clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:




Florida and Georgia square off for the 91st (or 92nd, depending on who you ask) time this weekend, with the possibility of a somewhat salvaged season waiting for the winner and a misery that will be used to fuel "FIRE COACH" rumors all offseason for the loser. Who's got the advantage in this sadness-off? Let's have a breakdown!


The birthdays I had as a child never struck me as particularly unusual - the pirate theme one year, the ninja theme another. A few friends, a handful of presents, including a book or two from the friend with the mom who didn't think toys would do us any good. Some simple games. And, naturally, the birthday cake.

Mom made the cake every year, though as often as not the mix came from a box. Not that it offended a bunch of third graders, mind you. She'd sit me at the head of the kitchen table, flip out the lights, and then those halting, atonal strains of "Happy Birthday" would start. Then she'd reappear with the cake, candles all lit, and place it in front of me.

There's a picture of me when I'm two, maybe three years old, with one of those cakes. Mom's next to me, blowing out the candles for me.

She did that on every one of my birthdays, even when I was in high school. It wasn't until adulthood that it struck me how strange it was to have not blown out your own candles.


The weirdest thing about shoplifting that Quicken CD-ROM when I was 14? Having to lie to my parents about being "really interested in accounting."


Optimistic me thought it'd be cute. That we'd tell our kids about how, on our first date, Dad wrote Mom a check for her rent because her purse got stolen outside the restaurant and she was so upset and worried her landlord was going to evict her because he was always looking for an excuse. Dad thought he was being gallant. Dad trusted Mom.

Dad never saw Mom or the $900 he loaned her again.


Burnt marshmallows.

That's what I remember smelling that morning. Not toasted marshmallows, mind you. Burnt.

Looking back, the staff did a good job of evacuating us from the dormitory in an orderly fashion, especially considering how early it was for a bunch of college kids. It felt like the fire department had every truck in the county there, but most of the firefighters were just standing around, talking. Rumors rippled through the crowd - somebody said the fire in the laundry room was due to a miswired industrial dryer, somebody else said it was a prank gone wrong. (The eventual announcement from the university said it was simply a case of "inappropriate facilities usage.")

After an hour of standing around, I realized my roommate, Dave, hadn't been in his bed that morning. After another five minutes, I realized neither had his prized parakeets.

I decided to transfer at the end of the semester.


Lately, I've been fixated on one very specific concept. It's a little morbid, but not necessarily dark? If that makes sense?

Anyways. Start with the premise that there's only a finite amount of land on this planet. Now add to it the idea that most people die on land, with obvious exceptions for drowning and maritime murders and what have you. In developed nations, let's say most of those people die at home or in a hospital. Not all of them, though.

So now picture a giant map of the world, with tiny pins marking each spot on the globe where a person has expelled his or her last breath. Given enough time and people, we would eventually fill every space on that map, wouldn't we? An entire planet without a single square foot on it untouched by death.


So my uncle's been staying with me for the last - shoot, is it two months already? Ugh. That's on me, I guess. He got laid off from his job at the grocery store recently and said he didn't want to "put up with my mom's bullshit." Whatever that means.

He's been doing this thing where he keeps using the wrong vessel to eat or drink out of, and it's driving me crazy. Like, he'll pour half a can of Diet Coke into a coffee mug. Or he'll put ice cream onto a fucking plate. And I know it shouldn't bother me as much as it does, because it doesn't really matter, but I'm just so tired of feeling like nothing in my life makes any sense whatsoever.

Oh, and he eats apples in the shower. I know this because sometimes he leaves the core behind in the shampoo caddy.


Last night I had a dream that we lived in a world just like this one but without the concept of object permanence. And, at first, it was wonderful - everything felt new all the time, we had a greatly reduced collective sense of loss and decay, and people embraced an approach to life that was experiential rather than material.

But then it all turned sideways. We started constructing huge vaults to live in, where we could see everything we owned and never need to leave it behind. Personal interactions came to a near halt; the only people you saw other than those you lived with were the traveling salesmen, who'd dock their huge trucks to your vault so you could own even more things. It was like surviving in a fallout shelter, only the outside world wasn't irradiated.

It really screwed up the rental car industry, too.


I lied to my brother about why I missed his wedding.