Steve & Mabel – Destruction of a Love Story in Three Parts

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PART ONE:

 “Guess what? I’ve got AIDS!”

This was the first thing Steve said as soon as he walked in the living room. Mabel jerked her head up violently.

“What?! Oh no! We just had unprotected sex six days ago!”

Steve laughed. “I don’t actually have AIDS. I just wanted to get your attention. We’re all out of ketchup.”

Mabel stopped, apparently confused. “Oh, um…I think we have some in the fridge.”

“Oh, um…I think we have some in the fridge,” Steve repeated mockingly. He opened up the fridge door and started noisily rustling around the items inside.

“Hmm, interesting. There’s none in here. Like I just said.”

“Oh.” Mabel still appeared dazed. “I guess I could go buy some.”

“You know what? Don’t bother.”

Steve walked out into the garage, grabbed a hammer, and, seemingly impervious to the pain, started whacking away at the back of his right hand. Mabel burst through the garage door, incredulous.

“Steve! What the fuck are you doing?!”

“Oh, nothing, Mabel. I’m just going to get some ketchup for my goddamn fries.”

“Fries? But there aren’t any-”

Oven!” Steve screamed with much conviction.

Mabel ran to the oven and discovered there were indeed fries in there. She put on an oven mitt and took them out.

Just then Steve ran into the kitchen clutching his hand, which was ridiculously bruised and leaking blood. Swirling his hand above the tray of fries, he splattered blood all over them until it resembled ketchup.

“Well, I hope this tastes good!”

Steve shoved a huge amount of fries into his mouth with his good hand and started screaming, mouth still full, “You made me do this! You made me do this!

Later that day, when Steve was in the hospital for his hand, Mabel called her mother to say she was having some marital problems.

In the evening, the estimate the doctor gave them for the surgery made them realize they wouldn’t be able to afford their retirement home anymore. Mabel cried.

Steve farted. It smelled.

PART TWO

Steve and Mabel had moved from their house to a smaller, modest, yet quaint apartment. It’d been a few months since the incident with Steve taking a hammer to his hand had caused Mabel much mental stress. They’d had their problems in the past, sure, but nothing like this. Steve smashing his hand with a hammer just to drizzle blood on his fries because they were out of ketchup? It made her mind reel just to look back on it. Her parents, her mother in particular, had pleaded with her afterwards to give up on Steve, her reasons plentiful and legit. The whole reason they’d had to move to the apartment was because the surgery to fix Steve’s hand had been so costly. But Mabel was an old-fashioned woman, and prided herself on being so, so she stuck by her man and tried to work it out.

There were little oddities that seemed to pop up here and there. Nothing as extreme as the hammer incident, but things that still made her wonder what was going on with her husband. She’d caught him talking a little too intently to their house plants a few times, and once she had come home to find Steve blaring obnoxious dance music and smashing various items from around the apartment, yelling, ‘Dance party!’ every time he did so. She was glad they never had kids. She wouldn’t know how to explain these things, being as that she had no clue herself. She’d asked Steve about therapy, and he’d refused. The lapses between these episodes were normal enough, albeit boring, that she let herself sink into a state of passive acceptance.

She missed the sense of romance that used to exist between them, as well as an active social life. Steve seemed content watching TV most nights, so she tried to plan fun activities for them like nights out or times like tonight, when she had invited Roger and Tess, a married couple and two of their oldest friends, over the house for dinner. When events like this were planned, Mabel always silently hoped Steve wouldn’t have one of his episodes. It would be so embarrassing and she had worked so hard to keep their private problems just that – private.

Judging by how this morning had gone, this was not to be one of those days.

Another one of Steve’s oddities was that he would, without anything actually tripping him up or happening to him at all, suddenly scream, ‘Oh shit!’, and then fling himself to the floor or against an object of furniture. Again, there was no explanation for it, and the cackle of peculiar laughter that Steve emitted afterwards was always a little creepy.

This was how she awoke this morning. She heard the familiar scream, ‘Oh shit!’, and then a loud crash. As she rushed into the living room, she found Steve splayed out over their coffee table.

“Goddamn it, Mabel, how many times have I told you this coffee table is in a bad spot?”

Mabel was confused. “It’s always been in the same spot. It’s in the middle of the living room. There’s plenty of room to go around it.”

“Oh, is there? Interesting, considering I almost just broke my fucking neck tripping over it. I guess I’ll have to set fire to it.”

“What?!”

“Yup. No other possible solution comes to mind. I’ll take it outside and light it up. Hey! It might be fun to make an Indian headband or something and dance around it while it’s on fire!”

Steve’s excitement over this idea was childlike, and if it weren’t for the disturbing weirdness of the scene, it might have been endearing to Mabel. She was only slightly getting used to these episodes and still trying to figure out how to deal with them. Would she be able to get through this, or would her marriage fail as so many of her friends’ had?

She decided on a stern, motherly tone. “Steve, you’re not going to do that. We’ve got company coming over tonight, remember? Roger and Tess will be by around six and I’m cooking a nice meal for us.”

“It’s not turkey feces, is it?” Steve asked this with much irritation in his voice. Mabel almost burst out laughing.

“No, Steve! Why would you say such a thing? I’m making a roast with some mashed potatoes and vegetables. You know, your favorite.”

Steve paused. “Well, that sounds agreeable. I’ll have to go and shower then. Will you take care of setting fire to the coffee table?” He paused, looking at her with much seriousness. “Outside, of course.”

“No, no one is setting fire to our coffee table. We’ll need it to entertain tonight. Now please, go and shower. I’m going to start on the roast.”

Steve looked like he was about to say something, but then turned and headed towards the bathroom. Mabel shook her head. She was about to be grateful for that being the end of it when she heard Steve calling to her.

“Mabel? I’ve got some bad news I forgot to tell you. This morning, before you got up, I was simultaneously looking at a picture of your sister and petting the cat, and I got a boner. Not sure which one caused it, but either way it can’t be good.”

Mabel frowned. This statement greatly worried her. They didn’t have a cat. She silently told herself to just get through this dinner, to prove that she could maintain a normal lifestyle.

* * * * *

Evening rolled around quickly, with Steve keeping to himself and Mabel putting all of her mental efforts into making sure the meal turned out well. Around quarter past six, the door knocked, and she opened it to find Roger and Tess in high spirits.

“Mabel, my girl! How are you?” Roger’s voice was booming. He was an enthusiastic, barrel-chested man, bulky and full of life. He embraced her.

“I’m just fine, Roger, thanks for coming over. Tess, you look wonderful!”

“Thank you, dear.” Tess was done up to the nines, and it seemed there was a hope of this dinner going smoothly after all. Of course, Steve had not yet entered. As if on cue, he came bounding down the stairs. Mabel was pleased to see he looked nice, wearing a button down shirt and khakis.

“Roger! Tess! How are you?”

He ran over to Roger and shook his hand, then immediately pulled back, wincing.

“Ow! Jesus, Roger, you and those goddamn gorilla paws of yours! Careful! Don’t you know I just had surgery?”

“Did you? We didn’t hear anything about it. We haven’t talked in so long.”

Mabel nervously cut in. “Oh, it’s no big deal, Steve is healing just fine.” She was desperate to keep the madness a secret.

“No big deal? I had to smash my hand with a goddamn hammer just so I could substitute blood for ketchup because Mabel forgot to buy it!” He paused. “It didn’t even taste good!”

Roger and Tess burst out laughing at this statement, the absurdity of it apparently making it seem like a joke. Mabel was grateful for this.

“Well, that doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea, now does it, Tess? Maybe the next time we run out of lemonade, I’ll just unzip and make us a few glasses, eh?”

Tess playfully swatted at Roger, while Mabel blushed. She had forgotten about Roger’s boisterous sense of humor. He laughed like a madman for about a minute, amused at his own joke. Steve’s eyes seemed to have lit up after hearing it, and he went tearing off into the kitchen.

“I’ll make us some right now!”

Oh God, please no, Mabel thought. She rushed into the kitchen and found Steve was already urinating into a wine glass.

“Steve! Stop that right now!” She rushed over, full of purpose, and yanked the glass away from him. His urine started spraying onto the floor.

“Jesus fucking Christ Mabel, you’re spilling the lemonade all over the floor!”

Mabel couldn’t take it. She burst out crying right there. What had happened to her husband? Steve zipped up and went back to Roger and Tess and she worked quickly to clean the floor. By the time they got into the kitchen, it was clean, and she just said Steve had spilled something. Steve kept his mouth shut.

* * * * *

Surprisingly, nothing odd happened after that and the conversation was pleasant. They asked about moving to the apartment, and Mabel quickly wove a story of times being tough and doing away with things they didn’t need. She didn’t know if it was convincing, she was just hoping Steve wouldn’t do anything else.

They all sat down at the dining room table together. Mabel’s meal had turned out fantastic. Roger was full of energy, telling lots of stories with much energy, and in general the mood was upbeat and normal. Midway through the meal, Steve excused himself to go to the bathroom. After a few minutes, they all heard a crash.

“Ow! My fucking shin! That is it! I have had it with this goddamn coffee table!”

Mabel put her head in her hands, knowing this would be the start of something bad. A second later, there was the sound of a window breaking. They all rushed over to the living room to find Steve shirtless, panting, with the window smashed and the coffee table lying out in front of the apartment.

“Phew! Sorry guys, but that damn thing kept getting in the way. If you’ll excuse me for a moment, I need to go outside and burn it.”

He walked outside and left the three of them standing there, shocked.

“Mabel, what the hell is going on?” Roger barked. His voice was gruff with concern. Mabel wondered how she could even begin to explain this bizarre behavior. What was wrong? She was going to attempt to come up with some meager explanation when she heard, ‘Oh shit!’ and suddenly, Steve’s body came smashing through another window and landed on the carpet.

“Jesus! Now the whole apartment is in the way! Well, don’t worry guys! I’ll take care of it!”

No one even knew how to react as Steve ran into another room and came back with a large hammer. ‘Oh Christ, he’s going for his hand again!‘ Mabel thought, but Steve began smashing holes in the walls left and right, looking like a possessed teenager in a mosh pit until Roger tackled him from behind.

* * * * *

The landlord came after hearing many different complaints about noise and strange activity and, upon surveying the damage, told them they were going to have to move out. Mabel was reduced to a sobbing mess as Roger and Tess tried to comfort her, saying she could stay at their place as long as she needed to. Roger turned to Steve, furious.

“Steve! Look at your wife! What the hell is going on with you?! Do you have any explanation for this madness?!”

Steve paused for a moment. His eyes looked contemplative. For about a minute, he seemed to be lost in thought. Everyone was eagerly awaiting a response, and from the looks of his face, it seemed like he might actually have something to say.

Then, just as he turned towards them, he let out an enormously loud and wet sounding fart. It went on for at least thirty seconds. After it was over, Steve looked Mabel in the eye.

“Definitely just shit my pants. Chocolate cake, anyone?”

Mabel’s sobs erupted as loud as fire engines. Roger and Tess both hugged her. The whole apartment smelled.

PART THREE

Mabel had been on her own for a few months now, living in a studio apartment in a quiet part of town. After the horrendous dinner party where Steve had thrown the coffee table out the window and destroyed the apartment with hammers, she finally had to admit to herself it was time to leave him. It was not an easy move for her at all.

She had been with Steve for so long, forever it seemed like, that she wasn’t sure if she even knew how to live alone. The idea had frightened her whenever she thought about it, so much so that she had put up with Steve’s increasingly odd behavior for longer than seemed logical. She could not get over the feeling nagging at her heart that she still loved Steve, and that no matter what he did, he would be the one for her. She hated herself, truly despised at moments even, for being so old fashioned and thinking that divorce was a choice worse than death. That was how she had been brought up. She wasn’t sure which was harder to wrap her mind around: dismissing her traditional values, or actually walking away from the man she loved enough to marry.

Mabel had slowly been adjusting to life on her own in the apartment. She’d taken up painting as a way to try and relax, and the apartment was scattered with various canvases displaying her artwork. She didn’t think she was that good, but it was enjoyable. She liked showing the new paintings she’d done to friends when they came over the apartment, as it gave her a small sense of pride.

She would go out from time to time, trying to be social, and spend some time with friends in bars or restaurants. A couple of her friends tried to get her to date new guys, but everyone knew it was too soon. They could all see it in her face. The days weren’t that bad, but at night she hated sleeping alone and couldn’t help thinking of Steve and the nights she had fallen asleep with his arms wrapped around her. At times she missed him so badly that she was willing to completely overlook all of his disturbing behavior. She supposed these were the effects of the shackles of love, and tried to push everything down inside and not get in contact with him.

Eventually she realized she couldn’t do it anymore. She just couldn’t stand walking in the door after a day of work to a small, empty apartment. Her friends were all very supportive and tried to offer her as much of their time as they could, but there was just something about the arms of a husband that couldn’t be replaced.

She thought back to the night when Steve had ruined their apartment and how even then, through eyes clouded with tears, she had stood up for her man, saying they had been having a domestic dispute and that she wasn’t injured and didn’t want to press charges. Roger and Tess were appalled by Steve’s behavior and had told her he should be locked up or put in a mental hospital, but the idea of that had been too much for her. She had worked hard to make the cops think nothing had happened beyond property damage, and agreed to pay for any damages and leave the apartment. Then, in the hardest moment of her entire life, she told Steve she was going to leave him and live on her own.

A few months later, after she was set up in the studio apartment, she had gotten a letter from Steve saying that he had also found a new living situation, that he was doing just fine, and that if she ever wanted to stop by she could. His address was listed at the bottom of it. Every single one of her friends said they thought it was a bad idea and chastised her for even thinking about it. She hated herself for wanting to go so badly and spent most of her lonely nights trying to fight the urge to do so, until one day she couldn’t take it anymore.

She wanted to see him and she didn’t care how anyone, even herself, felt about it.

Steve’s new place was in a part of town she had never been to before, and as she followed her printed out directions, she realized he was living in a bad neighborhood. As she looked around she saw that it was, to use an unflattering term, a ghetto. There was no other way to describe it.

Graffiti was everywhere and every storefront looked run down. Trash littered the streets and menacing looking characters seemed to be perched on every street corner. Mabel felt her heartbeat quicken-she wasn’t used to situations like this and was shocked this was the area Steve had chosen to live in. She felt compelled to turn around, taking this as an omen of this whole venture being a bad idea, but she couldn’t deny that she felt an odd surge of excitement, either from the idea of actually seeing Steve again or from being in an unfamiliar environment.

She found the address and was dismayed to find that the building looked even more run down than the other ones. It was the most unwelcoming place she had ever seen and it took all the courage she had to walk inside, past the young kids outside smoking what smelled like marijuana, and find Steve’s apartment number. She knocked on the door.

To her surprise, a massive African-American man opened the door. He was huge, with bulging muscles and a shaved head with a bandanna tied around it, dressed in an extremely tight tank top and basketball shorts. What appeared to be a thin cigar hung from his lips, letting out smoke that Mabel once again recognized as marijuana. She was extremely nervous as he stared at her in confusion.

“Sup?”

“Um…is, uh, Steve here?” She had never heard her voice sound so uncertain or afraid.

He looked at her quizzically. Then, suddenly, his face lit up with a touch of amusement. “Oh, you mean Dr. Blown Out Bootyhole?”

She had no idea what to say to this statement and was struggling to come up with a response when she was abruptly jolted by the sound of a familiar voice coming from somewhere inside the apartment.

“Dontarious? You out there? We need some more toilet paper. I used an entire roll trying to sop up the blood spilling out of my anus! We should either go buy a ton at Costco for cheap, or you need to stop hammering me so hard!”

He then laughed a laugh that was very familiar to Mabel, and a second later there her husband was, looking quite different. His hair had been done in a style Mabel thought was called ‘cornrows’, and he had the same bandanna tied around his head as the large black man, apparently named Dontarious, did. He was wearing a basketball jersey and baggy pants.

“Ay yo, man, this white chick just showed up looking for you. Is this your wifey you were telling me about?”

Steve’s face lit up in a way that made him seem familiar despite his strange appearance. “Mabel! You’ve come to visit! Come in!”

He hugged her enthusiastically and pulled her inside. The apartment was a wreck, and all she could smell was the pungent odor of marijuana. She sat down on a couch that looked very unsanitary.

“This is…where you’re living now?” she asked.

“Yup! My own private paradise!”

“And this is…your roommate?” She looked tentatively towards Dontarious.

“Well, yeah, but he’s so much more than that! Mabel, meet Dontarious, my roommate, lover and rap partner!”

Dontarious extended his hand to Mabel, who could barely function, as she was still reeling from Steve’s statement. “Your husband has a sweet ass. I been tearing it up.”

She simply could not find the words. Jaw agape, she sat horrified, as Steve continued with the energy of a young child: “Dontarious has been showing me the ropes of the rap game! I don’t know if I ever told you this Mabel, but black people have always fascinated me! I always wondered what the rap life was all about, and now I’ve been finding out! First, I got a cool rap name, because no one uses their real names in rap! The one Dontarious gave to me is Dr. Blown Out Bootyhole, because he says I have a PhD in ‘getting my ass all tore up’, as he puts it. Here’s a promo picture we took.”

He handed Mabel a picture. It was of Steve with a backwards hat on, and nothing else. He was bent over in front of the camera with his anus exposed, and the words ‘Docta Blown Out Bootyhole‘ were written in some crude font that was difficult to read. Mabel knew in her heart that this had been an awful mistake and she fought back the tears she was now so used to as she realized her husband was truly losing his mind, and caught up in something she couldn’t even comprehend.

“Steve, I have to go…” Her voice was choked and timid.

“Oh, nonsense! You just got here! Anyway, let me tell you about the amazing things that have been happening. A few weeks ago, I had sex for the first time ever!”

Even through her fear and pain, Mabel balked at this statement. “But Steve, we had sex so many times…”

“Oh, I know, but I’m talking about anal sex, something we never did. Let me tell you, the feeling of having a penis go up your asshole is amazing! It seems like so many guys are afraid of it, but I thought it was incredible! And when the hot semen blasts up there, it’s as comforting a feeling as wrapping yourself in warm laundry straight out of the dryer!”

He paused and looked at her. “Have you ever done that? Not anal sex, but wrapping yourself in warm clothes?”

She held back tears. Steve’s casual nature of dispersing information this abnormal and upsetting was beyond disturbing. She suddenly felt trapped in a situation her old fashioned mind didn’t even know how to grasp. She had to get out of here. The smoke from Dontarious’ cigar bothered her eyes and nose and made her feel weird.

“Ay yo, Docta Blown Out! You wanna show your wifey how we get down around here?” He gave Steve a look that made Mabel’s skin crawl.

Steve’s attitude was jovial. “Well, I don’t know. I think I’m still kind of bleeding from last time.” He chuckled. Mabel tried to find the courage to stand and leave the couch.

“I don’t give a fuck. I told you if you were gonna crash here it was gonna be prison rules. Wifey can watch. It kinda turns me on.”

Before Mabel could even process what was happening, Dontarious grabbed Steve with his massive hands and flung him over the countertop in the kitchen. Steve’s baggy pants were ripped off of him, and suddenly Mabel’s eyes bulged as she watched this incredibly large and buff man stick a penis that was bigger than any one she’d ever seen inside of her husband’s anus. Steve gripped onto the counter and let out a gasp of air. Then Dontarious was a blur of rapid movement, jack hammering in and out so violently that Steve’s hands looked like they were gripping the counter for dear life.

He turned and looked Mabel in the eye with the most peculiar expression she’d ever seen on his face. “Wow! You really never get used to how big this thing is! Holy shit!” Mabel was a statue of quiet despair. After a few more minutes of the brutal assault on Steve’s anus and Mabel’s psyche, Steve started making sounds of real pain, almost screaming out one-syllable words.

“Here it comes,” Dontarious shouted. “You better take all this shit!”

“Mabel! The semen is coming!” And then Dontarious’ whole body shook as he let out a disgusting grunt of pleasure, Steve simultaneously letting out a high-pitched shriek. Steve collapsed to the floor. Dontarious exhaled and spoke with enthusiasm.

“That’s how you do it! That’s why you’s the docta! I’ma go take a shower and wash all this blood off my dick.”

He left the room, leaving Mabel staring at Steve, who was still lying on the ground. He slowly got up and walked over to the couch wobbly, as if he had two broken legs.

“Man, what a workout! Anyway, Mabel, it’s good to see you! How’s your new place?”

Mabel glared at him. Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore. “Steve! What the fuck is going on here? You used to be normal and now for months and months I’ve seen nothing but bizarre behavior from you! My heart can’t take this! What happened to our life together?! Tell me!

She screamed the last part in a way that was completely uncharacteristic for her reserved personality. Steve stared back at her, confused.

“Is this because you’re jealous of Dontarious? I’m sure he’d be just as willing to blow out your butt hole. You just need a cool name and we could be a rap duo!”

This response killed the last semblance of hope inside Mabel. All those months of longing for some kind of reconciliation with her husband died instantly. She felt an overpowering sense of bewildered disgust and stormed out of the apartment without saying a word.

That night, feeling more alone than she thought was possible, Mabel slit her wrists and bled to death in her quiet studio apartment. She felt she had no sort of grip on the world she lived in after what she had just witnessed. Around the same time the last drops of blood were draining from her wrist, Steve was once again dealing with a massive amount of blood leaking out of his anus.

Dabbing at it with a bulky wad of toilet paper that was quickly turning a dark crimson hue, he excitedly thought about how much material he was getting for his debut rap single. He was going to call it, ‘Strawberry Chocolate’, a slang term he came up with for what toilet paper usually looked like now after he used it. Suddenly, as he was wiping the blood, a dark turd slipped out and fell on the floor. Dontarious walked in a moment later, a disgusted look on his face. His whole bathroom smelled.

The Utter Terror of a Nation of Believers

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Recently, I was reading an article about Bernie Sanders being asked whether or not a President needs to believe in God. While he has been praised for his humanist answer, it wasn’t the part of the article that stuck with me. It referenced a study where it was discovered that 53% of Americans didn’t believe an atheist could be President, and, more so than that, was the most negative quality a candidate could have, even lower having an extramarital affair.

Never have I been so legitimately terrified of living on this planet.

We can debate the authenticity of online article statistics if you want, but it’s not the point. Regardless of what the exact number, I know how many people in this country feel this way, and hold God in such high esteem. What I don’t think these believers realize is that they are the luckiest, most overprivileged and spoiled people on the planet. I don’t know if they can even comprehend how insanely good they have it.

Believing in God should be a personal choice that means something to you in a way akin to how we feel about our favorite musicians, authors, and artists. While it’s true that my personal hope is to eliminate belief entirely for hope of a more connected, loving, and evolved society, I ofttimes have to admit the crushingly close-minded nature of this, and many atheist’s mindsets. If you want to go home and pray to God so that you can have a genuine moment of comforting solace as I might feel when listening to a Nirvana record, who am I to say you can’t?

Here’s the problem: living in this country as an atheist is similar to being forced to be a Nirvana fan, or being forced to be a fan of any artist for that matter. Were I to start screaming how a President should be able to appreciate Kurt Cobain’s lyrics to be effective, or that children should be reciting ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ lines before class everyone morning, or even that I wanted Mr. Cobain’s beautifully scruffy mug on the one dollar bill, I would be laughed at and told that these were absolutely ludicrous things to ask for.

Yet, as an atheist, I’m forced to buy my drugs with money that says I trust in God, have him mentioned in our national pledge, and have to deal with the fact that an overwhelming percentage of my fellow humans think believing in the sky man is one of the most important qualities a Presidential candidate could have.

Honestly, how would you feel if 53% of Americans thought a President needed to be able to vibe to The Doors instead of thinking of Jim Morrison’s lyrics as disposable pseudo-shaman garbage? Can you really tell me you wouldn’t be agape with horror over the planet you’re living on?

But how could you possibly compare dead rock stars to God?!’, you may cry. And therein lies the problem. Kurt Cobain has easily meant as much to me and given me as much inspiration as God has given to any believer, and yet you guys get to have your personal savior as an intrinsic building block of this country. You get to have him be ingrained in our collective conscious and held in such high regard that some people ‘Put God first’, even before their own children. You get to walk into the supermarket and buy a candy bar knowing that the government who controls everything has decided God is real enough to be on the pieces of paper that limit every facet of our existence.

Yes, I am a douchey atheist. I feel that believing in God is a weak, idiotic act that indicates such a gaping antithesis of logic at its core that it’s mind-boggling. I fret over seeing otherwise intelligent, capable adults cling to fairy tales with a white-knuckle tenacity while ritually dismissing Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, convinced of cloud palaces and fiery pits of hell a loving being made for his creations with a certainty that is horrifying. I want to destroy him in the mind of every person and have them put that worshipful energy into their fellow humans instead. I am aware that none of these thoughts even come close to approaching a place of originality and are the same old tired atheist arguments. But they are not the point.

Despite this hate, I do, as I said, concede you may as well be able to pray to God to feel better. But when such a large chunk of our species actually thinks a President needs to believe in such things to be effective, I can’t help but see it as the most blatant indicator of the dangers of belief ever. A President’s only concern should be the wellbeing of the people. His belief should be brought up maybe once or twice as a nicety, like finding out what kind of books Obama likes reading, but to have God be of this much importance to what people want in a leader is truly a scary thought.

Believers often get mad at how hard we go at them. Once again, it is douchey in its unchecked aggression. However, decades of intense atheists protests wouldn’t even come close to matching the stranglehold believers have on this existence of ours. We could fight for years and still wouldn’t be as ingrained into society as the concept of God is.

So all you believers should get down on your knees and thank the big guy that what you chose to get you through the day is so nationally validated, because living in this country as someone on the other side is, simply put, fucking terrifying.

Now, can I get ‘Light My Fire’ played every day before kids start school, please?

Synthetic Hearts Beat Not Defiant

Sex-Robots

Admittedly, I am a man who revels in the pleasures of objectification. While many men chose to get intoxicated on alcohol or liquor, I have always gotten drunk on feminine beauty. When I was a younger man and had just started making my fortune, I was lucky enough to win the attention of an extremely attractive young lady. I liked her simply because of how she looked and took great pleasure in being able to have her. I will always remember how that relationship, if you could call it that, ended, because it set in motion a path I continued down until it ruined me.

Storming out of my house with a furious sense of purpose, her final words were, “You don’t want a companion, you want a toy!” She said this with the blinding indignation of a woman who feels robbed of her humanity. I would paw away at her endlessly, simply inebriated over the formation of her body, smitten with the contours of her face. I have never understood what women find to look at in men. The curves of a woman’s figure are like the graceful swoops of a seasoned artist’s hand. To see a woman walk down the street is to see a living statue grace us with its presence.

Her statement stuck with me, not because I felt badly about it, but because it brought my sense of desire fully into focus. I had long been accused of being distant by everyone in my life, and believed this slightly removed, yet honed-in sense of focus and obsession was what made me such a success in the business world, and such a slave to my humanly wants. I found it irritating to have to deal with a woman’s personality in order to consume her beauty. It was a bit like having paintings in art museums talk back to you. Eventually, you’d end up screaming, ‘Please! I just want to enjoy what this wonderful artist has brought into this world in silence!’ I am reminded of my former lover’s complaints of the one sided, masturbatory nature of our interactions. To bring another’s needs and desires into it would simply take away from the utterly stupefying effects of focusing entirely on your own lust and treating a woman like a gorgeous object you wish to possess.

I felt no heartbreak after she left, but instead a kind of void that came from not having an outlet for my urges. I could have moved on to another, but at this point I was becoming quite the successful businessman, and was just starting to realize what money could actually do for you in this world of ours.

I became aware of a series of advanced sex toys called Real Dolls. These were life-size dolls made to look and feel exactly like a woman, complete with holes that were also supposed to feel congruent to the actual thing. With what I’ve told you, you would have thought this to be the exact solution to my problem. However, I had a serious issue with them not being alive. It would seem the source of my, fetish, I suppose you could call it, was robbing a living creature of its importance as a human. While I originally thought I found the interaction irritating, it was actually what was driving it all along. I loved that they wanted me to treat them differently and I instead treated them, as my former lover said, like toys.

So I was left to ponder what exactly I could do to bring a ridiculously over-the-top version of my fantasies to life, a sort of sexual theme park if you will. I wanted it to be so incredibly indulgent that it would ruin me with how pleasurable it was, like heroin addicts no longer able to find joy in real life after experiencing eight-hour-long full body orgasms.

My solution was to contact both the Real Doll people and a company that makes animatronics for theme parks and movies, as well as a scientist who was at the forefront of cybernetic interactive robots. I paid them all handsomely to work together developing something I was surprised wasn’t already out – sexual robots.

No, it simply was not enough to have a lifelike recreation of a human. I needed one that could interact and move around. I, like Frankenstein, wanted my fantasy to actually live! I could have paid women obscene amounts of money to come to my estate and act exactly how I wanted them to, but eventually they’d have lives to get back to, needs that would have to be taken care of, or something required of our species that would get in the way. I wanted to abuse my creations in a way that would never work with fellow humans.

There were many trials runs and I spent more money than I would care to admit trying to get them to perfect the process. I had several closed door sessions with prototypes that did not go how I’d hoped. The experiences always left me craving some alterations to the robot.

Finally, one day, they got it right! I will never forget it. ‘She’ walked in, looking like a completely stereotypical version of female beauty: dark hair, sultry eyes, a figure out of comic books, and a dress that hugged every curve. When we were alone in the room, I attacked her, literally, and she complained in the way I had asked them to make her complain: upset over being thought of as nothing but an object, asking me to treat her like a human, yelling at me to get my hands off her, yet still never reaching the level of resistance that would qualify what I was doing as rape (those programs, unfortunately, would come later).

They got the feel of everything right. Had I not seen the process step by step, I would have almost believed her to be real. The voice and mannerisms were also highly convincing. Occasionally there would be a hiccup, a slight robotic nature to the voice, or a jerky movement of the limbs, but for the most part it worked beautifully! It was basically like a human on loop, always chastising me, but never actually doing anything about it.

I used her, literally, over and over again. My company had become a well-oiled machine at this point, and I was able to take time away from it and still have it run smoothly, which was fortunate because, as I had wanted and predicted, this obsession was consuming more and more of my life. I started to hate my job and wanted to spend all of my time in the room with her, using her, completely focused on my ever growing lust for this spectacular object.

Eventually, wanting to take advantage of her not being human even more, I began hitting her as I molested her cybernetic frame. I had not yet asked them to program her to respond to this, so she simply kept asking to be treated like a human while I pounded away at her, as opposed to the corresponding grunts of physical pain that would have normally accompanied my blows.

I fell in love with not having to worry about treating her good, and pummeled the poor machine sexually and physically, day in and day out. Over time she got worn down from all the abuse and I started forking over massive amounts of cash to have my team make newer and more advanced models. I wanted more fantasy. I had to indulge to the point of insanity.

I had them add comically disproportionate features to the next models. The breasts or derriere would be incredibly swelled, figures that made comic book women look normal. I had several made so big that the robots couldn’t even walk; they would just lie there, slaves to the globs of soft-to-the-touch silicone stuck onto the back or front of them. I had them programmed to complain about their specific situation, the burden of having such useless figures, the irritation of a life spent being a sex toy for someone, and in the midst of molesting this new crop I literally lost my mind, for when a man is able to actually carry his sexual dreams into the realms of reality, the brain can almost melt from too much pure, unadulterated pleasure.

I would suffocate myself with their faux-monuments to womanhood (which, thanks to my crack team, still actually felt like the real thing), delirious from the cartoon sex world I’d created, and also from the words erupting from their mouths,  angry diatribes that showed how disgusted they were by the whole situation. This was objectification. Creatures created to be used. Eventually I had them add in rape and escape programs, so that they would scream in torment as I did my business, or try to flee when I wasn’t in the room. It is quite the amusing sight to walk into your residence and find a robot pinned to the floor by its own beanbag-chair-sized breasts, squirming around and desperate to escape but completely unable to. Others would kick their legs in the air like Tyrannosaur arms, weighed down to the ground by a rear end five men couldn’t lift. I was merciless in my attacks upon them.

I could no longer deal with real life or real women. I tried to date a woman, once, in the midst of all this, and as she explained her job to me I was incredibly frustrated by once again by being forced to conform to social norms and not being able to slap her, or leap across the table and begin caressing every inch of her figure. I had to keep going back to the robots.

I had less and less to do with my company and was dwindling down my funds, asking for more and more robots with different features until I eventually got to the point I’m at today. I bought a warehouse in a now-vacated industrial zone and spend all day cooped up in there like a post-apocalyptic survivor, alone with my robotic sex slaves. I am beyond mad, lost in a world where nothing matters but the strength of the next orgasm. I no longer have money to pay for maintenance, and beyond that have sufficiently freaked out my team of suppliers, so one by one I see my toys malfunctioning worse and worse.

Some of them have eyes that have come loose from the sockets so when I have intercourse with them, they roll around inside of the eye holes like some demonically possessed vixen. Others’ voice boxes have started to decay, and so I hear the same phrases come spouting out over and over again in a voice that sounds more robotic by the day. Some have had their gigantic breasts punctured, and now slow-moving rivers of silicone glop out and gently cascade across the warehouse floor, leaving one side of their chest looking like a flesh-colored, deflated hot air balloon.

I have stopped caring about most things humans care about. I have a long beard and hair, look like a homeless caveman, and only venture outside of this perverted and isolated sex den to get the groceries I need to survive. I barely know how to speak a few words to the cashier. The idea of common decency has left me after years of sexual activities with robots being complemented by blows to their mechanical faces with fists, feet, or even hammers. All I know is an egomaniacal world of self-flagellation.

I’m down to only three or four. The corpses of the others lay scattered around on the floor, looking like new toys six weeks after Christmas. I need to keep upping the ante on my objectification and don’t know how. Eventually I got desperate and randomly started tearing at wires, hoping to stop the endless and repetitive chatter and just molest their synthetic flesh in silence.

One day, after all that was left was a pile of wires, still-kicking limbs, chunks of wig hair, and flaps of skin material, I ventured out to get food. While I was waiting in line, a woman in front of me caught my eye. It wasn’t because of how she looked. Honestly, I didn’t even find her attractive. She was talking on her cell phone in an extremely irritated tone about something that had happened to her at work that morning, and I eavesdropped with much enthusiasm. She put the phone away to pay and as she walked off, I rushed out of line to meet her.

“Excuse me, miss?” My voice trembled with the fear of a man far out of the comfort zone he’s stuck himself into.

“Yes?”, she said as she whirled around quickly. Her voice still had a tone of aggravation.

“I, um, I apologize for overhearing back there, but it, um, sounded like you had a problem at work this morning?”

“I don’t see how that’s any business of yours. Why are you asking me about this?”

I paused. I had to pick the right words. “I, well, I, um, I’d just like to know how you felt about the whole experience.”

She glared at me like I was insane (I’m sure my appearance didn’t help), and walked away quickly, obviously weirded out. As I watched her leave, I felt an intense longing for her to be my girlfriend. Not for any sexual reasons, but rather so that when she walked in the door at the end of the day, I could sit there eagerly, lustfully, listening to every word she had to say about her experience that day, hungry beyond belief, starving in fact, to hear every little thought she had on her mind.

Dance of the Frog Man

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That guy in the frog suit with the balloons was at work again today. They’re doing a bunch of layoffs, so the big wigs hired a guy to come into our office with a boom box blasting that song that goes, ‘Y’all ready for this?’, dance around to it like a madman, and then hand out balloons. I find it insulting. The next time that frog bastard shows up here I’m going to wax the floor so he breaks his goddamn neck!

***

It’s Tuesday. As I walk up to my floor I notice the frog on one of the lower floors. That means he’ll be up soon. When I run into the janitor, I tell him my boss wants to know where the floor wax is and he shows me the supply closet. I grab a bottle and head upstairs. When I open the door, I speak loudly.

“Excuse me, fellow workers! May I have your attention please! I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of having our lack of job security mocked by corporate’s attempts to placate us with children’s entertainment! A man in a frog suit is no consolation for a dwindling work force and a constant potential threat of unemployment! I’m going to dump this floor wax all over, and when that son of a bitch frog dances his ass in here, he’ll be in for the surprise of his life!”

They all stare at me. One of them, Phil, that snooty Phil, walks over from his desk.

“Jerry, what in the hell are you talking about here? We all love the frog man. We find it a pleasant distraction from the day to day drudgery. And for Christ’s sake, he gives out balloons. Don’t take that away from us.”

Suddenly, from behind us I hear,’Y’all ready for this?’ and then frog man is upon us, all over-exaggerated dance moves and that stupid grinning frozen face of his. Alright, you goddamn monkeys. I’ll let you have your frog party. But later…

***

I wait outside for the frog man to leave. Finally, he comes strolling out. What an idiot he looks like! I watch him get into his car and marvel at the fact he doesn’t take the frog head off. Getting into my car, I follow him until he arrives at his suburban house. After he goes inside, I slowly creep up to the side window to take a peek at his living quarters.

The frog man is down on his knees, frog mask still on, one of his green sleeves rolled up. He’s…he’s…wrapping a belt around his arm? Suddenly the frog man brings out a needle and inserts it into his vein! Moments later his fuzzy green feet start kicking and his head lolls back. Oh my God.

The frog man is doing heroin.

***

I can’t believe it! The frog man is living a complete lie! Here he is, offering carefree joy and happiness to people, while behind closed doors he’s a filthy addict! What joy could he possibly have to give other than the chemically enhanced kind? I’m going to have to put a stop to this charlatan! In preparation for the next day at work, I design a crude homemade shirt that reads ‘THE FROG MAN DOES HEROIN‘. We’ll see how his disciples like him now.

***

I show up wearing the shirt and immediately take heat for it. Phil comes over again. Snooty Phil.

“Jerry! What are you doing?! We simply can’t go around advertising wild accusations like that, now can we?”

I look him in the eye. “Oh, it’s not an accusation, Phil. It’s a damn truth. And if you don’t believe me, I’ll prove it to you later today when he shows up!”

All day long I put up with their dirty looks until that blasted song comes bursting through the door and the frog man along with it. He dances around moronically until he comes to look upon me and stops, dropping the boom box onto the floor, breaking it. Silence fills the room.

He looks around at all the other people and starts slowly backing away. His movements are shaky. Oh, this bastard knows I have him! Phil speaks up.

“Frog man, what’s wrong? Where are you going? We all know it’s not true. Where are the balloons?”

The frog man whirls his head around, taking in the room, looking as if he suddenly feels an incredibly strong vibe of being trapped. A second later he hurls his body against the plate glass window and crashes to the ground below.

“My God!” an employee named Sharon screams. “Why would he do it?”

“Oh, you don’t have to wonder about that, Sharon,” I say, voice booming with pride. “The answer is written right here on my shirt.”

Sharon looks down at my shirt, then at me, then at the shirt again, and starts crying. She knows it’s true. I smile.

I’m pretty sure Sharon wants the D. And with the frog man off my hands, I suddenly just got a lot of free time in my schedule. I walk over to her and start feeling her up.

***

A day later I got fired for sexual harassment.

***

It’s weeks after I was let go. I’m in the grocery store, buying a pack of cheese with some food stamps, and I look over and see him waiting in line. The frog man. With Sharon. They’re holding hands, her delicate one in his green plush one. Oh, well played, you bastard. As I watch them walk away, I see the frog man put his hand on Sharon’s ass and squeeze.

I can’t help but think, in spite of myself, that the frog man is a fucking G.

Movie Review: ‘Master Clown Shrooms Presents: Unf***able’

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MASTER CLOWN SHROOMS PRESENTS: UNF***ABLE

Starring Jason Ellsworth   Written & Directed by Jason Ellsworth and Kyle Shepherd

Two and a half stars

By Matt Moscovitz

As you’ve probably already gathered, this is the kind of movie you can determine how you feel about simply by reading its title. The same can be said for its star, Master Clown Shrooms (ne Jason Ellsworth), the self-described ‘hip-hop nihilist party clown’ whose viral video breakthrough, the catchy yet abrasive rap song, ‘Won’t Work For Fame’, nicely summed up modern day dream chasing while also serving as a welcoming parade for his particular brand of idiocy. Since then, he has become culturally omnipresent in a way that warrants, among other things, him having his own movie.

You can easily derive that Mr. Ellsworth is a hardcore fan of 70′s oddball comic Andy Kaufman. His blogs are littered with references to ‘Kaufmanism’, and he refers to Kyle Shepherd, his co-writer and director here, as ‘Zmuda’, an esoteric reference to Andy’s writer and orchestrator of mayhem, Bob Zmuda. On his many talk show appearances, he seems to delight in seeing just how weird the networks will let him be and still take up their airtime. Those who saw him on Conan were treated to the sight of a man in his early 30′s gyrating on top on Conan’s desk while wrapped in a dinosaur quilt, a scene reeking of a childish desperation to entertain (much like fellow Kaufman student Tom Green,) and a strangely compelling sense of compulsive watchability (much like the best of Kaufman’s stunts).

As Master Clown Shrooms, (whom Ellsworth has frequently referred to as a ‘parody of a rock star’ even though his format is hip-hop) his rhymes are competent, intricate, and alternately overtly philosophical and vulgar. The genuine talent and passion help the gimmick go down smooth, but what really drives it home is (and once again this is reminiscent of his beloved Kaufman) the fact he plays it so convincingly you have to wonder if it even is a gimmick. No matter what your opinion, his gleefully unhinged persona of id has succeeded enough for him to have his own movie, and for me to be writing about it, a task I admit was challenging for this particular piece of film.

What Mr. Ellsworth has given us is essentially a vanity project, one whose central concept is both laughable and interesting: is it possible his personality goes so against what is required to become sexually intertwined with females that even the great equalizer for the sexless, fame, can’t help it?

You have to give him credit for originality. Even in the Macklemore era of pro-gay hip-hop anthems, blatantly trying to emasculate yourself with an expose of sexual incompetence still seems jarring in the macho-fueled rap world of misogynistic club bangers. Eminem famously played up his sexual shortcomings like a closeted comedian, but still seemed to indulge in the perks of fame offstage and had the requisite songs about his plentiful bounty of women (the stinging ‘Superman’ comes to mind).

Here, right from the start, Ellsworth and Shepherd (whom he first met in high school and has been working with ever since) are working hard to convince you that he is, as the title states, unf***able. Early on we are treated to a segment which shows a pre-fame Ellsworth hitting the bar scene with a pair of hidden camera glasses. It’s jarring to see him without his trademark mop of messy hair and grungy beard and shows just how long he and Shepherd have been conceptualizing this project. While unclear how much he’s playing it up for the film, he nonetheless does an extremely good job of coming across as the classic sensitive guy who is essentially clueless about what it actually takes to get a girl. Even in a time over-saturated with these type of prank-the-public clips, it’s the seeming genuineness Ellsworth brings to his interactions that make them painfully interesting to watch. These scenes play like ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin’ meets ‘Borat’, and here the film shines. The look on a girl’s face as he rambles on about how lonely and desperate he is could easily be shown in a sociology class.

He then visits a group of pickup artists, those now infamous men whose job is essentially to teach men how to get laid, to get a list of things you need to do in order to have success. This, of course, is meant to show how his personality is the complete antithesis of what they’re saying, and while coming across as a bit try hard, his quick improv skills are showcased nicely here as he bounces witty comments off these instructors of love with ease. If this ‘unf***able’ boy is indeed a character, I give him credit for fleshing it out.

The film then switches into a series of hit and miss vignettes that are buoyed by both rapid fire editing and a sense of shock. While I found many of these scenes to be in poor taste, vulgar, or pointless, I must admit that I also found them, because of the sociological aspects and Ellsworth’s conviction, perversely watchable.

In one monologue he stresses how it was important for this project to take place while he was at the peak of his fame for maximum effectiveness, and this is shown in an extremely uncomfortable scene where, again wearing hidden camera glasses, he tells a love-struck groupie how much he doesn’t respect her for wanting to have premarital sex. While the girl appears to have fun buying into what he’s saying as a joke at first, it quickly turns horrific as he digs the claws in, berating her for her looseness as much as a passionate preacher would until she dejectedly walks away. It’s a scene as ugly as it sounds, but packs a legitimate punch in its viciousness.

In one of the lighter and more playful scenes, he assembles a gang of groupies to take back to his hotel room, only to have them discover it’s full of action figures. The visual aspect alone is hilarious: the beds and floors are literally covered with different piles of plastic toys, Ninja Turtles, Ghostbusters and whatnot, and the sight of him trying to get a group of girls who have probably never had a chance to hear the hotel door close before the sexual debauchery starts to act out an adventure with him is priceless. This was the scene I had the most fun with, whether from the genuinely confused look on the girls’ faces as he slaps their hands away from touching him and instructs them to ‘Make Michelangelo go get some pizza’, or the almost touching sight of one of the girls actually joining in, the two of them reduced to children as they swipe at one another with five inch versions of superheroes. Here I could see why his fans love him so much: there is an authentic sense of a childhood uninterrupted, that this is one guy adulthood definitely did not win the battle with.

For the most part though, I found a lot of the scenes repetitive, and occasionally painfully narcissistic. Recounts by childhood friends about his celibacy-laced high school years might be endearing if they weren’t so long and meandering, and a segment where he works with a stylist to make his onstage image more sexualized just so that he’ll have even feistier groupies to disappoint quickly devolves into disgustingly vain mirror gazing that makes you wonder how much Ellsworth gets off on considering himself a good-looking Jim Morrison wannabe who still can’t get lucky because of it.

That’s what I eventually found to be the major turn-off about ‘Unf***able’ – it almost seems to be a fetish film, made not to entertain an audience, but rather its creator, who seems to revel in going against cultural norms so much that he, much like the class clowns we all remember, would do just about anything to come across as different, to get a laugh. There is a sense of cohesion to the project that suggests how well he and Shepherd work together, but I would have been interested to see him collaborate with someone who worked to rein in his manic need to entertain in a way that may have made the final effort feel less fringe.

Having said that, it is also his strongest attribute. In an age of overly auto-tuned singles, pointless and endless movie sequels, and pseudo-celebrities that seem all too eager for nothing more than their fifteen minutes, the sheer tenacity and commitment that Ellsworth brings to his character is a wonder to behold. He spends the whole film soaked in a sense of desperation, as if his life depends on convincing us that he really is a pathetic sap that can’t get laid no matter how famous the media has made him. I may be willing to grant Mr. Ellsworth the fact that, underneath the pitiful grade school anguish he seems to so relish in marketing, he actually is trying to say something about our society.

That message isn’t exactly clear though, and it’s a shame, because if it were, if I had walked out of the theater with a sense of truth ringing in my ears, I may have actually given this four stars. As it stands, his rabid approach to this extremely unconventional material is something that would make his idol, Andy Kaufman, as well as fellow prankster-armchair-sociologists like Sacha Baron Cohen, extremely proud, and, I imagine, for Mr. Ellsworth, that is probably enough. I am sure this film will play well to his target audience who find these antics incredibly digestible, and keep him around for a little while longer.

That may be due in no small part to his truth in advertising: surely a sexless high school geek who achieved the rock star status he always wanted and then used the power and resources that went along with it to make a film convincing everyone he’s not someone you’d ever want to have sex with has earned the name ‘Master Clown’. Your enjoyment of the film depends on how much you consider that prefix to be an acceptable mission statement.

A Mandatory Read for all Struggling Artists

Starving_Artist_by_EbonyLace

I notice a lot of artists posting complaints about being expected to work for free, or their friends not supporting them, or any various aspects of being a struggling unknown, all indicating a staggering lack of understanding what it is they’ve gotten themselves into. Therefore, I thought I should break down exactly what it actually means to be one of us.

First off, it’s incredibly annoying to hear an artist talk about money in any way, shape, or form. Right off the bat you have to ask yourself, ‘Am I actually an artist?’ Have you ever wondered why the mainstream seems to suck so bad, to be so devoid of actual passion? It’s because an artist wakes up at noon and spends the next six hours battling a crippling sense of insecurity, doubt, cockiness, and insanity in their head before the overwhelming self-hatred convinces them to take a nap. The hack, the businessman posing as an artist, gets up at six AM and says ‘Let’s figure out the game that is entertainment and make this money!’ Those people have the social/manipulation skills necessary to actually get ahead in the game and make the vapid wasteland that mainstream entertainment now is possible. Your parents and guidance counselors were right to warn you about staying away from the industry because of how hard it is to break in – artists don’t do it, only businessmen do. Decide which one you are right now! If money means something to you, time to choose another profession. There are literally millions of jobs you can take if you care about money – just not this one.

That’s OK though. It’s meant to weed people out, like when they screamed at the recruits waiting on the porch in ‘Fight Club’ to leave because if they listened then they didn’t have what it took anyway. Internalize the fact that ‘starving artist’ is not a cliche – that’s what happens to a good 95% of us. Does that number scare you? It shouldn’t. It would be like hearing a statistic that 95% of parents abandon their children and using that as an excuse to give up your child for adoption. Your passion is your child, and should be placed at maximum importance above all else.

The second most important thing is the part most artists have trouble with – accepting the fact that you are a useless reject to society. While people are out fixing highways, building offices, operating on the sickly and teaching children, you’re over here worried about if you properly conveyed the emotion inside of you for maximum potency. I think even Richard Simmons would call you a fag for that. You have to be gleeful about the fact they don’t want you. Do paint splotches left on a canvas by the living inspire as much fervor as those left by the deceased do? It takes either status, financial freedom, or death for them to embrace you.

It is an odd profession. On one end we are thought of as losers and on the other gods. What you must accept if you intend to continue down this path is that their excitement will be entirely based on you achieving access into the industry in one way or another, as what feeds all of this is the public’s devouring of a myth, whether done subconsciously or not. If you’re wondering why you have trouble getting your friends out to shows, it’s because they’re your friends.

Look, I spent years obsessed with Eminem, possibly more so than any other artist, but as opposed to catching him live when he first blew up during my senior year, I waited until last year when he toured with Rihanna, when I had already spent a massive chunk of hours dissecting him and the concept of fame in general. The worshipful, ‘OMG, it’s really him up there!’ joy seemed to elude me in a way that ruined the ideal experience I wanted, albeit while still enjoying crossing the show off my bucket list. I think I had gotten too comfortable with the idea that, superstar or not, Em was just another human up there.

No one wants to obsess over just another human. Look at the way teens treat rock stars. It comes more naturally to them, sure, but the concept behind how they look at them is indicative of why the whole shebang works in general. The reverence cannot work if you know the human. You have to know the image. Even if you love the artist so much because you think you know the human (I just feel Miley gets me and I can so relate to her lyrics!), you’re still hopelessly in love with the image, as much as I was with any of the girls I had never spoken to in high school and yet claimed to be nuts over. The ideal fan is a lovestruck dude with zero game, awash in the glory of ‘knowing’ surface identities.

Why would your friends come see you? Would you pray to God if you spent hours with him every week discussing his love life and financial problems? Do you not take comfort in praying to an almighty being in the sky you can barely comprehend? Of course you do! The obsession only happens when there is a distance between the fan and the artist. No one’s spending half their paycheck on a Kanye ticket because they think he’s a swell guy. He’s on their television screens and social media feeds so frequently it’s almost literally impossible to not view him differently. To see him live? That would be an experience! And yet here your unknown ass is, bitching about the fact that people you eat lunch with don’t wanna give up their free night to come see you perform.

Many people may attempt to combat this and say how genuine they are in the roots of their support, but it’s simply social science. You see a restaurant with a line around the corner, you’re curious about it. The fact that people are lined up means something to you on a subtle, base, intrinsic level. The fact your favorite entertainer can be seen all over because of their inclusion in the media machine of the industry means something to you. The paychecks they receive that are so much greater than yours, the cars they drive, the people they date, the magazine covers they end up on, all of this says, ‘Hey, this person is in a different world.’ And that’s why we buy movie tickets or drugs, right? We want to escape into a different world. We don’t want to pay ten bucks of our hard earned cash to see Tim from the Meat Department rock out in front of seven bored bar patrons. It’s simply too much like real life, and, to your friends, you’re too much like just another human.

Even proper hate requires validation from the industry. When people dig their claws into a celebrity they are still, whether they’re aware of it or not, reacting to the pedestal they’ve been placed on. The existence of the pedestal gives the green light to go ahead and waste several precious minutes of breath on this planet despising them. Hey, at least they’re a genuine member of the club. There is a certain cognitive dissonance that takes place when the public views someone who’s not famous attempt to be in that role. You can see this if you look at the comments section of any unknown entertainer currently riding the viral wave – underneath most of the hateful remarks is a sense of, ‘Seriously, who the fuck is this person?! No thank you.’ When they’re famous it’s like, ‘Nicki Minaj? She’s really up there, right? All over TV and radio? OK, good. Fuck that bitch!’

I know we’re all going to be saddled with bags of idealism and self-importance and think that everyone should instantly be right there with us, sharing and liking our posts and showing up to our shows, but that’s simply not how this works. You’ve got to be willing to accept the fact that until you puncture their system and gain the rights to the Official Illusion Package, it’s simply logical for them to not care about you. Your survival in this world depends on your ability to internalize that. But what of genuine appreciation of your art? Is it impossible?

There is joy and appreciation to be found at this stage. A compliment after a five person show always means a lot (and yes, probably more than any compliment given to an actual celeb as the nature of being starstruck leads to loving comments as genuine as those spewing out after a dozen shots). But the person giving that compliment still believes they’re speaking to a fellow human. The real fun, for both parties, kicks in when they truly believe they’re not.