Rubble Standard: (n.)

Noun

When you blow it up, it’s evil. When we blow it up, it’s collateral damage.

///

Donald Trump (I’m sorry, I’m as tired of writing his name as you are of reading it), has launched a missile strike against Syria. This was done to punish the Assad regime (a legitimately heinous clot of horror, itself) for its use of chemical weapons against its people. For the murder of his people, the Trump Administration will send over bombs.

It will not, however, allow in refugees.

This, in essence, is the Tump Administration’s foreign policy.

He is a human cloaca.

I’ve spent my entire adult life (decades at this point) listening to corrupt, self-interested nations justify the wholesale bombing of… everything. And here’s the thing:

There isn’t a justification for any of it. Never has been. Never will be.

Because bombs don’t really distinguish factions or flags or to which unhappy fiction you pray. That’s the job of the guy who pulls the trigger. And when faced with that choice, our collective failure to make the right decision over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again makes us just as awful as the regimes we’re trying to destroy.

We’re not the good guys. We’re just another version of the bad guys.

Out with nations.

In with stars.

Netflux: (n.)

Noun

The changes to your Netflix recommendations that correspond with sharing your account password with your girlfriend.

///

There was a period of a few weeks where, no matter what I streamed, Netflix continued to offer “The Sorrow and The Pity” as my number one recommendation.

“The Sorrow and The Pity.”

A four-hour long, black and white French documentary about the holocaust.

I should have taken a screenshot and sent it to my shrink along with a demand for my money back.

That was years ago. Before I moved in with my girlfriend. A woman whose primary cinematic interests are a dead split between drag queens and sports movies.

Underwary: (adj.)

Adjective

The unease experienced while undressing in front of another person.

///

It’s easy to be alluring when you’re wearing clothes.

You can be stylish, funny, urbane… anything you want, really.

But once you charm your way into someone’s bedroom, you’ve got to shed, layer by layer, the fiction been telling.

Everyone experiences it, regardless of what side of the mattress you’re on. That sudden, hideous panic.. the remembrance that our bodies often horrify us. How they have more folds and furrows than we’d like. A patch of hair… a nasty little mole or skin tag. Our bodies are a landscape of uglies… uglies we forget about while wooing. But all of which our partners are certain to discover the first time we drop trow.

Soon enough you’ll both be flopping atop one another… each of you making stupid noises and hopefully twisting your faces into grotesque displays of delight.

Sex is nothing if not ludicrous.

But in the moments that fall between the before and after, in the molting of one’s manicured persona into the doughy realities of our nakedness, one must silently confront this terrible moment of anxiety when we decide to just swallow our pride, give in to our yearning, and let ourselves be ugly.

Or… to put it another way:

It’s easier to look sexy while looking at your watch, than it is to tell a joke when you’re naked.

Archipillowgo: (n.)

Noun

The cluster of throw pillows scattered across one’s bedroom floor.

///

Here’s something I don’t get: Throw pillows.

Their purpose is as bewildering as their name, because when you really think about it (as I have) each betrays its own intention…

How can something that’s designed to stay in place and impart a sense of staged and timeless perfection be given a name that essentially insists you hurl it at the nearest person’s face?

This is a linguistic fallacy. Alert the gutter press! Slate! Get started on another of your penetrating think pieces! Pillows: You’re Doing It Wrong!

NB: I, of course, mean “makes one jab a pencil into their eyes, as violent auto-enucleation is preferable to reading yet another goddamn Slate article” when I use the term “penetrating.”

Anyway.

Pillows.

Think about it. Won’t you?

Blandsome (adj.)

Adjective
  1. The quality of being generically, inoffensively, broadly, boringly attractive.
  2. When one looks good enough.

///

Turning 30 meant a lot of things for me. It marked the end of my long (too-long) youth. The first shaky step on my path toward middle age. A growing waistline; a wasting hairline.

The crack of a starter’s pistol, marking the beginning of a long, tiresome race I’m absolutely certain to lose.

It’s grim shit. But there’s an upside. A remarkable upside.

Now, when I wake up and look at my face, one day pudgier… one or two more lines hiding around my eyes… I realize that this is the best I’m going to look.

I’m as handsome as I’m gonna get – every single day.

When you think about it that way… it’s kinda great.

So up yours, 30s.

I look alright.

MAGAlomaniac: (n.)

Noun

One who would destroy everything to prove their superiority.

///

55 years ago, we very nearly entered into nuclear war with Russia. And we avoided such calamity because the smart people in both our government and theirs outmaneuvered the crazy, stupid, and wretched ones.

And because we were lucky.

Mostly because we were lucky.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, has brought us closer to the brink of nuclear exchange than we’ve been in decades. And for no discernible reason beyond the sleazy garbage heap of his own derangement, stupidity, and ego.

He alienates our allies – insults foreign nations – categorizes whole swaths of people he does not know, lies about them, insults them, and uses the hatred he inspires against them to further whatever random, blinkered political debacle pops into his mind next.

He is the worst American. He’s the worst we have to offer. He is abject, vile, and cruel.

It boggles my mind that we’d require further reason to pull him from his highchair behind the resolute desk and banish him from office. The last year of brainless blunder and hateful pig vulgarity have been quite enough. To say nothing of Russia, his administration’s collusion, and the fact that he’s lied more times than he’s had a hot bath.

Remove him. Now.

 

Eturnity: (n.)

Noun

The endless turns one takes while searching for a parking spot in the city.

///

I spent nearly an hour trying to park my car the other night.

We’d returned from dinner with my Dad. I dropped L. off at home, chimed a sweet “love you!” and set myself to parking.

Left at the light. Nothing on this block.

Left at the next. All booked up.

Left at the light.

Maybe a right.

It went like this.

Left. Left. Right. Left. With every turn I felt more of myself slide away… my sanity fraying like a windblown flag. Left. Left. Left. On and on until the last scraps had eroded finally away.

Hope. Was there ever such a thing? Certainly not.

For the world is barren. A dead place. Bereft. A corridor of parked and empty cars. No life. Nothing stirring. Young couples loved, once. They walked their dogs and jaunted happily through the streets in well-tailored, seasonally-appropriate jackets. But that time had passed. Now dawns the age of rubber and glass.

I was born to die in that car… lost forever… left behind. Left. Left.

Left.

And then…

Abruptly, without any reason or purpose… I found a spot.

And everything was alright again.

Oddler: (n.)

Noun

A creepy, ghoulish, or otherwise disturbing looking child.

///

Look, I don’t hate kids.

Far from it, actually. I’m happy to report that I’ve become a man who rather likes them. They’re wonderful, and strange; they’re hungry little ids who run around all hopped up on fudge, asking uncomfortable questions and occasionally pooping themselves. How can you honestly not appreciate that?

These behaviors are the proud marks of a free creature, flaring gloriously through the black misery of the Cosmos. Kids are great. They should be celebrated. Hooray for kids.

That said…

There’s a time in every child’s life… somewhere around three, I think, when they take a turn.

They get spooky looking.

Eerie.

Their parts start growing at varied paces, making them physically syncopated and rangy. Suddenly afire with curiosity and wonder, mind overrides mien… so, when unoccupied by iPads or juice-boxes or coloring books, they often appear vacant and expressionless… leering about and gawping… their mouths faintly reddened by juice, their smiles a mushy handful of baby teeth.

I like kids. I do! But zoiks can they look damn scary sometimes.

NB: I feel it’s very important to point out that me at 8 was a SPECTACULAR example of this word.
Woof.

Vaguean: (n.)

Noun

A person who hasn’t yet decided what they’re morally opposed to eating.

///

Two young women sit debating the dwindling ethics of sustenance.

Chicken’s out. They’re kept in those awful cages.

Beef! Ooh, but methane is a greenhouse gas. Worse than cars, I’ve heard.

Pork? But pigs are super smart; they’re basically people without any clothes on.

Soy. Wait, doesn’t that cause breast cancer or something?

Fish? … Eh. Fish.

Any act of consumption short of actually sitting outside and photosynthesizing lunch ends in an ethical cul de sac.

I over hear them while I wait for my own order. They trace their refusals back to girlhood, when they’d eaten the food their parents had insensitively plopped before them (perhaps lovingly prepared after a long day of working in a miserable job).

“Ugh,” the one says to her partner, “so gross.”

When the waiter approaches.

“Ladies? Any thoughts?”

Oh… many, Waiter. So many thoughts.

They look up from their menus and shrug.

“We’re gonna need another minute.”

Freebawling: (n.)

Noun

Crying fully, cathartically, wildly, and without restraint.

///

The Leftovers aired its finale last night, and I lost 20 pounds of water weight directly through my face.

The Leftovers is, among so many things, a lachrymal diuretic. An ipecac for the heart. It’s an enema applied directly to the feelings.

And I loved every last goddamn drop of it.

Last night, while L. dozed beside me, I sat and watched, rapt in weepy silence – a pillow clamped in my arms, my nose a drippy faucet.

Oh, I adored The Leftovers.

I loved it so, so much.

I loved it with the same immensity I have for certain novels, or poems, or those pieces of minor key classical arrangement that detonate me into saline hysterics… like a fragile aunt at a graduation party.

I can’t think of a single piece of popular culture that’s even attempted to do what The Leftovers did, let alone accomplished it with this level of elegance and deftness and style. The Leftovers lovingly examined our most primordial anxieties – the ones we used to fashion out of stained glass, or etch into marble, or paint on cathedral ceilings. It’s a modern tale about Renaissance preoccupations – love, death, sex, and god (or his abject and crushing absence, as it were).

It’s the oldest story, told in the newest way. And I’ve spent 36 years failing to express what The Leftovers gorgeously conveyed in – all told – just under 28 hours. I cannot thank the makers of that show enough for their contribution to our culture, and to my own personal experience as a human being.

Also – it introduced me to Carrie Coon, upon whom I shall moon and pine and flutter and die until the day of my own departure. Oh, Carrie Coon. Let me sing of Carrie Coon. One of the most exciting, challenging, intense, heartbreaking actors I’ve ever seen.

And sweet. jesus. what. a. dish.

❤ Carrie Coon ❤

Okay, I’m done gushing.

Let’s get to the point, shall we?

This should surprise no one… but, I’m a crier.

I love it. I love a good cry. I’ll put on sad music, or watch a sad movie (or entire television series) just to whip myself into a lachrymal froth. I find the whole thing massively satisfying and even kinda fun.

Not about life, of course. If ever confronted with hardship or sorrow, I tend to veer all Western Philosophy and negotiate, argue, and berate myself back into relative comfort. I’m a grouchy, Liberal Arts educated rationalist all the way down to my fingernails. It’s probably my greatest emotional failing – I think I can think my way through a feeling.

But that’s about real life. Now… fake life – movies, books, music, theater (my god, theater) – that splits me open like a rotten melon. I can’t keep it together when it comes to the cultural sads. All I ever want to do is watch a tragedy and weep about it in the aisles.

So! To honor said weepiness… and The Leftovers which provided me so many nights of beautiful, sink-grappling, red-faced, hide from your girlfriend, “I just need to pee, I’ll be right back!” bathroom sobbing – here’s a list of some of those things that make me cry.

Openly.

Wildly.

With great drama and gesticulation:

Videos of dogs greeting their returning soldier parents.

Cochlear implant activation videos.

The scene where Connery dies in The Untouchables

The entire movie Summer Hours.

Same with the Clouds of Sils Maria

Every scene from The Leftovers… 

The movie/play Wit – specifically designed to make me die

The scene where John Proctor refuses to sign his name.

The song rainbow connection – I once cried while reading the lyrics aloud, and in fact, started crying almost immediately upon finding this video.

The scene where Emma Thompson loses it and puts herself back together in Love,Actually – yeah, I like that movie. Deal with it, you hipster toad.

Any scene from Certified Copy (it’s so French…)

Any scene from The Thin Red Line

This one from The Tree of Life

This one from The New World

This one from Paris, Texas

This is but a smattering. I have such an immense collection of little sobby clips.

Watch a few. Cry at work.

I do it all the time.