So, I’m divorced. I’ve been divorced twice in the last three years. You might say I’m a hopeless romantic.
I have helpful friends who want what’s best for me. One of them called when he heard the latest news and said, “Dude! This is awesome! Get on Tinder! You’ll be tapping squeanies till the cows come home!”
I didn’t understand what he meant, but tapping squeanies sounded better than what I had been doing which was staring at myself in the mirror and saying “Fuck you” over and over again.
I’ve never been on Tinder or any of the other dating apps. I left Twitter and Facebook years ago because I hate them. But the moon was just right and I had recently started drinking again, falling off the wagon after an eight-year ride and getting ground up in its spokes before landing in the horse’s dung bag. …
Last night, I went out with my friend Jack. I like going out with Jack because I never know what will happen from one moment to the next and I never know where we’ll be at the end of the night. On more than a few occasions, it has been in police custody. The possibility of appearing in an episode of C.O.P.S. gives the evening a certain edge.
Jack came over my apartment and I realized I had no beer. …
What is love?
Is it someone you can’t live without?
No, that’s called obsession.
Is it someone that your eye adores?
No, that lacks discretion.
Is it someone who makes you feel alive
When life made you dead inside?
Is it one or more of the above?
I have no idea what is love.
Let me tell you my story, man. Don’t you want to hear my story? It’s a good one. I had a crappy childhood, you know? Parents fought all the time. Screamed at each other. Said they hated each other. Constantly threatened to divorce, especially on Arbor Day. We lived in a duplex, like Annette Bening’s character in American Beauty. It was hell, and I lived through it — came out the other end, but all twisted and deformed. My psyche was like a tube of toothpaste that has been run over by an excavator. No, not Crest. Colgate, man, the kind that makes it look like you scrub your teeth with bleach. It ain’t pretty (I mean my situation, not my teeth). …
A few months ago, my wife and I watched an episode of Modern Love on Amazon Prime. The show is a collection of stories solicited from people who live in New York about their experiences with love in the big city. In it, Anne Hathaway plays a woman whose bipolar disorder keeps sabotaging her love life.
Her character has Type I bipolar disorder— the bad one, the one that gets all the press. People with Type I hallucinate and endure other psychoses; they are also more likely to commit suicide or die from lithium toxicity since they need large doses of the drug to stabilize their moods and bring them back to earth from the stratosphere. Type II is the boring one filled with tedious depressions and productive bouts of hypomania. …
When Albert King recorded “Born Under a Bad Sign” in 1967, he described a man whose hardships included illiteracy and a penchant for big legged women. If the song’s character had ever met Noel Deign, he would’ve counted his blessings.
Noel was born five years after the recording’s release, but it is impossible to say he was born under a bad sign. Noel was born under no sign. If the astrological charts had been laid out to illuminate the paths and plans for every person on earth, it seemed no divinity took the time or made any effort to slap together such a plan for Noel. Even his name — Noel, which means Christmas, and Deign, which means to do something that one considers beneath one’s dignity — is a nonsensical mashup of traditional festivity and conceit. What does it mean? …
As Sodom burned and met its fiery end
An old man called to God for his escape
The pious in their pews do now befriend
A story of rape
Two flowers clung to boughs against the storm
The tree, he left to die on the landscape
We celebrate it now in verse and form
A story of rape
A cave provided darkness he required
The horror of the tale we helped reshape
The truth, we took and burned in the same fire
A story of rape
You finally make it home from work. Something’s wrong and you have no idea what it is. The only way you know how to describe it is that you felt your soul slide halfway out of your body and get stuck there during lunch. To pull it back was impossible. To push it out meant death. Your co-worker didn’t notice, too busy teaching a master class in complaining about his job. The air around you vanished and darkness closed in, as relentless and inescapable as a flood. You would drown if you stayed there, so you excused yourself and walked to the exit while trying to keep it together. …
Ronald Ian Philips III, aka Ronnie, never wanted to join the family business. His father, Ronald Ian Phillips II, aka Big Ron, never wanted him to join it either.
“Ronnie, go the fuck to college,” Big Ron would say. “Don’t fucking do what I fucking did. I didn’t have a fucking choice. You fucking do.”
Ronnie took his father’s advice and went to college, but he ended up working for the family construction business anyway.
Ronnie was a third generation Italian American. His great-grandfather, Rinaldo Igantius Di Filippo, came to Philadelphia from Teramo, Italy in 1906. The first thing Rinaldo did after gaining admittance to the United States was anglicize his name. Rinaldo became Ronald, Ignatius became Ian, and Di Filippo became Phillips. How Rinaldo thought that he, a man who stood five-feet tall and had the complexion of a brick layer from ancient Carthage, could pass as Anglican remained a mystery, but it did not deter him. …