Recent Work By Daniel Nester


In the spring of 1989, I registered for a class called “Melville and Pynchon.” We were assigned two novels: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow. The professor paired these books up, as far as I could tell, for their unreadability.

…being an account of the author and wife’s pursuit of a child, subjoined with discourses on teaching, pornography, and “irritable reaching after fact & reason.”

Each month for the better part of 2006, I go into the fertility clinic’s collection room to donate sperm. And each week, I read the sign on the door states that the room is available on a “first come, first serve” basis. I find this hilarious and share with the nurses in the specimen room. The nurses do not laugh.

They take their sperm collection very seriously at Albany fertility clinics.

As I enter the room, a computer desk sits with a laminated sign taped against the monitor. Something about closing whichever porn site you are on whenever you’re finished. A 12-inch TV with collection of outdated VHS porno tapes sits in a stack. It reminds me of my college living room.

I tell Dr. Ramullah that whoever coordinates the pornography purchases in the collection room needs to change their subscriptions.

“What do you mean?” he asks.

“You’ve got a subscription to a suite of fetish sites, like Spank That Black Ass, We Like ’Em Hairy, and Girl-Peeing.net,” I say. My wife looks on, her cheeks reddening slightly. She’s less offended than she usually is when I openly talk about my preferences in pornography. “You really should just subscribe to your standard PornStarNetwork.com or Vivid.com. I doubt your clientele wants to view clips from EroticPunishment.com while they donate sperm.”

“That’s very helpful,” Dr. Ramullah says. He seems earnest when he says this, not creeped out at all. I help him spell out “PeterNorth.com” on his notepad. “I’ll tell the nurses.”

Copyright ©2009 by Daniel Nester from How to Be Inappropriate.  Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint.

…in which he asks the same questions ‘Teen Magazine’ asked actor and heartthrob Zac Efron in December 2005; find the original interview here.

Age: 41

Sign: Pisces

Birthplace: Portsmouth, VA

You may know me because:

I emailed you to ask you about mooning.

My house is:

In the suburbs, but pretty big.

The first thing I do every morning is:

Look for glasses, then coffee, then the New York Times. Oh, and then my children. And wife.

About my pets:

Two cats, Lux and Nadine, inherited by marriage. They don’t like me and I don’t like them. Someday they will be dead. In the meantime, I feed them and pick up their droppings.

I exercise:

On elliptical machines that never go anywhere, and always seem to have reruns of Monk on the TV.

Lately I’ve been surprised by:

The career of high-profile attorney Gloria Allred.

The cereals in my cupboard are:

Grains that go with rice milk. It’s my most progressive meal of the day.

Heaven on earth is:


The Spotty Dog Books & Ale in Hudson, NY

Dove and Hudson Old Books in Albany, NY

The warm lap of poet-bartender Shafer Hall

For dinner, I like to make:

A phone call to a place that delivers.

I’ll eat sushi:

If it’s in New York. In Albany, not so much.

My coolest article of clothing:

It’s my glasses these days: Basic horn-rimmeds from Selima Optique or Butch Spectaculars from Fabulous Fanny’s.

My most prized possession:

A Burns Brian May Red Special replica guitar.  And a mint copy of the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks on 8-track.

My TV screen is:

…in need of an upgrade.

My favorite TV channel is:

The DVR playback channel, where episodes of Nash Bridges and CSI: Miami wait patiently to be viewed.

My first financial splurge:

A pimped-out stereo in my Honda Fit.  Totally unnecessary.

Wackiest fan encounter:

An actor who I had seen on the previous evening’s Law & Order who stopped me on Second Avenue to tell me he really liked the leaving New York essay (“Goodbye to All Them,” which appears here and is in How to Be Inappropriate.) I asked him to repeat his line from the episode.  He played a doorman. He paused to get back into character and said something like the following: “I dunno, officer. Last time I saw him leave the building he looked angry and had a lot of luggage.”

Before I die, I want to:

Finally convince my friend Chris Connelly that Neil Diamond has contributed more to Western Civilization than Neil Young.

Celebrity whom I’d ask for an autograph:

Cindy Sherman.

Dream car:

A red 1965 Mustang convertible.

When I fly I have to have [Original Zac Efron answer here]:

Rocket boots! Otherwise I always seem to fall….

People would be surprised that I:

Am just like you.

Book I’m reading:

Philosophical Dictionary by this French guy Voltaire.

Magazines I subscribe to:

The Believer, Dwell, Details, International Male, Poets & Writers, Harper’s, Kenyon Review, New Yorker, New York, McSweeney’s, Mojo, Pank, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue.

Favorite cartoon:

Looney Tunes.

The DVD release I was most excited about was:

Queen + Paul Rodgers Super Live in Japan.

I can’t start my day without:

Coffee (see above).

If I had to spend $10 at my favorite fast-food joint, I’d order:

Burger King all the way.