Don’t Mind Me As I Slowly Steal This Ballpoint Pen Piece By Piece

10 Feb

penPlease don’t mind me as I slowly steal this ballpoint pen, piece by piece, over the next half hour. You may believe that you and I are having a normal conversation at this inconspicuous coffee shop when, in fact, something devious is happening right under your nose: I am stealing your pen.

That’s right, I’ve had my eye on this beautiful piece of Bic machinery since you casually swiped it out to write something in your Moleskine notebook while you were still talking.

By this point, as you tither on about some article you saw online, your pen has been completely disassembled with the components lying neatly in front of me. Do you notice? No. Why? Because you’re too engrossed in your own conversation, that’s why.

If you were to stop and ask me, “Hey, Matt, why is my pen taken apart on the table in front of you?” I could easily respond with, “Oh, it’s just something I do while I’m focusing on things. I take ballpoint pens apart. It’s a tick. Please don’t mind me.”

But it’s not a tick, nor a tack.

No, my intentions are based in greed and boredom, but mostly boredom. And, as I slowly slip the spring into my jacket pocket, I divert your attention by sipping from my coffee, despite it still being too hot. You see, I too have read an article online. One about pickpockets. And I’ve stolen some of their tricks.

Sleight of hand. Diversions. General creepiness. The ability to sip extremely hot coffee without wincing in pain.

I feel all the parts in my pocket. Smooth and plastic-y. Probably made in a factory off a large industrial road in central Florida. I feel all the pen parts but one – the ink shaft.

I don’t know if that’s what it’s called. That’s just my assumption considering it’s a skinny, cylindrical shaft full of ink and that the engineers at Bic probably aren’t as creative as the Imagineers at Disney, or the Genii at Apple. Therefore, the names of their product’s parts probably aren’t too far away from such inventions like “shoelace” and “meat paddle.” Although the iShaft would probably be an interesting sword/pen combo.

Regardless, the ink shaft is critical because, without it, I would only have a set of peculiarly well-fitting, plastic pieces that don’t actually do anything. The ink shaft is what makes a pen a pen.  All my endeavors are lost if I leave here shaft-less, having only accrued worthless parts that any infant could easily choke on. Unless, of course, it’s the iShaft, in which case all the parts would be seamlessly integrated into one – most likely.

“What happened to my pen?” you say, searching for your instrument of expression. This Bic may be mightier than a sword, but today it is no match for my stealthy fingertips.

“I don’t know,” I tell you.

When, in reality, I do. I know because I’ve been stealing your ballpoint pen, piece by piece, for the past half hour.

But, I’ve been expecting this moment. Your question is not met without preparation.

I quickly reach into my other pocket and pull out a similar Bic ballpoint pen and toss it on the ground and I say coyly, “Is that your pen?

When you look to the ground I grab the ink-shaft, my Ark of the Covenant, and shove it into my pocket.

“Oh, there it is,” you say.

And although you are the fool here, it is I who play the fool as I congratulate you on finding your “pen” knowing that the real treasure lies three inches in my cozy jacket pocket – all the parts to your plastic, Bic, ballpoint, pen.

I pretend to listen as you continue to ramble on about whatever you were talking about, but instead I’m slowly feeling each and every plastic part, rewarding myself for this small victory. And then, when I finally become more present to our conversation, you reach into your coat pocket and find, to both our chagrins, another Bic ballpoint pen…

It Amazes Me

3 Aug

It amazes me that, at some point, Mark Twain put a string of words together and thought they got the job done, that they accomplished his goal, communicated his message. Yet these words did none of those things. That at a point in his life, he didn’t know how to use the right words at the right time.

It amazes me that he had to learn something, to work on his craft, and wasn’t just born with his ability. He probably tried to write a love letter to a woman, someone beautiful, but could never get it to be as lyrical, delicate, affectionate as those of the writers that he admired. So he gave up. Crumpled up the inked paper and threw it in a trash can. Maybe, if he had, they would have fallen in love, gotten married, had kids, and Mark Twain would have never been Mark Twain.

It amazes me that the man struggled – with anything.

It amazes me that every comedian that’s ever been on television, sold out stadiums, packed thousand-seat theaters with beautiful, gilded, festoons and frescoes, that they, at one point, stood in front of a microphone at a coffee shop or bar during an open mic, told some jokes for five minutes, and made no one laugh. Not a single person. That this event happened over, and over, and over again. That they, too – the Louis CKs, Marc Marons, Dane Cooks, George Carlins – they worked, failed, struggled, and strived to become who they are now.

It amazes me that they started somewhere. That they came from one thing and ended up another. That their past isn’t  glamorous or successful like their present or future, but absolutely critical to how they got there.

It’s like when you meet a girl and you feel that tug of attraction, that magnetic pulse between the two of you, and it’s downright remarkable just to learn that she existed before this very moment.

That ten years ago she may have been a completely different person. That she was once in love and then fell out of it and lived to tell the tale. That she evolved into the human she is today. It amazes me to watch as this individual who was just filling up space slowly becomes a human. A human with a past, a timeline, a series of changes that have brought them to their inevitable conclusion which is their current state of being. The day that we are able to see the forest from the tree is the day that we see the human from the individual.

The same applies for parents. It amazes me to learn that they had dreams, goals, and desires before I came into this world – kicking and screaming and taking up space. It amazes me that they were once teenagers, dreaming of big things, wondering big questions, and feeling so very little in a very big world.

It amazes me that they became young adults, feeling just a little bigger and seeing the world as even larger. It amazes me that they felt fear or regret. It amazes me that before I became a central point in their ecosystem, they still had a meaning. That they were complete individuals and I simply changed it, repurposed it all around me.

And they went with it.

It amazes me that we all carry a trajectory with us – either folded up in our back pockets or proudly on display in an intricate frame – and that, for the most part, no one really knows where it will lead.

Someone once told me that the hardest thing anyone can do is admit their faults and actively work on fixing them.

Well, we’re all working on something. And it’s pretty damn hard.

We’re all going from one thing to another, finishing a process,  a journey, or maybe just starting one. Regardless, everyone is learning, and – just as much as it amazes me that Mark Twain had to learn how to structure a sentence, that Robin Williams had struggled with delivering punchlines, and that my parents may have been completely terrified – it amazes me even more that they are continuing to combat these things. That we never stop learning, improving, finishing, and re-doing.

The best we can do is consider everyone as humans. As people with a past, a present, and a future where they will always be learning something, fixing something, finding something that even they may not have known that they needed. That they came from something and ended up here, with you, in this tiny sliver of time. That we’re all struggling in some little way or another, to work on the hardest thing we can work on – fixing ourselves.

A Standard Conversation

12 May

Person One: Well, this is what I think about this and this is what I feel about this and this is how I think about that. What do you think?

Person Two: Well…

*As Person Two begins talking, Person One starts playing with their smartphone. The background sound fades out and all that can be heard is Angry Birds sound effects, yet Person Two continues to talk and talk as if someone is listening.*

Person Two: … And that’s how I feel about all those things. What do you think about that?

*Person One puts down their phone and begins talking, realizing Person Two is done.*

Person One: OK. Well, this is how I feel about this and this is how I think about that…

*Person Two gets bored and picks up their smartphone. This goes on forever.*

The End.

How to Write a Mumford and Sons/Lumineers/Folk-Pop Song

9 Apr

Hi, Barry Goldbergstein. Head of Talent Development here at Out of Touch Records.

OK. So you want to write a hit song? You want the number one on iTunes or YouPipe or whatever the kids are listening to these days? You want to make it to Carnegie Hall? Well, there are a few things you’re gonna have to do and only one of them is practice.

Oh? What’s that? You want to sound like Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, Philip Phillips and every other band that sounds like that? That folk/pop/rock amalgamation that’s flooded every Spotify playlist and radio station. Well you’re in luck because that’s my specialty.

I made Mumford and Sons. I raised them from Mumford and Sperm to actual humans.

Shut up.

Shut up.

Alright, step one: Write two verses and a chorus. This is the hardest part but here’s a solution: Open up an Ernest Hemingway novel. Pick five random sentences. That’s your verse. Pick another five random sentences. That’s your chorus. Do that twice again for the other verses and ta da. You’re done. You’re a fucking poet.

Step two. Ready? Pick two open chords. Don’t play barre chords, this isn’t jazz. Don’t play power chords, either. What do you think this is? Punk? No. Open chords. They’re universal. You can put them with anything. Especially crappy vocals and rudimentary drumming. You can put anything with rudimentary drumming. Just ask Jack White. So pick two open chords. Got them? Good. G and C are preferable, and if you fee like mixing it up throw in a D and an E.

NEVER PLAY MINOR CHORDS.

Unless it’s a ballad, then just one. You aren’t Elvis Costello, you’re a champion of the Industrial Revolution! You’re a reaction against the digital age! You’re a lark in a forest at dusk! Major chords!

But I digress. So, just play those two open chords over and over again. Choose one rhythm for your verses, which you’ve already written. Choose another rhythm for your choruses, which you’ve also already written. Nothing too fancy, just something that somebody can work too in the hot sun all day, or a sound that a twenty-something hipster at a coffee shop can get pumped enough to actually write his novel instead of staring at the screen for nine hours and tweeting about cats.

Now, step three: Structure the song. The normal thing is verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. You already have your verses written. The chorus doesn’t change. Now all you need to do is make the bridge.

That’s real easy. Like retard easy.

Here’s what you do: you yell. Not like a gorilla, you idiot. You yell like a man who just finished working on a railroad all day, or plowing a field, or making an anvil to make more metal things on. Really just say “oh” loudly and melodically while playing the same chords and rhythm as the chorus. And then go into the chorus. People will love it.

No.

No.

Now play all that together.

Make sure you add a pounding bass kick or piano beat. Just a simple thump, thump, thump throughout the song will work. Nothing too fancy. Remember, this isn’t real music – this is folk-pop.

Also, make sure that you have one guy constantly playing the same banjo riff over and over again. Something with energy. Take the Deliverance lick and just speed it up. Now do that constantly. Good, that helps drive the energy going into each section with the pounding, simplistic bass.

Oh? What’s that? You don’t have a female wearing cowgirl boots and a sundress?

Get one.

Even if she can’t do anything it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to mic her, just tell her she’s singing the vocals for the chorus with you. Give her a tambourine or something, just don’t let her near a microphone. Make sure she’s really damn good at Instagram, or at least at being Instagrammed, and that she’s beautiful in the wholesome Rachel McAdams sense. You know what I mean?

This girl needs to be in your band, no matter how untalented she is.

This girl needs to be in your band, no matter how untalented she is.

Like all you want to do is cuddle with her under the sheets and have her make you coffee in a high-end cabin in upstate New York while you write this song. Maybe haul out your Canon 7D your parents bought for you and take an artsy pic of her doing said things and put it on the band’s Tumblr and watch it get, like, 9,000 notes. That’s what that website’s for, right?

This one actually is talented.

This one actually is talented.

That’s the life you could lead, kid, if you just follow these rules.

Got it?

Perfect. You’re ready for the big time now.

An Open Letter to My Brain

30 Mar

Dear Brain,

Hi. How are you? Are you doing well today? That may sound like an arbitrary question, built on social responsibilities, but I thought it necessary to ask considering you recently had me use coffee filters as napkins and allowed me to drive from the gas station with the pump still in the receptacle thing.

You know, the little hole that has a cap that you unscrew and then you shove the pump inside and it ejects gasoline into the car. It’s all rather sexual, isn’t it? The pumping of gas. There’s penetration and ejaculation involved, as well as the feeling of “fulfillment” afterwards. If only I fell asleep after every time I pumped gas then maybe I would be a better-rested person…

Sex.

Sex.

See, here you go, not even letting me recall the name of the hole in the side of my car for the gas – my car’s gas-vagina, I guess – while I’m writing a letter to you, causing me to go on a tangent about the sexuality of pumping gas. Even that word, pumping – it’s just so vigorous.

Stop! This is why we think we’re addicted to porn!

But, Brain, the real reason why I’m writing this letter is because, lately, you’ve been sucking. Hard. I mean the aforementioned incidents involving coffee and gas aren’t that bad, that could just be chalked up to hangover-induced sluggishness. But, this past month has seen lackluster performances of epic proportions, all on your part.

First example: Our recent conversation with Jenny. Really? You forgot her birthday. Are you 12 again? The last time this happened Melanie broke up with us in eighth grade, yet here we go again, disappointing women by confusing their birthdays with one of the Beastie Boys’. And, seriously, it’s New Year’s Day. Her birthday is New Year’s Day. There’s no excuse for that!

Jenny was not in this band. Stop it.

Jenny was not in this band. Stop it.

And then her completely justifiable but rather immature tantrum and ensuing departure only started our rabbit hole into sloppy functionality that you seem to be reveling in right now.

For example, Saturday night. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You know very well what I’m talking about because it’s the one part of the week where you completely checked out and left me on my own. Do you know what my Reptilian Brain is good at? Nothing. Just breathing and pumping blood. That’s not enough in today’s society and you know it.

Yet, you blacked out at a house party after only four beers and left me to puke in the bathtub and then piss in the sink at that guy David’s party. You don’t even remember who he is, either. Asshole.

But four beers? Really. You used to be able to rattle off the names of every cast member of Ghostbusters at the tail end of marathon-like drinking events in college. In addition, at the end of the night, you would still have the sense to make me brush my teeth, take my clothes off, set an alarm and get in bed. Instead, on Sunday, I woke up under my kitchen table with all my clothes on except for my left sock and shoe –which where in my hand.

I don’t know how I got home, what I was chasing after with my shoe and sock and why I landed under the table.

What the Hell happened? You threw me under the drunk-bus and went off gallivanting to God knows where.

Oh! Let’s talk about work. You know that we make the same exact thing for lunch every damn day. Every day. Yet, you decide that it’d be a great idea to just eat the boss’ leftover Chicken Pad Thai from the client meeting he had last night. And then, just leave the trash out there in the kitchen for someone else to clean up. What the Hell is that? There was a perfectly good ham and cheese sandwich in the fridge, our ham and cheese sandwich, which would not have gotten us fired if consumed, yet it just wasn’t good enough for you was it?

This is delicious but it is NOT ours.

This is delicious but it is NOT ours.

Nevermind all the other terrible things we’ve been doing at work. The Tweeting while no one’s watching. The 90-minute “lunch breaks,” which are really just us going for a long walk after our ham and cheese. And then the leaving at 4 p.m., regardless of what meeting we’re in and what else needs to get done. It’s astonishing, now that I think of it, that we weren’t fired before this. In fact, it’s not just the past week that’s been the issue; it’s really the past three months that have been problematic.

Since Jenny, Brain. Since the Jenny incident.

And now, of all things, you have me concocting ridiculous and absurd plans to win her back. Like she’s just waiting for me to show a moment of brilliance to help her change her mind. She’s gone and she is not coming back because her brain actually works! So this plan you have where I reenact the scene from Say Anything but on her fire escape and playing the mixtape I made for her last year, let’s abandon it so we can get on with our life!

So until you get your own head out of your own ass, Brain, I’m going to find a way to right you, either from better living through chemistry or talking to some weirdo therapist, but consider this my final warning.

Your Body and Best Friend,

Matt

The Most Absurd Place on Earth

21 Mar
Hell!

Hell!

I used to watch a show called Doug, about a kid named Doug Funnie who often had issues with stress, anxiety, existentialism and his own, wild imagination. There’s an episode of Doug where he’s afraid to see a scary movie because of how terrifying the monster is and how embarrassing it would be to become so scared in the presence of his schoolmates or, even worse, Patty Mayonnaise – his spunky, quirky romantic interest.

But, while watching the movie, Doug looked at the zipper on the back of the monster’s suit and was able to unravel the entire idea of the event being real, considering monsters aren’t constructed from zippers and seams. It’s like when your friend has a safety word for whenever he uses hallucinogenics and starts to freak out, saying things such as “daiquiris” or “velvet” to bring him back to reality. The zipper on the monster’s back is a way for Doug to tell himself that he exists, in this world, and that what’s happening on screen was made by hundreds of people, one piece at a time, to be constructed into a fake reality.

Stop being so happy, Doug, and have an existential meltdown so I can relate to you.

Stop being so happy, Doug, and have an existential meltdown so I can relate to you.

Doug Funnie’s Zipper allows him to realize the absurdity in scary movies; it’s his tool for to deconstructing the Construct. When I went to Disneyland recently, I couldn’t help but pick out the zippers on the backs of Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, Donald and the park as a whole, unraveling their construct and seeing the absurdity that fills up the giant mouse’s giant head.

When you enter Disneyland, you essentially remove yourself from reality by three more separate states. Starting with the world you live in – the one where you wake up, make coffee, go to work, come home, eat and sleep – you leave this reality to go to Disneyland, separating yourself from the reality where you have a direct effect on the world around you. You enter an island of imagination that is based on one thing: Disney. Walt Disney is God, Mickey Mouse is Jesus and everyone else is an Apostle, characters in a Bible that is continuously expanding and none of it makes a difference in the overall landscape of humanity.

It’s escapism to the nth degree. It’s raw sugar for the human brain and not the good kind you find in Starbucks.

Pulling into the massive parking lot at Disneyland, you’re greeted with a sign stating that the happiest place on Earth just got happier.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aR37xfXAXFY]

That’s their slogan and it’s terrifying. It sounds like a tag that would be found on the bottom of a horror movie one sheet, like a taunt to see how much you can take. A wide-eyed, full-toothed, grinning, soccer mom shoving a plate of sugarized cookies and whole milk in your face while asking you about how much you love your family. The dark and twisted version of The Stepford Wives, this time starring Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp, directed by Tim Burton and featuring music by Hans Zimmer.

The happiest place on Earth just got happier.

I understand that cartoons allow filmmakers to do whatever they want, exist in worlds that are only limited by the extent of their imaginations, but are we really above grammar, Mr. Disney? I believe that “happiest” is a superlative, making it impossible for it to get even happier.

The ridiculousness of Disneyland only snowballs from its greeting. Its existence is nothing more than a giant, overgrown and well-organized anomaly of attention. Disneyland is a plot of land – a geographic region with its own zip code – acres and acres of good, California soil that could be used to farm, build affordable housing, create a school, a hospital, a wildlife sanctuary or even a manufacturing district. All of which are very important, all of which are the opposite of Disneyland – a theme park built by the bricks of fantasy.

In addition, the park is ran at a level of organization that most third-world countries couldn’t even dream of. It has all the amenities of a modern city – public transportation, roads, a sewer system, police force, healthcare, food and plumbing.

camus absurd quote

But, the entire park is essentially a clinic in advanced cattle herding. Humans are directed to group together and then directed to disperse to different areas and then huddled together and then dispersed, repeat ad infinitum/nauseum (whichever comes first). The shepherds/wranglers/cast members that herd us along do this in such an incremental, organized and specific way that getting lost or feeling out of place at Disneyland would require an exceptional level of stupidity or aloofness only possessed by individuals under the age of 16.

Which makes me wonder how so many Goddamn adults get lost at Disneyland. You see them, looking around confused, pulling out maps and scratching the felt Mickey Mouse hats resting softly on their heads. They’re everywhere.

But when you think about why people actually go to this park it kind of makes sense – we go to get lost, to give up and let the puppeteer take the strings. We go to stop worrying about the bills, taxes, sequesters and fiscal cliffs, uncertain futures and checkered pasts. We go to love the Mouse, bask in his warm glow and feel like a leaf in a river, being gently ushered and swayed through life for a day, a week or even more.

Just being within the borders of Disneyland is an exercise in escapism, let alone going on the rides, which present the third layer of reality with which you will separate yourself from the one you live in everyday. For example, the Star Tours ride – not to be confused with the tourist adventure through Hollywood about an hour North, without traffic – is where that nincompoop of a character C3PO attempts to give us a tour of the Star Wars universe but screws it up and gets us in quite a bind with Darth Vader and his band of cronies, but good thing we have R2D2 to help us out.

On this ride, like all the rides, attendees are herded into a holding area, through mazes of railings and chains that direct movement and negate options. The power of eliminating choice is a surprisingly calming experience, like “Really? This is the only option I have? Well, OK then.” And we move along, accepting our reality as what it is, not questioning the all-great and powerful Oz that has two giant ears, a huge smile and white gloves.

And it’s that trust, that puerile sense of powerlessness that is so remarkable. People trust Disneyland with nearly everything.

Go ahead Disneyland take my body.

I trust that this dysfunctional elevator ride you call the Tower of Terror won’t breakdown and send me careening through its shaft at ten meters per second per second. I trust that these virtual reality experiences won’t trigger any hidden stressors I’ve buried deep in my subconscious, unearthed by a mixture of pulsating lights, Disney dialogue and a consistent sense of nausea.

I don’t think I’ve ever trusted anybody the way most people trust the Imagineers at Disneyland, which is the fancy name they gave their engineers, much like how they call their ubiquitous, generic staff and employees “cast members.” Disneyland is the most literal interpretation of Shakespeare’s adage that all the world is a stage.

To their credit, though, these Imagineers are remarkably skilled. The effectiveness at which they are able to alter and replace the crazy, unorganized and coincidental reality in which we live with a constructed and organized alternative is alarming.

The appearance of a Disneyland ride is like a fine painting, where instead of reveling in the fact that someone was able to reproduce reality with such alacrity and skill – like when I was a kid at Disney World – I am now reveling in the brush strokes and colors used by the artists to create the image.

The complexities that go into doing this are so finely glazed over and dramatized – smoothed out like a shirt fresh from the dry cleaners – it’s like the rides and the amusement parks were a natural occurrence, an organic growth sprouting from the fertile lands of Southern California and Eastern Florida. As if they’re supposed to be there.

It’s this layering, the amount of careful thought, precision and detail that goes into the design and existence of Disneyland that only adds to its absurdity. Seeing a woman breastfeed as she’s crossing the street and wearing a velvet jumpsuit while being photographed by a midget is absurd, but it’s absurdity is passing, fleeting, incidental and coincidence – much like our existence. The absurdity of Disneyland is a long, grueling and well-thought-out process that was completely determined, planned and prepared for.

absurd humor

We did not choose to exist on Earth, but here we are. Disneyland was predetermined and that’s terrifying, that we can plan to have so much control over one another, that we can plan to create separate realities that cater to our basic needs while diminishing certain, newer aspects of humanity – intellectual and creative fulfillment, structured stories offering an explanation of the world around us – into a meaty pulp. That’s a real horror movie.

While it may seem as if I went to Disneyland, had a bad trip and cried the whole way home, don’t confuse this with a lack of fun. I had a blast at Disneyland.  I merrily rode every ride and ate enough churros to feed a Mexican family for a month, but the entire time I couldn’t help but listen to the little guy in the back of my head ask, “What the Hell is this?”

“Well, it’s basically the most absurd place on Earth,” was the only answer I could give him.

But he wasn’t satisfied with that.

grumpy cat absurd

Life Lessons I Awkwardly Learned at Middle School Dances

8 Mar

It’s a widely held theory that during the years that we are in middle and high school we produce more brain cells than any other point in our lives. Because of this, what we learn and pay attention to during our wonder years become the building blocks for who we are as adults.

This can explain why 90 percent of our country’s mature inhabitants are simplistic children in adult bodies. It also explains why Nirvana is now considered classic rock and why you will always have a weird crush on Kristen from French class in 8th grade, no matter how ugly she got or how many pictures of her babies she puts on Facebook.

You will always feel tied to what you were into during the most embarrassing years of your life because you created incredibly strong synaptic connections.

It is, therefore, unfortunate that what we’re exposed to during these years is mostly shit and is getting even shittier, but there’s one classroom many life lessons can be learned if you take the time to look – Middle School Dances.

I’ve learned more about life on the floors of my middle school gymnasium at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night than I ever did in a classroom. The only times I’ve learned more have been on bar room floors at 1 a.m. on a Saturday night, which is essentially the next step after house parties.

And, if you’re reading this, you probably spent time against the wall at these events, realizing exactly why you like the band The Wallflowers and why you cried so hard while reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Don't give me none of that "what a gay book" shit. You read it. Don't lie.

Don’t give me none of that “what a gay book” shit. You read it. Don’t lie.

So, without further ado, three life lessons I learned from middle school dances:

The Smell of Makeup: The first time I smelled makeup was when I was slow-dancing to KC and Jo-Jo’s “All My Life” and thought that I sniffed something oddly comforting, warm and disconcerting at the same time.

Later, this would be how I describe the way a vagina smells. But, at this point in my life, I realized that this smell must have been makeup because I could only smell it when I was slow dancing and my face was right next to a girl’s face who had makeup on. Ergo, therefore, et al., Mr. Watson, I came to the conclusion that makeup smells weird.

The smelliest face in the world.

The smelliest face in the world.

When you date someone, you get reminded of him or her in weird ways through your mysterious olfactory system. Their musk shows up on your clothes, in your car and – most prominently – between your sheets. This can be a welcome surprise, a whiff of passion and love before you go to bed or when you put a shirt on.

In contrast, after a breakup, this perception can take the reverse as you try to alleviate their odor through unhealthy amounts of candles, air fresheners and incense. Anything to rid your life from the presence of the guy

Unless you broke-up with a pothead, then everything just smells like weed forever.

Touch-Free Dancing: Sucks.

I had always seen people grinding, especially growing up in the Golden Age of Music Videos and curiously observing horny and attractive humans on MTV Grind during the network’s coveted Spring Break week in Cancun, but I had never actually done it.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DK8DWwZgCUI]

The first time I tried to dance erotically with a girl was at a middle school dance and I left six inches for the Holy Ghost not because I went to Catholic school (public school kid) but because I was terrified and had no idea what I was doing.

Not only was I naturally handicapped by my Caucasian race but I was also shy, awkward and, generally, horribly uncoordinated. Dancing to me was about as foreign as Chinese, or girls in general. So finding myself in a situation where I had to dance with a hot Asian chick was like being catapulted out of my comfort zone at the speed of 120 beats per minute.

My first time was to an Usher song. The song stopped. The girl said lets try this again, pulled me in closer and led the way during the next Ludacris song.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq-Ru6kQhE4]

Did I mention I grew up during the Golden Age of Music Videos? I also grew up during the Downfall of Hip-Hop.

From them on I’ve learned that anything touch-free is a waste of time. Life is a full-contact sport and, taken literally, that can easily be read as if I’m condoning the act of going out and groping random strangers as an acceptable way to get to know someone – but I’m not.

It’s simply a metaphor for getting out of your comfort zone and bumping into things – or people. Make a difference, an impact. Touch something. Leave your mark. Be remembered. Feel things and experience people.

Just don’t touch random strangers. That’s not OK.

Playing Air Guitar in Public: Don’t do that.

Just don’t.

Looking good, bro. Looking good.

Looking good, bro. Looking good.