Despite having imported my Livejournal to this blog, every now and again I’m compelled to check out the halcyon days of yore; days where I used twelve words when seven would do and generally kept it real about what was going on in the life of a collegian recently returned from sabbatical. I didn’t know dick about making a blog visually compelling; in fact, it was months before I figured out how to embed pictures or hyperlinks into text. HTML? Forget about it. I learned how to do the most basic of the basic just last year. All I knew how to do was type. There was a purity in my ignorance that I’m almost covetous of now. I just wrote and pressed ‘post’ and some friends would read it and some friends would like it. It didn’t get anymore complicated than that. Self-serving as it was, I talked about myself and things that interested me. I did it because I like to talk. I put it out there because I hoped people would vibe with it. (Sidebar: Anyone who writes outside of a private journal and says that the sense of an audience doesn’t affect their writing is a prick. It’s certainly foolish to claim that every writer caters to an audience, but I defy the writer who “just writes” and “just happens to leave it around for people to consume”).
Long paragraphs, zero pictures, song lyric titles. If that wasn’t enough, I’d leave to random thoughts at the end of an entry, lest someone be starved for my thoughts on ‘Space Age Pimpin’ (still the greatest rap slow jam in history if you as me). These were the days when I told a version of the truth that was either the real McCoy or close to it; watering down out of concern for public image mattered little then. Sure, I had my fair share of “wow, he went there” material, but I was no one’s Hunter S. If you had to ask me, I’d say it was all in the delivery.
Then, one day, I blinked.
I became aware of the audience; the stakes for who could get hurt or how I could hurt myself became palpable. I got safer and safer. Was I a better writer? I think so, but there was certainly some piss and vinegar missing. I started thinking about what I was going to write; thinking about how to make it really cook. I was thinking about the reading experience rather than just saying “fuck it” and letting it rip. I forgot how to write freely.
Not too long ago, a friend asked if I’d kept a repository of my old AIM away messages, which were replete with salt being thrown on skinny girls. (Why the skinny girl hate? Because, despite the fact I have little against the skinny in actuality, I felt it necessary that someone tell them they’re not thaaat tight). Anyway, I said I didn’t, nor did I remember many of messages. My friend lamented the fact that I had and quipped that they’d make for a great book. I agreed, but as I saw the pages of my skinny girl hate book flutter away, I was struck that the thought had even crossed my mind at all. Yes; a bit more maturity certainly (hopefully) gives you a better sense of perspective. Cherishing memories is something that seems to grow in importance with each passing day. Still, the whole thought process seemed rather sad to the writer I used to be. Hating on skinny girls amused me at that moment. Nothing more or less. Perhaps I should have seeing as I fell into the trap of dispassionate perspective anyway.
There’s so much more texture to my life now, yet as I scroll through the pages of my old blog, I find myself saddened by what I lost and troubled that I might never find it again.
Penultimate Thought: While I enjoy ‘The Best Man’, I can’t help but get hung up on this point: Wasn’t shit gonna go down either way between Taye Diggs and Morris Chestnutt? I mean, dude was gonna read the book eventually, right?
Final Thought: Skinny girls are like drinking out of a colander: Useless.
My daughter has been born. I feel like a very big deal. My wife? An even bigger deal.
In semi-related news: As I’ve really started finding a rhythm over at Pitts Think, I believe I’m going to start making this site a repository of what going on with me: writing on other sites, Conversations with The Feath, the goings on at Mixed Magic and, of course, a few sprinklings from my personal life. When the mood strikes to do an original long-form piece, I’ll do it here.
Thanks, as always, for taking the time.
INT. — DAY — BEV’S HOUSE
The Feath and Jon are at the home of a family friend, Bev, celebrating Juice and taking part in Baby Shower of the Century, Part III. Surrounded by friends and family, the expectant parents are again humbled by the love and generosity being shown to them as they embark on what will surely be an epic journey.
Following the gift opening portion of the shower, everyone has moved into the kitchen area for the cake cutting. Standing by the kitchen table, The Feath is the picture of fertility and health. Her stomach blossoming beneath a pink dress, her pearls and shoes a brilliant white, she looks every bit the beautiful vessel. Smiling as she does so regularly, The Feath suddenly furrows her brow and freezes in place.
The Feath: My water…
The buzz in the room stops abruptly as every head turns in her direction, eyes bulging. Jon, who is standing next to The Feath, instinctively takes a step back; not only size his wife up, but also to avoid the splash of uterine fluids on his shoes.
Moving slowly, The Feath reaches for her purse and pulls out a bottle of Poland Springs.
The Feath: Oh, here it is.
The Feath bursts into a devious cackle as every butt in the room gets untight and, between ragged breaths, joins in the laughter. A cacophony of “Man, that ain’t funny!” and “Loooooord, I was ’bout to have a fit!” echoes through the house as The Feath, still pregnant, finally cuts the cake.
Some folks are wondering why questions of sexuality are bring raised for Elena Kagan when they were not done for Sonia Sotomayor. In my mind, it boils down to something fairly basic:
Kagan is white and Sotomayor is not.*
Let me explain. For the type of people who are fond of profiling, Kagan fits the description: white, unmarried, intellectual, not terribly “attractive”. Black or Latina women that fall into that same line aren’t questioned on their sexuality because they don’t “seem” gay; they’re just cast as accomplished yet pitiable career women who have little hope of snaring a mate with whom to settle down.
In the American conscience, to be a lesbian of a certain age is really just shorthand for being a feminist; a card-carrying member of NOW and an acolyte of Betty Friedan. While I won’t go so far as to say the sexual aspect of the questions regarding Kagan’s sexuality are irrelevant, I will say I think these inquiries are more a petty and contemptuous probing of her feminism. (I strongly doubt the president would have the stones to nominate a possibly gay man for the bench
since male sexuality whips people into a different kind of frenzy).
It’s the radical feminist menace that ruffled the old boys’ feather and the representatives of that menace were overwhelmingly–and often deliberately–white.
The feminist movements in the United States had parallel histories split between the predominantly white–and highly exclusionary–narrative and the one that included women of color in this struggle. The former was able to set the tone in many regards and became the face of “what a feminist is.”
For many, feminists are merely smartypants white women that hate men and don’t do as they’re told. Given this perception, the “oh, well she’s probably a lesbian” coup de grace wasn’t/isn’t exactly a leap. In many ways, it’s the white version of being called uppity.
- Kagan = Unmarried White woman intellectual of no particular beauty.
- Lesbians are unmarried White women intellectuals of no particular beauty.
- Feminists are unmarried White women intellectuals of no particular beauty.
- Feminists hate men.
- Lesbians hate men.
- Feminist = Lesbian
- Lesbian = Feminist
- Kagan = Lesbian = Feminist?
*A friend brought up the great point that the reason Sotomayor wasn’t questioned in that regard is because she was married once before. A reasonable point, though not bulletproof. A previous marriage certainly lends itself to avoiding certain questions, though marriage is by no means proof of being straight. Perhaps the figure of Condi Rice is more appropriate in this regard. The questions regarding her personal life were, more often than not, framed as, “Why doesn’t she have a man?” rather than “Is she gay?”
INT./EXT. — NIGHT — ’93 JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE
In anticipation of Mother’s Day festivities the next day, Jon has taken it upon himself to take The Feath to the local Five Guys for burgers touched by the finger of God. Riding along, they are tuned into 105.7 WROR, an oldies station out of Boston.
After a slight commercial break, the station rotation returns with The Doors’ classic “Love Her Madly.”
As Jon and The Feath jam along, happily anticipating the manna from heaven known as Five Guys, Jon chimes in
Jon: It’s not often you hear that PIANO anymore. It’s like there was a ban put on it after a certain era.
The Feath: Which? The rock n’ roll organ?
The Feath: Definitely. Rock n’ roll organ was the Auto-tune of the 60s.
Pops did this in one take. Yo Guru! You ain’t gotta punch his shit!
“Moving pictures are worth a thousand _____________” — Me
INT — DAY — KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN
April 12, 2010.
Today, KFC has released its mythical Double Down, the more than chicken sandwich; it’s the sandwich made out of chicken. Jon feels it is his duty to tackle the giant. Armed with an iPhone, The Feath reluctantly agrees to accompany him on this journey. What you’re about to see is the event as it took place.
Taking the Plunge
- The Double Down is nothing if not decadent. The flavor combinations aren’t altogether peculiar so much as the proportions are borderline ghastly. If this was in nugget form, it would still push the bounds of culinary decency, but really, chicken, bacon, and cheese aren’t strange bedfellows. That combination is outlandish when done in sandwich proportions.
- I drank too much on Saturday and woke up Sunday morning feeling sluggish. I wasn’t hungover; but I did not feel good about my beverage choices the night before. I can’t bounce back like I used to. As I type this post-Double Down, I think I felt better when I woke up Sunday morning.
- The Feath ordered food of her own as I Double Down. I mentioned considered going for an unprecedented Quadruple Down. She promptly blanched and dropped her piece of chicken. The mere thought of seeing me take down another Double Down caused a woman seven months pregnant to lose her appetite.
As you may or may not be aware, I do a weekly blog for the website Book of Odds. Below is this week’s offering
So, are you gonna get a tattoo for your daughter?
I’ve paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $800 to be written on permanently. I’ve spent what would be the equivalent of a day’s work sitting in various artists’ chairs, smelling that antiseptic aroma you should always smell when getting inked up, listening to the drone of a needle as it etched things I wanted to keep sacred on my skin. I’ve done this to pay homage and now, for the first time, I just feel sort of done with it. You’d think the birth of my first child would be a tattoo no-brainer—especially considering I’m seven deep already—but it’s not.
I always said that I would stop getting tattoos when I had found whatever it is I was looking for. Of the seven I have, more than a few can be attributed to the need to pick myself up out of some mood or other. I like tattoos regardless of mood, but can say honestly that the intent of some of these scrawlings probably falls somewhere in the vicinity of self-mutilation.
I’m loath to say I regret getting any of the tattoos I have; partially because that would be an admission of the knuckleheadery of youth and partly because it’s just not true. I like my tattoos. I’m less thrilled with their placement. Tattoos I can see at any given moment tickle me much less than they used to. When I wanted to make certain kinds of pronouncements to myself and others, they were perfect. But now that the nature of pronouncement has changed, now that I’ve gotten a bit more circumspect with what I offer to the world in the way of personal presentation, a few tattoos just seem out of place. When I reach or stretch or type, I notice my left forearm; I see the appendage of a dude I’m not quite in sync with anymore. Even worse, there are times when I look at other similarly-tattooed people and wonder: What the hell were we thinking?
To give some credence to the knucklehead trope, I can say my theory was half right: Having landed on the path I’m on, I don’t necessarily feel compelled to hit the parlor as I once did. What I didn’t know then is that the person who no longer feels compelled to add to this array would be less-than-pumped about the collection of art on his left forearm.
I’m just a different cat now. I have a few moments where, admittedly, I feel cool and dig my work—don’t let anyone lie to you: the “cool” factor is a lot of the appeal—but increasingly, I feel like the dude holding some other dude’s tattoos until that other guy gets back. Whatever my headspace was previously, my current state of mind doesn’t lend itself to visible tattoos. My shoulders and upper arms? Cool. But as I’ve begun to frown upon opportunities for people who don’t know me like that to know me like that, I’ve begun mulling what to do.
All things considered, the decision seems to fall between three absurd options…