I had this strip pinned to my wall for most of elem/middle/high school.
Confession: Though I like to think of myself as a born with ink in my veins newspaper nerd, and actually delivered our local newspaper for about two years, I never read much of the paper until well into high school. We had two that came to our house — the showy Asbury Park Press and the much smaller and more modest (and less newsy) Ocean County Observer — but I’d usually just give the front page a once over (to “see if any wars broke out overnight,” as I’d tell myself. Oh how innocent and peaceful you seem, mid-90s!) and then dive right to the comics. I looooved comics hard, in that proto-obsessive way that I’d later apply to The Simpsons, the later Arrested Development, then Scott Pilgrim, Doctor Who and eventually a relentless pursuit of tattooed girls who weren’t interested in me in Brooklyn dive bars. This was (we’d later learn) at the end of the last golden age of newspaper comics, so I’d first devour Garfield, then the subtle absurdity of The Far Side, plus Curtis, and, of course, the subversive and endlessly imaginative Calvin and Hobbes.
At the time I treated Calvin and Hobbes like any other strip, save for the particularly elaborate Sunday panels. It was only later in high school and into college I began to see Calvin as an ADD-addled Holden Caulfield of sorts, a kind of bulwark trying to stand against the oncoming waves of nonsensical adulthood.
In connection with the release of the new documentary Dear Mr. Watterson, I wrote a story for the Post about the cult of Calvin and Hobbes and why its influence has remained so potent — particularly, I will say, among our generation, the late 20- and 30-somethings whose pliable young minds were ripe to be molded by the suspiciously smart Calvin, even as creator Bill Watterson faded into seclusion and never released another drop of Calvin art, or gave more than a hint of what caused him to remove himself from the spotlight. In that story, two things got cut from the final copy, so I want to talk about them here: Continue reading
Scenes from an actual September birthday on a Monday night.
On Sept. 13, 2013, I declared birthday bankruptcy.
I sat in my apartment completely overwhelmed by the night’s schedule of birthday parties that lay ahead, including at least two in honor of very dear friends, of the can’t-really-make-an-excuse-to-miss-this variety, and two more held by peripheral friends, of the kind that you try to hang out with in because you’re always in the market to meet strange people in new scenarios when there is booze involved. But sometime around 9pm, looking at my looming Facebook events notifications and text invites, I pulled the ripchord on this birthday night freefall and decided to abandon the ride and go for none, spending the night instead making dinner with my roommates who, mercifully, have birthdays in the spring.
That night was merely the low point in my birthday bankruptcy considerations. Continue reading
A video full of wedding puns? Aisle drink to that!
I have, at several points in my life, found myself on the precipice of addiction to various things, real or imagined. Here are the top 5:
There were two times in my life where I actually craved a cigarette, at least craved one not just in that drunk-freshman-year-trying-to-impress-girls-who-wouldn’t date-anywhere-near-the-upper-echelons-of-my-family’s-income-bracket way. The first was during my brief but fruitful stint as a waiter at Darryl’s restaurant in Raleigh, a job I interviewed for mere days after 9/11, which is not a cultural benchmark to this story as much as it is just a relative note about how stressful and emotion-consuming time it was. That was amplified by (though no way on the same level as) the personal turmoil I was dealing with, having just quit school at GW after two years, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was all wrong, that the school did not feel even close to right for me, and was at risk of sucking me into a future of politics and polo shirts, incomparable student debt and friends who only liked you for the K Street connections you might have. Continue reading
This movie is pretty great. And as sad as a bag of drowning puppies.
I grew up as one of the few of my friends whose parents weren’t divorced. Sure, my parents fought a lot, and there was a dark period of a few months where Dad slept on the couch every night, even brought is alarm clock out there, would fall asleep to the cable and since the remote didn’t actually turn the TV off, he’d switch it to a dead channel like 999 and let the blank blue screen play all night long. It was rough there, for a while: I was certainly preparing for an inevitable break, for the talk, the sit-down conversation where my sister and I were told that everything we knew was about to be ripped apart, that we would join the bell curve of families on the trash heap who just couldn’t hold it together. I’d hear the fights coming from the living room, my parents somehow still unaware or uncaring that our tiny ranch house carried sound down the small hallway right into my bedroom, and through the heating vents sometimes too.
Somewhere in there, the parents went to some counseling I think, sorted it out, started sharing a bedroom again, and eventually sharing tender moments and what looked like a full, healthy relationship. This was an anomaly among the soul-compacting confines of suburban New Jersey, where it seemed like broken homes were so de rigeur it wasn’t even fair to call them broken homes, they just seemed like the natural evolution of human relationships. You don’t call a kid who moves away to college a “broken” person, after all. Continue reading
In response to the Chris Christie line “They believe in teachers’ unions; we believe in teachers,” this guy, who must really freaking hate teacher unions.
Why did no one tell me the Daily News had such a cool 404 error page? More importantly, why am I getting this 404 error page on a link that you JUST TWEETED 20 SECONDS AGO?