Monster in the House

Monster-House

As I walked into the gaming section of Dave and Buster’s today, I saw a great white shark head statue sticking out the top of one of the game consoles. I was instantly struck with creative lightning at the sight of this, and felt compelled to write down my thoughts in a text message I saved in my drafts section. Somehow, the backbone of my thesis had poured into me like divine intervention. What follows is the exact saved text for purposes of safe-keeping (with full thesis to follow):

“Jaws turned a great white shark into a real life monster, when you see the now iconic face you have to remind yourself it’s actually a real thing and not just a perfect pop culture creation – JUST LIKE JIM MORRISON. Rock stars and lightning rod celebs (esp. the dead ones) are the closest things we have to real life monsters – MONSTER IN THE HOUSE THEORY – iconic births of cultural boogeymen bring a classic tried and true and time-tested genre of storytelling to real life and the results are electrifying. That’s how they earn their spot. Their moment ends when the boogeyman stigma goes away and we no longer see them as monsters, but just a performer. They can still make art, but the perceived ‘threat’ is gone and so is the faux-scary buzz we get tickled by. This is what a famecancer patient lusts after. Their cultural boogeyman Miley moment – a chance to be, even for just a moment, even if it’s under false pretenses, truly bigger than a human being.”

Always. So. Restless.

Baby bottle Bong

Last night…

So I got off early because I had the opening shift and was sitting around the living room with Matthew and was probably eyeing the bottle of weed on the table, trying to resist what was either my natural urge, or had become my natural urge because I was truly an addict after all these years. I’d hit up Chris because I had finished reading his script and I knew he wanted to discuss it and I did too, but I also wanted to avoid that horrible feeling of sitting alone in the living room all afternoon, using Matthew having the laptop as a pathetic excuse for why I couldn’t work on anything and instead getting into that weed, smoking a bowl, and therefore sealing my fate of another evening slowly ticking by as I struggled to remain conscious, barely having enough motivation to get up off the couch and out of removed inner monologue bliss, the only thing I could really look forward to being the nightly smoke session that would happen when we all convened around eleven…

So Chris showed up and thank god, I now have an afternoon activity and something productive also. After briefly chatting in the living room I suggested that we grab dinner at the pizza place down the road which really excites me because it’s a very cozy place with lots of comforting atmosphere, a fireplace and TV screens and the vibe of non-chain pizzerias, and really, eating in cozy places with friends is all I care about in this world. The walk there is nice, still warm as usual, and we get there and settle in, discussing the script. It’s nice and when the mini-pizza I ordered arrived, it’s adorable and it tastes pretty good too. The ideas start flying more, but I wasn’t getting drunk on creativity yet.

We walk back, the night now taking over, painfully beautiful as all hell like always, and the conversation starts to get better. I start making a passionate point about the darkness of my art, and as I do I grab Chris by the shoulders and shake him and emphasize my words and he recoils and acts genuinely timid and it reminds me of the sweetness instilled in people by growing up in peaceful idyllic suburban neighborhoods, but I know he can beat some ass when he wants to and I know he’s strong in spirit and this reaction fascinates me and I find him interesting.

When we get back, the conversation is getting better and that bottle of weed is still taunting me on the table. The thing is, there isn’t much of it, enough for a few small bowls, and I know that the later nighttime will be hell if I run out of it. Such a routine it has become to smoke at night that I literally have no clue what to do with myself when we don’t have any. I check with a friend to see if he has more for sale and he says he does so I pack the bowl and the already escalating conversation jumps up a notch. Now the verbal back and forth begins and I’m reminded of our earlier times together spent writing a script, nights soaked in creative idealism.

I’m starting to pitch my anti-sex viewpoints which I know can’t leave my mouth without immediately mutating into comedy routines once the air touches them, and yet they are rooted in some demented truth and I need to get them off my chest. But I talk and rant and run through them and when the inevitable arguments come back, I agree with his rebuttals and am forced to look at how much all of this nonsense is strictly just to entertain, how much of me is strictly just to entertain. Still, I’ve met not one other person on this Earth who thinks the act of intercourse is an insanely intimate and close gesture on a mind-boggling level, and thinks that it should be reserved for extremely special connections, lest it become a heartbreaking moment of sharing something with someone, and then having it dismissed as casual. I am every girl’s nightmare. I am a tortured high school student’s wet dream of a writer. Maybe one day my books will save all the little Jasons out there.

Our ideas are getting good, the topics are getting good, and we’re both interested in fame dissection, my one and only specialty, so I’m really losing it now. Unfortunately, Chris has to leave and this illustrates how badly I don’t want people to ever leave me, and now I’m headed into the bathroom with headphones so that I can lock the door and spastically bang my head to Eminem songs I’ve heard ad nauseam in glorious undisturbed teenage passion. Harry is coming over, thank fucking god, and I know he’s supposed to be here soon so I stick my head out of the bathroom, paranoid he’s arrived and yes, there he is.

At this point I’ve got the buzz of rap music in me, as well as a couple bowls and the stimulation of conversation I actually appreciate, so these, combined with my absurd level of comfort with Harry have caused me to be a goddamn rocket ship. I sit him down and tell him that a have a plan: we’re going to go to Target and we have to pick something out to buy and it doesn’t matter how much or how little it is, and it doesn’t have to be one thing for each of us, we just simply have to walk out of there with something. I say this with such conviction, such sense of purpose, and such a childlike enthusiasm for how fun it’s going to be, that I can see it’s had an effect on him and he says ‘You’re crazy, man’ in a very genuine way that makes me feel good about myself as a person. I’m losing it now as I see the effect that being in control of the situation has and I picture myself taking the same take charge, here’s-the-plan approach with girls, something I never do and I practically swoon and fall over thinking about how much all these fucking girls would love me if I actually just gave a shit and tried for two seconds of my life.

Into the car, where I’m begging for rap music to escape and off we go, Harry stopping at Taco Bell first, and I’m so distant and high that I don’t even remember him placing his order. Then, proximity and closing times change the destination from Target to K-mart, which is even more exciting, as I’ve always thought K-mart was the absolute king of cozy department stores, and in fact my short time spent working at one back in New Jersey around Christmas time provided some of the most gleeful and actual-work-free shifts I’ve ever had.

Now we’re inside, with the plan now being to buy a toy to surprise Matthew with and this excites both of us greatly. Where is the toy aisle? I haven’t been in this one much and so my eyes scan the aisles until I see it’s all the way at the other end of the store, down past about three aisles. I look back at Harry and ask him if he wants to run over there, and, barely waiting for a response, I take off, and man, oh man, do I feel light as a feather, like there’s nothing to me, like it’s possible to go fast, so much faster than I ever have, and the aisles are filled with colorful products, cleaning products in bright reds and greens and blues start zooming by my face as I tear off, and those fake artificial lights are so bright and comforting and when I arrive at the toys I’m out of breath and realize I just had more fun than I have in years and years and years.

There’s usually only one prime toy aisle, possibly two, the ones that hold the action figures. In this one it’s just one aisle, so we begin the search, and if you ever want to feel safe, all you have to do is go to a department store’s toy aisle and just hang around. Like a big hug from the world, all the colorful packaging and plastic versions of characters. We hunt a bit, but nothing jumps out, and after wasting a few minutes I’m about to decide on some Ninja Turtle mouser figures, but I realize we’re very broke and the ten dollars I’m going to spend on them might just get me chastised for poor judgment and I don’t want to have that moment so I put them back. Candy, then?

They’re closing now and the lights are shutting off, so I run off, playing up the manic nature of it all, saying they’re pissed at us, and looking for candy. White fudge covered pretzels. Yes. That’s it. When we get to the front after running around the aisles, there’s one cashier and a long line. Everything in my high body is begging to eat the pretzels, such an aching throb that it’s almost sexual. The line moves slowly, but eventually I pay and eat the pretzels with no sense of actually enjoying them, no sense of digestion, just shoving them down mechanically, like a machine, until they’re gone and I’m left with a stomach ache.

We park, listen to some rap music that I zone out to perfectly, and then go inside. Damn. Matthew is watching Breaking Bad in the living room with Topher. I’m too wound up to sit here so it’s back to the bathroom with headphones on to go spastic. I’m also realizing there’s no more weed. When I emerge, the living room is still full, so I lock myself in my room, and go fucking ape shit to dubstep, rap, and pop (the holy trinity). I bob around wildly, flailing with a complete lack of grace that makes my untainted inner child painfully obvious, but I also feel the deep, natural rhythm that begs to get out but doesn’t know how. Dubstep drops, and curvy bodies on women. Both inspire such pounding lust that I don’t know how to express it. It’s like a tsunami trying to fit through a keyhole.

I know now that there is nothing but more drug stimulation, but there’s no more weed, and I’m so desperate I almost consider popping the shroom chocolate I have, but then remember they’re sacred and that I should plan it better. I sidle up next to Harry on the couch and ask for pain pills. I hold my hand out and beg for one and ooze childish obnoxiousness and eventually sliding him a ten dollar bills gets me one and a half pills that I pop and retire to my bed, peaceful and eventually feeling the subtle throb of pleasure slowly well up as I lay there motionless, finally gone in detached bliss.

Too much stimulation. I’m a dog you get worked up and then leave the room, me alone and still desperate to play. I’m a man with stumps for hands being masturbated by people who need to leave to go back to their lives while I paw at my genitals with rounded nubs, now desperate for orgasm and the accompanying peace. Always. So. Restless.

Miley Did It

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Yesterday I was at Venice Beach and I saw a guy wearing a shirt with Miley’s face, tongue out, and the word ‘twerk’ underneath. It seemed prophetic, especially being in the land that birthed Morrison, the place that started his journey into turning his face into something like the Pepsi logo. There it was. My money shot.

She did it. We all witnessed the birth of a new iconic image just like we did a few years back when Heath’s Joker premiered. Now you can’t walk five feet in Venice without seeing some street artist’s Joker painting, or his face on t-shirts. Now Miley is there. The tongue. The hair. The twerk. You’ll see her, and Heath, and Morrison all over Venice.

Seven years after I started it, I feel like I’ve amassed enough information to finally rewrite and finish my famecancer thesis – the definitive statement on my one true, perverted dream/goal, an analysis of how things become permanent icons in our cultural lexicon, and a dissection of why someone would want to chase that status as well as a look at society’s relationship with rock stars/lightning rod figures and why we need them.

If I can get this thesis to my liking, it will be the first part of my life’s work completed. Part two, of course, is using my blueprint to break through the system with my own iconic moment. But getting this essay written properly will still mean putting years and years and years of obsessive thought on one, and only one, subject to good use.

It started with studying the Doors just before leaving Cali, and it ended with Hannah Mon-fucking-tana.

Vitamin C’s “Friends Forever”

vitamin-c-graduation

So I was watching Vitamin C’s ‘Friends Forever’ video on Youtube (insert your own punchline here), a song I now have an odd relationship with since I used the instrumental to make my first solo rap song of all time, but I digress, and I started looking at the comments section. A comment that got a lot of thumbs up was:

Am I the only one who can’t wait to get the fuck out of high school, go on my own and not look back at anyone?

And then one of the replies to it was:

You are saying that NOW, but will completely and absolutely want those years back when you are in your 30′s and realize how very easy your life truly was when you were younger, and how good you really had it compared to the daily struggle when you are an “adult”. I know that it may not seem like that now that you are in high-school, but I PROMISE YOU that as you get older, what I am saying will be the God’s-honest-truth.

This paragraph hit me hard as it seemed to be the perfect way to sum up one of the odd post-30 feelings I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around. My life IS as easy as it was in high school. I’ve got the same damn job and I listen to if not the exact same music, then music in the exact same genre, I have the same not-a-care-in-the-world hang out sessions and joy rides with friends, and the one thing in my life that calls for the most responsibility is basically me trying to get paid to embody the spirit of adolescence on stage for a most-likely adolescent audience to eat up.

I feel like I was lied to as a kid. If you don’t want a serious relationship, a wife, kids and a family, etc, you can pretty much have those glorious life-is-a-breeze teenage freedom years forever. OK, so maybe it’s up in the air how I’ll feel about all in this in ten years, even with possible massive success, but the Jason-ness has definitely shown resilience and one eerily prophetic lyric off ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2′, “turned 40 and still sag, teenagers act more fucking mature, Jack”, would seem to be a specter of Christmas Future indicating I could be a 40-year-old in a bathrobe rapping about drugs.

But for now?

I feel weird as fuck. IT’S LIKE I FIGURED OUT SOME GODDAMN CHEAT CODE FOR LIFE. The amount of freedom I have is simply overwhelming, especially as more and more weddings and babies pop up from my peers in my news feed.

I dunno, what do you guys think?

This is Jason, the weird teenager in the back of the class, now the weird 30-year-old roaming around Hollywood, signing off…

Devour Us, O Master Flow

iStock_000010211692XSmall-flowing-river

I’m the one who sits by the side of the river and watches the flow pass by. This was written all over me my whole life, easily read by all the teachers who saw it and encouraged more involvement, greater challenges, and even more easily read once it was literally written on me, with everyone who gazed upon my ‘quiet observer’ tattoos instantly recognizing the truth of the label.

I’ve spent my whole life watching the flow rush by until my biggest accomplishment was turning myself into the definitive statement on non-involvement, a walking blueprint for steering clear of the river. People say I look young, but it has nothing to do with the physical appearance. They can tell I’ve never really jumped in, my bone-dry clothes giving off the air of an unopened toy. They can appreciate that I’m still in the package (there is a certain novelty to the pristine gleam of something untouched), but still think that the purpose of a toy is to be played with, thrown around, broken in some way but not destroyed, simply given the feel of having its edges roughed up by adventure.

So it goes that the flow is very appealing to most. Oftentimes people come and join me at my place by the side of the river. We get to talking and I let myself be an open ear for them. When their stories or problems come tumbling out, it’s always exclusively because of their time spent in the flow. It seems to upset them, and I try to offer advice, but I can’t truly, can only give an inexperienced opinion whose ineffective nature is hopefully balanced out by its raw honesty. I’ve seen the pointless nature of the flow, as some, maybe more than we think, have, seen how no matter how much it tosses you around it all leads to a waterfall in the end, throwing you over the cliff with complete disregard for all the work you put in to get that far. It makes it difficult for me to not exasperatedly tell them to just leave the flow, to stay here with me on the side of the river, but I’m not naïve enough to think the false nature of the flow makes the waves any less terrifying, so I know to tell them it doesn’t matter would be dismissive to the power of the river, to how fast it runs by, how deeply it affects.

Sometimes when people sit with me in my spot, when we’re both watching the flow pass by but not entering it, I get the sense that they are the same, that they’d prefer to not jump in and take instead the peace of observing as I have. It is in these moments that I’m forced to look at how lonely the spot by the side of the river may be, as my heart rustles at having a companion, a hand to hold on to as I struggle to remain un-swept away by it all, but the next time I see them, when their clothes are wet, dampened from having leapt in again, I realize how undeniable it is to this species, and try my best to hold back my resentment, the sting of losing another to the great torrent.

Especially lonely is the male who chooses to ignore the flow, as its tendencies run parallel to courtship. Females have no choice in entering the madness. Even the tiniest shred of beauty causes the intrinsically shallow nature of the flow to perk up, hands grabbing wildly at hair and arms, dragging girls kicking and screaming into interaction. This, of course, makes the females smarter, more sculpted by the tide, eroded, molded and made into competent, or at the least, more experienced, swimmers. But while they may not have a choice to enter, they all love the aggression of the flow in their very fiber. DNA strands twist and curl around the essential pull strings of the heart and make them respond to their natural state of being. It’s strictly a cosmetic victory, us having escaped the label of animals, and we still purr, engines whirring beneath the surface when we are stroked to the liking of our gender, undeniable and pure. The male proves himself by jumping into the flow, by knowing how to handle it. He who looks at the water with no fear, and instead knows how to expertly cut through the waves with hands like flesh daggers, will reap the benefits of a planet of women whose human shackles, whether they know it or not, are sending out desperate cries for adept swimmers every second.

To see the reaction to males willing to churn against the tide is to know that your role of observer, the title that seems to be at the beating heart of you, appoints you a complete antithesis of what makes the feminine side of the species tick in general. There is a great terror that cuts through any supposed nihilistic loopholes discovered from looking at the flow pass by for so many years, one that says an observer looking for love is a battle against nature itself.

Or love may be the only crutch, the beacon of idealism showing the way through the cloudy, misty fog that hangs over the water most times, and this, perhaps, explains humanity’s undying obsession with picking at it endlessly through various mediums of entertainment. To hear our inexhaustible rolodex of songs and stories dedicated to what should be our most overused plot device is to know what is truly special about love: its ability to dismiss the rigid rules of the flow, to make it OK for two people to sit side by side along the river, naked and for once actually breathing, calmed by the rare removal of the mask, the backstage time between endless nightly shows for the benefit of society.

Mostly though, I am alone here, watching everyone else either gleefully or logically jump in and get swept along. It IS a logical decision to jump in, one as devoid of opinion as plugging in a machine to make it work. The mistake here is thinking the rebels are doing something to dismiss the flow. Anyone who jumps in, even those who fight desperately, gasping as their bodies beat against the natural current, is helping the flow along. Involvement is involvement. We talk a lot about our great thinkers, artists, poets, but without them making some kind of effort to join in, we would never hear of them. The view from the side of the river does offer a unique perspective, but it means nothing without the discovery of it. Those who change our culture have balanced enough time in and outside the river to try and change the flow with their altered viewpoint. Those who simply revel in the epiphanies of non-involvement are our mad, our introverted, our forgotten, ornaments that would dazzle if only they were to be actually hung on the tree for all to see.

Devoted to a life of placid perfection, I have yelped at the cold slap in the face when I have, in those rare moments, deviated and left my spot at the side of the river. My interactions with girls have left my jaw agape simply from the feeling of being connected, from having some stake in how the water turns and bends. How easy it is to laugh heartily at all the swimmers as beads of distraught sweat form on them, knowing their troubles come only from their consent at entering the system, and how jarring is it then to feel yourself hopelessly caught in that same flow, desperate to know how to navigate, salty water in your mouth, a lifetime of regret pouring over you, seeing the one who made you feel something torn away, that cold slab of inevitability in your stomach suddenly letting you know that her very inclusion in our species makes certain rules unavoidable. Yes, that is my true pain with females, the burning regret of a man who continuously snubbed swimming lessons for years upon years, mocking them viciously with everything he had in his heart, only to learn that success only comes with jumping into the water.

This mockery I’ve worked so hard to make my hallmark always comes so easily until the day you start to wonder what the water feels like, realizing that the chains of the species are shackled on your wrists as well. Your sneering dissection of the painfully obvious false nature of it all starts to wane in the face of its sheer power. Fake it may be, but it is still the entire reason for this world operating, the gasoline of the automobile of life, and in the end, horrifically, you get the sense that idealism is nothing more than walking around, saying over and over again, with a heart full of desperation to convince everyone, but mostly yourself, that a car can run just fine without any gas.

Worse, you get the sense that this image is achingly devoid of originality, that the disciple of noninvolvement has already devolved into a Hollywood cliché, with endless stories preaching the fun to be had when the repressed observer decides to jump in. Our culture is stuffed with various religious pamphlets displaying the glory of bowing down before the flow. As you mature, you can develop the right kind of body to feel the ground pulsating beneath you, hand extended, asking you to take it and join in the game. Any statements leaking a bitter attitude over this entire experience being a game are relegated to the ones on the side of the river, dutifully dismissed for their hopelessly puerile and bright-eyed attitude towards the way things are, or should I say, the way things ought to be.

That’s what is at the nucleus of me and any like me, a bruised and bloody forehead from banging our skulls against the undeniable flow, stuck on that word ‘ought’ like a teenager with an unrequited crush. The flow is meant for, and rewards handsomely, those who accept the rushing river as the way things ARE, and then accept the imperfections and learn how to slice through them.

But no matter the attitude of those who jump in, we all get devoured by the flow, chewed up and eaten by existence, tossed and thrown around after having given our consent to be a part of things. It’s a beautiful monster whose cage we throw ourselves into, and our love for it can be seen in how we proudly display the marks its claws left. Everywhere you go you can see the stories of people who have been mutilated by the beast, selling those bloody marks as proof that they DID IT, got out there, rassled with the monster, and got their check mark of having accomplished the one true life experience, the one that proves you were here, the one signature that everyone seems to want in their yearbook of life: involvement.

So what can I, the one constantly by the side of the river with only a few minor scratches from the beast, tell you? You’ll meet a lot of people in this world, all with different personalities, and thoughts, and feelings, but you’ll notice, when you know what to look for, that they all have wet clothes and scars from playing in the water. And if you haven’t jumped in yet, they’ll sit there with you a bit, chew on your perspective, maybe even revel in the similarities for a moment, but they will always, always see your dry clothes and jump back in, looking to get slapped around by the gorgeous, unpredictable deluge, waving their hands with frantic glee as they look back to the shore, inviting you to come join in.

Still I sit, ignoring their pleas, some darkly stubborn part of my heart making me see their invitation as fake, while the idealism does its best to suppress the pounding, shameful jealousy that whimpers under layers of arrogant nihilism, always reminding me that simply by being human, my eyes will always betray me, wandering towards the river with an inherent curiosity.

Still I sit.