Last week I gifted porn star Ashlynn Brooke a wire potato masher she had listed on her Amazon.com Wish List. She ought to have gotten it by now. Most porn stars keep Wish Lists on Amazon.com in hopes that fans will buy them gifts. Most of the items on their Wish Lists are expensive and indulgent. Some of the porn stars will return the favor by mailing gift-givers an autographed glossy or a Polaroid photograph of themselves using the gift.
And while I can very easily imagine Ashlynn Brooke mashing boiled potatoes, milk, and butter in a glass bowl—pornographic films tend to involve some mundane daily activity that eventually curtails into equally mundane sexual activities—I cannot imagine her eating mashed potatoes. I cannot imagine any porn star sitting down at a dinner table and eating mashed potatoes. But I’m pretty sure it happens.
I was going to publish a piece about porn star Amazon.com Wish Lists. That’s my job, I guess, to bullshit about mundane bullshit.
I compiled several porn star Wish Lists for your reading pleasure. Formatting the piece was not fun. I somehow successfully added safe-for-work photographs of each porn star I referenced: Gianna Michaels, Shyla Stylez, Lisa Ann, Eva Angelina, Faye Reagan, Ashlynn Brooke, Alexis Texas, Sara Jay, Phoenix Marie, Kayden Kross, Penny Flame, Bobbi Starr, Claire Dames, Kylie Ireland, and Sara Stone, respectively. All the contemporary greats of the business.
The article looked pretty good and was ready to go. Very little of me in it. I thought it would be funny and informative. Porn stars put some comical things on their Wish Lists. Roomba robotic vacuums. Cuckoo clocks. Cases of Red Bull. Bondage tape. Bruise cream. Scuba diving equipment. Collapsible cupcake stackers. Cat nip. L.A. Lakers dog jerseys. Amy Hempel’s Dog of the Marriage: Stories.
It’s hard to wrap your head around porn stars being people too.
I ended up deleting the article. Thursday of last week—as Amazon.com was processing my potato-masher-for-a-porn-star order—someone very important to me got admitted to a mental hospital.
While I’m not as geographically near to this person as I’d like to be, this incident still rattled me to the core. I’m still processing it. I was not shocked when I heard about it; moreover, I felt relief. And fear. I spent Thursday afternoon, and the following weekend, doing not much of anything.
I wasn’t depressed or angry. I just needed some solace and stillness and healthy nothing-doing.
I had no desire to read or write or watch television. I didn’t care much about eating or working out or listening to music. I mostly paced around and stared at the floor and sat at the edge of my bed and thought all I could about this person. I considered all the thoughts about him I had let solidify and collect dust. I didn’t think anything twice. Real change was occurring. I was feeling closure about a great deal for the first time in a very long time.
I went ahead and deleted my Twitter account. I deleted my Tumblr page. I cleaned out my Gmail inbox, took several websites out of my bookmark cachet, and returned all my library books. I emptied all the trash bins in my apartment and cleaned the litter box.
I thought I might never grow my hair out ever again. I thought about sifting through my closet and whittling my clothes down to a week’s worth of shirts and pants. I thought about taking big risks and getting serious and starting to plan my life out. I took my dog for a long walk and tried to be patient with him for once.
I considered deleting every thing I had ever posted on this website. Every article and comment. I thought about undoing all I had done—all the marks, smears, and bruises I’d left—and the thought gave me a rush of peace. I wanted nothing but to look forward.
It sure is nice to have the ability to keep up with the whole world at breakneck speed, but it would also be equally nice not to have to bother with it anymore.
Does anyone know what I mean?
Correction: I returned all my library books this weekend save for one. The following excerpt, which has been taken from the introduction to the John Cheever interview in The Paris Review Interviews, Volume III, the one book I did not return, resonated deeply with me:
Cheever has a reputation for being a difficult interviewee. He does not pay attention to reviews, never rereads his books or stories once published, and is often vague about their details. He dislikes talking about his work (especially into “one of those machines”) because he prefers not to look where he has been, but where he’s going.
I suspect that, by now, the wire potato masher has already arrived in the Oklahoma City home of Ashlynn Brooke. I wonder if she even lives there most of the year. Most porn stars live in Southern California, don’t they?
Maybe my potato masher is leaning against Ashlynn’s doorstep, up against other packages of similar importance. Maybe she’s got a P.O. box. I haven’t the foggiest idea.
I wonder what will happen once Ashlynn gets it. Maybe she’s already got a wire potato masher. If so, will she toss the one I gave her—a gift from a complete stranger—into the trash bin? A trash bin that perhaps another total stranger gifted her? After all, Gianna Michaels has a touchless infrared motion sensor trash can ($91.78) currently on her Amazon.com Wish List. You never know.
If indeed Ashlynn doesn’t have a wire potato masher, and keeps the one I gifted her, will she snap a Polaroid of herself, autograph it, and mail it to me?
If so, Ashlynn, please understand that I don’t want a nude photo or anything like that. I’m not opposed, but it’s hardly the time for it. Plenty of that on the internet already. Instead, how about a nice snapshot of you, fully clothed, mashing away joyously at a bowl full of steaming potatoes, in the comfort of your own Oklahoman home?
I could really use it right now.