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female friend: “over the last decade, i can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve actually seen you DRUNK.”

me: “should you ever get the chance, please explain this to all of my ex-girlfriends. Just because I’m out-pacing you doesn’t mean I’m hammered. It’s called Body-Mass Index and ‘practice’.”

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When I was a kid, my dad turned me on to “The Great Escape.” In fact, it seemed like it was always playing on WPIX (if “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” wasn’t on) every Sunday afternoon when I had to go to grandma’s house for over-cooked and under-seasoned lamb.

My mom used to joke that my dad loved that movie when he was a kid because he was always trying to get away from his family and perhaps I loved it for the same reason under similar circumstances.

But I know that I loved it because Steve McQueen remains the coolest fucking guy in recorded history.

I know I loved it because Charles Bronson hated small spaces, but would “dig because I have to get out.”

And I know I loved it because James Garner could con Nazi guards into giving him what he needed so he could get the job done. Something I feel like I do on a daily basis.

I’m gonna continue the Sunday tradition and watch this movie for the millionth time.

Thank you, James Garner. You were a handsome bad-ass. #RIP

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ex’s friend’s husband

asks “can i help you pack up?”

good people exist.

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After losing my girlfriend of six years, selling my condo of five years, and deciding to leave Brooklyn after 12 years… I have to pack. It saddens me on all levels, but life happens whether you like it or not.

While rooting through a closet, I found a shoebox full of letters and photos from girlfriends dating back as far as ‘99. They’re in the trash now, but I had to go through them all; it only seemed fair to the women who once said “I love you.”

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve dated some whackjobs in that 15 year period, but I appreciate each and every one of them for the lessons (good and bad) that they’ve taught me.

So, while it was a trifle painful - and life is not dealing me a much more comfortable hand these days - it was interesting to realize that each woman complimented me on my emotional strength. That’s something that I need to remember and adhere to these days: stay strong and sack up, ya cunt.

But I also found this passage in a letter that I apparently never sent back in 2000: 

"It’s all about The Blues. I keep hearing that and my dad always told me that when I was young. The Blues is losing what you had. The Blues is not having what you want."

Yes, young man. Life is mostly The Blues. But the catch is that when you’re singing The Blues you’re at least SINGING and making other people happy. 

And if you sing on key, you’ll make yourself happy, too.

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It’s a big bed. 

I upgraded from a Queen to a King because - even though she’s only five feet tall and I’m over six feet - she always managed to prove the 80/20 rule. She got 80% of the bed and I got the scraps; I’d often wake up on the verge of falling out. But maybe that’s because she’d always be rolling me over at 4am because I snore like a fucking monster.

Or maybe that’s just because every man who’s reading this can identify on some level. The bed is not our territory. We do our best to provide enough blankets and pillows even though both make us uncomfortable enough to not fall sleep and we’re always being asked to raise the thermostat. It’s a sacrifice of love. Love and a happy woman are worth losing sleep and occasionally sweating through the sheets. After all, we’re the motherfuckers with apnea that makes the drapes move.

But, it’s a big bed and now I’m the only one in it.

When we first started dating, I’m fairly certain that there was never a discussion as to who got what side of the bed. I took the right side and that was that.

I’m unsure what caused it. Perhaps it was because that side of the bed (in that apartment) had the alarm clock and I was often waking up earlier than her during that time period.

Perhaps it was because it was the farthest place from the door for me to sleep. I’m a man and we do stupid, primitive things - often unconsciously and on a limbic/snake-brain level. I remember going to lunch with her and an older female friend one day and when we went to sit at the table, she asked me, “Why do you always have to sit with your back against the wall facing the door?”

"Sweetie," replied our older friend. "Men have been doing this since they learned how to walk upright. He needs to be aware of danger. It’s in his genes."

Oddly, if I made my woman sleep closer to the entrance to the cave, it would mean that she would be attacked first - but I suppose it would allot me an extra few seconds to grab a weapon and defend us.

We changed apartments, bought a new mattress, and the door stayed on the same side of the bed. As did our sides; her on the left, me on the right.

We haven’t shared a bed in over a month - though I hope that one day in the future we will do so again - yet I still lie down on “my side” when I shut my eyes at night. And it still feels weird whenever I roll over into her 80% even though she isn’t there.

Like I said: it’s a big bed. But I still feel like 20% is all I deserve.

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I walked into my favorite taverna in Fort Greene tonight hoping to get a couple of martinis and a couple of tapas. It’s a small dining room - maybe 900sqft with 15 tables - and the bar only has 10 stools, all of which are, at the moment, taken.

No sweat - I’ll order my martini when a stool opens up and I finally can sit because I certainly don’t want to take a two-top away from the staff - but I’d like to point out that HALF OF THE TABLES ARE EMPTY.

Then I realize that there are two “Rad Dads” sitting on either side of their children at the bar and both children are struggling through a bowl of raspberry sorbet. I see RD1 pay his check. He proceeds to sit there for another 20 minutes, apparently unsure that his child is not done with her saccharine rush.

I’m hovering - and if you have any sensibility, you would know when there is a man hovering over you. You would also be cognizant of when said hoverer says to the bartender, “Not yet, I’m just waiting for a seat to open up” in a loud theatrical voice.

Then again, sensibility is a fleeting attribute in this area at this time.

RD1 finally gets up and grabs his kid, so I pull the stool towards myself. RD2 says, “Hey, man! We’re sitting here.”

"Look, man," I replied - not making eye-contact so as not to appear aggressive, "It’s 5pm on a Friday, I’ve been on my feet all week and I just want a martini and an appetizer and you have two kids sitting on barstools at 5pm on a Friday when you could have been sitting at a table."

"Yeah, but it’s 5pm… what’s the problem!? I’m a regular here. So are you. Your name is ‘Mike’ right?"

[sigh]

"No, it’s not" I replied, correcting him on my name. Then I offered him "HIS” stool back numerous times, all of which he declined.

"No, let him sit and have his martini" he repeated to no one in particular.

I had my martini. I ate my salad. And as he picked up his brood he went to shake my hand.

"I’m sorry if I pissed you off earlier," I said. "It was nothing personal."

"Don’t sweat it," he said, while giving me a pound and a hug. But then he whispered into my ear, "But you handled that poorly."

[lava boiling]

"Perhaps…" I replied.

Pardon me, Rad Dad #2, but there isn’t a chainsaw gentle enough with which to fuck you and I don’t care how often you come here. Yes, this is a restaurant. Yes, this is a place wherein children are allowed. Yes, your kid can spend as much time finishing the dessert as they want. 

But have some fucking respect and sit at a table. This isn’t Friendly’s. This is a place that makes damned fine martinis and SOME of us have the respect for - not only the staff - but the other patrons. When I come in alone and hope to leave within an hour, I want a barstool. It frees up a table. I want to order my drink and my food and have a small area in which to enjoy them. I don’t need Romper Room in the Grown-Up Space and I CERTAINLY don’t need your approval.

FUCK YOU.

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"What are we doing for International Irish Whiskey Time?" he asked the other day.

"Uh, drinking…?" I replied.

The irony is that Dave and I both gave up Irish Whiskey a long time ago, but it’s how we refer to the amateur day that is supposedly in celebration of Saint Patrick’s death. But, we’ve been using this term for 14 years and old habits die hard.

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Year: 2000. Location: Greenwich Village/NoLita. Time: 11am.

Dave got up to piss and left me at the bar with my glass of Jameson and pint of Guinness. There had been a guy in a leather jacket hovering behind me with a haircut that was only popular in 1989 who apparently saw this break in my conversation as a chance to jump in on me.

"Hey, man" he said… "My name is Steven. Ya know, Steven Adler?"

I look at the face - and the haircut - and I recognize him as the original drummer for Guns N’ Roses. And then I realize that I’m about to have a really boring conversation with a mediocre musician who fried his brain on heroin and Jack Daniels.

"Yeah, man… Axl is putting the band back together with the original line-up and I’m leaving for a show in Vegas tomorrow!" And he prattled on, and on, and on, while I knew he was lying through his teeth and probably looking to get a free drink out of me.

48 hours later I saw Steven in Times Square buying a hot dog. I high-fived him as I walked past and asked “How was Vegas?” without breaking stride. His face looked crushed but I had a good laugh.

Today, Dave and I had our customary drinks and there were no washed-up rock-stars. Just good (if not intense) conversation and a few free rounds courtesy of a gay, black, Vietnam veteran who took a shine to our baritone voices.

That’s just as good, if not better.

Thank you, Dave. It’s always a (thoroughly fucking bizarre) pleasure.


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I walked up to the counter at the 24 hour deli and the guy behind it spotted something in my face and the obviousness of my keffiyeh.

"A salaam alaikum" he said.

"Alaikum salaam” I replied.

Then he said some shit that made no fucking sense.

"I’m sorry, man. My Arabic is horrible and I only know a dozen phrases, most of which are dirty words. I have Lebanese blood in me… and I hope that doesn’t upset you."

"Everyone there," he said, waving his hand in a circle, referring to the Middle East, "Is the same. They just have to stop fighting over who is God."

"I agree," I replied. "We have to stop throwing stones. We’re all the same people, and God is just up here, no?” I asked tapping my head. “So, can I grab that turkey sandwich-wrap there?”

He nodded and gave me a giant smile.

So I say to all of you: “peace be unto you.”

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Heroin-related deaths are not “up” - you just suddenly give a shit about foggy statistics for ratings. Stop acting like you care; especially when you’re all injecting botulism (a poison) into your FACE. 

Either care about everyone or don’t care at all. The choice is yours. But this selective sensationalism needs to stop. A great artist is dead because of smack; stop using it for ratings because it’s an old routine. 

Go watch a Lenny Bruce clip if you’re young. Dig a Nirvana video if you’re old. Read some Burroughs no matter your age. 

Just realize that when you’re pure, you’re raw. And being raw hurts. 

I’m not saying that drugs are the answer (though, I love drugs and I also believe that everyone around me is Xanaxed out of their mind - AND THEY’RE JUDGEMENTAL), one has to remember that The Artist is constantly providing - and they aren’t always refilled in healthy ways. 

Some people need to be high; others sober. Some people are happy to trudge along and some have a hole in their heart. Some fight at real demons and others tilt at windmills. Some find a peace within their own minds. The best option is to find a way to plug all the holes and stop the ship from sinking. 

But “exploitation” means nothing unless the name Russ Meyers is attached to it. Because… Tits. 

So stop talking shit about a guy who did awesome shit and yet couldn’t square his shit away. 

That’s not on you to judge.
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I was recently asked to participate in a written interview for an article on Salon. While I was quoted first (which brought about some joy), I wanted to provide all of my answers because the piece has evoked some questions from the public and my friends.
Please confirm your age, sexual orientation, and where you live.

According to my driver’s license, I’m 35 years old and live in
Brooklyn, NY. According to my dodgy memory, I’m heterosexual.


How long have you and your partner been together? Do you have children or plan on having children?

My girlfriend and I have been together for five years, we have no
children, and we have no plans whatsoever to actually birth anything.
Personally, I think a cat is the next step, but I’m terrified by the
amount of money we’d spend on lint-brushes. My goldfish is enough of a
pain in the ass and even he can go a few days without food.


Even though you’re unmarried, do you use the terms “husband” or “wife”? If so, was this a conscious decision or something that happened organically?

I don’t think I’ve ever referred to her as “my wife” in her presence,
but I know that I often do it when out in public without her.
Consciously, it’s a decision to declare to those around me “I’m taken.
I’m committed. I’m in this for the long-haul with this amazing girl” -
as well as being a fast way to get a woman (or man) to stop hitting on
you. Organically, it’s something that came about due to our
relationship’s duration - I had never had a romantic relationship last
longer than 10 months before I met her and I have every intention of
spending the rest of my life with her. If “until death do you part” is
the ending of your average marriage vow, why shouldn’t I call her “my
wife?”


Do you have a domestic partnership? Are you engaged?
We aren’t engaged, nor do we have a domestic partnership. I’m also pretty sure that NY hasn’t had a “common-law” clause since the 30s. That said, we both might be able to save some money on taxes and insurance if we jumped on either of these concepts.

Why have you decided not to marry?

When we first met, my “wife” was in the process of getting divorced
and she mentioned that she didn’t have any desire to get married
again. I had no problem with that. Some people find it weird that
we’re both still very good friends with her ex and his new wife. In
fact, my “wife’s” ex still tattoos her once a year - we’re both avid
tattoo collectors.

I never saw marriage as a path to happiness - it’s simply a legal
contract, after all. Either you’re with someone with full dedication
or you’re not. I’m a licensed officiant and I’ve performed plenty of
weddings. It’s nothing but a party with a lot of people spending too
much money, getting too stressed out, and eventually signing a small
piece of paper that we drop off at Town Hall. How does that make your
love any more precious?

Besides, I hate organized events and large crowds so having wedding
sounds utterly miserable to me.


Do you believe in the institution of marriage?

Intellectually, yes. After all, I’ve never left the earth’s
atmosphere, but I believe in space travel, right?

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t see the institution of marriage as
the ultimate goal for a happy life - though some people have been
raised to believe that you’re nothing unless you’re married (and then
you add in the kids, the dog, the white picket fence, etc).

What truly bothers me is that some people want to deny consenting
adults the right to get married due to their gender or
gender-identity. That’s the “institution” that I don’t believe in.


How do you personally feel about the term “partner”? Do you use it?

Never - which might be simply because I’ve watched a lot of episodes
of Gunsmoke.

I think the term “partner” is an oddly hetero-normative term in
reference to romantic relationships. It stinks of a way to describe
"non-traditional" relationships without directly offending anyone.
Have a lover. Have a boyfriend. Have a girlfriend. Have a wife or a
husband. Your “partner” is someone at your law firm or the bass-player
in your band.


If you don’t believe in marriage, why do you use the terms “husband” and ”wife”?

As I’ve hinted at earlier, I believe in the institution of marriage,
but I don’t think that it’s a good fit for me and the usage of the
term “wife” lets other people know about the permanence of my
relationship, despite our legal standing.


Have you encountered a certain stigma in being partnered long-term and not being legally married within your community? Family? Friends?

There are a lot of unmarried couples with children and single-parents
within my social community. I’ve never felt the urge to tell the
former that they need to get married nor tell the latter that they
need a spouse in order to have a good life or properly participate in
society.

Truthfully, I resigned myself a good 20 years ago to becoming the “cool uncle.”

If a friend of mine wants to have a kid, I’m the first one to buy them
a Slayer onesie for the baby shower. I’ll teach your kid how to shoot
pool or smoke a cigarette or drive standard or appreciate jazz or
simply how to fly a kite once they’re old enough. I’d like to believe
that I have a lot to teach the next generation, but I’m really happy
when I get to hand the child back to the parent once I’m tired.

That’s probably why my mom is mad that I’m unmarried and without
children - she wants all the fun and none of the hassle of
grandchildren. Can’t say that I blame her, honestly. It’s the same
pathos.


Do you envision yourself marrying eventually? If so, what would be the impetus for that?

My “wife” once told me that we’d get married on our 50th anniversary.
Given that I probably won’t live to see 60, much less 80, she did a
smart job at hedging her bets. That said, it’s my goal to live to 100
just to piss her off.

As for the impetus? I love a good meal that I didn’t have to cook and
I hope that I might actually have taught her to fox-trot by then. That
would make a fun wedding and we won’t need anyone but a decent
restaurant with a decent radio.


How do you feel about using words like “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” at this stage in your relationship?

I prefer the term “Woomah” (which needs to be pronounced like Robert
Plant in 1972 when spoken aloud). Truthfully, when you’ve been
together long enough, the other names you call each other are far more
indicative of your love and intimacy. After a year of calling her
"Fizgig" I finally got her to watch "The Dark Crystal;" she finally
owned up to it: she sounds and kinda looks like that little Jim Henson
creation.


Are you content to “pass” as married? Or would you prefer visibility as a long-term, unmarried couple?
I cringe a bit when attempting to compare myself with the historical and racial history of “passing,” but my course has always been about living my life as I see fit. I’m a tall, bald, bearded, heavily-tattooed, punk-rock, jackass with a loud, foul mouth. When you don’t expect a big turnout at your own funeral, you don’t really care what people think about what happens in your bedroom.

The only “passing” I do involves a Dutch Master.