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Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Worst Vice

They say that the worst vice is advice.

Then again, they also say that "Tide 2x Ultra Laundry Detergent" gets rid of even the toughest stains. But it doesn't. That's why they're called stains, assholes.

I'm not so sure that advice is the worst vice. I do speak from a modicum of personal experience, having briefly caught two of my fingers in a vice in wood shop in 8th grade. I'm pretty convinced that was worse than somebody telling me not to wear a brown belt with navy trousers.

Which, by the way, I do because, let's face it: I'm a fucking rebel. A fucking rebel who is listening to celtic women's folk music on Pandora. Oh, and if somebody finds my vagina and eyebrow pencil-- I've been looking for them for, like, weeks.


I got a piece of advice last weekend, and it really stuck with me. I don't know why, especially-- perhaps because I'm not often offered advice. Well, except for Dear Apron, but that's, well, that's different. In real life, people often solicit advice from me, and that makes me feel good, and I like to think I give decent advice, grounded in reality and fact, and a relatively unwarped view of the world.

But, last weekend, I received advice, and it was unsolicited, but that's okay. Here was the advice:

"The train's going this way," I was told, "and you have three choices-- you can either run and jump on board, or you can run like hell the other way, or you can let it run you over. Whatever you choose, just remember: the train's going this way."

And, you know what? As this person was sharing me this little tidtot of wisdom, with his brow furrowed in concern for me, with his hand even on my shoulder in an avuncular, non-molestery way, all I could think about was Asperger's Syndrome.

Isn't it good to know that I'm always paying such close attention when people talk to me?

But seriously-- why trains?

Why does it seem like every kid I know or read about who has Asperger's Syndrome is fascinated by trains? I mean-- where does that come from? Like, why can't they be obsessed with-- I don't know-- pull-tractors or voles or digital camera aperture?

And why is it that Tourrettes Syndrome often manifests itself in the uncontrollable recitation of profanities? Why don't people with Tourrettes say "Aloe!" or "Puff-Pastries!" or "Kashi Good Friends!"

And, while we're kind of on the subject, why aren't there any decent monologues and plays out there written for young performers? Every time I try to find a decent monologue or a scene to do work on with a student, there's invariably a fuck or a cunt or some sort of situation involving a needle in someone's arm or people gayin' it up in a bathtub. I mean, "Our Town" is great, but how many times can you go up to that fucking graveyard with Mr. Stimson, the organist for the congregational church and our friend, Mrs. Soames, who enjoyed the wedding so? Yesterday, I was leafing through a book of "One Acts for Young Actors" and there was a play about a father who molested his daughter every night (Daughter: "All you ever said to me each night was four words, 'Can I come in?' Four words and forty grunts.") and they're fishing together in Hell after he's dead and she's killed herself. At one point in the play, she drives a fishing hook into his hand and then they both crack up laughing.

I mean, that's just great, isn't it?

I suppose giving me advice is not really worth it, because my brain doesn't really stay still long enough to accept, process, evaluate, and respond to it. I mean-- I get it, of course. It's just another, kinder way to say, "Shit or get off the pot." And that's fine, but, when I hear that expression, I can't help but try to remember who famously said that in U.S. politics. I think it was Lyndon Johnson-- or Nixon-- or Eisenhower. It was definitely one of those fuckers in that, like, twenty year period between the '50s and the '70s.

And then I start thinking about my own shit, and how it comes out in those tiny little balls but only after what is tantamount to a Herculean effort and it feels like I'm going to pass this glorious yard-stick proportioned thing, but it's just those disappointing little poo-marbles, and I know it's because I don't eat enough fiber or drink enough water. I mean, I don't drink any water. I drink 20 oz of coffee in the morning, Caffiene-Free Diet Coke with lunch, and the same with dinner. And then I wonder-- well, how am I even alive?


God, life's funny. I just got up to take a shit, and I happen today to be wearing my favorite trousers-- they're shamrock green Dockers-- the kind that you might see a WASP-y octogenarian wearing at a country club and, as I was sitting on the bowl squeezing out my poo-marbles in anguish, I noticed that, along the inside waistband of the trousers is written the phrase "ONE LEG AT A TIME."

Advice, my dears, is everywhere-- it's all in how you respond to it.


  1. Well I have Asperger's and I'm terrified of trains. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, there.

    My obsessions are limited to Pokemon and the Nazis at the moment. Trains are just...oh god I'm scared of trains.

  2. Poo marbles have nothing to do with your water intake. I know this, because I drink no water at all and do not shit like a sheep.

    I also got my fingers caught in a vice once... Ouch.


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