Category Archives: nonfiction

The Book of Sega Genesis

On the 8th Day, God created the Internet. He looked to it and saw that it was good. Adam & Eve were delighted — they finally had something to waste their time on while they were wasting their time in Eden.

Then one day while Eve was poking around the Internet on her Apple device looking for more videos of cats when she stumbled upon a link to a news article. A snake appeared in the grass beside her and hissed, “Ssssssssssscroll down.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, not having seen a talking snake before.

“Passssssssssst the article. Sssssssssscroll to the bottom of the page.”

And so she did. But Eve was still confused. “Okay, but now what I do?”

“Sssssssssssimple,” the snake responded. “Read the commentssssss. All the ssssssssssssecrets of the world will yoursssss if you jusssssst read the commentsssssss.”

And thus was borne original sin. And then Adam came by and said “First!”

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A Catalog Of Thoughts; Or, Sorry, Lena Dunham, But Our Generation Already Has A Voice

It’s called Every 20-Something With A Liberal Arts College Education And A Smartphone Who Was Reared On Pop-Culture-As-Literature And General Memetic Awareness With A Knack For Creative Nonfiction Who Also Probably Lives Paycheck-To-Paycheck In An Urban Environment Not Because You Have A Family To Feed Or Anything But Because Your Actual Salary Isn’t Really Comparable To The Lifestyle You Lead Because You Know Happy Hour But I Mean Who Really Cares About A Savings Account Anyway That’s So Totally Just For People In Their 30s Or God Forbid Even Older Than That But Now That You’re Out Of College Life Is Pretty Different And You’re Struggling To Find The Balance Between Growing Up And Growing Old And You’ve Started To Notice That Your Body Can’t Quite Synthesize Alcohol The Way It Used To Even Though You’re Well Aware That You Probably Still Drink Too Much But I Mean Like You Drink Too Much In Moderation Instead Of Just Binge Drinking On The Weekends (Thirsty Thursday Obviously Counts As Part Of The Weekend) So I Guess In Some Ways That’s Still Kind Of An Improvement And There’s Something About Turning 24 That Offers A New Perspective On Life at 23 And All Of A Sudden You’re 25 But It Feels Like 25 Ta Life Ya Know And You Feel Like You’re Still A Kid Or At Least You’re Not A Grown Up Unless People Don’t Think You’re A Grown Up In Which Case You Are So Totally Grown Up You Are Mature You Are Successful It’s Really Going To Start To Happen Even Though You’re Still Not Entirely Sure What “It” Is But You Can Still Talk About It Probably In The Form Of A List Or Some Other Kind Of Clever Post-Ironic Creative Non-Fiction Form In Vague Language And Terminology But With Just Enough Specificity To Make “It” Seem Real Or At Least Real Enough To Invoke Empathy With Your Fellow Liberal Arts College-Educated 20-Something With A Smartphone And A General Awareness Of Pop Culture And Internet Memes And The Technological Know-How to Share-Tweet-Tumble-Like Everything You’ve Said In An Electronic Acknowledgement Of Camaraderie That You Are Not Alone They Are Not Alone These Experiences Are Nothing New Nothing Unique But It’s Your Voice And That’s What Makes It Special Because You Are Special You Are Unique You Are Every Liberal Arts College-Educated 20-Something City Dweller You Are The Voice Of A Generation You Are Not Alone

Amended Minutes

Today, a fantasy baseball league I am in held their winter meetings. This was a two and a half hour discussion with people in four time zones and two hemispheres. We figured out the rules and guidelines of our upcoming season. No drafting was done, no trades were made — this was merely discussing the minutiae of mechanics for a league where no one makes any money.

One of the later points of discussion (under the “Enduring Freedoms” category) was opening the idea to holding mainly-sardonic elections for a league hall of fame, honoring the famous baseball players who most amuse us. A few options were thrown out for when we would hold these elections: beginning of the season, during the playoffs, after the championship is decided. (You can see why the meetings lasted so long.) During the chatter, I tossed out, “Why not during the all-star break?” No one has any players to pay attention to, and even if you wanted to watch major league baseball games, you only get one in three days. Plenty of time for frivolous balloting. Everyone agreed that this was a good idea, and we moved on.

Later, when the minutes of the meeting were posted (we have an official league secretary who handles writing up the minutes of all meetings), I flipped through to review the proceedings. In doing so, I noted that, due to a clearly understandable and unsurprising error, one of my fellow L.A.-based video chatters received credit for the all-star break idea. I have spent the past hour having to remind myself that this is not a big deal and that there’s no way to subtly or jokingly point out that it should be corrected without having it come across as passive-aggressive and petty. As soon as I convince myself of this, I only have five or so minutes until the desire to grab credit, demand it, rises up again.

I am writing this to confess how small my thoughts can be. To display the weakness of my spirit for you all to see. And, also, to let you know I deserve credit for this marginal suggestion, something that can barely be called an idea.

This is what I’ve become. Maybe this is what I’ve always been.

Origin Story

It began, as most Wednesdays do, with a sojourn. The work day complete, I depart from my hole-in-the-ground and set forth along the cow paths of Massachusetts Avenue, passing by the Christian Science Center Reflecting Pool and continuing along past Berklee, up over the Mass Pike to The Otherside and within ten minutes I’m standing outside the door of Newbury Comics, awaiting the days’ haul. I enter the store and approach the front desk and without saying a word I receive a stack of fresh comic books from the cashier, the newest issues, just released that date. I thank her, then walk towards the back corner of the store to check the New Release racks to make sure I’m not missing anything.

That’s when I discover the truth: Animal Man #16, Unwritten #45, and Wolverine & the X-Men #23 are all missing. They were not in the pile that was handed me when I walked in, and they are not among the racks with the other new releases.

Breathlessly I dash back to the front desk. “Jesse,” I say to the manager (because obviously I’m on a first name basis with the comic book guy), “There’s an emergency! I’m missing 3 comics!” Before I finish speaking, he’s at the inventory computer, fingers racing across the keyboard, clock ticking fervidly, each passing second echoed deeply in my head. After 83 seconds that feel like a lifetime, Jesse turns to me and says, “It looks like Animal Man and Unwritten were undershipped from the distributor, but they’ll be here next week. I’m not sure why Wolverine & the X-Men wasn’t in your box, but I have an extra copy here that you can have. I’ll put it in the computer now to make sure we don’t forget again.”

“Awesome! Thanks so much, man. Sorry to be a pain.”

“No problem dude! She’ll ring you up at the register,” he says as he enters the information. I handle my transaction with the other cashier and as I type my secret PIN into the code box I hear the tinny ding!ding! of the metal detector at front of the door. This of course attracts my attention, as it does the entire staff. “Let me just check your bag real quick?” Jesse asks the customer. His manner is pleasant and unaccusing as he steps out from behind the computer at the front desk, but it doesn’t matter; the guy makes a run for it, slamming through the door, stutter-stepping at the sidewalk, and bolting down the street. Jesse follows as quickly as human legs can take him, but by the time he’s hit the street, the thief has already lost himself in the throng of early-evening shoppers.

This all happens in the time it takes me to enter my 6-digit PIN to complete my transaction. Jesse walks back into the store, defeated and enraged, and immediately the phone to call the police. It was in that moment that I knew: this would be the last time I stood idly by as twisted criminal scum had their way with my comic book shop. For I was too engrossed in entering my PIN, too wrapped up in myself to take the necessary action, and because of my selfishness, my recklessness, who knows how many innocent used CDs have been lost?

As a wise man once told me, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility,” and from that day forth I have committed myself to justice. I have recreated myself as a symbol, because symbols have the strength to battle evil.

I am Regular Wednesday Comic Book-Buying Guy.

Why I Hate Journey (the band)

I get asked this question all the time, so I think it’s important for me to finally come clean and set the record straight: why do I hate the band Journey so much?

‘Cause they fuckin’ suck, dude.

Okay no but seriously, there’s actually a number of legitimate reasons for this. And it’s not their entire catalog (that lick from “Anyway You Want It” is pretty good, even if the song goes on too long), so I don’t hate the band themselves per se. It’s mostly “Don’t Stop Believin’.” And it’s not just because I’m trying to be contrary or anything — there are plenty of other equally popular pop songs that I do enjoy with no shame at all. In my mind, “Don’t Stop Believin'” is the most hackneyed, cliched, and derivative anthemic pop/rock song of all time, like someone mashed the parts of every other rock anthem into a calculator, stripped out the emotions, found the mathematical mean, and then put it on the radio. It doesn’t help that people ascribe way too much personal meaning (in my humble opinion) to the song when they’re shitfaced at last call and screaming out nonsense about “Streetlight People,” whatever the hell that means. The lyrics are generic meaningless drivel disguised (very poorly, I might add) as poetry, when in fact, they say nothing at all. Nothing but, “Don’t Stop Believin'” which sure, okay, fine, that’s a good message. I guess. But does it actually mean anything?

My good friend Layne was also a huge Journey fan, and this served as a major point of contention throughout the entire tenure of our friendship. Still, as a friend, I was always willing to overlook her shortcomings. We all have flaws, we all make mistakes. Hers was Journey (to say nothing of her N*SYNC obsession, which I was totally okay with).

Layne passed away a few days after her birthday in April, 2011. It was about 4:30 in the afternoon on a Friday and I had just finished speaking at an event at Emerson College, our alma mater, so I slipped into Sweetwater Tavern for a beer with a few other alumni friends. I received a phone call from our friend Eric, who was always particularly close to Layne. I stepped outside so I could hear him better, and that’s when he delivered the news.

I went back into the bar and sat at the table with my other friends, the color drained from my face. They asked what was wrong and I told them, insisting that we keep drinking and not really talk about it right now, because I was still processing it. I slammed back the rest of my beer, and I realized that “Don’t Stop Believin'” was playing over the speakers in the bar. For a brief moment, I swear I could have seen Layne’s ghostly visage sticking her tongue out at me and waving her fingers, teasing and taunting as if to say “Gotcha, motherfucker! I win!” (which, to be fair, is something she would totally do, especially in a posthumous state).

So that’s why I don’t like Journey. Plus, you know, they suck.

8 Things That Make Me Realize I’m Too Old For Thought Catalog

  1. I’ve been getting mail from the AARP, and I’m starting to consider opening it.
  2. Pondering the state of my relationship usually goes no further than: “Am I going to yell at him for leaving that dirty pint glass on the counter?”
  3. I have underwear in my drawer from the Bush administration. And that’s the “sexy” stuff.
  4. I graduated college the same year that the average Thought Catalog contributor was being potty trained.
  5. I have a Pinterest account. I use it for recipes.
  6. I am regularly addressed as “ma’am” by baristas.
  7. Was that a hot flash?
  8. I remember a world in which Jabba never appeared in Episode IV, and Hayden Christensen was nowhere to be found in Episode VI.