User:Buckwheatloaf/Rob G

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Rob G is a cool guy from Astoria Queens, New York. He writes a lot. Most of his writing can be found at his blog Strictly Autobiographical that he posts to everyday. Those posts tend to make their way around. Some went into his recently published ebook Mostly Autobiographical. Many end up on ask reddit as answers to questions. Others can be found republished elsewhere online. He also works as a waiter full time. Yeah, he's a busy guy. But if you give him your mailing address he'll send you a long handwritten letter.


Mostly Autobiographical (2013)[edit]

link to the ebook
  • I just had a great idea for a tattoo. It would be around my arm. From a distance, it would look like a thin red ring, but if you moved in and took a closer look, it wouldn’t be a ring at all, it would be The Flash running supersonic laps. It’s not a new idea. I think I’ve had it before, but I forgot about it, or I lost that excitement that I was talking about earlier, so I don’t know.
  • I'm not a good cheater. I could never cheat on anything, even in high school. Not for any moral reasons really, because I think testing is just a bunch of nonsense anyway, but I was mainly afraid of getting caught.
  • After six months or so, I grew more comfortable with my wine skills, like I had soaked up some wine knowledge. Well, a little bit. It hadn’t really been a soaking, like a sponge. It was more like a piece of wood kept submerged in a barrel of wine for six months, you’d take it out, and it definitely wouldn’t be soaked with wine, but there’d be a stain, at least the wine made some impact on the wood.
  • I hosted a big picnic in the park last week for all of my friends and family. I’ve always wanted to host a picnic. I feel like nobody does picnics anymore. You never see people carrying around picnic baskets. Nobody talks about picnics on Facebook. The picnic, I feel like it’s in danger of becoming extinct, and I was going to save it by hosting my own.
I had a huge problem with the chain of command. If I host a party at my place, I’m in charge. Whenever people come over, I like to reinforce this fact by bossing people around, but only slightly, just to kind of, you know, say without saying it, hey, I’m in charge. This is my party. I’ll be like, “Hey, George, would you mind using a coaster?” or “Steve, didn’t I tell everyone to take their shoes off at the front door?” And what are people going to do, start something with me? No. I make sure that all of my rules are tiny, nothing worth getting into a fight over. It is my house, after all, and I’m the host. I thought it would be the same with the picnic, but it wasn’t. I had it at a public park, so I guess people got it into their heads that they didn’t have to listen to me anymore. But I was still the host, right? I’d be like, “Andre, didn’t I ask that all of the picnic blankets be laid out vertically?” and Andre was just like, “Well, yeah, but I wanted to lay out my blanket horizontally.” And then he just kind of shrugged at me and put his hands up halfway in the air like, what are you going to do?
  • I might get a curt, “Watch it,” or a cold, under-the-breath muttering. To me, this is a little selfish of the other person. They clearly want to engage, to express their frustrations, but they only want to do it a little bit, halfway, just enough to make a claim that they were wronged, but not loud enough to really deserve a rebuttal. Maybe the response was so quiet that I barely heard it at all. But I definitely heard it. So I’ll go back with a louder, “Watch what? I was here first!” It doesn’t matter who was where first. What is important is that I’m staking a claim to my own space. And by saying it in a voice loud enough for everyone else to hear, I’m making a public challenge to the idea that anything could have been my fault at all. This is going to continue in either one of two directions.
Most likely, the other person is going to let it go, having not expected me to respond so forcefully. But maybe this person is of an equally strong will. He could step right up and say something like, “Oh yeah?” You might think my next move would be to get even louder, to say, “Yeah!” for everyone to hear. But that’s never the way to go. At this point, other people might start noticing, and somebody might try to get involved and play peacemaker. That wouldn’t resolve anything. The wound would remain open, ripe for infection. No, this must be settled now. But I’ve already escalated as far as I want to escalate. What if this guy gets crazy and pushes me or something? I’ve already drawn him out as far as I want to, verbally. There’s nothing to gain in trying to lure him out physically. So it’s at this point, now that it’s loud enough where everyone else knows we’re having a disagreement that’s getting a little more heated than usual, I’ll say in the same loud voice, but really steady and calm this time, “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’m going to be the bigger person and apologize. It was my fault.” And then I’ll extend my hand in peace and smile a really big smile. Now everyone knows for sure that I’m the bigger person. I’m willing to not let the small stuff get in the way of a productive workplace environment. I respect my coworkers so much that I don’t want to involve them in all of this unnecessary drama. And everyone’s looking at the both of us, this other guy clearly still upset, reluctant even to take my hand, and me standing tall, tranquil, ready to let bygones be bygones. When everyone is talking about it later, they’ll say, “Well, whatever started this fight in the first place, it clearly couldn’t have been Rob’s fault. He’s too mature to get drawn into such petty squabbles. Just look at the way that he expertly diffused the situation!”
  • surprise: this isn’t actually a performance review. Corporate designed these meetings to assess how our employees might react to a surprise performance review. Unfortunately, a team of evaluators has been reviewing this mock-performance review in real time, and they’ve issued a report about your reactions during this meeting. And they’ve just emailed it to me. It’s just as I feared. The mock-performance performance reviewers feel like you haven’t grasped the severity of the issues I’ve presented. We feel that you lack genuine engagement or a personal investment in the seriousness of this fake performance review.
I know, I know. It’s tough. In this economy. It’s tough. It’s a tough economy. We’re in a tough place. Jobs. Real tough. Numbers. Super, super tough. The private sector. Markets. It’s all so hard right now. Job creators. Europe. America. Emerging markets. Retreating markets. The market is in retreat! Class warfare. Taxes. We’re getting choked here. Profits. Recession. Totally choked here. Depression. China. Numbers! Economy. Bust. Socialist social engineering. I know. It’s tough. It’s a tough time. I know. It’s a really tough time.
I got to tell you that … I’m just getting word here. I’m getting word that a team of severance reviewers is studying this meeting as we speak, and, well, we’re all very impressed by how you’re taking this bad news. It shows real professionalism.
  • Always willing to lend a helping hand, that’s me. It’s like my unofficial motto. My official motto is: “Try to always be on the lookout for an opportunity to help out.” But it’s a little too official, if you know what I’m getting at. Sometimes you might have a great concept for a motto or a cool idea. It’s taking shape in your head and you’re playing around with it as the words roll off your tongue. But as soon as you make it official, as soon as you lay that stamp upon it, saying, “OK, this is it, my official motto,” something happens to it, something immediate. Then it’s set in stone, it’s too formal, it’s institutionalized, and you wish it weren’t your official motto anymore. But it’s too late, way past too late, it’s already official. You’ve already punctuated the whole motto with official quotation marks. It just doesn’t have that same energy anymore. It’s stale, stuck. So that’s why I mostly go with unofficial mottos.
My helpful nature is just that, natural. A lot of the time I feel like I have to protect it from outside influences. Like, a lot of the time, because I’m so helpful, people will offer my services to other people, just by knowing me, just by knowing that my helpful nature naturally wants to help out. But if you think about it, that’s not really me being helpful. It’s like someone else being helpful. And so I feel like I'm not helping out, but the other person, the person who referred me is actually being the helpful one. They’re providing the help. It’s like if you asked that person to borrow a screwdriver, and they said yes, that person wouldn’t sit back and think wow, what a great screwdriver. No. They’d think, wow, what a great friend. I’m nobody’s tool.
  • I've always wanted to read a comic book that’s just about Alfred, Batman’s butler. It could be called Alfred. And it wouldn’t have to have anything to do with crime fighting or mysteries. I’m not trying to make Alfred something he’s not. No, it would just be stories about him taking care of Batman’s mansion, following the exploits of his managerial duties around the house. He’d have to get dinner ready. He’d have to make sure Batman’s Batman costume was dry-cleaned. You might think this would be a pretty boring comic. But it wouldn’t be. Take Batman’s laundry for example. It sounds super lame, right? Wrong. Where do you think Alfred might take the bat suit to get dry-cleaned? Maybe if I brought a Batman costume to my local dry-cleaner one time, they might think, OK, he went to a costume party, he spent a lot of money getting a really professionally-made Batman costume. Great. But what if I started bringing like two or three of them in to get cleaned every week? What if I started bringing them in and they’re all covered in blood and sewer water and poison gas? Don’t you think the dry-cleaning guy would figure it out after a week or two? He’d say to himself, “Could this guy be Batman?” Wait a second, he’d think, that doesn’t make any sense, because this guy’s all old and British and he has a pencil-thin mustache. So he must be Batman’s butler. Let’s call up the Riddler and see how much this information is worth. Alfred wouldn’t have any choice but to buy, install, and figure out how to operate his own personal dry-cleaning machine. That’s really not as easy as it sounds. You’re dealing with some serious chemicals. Did you know that they use formaldehyde and stuff? That’s a carcinogen. Alfred is literally putting his life on the line for the sake of keeping Batman somewhat clean. I think I’ve just written the first three issues right there. You might think that, seeing as how Alfred has to go above and beyond the call of duty of a regular butler, Batman might cut him some slack here and there. “Hey Alfred,” Batman might say. Alfred would respond, “Yes, Master Bruce?” “You know what, Alfred? Forget about wearing that tux all the time. You work really, really hard. Just put on whatever you feel like wearing, whatever’s comfortable.” Alfred would be caught off guard. “Th-thank you, Master Bruce. As you wish, Master Bruce.” “And another thing,” Batman would continue, “enough with the whole ‘Master Bruce’ business. How long have we known each other? You practically raised me. You’ve been the closest thing I’ve ever had to a real dad. Just call me Bruce. Or Batman. But not when company’s around. Then just stick to Bruce.” Alfred would be practically choking up at this point, totally unable to hold back the tears of pure joy welling in his eyes. This would all be covered in issues four through six.
  • I'd say, “I’ll be out in a second! Make yourself at home!” which is always a nice thing to say. I hate when you go over somebody’s house and they don’t say anything. All I get from them is an implicit, “Don’t make yourself at home. Respect the rules of a good houseguest.” Like you have to take your shoes off before stepping foot inside. I always hate this rule.
Or there’s the other end of the spectrum, where whoever’s house you’re at has a great carpet, like, super plush, shag carpeting. And not only do you want to take your shoes off, but you want to take your socks off too. You want to get as undressed as you can and just roll around in the soft carpeting, totally comfortable - very, very plush, like I said. But your host gives you a face as you start to untie your shoe, and you get the hint. So you retie them, make it like you weren’t going to take off your shoes, like you were just making the knot a little tighter.
  • This is why it’s great to order first at a steak place. Since everyone else is definitely going to get their steak medium-rare, when you order first, you look like you’re in charge, like everyone else is following your lead. When the second person also says medium-rare, “Very good, sir,” who knows, maybe that’s how he was going to order in the first place. It really depends on how fast he said it. If there was even a second’s hesitation, it might raise questions. Maybe he was going for medium but didn’t feel like being outdone by the first person. “I’ll take mine medium … rare. Medium-rare.” A classic rookie I’ve-never-eaten-in-a-steakhouse-with-a-large-group-of-people mistake. And then it goes down the line: medium-rare, medium-rare, medium-rare. By now, everybody ordering, the fifth, sixth, seventh, even if they wanted medium, medium-well, it’s just not happening. Nobody’s going to stick their neck out like that. By the third or fourth person, the waiter is only even asking because he has to, because it’s part of his job description.
But once in a while the waiter might start off with a person who clearly doesn’t know how to eat steak, and they’ll say medium or medium-well. And the next person will order theirs, extra loud, medium-rare, as if to say, “Please don’t confuse me with my idiot friend to my left, I’d like mine medium-rare. Please.” And it’ll go down the line, medium-rare, medium-rare, and after two or three people, that first guy will realize his mistake, he’ll get really embarrassed, he’ll just shout out to the waiter, who’s already passed him, he’ll say, “Excuse me, you know what? I’m going to go for that medium-rare also, thanks.” And the waiter will say, “Very good, sir,” and he’ll pretend to cross something out on his waiter’s pad and write something else, but it’s all an act, because he’s not writing anything at all. It’s always medium-rare. It’s a science. But what if it gets to me, what if I’m like the eighth or ninth person ordering? I’m no follower, I’m no nameless face in the crowd. In this situation, I’ll say “rare, please.” And everyone will drop their forks and stare. I learned this trick at my friend’s wedding in Iowa last summer.
  • What would you talk about the next time you saw everybody? Would you just pretend like nobody went skydiving, like the trip never happened, that you never chickened out? It would be super awkward, everyone sitting around, talking about the weather or the Mets, and someone might say something like, “Man the Mets’ season is in free-fall.” Everyone in the group would look at each other, their eyes getting just a little wider, smiles creeping up on their faces. They’d all want to say, “Just like when we all went skydiving!” but they wouldn’t say it, because they’d be trying to not make you feel bad. But you’d be able to tell. You’d feel that energy, their shared experience. And they’d feel your discomfort, your awkward smile. It would make them feel bad about their accomplishment. So they’d have to start having separate get-togethers, separate from you, so they could talk about skydiving, about that giant leap into their communal conquering of such a base fear, the rapturous thrill of staring death in the face.
  • But I couldn’t think of what to do or how to get out of this. A couple more days passed before I thought of the perfect solution. I texted Andre back from my number saying, “Sorry, wrong number.” And he texted back, “Rob?” and I wrote, “No man, wrong number.” And then he wrote back something like, “OK, sorry.” Fucking Andre. That guy always has to have the last word. Every single time. So I wrote back, “NP.” You know, for “no problem.” And then he wrote, “NP?” Jesus Christ, everybody knows what NP means. He just has to have the last word. I went to the AT&T store and told them I wanted a whole new account, new number, everything. Right before the clerk activated the switch, I sent Andre one last text message: “No problem,” and then told the clerk “Now! Switch it!” And the clerk was like, “Well, I mean, it’s not instantaneous. But it should only take a second. Let’s see …” Incompetent clerks. Only a second. It was like five minutes. And of course Andre texted back, “Oh, OK.” Why does he always have to respond?
I got my new phone number and waited a couple of days. Then I sent Andre a text message. “Hey Andre. It’s been a while. Anyway, I just feel like I don’t like how we left things, and maybe we should just bury the hatchet and start fresh.”
  • Is it too late for me to be a doctor? I’m sure there has to be a path for me to do whatever I want to in life. I’m still in my twenties. I theoretically should be able to fulfill any dream. Like becoming a doctor. You just have to put in the hours, right? You just have to set a schedule and not stop for anything, right? You just have to sacrifice everything else in your life and devote every single breath and heartbeat to working toward that dream, to making sure you’re completing that goal, right? I just spend way too much time f’ing around. And while it would be amazing to get up in the morning, look myself in the mirror and think, goddamn it, Rob, you did it, you’re a doctor, a real doctor, I don’t think I’d be that into it.
I wish I had that in my life, somebody with a gun to make me stop wasting so much time, somebody to really make me commit to doing something all out, professionally. I wonder if I can hire a hit man to do it. That would probably be pretty pricey. From what I’ve read about hit men and have seen about them in the movies, they’re expensive, and that’s just for killing somebody. How long does it take to kill somebody? From a professional point of view, if I were the hit man, I would want it to be as fast as possible. Like, kill this guy. OK, give me the money. OK, BAM! Dead. That took like two seconds. The longer you take, the less money you’re making per hour. And so for me to hire a hit man to follow me around, twenty-four seven, making sure that I’m working hard, sticking to my goals, that’s probably going to cost a lot, like way more than I can afford. And what if after a couple of weeks we start to grow attached to each other? Like, we develop a friendship. And we start cracking jokes. He’ll start using the gun to scratch my head when I’m studying something especially hard, and we’ll both laugh, but a really controlled laugh, only for a second, because he’ll realize the laughter means a bond is developing between us. So he’ll straighten up quick and say something like, “All right, back to work, knock it off.” And I’ll get quiet and serious, and he’ll be quiet and serious. But then maybe ten seconds later we’ll both start cracking up at the same time, like we couldn’t hold it in, and this time the laughter is really intense and very genuine.
yeah, once that happened, I’d start to doubt that he’d actually kill me if I stopped studying, even if only for a second, and I’d test it out, and maybe he wouldn’t shoot me. After all, I’d be paying him a lot of money, and if he actually shoots me then I can’t pay him anymore, and he’d have to go back to being just another contract killer, which, after not killing anybody for a couple of weeks, he’d realize he likes the non-killer life a little better. And so yeah I’d stop studying for a second and he’d let it slide. And then it would be a full minute. And then just one episode of Community, come on, just one movie. Let’s go out for pizza. And then we’d both be sitting around my living room watching online videos and eating snacks, and I won’t be a doctor, and eventually my money would dry up. He’d have to leave, not because he’d want to, but because, hey, a guy’s got to eat, right? So yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever be a doctor. An MD. Who knows, maybe I’ll get some bullshit PhD someday. But probably not that either. Dissertations sound awful.
  • One time somebody was reading me the newspaper. The article was about how a fisherman off the coast of Africa caught an unusual specimen that hadn’t been seen in centuries. Aristotle wrote of it, but scholars had assumed it had long ago gone extinct, until now. I wanted this fish. I needed it.
“What if we catch a male fish?” one of those idiots asked, totally getting ahead of himself. “Well, then sample its DNA, clone it, keep breeding it and manipulating its genes until you have a fish that can get me some rare caviar. Why is it so difficult to do as I say?” I fired half a dozen employees that day. One of them had a pregnant wife. Or so he claimed as he was begging to me, pleading for his job, crying for his family. It was pathetic. I’ve never seen a grown man weep so hard, like a little baby.
  • room temperature pizza is great too. I’ll even eat it cold out of the fridge. I’ll even eat a frozen pizza out of the freezer. I’ve never done it, but I could. I could just let it thaw until it was room temperature. Or I could just chomp on it still frozen, just biting and swallowing.
  • Even that’s only partially true. Sure, I’m not personally friends with anybody who talks like they just walked off the set of The Sopranos. But every now and then I’ll run into somebody who lays it on pretty thick. And I always think to myself, all right buddy, I get it, you’re out New Yorking me. This is something I’m very sensitive to because I didn’t grow up in New York City. I grew up like five miles across the Queens border on Long Island. It’s always this tough situation: I’ll come across somebody who’s all about New York, born and raised NYC, much more New York than me, the I-never-leave-New-York kind of New York. And what do I do, do I fight it? Do I embrace my Long Island roots?
  • I didn’t want to defriend him on Facebook, not again, because I didn’t want him going around showing everybody how petty I am. But I didn’t want to see him either, so I added him to my blocked list. Every once in a while I’d post something and he’d like it, but fuck that guy, that doesn’t count as contact. I guarantee you it’s something meta, like he’s liking it to be ironic, to make fun of me. One time we were all hanging out and I was talking about how meta some show was, and Andre just calls me out, right in front of everybody. “What does meta mean?” Come on. And then I had to make up some answer, and then somebody else in the group said, “Well, you were right about that show being meta, but that’s not what meta means, so you’re obviously just repeating something you read online.” Andre totally set me up for that. The rest of that night I tried to act like I wasn’t pissed off, because I’m not going to give anybody that satisfaction, but when he came up to me later and said, “Hey Rob, are you OK? You look pissed off,” I got super pissed, enraged, and I told Andre to just do me a favor and leave me alone. And he did. That jerk. I think I need to change my whole group of friends.
  • I just hate it when people cut me off in traffic. That’s so stupid. They’re so stupid. I’m trying to drive, too. And now they’re in front of me. Stupid idiots. And then they start driving really slow. That’s stupid, also. Like get out of my way, man, so stupid. You know what’s really stupid? Hopscotch. Hopscotch is so stupid. Oh wow look at me, I’m a little kid drawing some stupid boxes with chalk. Oh and I don’t even know how to make all the boxes the same size because I’m such an idiot. And then I’m going to take turns with my idiot friends and we’re going to throw a bunch of stupid rocks over and over again. And we’re all going to look so stupid, just hopping around. Hop, I get it. Everyone’s hopping. But scotch? It doesn’t have anything to do with scotch. What a stupid name, hopscotch.
  • This reminds me. Did I tell you about that idiot sandwich guy yet? Please, don’t even get me started. If you went to a deli and ordered a sandwich, and you told that idiot deli guy over and over and over and over again, “Hey buddy! Did you put any lettuce or tomato on that sandwich? Hello? What is that? Is that lettuce? What about that over there, is that lettuce? Lift that up. Lift it up so I can see if there’s any lettuce or tomato under there,” what would you expect to find when you opened up that sandwich? I bet you it wouldn’t be lettuce or tomato. And what if you saw lettuce and tomato, not just one, but both, both lettuce and tomato? Wouldn’t you feel like an idiot? Wouldn’t you feel like that no good idiot goddamn stupid goddamn deli guy was just so stupid, the stupidest deli guy in the world, can’t even figure out how to not put lettuce and tomato on a goddamn sandwich? I’m telling you, this guy, I almost feel bad for him, for how stupid he is. I should have just made my own sandwich. Goddamn lettuce and goddamn stupid goddamn tomato.
  • Nobody borrows sugar. That’s ridiculous. If ever found myself in the position where I was in the middle of cooking or baking something, and I realized that not only did I not have any sugar, but I needed a whole cup, like a whole package of sugar, I’d either run to a store and buy some or, more likely, I’d just give up the whole project right there and throw everything away. Because obviously I hadn’t thought this through. Obviously I got way too impulsive about baking, about just throwing a bunch of ingredients in a bowl without even bothering to stop and think to myself, wait a second, do I have any sugar? Do I know how to bake? I tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to start knocking on a bunch of random neighbors’ doors asking them for free groceries. If somebody ever came to my house with an empty measuring cup in hand, I’d take the measuring cup, tell them to wait there one second, and then I’d go inside the house and lock the door. I wouldn’t answer for the rest of the day.
  • Don't tell me what to do. You’re not the boss of me. There’s only one person that I’ll listen to. And that person is nobody. If you ever tell me what to do, I’ll just do the exact opposite. Unless of course you’re thinking that can fool me into doing whatever you want by telling me to do the opposite. In this case I’ll recognize your true intent behind the clever semantic trick, and I’ll do what you’re telling me to do, but only because I’ll know that you’re really wanting me to do the opposite. So, yeah, just do me a favor and don’t tell me to do or not to do anything, because I’ll never listen. Like, I’ll listen, I’ll hear you, but I’ll willfully do whatever it is that you don’t want me to do, regardless.
  • I'm not somebody that you can just come up to and say, “Hey Rob, it’s so nice to see you. Have a seat and let me get you a snack.” Because, one, don’t tell me to sit down. If I want to sit down, I’ll sit down without you having to tell me to have a seat. And two, let you get me a snack? How about let me let you watch me get myself a snack. Because who says you’re in charge? What are you, the mayor?
  • A couple of weeks ago I was playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II. It was your standard Team Deathmatch League Brawl, first team to seventy-five kills, you know the drill. Anyway, I’m tearing through some post-apocalyptic slum in Yemen, when I see this enemy player surprise me from around the corner. I’m playing through the Internet, so I’m not up against some predictable computer program. This is a real person out there somewhere. And I’m reloading. He’s caught me by surprise, totally vulnerable. I’m dead. I think. But he doesn’t shoot. Maybe he was reloading also. I’m getting anxious.
But I still don’t die. In fact, this guy isn’t even shooting at me. He’s just standing there. Is this a glitch? Have two random Internet gamers from around the world somehow stumbled upon each other in the ruins of this burnt out virtual building only to face each other, at the same point in time, totally unprompted, thinking to themselves, why? Enough, why play by these senseless, violent rules any longer? But then his character starts walking over and over again into a wall and so, yeah, he really is glitching.
  • Oh Come on. That doesn’t sound very hard at all. I can’t believe that’s even a real job. I could be an archeologist. I could be a pro archeologist. Step one: find some field somewhere in the middle of nowhere, preferably in a foreign country. Step two: pitch a tent, buy a khaki vest, one with a lot of pockets, and a big floppy khaki hat. Get some khaki pants while you’re at it. Oh and hiking boots. Something tough, rugged. Something you can only buy at hiking stores. Something khaki. Step three: start digging. That’s basically it. You dig. When you don’t feel like digging anymore, or when you only feel like digging some of the time, while still getting all of the credit that goes with being a pro archeologist, go to some university, solicit a bunch of interns, make them do all of the digging. And while you’re at it, have them make you a tall glass of freshly squeezed lemonade, lots of ice, in a big glass pitcher, extra credit for those little umbrellas.
  • Chiropractors? Jesus. Let me tell you a story about a little boy who dreamed about being a masseuse. All he wanted to do was to grow up to give massages for a living, to run his hands across the backs and necks and legs and arms of everybody in the world, easing their physical tension, soothing their aches and pains, making the world a better place, one muscle knot at a time. But he was terrible. Everybody that he touched winced in pain. He just couldn’t get it right. And just as he was about to give up completely, to look in the mirror and say, enough, it’s time for a new dream, he was approached by a chiropractor. And the chiropractor said, “Wait! You! The boy who wants to be a masseuse, the boy who hurts and scars everybody he touches. You don’t have to give up your dream. You just have to call yourself a chiropractor. You get to do all of the stuff you already do, and people will pay you. Plus, you get to call yourself a doctor without having to sit through even one hour of medical school!”
  • Let's see, I should probably assume I’m getting this job, right? Or is that going to come off as too aggressive? No, they want aggressive. Do they want aggressive? Or do they want humble? Humble but strong. Strong but sensitive. Sensitive but with enough of a thick skin to not overly reveal too much sensitivity. Smart. Funny. Not too funny. Funny enough where people look forward to interacting with me but not too funny to be seen as a distraction from work. Just kind of amiable. Aggressively entertaining, in a subtle but hardworking way.
  • Keep going, don’t worry, it won’t pop, because you’re picturing the balloon to be unpoppable. Right? It won’t pop, trust me. And keep exhaling. More. Good. Now tie it up tight. Now imagine it to be everything terrible that you had inside, all of your fear, your despair, your self-loathing, all of that stuff. It’s turned the balloon black. It used to be red. Just … just trust me, it was a regular red balloon. But now it’s black. Oh yeah, and it’s heavy, like weighed down to the floor. OK, now imagine a machine, something that you can put the balloon into. OK … just, I don’t know, like a microwave, but bigger. Just go with me here. Put the balloon inside. Close the door. Activate the machine. There’s only one button. Go for it. Wait for it. Keep waiting. OK, and that’s it. Ding! It’s done. Take the balloon out. Now it’s glowing. And it’s not heavy anymore. In fact, it’s floating away. Which is OK. Just imagine a ladder real quickly, and picture yourself climbing up that ladder really fast. It’s fine, you can do it. It’s your imagination. Catch the balloon. Hold it in your hands. Untie it. Suck everything back in. You see what happened there? That machine, it made everything positive. All of that negativity? It’s been transformed into positivity. And then you just sucked it right back up. And so do that, picture that little thought exercise, it helps, it helps you to let go, it helps you with that release, that unburdening. Just let it all flow over you. No, inside you, that’s what I meant. No, outside, then change it around, then back inside again. It’s all in your head. You know, except if you have really bad back pain. I’ve heard chronic back pain is just the worst. You should really go see a medical doctor or a support group if you’re trying to deal with chronic pain. This is just for like emotional pain. But nothing too serious. If it’s too serious, you should go to a doctor for that too. That might be depression. I’m just talking about like moderate sadness. Not too moderate. Slightly moderate. Just … just go talk to a doctor. I’m not a doctor.
  • We got out on the lake, I let him stew for a little bit, and finally I broke the silence with, “Andre, look, I brought you up here because, well, this is kind of hard for me to say, but I wanted to apologize.” And I really had to stop myself from throwing in my customary, “Because I wanted to be the bigger person,” because even though I was being the bigger person, that’s how these things always unfold. I figured this time, actions, not words. Or, not actions exactly, but more subtle words. More clever. Cleverer. I know I’m the bigger person. So I don’t have to go flaunting it.
I was getting upset, and I wasn’t even thinking this stuff in my head anymore. I was saying it out loud. “You just wanted the rest of the group to think you’re being the bigger person, that you’re the one always making amends. At least I showed up to your grandma’s funeral. You didn’t even call me when my grandma died!” Which wasn’t true. Andre totally came to my grandma’s funeral.
The the worst part was, the whole me telling him I wanted to apologize, that was only part one of my plan. After we had made amends, I wanted us to have a little laugh, something funny, funny but natural, like an organic, bonding type of laugh. So I bought this magnetic fishhook. The idea is to use the magnetic fishhook to attract your friend’s fishhook, and then you start reeling it in, slowly. Your friend thinks he has a bite and starts pulling, and you keep fighting it out for a while until you realize that your hooks are hooked together. That was supposed to be the organic laugh. We’d have made amends, and then we’d see the hooks, and it was supposed to be like, look, we’re hooked together. And we’d have laughed and laughed and realized how silly all of this was. But nothing was happening. It wasn’t attracting. So I kept reeling in and casting out again, really close to the boat, over and over, getting more and more frustrated. And then I turned to Andre, and he was doing the same thing, in and out, over and over. And I was like, wait a second. I looked at his back pocket. Sticking out was the same packaging, the same, “Magnetic Trick Fishhook” wrapper. The two magnets must have been repelling each other. And I was thinking, Jesus Andre, you unoriginal jerk, you can’t just let me have one trick fishhook gag? You really just can’t let me have one real, genuine moment, can you?
  • I was really into the Power Rangers at the time, and I really wanted a piñata of Tommy, the Green Ranger. Tommy wasn’t one of the original five. In fact, he was evil. Like, Tommy the person wasn’t evil, but Rita Repulsa used him as a vessel for the evil inherent in the evil Power Ranger medallion that then turned him into the evil green Ranger. Get it? What I was getting at was that I really wanted a Green Ranger piñata, but he wasn’t an original Ranger – even though he wound up overcoming the evil and joining the Power Rangers as the sixth Ranger – so the piñata store didn’t have a green one on hand. Just the classics: red, yellow, blue, black, pink. I picked out the blue one, thinking I could just customize it, make it green myself. It came out OK. It didn’t exactly look green. It looked green, kind of, but you could still totally see the blue underneath. I made the special golden Green Ranger shield, so, you know, maybe the parents didn’t get what was going on, but all of my friends, they got it. They were like, “Wow! Rob! That’s so cool! Where did you get a green Ranger piñata?”
  • And again, the military doesn’t notice these jets everywhere? You’d think they’d see it immediately and get on it, find out where it is, who owns it. Is it the Russians? The Chinese? Terrorists? No, it’s the fucking X-Men, but still. And while I’m on the X-Men, come on, so Cyclops can blast laser beams from his eyes but what, his eyelids don’t get blown off? And Wolverine, whatever, you’ve got metal bones and you don’t age, fine. But what’s with that haircut? What kind of a person wakes up in the morning, sees that both sides of his hair stick straight up in these weird spikes, and thinks to himself, huh, OK, that’s a pretty good look. What, and then he designed his costume to make sure that those spikes stayed in place? What kind of a statement is he trying to make? I don’t understand. I don’t get why the Green Lantern’s powers don’t work against the color yellow. Isn’t the color green just a mix of the colors blue and yellow? So how can green even work at all if it’s really just half yellow? And what about orange? That’s half yellow also. What about when he has to pee? That’s yellow. Does it hurt coming out? Does it take away from his powers? The sun’s yellow. How is he able to walk around outside during the daytime without getting hurt? How is the Flash able to breathe when he’s running so fast? How are his shoes not wearing out every time he runs a couple of laps around the world? How is Mr. Fantastic’s costume able to stretch exactly like Mr. Fantastic stretches? What is it, painted on? How come Ice Man isn’t soaking wet every time he de-ices? What, does it go from ice to air? How does it do that without going to liquid first? And what about Superman? He never makes a mistake? He never gets bored, or lazy? What’s the super-equivalent of throwing a gum wrapper on the ground because nobody’s looking and you just really don’t feel like holding that wrapper anymore, looking for a garbage can, never finding any garbage cans? You don’t think he ever makes a mistake like that? Like, OK, I just saved this rocket from crash landing out of orbit, but I don’t feel like figuring out what I’m supposed to do with all of this debris. Do I have to bring it to the government? Are they going to ask me to just hold on a second while they figure out which branch of the military has to take care of this? Or is it more like, jeez, I’m tired, I just caught this rocket, and I’m really hungry, and I don’t feel like dealing with this anymore. Nobody’s looking, so I’ll just toss it in the ocean. Come on, somebody make a story like that, give me something to relate to. Everything’s just so unbelievable.
  • I got a huge speeding ticket. Thanks a lot, reddit. I read this meme on reddit one time, it was a picture with text written on top of it, a picture of a cop, and it said, “If you’re speeding and you see a cop hiding on the side of the road, and it’s too late to slow down, try waving at the officer. He’s more likely not to pull you over.” So sure enough, I’m driving, months later, not thinking about cops at all, not about cops, not even about driving really, which is dangerous, because my mind wanders when it should be alert, my mind wanders and my foot gets tired and the next thing I know, yup, I’m speeding. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a cop, a New York State Trooper hiding in this little clearing between trees. He’s got his cop sunglasses on, his giant highway cop hat.
I remember that reddit thing and I act, quickly. I go to wave to him, but I don’t have the time really to think it through, like what kind of a wave am I going to give him? I’m not going to be like, “Hi! Hello!” all overly enthusiastic. But I don’t want it to be, “Yo. Sup,” either. I shoot for the middle and I wind up doing this weird, almost half-salute, two-fingered wave. As I’m doing it I’m thinking, Jesus, what the hell kind of a wave is this? And the cop must have been thinking the same thing because as soon as I pass, he tears right out of his hiding spot and hits his lights.
I don’t say anything. And he just looks at me for a minute, and then finally he’s like, “You want to play games? Are you fucking high?” and I’m like, shit, thanks a lot, reddit.
I try to tell him "No, officer, sorry. It's just this thing I read on the Internet about waving to a cop as you pass by. I’m sorry.” And he just goes, “License and registration.” So I take out my wallet, I take out my license, I also take out this PBA card, like if you know a cop in real life, they give you this card to show to other cops, maybe they’ll be a little more sympathetic. He sees me go for the PBA card in my wallet. He reaches into the car, takes it, throws it into the woods, far, like he was one of those trick card throwers that you see on TV, like that card’s gone, and he repeats, “License. And. Registration.” And he gave me a big ticket. Fucking reddit.
  • Then he got off the stool, like stood up by himself, and he turned around to order another drink. That’s when we made eye contact. I went up to him, told him, “Hey man, sorry it’s been so long. I sent you a Facebook friend request.” “Thanks, man,” he said. That was it, which was good because normally he’d say something like, “That’s big of you,” and whatever. We’ve always - or I’ve always - had this who’s-the-bigger-person complex, but it’s all silly, doesn’t matter. This guy’s a vet now, he’s totally the bigger person. And so I threw in a, “Thanks for your service, Andre.” He kind of shrugged. “You know, just trying to do my part.” And then he just sort of looked down at his shoes. “So what happened?” I asked. “Why’d you get sent home?” He looked up and said, “My injury.” I was like, “Yeah, is it bad? Did you get wounded in a conflict?” He shook his head. “No, I was just getting all of this back pain during training, so before we got shipped out, they sent me home.”
And I said, trying to bring him back to our conversation, “you never even really went?” “No, I went, I just, you know … I’m injured.” “Three cheers for Andre!” “Hip-hip, hooray!” I felt myself drifting even further from my spiritual center, and I was about to say something. I had that look on my face, like, are you serious? And you’re going to stand here and take this hero’s welcome? I didn’t say it, but I didn’t have to, because, like I said, I was making that kind of weird skeptical face.
  • In the first part of a trilogy, everything is new. You don’t have any established rules to abide by, because everything’s unfolding for the first time. Remember how cool it was to see Batman train to become Batman in that first Batman movie? (I’m talking about the good Batman movies, with Christian Bale, not that lame franchise from the eighties and nineties.) And then he got his whole Batman outfit? And the first time he appears out of nowhere and everyone’s just like, “Who the hell are you?” and he’s like, “Call me the Batman.” Epic. Just absolutely epic. I love trilogizing. I try to break up everything I do into three parts. If I’m at work and I’m waiting on a table, I really like to make only three appearances. Part one: “Hey how’s everybody doing today, ready to order?” They better be ready to order because I’m not coming back until Part two: the serving. That’s when I serve the food. I then disappear as the customers come to grips with what they’ve ordered, realizing I’m not coming back to check up on them, so they’d better just make the best out of their meals. And then, finally, Part three: the check. Pay up, mothafuckas.
Life is nothing more than one huge trilogy. You’re a kid, you’re an adult, and then you’re an old person. I’d have to say that the first part of this trilogy is definitely the best. That’s why I’ve been reluctant to embrace the part two of my life. Every time I feel like I’m acting too old or I’ve lost a little of my whimsy or whatever, I like to throw a huge temper tantrum, breaking stuff, acting like a huge baby: crying, screaming, everything. And then when I settle down, I’ll look at myself in the mirror and say to myself, well Rob, you’ve sure got a lot of growing up to do. And I’ll feel better, like I’m still wrapping up the part one of my life. And it’s true. It’s all about expectations here. I plan on living to be a hundred and twenty years old. So based on simple arithmetic, I still have over a decade left of acting like a self-centered, entitled brat. I’ll grow up eventually. Unless I get hit by a bus while I’m doing something completely irresponsible, like running across the street with a huge lollipop in my mouth.
Whatever, I mean, this is part three of The Trilogy. I’m being honest, it’s going to be a letdown, it just has to be. You make a trilogy and you’re bound by certain laws. Unfortunately, the third part of any trilogy is going to invariably disappoint on some level. I could go emo for a little bit, maybe have a jazz dancing scene like in Spider-Man 3, but everyone hated that. I could go back to the Wild West and turn an old locomotive into a time machine, but everyone knows Back to the Future Part III was pretty awful. Whenever a TV station airs an entire trilogy, nobody sits around to watch the last part. It’s always such a waste. And I can’t even talk about The Matrix - that guy in the white suit, or whatever the hell happened at the end. I wish Neo and I could have switched places, so I could’ve had my eyes gouged out, so I wouldn’t had to have actually seen such a disappointing finish.
Trilogy: Part four of three Please, I hope nobody tries to tell me they saw this one coming, because nobody did. I’m catching everybody completely off guard here. I’m pretty sure this was already the world’s first ever appendix trilogy. Well, now I also have the distinct honor of writing history’s first ever four-part trilogy. Right here in this book. It’s incredible. I feel so special, writing it, putting it in here for dozens of people that I tricked into buying this.
I was so excited about my trilogy, but looking it over, I realize all too well that even I was susceptible to the limits of the genre. I’m no Chris Nolan. How do you do it, Chris? Tell me the secret to your powers! Just as things got going, I looked back at my part three and thought … eh. So I did what I always do when I look back at something I’ve written that I’m not happy with: I cry a little on the inside but just publish it anyway because trying to get to the end here, it’s pushed my standards super, super low. But I thought to myself, how can I fix this? Specifically, how can I fix this without having to go back and rewrite anything? And part four seemed like the perfect solution.
And this brings it all back to me. I’ve been planning this ever since I typed out the word “the” as in The Trilogy: Part One. I knew that it was going to be a five-part trilogy. Maybe I know that it’s going to be a twelve-part trilogy. All I know is, I’m calling it. It’s all been carefully set up. And just when you think I’m completely out of nonsense to write about, that’s when The Trilogy is going pop up. That’s what trilogies are all about.