Storyline: Jack History Month

(6 entries)

Monday, February 9, 2004

Celebrating Jack History Month

They say the hand that rocks the present rules the past. Not much is going on in my life right now except work, and I never talk about that since the amazing-looking receptionist quit. I thought it might be time to delve a bit into the shocking origin story of me, that superhero of everyday insight, Golden Age Jack Task.

I don’t have anything planned for a while, so welcome to several weeks of filler. Welcome to Jack History Month. Up first: I move to New York City.

I am a New York City loyalist, and in many ways a New York City product, but not a New York City Department of Health registered birth. That happened in another country, not my own, which is still known as California. We split from there when I still a little kid, and except for my being originally blonde, not much came of it. My mother is a stalwart Wisconsinite by heritage and habit, so we kind of rolled back there. Like many a celebrated denizen of the Middle West, I stuck around for a while, even as far as enrolling at one of the seven hundred branches of the University of Wisconsin, which is sort of the local version of 7-11 or Circle K.

But perhaps it was the reverse manifest destiny in my soul: I wanted to get the fuck out of there. And I knew it wasn’t going to be California, for various reasons we may discuss in another chapter, to be entitled “My father is a big asshole”. And since I was wont to think big, that left either the French Foreign Legion, or, as in Warner Brothers’ Television’s Felicity, New York City. But the Foreign Legion had rigorous entrance requirements, so I transferred to New York University.

I did this more or less on a whim, and without much preparation, let alone discussion with those close to me, which would have been no one. It was just a big fuck you to everything that had come before, which was necessary. I had never been to New York. I had never much left Wisconsin except when I was required to go to L.A. to see the man who was required to be my father. But I was familiar with the New York literature, and I knew how to find the Algonquin Hotel if all else failed. So when I came home from UW in May, I got my mother on the line and told her that I didn’t need a ride to campus in the fall. I needed a plane ticket.

This went over about the same as anything else with my mother, which is to say “mezzo mezzo”. Mostly she was concerned as to if she had the time to adequately decide what I needed to bring with me — and if she didn’t have those important ten minutes or so to devote to it, perhaps I had better not spend the next three years doing what I wanted to do. Well, I got a suitcase from a friend and I just took what it said to on the list they sent me. I figured even the NYU admissions department probably wasn’t going to get it too wrong.

Academic excellence was not my goal, but I was trending up. My enrolling at what Frank Lloyd Wright would have known as UW-Racine but a more enlightened age had rebranded as UW-Parkside — the antecedent institutions, the university at Racine and the one at Kenosha, were combined because everyone knew what those names meant, but no one had any associations with the Anglo-Saxon fluff “Parkside” — was sort of a disappointing event in my mother’s life, who had a Master’s from a practically-first-rate school and everything. But it was a compromise, as my original ambition was to be the world’s least educated man. However, the heavy competition was not for me. NYU was also below her radar, but it encouraged her that I was not letting the campus quad grow under my feet. At this rate, I might end up at Harvard in time for the revolutionaries to burn it down.

So with what passed for parental consent from the remaining parent, I struck out East to find my fortune, or at least make it with those sophisticated NYU girls, most of whom were most likely also from Wisconsin. I suppose one of the reasons my mother was ultimately accepting was that it meant I could leave behind the girls next door she didn’t like. With my family, it’s the enemy you know, always.

However, they weren’t too much to give up. In our idyllic Lutheran parallel world, it had taken me all of high school to find a girl who’d fuck on the first date, and most of the time after to get a second date. The girl who said she “loved me” was sort of scrawny and didn’t put out at all, and I figured we could always talk on the phone, since it was about the same and I didn’t have to buy beer.

Which is a lot of talk to say that I arrived at LaGuardia Airport, shortly thereafter downtown Manhattan, and didn’t look back. I used to be a homebody provincial type in Racine, now I’m about the same in Manhattan. I think this is trending up, also, but that’s what us provincial snobs always think.

We’re talking about events of a decade ago, but I still remember the thoughts I had in the taxi to my dorm. I was looking around, and nothing seemed too familiar, except from movies, but it seemed normal. I knew it was going to be my place, because I decided it. It was the first time I had ever done that. My father had his town and my mother had hers, and now I had mine, which necessarily was different, and, let’s face it, better. It was goodbye to all that. I could start being somebody I liked.

Well, that last part didn’t pan out. But I did score a bunch of women that I liked at the time.

Next week, as Jack History Month continues: My first night in New York.

by Jack, 12:08 AM | Link | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

First night stand

Tonight, as Howard Dean, a nice New York City boy, tries to make it in Wisconsin, I will tell you how I, an innocent man with a head made from cheese, first confronted New York City. Also, he is going to lose, and losing has never stopped me. Also, it didn’t cost me forty million dollars.

By the way, before this site gets deluged by unrepentant Deaniacs (not to be confused with brainiacs), now it can be told: I also supported your man. But I liked the expressive, erudite, confident, reasonable Dean I heard on the radio in November 2002 and saw speak in the city a few times. He suggested solutions. The crazy screaming freakout who made such a splash, also named Dean, had no ideas about anything except that he should win. That’s the guy who lost. It’s amazing how we contain multitudes.

So as I’m contemplating how to best tell the public about the story of me, I go to that library of experience, the bar. I sit there on a stool, as one does, as many do under a variety of circumstances, some of whom are not trying to figure out the story of their first night in New York City. But you wouldn’t know that from the girl who comes in and sits down next to me with her suitcase.

She looks at me sheepishly and then is set upon by an unusually-attentive bartender. This may be because she is above average-looking, or, in the terms of our bar, stunning. Or it may be because there isn’t much business. Either way, give the good-looking women drinks, and you’re okay with me.

So I take out my little pocket notebook and concentrate on the issue at hand. I want to remember the feelings, the impressions of another person, with whom I have memory continuity: me as a sophomore at NYU, my first night in New York after an eternity in my mother’s house in Wisconsin and three hours on an airplane. I didn’t really take a good look at New York until I got out of the taxi at my dorm and had to handle things on a human scale. Until then, it was just looking out of windows and seeing On the Town in the wrong costumes.

I didn’t have a lot of baggage, as we had shipped some things to arrive in a few days, and I was going to just buy some other things that weren’t worth bringing. The lobby featured plenty of my peers who had baggage, though, as well as the necessary help from family members, but I just took my bags and checked in with the officer on duty. I was shown my bivouac on the third floor. Then I had to decide whether it was more exciting to stumble around town, or just stay in my room. Because nothing like that room had quite happened to me before either.

Even though my part of Wisconsin was not rural by local standards, it was quiet. When things were happening, you took it personally; you were involved or investigating. There was no background except quiet. New York, as you may have heard, is not like that. It’s in your grill no matter what. You don’t forget you’re here. Of course, an undergrad dorm is likely to be even more active than your average Upper East Side brownstone, but that was where I was and where I first started out. I sat on the bed, with my bags on the floor and the light off, and I listened to the shrieks and screeches from the street. I listened to the pounding up and down the hallway. I listened to more buses go by than I probably had heard up to that time.

And you must realize, I wasn’t just an only child. I had lived alone. Mom traveled a lot for work. Dad had traveled only once, but not back. It was different to be closer to strangers here in the city than I had been in my family home. I felt I knew more about them.

The girl at the bar next to me is suddenly speaking. “Are you a writer?” she asks of me, gesturing at my notebook with a too-ingenuous smile.

“No,” I say, “I’m from the board of health.”

She draws back a moment, until the bartender laughs. Then she flushes and laughs. I wonder what part of the Midwest she is from, and ask her.

She flushes and laughs again. “Well, I hoped it wasn’t that obvious. I mean, it is only my first day in town, but I read up in the Culture Shock book. I got as far as recognizing graffiti tags, but I’m only halfway through it.”

I smile at her in my best smiling-at-you manner. She swallows and says, “I’m from Akron.”

“A lovely people, the Akronians,” I assure her. “Totally different from the Cincinatutians and Youngstownsmen. A misunderstood people, for sure, but lovely nonetheless. What are you drinking?”

So I buy her what she’s drinking, although one of these days I’ll buy them what they’re not. And I ask what’s with the suitcase. “As a prop it is contrived. And as a method of carrying goods — well, leave them in your local residence. As the local saying has it, ‘Why schlep?’”

She flushes a little less and doesn’t laugh much at all. “I moved to New York today,” she says finally. “But I don’t know if it took.”

“These things need time,” I suggest. “According to this notebook, it took me the whole car ride from Queens before I knew this was my town. I grew up in Racine County, Wisconsin, you know. We’re most of us from somewhere else. That’s what makes us trustworthy New Yorkers. We’re here by choice. Our heritage is what we invented, so we have to be that much more loyal to it.”

She swirls the stirrer in her drink, looking at me, and I continue, “Heritage is a word they used to use a lot back in Wisconsin. But in New York, if people have heritage, ethnic heritage, they’re thinking of some other country. In Wisconsin it meant some town in Wisconsin. Or Norway, which was considered the same. But the best way to have heritage is to pick it up as you go along. It means more to you than just to get stuck with it. Maybe that’s why you came here.”

“Maybe,” she says quietly. “I certainly was ready for a change.”

I smile at her. “Do you have a place to stay?”

“I’m not sure,” she says. “I did at first.”

“Is this really your first night in town?”

She smiles back. “It really is. What’s left of it.”

“I just want to get a sense of the stakes here. This is your first night in New York, so if I slept with you, it’d be the first time you slept with someone in New York?”

She laughs this time without flushing. She’s moving in already. “Well, no, there was my boyfriend, this afternoon. I came out here to be with him. But we had a fight already. He’s so different. I didn’t understand him at all. After I gave everything up and came all this way — I didn’t like it. I didn’t expect it. We fought. I grabbed my suitcase and sort of left.”

“Dramatic,” I suggest.

“I guess that’s what we come to the big city for,” she replies, pushing her empty glass out to the bartender.

I take a good look at her, a woman perhaps a little older than me, today in the twenty-first century, and think about me at nineteen, sitting on a narrow mattress near Washington Square in the good, lamented twentieth century, full-on quivering in New York.

by Jack, 8:59 PM | Link | Comments (0)

Monday, February 23, 2004

The gift-giving season

I’m willing to admit it if you are: neither of us are particularly interested in my sordid dairyland past, or my complaining about a lousy childhood that everybody else had too. It’s a good thing that Jack History Month is almost over, even though it’s an extra-long leap year edition.

But studies show that, failing Paul Tsongas references, my most popular posts are the ones in which somebody has sex with me, for inscrutable reasons of their own. Let’s then set the Wayback Machine for an important milestone in my growth as a confused, but sexual person. Not my first sexual experience, of course, because that would be too maudlin. But the first related event that taught me A Great Lesson.

Back in high school, I was in gigolo training wheels. I had a sort of “girlfriend”, who used that term to describe herself, but there were limits to our intimacy. I think as we had grown up Stephanie and I had liked each other less, but nobody wanted to mention it. So when other couples were sneaking off into the bushes to be together, we were just sneaking away from each other. I thought I was pretty slick because I was getting laid sometimes by a couple of other girls, and of course it never occurred to me that Stephanie might be up to something similar. I hope for her sake that she was. The only thing I can be proud of is that I wasn’t her “first time” so maybe she can forget about me.

So Stephanie — or “Steph” in the style of the day — and I put up a good front, and we still entertained each other a lot, distracted each other, stayed up late on the telephone, and it was all comfy and cozy. And of course I wanted more, but it didn’t seem like she was the one to provide it. Steph was smart, funny, cute, and friendly. But Sharon was smart, funny, cute, friendly, and had giant breasts. And so did Cynthia and so did Stacey. Somehow that sounded important. I wasted a lot of time pursuing those girls to not much result. I did manage to meet a girl at a football game, from the other school, and we flirted a bit in the bleachers, and she became my regular mistress in the backs of cars, etc. I feel so proud to inform you. Of course, I also had a Mrs. Robinson thing with a shopkeeper in town. This is all so sordid but it’s only a backdrop for what I want to talk about, which is worse.

I wasn’t on the football team, or any team, but I was friendly with those guys. I was strictly nonaligned, a difficulty in high school, so when necessary I sided with the winners. This was purely for self-preservation. I actually thought the punker girls were kind of hot. But it was sort of a teeter-totter. If you hit on the punkers or any unpopular girls, the jocks would think you were a freak. But if you hit on the cheerleaders or any popular girls, the jocks would think you were muscling in on their harem. You can see why my solution was to choose abstinence. Abstinence from the politics, I mean, by fucking people none of my friends knew. I was so confident in this approach that I hardly even paid attention to the girls in my school anymore. Until one afternoon.

But I was reminded of that afternoon, and its lesson, just this week. Recently in our bar, in our home, in our soap opera, one of our regular fellows had acquired a new ladyfriend. What was remarkable about this was that the fellow in question is somewhat notorious for spending all his spare time attempting to get girls by giving them drugs in the restroom. And while he’s successful at giving drugs to girls in restrooms, he isn’t as successful at getting laid. But when he does, there’s usually a catch, such as the girl not being a catch. But this girl seemed charming, friendly, and able to fit on one barstool. “She’s certainly the thinnest girl you’ve seen me with,” he remarked to me with too much self-awareness.

So on perhaps the fifth day of their great affair, the gentleman and his lady, whose name was Cheryl, arrived at the bar, where I was already perched on one end, making nobody’s trouble. The nameless gentleman, or sucker, got into a pool game and his lady fair wandered off into that gravity well, the stool adjacent to mine. There she drank in abundance, as did we all, and every now and then the gentleman came calling, groping her territorially, smiling at everyone, and then going back for another rack-up. On occasion he’d also come to take her into the restroom for what everyone now calls “a bump” because it’s less than “a line”. These are hard times.

The gentleman said to me, “We’re going to do a bump. Do you want to come?”

I said to him, “Have your romantic time to yourself. But thank you.”

He said, “Anytime you want to do some, you tell me.”

I don’t normally partake, but I said, “All right, thanks, maybe I will, later.”

So they did their line — or bump — and the man went back to his manly game of pool and the woman came back to sit next to me. And we continued to chat, and drink, and she said, “You’re cute,” and I said, “Thanks, you’re cute,” and the man came back to handle her for a while. I said, “All right, next time you go, I’ll come with you for some of your poison.”

In a ridiculous development, the man said, pool cue in hand, “I’m shooting right now. Cheryl can give you some, though.” And Cheryl said, “Sure! No problem!” And I said, “Well, okay.” I figured it’s better to do lines with girls than with funny-looking men. So Cheryl and I tripped into the ladies’ room/cocaine parlor and locked the door. She pulled out her little envelope and some keys, and we did some cocaine. Not very much. I’m careful.

“You’ve got some on your face,” she said. I wiped my nose and looked into the mirror. The coast looked clear but the mirror was pretty dirty. I turned back to her and asked, “Did I get it all?” And she kissed me.

So I kissed her back for a moment, which is the polite thing to do, and I noted that her lips were completely cold, an experience I never had before. Maybe she had been eating her cocktail’s ice, but it was a little creepy. We stood around for a moment and spoke quietly, and did another little bit of cocaine, and I kissed her again, and we went out into the world. We sat back down and our mutual friend came back and squeezed on her and I kept drinking and we all talked like friends, which we mostly were. And I thought, well, I guess that was nice but I’m certainly not going to do anything about it. This guy has labored enough to net his girl, and I’m not going to try anything. I continued to be respectful of them both, and then she had to go home, get up early, and he put her in a cab and the fellow and I had one more for the road.

So I saw him last night and I asked, just to be sociable, “How’s Cheryl?” He grinned at me and said, “We broke up.”

“What? Really? I’m sorry, man. How — how long were you together?”

“Seven days.”

“Wow. Well, hey.” I raised my drink. “She didn’t understand you. She was no good.” I rolled through as many of those as I could think of, and we laughed.

But let’s face it, after meeting me, what else could she do? I sure hope she doesn’t call.

And I sat there, a bachelor among bachelors, thinking about the high school afternoon and its applicable lesson.


by Jack, 4:10 PM | Link | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The beautiful confusion

It wasn’t that Cheryl’s kiss was completely unexpected. She had been pretty darn friendly up to that point, and the whole “you’ve got something on your lip” line was also heinously transparent. The question was why she had bothered at all.

But the answer to this question lay years before, in high school, while I was out on the football field cleaning up this storage shed the janitor had there. It was one of my afterschool odd jobs for condom-and-beer money. I was about sixteen, and thought I was pretty smart. While I was tossing things around in the shed, excited rhythmic yelps from the field suggested that the cheerleading squad was in practice. I took a not-very-well-deserved break to lean on the doorway and check out the action. They were high school cheerleaders, and therefore of my highest recommendation, at least at the time.

Some of these girls I recognized, as our local paperless pinup equivalents, and some of them were more anonymous. They were all bouncing around out there wearing their colorful banners of stretchy fabric, which stretched more on some than on others. At the time it struck me as rather salacious to put school sports team names over the busts of young girls and pretend it was all innocent. But then I met girls in college with t-shirts that read “Fuck Me” and forgot about it.

I watched the cheerful leaders for a while in their garden-variety acrobatics, knowing neither their position nor momentum most of the time, but extrapolating their performance into daydreams that were also crudely indecorous and better chronicled elsewhere. But besides the Heisenberg variety, I had plenty of uncertainty, and turned back to the shed and the tasks at hand. Ogling cheerleaders was not original, and it wasn’t going to get me into heaven, not even cheerleader heaven.

So I stacked boxes and boxed rags and tried not to touch the really dirty stuff. I heard only the last three steps of someone on the grass outside the door, and then, “Hi Jack.”

In the half-open door was a member of the cheerleader tribe, a doe-eyed, pony-tailed youth that the guys at the local ag college, or Jim Thompson, would call “poor for beef, fine for milk”. “Hi, Amanda,” I said back to her.

She smiled and stepped inside the shed. “Whatcha doing?”

“I’m just cleaning up a little for Mr. Dirksen.” The janitor.

“I saw you watching us,” Amanda dropped, and I felt chilly. Then she laughed. “I don’t mind. It’s no fun cheering when no one’s watching.”

I smiled back at her, or smirked, which was my version. It must have been a smirk, because her smile became a smirk, too. Our faces were already a few minutes into the future, but the conversation was lagging. “I wanted to tell you,” she said, “I’m moving this summer. My folks sold the house. I won’t be coming back to school in September. We’re going to Michigan.”

I said, “Really? I’m sorry to know that, Amanda.” She took half a step forward, then bounced back. “I’ll be sorry when you’re gone,” I said.

“I know we don’t really know each other,” she said. “I guess it’s too late now.” She laughed. “I thought you were cute.”

I looked at her deep saucer eyes, scrawny body, and burdened-down sweater. “You’re cute,” I told her monumentally.

She took a half-step forward again. She renewed her smirk. “Stop staring at my boobs,” she deadpanned. I drew in breath. Then she reached up and pushed on her breasts. I held my breath. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t mind,” she whispered. I smiled at her. She let go of her breasts, which snapped back into shape.

We stood there, not very near each other. Amanda smirked at me across space, then smiled. “I know I can trust you,” she said. “You’re not like a lot of boys. I know I can trust you, can’t I?”

“Of course,” I said, which was true.

“You don’t think I’m funny-looking?” she asked me.

“No way,” I said poetically.

She smirked. “You’re cute,” she reprised. It was about this time I began to realize she had an agenda. She wanted to be admired. We looked into each other’s eyes across the crowded, empty shed. Her hands crossed to her elastic waist and she tugged her lettered sweater over her head. Her mousebrown pony-tail swished against her naked shoulder, sweeping where her bra strap dug deeply down. I think my mouth hung open a little as I stared at her flushed face. I know hers did. I took a step toward her, then stopped. She took one step toward me. Then I closed the distance.

I wrapped my arms around that little girl, and her back was hot against my frozen fingers. I buried my head in her neck and kissed her there. She seemed to let out steam from her mouth. I pulled around and kissed her on it, the thin, pliant mouth that was cured of smirking.

I leaned her back and tried to understand her with just my eyes. Her trembling face, her breathing chest. I just stared at her and stared at her, and she just stared and stared at me. Until she said with a quaver, “Do whatever you want.”

Now, I don’t know what she meant. I don’t know what she expected me to do. Most definitely not whatever the same line might mean from some hardboiled dame I meet down by the Hudson waterfront, or the Plaza Hotel. We were just kids. Even then, I wasn’t sure what she meant.

I supported her against my chest and with fingers that were unschooled in the domestic art of brassiere-unhooking, I undid her clasp in one motion. I pulled the bra off her as she gasped, and I kissed that gasp. I held her up with one arm around her shoulders, and I gazed down to see what I had brought forth. Let’s face it, we can make this romantic, but I was a kid, and this was the ripest pair of giant textbook tits I had ever had the opportunity to investigate. My palm pressed into one, the fingers tried to get around it; the fingers, the palm, and the breast moved aimlessly, but together. The owner of the breast breathed raggedly; the owner of the hand did not breathe at all. The fingers scouted new territory as the palm canvassed the heartland. Then I took them away and bent down to kiss that one-eyed face as warmly as I would a lover’s. (I never touched the other one.) Amanda, swear to god, she moaned.

Then her arms seemed to gain strength and purpose, and she put them around me and she kissed me hard. Then she pushed herself away from me, jiggling, and with whooshes, clicks, snaps, and rustles, got into her clothes quicker than she had gotten out of them. “I’ve got to go,” she said with wide eyes. She squashed herself flat against me and held me desperately. Then she ran across the field.

I didn’t know what had happened. I had had so little time to form an opinion on it that I hadn’t even gotten a hardon, although as I stood there reflecting, that changed. It made me feel pretty important, though, even though nobody had to know about it. It made me feel like I could expect more excitement in the future. Not necessarily from Amanda, who was going away anyhow. But maybe I had some kind of luck with women. In a way, I preferred that she was going away. It made me seem more like a love ‘em and leave ‘em hero, that we might never meet again, even though she was the one going away. I knew there would be others for me. In other words, I was a big jerk about it.

Of course, I only understood a small part of it. But what Amanda, and now Cheryl, and many in between have shown me is that it’s all a gift. You can’t go through life expecting anything from women, or trying to get something out of them, or manipulating them in tried-and-true ways. Weird things just happen as you float through intersections. And most importantly, don’t take it personally when they do. Everything is a gift. A big, hazy, not-about-you gift.

It isn’t much of a philosophy maybe, but it seems to describe the world I live in. And I wouldn’t normally be so full of myself as to title something after Fellini, but in this case I figured with both childhood and tits being involved, it was forgivable.

by Jack, 1:49 PM | Link | Comments (2)

Sunday, February 29, 2004

How Dean Can Win Wisconsin

To wrap up Jack History Month, I’d like to offer a few pointers to presidential hopeful Howard Dean, who will need to win my home state of Wisconsin on February 17 in order to stay competitive in the primary race.

Unfortunately, I’ve been pretty busy lately talking about all the girls I felt up in high school, and I’m just getting around to addressing this important issue. Since in the meantime Dean failed to win Wisconsin, and in fact dropped out of the race the next day, we can tell my advice would have been helpful to him. In this light, however, I will present a revised notion of what Dean needs to do to win Wisconsin twelve days ago.

By the end of the second term of the administration of President Judith Steinberg, the executive task force investigating time travel will make breakthroughs not in time travel itself, but a new branch of temporal electronics that will make it possible to send electrons back in time. This in turn will allow scientists to realize digital communication with the past. The President’s husband, retired monster truck rally announcer and one-time politician Howard Dean, will get on the timephone with his 2003 self one warm Burlington night.

“Howard,” he will say, “it’s Howard! I’m calling you from the future! We’re going to lose! You had better listen to me! We’re going to lose, do you hear me? We’re going to lose our front-runner status and rack up loss after loss, until we go from being known as the candidate who raised the most money in the history of electoral politics to being the candidate who spent the most money to win the fewest votes! Instead of continuing to report on our awe-inspiring ability to rally support across the country, the press will begin to focus on a seemingly endless list of our mistakes!

“But we can prevent this, Howard! All we have to do is be a little more self-critical, believe less in the inevitability of our success, and watch our steps more carefully. The last thing we want to do is to appear arrogant, or cocky, or out of step with the mainstream. There are certain things in our past that we need to nip in the bud, but more importantly we have to be careful not to cause new concern over our ability to be a forceful, reasonable candidate by making outlandish claims or — stay with me on this one — screaming in a high-pitched wail when we get too excited. No one has galvanized disaffected American voters like we have, Howard, and it’s too important to let it slip away just because we’re too stubborn to adapt to changing events.”

“Who the fuck are you to tell me what to do?” 2003-Howard will have said, and he’ll slam the phone down.

Vice President Hilary Duff Onassis, the nominal head of the time travel task force, will receive a final report suggesting that time travel is indeed impossible, although not for reasons previously thought. You cannot alter the past, not because of the laws of physics, but because people are assholes and won’t listen.

by Jack, 2:54 AM | Link | Comments (3)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Why I no longer go to restaurants

I’m just getting around to alerting you that my previous post was Trouble Sells’ One Hundredth. This post begins our second century; it also puts us over 60,000 words, most of which were dirty. Gifts are accepted but not required.

Traditionally, February is Jack History Month. Today, rather than looking back at my early life, I will tell you what I have planned for the ongoing narrative in the upcoming weeks and months. Adjust your schedules accordingly.

But first, a few words about what is important in life.

I don’t go to restaurants much these days because the experience does not impress me. Either you have a good meal, or you have an average one, or you have a bad one. So what? It is transient. I can’t get upset about it. So many people spend their lives worrying about where the good restaurants are. They read books on it, they spend time on research and gossip towards the same end. Or they focus on what the good wines are. Or where the best live and recorded music can be found. Or who the best people are. But it’s transient. You can’t hang onto these things. It isn’t enough to make up your life.

So I don’t go to restaurants anymore. I don’t expect restaurants to save me. Nor wine, music, nor people.

So what’s important in life, instead? I don’t know, but I am hopeful that relentless self-obsession will show the way. Maybe we will find out in future essays by and about myself, as I take on the following unresolved issues:

New Year’s Eve, the final night at my bar.
Christmas in Racine.
Me and Erica, the odd couple.

It may take me a while to decide how to best present these epoch-making tales, but they’ll all be dealt with eventually. That is what you can expect from our next hundred episodes.

Thank you for your interest.

by Jack, 4:21 PM | Link | Comments (2)