on vacation.

[To clear this up, here’s the itinerary: I left NYC Thursday night, June 30. I was in my hometown of Philly from Thursday night until Sunday afternoon (July 3). Then I went "down the shore" to North Wildwood, NJ until Sunday, July 10, when I returned to NYC. So there.]

TV is easy. I wrote last Thursday that I was going to do a small guest spot on the show 10!, which is the local extension of the Today Show in Philadelphia. I mentioned that I was nervous, because I wasn’t given the questions in advance. I was also nervous because I wasn’t sure how well my sense of "humor" would go over with 10!’s demographic audience: housewives. To be fair, I am sure there are many cool housewives out there, but I don’t personally know any, so I am only assuming that they wouldn’t necessarily appreciate jokes about getting in fights with dogs and masturbating in parked cars.

But overall, it was very easy. It was almost too easy. I thought I was going to be on at 10:20, so I was told to show up at 9:30 (the show runs on NBC channel 10 from 10am to 11am). I showed up, with my dad acting as my personal assistant for the day (dad’s tasks: smoke cigarettes, drink coffee, sweat). I met with the hosts and they were very pleasant – pretty much what you would expect of daytime TV hosts. As I was talking to them before the show, I thought, "These are such nice people. They probably go home at night to their nice houses, drink good wine with their spouses, and help their kids with their homework. Meanwhile, I’m going to get drunk tonight, take my dad’s truck, and go looking for hookers around 12th & Locust. That is, after I drunk drive to the diner and get French onion soup and a turkey club, of course."

[Editor’s Note: do not drink and drive. And stay in school. Thank you.]

At 9:55, just as they were about to go live, a make-up woman came over and started caking on some powder on the giant zit that had taken residence on my face just about my eyebrow. When I was done, a producer came over and sat me next to the hosts – I was opening the show. Thanks for the heads up, guys.

And that was pretty much it. We shot the shit for a while, went to a commercial, and I left. Simple. I watched the tape of the show afterward and vowed to never watch it again. For some reason, my voice, which was never quite "manly" to begin with, went up a couple of notches on the "I sound like a goddamn homosexual" scale (not that there is anything wrong with homosexuals; I was briefly gay for a time in 1997, so it’s cool).

But that was it. Done and done. If I ever get on TV again, I will know not be as nervous. As a matter of fact, as long as I have access to painkillers, I will never be nervous again. Joy.

Fighting is stupid, but pretty awesome. Growing up in an urban neighborhood (or as I yell when I’m drunk, "in the streets"), most of my friends' favorite pastimes were:

1) Basketball
2) Girls
3) Fighting

Actually, fighting is probably second, but you get it: people fought constantly when we were kids. And when I say "when we were kids" I mean "from about age 6 until, um, now."

I never got into the whole fighting thing. It’s strange...I’ll be the first to admit that I’m pretty much a pussy, but for some reason, it was almost like I had a special exemption from fighting. I don’t know if it was because I was smart, funny, or ostensibly homosexual. Probably a mix of all three.

But guys fight each other a lot in my neighborhood. They still do. And not only that, but they talk about fighting a lot, too. I felt like I was watching "Friday Night Fights" when we were at the bar and I heard:

Ted: "I’m telling you, Charlie is good with his hands, but if Rob lands that big right of his, it’s all over."
Jack: "Are you kidding me? Sure, Rob does have a big right, but there’s no way he could touch Charlie – he’s just too quick."
Mike: "You know who would be a good fight? Charlie and Freddy. They’re both about the same size and both very quick, and it’d be interesting to see how the righty Charlie matches up with the southpaw Freddy."
Jack: "Oh, that would be a good one."
Ted: "Yeah, I’d like to see that."
Keep in mind that the people being discussed are not professional or even amateur boxers. They are an electrician, a guy who works at the local gas station, and a bartender. I mean, sheesh. I wonder what they would say about me:

Ted: "I think Mulgrew’s biggest asset is his teeth. He’s got some sharp ass fucking teeth and he’s not afraid to use them."
Jack: "Another of his strengths is his ability to cry on cue. When confronted, he starts crying and that kinda freaks the other guy out, ending the conflict."
Mike: "God, he’s such a pussy. Did you hear one time in grade school he stuck a piece of chalk up his ass on a dare?"Ted: "Yeah, I was there. It was awesome."

And wouldn’t you know it, not two hours after hearing this conversation (the first, not the second), a bar fight involving one of my buddies broke out. The reasons, which I can’t get into for legal reasons (seriously), were stupid, but I found myself, with about ten other guys, pulling two people apart in the middle of a bar on a Friday night. And I admit, it was pretty fucking awesome.

The best part was how well the neighborhood girls take it when their boyfriends fight. If a fight broke out involving my Manhattan friends, I am pretty sure that these guy’s girlfriends would have to be institutionalized for a period of two weeks to two months in order to calm down. Take a nice sheltered girl from Connecticut or North Jersey and put her and her man in the middle of a South Philly bar fight and she might never recover.

But the girls in the neighborhood didn’t bat an eye. They were all dancing when it broke out, and stopped to check it out when the music was shut off (keep in mind, these girlfriends could see their boyfriends rolling around the floor holding people back from murdering each other and jawing with the opposing side in the conflict). They sort of watched and after it was broken up, went right back to dancing. It was as if someone had come in with a mohawk: they turned, looked, and went back to what they were doing.

The girlfriend of one of the guys involved came up to me immediately after it was broken up:

Girlfriend: "Jase, I just want to know one thing: was Jack wrong?"
Me: [lying] "Um, not really."
Girlfriend: "That’s all I need to know."

And she went right back to dancing.

I’ll tell you, it’s always eventful when I go home. God I miss Philly sometimes.

My first heart attack was a mild one. The next night after the fight, I didn’t go out. I was so hungover I could barely breathe or wipe my ass, so I didn’t think it’d be appropriate to introduce four gallons of Bud Light into my bloodstream.

I stayed at my dad’s house, in part because my dad was dogsitting my aunt’s dog, a very cool beagle named Lucky. I spent the majority of my day laying around and eating, as the poison seeped out of my body. It was a bad day.

The only activity that I took part in was playing with the dog. This usually occurred while I was either lying or sitting: dog jumps on chair, I throw him off, I lean over and throw him around some more, I get tired, I stop, I nap, repeat.

At about 10pm, I guess I got my second wind and I jumped out of the chair to chase the dog around the house. After about five seconds, I regretted the decision immensely.

As it usually does when I do something besides move my eyelids, my heart started racing. I’m fat and out of shape, so I’m used to this. But this time it was different. Usually it goes: boom-boom...boom-boom...boom-boom very quickly. But this time, there was no one-two beat. It was more like boom-boom-boom...boom...boom...boom-boom-boom-boom...boom, etc. And it freaked me the fuck out.

I have mentioned before that I am a hypochondriac. At one time or another, I’ve believed that I have had every disease, even made-up ones, like shilomyosis, which is a condition in which the left leg twitches every time you pee, or fragolitis, who symptoms include heartburn, lightheadedness, and a desire for juicy fried chicken.

But this time, I was really freaking out and walked over my dad, telling him to feel my heartbeat. Now, the worst thing that anyone can do to/for a hypochondriac is to validate his/her hypochondria. What I need to hear when I think I have stomach cancer or am suffering an embolism is, "Dude, you are a fucking moron. Nothing is wrong with you. Also, you’ve had mayo on your face since the barbeque and that was like twelve hours ago. God you’re fucking disgusting."

My dad is probably the least hypochondriacal person in the world (when he was 19, he got drunk down the shore, dove head-first into 18 inches of water in the bay, broke his neck, went to bed, woke up with a hangover and drove 90 miles to Philly before saying, "Mom, I think I broke my neck" – sure enough he did and now has three ounces of platinum in his spine holding his neck vertebra together, but more on that some other time). But when he felt my racing heart, startled, he said, "Wow – you better go lie down or something." Wrong answer. Then he added, "Do you want me to run you up the hospital?" Even more wrong. Before you could say "Go back to therapy", I was in the bathroom sucking down Bayer and Xanax, trying to calm down.

Eventually, I did. But it took a long time, and a lot of medication. And seriously, this time was different. Again, I am a tremendous hypochondriac, much more so than I let on here. I can say that I am almost consumed with the beating of my own heart. I obsess about it constantly. I reach for my chest to feel my heart beat (and my man boobs) about two thousand times a day. At times, it’s so out of control that it’s almost paralyzing.

And this particular freak-out scared the fuck out of me. So much so that I’m officially starting a diet. Yesterday, after eating cereal, a salad, and a 6" subway sub all day, I actually walked home from work. So you can see that this time, I am serious. That is, until my birthday, when I drink a bottle of vodka and eat a block of cheese and at least two bottles of ranch dressing. Sure, that might a little stressful on the old ticker, but fuck it – it’s my birthday.

Bill got a haircut in a driveway. Strangest incident from vacation: by buddy Bill getting a haircut in someone's driveway at 5am on Monday night/Tuesday morning. Don't ask, because I'm not sure how it happened. I guess it was the natural result of having a half dozen people together, three of whom are professional hairstylists and one of whom is an accountant with bad hair, and a ton of beer. And I'll tell you: for a haircut given in the dark by a girl who had a bazillion beers over the previous six hours, it looks pretty good.

Overeating is underrated. Except for the whole heart attack thing side effect, it really is. I ate and overate more in this past week that I have in a long time. And it was very, very good.

(Again, except for the whole "constantly thinking I was dying" thing)

Napping is underrated. My schedule went like this pretty much everyday:

11am: Wake up
Noon: Eat a lot
1pm to 4pm: Sit by pool/walk around
4pm to 6:30: Nap
7pm: Eat a lot
8pm to 2am: Drink

I was getting about 13 hours a sleep a day, taking the most gorgeous late-afternoon naps the world has ever seen. And my quality of life was about 1000x better. I highly, highly recommend the nap.

(I know there was nothing funny there; it was a statement of fact: naps are great. Thank you.)

Women – good god. I think I’ve run out of things to say about beautiful women, having exhausted my store of superlatives sometime last December. But after this recent trip to the shore, I need only four words to get my point across: HOT TAN YOUNG GIRLS.

Hot tan young girls are ALL OVER the shore (sorry about the caps – I’ll stop now). I mean, EVERYWHERE (sorry). I’m kinda having trouble writing about this and I don’t know where to start, so I’m going to step away from the computer for a couple of minutes, take a few deep breaths and a walk around the block, and go commit a sex crime. Be back in ten.

...

...

...

...

Wow – that got out of control pretty quickly. I fucking hate dogs. Anyway...

Maybe I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but I don’t remember girls looking like this when I was 18. Of course, I was very into pills at that time, but this is beside the point. On one afternoon, I was walking along the beach and came upon a gaggle of girls that looked like some of the hottest twenty-two year olds I’d seen in a long time. Upon closer inspection, they were probably seventeen, if that. I think it was the braces and "Wissahickon High Cheerleading" t-shirts that gave them away. Because otherwise, they looked 22. And trust me, I was looking for a long time, so I know what I’m talking about.

And this says nothing about the bar scene, which is filled with sexpot underage girls who, shockingly, want nothing to do with me. If I had to make a quick list of things that girls in bars down the shore are attracted to, I’d say:

- Shirts without sleeves
- Tattoos
- Loads and loads of hair gel
- Frequent use of curse words
- STD’s (if you have an STD and a child, you’re on par with Leonardo DiCaprio)
- General doochebaggery

Unfortunately, the top selling points about yours truly go something like:

- Reads books when not required
- Decent job
- Nice place that parents do not also live in
- Frequent use of curse words
- Good general knowledge (i.e. knows that Europe is a continent, not a country; can explain how Caesar isn’t famous just for his salad; etc)
- No STD’s (though not for lack of trying)

Also, I’m pretty much fucking famous. Yet this (the fame and my other qualifications) means less than nothing to women at bars down the shore. One night, I watched some musclehead douchebag in a Lakers jersey down to his knees, a white hat cocked to the side, and a necklace that would give Flavor Flav pause grind on two gorgeous girls. We’re talking girls so hot that when you see them you involuntarily say "My god" out loud because you can’t control yourself. I was standing with some friends taking it in and after a few minutes I asked my buddy:

Me: "Dude, who is that guy?"
Him: "That’s Hook. He just got out of jail for dealing. I think he like beat up his girlfriend too. He’s a real dick."

At which point my female friend chimed in, "Yeah, but he’s hot."

...

I don’t even know why I get out of bed anymore.

I will say this: I was so drunk by the time I left the bar that after hours of watching scenes like this I was motivated beyond belief. I swore I was going to go home to write the greatest screenplay Hollywood has ever seen and would immediately go on a strict diet. Of course, about thirty minutes later I ate a pound of macaroni salad, but for those five minutes I was very serious. Nothing like watching some shitdude ex-con scoring with some hot chicks to get you all sorted out. For five minutes. Or whenever the booze wears off. Whichever comes first.

Seagulls are the worst creatures on earth. In London's Trafalgar Square, they had a pigeon problem. See, the pigeons in London are not like pigeons in the US: they have balls. While all it takes to scatter a group of pigeons in NYC is a step in their direction, the London pigeons will come up to you, go after your food, and will continue going after your food even after you've shooed them away.

So what did London do to combat this problem? The put two hawks in Trafalgar Square to chase the pigeons away. I'm not sure if they just chase the pigeons or eat them, the latter being pretty fucking awesome, but it works. The result? Less pigeons.

The seagulls down the shore deserve such treatment. They are probably the most despicable creatures on earth. One day I aimlessly wondered the boardwalk on Wildwood, eating fries and taking in the scenery (i.e. poor people, bad tattoos, lots and lots of Philly/South Jersey accents). And wherever I went you could see hoards of seagulls attacking people trying to eat french fries, swarming over them, acting viciously.

Fortunately, they didn't fuck with me. I'm assuming they took one look and thought, "Whoa - stay away from that fucking guy. Sure, we might get a fry or two, but he looks pretty serious about his food and I think he'd take at least a few of us out. Let's move on."

So Wildwood NJ, please invest in hawks to chase or attack these bastard seagulls. Because that would be fucking awesome.

A lot of TV shows suck. I watched a lot of TV over vacation, and some notes on two shows in particular:

"Blue Collar TV" should be renamed "Southern Moron TV". Good god. Don't get me wrong - some of it was funny (very funny actually), but man, for most of it I was sitting there watching, shaking my head with my mouth open, saying, "I just don’t get it."

"The Carlos Mencia Show" should be renamed "Lame Jokes About Muslims and Hispanics For 30 Minutes". I love it when minority comedians get up and talk about being a minority. It doesn’t get any funnier than that. We get it – you’re Mexican. You illegally crossed the border and you have a lot of brothers and sisters. Also, you love tacos. What’s that Mr. African-American? You like rims and big butts? You don’t say! Hey, do the police target you unfairly by any chance? You’re kidding! That is hilarious! Excuse Mr. Asian Man, but are you a bad driver? Did your parents stress the value of hard work and education? Do a lot of people believe you know karate? Please share all of your experiences! I can’t get enough!
(Yes, I’m being sarcastic. And yes, I realize that I talk about being fat all the time, but screw you.)

Drink until you shit – literally. Much to my surprise, the "Drink Until You Shit Tour" was a huge success. We came, we saw, we drank, and a few of us shit (myself included).

It started at 7pm and ended, um, I have no idea when. I do know a few things:

1) I pooped – twice – at the same bar. Score!

2) We had a few extra t-shirts, maybe 8 or so, so we brought them out in a backpack in case people joined the tour late. The t-shirts didn’t go to late-comers, but rather strangers in the bars and on the streets who saw the shirts and loved them. We sold all of them. I guess our "Drink Until You Shit!" motto was catchy.

3) Best one-liner of the tour: at the first bar we were drinking at, some old dude came up to us to ask what we were doing. My buddy David said, "We’re on a drinking tour – you wanna come?" The old dude said, "No...I’d win."

(I guess you had to be there, but it was pretty funny)

4) David and I told everyone that the first person to shit him/herself would get a $100. We thought everyone knew we were joking, but at about 3am, my friend Bucky actually pooped in his pants. I was gone and/or blacked out by this point, but there are several witnesses to verify this and the next day I got two voicemails from Bucky asking for his $100.

So maybe instead of donating money to me, you can give me some money to give Bucky. Any guys who shits himself deserves $100, in my humble opinion.

5) Um, I got nothing. I was pretty much toast by about midnight. One of those nights were you say to your friends:

Me: "Dude, it was fucking awesome."
Friend: "What did you guys do?"Me: "Um, I don’t know. Just kinda drank a lot for like nine hours."
Friend: [clearly disappointed] "Oh. Sweet."

6) I’ll tell you what was disappointing: my enormous hangover on Sunday, which was made worse by a drive back to Philly, followed by a train back to NYC. Nothing like traveling through traffic and tons of people with three large bags when you’re convinced parts of you are dying.

The good news is that since it was so successful this will not be the last of the drinking tours. If you play your cards right, maybe you guys will even get invited. But I’ll probably be dead within a week, so don’t get your hopes up.

I missed NYC. It's official: I have become a New York douchebag. You know, the kind of person who compares every city to NYC, who talks about living in NYC too much, who says how much he loves living in NYC. I can't help it, I just do. I make no apologies for the fact that I live in the bestest city in the world and I love it. Screw you for judging me.

I'll spare you the details, but it was just so nice to be home to familiar places I know: Rosario's pizza, KGB liquors, Taco Bell, etc. I like North Wildwood, but there's not a whole heck of a lot to do there. I figured that there were about the same number of shops/stores in the four-block radius surrounding Penn Station than there are in all of the Wildwoods. And for someone as shallow and materialistic as me, this is important.

Having said that, my love for the city doesn't make being back at work any easier. Good lord. If I said it once, I'll say it again: working is for chumps. Sheesh - no thanks.

And now if you'll excuse me, it's about time for my nap. Have a good day.




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