Tag Archives: broken

Reconnecting with my old friend Andre

It’s like, sometimes things have to get really bad before they start to get good again. That’s what it was like for Andre and me anyway. I’m telling you, we had like a whole year of fights and slights, the last time we got together, it wasn’t even a get together really, I wound up kind of just bumping into him by a fro-yo place. Whatever, it’s unimportant who ignored who. All I’m saying is, I thought that was it, I thought we were done.


But then a few weeks ago I got a notification from Facebook. Apparently Andre put some video online from when we were right out of college. Andre had just gotten the Nintendo Wii, and I had just bought one of those Flip cameras. What a waste. Man, if I had only waited like a year or two, it’s like, everyone has a Flip camera on their iPhone.

Anyway it’s this video of me playing Wii bowling, Andre must have been shooting the whole thing, and right as I go to line up, I fling the Wiimote, it flies out of my grip, out past the little string thing that’s supposed to attach it to my wrist, and it smashes right into the wall. I remember that happening too, which totally sucked at the time, but man, it’s like you totally blow things out of proportion, the stuff that seems like such a big deal at the time, but I mean, man, I couldn’t even tell you where any of my Wii stuff is now. I bought my own Wii after I broke Andre’s remote, and I think I wound up buying like three extra remotes, just in case there were ever four of us that wanted to play Mario Party or some other four-player multiplayer. I think we did it like once or twice.

Anyway, he tagged me, which was cool of him, and all of that animosity I had built up toward my old friend, everything kind of melted away. It was just like that remote, it was like, why did we ever let ourselves get so bent out of shape in the first place? I liked his photo, then he sent me a friend request, which, I didn’t even know that we weren’t friends. Did he defriend me? Whatever, I could have defriended him. Either way, that meant that someone else must have tagged me in the video, which, if it was from my Flip camera, how did he get it on his computer?

It didn’t matter. I reached out with the like, he reached around to me with the friend request, and so I figured I’d take it to the next level with a message. “What’s up man? Long time. You wanna grab a drink some time?”

To which he replied, “Sure man. Sounds good.”

And we did, we met up that Thursday for drinks after work. And seriously, it was like all of that stuff from the past year, the fishing trip, his grandma dying, it was all like it never happened. Or like it happened, but neither of us was thinking about it. I mean, I was thinking about it, but not in any way harboring any sort of ill will or anything, I was just thinking about how I wasn’t thinking about it. And sure, I couldn’t tell exactly what he was thinking, but he was smiling, and so was I, and it was good. It was good enough.

“How did you get that video?” I did wind up bringing it up after we had a couple of beers.

“Oh, the Wiimote?” he said, “I found my old Flip camera lying around, and there it was.”

Did I want to get into it with him? That it was my Flip camera? That either I left it over his place, or he borrowed it and must have forgot to bring it back? You know what? I really wanted to, I really just wanted to get in there and be like, Andre, dude, that was my Flip camera. But like I said before, this thing was useless to me now. I have a better camera on my phone. Why risk getting into it with Andre over something so stupid?

We had a great time, catching up, laughing about old memories. And then I went home. I went back to Facebook to check out that video again, only, it wasn’t posted directly to Facebook, it was linked to Facebook from YouTube. Andre must have posted this clip online like six years ago. And I couldn’t believe it, but it had something like seven hundred thousand views. Was this one of the original Wiimote to the wall videos?

Were there any ads embedded to this clip? There were. So I did a quick Google search on how much Andre could be looking at earning just on ads, and it was pretty substantial. Nothing to retire over, but still, I could use an extra couple thousand dollars.

I sent him a long message, it was nice, I made sure to write out everything very nicely. I explained to him that I was pretty sure that it was my Flip camera, that I wasn’t looking for all of the ad revenue, but just a cut.

He shot me back a message saying how it was my camera, but after I smashed the remote, that I offered him the camera in exchange. Which, I don’t remember that, at all. If I remember correctly, a brand new Wiimote was something like fifty bucks, whereas the Flip camera was easily over a hundred.

I closed my laptop and tried to cool off, remembering that I didn’t want to ruin our barely reestablished friendship over what was clearly a simple misunderstanding. But later that week I went home to my parents’ house and I started telling my dad about it. He seemed kind of uninterested, but I didn’t let it go, insisting that he watch the video. Only, when I tried to pull it up, it wouldn’t show me the video on Andre’s profile. It didn’t show anything, just his photo and the “add friend” button.

Did he really defriend me? Over a couple thousand dollars? What the hell man? What are you trying to hide? Are you seriously just going to hope that this all blows over? Because that’s not cool Andre, you can’t just keep ignoring my calls and my texts. Dude, I thought we were friends, again. That’s not cool dude, I deserve a little cut. You can’t just post stuff on the Internet and keep all of the profit to yourself.

Come on man, seriously, not cool.

Where did I put my stapler?

I had to mail something the other day, it was a stack of documents and, for whatever reason, I couldn’t just scan and email, no, I had to put them in an envelope and get it out to a mailbox. And that’s fine, I mean, in terms of things that I have to do that I don’t really feel like doing, sure, this registered on the charts, but it wasn’t that huge of a deal. And so I sucked it up and set about just getting it done.


Which, I didn’t think it would have been such a big project. And now that it’s over, I guess it wasn’t really huge. But there were still a significant number of steps involved, planning, executing, stuff like that. Like, the stack of papers was about thirty or so pages thick. I thought, I had better staple it all together.

So finding a stapler in my house, I’m not even joking, it took like a good fifteen minutes. Again, fifteen minutes isn’t a lot of time, but try spending fifteen minutes straight going from a desk drawer that I haven’t opened in months to a little box that I put somewhere on a shelf inside of my closet, looking for a stapler, a mostly unnecessary office supply that, sure, I know I had one around here somewhere, but when was the last time that I had to use it? When I put it back, did I make a mental note of how I might locate it the next time that I had to poke a hole through and join several pieces of paper?

And going through all of these little holes and spots around the house, it’s depressing. It makes me feel like a wild animal, like I accumulate all of these little pieces of things and stuff, and when I’m not using them, which is ninety-nine percent of the time, I’m just shoving them into weird spaces in rooms where I can only hope that I won’t have to look at them as I go through my regular days.

I did eventually find the stapler. I actually found the staples first, a little red box that, I’m actually fortunate I came across it first, mostly because I wasn’t looking for it, and I tried putting myself in the imaginary situation of having come across an empty stapler, and then having to go about looking for a tiny little box, I probably would have given up, because at least a stapler looks like something, I can see it and I can easily identify it, there it is, stapler. But a little three-inch red box? I had no idea that it was red before I accidentally came across it. I would have never even really known was I was looking for.

But it didn’t even matter, because when I finally found the stapler, which already had some staples inside, thereby negating the good fortune of having come across the box of staples, I found that the power of an everyday household stapler proved inadequate at actually stapling my thirty pieces of paper together. I’d say that the staple got through maybe the first eighteen pages. After that, I had to carefully pry the stapler from the paper, because being unable to finish the entire stapling motion, the device refused to let go completely of that tiny little piece of metal.

This sucked because, should I try again? Maybe I needed to apply a blunter, quicker stapling. Did I have to reprint my document? Or were these two little pinholes at the top not that big of a deal? My mind started putting together what the rest of completing this task was going to look like, and I couldn’t get past how the thickness of these sheets was already foiling what should have been a fairly straightforward operation.

These definitely weren’t going to fit in a regular envelope. I’d have to buy one of those yellow ones at a store somewhere. And since I had to be there, I guess I should buy a paper clip, hope to mitigate whatever damage I’d already done in my botched attempt at using the stapler.

When I finally got to the Rite-Aid next door to the Post Office, I found myself staring at the office supplies aisle, not really understanding why something so simple had the power to derail what should have been a pretty uneventful afternoon. Why didn’t they have any of those big clips? All I needed was like one big plastic clip, you know, the black kind that have the two metal pin handles, you squeeze on them to open up the clip. Yeah, they had paper clips, but they came sold in this plastic box of at least a hundred. I really didn’t need a hundred paper clips.

And after I resigned myself to the fact that I didn’t really have any other choice but to buy a hundred paper clips, I kept thinking, this little box is just going to be another piece of human detritus, some more garbage that I’ll have to add to my slowly but steadily growing pile of cheap manufactured junk. Chances are, I won’t need to paper clip anything together for at least another year or two. And by the time that need comes around, am I really going to be ready to recall exactly where I put that little box of ninety-nine paper clips that I’m positive I bought sometime within the last two years or so?

So I just have it out on my desk, this box of paper clips. It doesn’t look out of place, I mean, it’s a desk, and so it’s OK to have a few desk supplies on top. Maybe if you came over and you asked to use my computer or print something out real quick you’d look at that box and you wouldn’t really think anything of it.

But I’m staring at it and it’s haunting my existence. This box of paper clips is almost definitely going to outlast me. I can’t think of any amount of paperwork that I’d have to foreseeably complete in my lifetime to begin to justify the use of ninety-nine paper clips. Why couldn’t Rite-Aid just sell by the paper clip? Why do I have to buy such a surplus of paper clips, a surplus that, maybe not now, maybe not ten years from now, will eventually make its way from inside of my house to a trashcan somewhere else?

If you think about it, it actually is crazy. Somewhere in the world, somebody is making money manufacturing paper clips. They get sent over here from wherever they’re put together, and after spending who knows how long on a shelf at a Rite-Aid, they eventually get scanned at the register, a whole two dollars in the pocket of a small drugstore, a little box of junk that I’ll eventually have to throw out. There’s got to be a better way.

And the worst thing is, the plastic box to hold the paper clips is so cheap, when I tried to open it at the Post Office, all I could think was, man, this thing is going to explode open, all of the paper clips are going to get everywhere, I’m going to have to get on my hands and knees and pick up paper clips, one by one, everybody around waiting on line won’t have anything better to do than to watch me collect them all and get them back inside that box. So being really conscious of this happening, I tried as hard as I could to gently nudge the top open. But there was no response, it wasn’t working. I increased the pressure just a little bit, and then a little bit more, just really trying to be careful. But it didn’t matter, because eventually the plastic snapped, way too hard, and while not all of the paper clips fell out, it was a pretty good amount, at least twenty, twenty-five paper clips, all over the floor, I had to pick them all up, apologizing every ten seconds or so as people awkwardly tried to get past me without accidentally kicking me in the face.

My freezer is kind of broken and I can’t get myself to deal with it

The ice cream in my freezer kept getting softer and softer, to the point where it felt almost like soft-serve in a pint, and while I could lie to myself, try to ignore my problems and think about how cool it was to always have soft ice cream on hand, eventually the decline in freeze got to the point where I needed to do something, I had to like look up something on the Internet or call up somebody to come and take a look at what was going on.


Even this thought took a couple of weeks to really plant itself in my head. Slightly above temperature ice cream is one thing, but that box of frozen hamburger patties? How long could I really continue to enjoy this stuff without worrying about all of the harmful bacteria that might start to take advantage of my less that optimally functioning freezer?

Still, there was so much inertia, I couldn’t stand to let another day go by without taking care of the problem, but I was frozen, unable to think of how I’d go from not doing anything about it to doing something, anything.

I think the root of it had to do with my not-so-irrational fear of freezers. That sounds crazy, but it’s not, it comes from a real, traumatic experience. My wife and I were living in Ecuador as Peace Corps Volunteers. We had this cheap-o refrigerator, so wildly out of synch with what we were used to dealing with back home. This thing didn’t have whatever our modern freezers have that prevents frost from accumulating and building up along the sides of the walls.

Again, it was this slow issue that never really warranted immediate action, but left undealt with, it was like one day we couldn’t close the freezer door anymore, the ice had literally snowballed it’s way into becoming this problem that had to be addressed immediately.

And so, with no Internet to look up how to take care of something that I would have never had to deal with back home, I imagined a reasonable course of action involved me taking a kitchen knife to the inside of the freezer, stabbing at the chunks of ice until I’d shaved off enough space for the door to close.

In retrospect, of course this seems like a stupid idea. You don’t just go hacking away at your problems. But at the time, I thought, OK, I’m getting somewhere, ice is falling off, this shouldn’t take too much longer.

But it’s an awkward stance, kind of half crouching down, jabbing my arm in an upside-down upward motion inside of a small frozen box. I hit something, I knew I had made a big mistake because it started hissing, a stream of gas blowing out of the freezer. I thought, that had to be the Freon, all of this gas leaking, this is what’s keeping everything cold.

I had to stop it. I had some silicon glue lying around and figured I’d stick my head in there and try to plug everything up. There were bubbles involved. I’d think I had everything patched up when there’d be a pop, more expelled gas. Finally the hissing stopped, and even though I had my fingers crossed, a few hours later it was obvious that both the fridge and the freezer no longer functioned in keeping anything below room temperature.

It was a nightmare, getting this thing fixed, it was like a whole month and a half with no refrigerator. I felt like a caveman. My wife was pissed. I’m still haunted by this story, every time there’s any sort of kitchen problem, it always comes down to me trying to stab my way out of everything. And that’s not even mentioning the paranoia I still suffer as a result of having probably breathed in way too much Freon. It never occurred to me that maybe I shouldn’t be sharing a two by two foot box with all of that leaking gas. What are the long term effects? Do my lungs seem cold to anyone else?

So it was with this fear that I approached my current freezer dilemma. Fortunately, the Internet told me that before I called in a serviceman to charge me several hundred dollars, all I had to do was first clean out the vent behind the appliance. Apparently it’s a dust-trap, and after a couple of years of neglecting to be cleaned, this build-up can cause the cold to be not so cold.

But again, moving the fridge was this impossible chore, jostling it into a position in which I could at least see the back. There was dust everywhere, that patch of unseen floor was practically blackened with soot. And when I finally got to where I was in a position that I could maybe do something about it, I realized that I didn’t have a vacuum, and that my dust-buster was out of battery.

I made a weak attempt at wiping off the grate with some paper towels, but there was so much more dust that I didn’t really accomplish anything. Still, what was I going to do? I moved everything back into place and set the dust-buster to charge.

The whole thing took me like fifteen minutes. I’m worried that it’s going to be another two weeks before I find the motivation to attempt the cleaning again. And there are so many variables. Will the dust-buster still have any battery? Would the half-assed cleaning with the paper towel somehow have been enough to prevent me from trying again? Why do I keep fighting the urge to grab a kitchen knife?

I don’t know, man, I’ve got to commit to some action, my ice cream’s like soup, like not totally runny yet, but definitely less than soft-serve, and the frozen patties are starting to look a little gray.