“I’m an asshole. You’re an asshole. Why are we such assholes? We should be nicer to each other. Fuck me. Fuck you. Fuck everything. Why don’t we appreciate LIFE and NATURE more? Technology is shit. Don’t you just wanna kill your kids? Fuck me. Fuck you. Fuck meeeeee. Thank you! Good night!”
My impression of Louis CK doing stand-up.
By the way, I love his work and think he’s hilarious. Sometimes he just strikes me as a guy who wants to wrestle with the big questions, but stops every now and then to size up his opponent and realize, “Oh, shit. I’m totally gonna get my ass kicked.” Then he leaves the ring and walks to the concession stand to eat another hot dog. Keep swinging though, Louis! You’re a dingy yet glorious angel.
I told my friend Dave last night that whenever I realize I’m half-assing a project, I remember what he said while we constructed a coffin in my basement. Measuring the wood, I realized the weight and width of the coffin would be quite pronounced if I followed my intended plan, and I suggested we scale it down. This would, sadly, make it too small to get into (you know, in case I wanted to occupy it some Halloween in order to scare the living shit out of the neighborhood kids). Dave put a hand on my shoulder and said, chuckling:
“Dan. If you’re building a coffin, YOU’RE GOING TO WANT TO BE ABLE TO LAY IN IT!”
Truer words were never spoken. Always remember that kids: make your coffin large enough to lie in.
Side note: hard to believe I built this while my five-year-old son Nate was still in the womb. Time, you are a merciless bitch.
Honestly, at base, he largely annoyed the shit out of me because a former friend worshiped him.
Artistically, while I recognize his talent and enjoy some of his work (especially when it was tempered by Cale), I thought he was a nihilistic chimera and grouchy alpha dog who was more distracting than inspiring. He grew aesthetically, more or less (forget misfires like Mistrial and remember New York), but come onâ€”everyone loves young pretentious, heroin-gobbling, art gallery-playing, New York transvestite Lou. The guy who hung out at that psychic vampire hive, the Factory, where, as he sang later as a older, wiser man, he watched people fall apart and die. Brian Eno said, supposedly, the first Velvet Underground album sold only 30,000 albums, but everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band. Many more, however, turned into sunglasses-wearing, punk barfly dicks in leather jackets.
But the thought of Laurie Anderson being miserable distresses me. So, RIP Lou Reed. At least now you’ll never work with Cale ever again this time for sure.
The first step is admitting you have a problem.
About five years ago I started up a pile of writing projects. Good ones. Interesting ones. I conducted interviews, amassed clippings, drew up outlines and rough drafts…and then just stopped. On occasion I’ve written extended blog entries for my Chicago site (www.chicagosteppes.com), but otherwise I just developed daytime night terrors over finishing anything. I finished my novel a year ago, and I’ve gotten about 30 pages into editing it before thinking, “Why?” and galumphing off to do whatever the fuck. It’s not writer’s block. It’s goldbricking, and I’m sick of it.
So, to quote Paul Shaffer in Spinal Tap, “Just kick my ass, okay?”
(Subject title came from a sheet of paper my friend Steven Svymbersky’s daughter Maddie wrote down and handed to me many years ago. SHE READ MY SOUL.)
“I have told you what we mean to do. I want to know now, when that thing takes place, what do you mean to do. I often hear it intimated that you mean to divide the Union whenever a Republican, or anything like it, is elected President of the United States.
[A voice: â€œThat is so.â€]
â€œThat is so,â€ one of them says; I wonder if he is a Kentuckian?
[A voice: â€œHe is a Douglas man.â€]
Well, then, I want to know what you are going to do with your half of it? Are you going to split the Ohio down through, and push your half off a piece? Or are you going to keep it right alongside of us outrageous fellows? Or are you going to build up a wall some way between your country and ours, by which that movable property of yours canâ€™t come over here any more, to the danger of your losing it? Do you think you can better yourselves, on that subject, by leaving us here under no obligation whatever to return those specimens of your movable property that come hither? You have divided the Union because we would not do right with you, as you think, upon that subject; when we cease to be under obligations to do anything for you, how much better off do you think you will be? Will you make war upon us and kill us all?
Why, gentlemen, I think you are as gallant and as brave men as live; that you can fight as bravely in a good cause, man for man, as any other people living; that you have shown yourselves capable of this upon various occasions; but, man for man, you are not better than we are, and there are not so many of you as there are of us. You will never make much of a hand at whipping us. If we were fewer in numbers than you, I think that you could whip us; if we were equal, it would likely be a drawn battle; but being inferior in numbers, you will make nothing by attempting to master us.”
I once joked with an individual from a well-off family that maybe we needed to send the rich a message about sharing and not mucking with others’ opportunities by creating intimidating golf cart-drawn guillotines. The guillotines would be periodically driven through particularly rich neighborhoods as a reminder that things can go south rather quickly, and history was rarely kind to aristocrats who got piggy.
I was joking. He didn’t laugh. in fact, he looked nervous.
And I realized, “Good God, you folks actually worry about that happening, don’t you?”