I was at a bar down the street from Skylight Books when Salvador Plascencia, Eli Horowitz, and Josh Bearman walked in. At the time, I was a lowly writer, the least significant personage of a West Side contingent led by 826LA's Pilar Perez. The three men walked into the bar and I couldn't see their faces for the glare of the sun reflecting off a hummus plate. The first thing I noticed about Eli was his glow-in-the-dark skull ring. I've only met one other man who wears that kind of ring.
Everyone knows that Tuesday is the day the new music comes out, and for my parents, June 4th, 1984 was the last great Tuesday of them all.
They had never been so ecstatic about a music purchase before, at least not since “The Big Chill” soundtrack was released, and that was a dogpile of re-packaged boomer nostalgia – this time, it was new music. After a giddy round-trip in the Dodge Omni to the Target in Cottage Grove, the plastic wrap was sheared from the LP sleeve, the album reverentially placed on the old Akai turntable, and the needle dropped on “Born In The U.S.A.,” the first track from the Bruce Springsteen album of the same name.
When I was a little kid, I saw no good reason to go outside.
There are often plenty of reasons to stay indoors in Minnesota, but even during those perfect summer days that once made hordes of naïve and hardy Scandinavians consider the Upper Midwest an ideal place for permanent settlement, I remained in my room. My own mom, the granddaughter of a Swede and a Norwegian, would lean her stout body into my doorway and ask out of amazement, “Why don’t you want to go outside? It’s PERFECT out!”
Dear vermiform appendix,
It pains me to write this. But at least now I can write. For a while, there was too much pain to do anything besides curl up in a ball and drool like a sad walrus on an unloved beach. Now, with some space between us, I can finally share my side of the story, and with an obvious debt to Alanis Morissette, there are some things, dear appendix, that you oughta know.
The Friday night before Halloween, at a party in Echo Park, I helped a friend of mine open her twist-off Full Sail Pale Ale. It was the most useful I’d felt in weeks.
Later that weekend, as I was boiling water again, to make Annie’s Mac and Cheese again, it hit me that I am a royal pain in the ass to the whole world. Every grim, toiling generation of my Czech and Swedish ancestors, with all of their useful labor and survival skills, has resulted in a guy who pretty much can't do anything with his hands.