Monday, April 2, 2012

Of Works, VII

An examination of the last decade. It is fiction, despite appearances, despite real elements. But it is also true. Here is



In the year 2000 I played at least a thousand hours of video games.

In the summer of 2003, I read Kurt Vonnegut’s entire body of work. Parts of Bluebeard, Breakfast of Champions, and Slapstick have all run together in my head.

I was desperate to be taken seriously.


I lost my virginity in 2003, as a direct result of buying a Playstation. I maintain that she only slept with me because she was losing at Risk.

Before having sex, it was all I could think about. That didn't change afterward, but it did acquire a certain note of frustration: I'd had it, but still needed it, still didn't know how to get it, and never asked for the hunger to begin with.

In 2001 my family started a pool to see when my uncle George would come out of the closet. They’re still waiting. I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s one of that rare species, an asexual. I’m extremely jealous of him.


I got married when I was nineteen. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, like the sort of thing we were supposed to do.

I joined the Navy on a whim in 2004.

I heard about the 9/11 attacks in the car on the way to my high school. “Well,” I said. “That isn’t good.”

In 2008 I took on an affected nostalgia toward the 1990’s. It’s easy to fake. Just listen to Nirvana and quote Wayne’s World at every available opportunity.

Will and Steve, on the other hand, are obsessed with the 1980's.

For the most part, we're indifferent or hostile to Nirvana, but we can't stop listening to Radiohead.

I started drinking when I was seventeen. I downed six shots of 100-proof vodka at my first party. My friends did not tell me this was not a good idea. In the morning, I didn’t have a hangover at all. For years, I thought this was normal.

My parents never grounded me. They took away my computer instead. On these occasions I’d usually go drinking. When they found out about this, they didn’t seem to mind.

I didn’t go to my high school graduation. Instead, I got sloshed with my best friend in the back of his Volkswagen bus. It had shag carpeting.

I knew a few people who went to college and got irrelevant degrees in fields they didn't really care for. Amelia wound up with a degree in microbiology, not realizing that it was of no use whatsoever without a commitment to grad school. She works retail now.

Other friends got business or English degrees, and have the sort of job that nobody wants to hear about.

The presidential election seemed to be the only thing people talked about in 2008. I paid lip service to Obama but I would have been happy with anyone other than Clinton. I tell people this is because she’s a secret Republican, and she used to be a lawyer for Wal-Mart. Really, the main reason I don’t like her is that her neck reminds me of an iguana’s and this makes me uncomfortable in ways I cannot explain.


I believed that, for all its faults, I lived in a universe that was fundamentally just.

The recession had literally no personal impact on me whatsoever. When I heard about people losing their jobs and houses, I was mostly just perplexed.

When George W. Bush was re-elected, I lived deep in the forests of Missouri. My friends and family called to lament the state of affairs. I told them it was disappointing, but never mentioned why: in Bush I saw every weaselly bully's sidekick who stood by and snickered while I wept on the playground.


I got out of the Navy in 2006. I found a job at a bookstore and did nothing but shelve books and goof off for four years. I wanted the least possible amount of responsibility.

After high school, and the Navy, my friends and I spent most of our time watching cartoons and playing video games. We drank, got tentatively high, sometimes.

It became clear that Jim couldn't hold down a job. He'd usually last about six months, then show up drunk, or not at all.

In 2009 Jim was dumped by his girlfriend of six years. His drinking had become a problem. He joined the army but washed out in boot camp.

It took him about a year to drink himself to death. The gun was just punctuation. We were sad, but we were not surprised.

It seemed like the only people I knew who wound up in a meth-induced tailspin had lost control at birth.

In 2009, the vast majority of my friends were people I had met through the internet.

I moved back in with my parents twice. I'm not preparing for a third time, but neither do I consider it unlikely.

We can't seem to grow up.


That's all for now.

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