Humor

What I Learned from my First Two Hundred Medium Stories

+plus+ Monday Man-Crush

Digital illustration by David Roddis / sign graphic derived from a photo by Austin Chan (via Unsplash)

I JUST REACHED TWO HUNDRED STORIES on Medium. I’m telling you this because I know how hard you are on yourself when you forget to hire the marching band, arrange a platter of clever hors d’oeuvres and invite the guests.

Admit it: I go the extra mile for you.

And I’m telling you this even though there’s, well — just a tiny whiff of imposter syndrome tainting my buzz, when I consider that, for example, one of my stories consists of only three words, and they are not “I love you.” But, still, two hundred.

Here’s what I learned along the way:

1. Do lists, sometimes

Everyone, except me, loves lists. Seriously loves. They’ll read “Ten Reasons Why Lists Suck.” They’ll read “Five Ways to Improve Your List About 10 Reasons We Hate Facebook, and did you see my cat video?” Takeaway: Two Pad Thai with shrimp, and some spring rolls. Couple of Coke Zero.

Sorry, that’s take out.

The take away is: make the occasional list. They’re light and breezy and full of Anne-of-Green-Gables plucky optimism, and promise quick stimulation, like a shot of espresso taken standing up. In fact, now that I’m writing one, I love lists!

Another take away is that I occasionally channel my dad’s really corny sense of humor. Is there a dad without a really corny sense of humor? What is it about diapers and khaki pants from GAP that shreds whatever part of the amygdala that’s responsible for waspish rejoinders and Wildean epigrams?

This is my first list. You’ve never heard of me, but that all changes today, baby.

2. Find a resonant, eye-catching image, or make one

Gigantic, eye-popping images of unparalleled garishness (see above) are effective because they both attract and repel. It’s like not being able to resist driving back to view the aftermath of a non-fatal car pile-up.

Or like watching Bernie Sanders try to be cool. Or well-groomed. Or electable. “I’m voting for social democracy / I’m voting for a Muppet.” Attract / repel.

Remember: You’ll nab ’em with an image. But your content had better merit the attention, or they’ll wander off, probably to read a list because you were too high and mighty to think one up. Get over yourself, girlfriend!

3. Images, further advantages of

Big images with lots of primary colors and lacking in subtlety make your article look significantly longer and more researched than it actually is. They’ll think, “Jeez, did she hire a graphic designer?” This is discouraging to many rookies. Which is great, because — less competition! You are rockin’ my list!

4. If you can’t take the heat… choose your battles

You’ve got a loving heart. Now grow some thick skin. Engaging, however politely, with surly, obnoxious NRA supporters, if you’re a people-pleaser like me, goes well with a big helping of solipsism, i.e., don’t read their replies. Just stay in your Pollyanna bubble and talk to yourself, which you mostly do anyway.

My one foray into this territory prompted My American Cousin to publish a gratuitously nasty, chauvinist, anti-Canada screed that oozed contempt, and in which he asserted I have no standing to discuss gun control in the U.S. (This may or may not be a point, depending on how many hot guns were smuggled into Toronto this past week.)

As a response to his outpouring of bile I countered with my most concise story to date, which I wrote after I stopped crying. My story totalled three words: “Oh, fuck off.”

This is either a triumph of not caring or a total decompensating cop-out. In retrospect, my only regret is that I didn’t say it twice.

5. Everything’s a “story” and that’s OK

“Stories.” Ahem. Lord knows I’ve tried, but I’ve never quite acclimatized to calling an article a “story,” much less my short responses. Those I call responses. Yes, I am old.

This is like Spotify calling the movements of a Beethoven symphony “songs.”

“You can’t beat Beethoven’s Fifth —that first song is just so totally — woke!”

Nope. That didn’t happen. Never said that. No, siree.

6. Be your authentic self

Do you suddenly feel that you’re entirely on your own, out in the big bad world, where your mother is not going to stick your “story” on the fridge door because she’s so proud and impressed by your mouthing platitudes to a deaf choir?

You’re absolutely right, you are. Learn to hold your own hand. Say what you want to say, not what you think people want to hear. You might open the eyes of one or two special readers, those who “get” you. They are like gold, and they are yours. You might even make them laugh, hopefully because you intended to.

Above all, be your unique self. As an example: I’m flippant, shallow, self-involved and immature, but I try to make sure at least one person is snickering before the truth sinks in.

7. Don’t hog the last word

You don’t always have to have the last word, you know, Mr. Smartass Buckaroo. Give someone else that dubious honor occasionally.

This is a note to myself.

8. Practise random acts of taste

It is the height of bad taste to engage with your critics — and face it, you know they’ll never come round. They are “entrenched,” you are “right.”

By the way, if you are not familiar with the concept of “taste,” this is when you have every right to do something, then refrain from doing it.

Taste therefore means good judgment.

9. Start. Finish. Repeat

When I posted my first story on Medium, I was nervous. Well, with reason, because the first things I posted weren’t all that good.

Oh, they were not. Oh, stop it.

Really? You think so?

But I know that by posting that first story I stepped out of my scared skin as a writer, and acquired a bit more space in the world. I stopped apologizing and worrying if I was any good and remembered that dreams and goals and ideas are like dime-store jewelry; taking action and completing something, just one thing, is worth a million unfulfilled, unfinished dreams. Bear in mind: You’ll probably have to leave the house at some point.

I want the people who don’t think they have anything to offer, the people who are afraid, to step out of their own scared skin and complete something. I want them — is this you, perhaps? — to write any old rubbish, make a gesture with a paint brush, or sing and not care what it sounds like, not yet; and I want you to keep doing this until you’re done. Then I want you to do it again, and again, until you have a lifetime’s worth.

Let me be perfectly clear: I’m talking about writers and artists. I’m all the way up to the waistband of my dollar store briefs, thanks anyway, with conservatives who have skins like elephants and all the zeal in the world around making the world a more hateful place.

Feel free to not complete something, conservatives! Take a day or two off! OK! Back atcha!

10. Accept your possible irrelevance

I will never be relevant. I have the reaction time of glaciers. I shift into high gear like metamorphic rock.

I ponder.

I have always been cursed with “l’esprit de l’escalier.”

I’m at the pub, for example, and someone in the group standing next to me glances at my Friday Night Shirt, the blue and white paisley with the ruffles down the front, the shirt that must be special because I feel so uncomfortable wearing it. I leave this shirt untucked, lest my delusions about still retaining a thirty-inch waist be shattered by a wisp of Oxford cotton. This guy glances at me, turns to his friends and stage-whispers, “Nice shirt!” while rolling his eyes, and I take him at face value.

I feel suitably attired, proud that I’m turning heads who is that distinguished gent who looks so good, backlit? and setting the bar just that little bit out of reach, for fashion’s sake. High fives!

One night later that month, while slipping blissfully under the duvet, I’m ambushed by a nagging moment of uncertainty, followed by full-body blushing, and I sputter, “Why, goldarnit! I do believe he was — making fun of my shirt! That — that hooligan!”

This is why I’m still polishing my satirical barbs about Hillary Clinton. It’s nice to find someone equally irrelevant, and, bless her, she gives and she gives. She’ll go on until the end of time, our little pink bunny, forever beating her drum. I think of Hillary and I as growing old together.

Look for my Joe Biden satirical barbs around 2024.

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Monday Man-Crush: Doug.

Just—Doug.


WELCOME TO THE RECURRING FEATURE, previously an occurring feature because this is only the second time it has occurred, that has you on the edge of your organic kneeling-chair, called “Monday Man-crush,” which I am posting on a Sunday.

My timelines, you surely have noted, are not of mere human proportion. My timelines are those of mountains, of giant tortoises, of asparagus beds; they scoop their arcs with the majesty of Emily Dickinson contemplating the starry vault as she rolls her lisle stockings down to her ankles, then sets up her large-format view camera for a thirty-minute selfie.

Also, I’m disorganized as shit.

MM-C points the well-manicured index finger of random interweb glory and/or ridicule at the unwitting, luscious straight guys who have caused the sludgy, congealed sap of my involuntary celibacy to melt into man-lust then burble and spurt along the byways of my gnarly tree-trunk.

Ka-pow!

Now, meet Doug. But may I just say: Hands OFF, Murgatroyd.




Love, if it comes, comes too late.

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Meritocracy? That’s Rich!

playing fair is one luxury the privileged can’t afford


AS A LOYAL READER OF THIS BLOG, YOU will of course be aware that I’ve previously come out as favoring rubies.

Mmmm, rubies!

Let’s be absolutely sure we’re on the same page, here: I’m talking great, honking, shameless clusters of square-cut rubies with lots and lots of nice, big diamonds.

And I know what you’re thinking:

Total! NO! BRAINER!!

But I have to confess I’m also rather fond of oodles and oodles of cabochon-cut turquoise with blue sapphire and diamond accents mounted in 18K yellow gold, by Van Cleef & Arpels, see left.

Now there’s something a girl could make sacrifices for, once a girl has figured out just exactly what there is left of herself that hasn’t already been sacrificed.

What can I say? Like any other eligible piece of daddy-tail between the age of sixty and death, je suis tellement fatigué. I’m not always up to squeezing me, the toothpaste, back into the crinkled, overworked tube of my Fortuny gown, slapping on forty carats of ruby and diamond cuff, retail value $1,229,540.74, then heading to the corner store flanked by twelve Mounties in full regalia just because I fancy a couple of butter tarts and some commemorative postage.

And, frankly, I need to hold back for my fans’ sake, keep just a hint of mystery:

“Who is that distinguished, solitary gentleman? How young he looks when backlit, at dawn!”

Honestly? I just want to slum it, sometimes. OK, OK, like, busted! You got me!

But hear me out, Murgatroyd McGraw, because being rich is not just all about the gold ingots and heirloom silver and Old Masters and crisp, bundled banknotes piled up to the ceiling in your second-best ballroom with the rococo panelling.

It’s also all about the jaw-dropping savings: At $135,000, this timeless, elegant piece of clumps of polished gravel works out cheaper than rubies, making this the more sensible extravagance. And it leaves me more moolah in my Cayman Islands bank account for calling up Uber Eats and ordering a foie gras BLT and a Cherry Coke teased into significance with a spritz of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. (My signature cocktail, the “Power Drill,” great for trepanning yourself the morning after a fun yet overly-demanding night out).

Buying oodles of turquoise instead of bushels of rubies, my little sycophants, is true sacrifice. Let me express this in terms you can understand: It’s like buying a can of No-Name tomatoes instead of the ones you really want: A clamshell of grape tomatoes, each one clutching its affidavit of organic provenance, that just flew into town First Class from Mexico. Maybe Van Cleef & Arpels should make jewelry outta those!

How do you think people get as rich and obnoxious as me?

That’s right. The more you spend, the more you save! We get rich by driving our petro-swilling SUV right through the plate-glass windows of your sad little local hardware store, leaving behind the crushed bodies of Fred Helply, the rosy-cheeked proprietor, and his cheery staff, and right up to the loading bay of Walmart, where we pick up bottled tap water by the pallet, gallons of Dijon mustard, two thousand rolls of quilted toilet tissue.

And we get obnoxious by tearing a strip off the radicalized environmentalists and panda-fuckers who think that’s wasteful: “Two thousand year-old trees? Try wiping your ass with a giant sequoia, then give us a call!”

Also, we rich people get rich primarily by inheriting our wealth.

In other words, we get and stay rich through the sheer randomness of the birth lottery, which determines whether we’re lying in a Blue Almonds baby basket on a sand dune in East Hampton, tiny mouths clamped onto a silver spoon first used by Queen Anne, or lying on a sand dune in Sudan, crawling with flies, arms and legs like matchsticks, and bellies swollen from imminent death from starvation.

This is problematic. We’d prefer to believe we’re in East Hampton not through sheer randomness but because—well, because of all that we’ve achieved.

Like being born in East Hampton and inheriting our wealth.

Once we’ve taken care of our patrician roots, we can relax, even more than we are already! We multiply and preserve our wealth through economies of scale (which the poor can’t access because their cars have been repossessed, leaving them surviving on canned creamed corn and jujubes from the local bodega); and by pinching those pennies so hard they squeal louder than Ann Coulter in tit clamps.

Speaking as the sissy-boy who shared a chambre communicante plus bidet with Ann while we were both Broadway hopefuls, making rounds all afternoon, eatin’ in a greasy spoon to save on our dough-oh—and yes, Sondheim gave me permission—I can assure you those squeals are a decibel or two hundred off the charts.

Ann! I told you! Never spramp your bleedywunquet with hot water—you’ll come up like a Shoppers Drug Mart hemorrhoid cushion! My flushing the toilet at just the wrong moment thereby appropriating all the cold had nothing to do with it!

As I was saying:

Thriftiness is a virtue, especially when we’re asked to pay for some homeless person’s heart bypass or motel housing, instead of setting up another trust fund. This is when we say, “Funds are running a bit low, sorry, and charity begins at home!” When a stagnant economy forces us to live within our means, give me stinking rich any day!

Extravagant, money-leaking poor people soon find the alternative, parasitic lifestyle that seemed so alluring when they read “Oliver Twist” is shockingly expensive. You’ve got no choice but to live in some trailer park where the landlord charges you usurious interest rates on your overdue rent, and you can’t even threaten shopkeepers with taking your business elsewhere, because there’s only one shop within walking distance, therefore no elsewhere.

Why someone would choose to live like that, with not a single elsewhere to relieve the monotony—well, it just boggles my mind.

It’s verging on—somebody has to say it, and here goes Mr. Straight-Talkin’ Unpopular—irresponsible.


The week drew to a close, as I lounged in my bower of white Vanda orchids, with the revelation that rich people—TV stars, and food processing magnates and jewelry designers and more TV stars and dentists and even superstar lawyers (!)— had botched their bribery of posh private colleges. Instead of sticking with the traditional signing of a million-dollar cheque for a new library and presenting it to the bursar while the cameras flashed and hands were shaken and, in an examination hall nearby, little Ziggy struggled with his entrance essay—then waiting until someone on the Board of Directors saw the check, and Ziggy’s essay, and put two and two together—some genius decided to change the M.O.

Suddenly it was skulduggery and cryptic emails and entrance exams taken three times in two different states, images with their kids’ heads Photoshopped onto the bodies of volleyball players—and, I like to imagine, two A.M. trysts in the quadrangle.

Money is the best merit money can buy

Our ever-intrepid parents of the privileged tiptoed across ancient lawns under pitch black, moonless skies until someone hissed, “Hey, over here!”—which so distracted mom and dad that their Ferragamo shoes got stuck in the roots of a three-hundred year old oak tree, and they fell, faces and cheque books first, into the arms of an athletics coach who just happened to be passing by.

Happy coincidence!

And if you can believe it, thanks to the appalling negligence of the groundskeepers, this happened fifty times! You’d think they’d have at least devised a warning sign— perhaps a silhouette of Barbara Hutton tripping over some tree roots, with maybe a lightning bolt pointing at her feet to indicate something painful, then a great, big X through everything to make it clear that this was not a desirable outcome. You’d think, at least!

The revelation that shameless, entitled rich people had bought their kids advantages they didn’t in any way deserve, just more blatantly than last week, was barely news, and certainly not “the end of meritocracy!”

Calm down! This is no end to meritocracy. It’s just another pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Oz has spoken! type of socially awkward event where we’re all in cahoots, but have to pretend we’re not, like when Granny Rockefeller farts in church, or when Egbert uses the crème brulée spoon for the fish course. One of those moments when we admit there’s a big charade going on, look at each other, laugh ruefully, oh, that Egbert! He’s just incorrigible! then go right on charading.

There is a kind of meritocracy at work, just not the overly-literal, humorless, taking-itself-seriously meritocracy that insists on, well, merit. What’s that po-faced fucktardery all about? Think Kardashians, Hiltons, Trumps, gold medallists in the Olympics of Vulgar, oligarchs of the moronic moneyed.

(Or think Koch brothers, DeVos, the Republican party and the Progressive Conservatives at prayer: Sleazy deals and dark Webs; Deep States and French-kissing Godfathers; dissident journalists dismembered in embassies. Whether that’s unspeakable horror or all in a day’s work depends on your job description.)

Merit has always been required, but the trick is to define merit so that it’s in plentiful supply and available to our de facto kings and queens. WASP lineage? Merit will be an IQ test, to keep out Jews. Ineffective? Jews turned out to be annoyingly smart, and SAT’s were born.

The privileged class, rather than staking its claim based on true merit—skill, intelligence, integrity—even once, has cleverly devised barriers that screen out whatever they don’t have, leaving them with one attribute they could all agree on. Money is the best merit money can buy, and the American crown princes, those scions of food packaging empires and hedge fund dynasties, deserve nothing less.

Our quasi-royalty of the republic don’t need to be interesting, trustworthy, ethical or talented, or even know how to pronounce noblesse oblige. Their louder-than-a-Lily-Pulitzer-pantsuit message is: If we can get dosh, anybody can. All you need to do is stoop low enough, preferably while taking a selfie for Instagram.


Someone invents an electronic toy that no one needs, until the marketers and influencers tell us we do—think Apple Watch and thousand-dollar iPhones; gigantic “Smart” TVs that hijack our living rooms; robot sidekicks that might delight an unsophisticated three-year-old; Bluetooth headsets that turn their wearers into obtuse, self-styled celebrities broadcasting their delusions of grandeur at our backs—and we’re lobbing fistfuls of our hard-earned money at the “visionary entrepreneur.”

But let a public servant come up with a way to tackle poverty, deliver healthcare, regulate worker safety, lower our carbon emissions or improve public transit? She’s a wastrel, an enemy of liberty, a socialist.

She’d allocate far less of our hard-earned money for better results and greater good, but we’re sold on the idea that taxation is theft; and the only theft we countenance is the covert type. Covert theft plays out as everyday low prices, subsidized by subsistence-level wages for employees; CEO’s paid three hundred times the wages of a secretary, taxpayer-funded mortgage relief.

Even the robber barons, once reviled but looking more and more like modern-day saints, donated Carnegie libraries, built whole towns of factory-worker housing, gave out a paternalistic scuttle of coal and a turkey at Christmas, out of the nagging sense that they’d amassed more than was seemly.

(Is it socialism when the tax exemption on inherited wealth is increased to eleven million from five point five million, as it was in 2018, in the U.S.? Under these new guidelines, there are currently only two thousand people in the United States who would be liable for estate tax.

(Is it socialism when the corporate tax breaks, which we were assured would be invested in higher wages, new products, job creation or lower prices, were used by companies almost exclusively to buy back their own stock, for the benefit of shareholders?)

North Americans, we proles without the silver spoons, are not a smart or subtle cohort. We are descended from barn-raisers and smashers of stained glass. Life is hard, and meant to be lived unadorned. We work long hours and crawl into bed early, our minds numbed and distracted by Netflix. We don’t throw our hats in the air at the unveiling of a Henry Moore or cram the doorways of Massey Hall to hear Beethoven’s latest, or celebrate Alice Munro Day; we’re too busy paying obscene rent and being gouged for wireless and paying fees to our banks so they can invest our money and reward us with wooden nickels.

We’re just plain folks; culture would prove we’ve got ideas above our station, too much unproductive time on our hands.

We are in thrall to charlatans: carnival barkers with cures for baldness and hatchet-wielding temperance gals in gingham dresses breathing hellfire. Everybody hustle!

Capitalism for the masses: Your success necessitates my failure.

But socialism for the moneyed vulgarians: Scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.

Dogs in diamond collars when we’ve run out of places on ourselves.

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A Case of Dementia in Squirrels

lost: a few nuts randomly buried under the Statue of Fuckery



WHATEVER YOU POST IN AN INTERNET FORUM, no matter how bat-shit insane or obviously fueled by malice, becomes instantly and indisputably true, provided you make your case with the absolute conviction of a Supreme Court justice and the fire and brimstone of a born-again Christian preaching to the converted. To test my hypothesis, please spread the rumors described below, being careful to follow the instructions and not attempting anything beyond your current skill set. Go on, you know you want to!

Rumor 1

“Hillary is running a child-sex brothel from an apartment on the second floor of the Golden Lemongrass Thai Restaurant, in Pocatello, Idaho, and on weekdays you get two for the price of one! True!”

What is it: Standard Hillary rumor

Where should I spread it: Facebook is the only way to go.

Why: Facebook was never cool and just went downhill from there, giving a Hillary-Facebook profile match of 10/10; Facebook is mainly used by low-income, middle-aged women who find the real news too confusing and who are all related to you, and/or entire developing nations where women are allocated a status just below even-toed ungulates. Delivers more intensity for less effort than standard “Crooked Hillary” models.

Difficulty: Level 1 (suitable for beginners)

Rumor 2

“Alexandria O-C, that crazy humorless Lesbian socialist c**t,¹ is in cahoots with the Palestinians about plans to pelt the Brooklyn Bridge with balls of exploding falafel filled with broken glass and metal screws, and if you survive that, she’s going to raise your taxes to 90% and take away your cow! All so very true!”

What is it: Experimental “Crazy Socialist/Accusatory Anti Semite” combo type (in beta; may not perform as anticipated)

Where should I spread it: YouTube or other video-heavy sites that attract teenagers and angry middle-aged white guys because a. there’s something that moves; and b. they have to take a break from beating off to “barely-legal” teen porn at least one day out of four so the swelling can go down.

Why: This is uncharted territory. Works on the theory that anyone who demands social justice must have had pre-marital sex, gone dancing or lied about getting straight A’s in college at least once, so there’s bound to be something we can nail her with.

Gets you bonus points for reminding us that anyone who dares to question even for one second anything Israel does, or anything done in the name of Zionism, no matter how morally reprehensible, is so beyond the pale they might just as well have put on their souvenir pair of Hitler’s tattered underpants, then shoveled great-grandfather’s ashes out of the incinerator at Auschwitz before using them for fertilizer.

Difficulty: Level 4 (advanced). Requires impeccable insinuation and moral outrage techniques, plus the ability to withstand mockery by twenty-somethings, and Twitter pile-ons of grandstanding goyim who’ve never been closer to anything Jewish than that time they bought a boil-in-the-bag serving of Shopsy’s corned beef.

¹ Backgrounder:

(Yes, one must consider bringing the “c-word” out of retirement, because the usual styling for a strong female, “bitch”, is currently in the private collection of the Speaker, and besides, “bitch” is not even remotely nasty enough for a wee slip of a thing, not yet thirty years old, who speaks her mind, considers herself equal to a man and dares to talk of revolution.

“Bitch” is too light and breezy to convey the impotent rage of the male conservative whose daughter has stayed out all night being a slut when she’d promised to keep her knees together and return home by midnight, full of chaste, dutiful daddy’s-little-girl kisses.

The moribund, flatulent old guard is incredulous at the vigor and righteousness and juiciness of the new. A O-C is impervious to taunts, because she doesn’t give a fuck what you think; she has that Latina warmth and affability and superiority; plus the natural moral high ground of the female deployed with the ardor of a saint. If you’re on her side, she’ll be your ever-faithful pal; if you’re not, her eyes will flash like steel and she’ll cut you down with a well-aimed retort, swift and sharp as a switchblade. Tremble, o fathers, at untamed, untameable womanhood—!)

Rumor 3

“Nancy Pelosi, actually Nadia Pelosinheimer, filthy rich Jewess, together with her latest lover, George Soros, the Antichrist, and her army of bastard Satan-children, is funding a new caravan of out-of-work Central American soap opera actors who will storm The Wall as part of her Communist-Jewish agenda to slice off every remaining piece of foreskin in California. Vile prepuce, be gone!”²

² (The above should be self-explanatory, except please note that in this one we follow the common practice in that you dislike Jews rather than suddenly wanting to stand up for them because it suits your purpose.)

Rumor 4

Have you been getting this down? Have a go at Rumor 4 by yourself. Should be a cinch!

“Global warming and climate change are hoaxes perpetrated by the Chinese so they can destroy our economy. True!

“They are supported in this by an international cabal of renowned scientists who’ve forged all the data, having forgotten that the Earth’s climate goes in cycles—kind of like your clothes dryer at home with the different settings for linen and synthetics, and we’re just stuck on delicates at the moment. One full cap for a dirty load of true!

“Remember how your ancestor from the Holocene period always told you, It’s OK, dude, just take shelter in your cave until the monsoons pass? Well, there you go! That thing! Crack my skull with your caveman club of truth!

“Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s my turn to demonstrate my killer blow-job technique on the CEO of Esso.”


All of these are facts. Cross my heart and hope to die. Let the world know!

Nope. Not facts. Not even factoids. None of that happened. Just random, made-up shit.

But true.

And why the hell not? The actual truth is so plain-Jane and unadorned, it is as a straight-backed Shaker chair to the curvaceous Louis XIV fauteuil of our fakery. The actual truth admits no duty other than to just be, and it will not be gilded or lilied with your agenda. The actual truth lacks efficiency: it does not rouse the base, deflect blame or target a suitably depressed class as “other.”

The actual truth involves getting out of bed and taking a selfie without the Instagram filter that lets you pretend you’re a tiger, or breathing fire, or even Marilyn, even if you’re a guy. The actual truth might not be that pretty.

What are the actual truths?

The actual truth is that men hate women, hate them so much that every fleeting opportunity for rape not taken is cause for regret; the actual truth is that everyone hates Jews and fags and the transgendered and people with non-white skin and immigrants, the actual truth is that we hate in a dizzying infinite regress of Venn diagrams of who’s the hated and who’s the hater, who hates the haters, and who the hated hate in their turn in whatever hateful hierarchy. That’s actual truth.

We didn’t get out of bed this morning and sip our Evian to admit that our bombed and machine-gunned kids, be they in Palestine, Syria or Parkland, are real kids whose flesh shreds to the bone and whose faces melt like sugar as we wage war against them, and we hate them all the more for being so delicate, so trusting and vulnerable; that hurts, doesn’t it? And to that I say: that’s actual truth for ya!

A black woman, a Democratic representative in Congress, is told by the Chair, a white man, that her time is up, she must stop talking about gun control and her fears for her children. He makes the demand in the soft, decorous voice one would use to say, “A spot of tea, Priscilla?”

The woman explodes in anger. “I will NOT!” she bellows.

White men, as always, offer their opinion on Twitter. You would do better to have some decorum. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, Honey. We understand your position, but there’s a time and a place.

I read these Tweets, thinking, “This woman has probably endured in her lifetime insults, injustice and indignity that these men would not put up with for ONE SECOND, were it them—and now they want to take away her RAGE as well?”

Is there no fucking limit to our shamelessness?


We didn’t cast our vote for Trump or Scheer or Harper or Brexit to admit the actual truth: that The Wall can never be built.

Honestly, haven’t you ever wondered why? Why the delays, why the faffing around and procrastinating and backtracking and deal-making?

It’s not like building a wall costs that much, in a nation that allocates half its discretionary spending to defence while kids starve and their parents shoot up Fentanyl, praying for an overdose; it’s not like it’s technically difficult, in a nation that builds a World Trade Center just so the Deep State can knock it over like a juvenile delinquent knocks a tin can off a fence.

(Except that’s just a rumor; the actual truth is that America, read “the West”, is hated by those who’ve endured the West’s greed, insatiable appetite for oil and callous indifference to the misery they’ve inflicted on entire nations, who looked through the windows at the sumptuous banquet and thought, Why not us, too? Why were we not invited? Why is it their oil, not ours?

To the West, those people were nothing but inconveniences, pawns to be hoodwinked and manipulated and shifted on the board. And the bitterness and hatred of entire nations spawned fundamentalism, which in turn triggered the horrified awakening: that Western life is the unholy life of the apostate, that Westerners are infidels who deserve to die, and for all I know, they’re right.

The actual truth is that you might as well have leveled the World Trade Centre yourselves, so inevitable was the disaster that you call 9/11 and that some call sweet and righteous victory. An infinite regress of haters and the hated…)

The Wall can never be built because it was and is and always will be a metaphorical wall, a glorious Fascist symbol, an intangible, enthralling fever dream that has hooked the souls of the lost and angry white overlords who yearn for a Golden Age.

The Wall is Heimweh, nostalgia for the Fatherland, the Ur-Amerika of cotton and tobacco, and horses-and-buggies transporting the exquisite parasol’d daughters to the cotillion Good evenin’, Miss Scarlett! while the family niggers drop dead in the fields.

The Wall is a Jungian vision of the cosmic hymen that will restore Amerika’s virginity and racial purity, and to attempt to build it would be to awaken us, the sleepwalkers, force us to admit that purity is a chimera, a state that never existed and thus can never be restored.

To attempt to build The Wall would force us to admit we are indelibly stained. We long to be pure water again, but we are forever tainted with the blood of those we hate, and to admit that is to admit defeat.

God and Satan and all the legion of the fallen angels help us! when we whose vocation is hate must admit defeat. Except the actual truth is that God doesn’t exist. Ours alone will be all the kingdom and the power and the glory for what we’ve wrought, forever and ever. And that is why we, the haters, hate Him most of all.

Did you know? Squirrels forget where they buried eighty percent of the nuts they harvest.

True.