In order of inception and abandamnation:

I.

This one was about this time I went to the beach. (I don’t go to the beach very often.) I was dating this girl, she lived down in Hermosa. Hermosa is like, down by… the water.

One time I was down there and I woke up in the morning. She’d gone off to work for the day. I went outside and found some coffee. Then I went down to the beach.

There were surfers surfing and I went out on the pier. There were lots of guys fishing. I stood at the end and stared off into the water. (I do this a lot, because I’m dreamy.)

Then there was this really weird thing that happened. There was this guy with a boombox and it was playing The Doors. It was playing the song “The End.” It was playing “The End” and I was standing at the end of the pier. At the time I noticed it was playing “The End,” I was thinking about my life and how so much of it had gone so very wrong, and there were all these people that were gone and all these things that had happened and now were over, and how my life seemed pretty much, well, over, and then there was this song going on about how this was the end, my beautiful friend, and, well, I felt bad.

So that was a post about how I felt bad. But I didn’t post it because I didn’t want people to think that I was suicidal or anything and be all, oh Ben, there’s no reason to be suicidal! There’s so much to live for and etc.! So I didn’t post that. Which is fine.

II.

There was this one time that I played pinball. I don’t really remember why I didn’t post that. I went to a bowling alley and played pinball and there was this kid who wanted to play too, and I was like, oh jeez, now I have to play pinball with this little kid and he’s gonna suck and is gonna talk a lot and be a pain in the ass, but actually he was pretty cool and didn’t talk overly much and actually wasn’t bad at pinball! So that was a relief, and also he told me some interesting facts about the X-box (sp?) which I have since forgotten.

III.

This was a post about my Mom and the time my cat died. But nobody wants to read about that. My cat was twenty. Twenty! That’s pretty old for a cat. Her name was Tessie. I’d gone back to visit my parents for Christmas and my parents met me at the airport and they were both crying. Tessie is dying, my mom said. So we drove home and there was Tessie dying on the kitchen floor. She was lying on the rug sort of under this counter-type thing where it was warm. She was soaking wet and shaking and I lay there with her all night until she died. Then in the morning my mom and I dug a hole in the garden and buried her. I forgot to close her eyes and when we put her in the hole some dirt fell down into her open eye and I have never forgiven myself for letting that happen. But who wants to read about that. Not me. Also for months I worried that some dog or bear or something was going to dig her up and eat her. I had covered her grave with about eighty pounds of the biggest rocks I could find on my parents’ property so that wouldn’t happen, but still I worried about it. It turned out to be okay, though, nobody dug her up. And now when I go home her grave is covered with all these vines and flowers that my mom planted, so that’s nice. You can see it from the kitchen window when you use the sink.

IV.

This was some thing about some girl. There was some other guy and she lived in some other country and it was unpleasant. Don’t get involved in long distance relationships, was the point of that story, but everybody knows that so what’s the point in talking about it? No point, exactly. Moving on.

V.

This was a post about the air quality in Los Angeles. I have no idea why I would ever write such a thing. I think my thesis was that the air quality was bad. I have always been a daring thinker.

VI.

This was a post about all the people who write for The Nervous Breakdown. It was cleverly done by rapidly transitioning between the various styles and preoccupations of the different writers without ever of course saying who they were. This would have been fun because everyone likes to see themselves portrayed in the world. But on the other hand I am naturally satirical so it would have gotten me lynched. I eventually deleted it from my hard drive so in case I accidentally was murdered by someone it would not come to light like Kafka’s posthumous works and get me hated in the nonexistent afterlife that happens on this planet when you’re dead. No, I will not tell you how I made fun of you.

VII.

This was a post about the sky and all the things I have seen in it. There was a shooting star I saw one time at Point Dume which was quite meaningful to me. I was sitting on this boulder at about three in the morning and I said, Hey God, if you exist, give me a sign, and immediately– immediately!– this shooting star came blazing across the sky, directly overhead, I swear to God. And when it was gone, I sat there for a while, and then finally I said, but really, God, if you exist, give me just one more sign. And nothing happened.

But I didn’t post that because, well, I don’t know. Still a little unclear on that whole God thing.

Oh shit, getting paranoid and anxious. Moving on.

VIII.

This was a post about The Melvins and how and why they are the greatest band on the planet. Not sure how and why how and why are different. Anyway, nobody wants to read about the Melvins, except maybe Milo, and Megan Nico DiLullo, and even if they did, it’s really hard to write about music. You find yourself talking like an asshole, like one of those horrible people who like wine and want to tell you about its fucking bouquet or whatever. So I didn’t write that post. But the Melvins really are the best band on the planet, and if you don’t believe me you deserve everything you get in my opinion.

IX.

This was a post about the concept of midnight. It sounded like a great idea but it turned out that I didn’t have much to say on the subject. I contrasted it with the idea of noon and I think assayed a clever comparison involving the idea of mirror worlds. I think I was high when I tried to write that, which is weird because I haven’t smoked pot in about nine years because it makes me psychotic. But I have heard that THC lives in your fatty tissue and is released sometimes at inopportune moments like when you are trying to write posts for The Nervous Breakdown. So that’s probably what happened.

X.

This was a post about my favorite CDs. Like, those few CDs that I seriously could not live without. I own about 800 CDs and I did some serious soul-searching and discovered that all but 17 were essentially disposable. I tried to write little things (very descriptive term) about each of them but came up against ye olde Melvins music problem. This CD is meaty with a peppermint-apple aftertaste. I will say that the CDs were: Herbie Hancock’s Sextant, Waylon Jennings’ Dreaming My Dreams, Les Paul and Mary Ford’s How High the Moon, Slayer’s South of Heaven, The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Harnoncourt’s recording of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, Arvo Part’s Alina, the complete recordings of Charley Patton, the Takacs Quartet’s recording of Bartok’s String Quartets, the Beastie Boys’ Paul’s Boutique, the Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Are You Experienced?, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, and this CD of chanting monks which is Dufay but I don’t remember which Dufay, music for St. James the something. Also I was hesitating on whether or not to include the Neutral Milk Hotel and Marilyn Manson’s Mechanical Animals. I knew Duke would be pissed at me if I included Manson but on the other hand I figured Duke would be pissed anyway cuz of all the other ones. Then I got a little pissed at myself because I was worried about whether or not Duke would be pissed, not that I don’t like Duke and value his opinion, just that, you know, I’m old enough now that I think I shouldn’t worry about being cool in front of the cool kids only apparently I still do. Also of course every Melvins album ever recorded should be on there but I was strict with myself and narrowed it down to The Maggot and Houdini. It was hard. Oh, and Patsy Cline!!! Greatest Motherfucking Hits, people!!! Recognize!!!!

XI.

This was a post about the headaches I’ve been having lately but I didn’t want to hear a bunch of stuff about how I should see a doctor and whatnot. Also I haven’t really been having headaches lately and I couldn’t figure out why I’d want to write an elaborate post about something that just wasn’t true at all. I don’t think I’ve gotten a headache in about nine years. Which is coincidentally about as long as it’s been since I smoked pot. Interesting, no? I think so. Actually I don’t. Who cares.

XII.

This was a post about all the posts that I was going to write but didn’t. I figured there should be twelve of them because twelve is a dozen and lots of tasty foods come in sizes of a dozen. But then I couldn’t think of a dozen posts that I hadn’t written so I had to make the last one up. Then I felt like I had cheated but I didn’t want to erase the last one because somehow it was my favorite. I didn’t really know how to end it though, so I am still writing it. Someday maybe I will finish and post it and then you will be able to read it. In the meantime I hope you are all doing well. I’m sorry for not lampooning you publicly. It was nothing personal, I assure you. I’m lying in bed now. Infinite Jest is beside me but I haven’t read it yet because my life is (apparently) of finite duration. Also I am wearing socks and other clothes and the iPod clock radio thing is playing Patsy Cline as it should. Did you know that Willie Nelson wrote the song “Crazy?” A lot of people don’t know that, I say, having absolutely no idea what people do or do not know. Also probably most people don’t give a shit anyway. Or even know who Patsy Cline is. It’s frightening to think that we live in a world where people don’t know who Patsy Cline is, or Slayer. I mean, it’s okay if you live in Africa or whatever, but not if you live here, in America, the right place. If you live here you have to know these things. On the other hand I hear people talking about someone named Lady Gaga or some shit and I have no idea who that is so maybe I shouldn’t talk. But I have a hard time believing that Lady Gaga is anywhere close to Patsy Cline’s league so whatever, fuck the world. I sound very grumpy, don’t I? But I’m really not. It’s probably just these headaches I’ve been having.

<3
Ben

P.S. I’m really very handsome.

TAGS: , , , , , , , ,

BEN LOORY's fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, on This American Life, at Word Theatre, and on Selected Shorts. His book Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, 2011) was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

132 responses to “Posts That I Have Abandoned, and Why”

  1. D.R. Haney says:

    You are going to receive a comment any second now, Ben. Just give me time to stop being pissed at you.

    • Ben Loory says:

      I’M SO SORRY, DUKE!!!

      by the way i’m almost done with this book about the dick van dyke show.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        My Laura Petrie crush continues for as long as I have access to Hulu, which could end any second now, seeing that I wrote a phony check to Time-Warner, and it’s not looking like I’m going to be able to get the funds in the bank to cover it. Anyway, once the check bounces and I’m left without Internet access, my Laura Petrie crush could stop, as could, or will, much else.

        Now, about being pissed at you: I never was; I just said that to be ‘funny, or “funny.” Do you see how I used quotation marks of both the English and American sort around the word “funny” (‘funny’)? Well, that’s the way that cool writers write now. There’s a whole slew of them, in case you haven’t noticed, and they all write identically, and I think we need to start imitating them, especially in a case like your statement at the end of section VII:

        Oh shit, getting paranoid and anxious.

        Now, you’re doing very well there, because today’s cutting-edge writers often remark on feelings of anxiety and that sort of thing. However, they punctuate such remarks thusly:

        Oh shit, getting ‘paranoid’ and ‘anxious.’

        You see how easy that was? I’m only telling this so you can be as ‘up-to-date’ as possible. And with that out of the way, I can continue.

        There’s one Marilyn Manson song I like, and I can’t think of the name of it, but the video featured Christ getting crucified or something like that. Do you know the one I mean? Also, I love Master of Reality, and I love Are You Experienced? (the title track is, hands down, my favorite song by Hendrix), and I love Les Paul and Mary Ford, though I prefer Ill Communication to Paul’s Boutique and Sgt. Pepper to Abbey Road, though it took me a long, long time to come around to Sgt. Pepper.

        Also, I buried a stray cat who used to live part of the time at my place and part of the time at my neighbor Julia’s in the garden in the back of our building, but I think I was more worried about our landlords exhuming the body and doing something unspeakable to it than I was about dogs. Our landlords are monsters, though technically they’re now my landlords, since Julia no longer lives in the building.

        I may yet post a variation on the post you had in mind for section I, if I ever can once my Internet access is terminated, which will really give me a reason to post a variation on the post you had in mind for section I, as if I don’t have plenty of reasons already.

        This comment is long because I’m attempting to emotionally blackmail you into telling me how you intended to parody me.

        • Ben Loory says:

          master of reality, wow, i would never have suspected. ill communication, either. i woulda seen you more as a check your head kinda guy. i’m not sure what marilyn manson video or song that is… i am bad with videos because i never see them. although i often watch the video for “the dope show” on youtube because i love it when he wanders around with those fake boobs and all, so i’m lying. also i watch this amazing concert video of sabbath playing war pigs which was done in paris before paranoid was even recorded. it’s amazing. AMAZING. i’m sure you’ve already seen it. incidentally, i learned the other day that the album paranoid was originally called war pigs and that the cover art was done with that in mind and that’s why there’s that ridiculous guy in pink with a sword on the cover– he’s a war pig! all this time i’ve been like, that guy doesn’t look paranoid at all! just really, really stupid! but then they decided that paranoid was going to be a hit song so they titled the album that and were too lazy (stoned) to redo the cover. interesting, very interesting. now the only question is, who’s that guy with all the sticks on his back on led zep IV?

          if your internet gets turned off you can come over here and steal wireless from my neighbor like i do. or you could just write another book!

        • Greg Olear says:

          The guy with the sticks on LZ IV is a rendering of The Hermit tarot card.

        • Ben Loory says:

          oh, right! i knew that! at one time.

          it sucks when you realize you’re not only dumber than everyone else, but dumber than your own self as well. i gotta say.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          I always wondered about the pink guy, though I never wondered hard. And I can see why you’d think I’d be more a Check Your Head guy, since that was their supposed return to their punk roots, and it has that Glen E. Friedman photo on the cover and everything.

          I’ll alert you if I need to steal wireless. Could happen any minute now. Plus I seem to have ruined my cell phone a little while by sprinkling a little water on it. Call me Job.

        • Ben Loory says:

          it just occurred to me how perfect it is that Job and job are homonyms. synonyms? Houyhnhnms? whatever.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Ah! I know the name of the song now! “Disposable Teens”! That bitch ROCKS!

        • Ben Loory says:

          ah, the song from blair witch 2! a good one!

          yeah, that twiggy can write some riffs.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I will always have a fondness for Manson based on three things:

          1. Just how much I love some of those hugely chunky riffs that his tracks are based around. Doll Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zag, the aforementioned Disposable Teens, Rock is Dead, etc, etc.

          2. How can I not love a guy who puts the portmanteaus together that he does? (nice work on abandamnation, by the way, Ben). Scabaret sacrilegends? Nice. Even his damn name is a portmanteau.

          3. I love that someone is out there playing the role of provocateur, even if familiarity has dampened his impact a little – and he does it so very well, too. The theatricality of the guy, even if it may have been done earlier (Alice Cooper, Screamin’ Jay, etc.) is a wonderful thing to see.

        • Ben Loory says:

          1. yes. but that’s twiggy! twiggy! he does that! (mostly.)

          2. my favorite: phenobarbiedoll. i mean, come on. that’s brilliant.

          3. yes. which i why i love it when he wanders around with the fake boobs.

          manson’s on the list! fuck duke and his music-nazi role in my brain!

        • Ben Loory says:

          oh god, now i feel horrible. pizza for duke!

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Expect a call in ten minutes.

          Oh, and Simon, don’t you think MM has kind of had it? He hasn’t been shocking since the Columbine era.

        • Ben Loory says:

          columbine killed him. i think all those lunatics telling him he was responsible for it made him feel like he needed to be responsible for things, like making terrible music, which he promptly did. but everything before columbine was aces, imo. and by everything, i mean mechanical animals and nothing else.

          it’s been ten minutes.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I think Jane’s Addiction had it right with the idea that nothing’s shocking. Manson made a big splash originally, sure, but familiarity breeding contempt, and all that.

          I liked what he was trying to do with The Golden Age of GrotesqueHoly Wood in the Shadow of Death (is that what that thing’s called? Disposable Teens may be from that album, I think) came up. And the reviewer at the time said ‘Hey, at least he tries.

          And good for him. He also interviews very well, which is something I like to see in my musicians.

        • Ben Loory says:

          yes, he interviews beautifully, it’s true. and he has such pretty eye!

        • I am a closet Marilyn Manson lover.

        • Ben Loory says:

          i suddenly feel a great tenderness towards you.

  2. Ducky Wilson says:

    Yes, NMH should have been included. And so should Stoner Witch.

    I have a dance teacher who doesn’t know The Beatles. (I like the White Album.)

    I’m glad you didn’t make fun of us.

    • Ben Loory says:

      oh, ducky. you like the melvins. i love you.

      and yes, nmh should probably be on the list. the only problem is, i always find the second half of the album a pretty big drop-off after the first. which is understandable; it’s hard to follow king of carrot flowers and aeroplane ots… but still, i often just hit stop and start again.

      stoner witch is great, of course. i once went to see the melvins play up in santa barbara and you could hear their soundcheck from outside on the street clear as day. they played roadbull three times in a row all the way through. it made me very happy. that and the ice cream.

  3. Irene Zion says:

    Ben,
    I want to hear all of these posts in their entirety, except maybe the one about pollution.

    (Would you please e mail me what you would have said about me? I think I could probably learn some things from it that would be helpful. I also think I’d rather they didn’t appear here, but in my private e mail.)

  4. Greg Olear says:

    I love this post, Ben. It’s almost better that you didn’t write all those other ones, because the way this is done is well suited to your style.

    And I’ve totally wanted to write something in the style of all the TNB writers! That’s been in the back of my head for ages!

    But how would it be done? I thought maybe summing up a novel in their voice or something:

    #1. Gatsby is a rich guy, but grew up poor. Not a pot to piss in. Broke. Parents were tradesmen. Hard working. Blue collar. His real name was Gatz. He thought Gatsby was cooler. He thought it was more impressive. More mysterious. So he changed it. To impress a girl. Daisy. Daisy Buchanan. Now the wife of a rich bigot. A rich bigot with a mistress in the city. Who Daisy ends up running over with Gatsby’s car. Ironic.

    #2. In a decidedly feckless and craven attempt to lure Daisy Buchanan to his own East Egg manse — which I’ve always imagined as one of the old mansions on Sunset, long torn down, where once the silent film stars whiled away their time and money at bridge, not unlike the gorgeous old house in Sunset Blvd., probably my favorite Wilder film, which is also the house at the end of Rebel Without a Cause, which, while superb, pales in comparison to some of Dean’s other work, notably Giant, or so I remarked to Dean’s brother Kevin when I met him one day at the Silver Lake Lounge of all places — Gatsby throws ever more lavish parties, where gather the creme-de-la-creme of Long Island and beyond.

    #3. Gatsby shows Daisy his shirts. She says they smell like “money,” but they never say what “money” means, if it’s something used to pay for the parties where “fun” can be had. Nor are we told if they were purchased at American Apparel. I don’t know much more about this “classic” even thought it’s in the “canon,” because it was written before I was born in 1998. This makes me feel uncomfortable and sad.

    #4. Everybody thinks Gatsby is all that, but not me. You know who I like? Nick Carroway. Because he’s gay. And probably a vegan, although they never say so. (They also don’t say if he’s a midget, but I don’t think that’s something that needs to be explicitly stated. And I always felt that Nick was tall). That always happens to me. Jordan Baker is also cute.

    #5. Gatsby dead in the swimming pool — but what does death mean exactly? He’s still a collection of atoms, of molecules, of quarks and smaller particles. Energy doesn’t die, it merely alters form. So, if I’m doing my physics right, he’s not really dead, just in a different state of consciousness. Which raises the broader question: what is consciousness? For this, we should read our Julian Jaynes. Or just ask Uche.

    • Ben Loory says:

      B
      D
      T or one of his shadows
      L
      R? or S? i didn’t know anyone was into jaynes around here but you and me. very exciting.

      these are good. tough, actually. pretty subtle. although i don’t think L sounds very much like L. i can’t really picture her giving enough of a shit about gatsby to write about it anyway. i more picture her throwing it at a passing guy on a bike.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        I can’t see her throwing a book at a guy on a bike. I can, however, see her yelling “Fuck you!” at someone in traffic. In fact, I witness it every time I go anywhere with her.

        As for “subtle” — um, right, dude. But I hope my own parody is based more on my commentary and conversational style than it is on the posts, or pieces, or what you will. I see, however, that I must never mention in the future having met celebrities or their relatives, at least not in the way I have in the past. I’ve been schooled as was Rusty Crowe, allegedly, when he saw himself parodied on South Park.

    • Richard Cox says:

      Awesome awesome awesome, Greg. I’m thinking # 5 is S, mainly for the Jaynes comment.

      #2 is smooth genius.

    • Becky says:

      Greg, this makes my day. You make my day often. Thank you thank you.

  5. Richard Cox says:

    This was a post I really liked. I can’t decide if we should call them ‘posts’ or ‘pieces’ but everyone seems to agree the term ‘blog’ is beneath us. I think maybe it doesn’t matter a whole lot, as long as the ‘posts’ are good. This one is. I have at various times written pieces about music and the sky and a girl. I have chosen not to post those for different reasons, not the least of which is the fear that people would find my music tastes lacking. I wish I had thought of this idea first, but I didn’t. You did.

    Two kudos to you.

  6. Quenby Moone says:

    I know who Patsy Cline is.

    Air quality is not a subject for the faint of heart.

    I saw God in the desert with two friends, staring into the sky. We all saw God. Why? Because the letters G-O-D formed out of clouds. At least he speaks English.

    I also wrote about my cat dying. I, like you, have concluded that no-one wants to read about that. You’re right on that front. But I wrote it anyway, and no-one has read it, so you saved yourself a lot of time by abandoning it.

    PS: You really are very handsome. At least the back of your head is.

    • Ben Loory says:

      the back of my head is my best feature. that and my lack of social skills.

      i want to read about your cat dying. i mean, i don’t, but i’m perfectly willing.

      of course god speaks english. he’s american!

  7. I actually started getting into the cat and the God/shooting star pieces (especially on the paranoid and anxious line of the latter), but almost certainly they’re great because of the other hilarious lost threads around them. Also, I figured it was only a matter of time before someone posted a parody of the other writers here. At least it’s always my initial impulse to begin by making fun of others in most given situations, at which point I have to get a hold of myself. In summation, there goes my air quality piece.

  8. Matt says:

    I totally want to read a post of you getting high and writing satires of all the TNB contributors while listening to the Melvins.

    I’ve got a file saved to my hard drive that consists entirely of bits and pieces of writing excised from failed/abandoned projects…including a few euthanized TNB posts. Been working on a TNB post about that, actually…..

  9. Stefan Kiesbye says:

    Oh, I love to hear about abandoned projects or unposted posts. In that form, they are all there and somehow way more beautiful than any writing could ever be. And this is not meant as a slight or something. But somehow thhese things keep their mysteries, which a truly told story cannot do.

    • Ben Loory says:

      i agree with you entirely, and so i’m sure would borges. and when you’re on the side with borges, you pretty much win. and winning is what it’s all about. happy tuesday, stefan!

  10. Ben Loory.

    I saw Slayer and Marilyn Manson, TOGETHER.

    It was good, but it didn’t make any sense to me.

    I find it hard to believe you haven’t abandoned any posts about High on Fire.

    • Ben Loory says:

      baby, if i wrote a post about high on fire, you better believe i’d finish it. and post it. TWICE.

      i saw slayer and manson together too. and i agree, it didn’t make any sense. in fact, i walked out on marilyn manson. which was weird, because i went specifically to see him. man, it’s hard to follow slayer. it’s like following open-heart surgery.

      i just remembered, i wrote a post all about jesus lizard and following them up and down the east coast on their tour. once again, the music description problem. which was especially problematic when you’re trying to write a post about seeing a band play 8 shows in 9 days. pretty much all containing the same songs, in the same order.

      on the other hand i had an excellent cupcake at the 9:30 club in washington, d.c. i coulda talked about that cupcake for hours. oh, hungry.

  11. Zara Potts says:

    Ben,
    You are dreamy.
    And this post made me laugh so much. It also made me cry.

    • Ben Loory says:

      yeah, it did those things to me, too. in fact, i didn’t proofread the part about the cat because i couldn’t bear to face it again.

      i hope there were no typos in that part.

      thanks, zara.

  12. Nice! I have a subfolder in my TNB folder that is labeled ‘essay purgatory.’

  13. Becky says:

    “You find yourself talking like an asshole, like one of those horrible people who like wine and want to tell you about its fucking bouquet or whatever.”

    Haaaaa…Writing about music has got to be the worst, most crippling, regret-filled pursuit in the world. It is for me, anyway.

    I’d kill myself if I had to write about music all the time. Or maybe someone else would kill me because I’d just keep writing the same 5 articles over and over about the same 5 artists and then I’d get particularly overwhelmed by live rendition of SP’s “Today,” and get on my computer and try to tell the world that Billy Corgan is Jesus Christ.

    For the 10th time that day.

    I’d be an obsessive lunatic music reviewer who only actually listens to 5 different albums. “Let me tell you again about the time I listened to CCR’s greatest hits for the 500,000th time. That was a good one.”

    • Ben Loory says:

      “That was a good one.”

      pretty much sums it up.

      i always seem to use the word “awesome.” also, “amazing.” and, “AMAZING!!!!”

      this, because i’m highly educated.

      • Becky says:

        I should also add that I know (or think I know) exactly, in every way, everything you are talking about. (Except about the Melvins and some of your music choices, because I don’t know who half those people are.)

        But most especially, I think I understand the parts about looking into the future of a given piece of writing and not liking what future me will see and think about present me when she looks at all the stupid things she said and potentially all the things that other people have said and said they thought and oh my God what a disaster. Third person me is very impatient and at any given time would like more than anything to kick 1st person me’s ass. 1st person me is VERY intimidated.

        So writing is often derailed preemptively. The 1st and 3rd person me somehow overcome their difference in space-time and start talking. And 3rd person me is very scolding: “There is no way to write this that will ever make it as important to anyone else as it is to you, 1st person. Stop being stupid. This is a waste of time.”

        So I go to the couch and eat tostitos and turn on History International for background noise as I play Sims. For some reason, 3rd person me doesn’t consider this a waste of time.

        At risk of sounding like your groupie, I think we may be creative doppelgangers. Or maybe everyone is this way. Maybe we could all write each other’s writing, as suggested above. That way, 3rd person us could unleash all hostile criticism at someone other than 1st person us, and 1st person us wouldn’t have to be afraid and a whole lot more would get done.

        Did this make any sense at all? Here comes 3rd person me. She looks angry.

        • Ben Loory says:

          3rd person me is more bored than angry. but yes, i think we’re doing the same kind of time.

          i’ve never really gotten into tostidos too heavily. i will have to investigate.

          oh, the history channel… a dangerous thing… tell winston churchill i said hi.

          and it’s funny, but i always want to spell groupie, “groopie.” i know it’s wrong, but part of me doesn’t wanna be right.

        • Becky says:

          You want it to say “gropie.” That’s why.

        • Ben Loory says:

          i feel like a fishbowl and you can see my fish.

        • Becky says:

          Do not mock me, sir!

          I’ll use my telepathy to make you write a review James Taylor’s “Autumn Leaves” or whatever the hell it’s called.

          Sniffin’ the mighty loverman J.T.’s bouquet.

          haha. gross.

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I can see your fish.

        • Becky says:

          I just laughed at my own joke. And it wasn’t even funny.

        • Ben Loory says:

          i don’t know, i thought it was pretty funny.

          it was the word mighty that made it work.

          no one can see my fish. my fish are invisible. you can only see their poops in the water.

        • Becky says:

          HE called himself that. In one of his attempts at blues.

          The mighty loverman J.T.

          His words, not mine.

          But it is true that I like him. I also like Neil Diamond and Elvis. You know, sue me.

          Invisible fish, my foot. I see your fish.

          And raise you two crabs.

        • Ben Loory says:

          oh my. that is funny, then.

          but i like him, too. always have. and neil diamond. and elvis. especially elvis. especially fat old elvis, in his last days, coming out and playing gospel tunes on the piano in broad daylight at outdoor shows for middle-aged people. i really love fat old elvis. once you stripped everything away from him you could really hear what he was all about. and i think he was beautiful.

          neil diamond, well, he’s just kind of a doof. and who doesn’t love a doof! if not the world.

        • Becky says:

          Didn’t I randomly decide that you were Jewish recently? Neil is your tribesmate.

          YES old Elvis. With the gospel songs. One of my favorite live shows ever was an overweight Elvis impersonator because I believed that was what it must have really been like.

          Not that there are many young Elvis impersonators. I wonder why that is?

          Anyway, Elvis was odd. And he started to own it when he got old, like most truly odd people do.

          I like him and I don’t care what anyone says.

        • Ben Loory says:

          my theory is that people young enough to impersonate young elvis probably have less important things to do with their time.

          i didn’t know neil diamond was jewish. i am always bad at those things. i only noticed tiger woods was part asian when the internet told me a few weeks ago after he started bangin’ every white chick in the vicinity of the past. now he looks positively chinese. it’s weird.

        • Becky says:

          With Tiger, it’s all in the eyes.

          With Neil, well, I think he has been called “The Jewish Elvis.”

          Which strikes me as funny in any number of ways, not the least of which was his deft handling of all kinds of gospel tunes.

          Way to diversify, Neil.

        • Ben Loory says:

          well shit, you gotta fit in, or they fuckin’ crucify you.

        • Becky says:

          Yuk yuk yuk.

          Perfect, yet awful.

        • Ben Loory says:

          ain’t it the tooth.

        • Becky says:

          I can’t make a response shorter than that. I’m screwing everything up.

        • Ben Loory says:

          no worries. it’s been a long day. i’m gonna curl up on the couch with some tostidos and watch hitchcock’s rebecca a few times.

        • Becky says:

          Does that mean I’m dead to you?

        • Ben Loory says:

          not dead, just sleeping. i will carry you with me in my heart.

        • Becky says:

          Or in your head. That goes without saying. We established that.

  14. Simon Smithson says:

    You know how over the course of a weekend, or a trip, or a holiday, or whatever, certain phrases gain currency and become the catchphrase of the occasion?

    A hiking trip a few years back with some friends yielded up ‘That’s how a lynching gets started’ for the four of us. I believe it came about because of the awful, awful, awful meal we got served in the local cafe. One of us was going to complain, and someone else (Luke, I believe), said ‘Dude, that’s how a lynching gets started.’

    I believe you could dodge that lynching, Ben.

    • Ben Loory says:

      i don’t know, man… you’ve already proven you can catch me.

      btw, the other day i was in a vintage hat store (long story) when i saw in a little glass case: prince albert in a can! and suddenly i understood EVERYTHING!!!

      except why that was in a vintage hat store.

  15. Angela Tung says:

    the post about your cat dying is so sad, especially the image of your mom and dad crying. dads crying always make me cry.

    i’m not sure what my style is. maybe, “hey, i’m chinese!” and “oh yeah, i dated some assholes.”

    the number twelve is also significant because there are 12 years on the chinese zodiac (see the chinese thing again), and people’s important birthdays are in cycles of 12.

  16. Angela Tung says:

    ben, i just did some research.

    since the chinese zodiac is in a cycle of 12, if you were born the year of the tiger, this year you’ll turn 12, 24, 36, etc., some multiple of 12. on your benming nian, or the year that you’ve come a full cycle on the zodiac, you’re supposed to be more unlucky and susceptible to evil spirits and whatnot. to protect yourself, you’re advised to wear red underwear all year long (which i’m looking forward to telling my boyfriend since he was born the year of the tiger).

    the most important birthday in chinese culture is 60. because there are five elements in each of the 12 animal years, this means you’ve made it through all five elements of all 12 animal years.

    i hope that makes some sense, even if it’s all superstition.

    • Ben Loory says:

      i don’t believe in superstition, angela tung! everything you can think of is true!

      man… i’m scared now in retrospect about year 36. how did i manage to muddle on through? probably the red underwear i’ve been wearing every day since march 11, 1975.

      • Don Mitchell says:

        Hang on until 60, Ben.

        Then not only can you do the Chinese important birthday thing, you can have Japanese “kanreki,” and wear a red hood and vest, signifying that you’re entering your second childhood.

        By that measure I’m about to be 7. Time for first grade!

        • Ben Loory says:

          don, i’m hanging on as best i can, i swear to god!!!! although i’m a little concerned that they won’t let me into the second childhood club if i’m still in the first when i get there…

          and first grade isn’t bad, i wouldn’t worry too much. it’s eighth that’s the killer! no more nap time.

  17. Marni Grossman says:

    “I think my thesis was that the air quality was bad. I have always been a daring thinker.”

    Deeply, deeply hilarious.

    But you should know better, I think, than to assume that we’d all tell you a) there’s so much to live for! and b) that you should go see a doctor. I mean, have you met us?

  18. […] BEN LOORY leaving his post(s) […]

  19. Erika Rae says:

    I giggled the whole way through this. I’m so glad you didn’t post these. It would have been disastrous. Also, I’m glad you didn’t post the satirical bit on the writers here because I probably wouldn’t have made the list and would have been deeply hurt. hm. Now that sounded a bit probing and desperate, didn’t it? Scratch that. At any rate, very funny stuff. Can’t wait to meet you in April.

  20. Rachel Pollon says:

    I, too, giggled all the way through this. I love when people expose their inner rambling thoughts/real life stories that are supposedly not worth posting about but sure are entertaining when posted in summary form/lists of favorite records of all time.
    I love Patsy and did know about Willie writing “Crazy.” That does seem like something anyone who likes Patsy or Willie would know.
    I need to bone up on The Melvins.

    Fun read — glad you posted!

  21. Gloria says:

    Abbey Road is one of the greatest albums ever. I couldn’t agree more.

    See also: Kind of Blue (Miles Davis)

    I’ve never heard The Melvins. I’m sorry. I’ll get right on that.

    I had to type Lady Gaga into Youtube last night just because I felt like there was some big secret that everyone else knew but me. I still don’t get it. Am I getting old?

    • Ben Loory says:

      i really don’t know who she is, so you’re asking the wrong person. (but yes, is the answer, you’re getting old.)

      yeah, kind of blue is pretty great. so are about seventeen other miles davis albums, and 13 thelonious monks and god knows how many coltranes, plus all those charlie parker collections and the django reinhardt and mingus and louis armstrong and jelly roll morton… it was weird to see how so many truly Great musicians just got kinda shrugged off by me when it came right down to it. it was sort of humbling, really. the fact that i was considering manson while leaving giant steps on the shelf… i mean, people (should) have been shot for less.

      • Gloria says:

        I LOVE Thelonious Monk. Second only to Davis.

        Seriously – Slayer stays and Kind of Blue goes? Hrm…

        • Ben Loory says:

          oh hell yeah. south of heaven is the most-played CD i have. it’s the very edge of life, as i see it. totally focused and flying apart all at once; sad and angry and resolved and hopeful. plus some of the best, most distinctive riffs of all time.

          of course, kind of blue’s pretty good too.

          there’s a great moment in straight no chaser (have you seen that?) where this reporter asks monk if he likes music other than jazz. he’s hardly paying attention– or acting so, at least (he seems to have made of point of always seeming distracted or partially insane)– and says simply “i like all kinds of music.” the reporter seems somewhat scandalized and says “even country and western? do you like country and western?” and he stops and looks at her and says “i said i like all kinds of music.” he’s so focused and meaning-filled at that moment, it’s really wonderful. rest of the movie’s a little hard to take sometimes as you can’t really make out what people are saying (least of all monk). but he sure is a marvel to hear play.

          he’s actually a little like slayer, to be honest. their riffs have a similar angularity. though his are of course much more playful.

  22. jmblaine says:

    Man I got a TNB graveyard too.

    Little scribbles never born.

    Waylon’s Dreaming my Dreams & Master of Reality?

    My friend
    my friend.

    Also I love playing pinball in bowling alleys
    at like 2 in the afternoon on a Tuesday.

    The one up in Madison has a Guns & Roses machine
    that’s really swank.

    • Ben Loory says:

      i’ve always been an addams family fan, myself. sometimes i dream i’m doing the mansion.

      waylon is amazing, isn’t he? you listen to him for three minutes and realize just how much of popular music is simply posturing. he’s so honest without being maudlin or, well, simply boring. and he’s so witty and such a great guitar player. i really think he’s about the best there is.

  23. […] …and other posts that never were. […]

  24. Rhiannon V. Williams says:

    Fuck Lady Gaga. (Not literally, you will probably end up with diseases.)

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