Writing is literary masturbation. Blogging is literary masturbation on a crowded city bus. The mandate of my site is essentially “Look at me, I talk fancy” and I am comfortable with that. But I’ve done wrong, often and early and in innumerable ways, so there is a karmic debt to be paid down. But how can a self centered sociopath give back unto the world from which he has taken? He writes a smug advice column where he substitutes his suspect judgment for that of his guileless readers, that’s how. Let’s get down to business.
My wife is a generous woman. When children came to the door she let each one take a fistful of candy from the bowl regardless of costume or attitude. We ran out of candy early in the night because of this, so she started giving out my old ties. Should I leave her?
Beleaguered in Belarus,
Let me state up front your wife was entirely wrong and did a grave disservice to both you and those children. Halloween is not Christmas; the dead and blighted have not risen to teach lessons of giving and generosity. Halloween is a celebration of using fear and subterfuge to coerce candy from the unwilling. To give without properly considering the bargain is to court the devil’s discontent. A system of rigid merit based candy allocation must be observed. A helpful chart:
*Note: Each child begins at +1 candy. Should they fall below zero I will extract candy owed from their gathered stash to redistribute to more worthy children.. The actual system is quite a bit more complex, but here is a brief sampling.
-1-Disrupting my evening by ringing the doorbell
-1 Looking me directly in the eyes
-1 dressing in a costume that does not inspire fear (ie a princess), this isn’t a beauty pageant it’s a contest of wills.
-1 Dressing as a superhero with a movie currently in theaters (don’t be sheep, kids)
– 1 Dressing as actual sheep (we covered this above)
-1 every year older than 12
-1 bearing a unicef box (unless child is dressed as concept of self righteous emotional manipulation)
-1 Traveling with parents (Where’s your pride?)
-2 hanging in the back and acting like you’re too good to be trick or treating
-2 lazy hobo, ghost, or tradesperson costume
-2 having insufficient back story for character
-2 asking me why I’m not out doing something with friends
-3 wearing jacket over otherwise boss costume
-3 Suggesting that I’m dressed up as a bitter old man for Halloween
– 3 Alerting police because I justifiably removed candy from your bag
-4 not having costume and still expecting candy
+1 Throwback racially insensitive costume
+1 blacking out the stupid orange plastic at end of toy gun
+1 having blood on mouth slit of a hard plastic mask
+1 Grotesque or intimidating costume
+1 staying in character while asking for candy
+2 Showing me an actual knife then asking just how much my candy is worth to me
+2 dressed as beleaguered office worker who’s too emotionally spent to demand anything
+2 Taking advantage of actual deformity to add verisimilitude to costume
+2 refusing to taint costume with jacket in inclement weather
+2 Walking away in disgust when I misidentify clever high concept costume
+2 Hobo costume that accurately depicts the physical and emotional ravages of living on the streets
+3 Dressing as Malcolm X then refusing my candy as a handout from the white man
+3 Complimenting me on my physique and suggesting that I must have done quite well with the ladies throughout my life
+4 getting too detailed in regards to said compliments and bringing heat down on me
I just watched Looper and was struck by the scene where old Bruce Willis was giving shit to young Bruce Willis in the Diner, talking about how he was a baby that didn’t know anything. How do you think a conversation between your 40 years old self and 20 years old self would go?
Walter D’ Pimp
Well, first thing lets settle down with that forty business. I am a spry thirty six and won’t be pushed into my grave by the likes of the D’Pimp clan. That aside, how would a meeting between current and vintage A.J. go? Poorly, I’m afraid.
Twenty years old A.J.’s issues were matters of maturity, not information. There is nothing I can say to make him value things he hasn’t lost, no epiphany I can piece together that would mean a damn, no outcome he will fear. Twenty years old A.J. wasn’t stupid, he knew he should try and care and do better than he had…it just didn’t matter to him.
Ultimately the only real hammer I hold over him is fifty pounds of muscle and limited patience for pretentious narcissists. The question then becomes: could I beat sense into my younger self? Probably not, the little prick was tough and big on suffering for self defeating rebellion. I could teach him to get laid easier, maybe read a book now and again, but I doubt I could change more than my future bone structure no matter the temporal bully pulpit given.
My son is intensely competitive. Everything becomes a test of his manhood no matter the stakes. It’s causing a lot of stress in his school life. Are you competitive? Has it helped you?
What you have to understand is that while manhood is forged in the crucible of seminal experience, it is tested in the vagaries of everyday life…and we must rise to that test. Take for instance the following true story of my walk home yesterday:
6:45 pm, Lyon Street, Ottawa
I had just finished work and was walking home at a brisk pace down a mostly deserted street. I noted a man in his early 60’s in obnoxious bike shorts and a scandalously tight micro-pore shirt crossing from the opposite sidewalk. He took a sharp angle, jogged across, and stepped onto the sidewalk immediately in front of me. Obviously I was furious. He could have continued on his side, or jogged further down before crossing, but he chose to dart into my path, as if to impugn my rate of travel. I quickened my pace. He was a lively old man but I am a long limbed fitness professional that takes minor slights deeply. He saw my pursuit and quickened his own pace, I matched his step and then some, moving as quickly as I could without actually jogging, as that would be pathetic. Soon we were walking awkwardly side by side, hands almost brushing, refusing eye contact but being aware only of the other. Then we reached a red light and I stopped, responsible citizen that I am, while he continued through like a deranged miscreant bent on shaming innocent strangers. I waited until it turned green and then sprinted as fast I could until I was in front of him. Beaten down he turn off onto a side street in a clear admission of defeat.
Now some would was say this was a pitiful contest in which I was likely the only knowing participant, others, a borderline assault on a clearly terrified elderly man. Those people just lost and they don’t even know it. I hope that clears things up for you Guy.
That’s it for our semi inaugural letter day. If you have questions you need answered or loads you need lightened email firstname.lastname@example.org