Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Ghost Janitor

Today’s entry is inspired by my Twitter (FYI there’s a walk-in plastic surgery booth at LAX where you can get your shame glands removed). I’ve been tweeting as The Lorax of White Guilt, who speaks for people who feel terrible about how easy it is for them to speak for themselves. Naturally, this reminded me of my childhood, which I suspect was sponsored by the Rwandan genocide and documentaries about the IMF.

"America did WHAT?! I'm so mad I could spike my hair!"

And, from 2002-2006, these guys.

Being the kid of missionary parents in Colombia gives you a weird perspective on what it means to be a part of the race that’s been purple-nurpling the world for the past few centuries. You get your image of white guilt from people living an insane contradiction. On one hand, they’re actually experiencing the difference between the first and third worlds, gaining unparalleled insight into how the other 80% sees us. On the other, they’re blissfully ignoring the fact that they’re continuing one of imperialism’s slaphappiest traditions.

What's a Jesus?

"Our baptism-and-lunch program is going great!"

Forming proper white guilt is like making sancocho (a stew from a different culture! Check out these African masks, too!). You start with a base, a set of core principles that foster its development. For me, it was my father’s particular strain of Christianity. Then add chunks of life experience until it’s thick as glue and exposure to it makes you slow and bloated and unable to stand. Simmer on low for twentysomething years or until you’re certain you have an informed view of the world. Then go protest something.

no #blood for #oil

That'll show those bastard Pentagon HTML coders.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those inbred fucks who thinks we should have a White Entertainment Television. I do think, though, that a lot of us are cooking with shitty broth, so when we finally add the potatoes of experience, they just fall apart and turn the soup mushy and unpalatable.

Abandon this metaphor, Peter, it sucks. Okay, self-doubt! How about you cut to the point so this doesn’t sound like you just wrote this to plug yourself? We passed that on the first sentence, dick.

Branagh sucks and I don't give a fuck

This blog's metacommentary is getting intolerable/good.

Anyway here’s one of these stories. In fourth grade, my brother starred in the school play. Instead of Our Town or Peter Pan scaled down for half-people with no long-term memory, his school decided to mount an original. A horribly fucking stupid original called The Ghost Janitor. (He was the janitor.)

The Ghost Janitor‘s plot was this: 1. Kids at school think a ghost is ghosting around in their classroom when they aren’t there, 2. it’s the janitor, 3. moral. What moral? Who cares! Janitors are people too, or ghosts aren’t real, or death comes for all and hope is but a distraction invented by the desperate masses to ward off the ever-encroaching darkness.

Mr. Todd from PE is our generation's Beckett

"Tomorrow, when I wake, or think I do, what shall I say of today? I met a ghost janitor?"

The point is that I came to associate anything I couldn’t explain at school with janitors. They were mystical men, after all. As far as the handful of other white kids and I knew, all their conversations were elder magick chants. “El jefe no me ha pagado en tres semanas,” you say? Don’t go waking up Cthulhu, now!

A couple years later, when I was in third grade, I bought a book at the yearly We Swear We’re Literate Don’t Cut Our Budget More Fair my school threw every year. Santa Claus Doesn’t Mop Floors, from the Bailey School Kids series about regular people that paint-huffing children mistake for creatures of legend. (And it was about a janitor. Coincidence???)

notice the blade angle: he ain't cuttin' no pies

"I'm Taiwanese you little shits!"

At the end of the day, I couldn’t find it in my desk. I got home and my dad asked me what I’d bought with his money. Great, so where is it? I panicked. What other possible explanation could there be? I had searched so thoroughly!

You guessed it. I accused a janitor of stealing Santa Claus Doesn’t Mop Floors.

it's called Google Translate and it adds a lot to this post

Esta línea es irrelevante. ¡Felicitaciones por su comprensión!

My dad turned this into a teaching moment. Instead of just saying, “son, that’s retarded, please sit quietly while I call someone to check our walls for lead paint,” he pressed me. “Did you actually see a janitor reach into your desk and steal a kids’ book?” Uh, I— “Because if you did, I can call the school and get him fired.”

Double panic! I hadn’t seen anything! Don’t get anyone in trouble!

Well, that’s what happens when you make false accusations. To take it a white guilt-y step forward, he said that the janitors at my school wouldn’t jeopardize the jobs they needed so badly on something as trivial as one of my books. I should leave them alone.

Mr. Miyagi: smokin' doobies, lickin' boobies

Also, most of them aren't this cool.

As two of the few people in 1980s Santa Marta with American money, my parents had employed a maid. They didn’t have much, but she had less: getting to eat depended upon coming by twice a week and straightening up for half an hour. It seemed patronizing at first, but at least it was better than the alternative. It’s those little things that give you a broader perspective, he said, a more nuanced understanding that he hoped I’d develop.

That pressure was kind of a dick move, and I may have been too young to pick up the real message, just developing guilt for knowing that my word as a white kid was often more valuable than a Latino man’s. Even so, I’d rather have that than sheltering that leads to hypersensitivity later in life.

thug wife

We are all god's children.

So where does this leave me? Years of political correctness and incorrectness pit my instincts against each other. Example: I’m currently living in a low-income, almost entirely Hispanic part of LA. Yesterday, I bought a set of computer speakers for ten bucks at a yard sale. The lady who sold them to me insisted they were in good working order, so I figured why not.

I get home, plug them in, and they don’t work. First thought: I can’t believe she fucked me! Second: Hold on, she barely spoke English, cut her some slack. Third: What does that have to do with anything? Fourth: I’m saying she looked like she needed cash pretty bad, and our country’s screwing her in so many ways, what does she need us storming back there for? Fifth: Oh, and we’re NOT broke? Sixth: Yeah, but we have a degree courtesy an education system that sets up minorities to fail—

And so on. Whether I’m right or wrong, at least I’m thinking about it from multiple angles, which I feel too few people do. Plus, it helps me redirect my rage and blame onto myself.

and you thought I wouldn't tie in the talking to myself thing from earlier



The Tape Shirts

In honor of the surprising newfound readership of this blog, here’s a story about another time one of my stupid jokes went too far and I caved under pressure and quit (what I assume will happen here shortly).

My family could never afford brand name clothing. Every August, we’d pick a Saturday to hit up a couple of Lower Middle Class Department Stores and sift through the clearance racks. Even if you pay Goodwill prices, you’re not poor if you get it at TJ Kohl’s Dead-Eyed Parent Emporium! Find one at (near) the mall. Everyone else’s large is a medium and all the clothes kind of smell like milk.

"What's that store, mommy?" "You'll never need to know."

I thought this was a flower shop until I was 20

Depending on where we lived and which way my ideology of the week leaned, this was a source of either embarrassment or contrarian pride. At fifteen, surrounded by January-tan Gap models with lake houses who kept inviting me to youth group, it was the latter in a walk. One belief I carried with me long after I quit being religious was among my father’s favorite “the devil perverts society” talking points: stern anti-materialism. From the day in the late 90s I ruined my only pair of JNCO jeans onward, I’ve refused to wear anything with a logo.

Yep. I’m such a hipster that I’ve been doing this since before going to liberal arts school and learning how to properly perform cunnilingus on Naomi Klein.

RAGILF (revolutionary alter-globalist I'd like to fingerasoverrated)

For those of you with real degrees who don't know that she has a Nike swoosh shaved into her pubes

Back then, though, I took it much farther. The only shirts I’d wear were black, grey, or blue baggy plain tees. In middle school, I wrote DEATH TO CONFORMITY in silver gel pen on all my binders. When I showed up to the first day of school sophomore year wearing all black, a teacher pulled me out of the hall to ask me a few tense, vague questions, starting with “Is everything okay?” It wasn’t until after a few minutes of this that I realized she was avoiding asking “you’re not going to murder anyone because your dad fucks you, right?”

I was a shitty little dude, though, so I wore it like a badge of honor. I thought I was better than everyone because my t-shirts cost five bucks and theirs were sixty. Since I had never owned anything nice, me and my untrained eye thought the whole $55 markup came from slapping Abercrombie & Fitch or American Eagle on the thing and calling it a day. (My nipples are visible in every photo of me from 1998-2006.)

am I the only one turned on by this?


So I decided to take my weird hate out on everyone. One day, feeling especially snide, I scrawled this on a sheet of printer paper:

i jsut wrot “abbercrumby n fich” on this shirt wil u pay me $60 4 it??

Then I taped it to my chest and went to school.

The name of this image is young-dick.jpeg. Download at your risk

Also, I had a boy-beard. I'm not the victim in this one

I pranced into the halls, confident that everyone would be pissed at me for mocking the brand that formed the core of their lifestyle, and that I would finally be acknowledged as the subversive force I dreamed myself to be. The homecoming court would look on me with revulsion, and one of the cool English teachers would tell me to never give up, and I’d sit alone at lunch, and then a cute artist chick that everyone thinks is a lesbian because of her short hair would put her tray down across from NOPE! They loved it!

official halftime prayer leader

"Good one, buddy! Why the misspellings?"

Sure, nobody figured out that the shirt was supposed to be petty angst instead of good-hearted ribbing, but fuck it! Word got around, and by my last class, everyone ran to me once I stepped through the door because, for the first time ever, my reputation preceded me. My comic’s narcissism took over. These people I hate think I’m funny.

So I dropped any pretense of a message and did it again the next day, and then through the rest of the week, every day a different joke scotch-taped to my pubescent manboobs. Some were better received than others, but the attention was all that mattered.

there were literally thousands of other pictures I could've put here

Posturing: it's almost like having friends!

On Friday, I met my first administrative resistance when my health teacher made me take off a sign that said “I beat anorexia.” (I couldn’t tell you if I stole that one consciously or not.) The next Monday, I had to take off my sign because it was a veiled bondage joke. Tuesday? Didn’t even wear one Tuesday. Yes! I was finally a martyr! A martyr that the students supported. Hot Christ did I love eating that cake.

I assured everyone that I hadn’t been beaten, that I had just decided to only make a new sign two or three times a week. But it wasn’t the same. The next couple of signs were successful, but I couldn’t top that first surprise hit. That, and it wasn’t worth people staring expectantly at my chest whenever I walked into a room. (Alaina, I know how you feel.) Soon, the signs were gone and not missed.

So, I learned my lesson: don’t tape weird hateful jokes to your chest. God I was fucking weird.

Naked man, as promised

None of the hate has faded, though

The Bad Touch Sermon

I can’t point to any moment in my life as shattering my once-devout faith. I can, however, tell you about the time my dad quoted the Bloodhound Gang in a sermon.

Back in the 90s, Jesus was my main pastime. Other kids got put to bed with Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle. Not me: I got the Good Word every single night, from a shiny (seriously) Bible 4 Kidz chock-full of illustrations of Israelites gleefully murdering the shit out of people with Bart Simpson-esque slingshots. A frequent knock against Christians is that they don’t tell their kids about the nasty parts of the bible, mostly picking out New Testament stories about Jesus kissing people’s booboos and having a sick baby shower.

More like mevilmorphosis

“If butterflies come from caterpillars, then why do we still have caterpillars? Metamorphosis is a lie.”

My dad thinks those people are sissies. If you’re gonna leave out all the parts where the bible gets totally metal, why even bother? I got it all: David killing 200 Philistines and buying the hand of Saul’s daughter with their foreskins, Jael hammering a stake through Sisera’s head while he slept, Absalom killing his brother for raping their sister. All old favies!

"One more chapter!"

“Blood flowed out of the pit, spreading over the land for 180 miles, rising as high as the horses’ heads. Nighty night snookums.”

Considering this, it isn’t hard to understand why I was as religious as I was. I didn’t think of God as a swell guy who’d carry me on his broad sexy shoulders across a beach. God was a three-headed super-rich family member with Mafia ties who I owed my life to, who only accepted love and obedience as repayment. If ever I doubted anything he told me to do, I’d be hatefucking his immortal heart with a spiny cock of sin. After the nightly bible reading, I’d pray myself to sleep, trying not to think anything sinful in case I died that night an unclean soul.

By the summer of 2000, I’d developed some guilty pleasures. I had been sneaking over to a friend’s place to giggle at heavily censored Blink-182 and Eminem videos on MTV, and, to my parents’ dismay, I was starting to laugh at the raunchier stuff on The Simpsons. None of their sheltering, though, could save me from the Bloodhound Gang’s breakthrough smash, “The Bad Touch.”


“One for the money. Then they will take our jazz seriously.”

The thing about the song is that it’s impossible to censor– there are no swears, but any nine year-old could grasp its double entendres. It got played so much on Q101, Chicago’s Korn-‘n’-Limp Bizkit station, that even my clueless ol’ pa picked up on it. I found out about this in the worst possible venue.

See, I was so zealous that I had insisted on being taken out of Sunday school and placed in grown-up church years ago. I missed a lot of what was going on, since my dad’s sermons are mostly about precisely translating dead languages in order to avoid any mistakes while assembling God’s furniture or something, I don’t know. One Sunday, he took the pulpit and declared, grave-faced, that today’s sermon would be on the blasphemy of modern sexuality.

cruisin' for a bruisin'

Gaaaaay. Skip to the punishments.

He turned on his god-is-very-disappointed-with-you preacher voice. “There’s a song on the radio,” he said, “with the most evil chorus I have ever heard. It goes like this.” He cleared his throat and slowly articulated every syllable: “You and me, baby, ain’t nothing but mammals. So let’s ‘do it’ like they do on the Discovery Channel.”

Here we go.

My brother and I dove face-first into our hands. Probably the reddest I’ve ever been, due to a. withheld laughter so intense that my lungs felt like an inside-out submarine, b. embarrassment, c. sheer terror. The wrath of dad (oh, and God) was no laughing matter. I stole a glance at my mom, who looked like a kid in a war movie speechlessly watching an atrocity before someone pulls her out of the frame. At least I wasn’t alone on this one.

He was actually kinda right

The insidious influence of the devil on our culture.

Somehow, it got worse. The crux of his argument was that god intends sex to be a glorious, sacred part of his blessed institution of marriage, not an expression of animalistic lust. “Sex is a gift from god,” he said, “and it brings us closer to him. I have known the joy of conjugal embrace (I swear those were his exact fucking words), and fear that the young people of this generation, including my sons, will have this experience tainted by the values our culture is giving them.”

Where to begin. Okay. The closest thing I had to “the talk” with my dad went like this:

Him: “So, uh, you’re about the age for the talk, huh.”
Me: “Yeah.”
Him: “You already know everything, right? From school?”
Me: “I think so.”
Him: “Okay. Well, just wait until you’re married.”

In other words, this little salvo was the most I’d heard him say about sex, ever. Imagine you’re nine and your “talk” is just dad saying he nailed your mom. Now add him talking about your sex life. Now add references to doggystyle and prison. Now have him say all of it in front of a congregation composed mostly of little old ladies.


Fact: trying to include a naked man in every post

Now imagine your dad’s this guy. You’re welcome.

Finally, stretch it out to twenty-five minutes, and choke yourself with a clip-on tie to keep from laughing, and you’ll get a sense of what that day did to me. As awkward as it was, it couldn’t disillusion me all at once. I didn’t see that the emperor had no clothes, but I did catch a flash of his dick.

Bonus: the sermon’s most memorable grievance with the Bloodhound Gang? “And another thing, the Discovery Channel is a wholesome source of education! This song tries to ruin it by associating it with fornication.”

At least this might be true

We lost one of the good ones.

The Bedsheet Story

Now that I’ve told you about being young and cool, here’s the exact opposite. I was eighteen and had just started at Emerson College in Boston, a school I chose mainly because it was both entertainment-related and not in the Midwest. Turned out to be a pretty nasty culture shock: my longest visit to the East coast before moving there had been my three-day school tour.

"They better not make that spearchucker president"

He just called me a "queeah." Cute!

I knew the place had a rep for being a real fruitbowl, so I figured how bad can this be? At least it’s not the mix of ironed-polo family company heirs and majorless state school/community college fuckups I’d been stuck with the past four years. Sure, there’ll be auteurs and drama queens, but at least they’re genteel enough to do coke like adults instead of sucking down cans of Milwaukee’s Best so hard you’d think Brian Urlacher’s cock’s inside them. Right?

I'm just jealous 'cause I can't make green work

"He meant the state school kids. I only drink on boats."

WRONG. Never had I seen such a collision of self-seriousness, entitlement, and willful ignorance. If NYU’s students are the embodiment of masturbating to a Terrence Malick movie for its deep cultural criticisms, Emerson’s are masturbating to Glee for the same reason. Think I’m exaggerating? Okay.

Orientation week. All the freshmen on my dorm floor sit around, drinking beers. Everyone says where they’re from—New Englanders, Atlantic staters who couldn’t get into any New York school, Californians who picked the place as some kind of statement. I’m the only Midwesterner. I tell them I’m from Chicago, to which they respond (as I would find out, how every Emerson student does) either, “I super want to visit there!” or, “I went there once and it was sooo cool!”

This fucker still owes me $50 worth of weed

"I'm like the hugest architecture fan!"

A few minutes later, someone makes a light-hearted jab at the Midwest. I do what I do when among people I haven’t yet figured out I don’t need to pretend to give a shit about, which is make a broad, inclusive, “funny” comment like “Hey, watch what you say about the Midwest! I might have to politely disagree!” Then, some girl from Orange County, completely serious, asks why. I pause.

“You know, because I’m from Chicago, and it’s in the Midwest.” She twists her face up, like I’ve just told her about some calorie-cutting tip. “Really?” I pause again. “Yeah, uh, it’s in Illinois, which is a Midwestern state.” She laughs. “Oh! I thought Chicago was in New York!” And then everybody laughs with her. Implied: at me. Because she is confident and breezy and fun in her disregard for something people who have ever worked have known since preschool.

Women are horrible am I right guys?!?!

"This bean thing is cool but WHERE'S FIFTH AVENUE?!"

Anyway, none of that is the actual story. It’s all character and setting development (something I was taught to do at a very expensive writing school I’ll have you know). Things turned around for me at the orientation sketch comedy showcase. Finally, people who didn’t activate my gag reflex, live and in person! I knew if I didn’t get into a troupe I’d hang myself with a keffiyeh, so I auditioned and blah blah blah I wound up with Emerson Comedy Workshop, the oldest and most cynical troupe on campus.

It didn't go well

We did this show at a school with the political culture of a queef

A big part of getting into ECW is getting life-threateningly drunk at the orientation party. Not really. The older members insist on getting everyone plastered, but then it doesn’t happen. Pretty common practice in urban schools, where parties happen in off-campus apartments rather than frat houses a five-minute walk away from dorms.

I did not know this.

Here’s how I remembered it: I drank five or six PBRs in about half an hour, and then went out on the fire escape to smoke some weed. I took a hit, passed it, and… that’s it. I woke up the next morning in a strange apartment, on a futon, in nothing but underwear and socks. Mystery time! Nearby, also in underwear and socks, was this man:

We did fuck, though


So I panicked. I thought I’d hang onto my ass cherry until Hollywood; looks like that plan’s as fucked as I am. After some wide-eyed ceiling-staring panic, my new friend woke up and explained it all. Seems my biggest culture shock was that I drank like a Midwestern state school freshman instead of a Boston art school freshman. Back home, it’s acceptable, nay, encouraged for 18-20 year olds to drink until they black out and commit felonies. Here, you drink with people who keep a good buzz on all night and then get themselves home, because getting trashed lost its allure at 16.

Oh, also, I puked all over myself and the hosts’ furniture, floor, and bathroom.

Cut me some slack, I wasn't a person yet


He dragged me to his place because I was too incoherent to tell anyone where I lived. Since my clothes were ruined, he loaned me his biggest shirt (which still cut off circulation to my hand-fat). None of his shorts fit over my muffin top, though, so he suggested I just go out in my boxers. Would’ve done it, too, but it was a windy day and that pair didn’t have a dick-flap button. Our solution? Fold up a bedsheet and wrap it around me like a toga. Neither of us knew how to tie a toga, though, so around the waist it went.

I thought I had nothing to lose at this point. WRONG AGAIN. Still drunk, I asked him for directions to the subway, then immediately forgot them and wandered around the neighborhood. In one hand, I clenched the sheet to keep it from falling; in the other, horrible-smelling black bags full of my belongings. I got directions from a bewildered-looking stranger and made it to the train station.


A friendly part of a friendly city.

Seeing me fumble with the ticket machine, along came a kind ol’ BPD officer. “Do it like this, kid. Press the button heah and the ticket comes out, yagotit?” Making great strides in my attempt to appear homeless and schizophrenic! Does it get better? It does! Once I’m on the train itself, I tried to focus as hard as possible on the ground, but couldn’t, because of the giggling and mass of camera phones.

Finally, I got to my stop and walked into my dorm. It was just before nine a.m., so the young night security guy was still there. Avoid eye contact oh shit he’s clapping. He stands up. Big smile. And announces: “We have a winner!”

Emerson's flag

You'll know it when you see it!

At that moment I knew that I was the most pathetic person on earth. I curtsied, because at this point fuck it, and climbed to my room.

I had spent the past fourteen years trying to capture the elusive coolness I’d felt at four, living in petrifying fear of a public meltdown. When I tell this story now, it’s not to come off as cool, but to explain why I’m not cool at all. Just three years ago I was at this level of social development. More than that, though, this moment was pivotal for me because ECW didn’t mind.

I had tried so hard to make a positive impression on the only people I had so far tolerated, and did the exact opposite. Several of the people who saw me puke on that couch, including its owner, turned into my closest friends in Boston. It took until then for me to learn that fear of fucking up was what made me fuck up in the first place, and that making mistakes wouldn’t wreck me forever. Being myself, whatever that meant, wasn’t anything to be afraid of.

I feel like most self-assured people are taught that at an early age. I wasn’t. (Making you feel like a worthless sinner is what keeps hardline Christianity in business, folks!) Every story on this blog takes place between this one and the last, and is about the shit a kid can get himself into when he hasn’t figured any of that out yet. So, trust me, the rest are going to be shorter, funnier, and won’t have these bullshit preachy sections at the end.

I guess I should go out on a joke.


I'm wearing a turtleneck under a black polo. FUCKABLE!

Here's me at 16. Close enough.

The Time I Caused an STD Epidemic

Let’s start with an old favorite. My best friend in preschool was a neighborhood girl named Hillary Kuhl. Kuhl pronounced “cool,” and oh yes, she was—she had a pretty, cunty older sister she fought with constantly, and was the only other kid my age who was visibly upset when Kurt Cobain died. I was four and she was five. (I was pimp as a motherfucker in ’94.) We did everything together: build blanket forts, fight sandbox turf wars, get freaked out by kids with outies.

I don't consider people with outies human.


Once, probably inspired by my older brother’s recent obsession with Gary Paulsen books, we tried to run away and build a lean-to in the woods. Unfortunately, all we knew about lean-tos was that 1. they were made of sticks or something, and 2. they involved leaning. What we came up with was a bunch of spare branches propped up on a tree. When we tried to get inside it and, I don’t know, crouch, it came apart and scratched us to pieces. I guess what I’m saying is that the whole parental supervision thing that seemed to be all the rage in the 90s didn’t catch on everywhere (read: the Midwest).

Like Man Vs. Wild, but a federal crime to masturbate to

Pictured: child abuse

Hillary was also the proud owner of the first vag I ever saw on purpose. She was mostly friends with boys (in retrospect she was  a definite training-wheels dyke) and one day she gathered the neighborhood kids around into a little circle and just whipped it out. You wouldn’t think that any vagina, let alone a kindergartner’s, can be whipped out, but this one came a-flopping like the John Holmes of the Juicy Juice set. “Okay,” she said, “now boys show yours.”

Way to put us on blast, Hillary! By cutting to the end of the “show-me-yours” game, she made us all look like pussies if we didn’t wave our little dicks at her. Now that we all knew what that meant, the stakes were tenfold.

he looks better without the mustache

This without AIDS, murder, or a dick.

So, yeah, I got my dick out. Being a weirdo robot spacecase who could read, I was the only one who knew the clinical terms (“penis” and “vagina” for the ‘tards out there), and no one would listen to me because their parents had all told them to call them peepees or weewees or, in Hillary’s case, a bum. (Her parents weren’t British, but they were pretentious fucks.)

Complaining about terminology with an inch-long dick in your hand drops your cool stock in the neighborhood, but I didn’t care. On that day, like a fat, slow rocket, my sex life had launched.

yeah, I'm on the right

I peaked early.

Things kept getting better. Somehow, we knew what “frenching” was, and we saw similarly poorly-supervised high schoolers trying it at our local haunts a few times. So of course being best buds we had to try it! Frenching, to us, was like a presexual lean-to: we knew that 1. you did it with your mouths, and 2. boys and girls only duh!

One playdate at Hillary’s place turned hot ‘n’ heavy and we ended up making out under a sheet for fifteen minutes. Soon, with practice, we got pretty good—good enough that we decided to take it outside.

taken by someone very well-adjusted, I'm sure

Can't wait to explain my last two Google searches to the FBI!

One day at the playground, we made our entrances the way all the kids in our neighborhood did at the start of play in those days: by running around to every single kid whose name we knew and saying, “Hi (name)!” then running off. When it got to our turn together, we shocked the world by saying hello with first base, like grownups.

The wide eyes of all around confirmed our suspicions that this was the coolest fucking thing that had ever happened. Anyone who didn’t copy us right away was lame forever, even the one black kid who legitimized everything just by being there.

"Hello, ma'am, your daughter looks delicious."


This lasted for about three days. Kids slobbering on each other like we were made of parental approval. Faces stickier than fallen Ring Pops. One girl cried because a boy tried to suck her lower lip off. Then, all of a sudden, kids stopped showing up. Whispers abounded. Where could they be? Was it aliens? God? OJ Simpson?

I got my answer soon enough when I woke up at 4 am and tried to claw my skin off. Yep. Chickenpox.

I swear this was a real theory

Innocent as always!

The best part was that nobody put two and two together. Hillary “Powerpussy” Kuhl and I had just inadvertently caused an STD epidemic, and because we were in The Midwest: Our Senses Are Dead!™, the grownups were none the wiser. After a couple weeks, the local parents decided it was safe to break quarantine, as long as us little disease-sacs were better supervised.

Then, upon arrival and to their horror, they saw their darling dearies sprint mouth-first into the nearest opposite-gendered rugrats, and lost their fucking shit.

babies havin' babies

Not on my watch.

Thankfully, nobody fingered me or Hillary as the source of their woe. (Snitches get BandAids.) There were a few indiscriminate groundings, and in a couple weeks it all blew over. I was so scared when I saw how parents reacted to the whole thing that, for years and years, I didn’t tell anybody how I got chickenpox.

Sure, there were some downsides to this chapter of my life: it probably screwed me up about sex for a long time,* and Vulvasaurus and I were never the same again, but it was an important turning point for me. For the first and almost only time, I was really, really cool. Sometimes, cool means getting covered in lesions. Either way, to someone like me, it was worth it.

You keep saying pregnant, but I keep hearing "dead ho."

Hoes on my left, pogs on my right

*That and all the rape.

What Is This Shit?

“Write as if your parents are dead.”
-Anne Lamott

Dead Parents is a blog about my weird childhood stories. Another one of these? Yeah, well, my childhood was a bit different than most. Born to missionary parents in Colombia, we moved to America when I was very young, and pretty frequently after that. As a child, my dad was an eccentric fundamentalist pastor and my mom was a closeted lesbian working through library school while struggling to hold together a family based on ideas she didn’t believe in anymore. Pastors, especially weird ones, get paid little, so we went back and forth between rougher areas and the fringes of suburbia, bringing along with us our pretentions to the middle class.

So what happened to me? I adjusted to different environments quickly and incompletely. As contradictory as my upbringing was, I was even more so: I dressed like a preppy and spoke with a cholo accent, I told people they’d go to hell if they didn’t accept Christ and tried to sell porn, I showed up to the SAT still drunk and got a 2160, I made friends quickly and lost touch with almost all of them, I lied a whole hell of a lot. My young adult years, like most people’s, have been spent trying to resolve all of this.

Lucky for you, though, you don’t have to hear any more of it! This blog is a chronicle of the crazy stuff I used to do, and most of it’s pretty damn entertaining. I’ve been telling these stories to friends for years, because I feel like I don’t make sense without them. It’s time for them all to have a home.

My parents are alive and I love them both, but there’s no way I can put these stories online with their reactions in mind. That’s what that quote’s about. For a long time, I was scared to start a blog like this, but now I figure what the hell? The more I have to hide, the more time I’ll spend mixed up. (Also, I have lots of free time.)