Sunday, April 28, 2013

The best years of your life (or something...) (part 4)

What I'd tell myself back in 12th grade - the last of the series. (Part 1, part 2, and part 3 all here.)

-- College applications! Fun! But please, please, make sure to protect that application from Brown with your life. And if it gets kinda shredded in your backpack (and yes, it will), don't hesitate to call and ask for a second application. I doubt they'll hold it against you. It'd be a great school to go to, right? Your (up to now) first choice? Yeah. Go after it.

-- (added months later) Will you please promise me that you'll apply to at least one more college in the Northeast? Middlebury is pretty awesome. Bowdoin, Colby, and Amherst are, too. Besides, it's fucking gorgeous up there. You'll quite possibly love it more than...oh...oops. Better not say. Let's just say that you have a chance to alter your future right now...and quite possibly for the better.

-- Oh, God. I'm sorry about the Silver Skating Dame. She still is every bit as awesome as you know she is. But yeah, as great as she was, there's just that one little aspect of your life that got in the way. I will say it looked like (just between you and me), you were looking for an excuse to call the relationship off. Call it inspiration from James Dean and Route 66. Whatever. I know you can't be there for her the way she would really like.

-- FINALLY you're not doing speech. Good for you. It's not like you had enough on your plate before. Enjoy sleeping in on Saturdays, finally. (Oh, and same goes for not doing swim team.)

-- So Deep Springs called your bluff. Really, though, you did come across that well on paper. That essay on Woody Guthrie? Brilliant. Whoda thunk? Anyhow, get ready for one of the best...uh...four-day periods of your life. Seriously. I'd love to relive that trip over and over again.

-- Prednisone is EVIL. Don't do it like you did last year. Really. It will have some effects this time that will render All State Choir no fun at all. Cutting your vocal range in half is the least of it.

-- I know this will fall on deaf ears. But really, you shouldn't call your neighbors to see if you got the letter from Deep Springs. Trust me on this. Sit on it over the weekend. (and then...)

-- Man, I'm sorry about Deep Springs. I know how much you had your heart set on it. And yes, falling from that place to the land of Malt-O-Meal is quite a drop. Take it easy on yourself.

-- I know you're extremely anti-censorship. Me too. And I know you need to yell out the frustration you feel. But keep in mind that there's a fine line between expressing yourself and adding gasoline to the fire. You don't want to get so hung up on being so angry and all that it consumes you. In a nutshell: don't let your struggle become your identity. Then again...

-- Your anger. There's a great way to channel it. Hit the goddamned gym. Hit the free weights. None of this circuit crap. Chow down on some ginger while you're at it to boost your appetite. And don't worry about the big football jocks there who may be mocking you. You know where they started? Where you are right now. The good guys will respect you for working out. The assholes (and there are many fewer of them than the good guys) can just fuck off. So start off easy, and build up from there. And by "start off easy," I mean start off absurdly, insanely easy. But be consistent, and you'll see some awesome results.

-- The Metallica album? Get it. Just do. Good shit to listen to while you're lifting weights.

-- I just want to plant a seed here, amidst all the - honestly - misinformation and prejudice you're telling yourself, and absorbing from your dad. What I'm saying is coming from a struggling self-employed businessman, keep that in mind. "Business" really, truly, honestly is not a four-letter word. Neither are "responsibility" or "professionalism." And here's why. The majority of businesses out there started as dreams and ambitions and hopes. Lofty and worthy ones, often. And ideally, they remain so. Business is the nuts-and-bolts work of making that dream a reality. Responsibility is a commitment to making that dream a reality. And professionalism is the outward manifestation of making that dream a reality. If people call you professional, they're acknowledging your commitment. It's honestly a compliment. Those words do not comprise a straitjacket. And conversely, you do not need to wear a suit and tie, or even business casual to be professional.

-- So now that you're back on good terms with the Silver Skating Dame, be cool to her. You know how awesome she is. You do know why she's following you to college, right? It's not because she thought that the Lutheran land of cows, colleges and contentment was her ideal place. (You KNOW that she couldn't have picked a worse fit if she'd tried.) So hang out with her every once in a while, let her know you still care. She'll appreciate it more than you know.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pushing maximum density...

And the award for the bitchiest off-the-cuff remark of the day goes to...yours truly. Why?

Picture it. Sicily. 1917. (Okay, not really.) A suburban brunch spot in suburban Denver specializing in bacon and all its appurtenances. (Seriously...these guys have a bacon flight.) After food and many mimosas and bloody marys and plenty of laughs and sassy comments, someone points out to me that a mutual friend, who was also a closeted gay boy back in the day in high school, thought that I was quite a looker at the time. (No word on what he thinks now, but that's beside the point; he's partnered and quite happy where that's concerned.)

My immediate response? A mean side-eye and a caustic "Well, shows how much he knows."

Silence. Then plenty of "ooh! that's harsh!"-like comments.

So let's back up, shall we? Did I mean to slam him? No. Definitely not. But this comes from recognition that very few people in high school are good looking - or at least, as good looking as they would like. We're all adjusting to bodies that are suddenly shooting skyward and out...and often in pretty embarrassing ways, sometimes beyond our control. Or they aren't growing quite the way we were hoping they would. For my part, I was a pencil-necked stick figure, cursing my physique - or lack thereof. I had a hard time thinking that anyone would find me attractive. Particularly - years later - said guy, whom I found also kinda cute, in a beefy/nerdy kind of way.

It's an interesting conundrum. One of my best friends in college was a self-professed chubby girl who was also insanely brilliant, tremendously sensitive, and utterly punk-rock. I could always rely on her for some great ultra-leftie polemic or an update on her latest self-published fanzine called Anarchy Penguin. And she always called me her little pumpkin blossom or some other sweet nothing. But combine all of the above qualities, and man, you have one painfully self-conscious girl on your hands. She did not fare well in the dating scene. Such was her shame, she told me that even if the girl of her dreams showed up and found her equally as appealing, she would run away, because who in their right mind would even give her a second look? And my heart ached for her. But I got where she was coming from, so I couldn't stand on a pedestal and say "Why can't you just accept that others will love you for who you are...and if they're physically attractive to you, so much the better?" I could feel it, but it would be really disingenuous and hypocritical to say it.

(Years ago, the story seemed to have a happy ending. She began growing out of her "chubby" phase, mainly due to a job that was accessible by bike, so she rode all the time. She also found a guy who loved her for who she was. And I breathed a joyous sigh of relief. Haven't seen her since, though, which is a shame.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blog Posts I Have (Almost) Known

I have grand ambitions to make blog posts as fulfilling as I can, both for myself and for the reader. Sometimes they just don't reach muster, but at the same time, they also don't reach the waste bin. So they sit in purgatory, waiting for...I dunno...I guess a blog post like this. So, a small compendium of what you could have been reading instead of this, and why it never came to fruition. So damned meta it hurts.

1. A reflection on Copper Mountain, one of my favorite ski areas of all time.
Why not? Seemed too facile at the time, no real point to it. Yet for some reason, this post seemed much more important to me. Now I feel like I really should post it. Oh, and it included a mildly time-sensitive component to it. Probably innocuous now.

2. Why music from the '90s sucked.
Why not? I really couldn't get inspired. Basic point: Nirvana was awesome, but laid the groundwork for some truly hoarktastic music. Also, do we really need to reconfirm how awful Hootie & the Blowfish or the Dave Matthews Band were back in the day?

3. An album review of Rufus Wainwright's Release the Stars.
Why not? Because it sucked. The album, I mean. Key passage: "At his worst (especially on his first album), he's incredibly nasal and effete. (Of course, that last is unavoidable if you're singing songs about matinee idols, operatic tragediennes and snobbish boarding schools.)"

4. Cool-ass men.
Why not? Maybe a work in progress more than anything. Maybe I just don't think there are that many out there. Either way, I'll keep ya updated.

5. Notes from a gay bar, 4/14/12.
Why not? Must have just fallen by the wayside.  It's short enough that...well, here ya go.
(Evidently meant to inspire some blog post, but now they're here in skeletal form, and there they'll stay.)
- Duck you I'm awesome.
- $5 tip to hot stripper
- Gladiator costumes
- I'm texting Pandora Boxx?
- Getting too old for this kind of shit.
- Sauna + 70 degree pool = HEAVEN.

6. A huge rant about how a friend of mine was unfairly shut out of the process of interviewing to become director of the Denver Gay Men's Chorus.
Why not? Because it warn't purty. Oh, and looking over it, because I never even got to that point. Shot my wad while bitching about how much I already hated the organization, and couldn't stay hard to continue. Key passage: "Much grumbling and annoyance ensued, and the rehearsals were really uninspiring. I was so disgusted, I ended up leaving a month before the concert. (A song about a kid who saved Christmas in a snow-bound town by urinating all over it so Santa would see it was the proverbial cherry. No, I'm not kidding.)"

7. A post in defense of Lance Armstrong.
Why not? Began to ramble too much. Also seemed to pass its expiration date. Lance is already so last year. But so many people jumped on the bandwagon to vilify him. Maybe it was my contrarian coming out, but I did not see all that much that justified everyone thinking he had such a huge fall from grace. Also - and this may really be where I got into trouble - I started looking at the definition of a sociopath, and tried to show that sociopathy really isn't all that awful. I got bogged down in the detritus.