Category Archives: dumbassery

Ramble On, or "Awkward As Can Possibly Be – That’s Me!"

The clicking underneath the opening of Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” sets my mind reeling into Flashback Alley.

I remember the first time I had the record, Houses Of The Holy, in my hands. Twelve inches of a new world for me to explore. The eerie cover art, with a naked prepubescent girl standing on some rocks that are jutting out of somewhere I’d never seen or been to before – it reminded me of those old books about Irish folklore and Faeries my little sister and I had as kids, the paintings and illustrations inside becoming Nightmare Fuel for the long-off-in-the-distance hallucinations of my Drug Years.

I was probably fourteen years old or so. Music was just beginning to grab me by the balls, right around the same time hormones started to play with my mind and cause me to notice girls and their breasts and the way that they smell when you lean in real close to them. Girls and Rock And Motherfucking Roll, a conflagration inside of my belly.

Never-ending fire, with no need to stoke it.

I had just started experimenting with drugs around this time as well – nothing too heavy yet, just smoking marijuana pilfered from an older brother of a friend. He would sneak enough for us to roll a joint out of his brother’s sack, and we’d get high before baseball practice.

Those were always the days where I felt like I could hit a ball seven hundred feet. The spinning of the ball as it was released during batting practice slowed to a crawl, being able to read the laces and see the ball connect with the aluminum bat in my hands, watching it rocket off of it as I pulled the orb into the stratosphere that was left field.

Endless Summer.

I was about to start High School then. I wasn’t necessarily a popular kid in Middle School – I was far too awkward for that. As smart as I was, I was very shy and gangly. I had just lost a bunch of weight during the winter due to a terrible bout with pneumonia. I had my Bar Mitzvah late – I mostly did it out of respect and love for my mother and her family – being Jewish was something I understood and had already come to terms with, but wasn’t necessarily high on my list of identifying characteristics. Maybe if we had stayed in Brooklyn I would have thought differently, but being Jewish in Phoenix was just a target on my back, especially in regard to the awkwardness and grief I caught from all of my classmates – it was as if I were some kind of alien dropped into their world.

But, being Jewish was how my mother and her family identified, and I wasn’t about to upset them in any way. My mother asked me if it was something I wanted to do, and I saw in her eyes in that moment that she was subliminally suggesting that it was something that I should do, so I agreed.

I went through all of the training necessary to learn enough Hebrew to pull off a Bar Mitzvah in less than six months’ time, memorizing and practicing all of the singing from a cassette tape made for me by our Temple’s cantor every morning before school, when my mother said my mind was “fresh.” I would stand in my bedroom, slowly pulling clothes onto my weary and hormone-infused body, singing along with these tapes. My sister, who always identified with my father’s Catholicism, would walk past my bedroom door, shaking her head and making faces at me because of the terrible nature of my singing voice.

There was something magical about hormones and a foreign language coupled with the rapid succession of time and a need to complete a task.

ANYWAYS…

Around the week before my Bar Mitzvah, I became really ill, coming down with a terrible bout with the aforementioned pneumonia. My lungs were full of fluid and phlegm, my body ached and was hot to the touch. Thankfully, every single older Jewish woman from my mother’s family had made the pilgrimage to Phoenix to witness my “coming of age,” so I had plenty of matronly love being spent in my direction – each one of them having some magical cure-all to take away my illness.

My mother’s grandmother was the eldest in the posse, so I latched on to her advice, being the smart and very attuned to the nuance of respecting one’s elders type of cat that I already was. Her methods were simple and old school – flush it all out with lots of hot tea with lemon and honey, and eat as much grapefruit as humanly possible.

We burned that poison out of my body.

Not only did I remove the poisonous pneumonia from my body, but I somehow managed to slim myself down a bit – which was good, because even though I was constantly active – playing basketball daily, baseball year round, and riding a skateboard everywhere I wanted to go – I was just a lump of a kid. As lumpy as could be. Not portly, but just this husky mess of a boy.

Being Jewish got me my first date, too.

My mother had started sending me off to these Youth Group dances and stuff like that. I was always awkward and self-conscious around people I didn’t know, but my mother would tell me over and over again – “Seany, just act like you’ve been there before – that’s how you learn – stop being afraid already.” The Temple we belonged to was a new one, so it really didn’t have a Youth Group as of yet, but my mother was able to find out where she could send me to get acclimated to being around other kids that were supposed to be like me.

I was sent to a dance at a Temple in Scottsdale, full of kids from all over Phoenix. I would go to the dances at my school, but they were always an exercise in me improving my avoidance skill set, as opposed to me actually being brave and asking girls to dance. Dancing has never been anything I was drawn to – it’s just not in my box of tools. I have plenty of rhythm, and I can sit behind a drum kit and break out the funk to let loose an entire room of jump-stepping, but dancing? Not gonna happen, my friends.

Sadly, this has continued into my Adult Life – I never dance. I danced with The Wife at our wedding for one song(Nick Drake‘s “Northern Sky“), and then once more at another wedding we attended, when she forced me to do it by putting the juju on me and telling me it was “bad luck” for the newlyweds if I didn’t comply.

ANYWAYS…

I only knew a few of the kids at this dance, from my own Temple’s incredibly archaic and terrible Sunday School classes that I had been expelled from for being out of line and telling the instructor that she was an asshole for telling me my Iron Maiden shirt was inappropriate to wear to a Temple. I milled around near the walls, like any scene out of a teen movie from the 80s – just skittering and sputtering my way through the motions of being there. The music they were playing was horrible and not like any of the Rock And Motherfucking Roll I was used to pumping into my system of my own accord. No Thin Lizzy. No Iron Maiden. No Kiss. No Aerosmith. No Sex Pistols or The Damned, for sure.

I found a side door after a while, and I snuck outside to smoke a cigarette.

I was standing over by a column next to some bushes, cupping my smoke in my hand near my side when a girl came over to me to see what I was up to.

“Are you smoking?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh my God, can I have a drag?”

“Sure.”

I watched her as she took the cigarette and put it to her lips. The way she dragged on it told me she wasn’t really a smoker, and her black nail polish told me she wasn’t like the rest of the girls inside. Her dress was nice. She had pretty hair – black, with a little wave to it that hung over half of her face. Her eyes were blue, and she smelled like flowers.

“I’m Hailey. You should come inside and dance with me.”

“I’m Sean. I – ummm – I don’t really dance, Hailey.”

“Will you dance with me if I get them to play a good slow song?”

“Sure. But only if you get them to play a Led Zeppelin song. I bet they don’t even have any. That’s all I really listen to.”

She took my hand at that point. No girl had ever held my hand before. I was trying so hard to look and be cool. I didn’t want her to know that I was terrified. I mean – how the fuck was I supposed to react to some girl who just randomly came outside, caught me smoking at a Jewish Youth Group dance, and is now holding my retarded hand? And now this beautiful girl, Hailey, is dragging me back inside of the big room where the dance is going on. The kids that I know are all looking over at me. One kid, Don, nods at me like he’s giving me his approval in some way.

Hailey and I are standing in front of the disc jockey now. She’s asking him, over the din of some terrible J. Geils Band jam, if he has any Led Zeppelin. The disc jockey keeps on cupping his ear to hear her voice, so she reaches over and grabs him by his skinny tie and pulls him in close and shouts into his ear –

“You need to play ‘Stairway To Heaven’ so I can dance with this boy!”

The disc jockey looks over at me, smirking. Motherfucker.

I cannot hear what happens between them next, because he puts on “My Sharona,” and the sea of awkward Jewish teens is churning to the sound of The Knack like the world is about to end, the room a whirling dervish of hormones and lunacy. I want to disappear underneath his table, to crawl under the banner that says DISC JOCKEY ENTERTAINMENT and hide there until everyone else has been picked up by their parents. I could do it – I could totally hide there for hours and hours without anyone knowing I was there.

“Okay kids, we’re going to slow it down a bit now. This next one is a special request – from Hailey to Sean. You kids behave now.”

Fuck.

Hailey is dragging me out into the middle of the area where all the kids are dancing. I have no idea what the fuck I am doing. She takes my hands and places them where she wants them – one on the small of her back, and she gingerly raises up her ass so that my hand is resting right at the top of it, while she takes my other hand and wraps it around her and into the back of her neck. She squeezes her way into me, even though she is roughly the same height as I am, and puts her head into the crook of my neck where it meets with my shoulder. I can smell how clean her hair is. I can feel her body through my own, every nerve ending inside of me on fire.

It feels as though the song lasts for hours. Just the two of us, slowly swaying there in space, our bodies communicating with one another as if nobody else in the world were alive but us.

Hailey chooses this very moment to softly put her lips on the side of my neck, kissing me gently and kindly. I have no idea if she can feel how much I am shaking. I know I am shaking. Violently. But she takes my face in her hand and turns me to face her, opening her mouth slightly as if to say something, but then kisses me full-on.

Thanks, Mom.

After the dance has ended, all of the kids are milling about the parking lot, saying their good-byes and see-you-laters to one another as they search out parental units amongst the fleet of cars. Hailey is dragging me through the lot, hands stuck together like Siamese Twins. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see my mother standing next to her car, watching me cut my way through the masses of kids, being dragged by a beautiful girl. She’s smirking at me.

Hailey introduces me to her mother in a blur. I am polite – my mother trained me well. I don’t really know how to make small-talk at this point in my life – I’m only fourteen years old and have just had my first real kiss, so my mind is all aflutter and in a different world altogether. Hailey’s mother looks just like her, only older.

My own mother has made her way over to Hailey’s mother, and the two of them are doing the introducing one’s self game that mothers must do when their children become intertwined. Hailey is taking to me, but none of it sounds like English, all I can do is stare at her mouth as she forms words that slip and slide in front of me. She’s still holding onto my hand, even in front of our mothers.

Hailey kisses me on the cheek as our mothers say good-bye to one another, some plan set in motion for us to spend some time together in the future, but I’m in no way understanding any of these dynamics. She shoves a piece of paper into my shirt pocket and gets into the car with her mother – not once unlocking her eyes from staring at me.

“Were you smoking, Sean? I asked you not to let any of these people see you smoking. I don’t want people to think you’re a hooligan.”

I smoke with my mother in the car on the ride home, as she asks me how I met such a nice and beautiful girl. I’m just watching the inside of the car filling with smoke, the way the street lights work their way through the little clouds, illuminating them and the spaces around them.

“She came outside and caught me smoking, actually. I had never seen or met her before.”

The next weekend, Hailey and I went to the movies. Her Uncle was our chaperone. She and I spent a little bit of time on the phone during the preceding week, but I wasn’t very good at talking to girls yet, so I didn’t have much to say to her. I just listened as she talked about school, her friends, her little brother – but I didn‘t retain much of it. All I could think about was the way her body felt next to mine, the way her hair smelled, the softness of her lips on my neck – I was smitten, but had no idea how to talk about any of it.

Her Uncle was in his mid-twenties. We met up at the mall near her house across town. I was an idiot, so I was wearing black parachute pants and some bizarre shirt that looks like a knock-off version of the jacket MJ rocked in the “Thriller“ video. She still had on black nail polish. Her Uncle was wearing a Ramones-like leather jacket, had a face full of stubble, and was holding a paper cup of coffee. Hailey greeted me with a warm hug and quick kiss, which her Uncle immediately made a face about. He asked me if my parents were cool with us seeing an R-rated movie, and I laughed and told him it was no big deal.

He went and purchased us tickets to see “The Breakfast Club,” while Hailey and I sat on a bench in front of the theaters, her hand already fused into the palm of my own.

When her Uncle turned around to walk back over to where we were sitting, I noticed he was wearing a Led Zeppelin t-shirt.

“Hailey tells me you love rock and roll?”

“Yeah. I kinda want to be a guitar player. I love Led Zeppelin and stuff like that. It’s all I really listen to. Well, and I like some punk, but most of my friends think that stuff is too noisy and loud.”

He gives me an odd look, and then chuckles something to himself about the way I am dressed – something about “nice pants, loser.” Hailey is asking him if he needs to sit near us in the movie, if her mother gave him instruction to keep us separated. Again he starts to laugh.

“I’m supposed to sit right next to the two of you. That’s what a chaperone does. Maybe if you two little lovebirds didn’t make it so obvious to your mothers that your hormones were insane, I wouldn’t have to be here at all. They don’t trust the two of you alone. I’m blaming Mr. Rock and Roll here for that one.”

I’m not too sure what he means by that, so I just play along and laugh with the two of them. Shit man, this is my first date, and already someone is making fun of me? If I was terrified at the dance, that feeling is nothing compared to how stupid and weird I feel right now.

In the theater, her Uncle decides to sit on my right, while Hailey is sitting on my left – Monkey in the Middle. As the previews are starting, Hailey leans into me and kisses me on the mouth. Her Uncle reaches down with his left hand and grabs hold of my right knee with enough force to pop it loose from its mooring to the rest of my leg, muttering into my ear with violence in his voice – “None of that shit today, Mr. Rock and Roll – you understand me?”

I suffer through most of the movie with an aching and throbbing hard-on that I try and cover up with Hailey’s jacket. She has her hand on my left leg, and has been whispering into my ear throughout much of the movie. None of what she says makes as much of an impression as the process of her whispering does – each rush of air into my ear causing more pain in my lap, more desire to kiss her. Her Uncle, who I now realize is as stoned as can be, has eaten not only his popcorn, but also mine. He is now drinking my soda, and every now and then he grabs my knee to reinforce the edict he had previously laid down for me about “that shit.”

After the move ends, we wander around the mall for a bit, Hailey’s Uncle keeping a distance of a good ten paces behind us, watching our every move. He keeps on making these sounds whenever we sink into one another while we walk, sounds that remind me of the promise of violence, the way he crushed my knee and my libido in one simple motion.

Outside of the mall now, my mother has come to pick me up. Hailey and I embrace, and defiantly, we kiss good-bye. I felt a little bit more empowered with my mother being in the vicinity – as if her Uncle couldn’t lay a finger on me in front of her. Hailey feels warm and sweet. I ask her if I can see her again, and she lights up and smiles, nodding her head quickly, and then giving me another kiss to ram the agreement home.

I tried to call her a couple of days later, only to have her Uncle answer the phone. I asked him if I could speak to her, and he immediately started laughing into the phone in a very sinister and terrible way.

“She’s not allowed to talk to you, Mr. Rock and Roll. I told her mother how grabby and kissy you were. She doesn’t want her daughter hanging around with some doper who just wants to get his rocks off. Go buy a guitar and get your rocks off on your own, punk.”

I never saw her again.

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Filed under dumbassery, i used to be stupid, jealous insecurities, rock and motherfucking roll, who is sean?

Cornelius Fakers, or "Protect Ya Neck On Ye Olde Interweb"

So – upon reflection, and after reading through that last Ramble I posted, I’ve come to a very crystal clear conclusion about myself:

I sure as shit hate me some motherfucking Cornelius Fakers.

Allow me to break down the etymology/Seanism for you – a Cornelius Faker is someone who is not who they present themselves to be. Taken from Fight Club, when Ed Norton’s character in the movie scribbles “Cornelius” on his name-tag at the Men Together Support Group meeting, and Meatloaf’s character – Bob – says to him upon looking down at his name-tag – “It’s okay, Cornelius – you can cry.” We all know what a Faker is – so, me being me, I slammed those two words together and came up with Cornelius Faker, which can be used to describe someone who is basically masquerading as something they are not.

There are plenty Cornelius Fakers running around out there in the world, free as a bird, not being held accountable for their fakery and their petty deceptions. I mean – let’s get on Front Street here – I was a Cornelius Faker for years. Full of so much shit that I couldn’t stand to be in the same room as my fakery, the stink of my lies oozing out of me like the sweat of ten thousand Phish fans at a festival in the middle of the desert in July. I lived that life for quite some time, actually – running game on people, making up who I was with each new smiling face I encountered. I think it was mostly out of insecurity, with a smidge of boredom thrown in for good stoner logic measure. Seriously – what was more fun when stoned out of your mind than creating a new persona to wow yourself with?

I had no shame. Truly.

I used to fake people out with all sorts of ridiculous shit. I remember once being at a house party, and telling someone that I had just met that I was writing a book from the point of view of a midget porn star. I explained, in very stoned but glorious detail, how I had come to the realization that these little studs were the norm in skin flicks from the mid-to-late 70s. Every fuck film from that era always had some weird scene where there was a little dude getting blown in the background by some blonde starlet – I used Behind The Green Door as an example of what I was riffing on, although the couple I was talking to had never seen the movie – which was perfect for my ruse.


I saw that couple at another party a few weeks later, and they actually went out and got a copy of the film and saw what I was talking about.

See? Mission Accomplished! I was able to get attention through my Cornelius Fakery.

And that’s really what this type of humanimal is all about – attention. They are usually pretty bright people to begin with, but they lack the social skills and the ability to articulate their lot in life without the crutch of being full of shit. I don’t want to go whole hog and say that all Cornelius Fakers are sociopaths, but that wouldn’t be too far off. Most of them live in this really dark and focused tunnel, where all they see is their con or game playing out – they miss all the nuances and details of the things happening around them. Daily life shit, like what their friends actually think of them. Hell – two of my closest friends when I was in my mid twenties tried to talk to me about this shit one night, and it took years for it to register – I was that deep in it.

But – the lights did come on in my head. Around the time I hit thirty or so, I started to live on Front Street. I stopped bullshitting people. I stopped creating elaborate tales to try and make myself seem like a much more interesting person. I was already interesting. I was already “cool.” I didn’t need to come up with all that fake shit to be Sean – the real shit that I had gone through was totally and ultimately way more entertaining than any ruse or tale I could conjure up. I could hold up my end of a conversation without commandeering it with some fake-ass shit to make motherfuckers pay attention to me.

I learned to breathe and listen.

In this super-infused-with-every-miniscule-detail-that-ever-happened Interweb Generation we currently live in, it is very easy for a Cornelius Faker to sneak up on unsuspecting people and steal their attention. I know – it has happened to me, more than once.

I got conned pretty fucking hardcore back in 2005. And, unlike other motherfuckers – I ain’t too proud to lie – it was a woman who burned my ass. Well, I am pretty sure it was. I met her in an online community of sorts, where everyone has profiles, like MySpace or Facebook – but this one was geared toward people of a different lifestyle. I had been on the site for a few years, and had amassed a decent number of friends/people that I knew – some of them even in Real Life. I had just found myself on the ass-end of a shitacular relationship that had ended in a really terrible and torturous manner. I was fragile. I was lonely. I was easy pickings.

It started off pretty innocently – messaging back and forth. You know – regular random shit that people do when they are trying to connect with another person. Likes, dislikes, all that junk. We’ve all been there, right? She touched on all of the emotional pressure points that I needed to have touched at that time – telling me she liked my writing, that I was “hot,” that she agreed with the way I saw the world. It was like virtually meeting someone who got “it.” That’s what so many of us use The Interweb for – to make some kind of connection with people that lets us know we’re not alone, that tells us we’re not so freakish and scary – hence, all those sites for Furries and all of those sites for Neo-Cons.

ANYWAYS…

After a while, it became pretty apparent that this woman and I needed to meet. She supposedly lived here in NYC, and the cell number she gave me was for this area. We talked on the phone a few times late at night – her tiny little voice so cute and weird at the same time. She was supposedly a photographer, and taught classes at Parsons Design School – and even had a gig for me as an assistant, since I was having a hard time finding work at this point.

When I went to Parsons one afternoon to surprise her – they had no idea who the fuck I was talking about.

Riding the train back to Bensonhurst, I came to the realization that I had probably just been burned. This person never had any intentions of meeting up with me – all of the shit she said was probably bogus. I asked a friend of mine if he had ever talked to her, and he was hysterical – she had been sort of playing the both of us. We decided that night to fuck with her head a little bit, to get a little bit of Brooklyn Justice going for us.


Tragically, he was killed in a terrible bicycle accident less than two weeks later.

With all of the hurricane of the death swirling around me – I kind of ignored her calls/texts/messages. I wasn’t in any kind of space to listen to anyone at that point. I was in the midst of one of my biggest and most disturbing freak-outs of all time. I was still reeling from the death of my grandmother, the death of my failed relationship, and then the death of my friend – and I came to the brilliant decision to move my ass down to Fayetteville, Arkansas – to get away and collect my head, my soul. Plenty of my friends were aghast at my decision, but they were all smart enough to know I was freaking out, and needed the space to freak out.

So I moved.

It wasn’t necessarily the smartest thing I have ever done – but it served it’s purpose. I was able to get my head together. So much so, that when she made another attempt at conning me – I was ready this time.

You see, she created another bogus profile. And she came after me again. I even started to fall for it, until I started noticing subtle nuances in her messages – nuances that led me to believe it was her all over again. This time, she was pretending to be a girl who had brain cancer – she even went so far as to steal some girl’s brain scans that had been posted on the internet somewhere, and tried to pass them off as hers. Me, being the late-night paranoid motherfucker I am, well – I was able to blow those fuckers up and pull the right name off of them. I contacted the girl the scans belonged to. I told her what was up, and she e-mailed me back, saying that this person had been stealing all of her information over the last few weeks, trying to take her entire identity.


I decided to go along with the plan that my late friend and I had agreed upon – pretending like everything was all hunky-dory, and that she had conned me. So she would get lazy. I sent her my number late one night, and she called. Sure enough, on the other end of the phone was the same tiny and odd little voice. She confessed to creating that fake profile to talk to me. She confessed to stealing some poor girl’s identity. She confessed to only wanting to know why I had stopped talking to her in the first place. I played it all off like it was no big deal at all – letting her get good and comfortable with all of it. I told her that my father was sick, and that I was coming back up to NYC for a few days before heading to Santa Fe to take care of him, and that we should get lunch so we could talk about all of this in person. She agreed.

OF COURSE, the plans she and I tried to make when I was in NYC fell through on her end – she had something that always seemed to come up. I told her not to worry, that we would work it all out when I got back up after taking care of him. I went to Santa Fe, dealt with the hardest shit I have ever dealt with in my entire life, and then scooted back up to The City.

We would talk a lot. She would text me at all hours of the day or night. She was constantly e-mailing me pictures of her in NYC, trying to quell the questions I had in me about her real whereabouts – since I had become quite crafty, and was tracking her IP Address, which resolved to just outside of Madison, Wisconsin. I asked her what she was doing in Wisconsin one night on the phone, and the connection suddenly went dead. I tried calling her back, but she let it go straight to voicemail. This pattern continued for a few days, until I had the miraculous epiphany of all epiphanies.

Most people, and I’m sorry to say this, are not very smart when it comes to passwords and things of that nature. A mobile carrier will always set a phone’s password to *1234 for every phone – it’s just how they do it. And a lot of people never think to change it. They figure nobody can get into that shit, right?

Wrong.

The next time I called her and it went to her voicemail, I punched the numbers in and waited. The automated voice told me she had 13 unheard messages. 13? This was excellent news. I sat there on my bed, smoking and chuckling as I heard dude after dude asking her where she was – each one of them using a different name for her. Her voicemail was set up in a way that it read the number the message came from before hearing the actual message. I started writing the numbers down, corresponding them with the names these poor bastards were using for her. I did this for a few days, compiling a list that would eventually have seven dudes on it – five from NYC, one from Florida, and one from over in Scotland.


I knew I was about to flip the script on her. I was just waiting for the right time, the perfect moment when an opponent leaves themselves too open, where one magical and well-placed blow will end the whole dance. I had all the cards now. I could, at any moment, do the simplest thing like placing a call to one of the dudes, and blowing her entire little game up. But I was being patient. I was waiting for her to really slip up.

I know it sounds like I was obsessed and maybe even a little mentally unstable – which is probably true. My father had just died, and here I was, drowning my sorrows in whiskey, Xanax, reefer, and a wild goose chase with a Cornelius Faker of a girl who really didn’t deserve a nanosecond of my time. Hell – I was even taking calls from her while loaded at the bar, and begging her to come and meet me, knowing all the while that she would never do such a thing – she was not real.

Every now and then on the phone with her, I would let a name slide on out of my mouth – one of the names of the other dudes she was running her game on – like, “Yeah, my boy XXXXX down in Florida was telling me about some chick named XXXXX that he’s been talking to. She sounds like a real piece of work. I hope he doesn’t get burned again – he can’t take much more of that kind of shit,” and then she would react all freaked-out and hang up, only to call back ten or fifteen minutes later saying she had “lost her signal” or some other shit. It was seriously the best cat and mouse game I had ever been involved in, yet I knew all along I had won.


I finally blew her up one night when I was really good and hammered, laying into her about the ways in which people like her hurt people, about how she abused and destroyed someone’s trust. I told her that I had contacted the girl that she had stolen the brain scans from, and about how my late friend and I knew what she was doing months and months earlier, and about how I was just carrying out the string of what he and I had discussed that night. I told her that I had the names and numbers of the other dudes she was playing, and read them off to her one by one, listening to the sound of her whimpering and crying on the other end of the phone.

“Why? Why are you doing this to me? Please don’t call them! Please!!!”

Those were the last words I ever heard her say. I hung up the phone in between her sobs and gasps, feeling like I had done what I had set out to do. There was no need for me to call any of those dudes – they needed to figure the shit out on their own. Not my problem. I was able to free myself of this Cornelius Faker, this terribly wired emotional terrorist – freeing myself also from the feelings I had somehow developed for someone so twisted and full of lies. Yes – I had feelings for her. Those types of people always prey on our feelings. Sad, but a terrible truth.

After all of that – I am always a little leery of anyone who enters into my little world. Can you blame me? This world is overflowing with Cornelius Fakers, people trying to suck the energy and goodness right out of you through your little flat-screen monitors. Yes, I know that we’re all Nigerian Millionaires in waiting – we just need to send that initial wire transfer over there to unlock all that loot we’ve been promised. But at least in those cases – we know what we’re dealing with. Right? A Cornelius Faker is a little harder to spot at first – but I know how. I really do. If you ever find yourself wondering if someone you’re dealing with is one – shoot me an e-mail. I’ll gladly help you suss it out.

Cornelius Fakers. Sociopaths. See?

Be careful out there.

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Filed under dumbassery, i used to be stupid, nuggets of infinite wisdom, tomfoolery, true stories from nyc, who is sean?

The United States Of Snark(A Nation Of Finks).

Not to steal one of my father’s Greatest Of All Motherfucking Time Riffs, but – this post is probably going to hurt me much more than it’s going to hurt you.

I know, I know – that’s a hell of a set-up. But the payoff will be worth it, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys being challenged. And by challenged, I mean possibly pulling your head out of your ass.

ANYWAYS…

When did we, as a culture, become so obsessed with mockery? When did pointing out the shortcomings of others become our daily bread? Why have we lost the true message of Jesus Allah Yaweh Buddha Shiva The Angry Owl God?

I mean, from a purely psychological point of view, it makes total sense. We’re all so brow-beaten and insecure because of the constant bombardment and sensory overload of mass media and pop culture. Watch one hour of television, and you’ll witness what I’m riffing on: every single commercial is geared toward pointing out some kind of personal and terrible malady, whether it’s erectile dysfunction, male-pattern baldness, being overweight, acne, debt consolidation, cluttered homes, underarm stubble, ad infinitum. And then the next batch of commercials are geared toward selling us alcohol(what would we do without our precious liquor/mind-numbing agent?). Beer commercials are driven by sex and the idea that drinking will either, A)Get you some sex, and usually from a member of the opposite sex who is sexy as fuck, or B)Help you to be more socially acceptable, and be welcomed into a crew of other people who are “cool,” and/or “just like you.”*

*”ALL OF WHICH, ARE AMERIKKKAN DREAMS!” – Zack de la Rocha

Ain’t that some shit?

Seriously, now. How do we expect to think about anyone other than ourselves when we have this shit carpet-bombing our souls 24/7? We truly live in the Age of Egomania, where everything always comes back around to you. Motherfuckers even tried to make the shit going down over in Iran all about themselves, what with all the magical green avatars on every social networking site known to mankind and all that. And now what? Are people even paying any attention anymore?

Nope. That shit got tossed aside almost as fast as The Pet Rock.

Let me break this riff down a wee bit now – you see, the masses – and by the masses, I mean the large swath of people in the 18-35 demographic – seem far more interested in the crack-like high of Celebrity News, or websites that were created to do nothing other than make fun of people for not being “cool,” or “hip.” It’s almost as if the depression we feel as victims of the sensory overload/”you suck” carpet-bombing has been turned outward, and we’re all pointing our collectively crooked finger at anyone who might be more downtrodden than us, just so that we can look ourselves in the eye in the mirror. To feel like we’re worth more than somebody.

Well, I hate to break it to you, you lovely motherfuckers – you just ain’t.

Unless you got you a colostomy bag, or you’re elderly/disabled or in some form of coma – we all gotta wipe our own filthy ass. And honestly, if any of those things apply to you, you’re probably fucking humbled enough by life to fucking know better at this point. Because that’s the truth of this riff right there: motherfuckers need to get themselves two heaping spoonfuls of humility, and they need to do it sooner rather than later – or else we’re just going to continue on this course and truly become The United States of Snark.

Ever cruise the comments section on a “popular” website? It’s nothing more than a cock measuring contest for the supposedly witty and terminally awesome members of the previously mentioned age demographic. Motherfuckers hide behind their little keyboards, running their fingers like that one weasel kid in the schoolyard used to do with his mouth back in the day. And lo and behold if someone comes rumbling through with a point that is somewhat valid, because they get blasted with 1,000 flamethrowers in a nanosecond, because everybody knows being on-point is no longer necessary or important. Hell – if you aren’t bringing the Snark, and bringing it HEAVY, you might as well go out and get a job or some shit. Oh – and be careful when you call one of those message board trolls out, because you’ll get blasted for that shit, too.

They definitely have that troop of monkeys/hive-mind mentality.

All that being said – your humble narrator sure as shit ain’t no angel his damn self. I like to laugh, and sometimes it does come at the expense of others. But I’d honestly like to think I spend far more of my energy trying to lift us all up, as opposed to the constant tearing down I see all over the place. Motherfuckers that are that sad that they have to sully people just to get their kicks are really kind of pathetic. And motherfuckers that make their living off of it? WELL…

Good luck to you. Karma’s a bitch, and she bites.

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Burning The Altars(Part 3 In A Series Of Spiritual Misadventures)

Time to re-engage all of y’all with my Spiritual Misadventures series. I know it has been many moons since we’ve visited this part of my life, so if you clicky that linky(Part 1 & Part 2) you can revisit the earlier installments and bring your ass up to speed…

The group of us were sitting around Rev. Sassypants’ living room, sipping on coffee and chainsmoking our misguided little lives away. He had made mention that dinner was going to be traditional French-Canadian holiday-type fare – meat pie and beets. I was pretty hungry, not to mention a wee bit HIGH from all of the incense that was used in the earlier Mass, so I was down to eat whatever.


Cindy, the employee of mine who had invited me into this entire exercise, was trying to explain to the rest of the group what it was like to work with someone like me on a daily basis. It was pretty funny to hear her regaling them all with tales of my workaday doings with the ragamuffin staff I had working over at my little restaurant. She spoke with a slow Southern Virginia drawl, which elongated and added breadth to words that were normally terse and concise – and that kind of shit is always instant comedy to me, being a Yankee and all that.

Scanning around the rest of the group, my mind made with a quick stereotype inventory – there was Cindy, the older, lost and lonely former Catholic who had pretty much nothing in the world other than her jobs(during the daylight hours, Cindy worked as a press operator for a printing company that I had once interviewed at, only to find out that all of the cats that they had working in the Pressroom were all ex-felons – thankfully, they didn’t hire me – although I still have no idea how she survived in that environment).


There was Moustache McGhee, the good Rev’s trusty sidekick, who looked like he had escaped from being a member of The Orphans from The Warriors – shifty and rat-like in his movements. Part of me wondered if he and Rev. Sassypants were lovers because of the way they communicated with one another without speaking. I soon came to find out that The ‘stache had been rolling with the Rev for fucking years, and that made sense to me – motherfuckers in close confines will always develop that preternatural communication skill set after enough time in the saddle together. I kept my one good eye on The ‘stache, as he set off all kinds of alarms in my head. Did. Not. Trust.


There was a younger, almost waif-like girl in the room, too. Her name was Heather, and she immediately came off as one of those girls who was afraid of not only her own shadow, but like the kind of girl who cries herself to sleep at night while listening to Loveline on the radio. In my head, the dots were already connecting that Rev Sassypants was going to try and push this poor girl off on me, even though one of the first things Cindy told me on our drive over there was that Heather had a boyfriend who was currently incarcerated for some shit that would have him out of the picture for a few months, but that he was usually a regular at these meetings. She was totally the Ally Sheedy in The Breakfast Club of the group, sneaking looks at me from behind her muzzle of curly bangs and pouty, too-bitten lips.


The other two people in the room were pretty inconsequential, as neither of them regularly showed up after that night. One of them, an older German woman named Greta, supposedly told the Rev that she was pretty sure that I was “willing her not to be there any longer” with my presence. Whatever. She was probably overcome with guilt every time the Rev mentioned me being a Jew, since she was old enough to have probably been around during the fucking Holocaust.


ANYWAYS…

Cindy is wrapping up her Tales of Brave Sean riff, when the Rev informs everyone that we’re going to all take part in dissecting my secrets and delusions, and that everyone will have a chance to ask me questions about my life and about who the fuck I am.

Great. Just what I always wanted – to play 20 Questions or Truth or Dare with a bunch of downtrodden “cult” members with low self-esteem. This was even better than getting caught on the receiving end of a handjob by my mother.


“Now, everyone remember – Sean is a guest here, so let’s not get too personal and scare him off, okay? Give the young man a chance to feel welcome before we really start digging!” – the Rev is in fine form at this point. I just watched him pour three fingers of Scotch into his coffee, and he had given me a sly little wink when he caught me peeking at him. We were already BFFs.


I’m not the kind of cat who shies away from answering questions from people – never have been. I kind of pride myself on always being “an open book” type of humanimal. But I have to admit that I was a little nervous when they started bombing me with queries about my life. I mean – how would any of you react if you were in a room full of oddball strangers asking you shit fifteen minutes after rolling through a High Mass in Latin?


It started out innocently enough, with questions about my upbringing, my family, where I grew up and all that type of standardized getting-to-know-you shit. As soon as I let my wall down a bit and relaxed, figuring that this was going to be the level of questioning and my initial fears were stupid as per usual, Reverend Sassypants dropped The Thermonuclear Ordinance on my monkey ass.

“When do you think you’ll forgive yourself for wasting so much of your spiritual energies on hating ‘The Church’?”

This motherfucker. Goddamn.


I quickly glanced over at Cindy, and I know the way I moved in that moment probably came off as accusatory, because she looked white as fuck. Spooked. I felt like she had let the cat out of the bag, and told the Rev all of the shit that came rolling off my tongue about wanting to “burn all the Churches to the ground,” so that people would stop hating and being exclusionary – because that was pretty standard Sean-speak after my mother passed away, especially considering the way I was treated by certain members of my family who were chin-deep in the Church. I felt angry and ashamed at the same time, which was nothing new to a Bungler like myself. I tried to reassure Cindy with a smile, but I could tell that my snap movement had hurt her a bit.


“I don’t hate ‘The Church’ so much – I just hate how so much blood has been shed under the banner, how many families have been divided by faith. It pisses me off that people cannot just accept the fact that we’re all going to die at some point, and acting all High and Mighty about ‘my way is better!’ is just a waste of fucking time.”


All of the air is being sucked out of the room. I feel like I am shrinking. Getting tiny. Amber hue to all the lights. My cigarette feels like it weighs a ton. My legs feel tingly. Fuck.


Reverend Sassypants kind of tents his fingers around his mouth, taking in a deep breath. He looks from set of eyes to set of eyes across the room. He slowly pulls a cigarette out of his pack, turning it in his fingers before he lights it. He takes a deep drag, and he looks right into me.

“Sean. Your mother knows. She understands what happened, and she is not upset with you. You did what you had to do. Deferring to your Aunt and Uncle, as much as it hurt you at the time, saved your mother a ridiculous amount of stress before she passed away. It hurt her to know that you weren’t treated fairly, but really? What were you going to do? Your anger – really, your own righteousness – pushes everyone and everything away from you. You burn hotter than The Sun when you’re filled with that anger. With time, and understanding, you will learn how to harness that amazing power for something much more important than fighting with people who are sleepwalking through this physical realm.”


This motherfucker. Goddamn.

I couldn’t really say shit. The man was dead on correct. I could feel how right he was. I just sat there, like a lump, everyone’s eyes on me, waiting to see if I was going to pop or not. The Reverend reached over and put his hand on my shoulder again, this time much more gingerly.

“Okay. Enough about Sean – tonight, we’re going to be watching one of my favorite films of all time. The gorgeous and criminally under-rated Kim Novak in Hitchcock’s Vertigo…”


To be continued…

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The Paper Tiger.

I’ve been in a feisty/bordering-on-foul mood for a couple of days now.

It would be far too easy for me to blame my mood on this over-reacting bullshit in regard to Hamthrax/Snoutbreak/Aporkalypse Now, but I’m not going to lie and say it isn’t hilarious and maddening to see fucking losers riding the subway with their little “protective masks” on their mugs. I like to sidle right on up next to them and start coughing violently, just to elicit the cheap thrill and also for the adoration of the rest of the crowd that isn’t panic-stricken.

I know, I’m an easily amused doofus.

Stress-relieving amusements like this help a bit. My record streak is 11 Perps picked in a row. Maybe the former junkie in me still has that Magic Eye after all?

This is the part of this Ramble where I whine and bitch – so, if you’re not like, into that, stop now and go to the pretty picture at the bottom instead. You’ve been warned…

I’ve been reading a lot of sites lately. Trying to see what all this “freelance writer” bullshit is all about, and I have to tell you – it really just comes off like motherfuckers are getting paid to get their Nerd on. I’m all in favor of it, don’t get me wrong. If some music site decided they wanted to throw me a bone and have me review records, I’d be a gleeful little schoolgirl for the rest of my life. For real.

But I guess the part that boggles my noodle is that I read a lot of people who I know in MeatSpace, and they do not sound like themselves at all. As an avid observer of human behavior, I find that people who create “art” that differs from their everyday personae (definition 5, suckas) are usually people who are afraid to upset or offend people. And me? I think that’s just pointless bullshit, and I’ll tell you why –

Anyone can write. Anyone can pick up a guitar and write a song with four chords in it. Anyone can stick their hand in a jar of Skippy, smear that peanut butter goodness on their junk and take a camera phone picture of it, and call it pornography. Anyone can buy some spray-paint and tag up an empty wall. Anyone can learn how to program a geekbox. Anyone can bake a cake. Anyone can sit naked in a litterbox while blaring techno in a gallery and call it Performance Art.

Breathe…and Confess

Basically, I am a bitter and angry man lately. I get so chapped at the thought of not doing what I’ve always wanted to do, that I get pissed off that there are some people out there who are doing it. And that’s not necessarily a healthy way to deal with my issues. My issues are simple: I’m paralyzed whenever I get what it is that I want. Any time a band I was in got within sniffing distance of a record deal, I bailed. Any time someone wanted to take some of my writing and publish it, I’d either force them to publish it under a fake fucking name, or I’d bail. Hell – even back in High School I would bail on motherfuckers all the time, because I never wanted to disappoint anyone.

This is a pattern that needs to change, and change quickly. I do not want to be one of those old fucks who is on his fucking Death Bed, and whimpers out “I sure do wish I’d followed my *sniffle* heart.” Because I know that anyone who would be up in that room with me would fucking laugh their head off at me, for running my mouth nonstop about wanting to do something and not sacking-up enough to take that shot at it.

And I honestly wouldn’t blame them one fucking bit.

Although, I have yet to pass up any opportunity in this life to possibly offend someone. That is some shit I am goddamn qualified for. Here, I’ll prove it –

I am so fucking tired of trying to be cool to people in the hope that they’ll do me a solid and hook me up with the people they say they will when they stroke my flaccid cock and tell me I’m a “good writer,” and I should be getting paid to do so, all while I have nothing to show for it other than their half-hearted and equally flaccid accolades. Seriously.

I love all y’all, but let’s get on Front Street here, and admit that it’s High Time I put my money where my mouth is, and stop banking on people’s kindness. Basically, I’m telling y’all to stop stroking me and force me to make a move my damn self.

Anything less than that would be some fake “art” shit to me, anyway.

Here is that pretty picture I promised you:

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Touch Me, I’m Sick.

I’ve been far under the weather for the better part of a week now, and it is quite tiresome. This is some nasty flu-ish bug. Not only do my sinuses feel like there are rabid weasels trying to eat their way out of my skull, but I am constantly fatigued – I slept off and on for over 18 hours yesterday.

Hell, I even took the day off of work on Thursday, thinking a day of nothing but sleep would do me some good. But this motherfucker is still lingering.


I’ve been loading up on Emergen-C three times a day, and I have drank my weight in NyQuil the last few nights(which always lends to bad-ass dreams of an almost opiate-like nature). My right ear, as it is wont to do when I am ill, is completely out of commission – everything sounds like it is underwater, and I have no balance due to my lack of an equilibrium.


All of this, while the talking heads on the news are talking about Snowmageddon hitting NYC tonight. AWESOME.

ANYWAYS…

As someone who loves Chuck Palahniuk’s early works(specifically his initial run of stories – Fight Club, Invisible Monsters, Choke, & Survivor), I hate to say it, but I was totally let down by the movie version of Choke. Even after reading interviews with Palahniuk where he says he dug the film, I still feel a little cheated. I know, I am an asshole.


Maybe this is a bigger issue with me than I want to believe.

I get this way about a lot of shit. Like – what the fuck happened to Chris Cornell? Motherfucker used to have the best pipes in rock and motherfucking roll. Soundgarden was a beast of a band, with even that last lumbering effort, Down On The Upside having a lasting impression on my musical mind. The riffs. The melodies. It was still a damn fine album – no motherfucking Badmotorfinger, but really, what could ever top that?

And then Cornell goes on to front the remnants of Rage Against The Machine, under the poorly chosen moniker of Audioslave? Goddamn. Someone shoot me in the dick already. Audioslave was some terrible shit, man. It was like listening to two cats fucking outside a window(this coming from someone who has a HUGE soft spot for not only cats, but also both of the bands fused together to make Audioslave).


And then, after the Audioslave debacle is finally buried when RATM gets back together to play some shows during our election season(as if they wouldn’t!), Cornell goes out and does the unfuckingthinkable, and records a song for a fucking James Bond film? That’s akin to telling all of your former fans that you’ve cut your sac open and fed what was left of your testicles to a neighbor’s dementia-suffering grandmother. Let’s see…Bond film songs…Tina Turner. Duran Duran. Shirley Bassey. a-Ha. Paul McCartney & Wings. Sheena “My Vaginal Walls Are Coated In Glucose” Easton. Madonna.

Chris Cornell – lounge singer. And then he records an album with…

…wait for it…

Timbaland.

This is the same Chris Cornell who would fucking storm stages across the globe, screeching his heart out about how we all need to “Face Pollution”, or how he was “gonna break out of my rusty cage and run”. I am sure that Kim Thayil, Soundgarden’s irrevocably amazing guitar slinger(and the guy who once said – “I love dropped D tuning because it makes my guitar sound like dragon’s breath”) is sitting in his basement, polishing bullets with Cornell’s likeness engraved in the tips. No Soundgarden reunion, but you’ll record an album with motherfucking Timbaland?


FUCKING HELL, MAN.

Back to how this ties in somehow to me not digging Choke as a film…

It just didn’t have the right greasy feel to it. And by greasy, I mean lewd. Sure – Sam Rockwell wasn’t necessarily a bad choice to play a sex-addicted social miscreant who may or may not have been a product of the Vatican getting involved with infertility treatment. And Anjelica Huston was fantastic as his institutionalized nutcase of a mother. Actually – I had no real issues with the casting at all. Nor did I have any issues with the performances.


I guess I am just a dick. I just did not feel the movie the way I had hoped to. And this happens a lot – because we all end up developing these deeply personal relationships with characters and ideas set before us in “art” – you know? I went into viewing the film with the hope that it would be as entertaining as the book, which is something I always warn others about. And in this case, I was an idiot who let my guard down and hoped for a much more fleshed out version of my own inner version of Choke.


Lesson re-learned.

This still does not let you off the hook, Chris Cornell.

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Here To Take On Fuel And Burn(Part Two In A Series Of Spiritual Misadventures)


This is the second installment in what is starting to feel like a large series of rambles based upon my Spiritual Misadventures during my never-ending quest to “find myself”(part one can be found here for reference) – I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them. I sometimes forget how funny my real life is/was…

That first Mass/Meeting/Class I went to was something else, man. I think the last time I had been in a Catholic Mass was when my father and I flew back to Rockland County for his father’s funeral, in December of 1988. I passed out from the combo-platter of the previous evening’s beer/Jameson’s/Valium, and the never-ending sensing the Priest was doing in my general direction. My cousin Jodi had to drag me outside and put my face into the snow, so that I could snap the fuck on out of it.

Historical Interlude – we had a service for my own father in that very same church in January of 2006. Life is weird, man. Weird.

ANYWAYS…

Basically, we all met up in this cat’s condo in North Phoenix. Humble little place, pretty low-key and all that. Cindy and I drove in together – I met her at her place, and I left my truck over there. Cindy promised me I would not be too weirded out, and that I would probably learn a thing or two.

This is the part of the story when I have to start using fake names, because I do not want to call anyone out or fuck with anyone’s livelihood. That just isn’t how I roll, you know? That being said, from here on out, I will refer to the “leader” cat as Reverend Sassypants, since he took his position so highly that he had to take every opportunity to try and make himself appear smarter or more evolved than everyone else. Which, upon reflection, is exactly what a “cult” leader should do, isn’t it?

We get up to the door, and Cindy knocks.

I was weirded out the second the fucking door opened.

Almost as freaked out as this makes me feel. For real.

Reverend Sassypants is standing there, in full Liturgical Vestments, with a Pope-ish hat resting on his dome. He’s a stout little bastard, looks kind of like an actor who would play a shrink or maybe a literature professor. Before I can even enter through the doorway, he is already cupping his hand around my shoulder in that half-hug/pull-you-into-my-lair type of way that makes me very uncomfortable.

“Welcome, Sean. We’re very excited to have you here with us tonight, as we’ve heard a lot about you. My goodness, you have such presence! I can feel your vibration so deeply. So glad to have you!”

I didn’t feel dirty as much as I felt kind of confusingly comfortable, as the good Reverend was quite charming. Warm, even. He asked me how long it had been since I had gone to a Catholic Mass, and I told him it had been about a decade. When I jokingly asked him if this was going to turn out poorly, like some oddball Rosemary’s Baby type of scenario, he just giggled and guffawed like nobody’s business.

“Quick-witted. I like it! We need a good smartass in the group.”

After a few minutes, the rest of the group starts to slowly arrive. My observation skills immediately hone in on the fact that they all seem to have that downtrodden, overlooked-by-the-world look in their eyes. It was like a secret meeting of The Nervous Shuffling Feet Gang – everyone shaking hands with me upon being introduced, without a single one of them making direct eye contact.

Obviously, I was an interloper.

ANYWAYS…

All of us get summoned into The Holy Oratory, which is basically a back bedroom which has been converted into a space with an altar, the altar vessels, representations of four Archangels(Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel), and all of the other accoutrements one would find in a Catholic church. Even though we were in a small room in someone’s condo, it certainly felt like being in church.

Reverend Sassypants and his assistant, who will from this point forward be referred to as Moustache McGhee(he had a killer ’70s porn ‘stache going on, which when coupled with his overall creepiness – really, this guy is someone I need to explore as a character for later use) – they just jumped right on into the whole shebang right quick-like. I had no real serious background with Catholicism, as I felt more in tune with my Hebrew blood(which the good Reverend was always keen to point out at every fucking chance he got). All that kneeling and chanting, coupled with all of the frankincense and myrrh* filling up the room, well, that shit kind of did a number on my monkey ass.

*I, being a smart and nosy little bastard, came to figure out all on my lonesome why the frankincense and myrrh were so important in the ritual itself. Just file away that knowledge for later – it’ll come in handy, I promise.

After making it through the Mass itself, which was all done in Latin, I felt a little bit refreshed. Definitely a little high from all of the sensory overload. And my interest was certainly rising, as it felt quite natural for me to be there. We all filed out of the room, and out into the sitting/living room area of the place. As we all took seats staggered throughout the room, I noticed everyone staring at me a little more – obviously trying to figure me out a little bit, which was understandable.

Rev. Sassypants told us he had put on a pot of coffee(which always makes me a happy participant in pretty much anything going on – I’m the kind of cat that would probably grab a free cup at a public execution if it was available), and that dinner would be served shortly. Everyone seemed quite pleased with this announcement,which was promising to me, as a home-cooked meal was not something I’d had in quite a while – unless you counted my drunken late-night drives to burrito stands home-cooked.


If you’ve never been to a Filiberto’s, you are missing out on some of the greasiest, most beautifully destructive of gastro-delights available to human beings 24/7 in the Southwest. Trust me on this one now, I am an expert.

My comfort level was steadily rising, what with fresh coffee, some awkward smiles, and being in a room full of fellow chainsmokers – which is always a good thing in my book. As we were all sitting there in our Mass afterglow, Rev. Sassypants decides it’s time to have everyone take turns asking me questions about myself, which seemed innocent enough to me at first…

To be continued…

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