Monthly Archives: May 2012

Don’t forget about this post after you’ve read it

I’ve been thinking about how I’ve never seen any good movies or TV shows where someone loses their memory. Sure, every once in a while, a series will have a standalone episode where a main character comes down with what appears to be a permanent case of amnesia. They struggle to face the world, which they no longer recall, all while being guided back to some sense of normalcy by friends and family members constantly trying to free their memories. But then just as the situation looks all but incurable, just as the whole cast makes amends with their new situations in life, the memory loss is reversed – “Oh I’m sorry,” the doctor might say, “I was looking at the wrong CAT scans. You’re going to be fine!” – and never mentioned again in any subsequent episodes.

No, I want to see a TV show where a main character loses their memory, but it doesn’t come back at the end, and it becomes a reoccurring theme as the series goes on. I find it pretty hard to believe that nobody’s come up with this already. Just imagine how much longer a tired and stale series could be kept going. Right now I’m picturing Dwight from The Office becoming an amnesiac but somehow still keeping his job as a paper salesman. Everyone could play all of the same pranks on him from earlier seasons, and even though we would all know the expected outcomes, Dwight would fall for everything all over again as if it were the first time he were getting tricked. It would be hilarious. If they rotate cast members, or just give a new cast member amnesia every season, they can theoretically keep the show going indefinitely. I really wish I had some connections in show business.

Sometimes I wish I could experience amnesia, but only for a little bit. I would really love to be able to go to work and not just automatically run through my day like a mindless robot without ever even thinking about what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. Maybe I would be fascinated by my surroundings. Maybe I’ll go to work tomorrow and just pretend that I have amnesia. Customers will ask me if we have Coke or Pepsi products and I’ll just answer back, “Coke? Pep … si? What are these strange words you speak of sir?” And my customers will feel so bad for me that they’ll leave me great tips. And my boss will feel so bad for me she’ll give me paid sick leave. And my coworkers will miss me so badly that they won’t know what to do with themselves. But then when I return from my sick leave, I’ll just pretend like the whole thing never happened. I’ll act all confused, “What amnesia?” but then theorize that I must have gotten another case of amnesia, but this amnesia made me forget all about the first amnesia, thus having a weird sort of paradox effect, returning me back to normal.

I hope that in the future we can temporarily induce amnesia for anyone willing to pay for the experience. I’m envisioning clubs where people might go and spend some money to forget about their lives for a while. There’s going to be this great game that people play, where two friends or a couple go into a room. One of them has had their memory temporarily wiped, but the other person, who actually retains their memory, will act as if theirs had been erased also. The point of the game is that a group of the couple’s friends will be watching the whole interaction either from some sort of a live feed, or maybe right there behind a two-way mirror. As the two people in the room act all confused, the group of friends will all be taking bets trying to figure out which one has amnesia and which one is faking it.

Now that I’m thinking about this, now that I’m actually writing it out and describing it, it sounds like a lot of fun for everyone involved, except the person who has actual amnesia. For that person, it sounds like a very confusing, very harrowing experience. I’m sure they’ll get some sort of a discount. But then couldn’t they just check their receipts to see who paid more and thus end the game really early? Oh wait, amnesia, duh, they would have forgotten all about the receipts. Well, the real amnesiac anyway. The other person will just have to pretend. Have I made this clear enough? I’m reading it back and now I’m wondering if all of this talk about memory loss hasn’t triggered in me some sort of temporary self-induced amnesia, because I’m feeling a lot more confused now than I usually am when I’m writing these things. But that sounds a little dramatic. I think I can remember everything. Except for like years zero through three of my life. I don’t remember those at all. No memories of getting breast-fed, which is probably good, because those would be weird memories to carry throughout life. But that still sounds like classic amnesia to me. That counts, right?

I think the best amnesia anyone could ever hope to come down with would be a type of very selective amnesia that comes and goes in waves. “Rob, did you remember to take the garbage out?” “What? Who are you?” Stuff like that. But then ten minutes later it will have passed and I’ll remember that The Walking Dead is going to be on in half an hour. And when it comes on it would be all like, “Rob, you promised we’d watch Glee tonight!” And I’ll just say, “Where am I? I’m so confused!” I’m making it sound like I’d just be this huge dick, but it would really be a serious medical condition, worthy of everyone’s sincere sympathy.

Let me tell you the most interesting story, about soda

I love soda. Even though I don’t really drink it that much anymore, soda has played a very significant role in my life. Growing up, we always had two-liter bottles of Coke and Sprite on the kitchen table. It’s what we all drank with every meal, or in between meals whenever we were thirsty. If we had McDonald’s or Burger King for dinner, my parents always let me Super Size my meal. The rule was, as long as I finished everything that I had ordered, I could get anything I wanted. It was some sort of lesson about waste, I don’t know. So there was never any objection to letting me consume a small garbage pail sized cup filled with carbonated sugar water. And I always finished, because soda is delicious.

Soda was so central to our family that it was a huge deal if we didn’t have any. There were two or three years when we all gave it up for Lent. I know it’s what the Lord wanted, but it was torture. I especially remember one year, I was in second grade, and Pepsi released Crystal Pepsi right in the middle of our soda fast. Finally, a soda for my generation, but all I could do was sulk around at school, listening to all the other kids talk about how awesome it was. That Easter, when we were released from Lent’s crazy prohibition, the Easter bunny brought us a lot of it, and I remember sitting outside of our house just chugging as much of it as I could, trying desperately to make up for weeks of misery and deprivation. Looking back, it was kind of a weird soda. It must not have been that good, because I don’t have any other memories of it besides from that one day. And it got discontinued pretty soon afterwards. My family always drank Coke anyway.

One time we all got Wendy’s for dinner, and me being the asshole oldest brother, I pushed the plastic “diet” button on the lid of one of my brother’s soda, and then I told him that mom had accidentally ordered him diet. I teased him until he was crying. My mom ordered me to stop, so I did, but I while I said out loud that it was a regular Coke, I was all the while looking at him in the eye with a smirk that communicated nonverbally, “Hey, mom’s only making me say that it’s regular. It’s totally diet.” He flipped out and refused to finish his dinner, so I finished it for him, including his regular Coke.

When I went away to school, I used to visit Costco maybe once a month and buy as many bulk packs of canned Coke that would fit under my bed. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I would drink at least eight a day. Towards the end of college, I had a pretty serious affair with Arizona Green Tea, which isn’t technically soda but, chemically speaking, I don’t think there’s much of a difference. I found that the absence of carbonation made Arizona easier to chug, and therefore consume more of, in a single day. Also, all of the bodegas around school sold it in these giant cans for ninety-nine cents, and so instead of having to make a trip to an actual grocery store for soda, I could satisfy my craving at any hour of the day, right outside of campus.

Like I said, I really don’t drink too much soda anymore (I’ve since switched to beer, which is basically soda for adults) but there are certain occasions where I always get one. Whenever I’m at a Mexican place I’ll get a bottle of Mexican Coke, because everyone says it tastes better with the real sugar, and everyone can’t be wrong, right? (In this case, everyone is totally right.) Also, whenever I’m buying hot dogs off the street, I always get a can of grape soda. There’s just something about the hot dog-sauerkraut-mustard-Dimetapp combination that I find irresistible. I’ve never seen grape soda sold anywhere else.

My friend Ben told me about a McDonald’s by his place that has this futuristic computer controlled Coke machine with over a hundred different soda flavors. Every time he tells me about it I get so pissed, first because I haven’t tried it yet, but second because I don’t think they’ve yet introduced these dream machines for home installation, and I know that when I finally do get to try it, I’m going to be totally addicted.

One day I’m going to make a pilgrimage to Atlanta to visit the Coke museum (but that’s it – airport, Coke Museum, airport, and straight back to New York) where they allegedly have this whole wall of fountain drinks offering every single Coke product that’s ever existed on this or any other planet. I’m going to bring a six-gallon jug and I’m going to fill it up with Surge.

I’m pretty sure that, in the Bible, Jesus had actually turned all of that water into soda. But soda hadn’t yet been invented, so nobody knew what to call it. When they finally wrote down the story generations after his death, it was incorrectly described as wine.

My Second Post!

Could it be that I’ve already exhausted everything I had to write about by only the second post? I sure hope not; that would be pretty embarrassing, not to mention a complete waste of money setting this whole thing up. I know, I know, registering a domain name doesn’t really cost that much. And yeah, putting stuff on the Internet for most people usually costs nothing. But I always like to spend a little money where everyone else sees an opportunity not to. It shows that I’m serious. Like when I go to Subway, I insist on buying two six-inch sandwiches, both exactly the same, for the specific reason of not having to participate in the never-ending “Five Dollar Footlong” promotional event. Frankly, I think it a little ballsy of Subway to assume that much control over my personal finances. Maybe I was planning to treat myself out to a special lunch today. But no, now I’m standing on line just like every other riff-raff and hobo in town at an establishment now barely a notch higher-class than a soup kitchen. Free refills? No thank you! In fact, I always buy a bottled soda, plus a fountain soda, and then I pour the soda from the bottle into the paper cup. It just tastes better that way. I say that the era of “marginally-something for basically-nothing” is long overdue to expire. And I know very well that cookies are buy-two-get-one-free. Stop bossing me around!

People always put such a special emphasis on firsts. First words. First marriages. First DUIs. But I think the second time around is always a lot more special than the first. There is just way too much pressure when doing anything for the first time. You’re abruptly going from doing nothing to doing something. Chances are you’re going to screw it up. It’s much easier to simply accept that fact, acknowledge it, and move on. I’m rereading my first blog post as I write this and, frankly, I’m horrified that I actually subjected all of you to such mindless drivel. My sincerest of apologies.

I’m thinking that this second blog post is going to be my best one ever. Second times are infinitely better than first times. When my mom makes a giant meal for my whole family, I’m always eating the first serving not really concentrating on enjoying the food, but more focusing on finishing my first plate before anybody else in my family has a chance to finish theirs. This way, I’m assured that I’ll be first in line for a second helping. It’s only after I’ve elbowed everyone else out of the way for that last piece of steak that I can really sit back and savor each bite.

Now that I’m thinking about it, everywhere I look in my life, I’m finding the second time around to be much better than the first. Like when I passed my road test on my second try. Or the second time I bowled a perfect game. Those are all pretty obvious, but there are also more subtle examples. Anybody ever go to Seven-Eleven and, when the clerk isn’t looking, you fill up a Big Gulp cup with Slurpee, because the fountain soda is a little cheaper? The first time is always a little weird, because you’re worried that you might get caught, and maybe you might feel a little guilty about going out of your way to cheat a convenience store out of some spare change. But it works, and the second time you go for it, not only are you completely desensitized to the moral ambiguities of what you’re trying to pull off, but also you now realize that, even if the store clerk notices what you’re doing, he or she really couldn’t care enough to actually get into it with you. And don’t trivialize that small change. Over a regular basis, you’re looking at a lot of money.

Third times are inevitably disappointing, and the fourth through twenty-fifth times cycle betweens feelings of despair to feelings like you’re trying to convince yourself that maybe the seventh or eighth time might have been pretty decent after all, but really you know that you’re just saying that to yourself over and over again, hoping that with enough repetition you’ll eventually believe it to be true, but as convincing as it might sound, it will never feel right, because some tiny part of the back of your mind will always remember how nothing can ever live up to that glorious second time. After a lot of times, the cycles begin to blur, leveling out to something you can’t absolutely say is bad, but nothing you would ever realistically label as good. If this strikes you as something worth getting into, I invite you to come back here for further posts. If not, please enjoy reading and rereading this post over and over again, forever.

My First Post!

First and foremost, thanks for reading. I’m hoping through this blog to share stories from my life exactly as they happen in real time. I’m looking here to write a transparent, unfiltered, truthful account of my life. I want future generations to be able to look back upon these writings and know exactly what kind of a person that I was, to be able to understand precisely how I lived my life. I’d like for my great-great-great-great grandchildren to study them carefully, religiously, and to share my wisdom with everyone they meet. If somewhere down the line, my family breaks up into two rival camps, each claiming that they hold the true message of what it is I’m trying to say here, I’d like to settle that argument right now: the traditionalists are right, and the reformers have gotten it all wrong. Stay on point descendants! I’m leaving absolutely nothing up for interpretation. Just as the title implies, everything that is written here is one hundred percent true. Totally accurate. If you read it and say to yourself, “he must be trying to say something broader through his words,” you’re wrong.

I hope that you enjoy reading what you find here. I also hope that you’ll pick a few of your favorite posts each week and commit them to memory. If it’s not too much to ask, I’d like for you to, every Friday night, call up a random number on your phone without looking it up, just literally seven random numbers, and just start reciting what you’ve memorized. If nobody answers, leave a message. If you’ve accidentally dialed a fax machine, and you’re hearing that screeching in your ear, I urge you not to hang up. That’s just the universe’s way of telling you that you’ve probably messed up the memorization, and that this is your punishment. Stay on the line and do the best you can. I’m sure something will print out on the other end.

But that’s a very hypothetical situation anyway, because there really aren’t too many fax machines still plugged in to independent lines. If anything, someone might hook one up for just a second to receive a very specific fax, before unplugging it and telling their secretary to go put it back. “What do you mean, put it back?” they’ll ask their boss, “I don’t even know where you found this thing in the first place. Can’t you just put it back? It’s all dusty and gross.” Bosses usually hire low-level employees to avoid exactly this type of grunt work, but low-level hires are usually the types that are constantly complaining about having to do their terrible jobs. Well that’s what I used to do when I worked in an office job, which is probably why I currently work in a restaurant. So when someone’s raising their hand across the room asking for more ketchup I can just tell a busboy to go do it.

If you’re currently reading this from China, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the Communist Party for permitting me to be read on the Chinese Internet. I can only assume by your not blocking my access to the Chinese people that you don’t consider me a threat to the stability of your regime. Big mistake you ignorant fools.

If you’re reading this from Libya, listen, I’m really sorry for all the late night phone calls, but I keep having these weird dreams where Qaddafi is contacting me from the beyond, ordering me to keep his message alive. I know it’s crazy, but his threats seem as real to me in my dreams as they must have felt to all of you in real life.

If you’re reading this from Canada, welcome to the Internet! It’s basically just a network of computers hooked up through servers sharing lots and lots of information.

If you’re reading this in the future, please reread this post a few more times. I’m sure English has changed dramatically, and only through vigorous study will you really get at the point of what I’m trying to say.

If you’re reading this from the past, please call me up and warn me not to drink that bottle of Clamato on March 13, 2012. Thanks.