Tonight, a revelation occurred to me. As I was set to go out and have drinks with my brother and his friends (all my seniors by a sizeable amount of years), the evening took a turn for the brutal as ideals between two “generations” clashed. On one side you have me, a 27 year old college graduate…
This sums up pretty much every conversation I have with a parent.
Tonight, as one of the stage managers of the Mrs. America Pageant, I was called upon to vamp for about 10 minutes. As a stand-up comic, I am used to speaking to large numbers of people.
What I am not used to is the overwhelming percentage of my audience being 60-something West Virginians, let alone coming out of the focused mindset of a stage-manager— whose job is literally to yell at people until they are standing on the correctly numbered ‘x’.
I immediately knew that none (read: NOOOOOONE) of my material would work on this crowd, so I respectfully declined. My director (also: father) reminded me that I was a “fucking stand-up” so I should “go out there and get a little kid from the audience to come up and tell a joke.” Y’know, like Louis C.K. does.
WHAT THE HELL? WHY NOT? LET’S DO THIS!
Not one kid wanted to tell a joke. In fact, not one stupid family member embarrassed their child into public shame by force-volunteering them to speak in front of a huge crowd.
Five minutes of painful waffling later, our host (I cringe as I remember that I was so out-of-my-element that I actually called her the ‘hostess with the mostess’) Florence Henderson took pity on me and joined me onstage.
We bantered back and forth for a bit before she launched into a story about how she first met my dad 25 years ago in Australia.
"I met your dad, then we flew back to Los Angeles, and 9 months later, you were born!"
"…is this your way of telling me you’re my mom?"
FINALLY, LAUGHTER. And at the same moment I got word in my headset that we were ready. I nodded to Florence, who closed this painful chapter of my onstage life with,
"You’ll find out when my tell-all book comes out in September."
Today I was thinking about exactly how I miss my girlfriend, from a purely physical standpoint. Let me be clear, I mean just the lack of having her physical person around me. Being close to her. This morning I was yearning so particularly for the closeness of her body, her touch, that I tried to visualize it. Imagining her right next to me, clutching her in my arms.
The wonderful thing is, I couldn’t.
I couldn’t separate how she feels to me from how I feel about her. Every fabricated touch or grasp corresponded with a host of warmth and a flurry of intoxicating dizziness.
I couldn’t separate the two.
I can’t justify one specific aspect of why I’m in love with her.
Female hysteria was a once-common medical diagnosis, made exclusively in women, which is today no longer recognized by modern medical authorities as a medical disorder. Women considered to be suffering from it exhibited a wide array of symptoms including faintness, nervousness, insomnia, fluid retention, heaviness in abdomen, muscle spasm, shortness of breath, irritability, loss of appetite for food or sex, and “a tendency to cause trouble”. (via sleevia)
Animals, all of us. Wringing our hands and shuffling our feet, “patience” just an abstract term, incomprehensible to our disease-addled brains. Charlottesburg, the only smoking stop til D.C., is Mecca and we are the extremists— arming ourselves with nicotine bombs targeted at our hope for a natural death.
Of course I’m first in line to get off this Godforsaken tube of odor unimaginable. Four cigarettes remain in my gnarled pack, and I briefly wonder if I shouldn’t grab a fresh one. I decide four will be enough.
I breathe a sigh of relief at no longer being subjected to the drone of what I can only assume is Spanish elevator music from the man who not only encroaches my personal space by placing his elbow firmly under my ribcage, but by atonally humming along to the snippets of his laminated, computer generated, silence-ruiner that truly move him.
The first drag of a cigarette is lorded over by context. Lucky for me, my surroundings have built this to be a moment of incredible release, probably akin to giving birth. Right? I’m certain I’m wrong about that, but don’t tell that to my endorphins, they’re naked-cartwheeling through a pool of rainbow ice cream.
A toothless man takes a shine to me, and decides that I look like the type of guy who will give him the time of day. He doesn’t much care about a dialogue, just someone who is nice enough not to outright ignore him.
"Gonna get into Washington at 6, yuh?"
I check my head for a conductor hat and shrug. Someone offers up the fact that we’ll be about 20 minutes late.
"Damn! I’m gonna miss my flight. Oh well, I’m an army man. I’m used to ‘hurry up and wait.’"
I want to agree with him, connect with this stranger by informing him that I know what he means— almost a decade in TV Production makes me a scholar in “Hurry up and wait.” I wisely decline to mention this, for fear that because my experiences with this phenomenon are quite lacking in the specifics he’s used to (read: institutionalized murder) this would set off a rant about my generation’s lack of nobility… Or worse, his quiet shame that I never had to endure his pathetic lifestyle.
He goes on for a bit about God-Knows-What as I imagine what it would feel like if I shoved my hand in his mouth and gripped the bottom half of his toothless jaw. Probably gross, I figure, but different enough from anything I’ve ever felt to keep me obsessed with imagining the sensation. That is until I hear—
"Yup, twenty years of service and discharged in a less than honorable manner."
"Oh, yeah?" I’ll bite. (if he can’t, I can. [sorry.]) "What went down?"
"Well… The butt of my rifle seemed’ta find it’s way to the side of my lieutenant’s skull. Done too many people died under hisself. Couldn’t live with it no more. Now I got PTSD up the ass and no benefits."
We both snuff our precious cigarettes on the cracked pavement.
"At least you have your integrity."
He spits. Nods. Heads back to the train, turning back around to face me.
I am led out of my hospital bed and brought downstairs to the radiation quarantine area. A nurse with what can only be described as an incredibly loose grip on the English language taps my vein and begins to draw blood. My blood is thick and beautiful. It emerges from my veins in great spurts; droplets of it proudly suspend themselves to the walls of the test tubes. It is teeming with virility and strength. I cannot understand how it emerged from me.
The nurse injects me with a radioactive substance, holding it as far from her body as humanly possible. I take this to be a bad sign. As she’s injecting, she asks me, “You’re not pregnant?” I respond emphatically in the negative, perhaps too emphatically. I am so vehement in my response I feel as though I am fabricating my answer.
Megan Koester, you’re a real shit-kickin sonofabitch (words-wise.)
(NOTE: click the title to read the story, I am unsure if that is clear.)
It is absolutely no coincidence that my best bonding sesh with my dad coincided with the first time I’ve ever phone-wikipedia’d Andrew Jackson. Sure, pops is a racist, money-grubbing, piece of shit— and my political views actually classify as “faggot”… but we can both bro down beerwise with any president who almost beat-to-death a would-be assassain.