Rest in Peace: OurThursday Android app, Get a Grip

Three and a half years ago I created an app that I hoped would break the introverted chains of the masses. I called it “Get a Grip” and it was available on the Android Play Store. Apple rejected it saying it did not provide enough functionality, those sorry sots. Well last night, I made the decision to retire GAG in hopes for a more civil and humane future. This blog is a memorial to GAG.

The app was simple as all good apps should be… you opened it up, clicked the enormous and somewhat scary tongue, and a microphone was presented to you with a stop button. That was it. What would you do?

In 1000 days this app was downloaded 246 times and collected roughly 100 recordings. So what did these people say? Who were they? Why would they download an app that had a grotesque image of people gripping a slithery tongue? What would you do?

Well my first and only use of the app reveals that I need to be much more creative as I still use this in my daily routine including work meetings.

 

My Dad… whoops… I mean Sophie chimed in with his very dependable attitude towards most people.

 

This dude took the opportunity to practice his Italian swagger for all to hear.

This lost soul thought that they could earn some money with this incredibly well funded app.

 

This bastard said probably the most obvious and intellectual thing out of anyone.

 

I couldn’t help but feel this girl was the precursor to the currently annoying and will always be annoying “But first let me take a selfie” song.

 

This recording was actually made multiple times so I presume they thought that this one was the best of the lot.

 

This was just one of at least two dozen that were in Portuguese. Most were asking if they were happy like them or in the middle of a party like this one. Good on you Brasilians.

 

This one was asking for gas over and over in the tune of a Fergie song I believe. I am not sure the word is “gas” though in the actual song.

 

I am pretty sure that this person chose my app to die in front of.

 

And then I will just lump together the rest that I thought were of some sort of noteworthiness. Library of Congress can you hear me?

So to all the kids that downloaded this thing and made stereotypical gargling and mouth noises… to all those who are so bored when they are eating and do not find total comfort in the clattering of their silverware on the plates… to all the Israeli’s who got me to see if Google provides an audio translation so I could understand what the fuck you are saying… and to the umpteen others who pressed the microphone button and did absolute nothing, successfully wasting my time three years later down the road…. I thank you all. This app was not in vein.

So what would you do if presented with a microphone and nothing else?

Q & A: What Men Want

First of all, it has now been almost two years since my last blog post. No, I’m not married or in a relationship. I’m still professionally single and living the dream. I still love writing, but I no longer party every Friday and Saturday night like I was from 2008-2011, and I’ve taken on some new creative aspirations that don’t involve my disturbing sex life.

Anyways, one of my female Facebook friends recently sent me a message asking me some intriguing questions pertaining to a male perspective on sex and relationships. I thought I’d share it with everyone. If any girl has any additional questions, feel free to post a comment, and if it’s good enough I’ll add it to this blog.

 

Hi Dave. I’m just trying to understand men’s brains. Would you mind honestly answering some questions?

  1. Do guys notice boob size, sagginess, cellulite, jiggly thighs, etc., when looking at a naked woman, or do they just think, “yaaaaay! Naked woman!”?

Yes, guys notice everything—maybe not the first time, but eventually there are no secrets to your body. If something is fake, we’ll notice. If there’s cellulite or sagginess or a gnarly mole somewhere, we see it. If you’re scared about some physical shortcoming, don’t be. Some guys will like that part of you. I personally don’t care much about breasts (though I’ve never been a fan of huge areolas). But I have friends who value breasts more than a face. If your body means anything to you, exercise hard and eat right. It’s worth it.

 

  1. Have you ever had trouble maintaining an erection during sex? If so was it nerves or lack of interest? If nerves, what were you worried about?

I’ve never gone soft from “nerves.” I have on many occasion turned into a marshmallow either because I drank too much, or I was too sober and either her breath or vagina started stinking.

For example: Recently, a girl who I hadn’t banged in years invited me over for a late-night screw on a weeknight. I arrived at her place to find her hammered and at least ten pounds heavier than she used to be. Still attracted to her, we fooled around some (her vagina smelled worse than before), and then we started fucking. Not even a minute in, she insisted on kissing me while I plowed. And each time I got close to her face, I got a whiff of her stale breath and booze-scented face. I went soft in a matter of seconds. “I hope it’s not me,” she said. I told her it wasn’t and rolled off her.

Don’t be that girl. I’m not saying be self-conscious, but at least be aware. Chew gum if you know you probably reek of booze. Check your oil; if it stinks, go to the bathroom and take care of it.

 

  1. If you’re super keen on hooking up with a girl and really like her, if you sleep together fairly quickly, do you completely lose interest or just crave the chase again with someone new?

It depends on the girl. Intelligent guys usually know what they have in a girl within the first few hours of hanging out with her. Stupid guys misjudge the girl completely and wind up wasting the next two years of their life. Luckily I’m not stupid. But to answer your question, back in my twenties, and even my early thirties (I’m 33 now), yes, if she slept with me within the first two or three dates, I’d lose interest. Looking back, I do regret some of the girls I blew off after sex was…”achieved.” Had I spent more time with them, who knows, I might have really liked them. But now I’ve been with enough women to not care as much about “getting in their pants.” It’s no longer my #1 goal (unless I’m drunk, of course). It always varies on the situation, though. There are some girls who are fun to be around, but deep down I have no interest in committing to her, and it doesn’t matter how quickly we screw. In the back of my mind, I know it’s either casual fun, or nothing at all. And either she’s cool with the casual sex thing, or she isn’t. But if I genuinely like a girl and see it possibly going somewhere, I’m finding it much more healthy to do fun activities with her—Angels games, beach hangouts, concerts, surfing, etc—rather than simply bar-hopping and taking her home for a drunken lay, which is what my pattern has been since I started online dating back in ’09. At the same time, it’s important to not wait too long for sex or you fail to cultivate your physical and emotional chemistry, which is the crux of any meaningful relationship. It’s hard to draw the line when the “right time” is, but my advice to women is to trust their instincts and forget about rules—though I’d always wait until at least the third date (a little suspense is healthy). If the connection is there, have sex with no inhibitions. If he’s right for you, it’ll work out.

 

  1. What are some dealbreakers for men?

Every guy’s dealbreakers are different. Here are a few of mine:

-Overweight: Like I said, eat right and exercise. It’s sexy. (Again, this is just my preference. Some guys like heavy women)

-Hygiene, mainly stinky breath and/or stinky vagina: I’m sorry, but there are too many women in this world for me to settle on one who doesn’t know how to properly brush her teeth or douche her snatch.

-Cheapness: I’m not a sugar daddy, and never plan on being one. If I got the last beer or dinner, you get the next one. It doesn’t have to be perfectly even, just be conscious if the guy has been spending considerately more than you. And always say thank you.

-Selfishness: If I’m sitting there listening to you blabber on about yourself, and you’ve asked me maybe one meaningful question in the last half hour, you’re selfish (I can usually gauge this on the first date). If you’re a perpetual flake, you’re selfish (thanks for treating my time like a sandbagged beer). If you get angry when I have fun without you, you’re selfish (shut up).

-Neediness and clinginess: You know exactly what this is. Don’t do it. There’s no need to get mad if I don’t text you back something cute all the time–within whatever window of return-text-time you’re comfortable with. No, we’re not ignoring you; we’re just busy. Time away from each other here and there is healthy.

(Mani-pedi: This isn’t a total dealbreaker, and this is specifically just my thing, but for the love of God don’t chew up your fingernails like a fourth grader. Simple nail polish on your hands and feet go a long way)

Everything listed above are qualities you have complete control over. If this is you, make some adjustments not just for men, but for yourself.

 

  1.  What is it about a woman that keeps your interest after you hook up?

For starters, we’ll run for the hills if you tell us mid-post-sex-cuddle that you want something long-term, or are “finally turning your life around,” or are “finally starting to feel normal” (all true stories). Don’t text us nonstop, or act all lovey-dovey-nervous every time we see you, or make plans for a ski trip in two months. Relax and stop acting like a teenager.

What will sustain our interest? Put it this way: all those bad-boy qualities women crave in men are often the same things guys want in a girl. Have your own life. Don’t be so available all the time. If we send a lame or needy text, ignore us. Leave us hanging here and there. Make fun of us. Be mysterious, spontaneous, and courageous. Tell us interesting stories. Be a sweetheart at intimacy. Rock our world in bed. Obsess over adventures, not work and people. Live passionately. Think, do, dream. Be a woman.

 

  1. Why are relationships so scary?

As an Economics major, it’s simple really. With every prospective girl I date, I innately ask myself the following question: “Does my life improve by being in a relationship with this woman?” In other words, do the joys I experience being single—bars/clubs, traveling, road trips, Vegas, one-night-stands, fuck buddies, independence, free time, the unknown—outweigh the experiences I’ll gain by committing to this woman? Almost always I’ll choose the single path. And the few times I actually like the girl, I usually manage to fuck it up. I still have a long way to go.

 

  1. Why do guys pursue a woman, then freak out and go silent?

If we’ve gone silent, something came up that wildly turned us off. We’re likely not into you anymore. At least not long-term.

 

  1. What is it about boobs that are so alluring?

Boobs aren’t a big deal to me, but if you’re asking the question from a psychological standpoint, breasts remind men of ass, which reminds us of sex (and they’re for fertility and feeding a baby blah blah blah). Didn’t you watch that one human sexuality thing on the Discovery channel back in the mid-nineties? (Still to this day, that is the only time I’ve ever seen frontal nudity on network television. I had the hugest boner)

 

  1. What moves has a woman done in bed that made you classify her in your head as the best at something?

Be open to new things. The best girls are up for anything and everything, and they like it. But most importantly, and I’ve said this in my blog before, but here it is again: WORSHIP OUR PENISES. Marvel at it. Cherish it. Gobble it up. Tell us you love the way it looks, tastes, and feels in your hand, mouth, vagina, and ass. Seriously, I’ll take the dick-worshipping 6 over the starfish 8 any day.

(Any other questions, post a comment or email me at [email protected])

 

My friend Meyer recently told me, “No offense, Dave, but you’re the last person I’d want relationship advice from.” And he’s 100% right. I have the least actual in-a-relationship experience probably out of all my friends. The closest thing I had to a relationship was my on-and-off fling with Taylor in 2008-2009. But when I thought hard about what he said, I realized that I’m not necessarily “bad” at relationships. Dozens of times I’ve dated a girl, had sex with her, had sex with her again, and then reached a point when it was up to me to make her my girlfriend or not. And every time I chose to either keep it casual or remain single. I guess I’m bad at…not going through with the girlfriend thing. So ladies, as you let some of my responses sink in, keep in mind I’m not an expert at this stuff. I’m just a regular guy who, just like the girl who asked me all these questions, is still discovering myself, and you. Happy dating…

 

 

The Time I Quit Smoking

I first experienced cigarettes in sixth grade. I sneaked out my parents’ house in the middle of the night to go TP’ing with a friend. Some older neighborhood kids were sitting under a streetlight blowing giant plumes of smoke into the still night air. They had long greasy hair, baggy jeans, and absurdly long belts hanging past their knees. If one of them pulled out a switchblade and told us to take a hit, it would’ve been exactly as I imagined from all the PSA’s. But they didn’t. My friend came over and asked for one. They handed him a Marlboro Red 100 – the kind you only see in bowling alley bars and Keno lounges. He held the thing with all five fingers and smoked it like a fine Cuban cigar – then he threw up on the curb and never smoked again. I wasn’t so lucky. Continue reading “The Time I Quit Smoking”

McNever Forget

The morning of September 11, 2001, I awoke excited. I was buying my new car that day, a ten-year-old Volvo, all black with leather seats and an aftermarket spoiler I couldn’t wait to remove.

I’d spent the previous months backing out on the concept of college after graduating high school because 18-year-old me placed an irrationally heavy emphasis (100% sexual) on having a car in college. Having totaled my Dad’s Volvo by exiting a freeway without the aid of an offramp (that’s paraphrased from the police report), my days consisted not of learning to smoke weed or appreciate the Dead in Santa Cruz, but two jobs: repairing golf clubs and stringing tennis rackets for chump change, and hustling golfers on courses and putting greens for significantly more. 8 months after becoming car-less, I’d made enough (half the actual amount, thanks to a loan from my parents and a tap-in birdie worth $760) to buy another.

I popped out of bed, too excited to shower. I flew out of my parents’ door and walked up 29th Street to my bus stop, ducking into my childhood McDonald’s because I had a few extra minutes as a result of not showering. I grabbed a #1 (Egg McMuffin, hash browns, OJ) and waited for the #7 on Pico. As I sat on a bench near 30th, a homeless man covered in excrement (or an extraordinarily done excrement-esque pattern) approached me. This wasn’t your typical Santa Monica homeless man, the “sleeping under a freeway, drunk or high at 9 AM on a Tuesday” variety– but more along the lines of the “tragically aware doomsday homeless man”; the only thing he lacked was an apocalyptic proclamation of my godlessness on sandwich boards.

“Gimme that Egg McMuffin and I’ll blow you mind!” he shouted, marching over.

And just like any other Tuesday morning (or Friday night, or Sunday afternoon), I dismissed him as if by instinct. “Look, if I give this excrement-covered hobo with a promise of blowing my mind my Egg McMuffin, I’ll have to give every excrement-covered hobo with a promise of blowing my mind an Egg McMuffin,” I thought to myself.

So, I didn’t. He stopped, turned, and stormed off in the other direction. “G’fuckyaself, man, they just blew up New York!” was all I could make out.

I didn’t make much of it at the time, sitting by myself on that bench, waiting for my bus, eating my breakfast. When my bus arrived, it wasn’t particularly full, nor was it particularly loud; certainly not tense, let alone somber or devastated. Mind you, this was 2001, “olden times” during which we still used our voices to call each other, dated people we’d initially met in person, read the news on actual paper. I finished my McMuffin on the bus, suddenly felt guilty about that excrement-covered homeless guy, and left my hash browns in the bag on my seat when I got off.

When I stepped into the shop, I had no idea I was entering one of the most common scenes across America that day: co-workers standing still as gravestones, hands glued to their backs of their necks like stock brokers in a recession still years away, necks craned upward to a developing loop of the most terrifying, ominous, awesome visuals I’d ever seen.

I’d end up buying the Volvo a week later than planned, but by then it had become a formality, not a coronation. Much like the rest of the country, I judged everyone a little more closely that day. Not on a racial or ethnic or socioeconomic basis, just anyone who came in to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on golf clubs and hit free balls into a net while lower Manhattan disintegrated.

Them, and excrement-covered hobos with a promise of blowing my mind.

 

McNever Forget

 

If you don’t follow Mike on Twitter, the terrorists win.

Double Day

Lay awake in bed from 3AM till 7AM and you finally say whatever screw it and start the day. No aid or detriment of drugs to blame here just biochemistry, mental over stimulation, Circadian rhythms — what a mystery.  Morning smells like morning where you are and everywhere it’ll smell this way.  Good.  Crisp cool and you always feel like you want a hoody.  It feels like it just rained.
There’s a printout on the kitchen table saying our gas will be cut off on September 15th due to a $1,446.41 outstanding bill.  You have lived here for not even one month and the bill is made out to someone not you nor your roommates nor anyone you’ve ever heard of so you ignore it because its still August for two more days and you need milk.

Run across to the Bodega.

“Morning.” people say to you.

“Morning.” you say in return.

Affirmations passed back and forth.  Yes, it is morning.  That’s right.  Say it out loud and convince yourself.

You suppress the urge to say it’s been morning for over seven hours and the cheery folk are just showing up for the nice parts.  Insomniac jealousy, that.

In the bodega the radio plays a station you’ve never tuned into and you remind yourself you’re awake by hearing it now.  Oh yeah.  Things are going on as if everything fit a definition of normal.  The radio is still a real thing.  People still use it, for real.  Its another reminder like one of those of tearaway day calendars, little disposables to mark the uniqueness of an otherwise pedestrian occurrence.

Something about the word quotidian.

There’s a sort of stomach ache that comes with not getting sleep.  Another symptom of insomnia like how caffeine only helps you maintain function rather than boost it, yawning with your mouth wide open and not noticing, itchy eyes, keep stretching limbs.

But that sun can make up for it.  The stillness of pre-8am.  It’s like your skimming everything as you move through it.

You get back to the kitchen and make breakfast and there’s left over grease and seasoning in the pan but no paper towels so u get added flavor.  The sunny side up eggs look like a Dali painting and its gonna be a weird day.

You finish breakfast and you shower you go outside your eyes aren’t sagging too hard yet, non wrinkled clothes, nothings caught up and won’t for a bit still and you just gotta make it to around 6pm to reset your schedule so until then you gotta stay awake, you gotta try and pretend it’s just another day, and now you’re privy to smiles and nods of solidarity:

“Morning.”

“Morning.”

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®
(Archived on August 30th, 2012 – 127 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn NY 11211)

The Dos and Don’ts of America

A handy dandy list for living in the greatest country on Earth.

– DO marry a 16-year-old if you’re 50.
– DON’T marry a consenting adult of your same gender.

– DO separate church and state.
– DON’T actually separate church and state.

– DO drink alcohol and throw a table through the window.
– DON’T smoke marijuana and sit at home laughing at the wall.

– DO share your teen pregnancy on national television.
– DON’T provide children with proper sex education.

– DO vote.
– DON’T worry, it doesn’t always count.

– DO buy food from a Walmart Supercenter.
– DON’T ask what’s in it or where it came from.

– DO cut social programs that help struggling families.
– DON’T tax the wealthy! They’ve got more boats to buy.

– DO hire foreigners for a low wage then kick them out for being aliens.
– DON’T allow foreigners to legally immigrate to our country and pay taxes.

– DO bring your machine gun to the mall!
– DON’T discuss gun control in the White House; it’s not the right day, OK?

The Falling Man

The Falling Man–So much happened so fast.                                In the midst of the atomic age, JFK challenged the nation to put a man on the moon, and within a decade, the space program did. The moon landing inspired a Cold War generation to pursue science and engineering in the name of innovation.  Kids who watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon grew up to launch satellites, create the internet and build the International Space Station.  It’s 50 years since JFK, and even as we retire the Space Shuttle program alongside its memories and triumphs, our curiosity [1] is still wild enough to take us to Mars.It’s the Age of Terror and double-dip recessions now.  Everyone wants to know exactly where our money is going, and why.  What else can we do?Just eleven years after we watched one suited man fall to Earth [2], a global team of experts sponsored by an international corporation [3] put a new man in the sky.  Up.  Way up.This man [4] was wearing a suit, too — a new suit — one that caused him panic attacks and claustrophobia in the years leading up to his historic fall.This man was all alone.In his ear was the voice of an older generation.

“All right, step up on the exterior step. Start the cameras. And our guardian angel will take care of you now.”(Previous record holder Joe Kittinger, now 84, a retired Air Force colonel)

The man in the suit stood on a small platform facing outward, suspended at the foothills of the heavens.  He could see the curvature of the Earth and the continents unsullied by borders.  He stood between the blue glow ocean and the sheer void of space.  He stood there in silence.Nature thwarted one previous attempt.  Another, skipped because of panicked behavior.  [5] But this time, the man stood alone, above the Earth, while back at home we watched from indoors, behind locked doors.  Many of us watched through glass screens, some listened through headphones.  Some people held their breath with hand over mouth and some of us were all by ourselves.The man said something.  It was garbled and incomprehensible, but he said it.  Then, the man in the suit jumped and fell towards the Earth.We all fell.For minutes, we sat silent, the foreign commentary muted, and listened to his breath accelerate as our hearts did the same.

“There was concern early in the dive that Baumgartner was in trouble. He was supposed to get himself into a delta position – head down, arms swept back – as soon as possible after leaving his capsule. But the video showed him tumbling over and over.”  (Jonathan Amos, BBC)

The most dangerous part of his fall was the spin — too much can disorient a person, or worse, force them to lose consciousness.  But the man in the suit couldn’t feel the wind so he had to calm his nerves and think logically, which way am I spinning, how can I counteract this, focus, adjust.The man plummeted for minutes until he re-entered thicker atmosphere, deployed a parachute, and his fall turned into flight, and then a soar, and then a glide.We couldn’t see his smile beneath his substantial headgear.  We waited until he had his feet on the ground, his suit off, for him to tell us what he had said up there before he jumped:  [6]

“I know the whole world is watching, and I wish the whole world could see what I see. Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are.”  (-Felix Baumgartner)

The action itself spoke loud enough to break the sound barrier. [7] It was a testament to the human will and proof of our kerosene blood.  Instead of asking ourselves what we can’t do, we’re shifted to ask ourselves what we will do.  And if there is a fight with fear we will win it.We will jump from space, just because. [8]This time, we made it.Times have changed.–Footnotes:[1] “I want to send a robot to the moon with a camera and I need a few billion dollars” is a hard sell no matter which political climate you’re pitching it in.[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Falling_Man[3] Red Bull did a good thing here.  The good-natured press they generate is the type of advertising money can’t buy.  Good attracts good.  Stratos is an example of having cake while also being able to eat cake.[4] Felix Baumgartner sounds like a cat name.[5] “At one point in 2010, rather than take an endurance test in it, he went to an airport and fled the United States. With the help of a sports psychologist and other specialists, he learned techniques for dealing with the claustrophobia.” (NYT 8/15/12)[6] Dude, imagine if he just… died.  It would have been a genuine tragedy.  We would never have known what he said, Red Bull stock would have taken a steep dive, and the groundhog would see his shadow and declare six more years of terror.  But  that was never going to happen and Red Bull invested heavily – they bet their equivalent of the economy on success.[7] Actions speak louder than words blah blah overcrowded volume of news commentary uh-huh whatever — the sound barrier thing is poetic to me because our parents may say what they will about the quality, but our generation’s tunes are undoubtedly the loudest.[8] “Engineers considered aborting the mission when Mr. Baumgartner’s faceplate began fogging during the ascent, but he insisted on proceeding and made plans for doing the jump blind.”  (NYT 8/15/12) … Man, he would have done it blind.


Additional Sources:

http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0903-SEP_FALLINGMAN#ixzz29RXZENJrhttp://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/americas/article3567921.ecehttp://www.stuff.co.nz/world/videos/7817432/Felix-Baumgartners-record-setting-leaphttp://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0903-SEP_FALLINGMANhttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/us/felix-baumgartner-skydiving.html?_r=0]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19943590The Falling Man, a photograph by Richard Drew for the Associated Press

Can’t Hardly Wait

It was Saturday night going on Sunday and the streets of Williamsburg were crackling with rain and laughter.  I was in a fourth floor apartment by myself watching the second half of Can’t Hardly Wait on HBO.  I recently turned 27 and this is how things are now [1].

For people of similar age, Can’t Hardly Wait was making the rounds on HBO/Showtime when we were just entering high school.  I think there’s a cycle to these things so each group of 12-16 year olds gets access to a pseudo-guide before beginning/defining their own trajectory — and, later, this new group will become the old group and pass on their own pseudo-guide.  Dazed and Confused.  Fast Times.  American Pie.  Breakfast Club.  As a youngster, you see these stories and characters as frameworks or almanacs.  As veterans, you see them as splintered pieces of your experience.

In Can’t Hardly Wait, I of course identified with Preston (Ethan Embry) — an excellent iteration of the goodhearted, shy, idealistic main character in these things.  Believing in Romance, big ‘R’, is pretty impossible to do out loud at any age, and rarely harder than when in high school.  Wit, no matter how layered, often goes unnoticed  by everyone but the wit-user themselves (Aman…duh!) and a quasi-supernatural belief in songs and Pop Tarts as real-life omens is a tough cross to bear even if you are attending a religiously-based high school.  So when Preston affably showed his shyness, his reticence, his delusionary pursuit, and ultimate action… he sold it.  I bought it.  I found justifications or hope or whatever.  I doubt I’m the only one [2].  He’s a great main character.

The thing is, on a plot level (I’m assuming you remember it and I am spoiling it here), if Amanda doesn’t show up at that train station at the end, Preston is still going to be fine.  We know that because of his spiffy red coat, his Vonnegut workshop, and his smiling goodbye with Denise Fleming (…is a tampon).  And we know because Preston, well, he actually tried [3] for what he wanted, and while he failed miserably it was for reasons largely out of his control.  He still learned something and we, the audience, believe, as Preston does, that he’s learned and grown from the previous night.

When Amanda does come to the train station, but begins to walk away — Preston could still be fine leaving, too.  What makes him a superb main character is that he acts on what we all know, demonstrates how he’s learned from his mistakes — he chases after her and defies fate’s ‘one chance’ (as proclaimed by the Angel from Will and Grace in Act 2).

I channeled Preston all of high school and most of my first year of college.  I was not tough enough to be Mike Dexter, not nerdy enough to be William, nor confused enough to be Seth Green.  But now at 27 and firmly out of education’s social clusters, I retrospectively identify with the whole lot.  Because while high school movies are often themed upon the unfairness of labels, and the need for their dissolution (while simultaneously playing into them), the good high school movies are about identity, coming to terms with our own, and how that illusory word — identity — spills outside of the containers we’ve set aside for it.

And from more of a theatrical perspective, the thing is, everyone in Can’t Hardly Wait is confronted with change, and as the plot resolves itself, a certain reward and justice system is apparent [4].  For someone seeking parables from his fictional narratives, damn, that was a lot to think about at age 14 and it’s a lot to think about now.

In the interim 14 years since Can’t Hardly Wait‘s release, I have been (1) the egotistically-blinded and misguided Mike Dexter, (2) the goofy, peripheral watermelon obsessed Jason Segal (“Preston?  He wears t-shirts… sometimes.”), (3) the identity-crisis-stricken Seth Green, (4) the regretful and confused burn out Jerry O’Connell/Trip McNeely, (5) the far-too-serious lead singer of Luvburger, or (6) even the memory-obsessed Melissa Joan Hart.  These labels are cultivated on screen not because such purely stereotypical one dimensional characters exist, but because they’re the seeds  in all of our psyches at various points in the years to come post-graduation… or something.

In high school and always it can seem impossible to wait for things — but if we continue to place any faith in our elders and their films and stories (as we have before and I think all still yearn to), then we believe in a warm and forgiving justice at work, and we believe as well in the chance for radically transformative life events [5] which could be waiting behind a Barry Manilow song, a stripper angel, a Pop Tart, a teen movie on HBO, and it’s up to us to take it from there.

Shakespeare once said basically we’re all actors in a 1990’s teen comedy and if we want to win the object of our desire (and our audience) we need to be open to that, we need to wait for it until the moment comes when we absolutely shouldn’t wait at all.  That’s high school.  That’s Romance.  That’s it.

Footnotes:

[1] Writer’s block.  New town.  The ennui of whatever.  Earlier in the week, I’d heard a 50 year old man on guitar sing about “desperately trying to hold on to what [he] believes,” and I have heard that line a hundred different ways but I always assumed it was about shielding beliefs from outside attack… until I aged and realized it’s a battle with your new self versus old just as much or more so.

[2] Trivia:  Mark Hoppus wrote my favorite song on Enema of the State — “Going Away to College” — after seeing Can’t Hardly Wait.

[3] To fulfill any technophobic quotient or criteria I’ve created for myself, consider the impossibility of this movie’s plot if smartphones/social media are introduced, not even considering such devices’ identity scrambling properties, so please go ahead and try not to weep and feel old.

[4] In what might-but-not-for-sure be the first case of me using the phrase ‘exception that proves the rule’ correctly, note that in the movie Mike Dexter makes a noble sacrifice to William, the nerd, in the end, and seems redeemed, but the final scenes reveal he does not change at all, and the text epilogue seals his fate with this in mind.

[5] Writer-Director Deborah Kaplan’s movie prior to Can’t Hardly Wait was A Very Brady Sequel.  Big step up, right?

The Disturbing Yacht Story

Twenty-two miles off the coast of Southern California lays a hidden gem in America: Catalina Island. Technically it’s part of California, but anyone who’s ever experienced it will tell you otherwise. Known for its big city, Avalon, most people overlook the quaint island village of Two Harbors. It has only one restaurant, one bar, and one general store, all of which are run by residents who work for dormitory accommodations. It makes a profit mainly during summer from its campgrounds and visiting yachts. Every June, a group of 20-40 of my college friends will camp there for a weekend of sports, hikes, barbecues, swimming, drinking games, and public debauchery (there is no law in Catalina for drinking in public, which is why I don’t consider it California).

After a couple hours of drinking games, accompanied with a few shots, our group had taken over the bar. The only downfall of Two Harbors is the quality of women. Very rarely will you come across a solid 8 between the ages of 21-35. Because there are so few acceptable targets, girls who are actually 5s seem like 9s–like Double A pitchers at a little league game. If I were an ugly chick, I’d move to a low-populated place like this, snag a guy way hotter than me, get married in a haystack or something, then move back to the mainland and start a family. Beats competing with all the other California bimbos who get spray tans, “mani-pedis,” and dress better than I do.

So as a result of such a poor selection, we are usually stuck going after high school chicks or 45-year-old divorcees–and only after we’re severely drunk. Since I’m not into jail or being chased around by an angry dad with a knife, I stick to the older women.

I recognized her immediately. Her blonde curly hair, giant jugs, and huge dancing smile brought me right back to a year ago when I unknowingly made out with her in the wake of Hilliard’s sexcapade with her in a nearby field–while her husband tried to watch or something. I didn’t get all the details. She had apparently told Hilliard she was in her fifties, which meant she was 59, easily making her the oldest woman anyone I know had ever boned.

I had already struck out with the two lone 20-year-olds at the bar, so I made the pre-walk-of-shame over to the big-breasted grandma. This is what sucks about being a horny sleazeball like me. Most single guys would look at this geriatric beast, become disgusted, and throw in the hook-up towel. But I’m not like most guys; if there’s any opportunity for island sex with someone remotely attractive, I’ll jump on it like a hobo to a freshly stocked restaurant dumpster.

I approached her on the dance floor. “So do you remember last year when we had sex on the field?” I’m not sure why I took this angle; it was probably my instinct telling me that it gave me the highest chance of success. Deep down I had faith in Hilliard’s sex abilities, and I sensed she wouldn’t be able to discern that I wasn’t Hilliard (we did both have dark hair, how could she tell the difference?).

“Yes. That was you?” she faked.

I smiled. “Yep.”

“Wow. That was a hot night. Do you remember throwing me against the bathroom door and pounding me?”

Uh What? “Yeah, it was so good.”

She looked me up and down. “Dance with me.”

I soon learned that her name was Georgia, and she was there with her husband, but he “didn’t mind.” After five minutes of talking while pathetically dancing to Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” she led me over to a table where a balding dude with white hair was sitting. “Jerry, this is Dave.” (I thought about telling her my name was Hilliard, but there was no way she’d remember.)

I shook his hand.

Georgia turned to me. “Okay, so we need to drop our friends off at their yacht, then Jerry and I will pick you up. Sound good?”

“Sure. You know where to find me.”

I gave it about a 75% chance she’d return, so I spent whatever time I had left partying with friends and downing two more drinks and a shot. I had to be royally drunk to enjoy what lay ahead. A couple of my friends saw what was developing and didn’t even try to talk me out of it; they knew I was a goner.

Georgia returned half an hour later just as I finished a monster piss. She apparently knew people at the bar and didn’t want anyone to know she was leaving with me, so she told me to follow her out thirty seconds behind her.

When I walked out, I saw her silhouette standing at the base of the dock.

“Hurry up!” she yelled and walked down the dock.

I followed her to a side branch of the dock where all the dinghies were. Sitting in one of them was her husband Jerry.

“Our yacht is in another harbor two miles away. It’s like a 15 minute ride,” she told me.

“Cool. Let’s go.”

Before I continue, let me assess what I was getting myself into, since obviously I didn’t then. I was boarding a fucking dinghy with a 60-year-old lady and her even older husband at one in the morning to go to their yacht, which was God knows where. And I was supposedly going to have sex with this woman with her knowing husband chilling somewhere on the boat. While it’s true I’ve had some very bad luck with hook-ups in my lifetime, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I asked for this.

“Just step right here,” Jerry directed me.

I stupidly almost tumbled into the ocean but smartly fell face first into the dinghy instead, blocking my fall with my forearms like Lieutenant Dan.

“You okay?”

I grunted and sat on the end pad at the nose of the dinghy. “Yeah.”

Georgia got in and sat next to me while Jerry sat in the driver’s chair directly across from us.

Not even a minute out, Georgia started making out with me while Jerry nonchalantly focused on driving (I think). Then Georgia started fiddling with her shirt and bra until her giant fake tits were out in the cold ocean air. I sucked on them immediately. Moments later, with the dinghy bouncing wildly at max speed, she unzipped my shorts and fished my dick out.

It was rather dark, so I couldn’t really make out the expression on Jerry’s face, but I could have sworn he was smiling while his wife bobbed me up. This was already getting too weird, but I let her continue at it because she clearly knew her way around a penis.

When we arrived at their yacht, I realized I had no idea where the fuck we were. Their boat was a solid 500 feet away from land, and way the hell to the left of the actual harbor–where half a dozen yachts sat, none of which had any lights on.

Georgia saw me analyze the situation and explained, “We like to be far from the other boats…so we can make all the noise we want.” I acknowledged her and walked inside.

The hallway was narrow, and every room I peeked into was littered with laundry and crap. “Our room’s at the end of the hall. I’ll be there in a sec.”

I laid in bed for a minute or so in the dark room when Georgia walked in completely naked, crawled onto the bed like a saber tooth tiger, unzipped my pants, and started blowing me again. Jerry, thankfully, was nowhere in sight.

Five minutes into the blowjob, Jerry walked in naked! With Georgia’s ass exposed at the end of the bed, Jerry began to work his dick in. According to my friends, the moment Jerry’s dick touched vagina, it was officially a threesome. Figures that I’ve blown threesomes with two 18-year-old hotties, then another with two horny Aussies, but the one threesome I’m successful at is with a 60-year-old woman and her fucking husband.

I was hard before Jerry walked in, but now I was distracted and losing my wood by the second. Jerry, by the way, was awful at sex. His thrusts were so slow you’d think he was on the moon or something.

After two minutes of threesome hell, Jerry pulled out like a snail and laid down next to us! He lay on his side and propped his head on his hand, like he was posing for Playgirl. I couldn’t do this anymore.

I grabbed my softee dick out of Georgia’s mouth, made it off-limits, then turned my head away from Jerry. “I can’t do this,” I muttered.

Mid-sentence it seemed, Jerry got up and walked out.

“Okay, he’s gone. Now I want you to fuck me,” Georgia demanded.

“Are you kidding me? His dick was just inside you. I can’t do it now.”

She ignored me, got on top, and tried thrusting my dick inside of her. I wiggled away. “No.”

Frustrated, she started blowing me again. My eyes kept venturing toward the door, expecting grimy-ass Jerry to make another entrance. Before long, I was hard again and horny enough. I put on a condom and started plowing.

After a couple minutes of Georgia riding me, I felt a wet sensation at the base of my dick. Had she squirted? She was way too old to muster up such juices; there was no way. To make sure, I started pumping her hard and fast, and sure enough, she gushed a healthy stream onto my stomach. Wow, talk about an outlier. Though it smelled uriney, it was still awesome, so I induced several more gushes until my stomach was drenched in her gross juices.

Suddenly I saw movement near the door. I darted my eyes there to see Jerry’s head duck back behind the wall. What a sicko! Georgia continued to ride me. Then suddenly she yelped.

“What happened?”

“Nothing. I just bumped my head. I’m fine.”

We switched to doggy, thus giving me a better view of the doorway to make sure Jerry wasn’t George McFlying us. Every fifteen seconds or so, I’d glance at the door. On my third perusal, Jerry was back! This time he was stroking his cock! He immediately ducked away, but I know what I saw. I shortened my glance intervals to every ten seconds. And like a hungry pigeon lurking around a barbecue, Jerry was there every time, only to franticly scram the moment I looked back.

After catching him for an eighth time, I was no longer hard. This was too weird. I gave up on sex and lay there in defeat until Georgia decided to finish me off with a blowjob.

As we lay in bed, light from a circle window shined momentarily on Georgia. The entire right side of her face was coated in blood. The blood had streamed down to her tits even. This was bad.

“Holy shit. You’re bleeding,” I told her.

“I know. I bumped my head. Is it bad?”

“Uh. Yeah, go check it out.”

She got up and wobbled to the bathroom. Moments later, I heard her cry out, “Jerry!”

I had the bed to myself for a solid ten minutes, during which time I tried to sleep, but just as I was dozing off, a cleaned-up Georgia crawled back into bed and had this awful piece of news: “Jerry has to sleep with us.”

I was wide-awake again. “What!? Noooo!”

“He has to. Don’t worry. I’ll sleep in the middle.”

Oh My God. A minute later Jerry walked back in, still naked, and slipped under the covers on the other side of Georgia. This was rock bottom. All I wanted to do now was get the HELL out of here. I thought of my options, and seriously considered jumping ship and swimming the 500 feet to shore in my clothes to make the two-mile mountainous hike home in the dark. I could make it.

I didn’t do it. Instead I curled up into the fetal position on my side of the bed and whimpered myself to sleep like a broke bitch.

I woke up a couple times in the middle of the night, remembered where I was, realized I was soberer, and felt a pang of fear. I had to will myself into being drunk again just so I could fall back asleep. Morning eventually came, and I woke to Georgia giving me a handjob. Jerry was still laying next to her. She then tried to blow me, but I pushed her back down. “Not with him right there,” I whispered. Obviously deaf to her ears, a couple minutes later she tried riding me. I pushed her back down.

Suddenly Jerry got out of bed and walked out. Georgia followed him, then walked back in. “Okay, he left. So now we can play.” She got on top of me. With daylight seeping into the room, I noticed a bloodied Band-Aid on her temple.

“I need to get back to my campsite.”

“We’ll take you back, but I want you to fuck me again.”

I had no desire for any sort of sexual activities for at least two weeks after what happened last night, but I suppose I had to pay my dues to get out of there. “Okay, warm me up,” I said, and pointed to my dick. She took the hint and began blowing me. We robotically fucked after that. Not surprisingly, I caught Jerry peeking in three times. I never blew my load.

After taking two minutes to find one of my damn shoes, I got dressed and walked out to the deck. Incredibly, Jerry was fully clothed. He grinned at me as if we were old buddies. “Do you have to get back?”

“Yeah. Got a lot to do today.”

“Where are you staying?”

“The campsites.” I took my phone out.

Then out of nowhere: “Did you get any good pictures last night?”

What the fuck? I quickly glanced up at Jerry. “Not really.”

Georgia walked out in an oversized sweatshirt. “Okay, we all set?”

“Yep,” I said immediately.

We all took our same spots in the dinghy–Jerry driving, Georgia and I sitting across from him. With the dinghy bucking boisterously, Georgia began asking all sorts of questions about where I lived, worked, blah blah blah. Unfortunately, they lived like ten minutes away from me, which prompted Georgia to suggest we “do this again sometime.” I falsely agreed with her and changed the subject to her kids, who were apparently older than I am.

In what seemed like seven hours, we finally docked back at Two Harbors. I thanked them for the ride, shook no one’s hand, and power-walked back to the campsite. I needed a shower.

 

On a serious note, this might very well be the most disturbing night of my life, up there with the “It Can Happen to You” night. The decision to get on that dinghy and go through with what I did is not something I’m proud of. Jerry could have held me at gunpoint and told me the only way I was getting off that boat was if I sucked him off…or worse. Or I could have drunkenly gone through with my jump-ship-hike plan, and died of exhaustion somewhere on a mountain. I like to think I’m a man who stays out of shitty situations. But when you reenact fucked up stories from Penthouse Letters, things change.

I still recommend Catalina Island to everyone who hasn’t been, just be careful of those yachts, especially the dark ones in the secret harbors. Bad things happen there.