Apr 232012



ENID: It’s so hard to tell with him. . . He’s such a taciturn fellow . . .
BECKY: Where did you get all these words?
ENID: Oh, it’s just because of studying for that stupid test my dad wants me to take.
BECKY: I thought you weren’t going to take that test.
ENID: Yeah, well . . . My dad already paid for it, and he’s really been pestering me and everything . . . it’s a total drag . . .
BECKY: You are such a f—ing liar.
ENID: I’m NOT lying, I just–
BECKY: You tell me every STUPID DETAIL of your life but you don’t even MENTION that you’re studying for this test.
ENID: That’s because you’re acting like such a CREEP about it . . . I’m only taking a stupid test.
BECKY: Maybe I’m just SICK of putting more into this friendship than I get out of it. . .
ENID: What the f. are you TALKING about?
BECKY: Like how come I’M always the one who has to call you? You NEVER call me.
ENID: You’re out of your mind! I called you TODAY! Practically everything you’ve ever done is because of me! I feel like I practically have to TELL YOU what to do.


from Ghost World, by Daniel Clowes 'Ghost World' by Daniel Clowes, published by Thompson and Groth. Fantagraphics Books, Seattle Washington, c. 1998.


I had flare-ups like this with my best friend in high school. We meant the entire world to each other and we were both too young to be trusted with a waffle iron. So things could get messy.

Some of our most significant exchanges happened in ballpoint pen on lined yellow legal paper. I also had vital and heated conversations with my mother on sheets from the yellow pad. My mother’s notes could run to twelve or thirteen pages. She would fold them up and shove them under the bedroom door when I was sleeping. She left the thickest ones on the floor, just outside; they wouldn’t fit through the crack.

Yellow legal paper doesn’t keep well, not for the long term.

Feb 122012


“What is your aim in philosophy?
To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.”

–ludwig wittgenstein
film clip: bottle rocket by wes anderson


I finished college in the middle of the winter because I had messed around too much to graduate on time the previous May with the rest of my class.

Another student had rented my room, but my housemates let me sleep in the living room for half-price, except it was not heated, and we were in the northeast and it was January.

I had a job at a coffee shop near campus.

One night there was a huge fire in a factory near the river. The owner of the pizza place next to the coffee shop, actually he owned them both, drove me and some other employees over to watch the factory burn.

He had a little girl; she was around four years old. One day I told her that ghosts were real. I didn’t say it to be mean, I was just dumb and self-centered; I didn’t know anything about little kids then. And I believed that ghosts were real, probably. Definitely.

I don’t think like that anymore.

But I scared the little girl; she told her mom what I said. That ghosts were real. I lost the job. It was one of many jobs that went away for vague and yet definite reasons.