Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Author's Note: After the serious-to-dyspeptic tone of my recent posts, I'd like to lighten the mood a bit with a more humorous essay. I hope this foots the bill.

On many a morning I will wake up with a pompadour. Somehow, the way I sleep (on my side, mostly) and my tossing-and-turning often conspire to style my hair in a manner best suited to motorcycle-riding rebels of half-a-century ago. I will concede that many men have rocked the pompadour effectively since then, but I've never counted myself among them. Honestly, I've never even tried. It just seems too far outside my milieu, even though it usually looks halfway decent in the bathroom mirror.

One time in college, I walked out of my room right after waking up, and a female friend asked me if I'd combed my hair. On the surface it's a reasonable question, but I wanted to laugh and ask her why I would drag myself out of bed at 11 am (This was senior year.) and comb my hair into a pompadour for the 20-foot walk to the bathroom. It's not like I was worried about coming up with the perfect hairstyle to tie together the bleary-eyed, pajama-bottomed look I had goin' on.

So I comb it out (with my hands, of course). Although I'm afraid that might represent the peak of my hairstyle, and my efforts to "style" or at least "manage" the hair are futile attempts at coolness (or, really, presentability) by an aging, half-hearted hipster whose fashion instincts were never that good to begin with. It is as if my hair begins each day in a perfect, Edenic state, and my clumsy machinations bring about a tonsorial Fall From Grace.

Have I been blessed with the ideal "bedhead," hair that needn't be styled or even touched? Doubtful, but I should try leaving the pompadour intact someday and see how people react. Perhaps they'll think I've become a "rocker" and try to beat me up with their "mod" friends. Or they'll mistake me for a "greaser" and misinterpret my penchant for drag-racing as hopeless nihilism. I have to ask myself: Is perfect hair worth that kind of rampant hostility?

Friday, August 21, 2009

One-Way Street

Before I begin, let me thank the people who have left comments on my blog at Facebook. I really appreciate the kind words.

Now, as for most of those who have left comments directly on my blog (ridingtherubicon.blogspot.com), you have convinced me to turn off the comments feature. It's not helpful when people who've never met you or your family tell you what a terrible person you are for writing about family issues so candidly. Did you really think you were shedding light on the situation? Who are you to judge me? You don't know shit about me or my family. Fuck you for thinking you had some serious insight into my life.

I should be above this kind of childish bickering. I'm sorry if it upsets any of those people who have enjoyed my blog and/or left nice comments on Facebook or the blog proper. But some of the comments really pissed me off and the fact that I hadn't let those people have it yet was bothering me. I felt the burning need to disabuse them of the notion that they were contributing trenchant, well-informed opinions to the conversation.

Like the Onion, this blog is now a one-way conduit of information. I'm not one to suffer fools.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Opening Night

Last night was the first performance of my Fringe show, A People's History of Love. We had the 10pm slot, and I was nervous early in the evening, but by the time I got to the Bryant-Lake Bowl I was pretty relaxed. The performance got off to a rocky start. It's disappointing when work for which you have such high hopes is greeted with perplexed silence. I think the volume was too low on the opening music and narration, and the actors should've been louder, but the audience reaction forces me to question just how funny and/or compelling the opener is.

The rest of the show went pretty well. There were even a few big laughs. The attendance was good. Some of my friends showed up, which was great. But then I forgot to invite them to the bar. My social incompetence remains, albeit less crippling than before. It was still a nice after-show gathering with my female lead's family and boyfriend.

I went home at midnight, ate a Reese's chocolate-and-peanut-butter bar (rather good) and a slice of Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza, watched "Bart Gets an Elephant" and "Burns' Heir" from The Simpsons' Season 5 DVD (part of Andrew's complete Simpsons collection) and went to bed at 2 am. Around 4:30 I awoke with the sensation that some food was stuck in my esophagus. I got up and took some Tums.

In short order the sensation transformed into a raging case of heartburn to rival the fires of Hell. Then the nausea set in. Bad nausea is much worse than actually throwing up, so I was hoping to vomit and end my agony. But nothing happened. I wasn't sure if I should get on my knees or drop trou. It felt like, at any moment, I could start spewing from either end. The nausea and heartburn kept building until I was regretting every decision I made that night.

I regretted having that slice of Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza (an old nemesis of mine). I regretted eating that Reese's bar (even though it was quite good and probly blameless). I regretted using that Sweet & Tangy Polynesian sauce with my stir-fry dinner. (In fact, I regretted that choice as soon as I started eating my dinner. It's not a good sauce. It'd been in my fridge for almost a year, long enough to forget how bad it was.) I regretted not inviting Dustin and Chris to join us for drinks after the show. I regretted not striking up a conversation with any of the women at the BLB. I regretted being a coward all my life, whether it was with women or potential friends or standing up to bullies or throwing off the comfortable shackles of the mind-numbing 9-to-5 for an insecure life of political activism or organic farming or whatever vocation that could spiritual and emotional fulfilment.

Then I threw up. And had some diarrhea. And the crisis was over. The heartburn lingered for hours and robbed me of sleep, but the desperate need to change my life had passed. Now, in the clear light of day, I can look back on that torturous night with some amusement. Although it would be a mistake not to draw some lessons from it.

Lesson #1: Don't eat Pizza Hut Stuffed Crust Pizza for a while.

Lesson #2: Don't eat food that doesn't taste good, e.g. the Sweet & Tangy Polynesian sauce.

Lesson #3: Take more chances emotionally, so the next time I stick my neck out it won't be so traumatic.

The last lesson refers to opening night for the show. I'm convinced that was the main (perhaps indirect) cause of my distress. The anxiety surrounding the occasion must've been repressed and then manifested in my recent eating habits. I've had a little insomnia this week which, fittingly, sapped my energy on Friday and led me to order a Pizza Hut delivery that night. That's what happens when you don't (or can't) deal with your emotions.

Take comfort, dear readers, in the knowledge that I am capable of self-criticism and personal growth. I would appreciate it greatly if you could soften the tone of some of your comments. They often feel like attacks. Please keep in mind that I'm sharing deeply personal information, but this blog is at best a sliver of me. You would need a lot more knowledge of my character to make an informed judgment of my words and deeds.

That being said, I'll keep as many comments as I can stomach. The feedback can be illuminating, and it may encourage more people to read. So, yes, I am using your comments to self-aggrandize and, potentially, profit off of. But, with all due respect, you can take all the cheap shots you want at me, while I'm left to be haunted by anonymous cyber-ghosts.

NOTE: The request above refers only to some of the comment posted directly on the blog, not those posted on the Facebook feed.