Self Help

Rainy-Day Project #1423a: Epsom Salts Table Lamp®


Herewith a picture demonstrating correct deployment of possibly my single greatest gift to humanity (if you don’t count my living example of just how far narcissism can go without actually being fatal):

The original, unique and universally-coveted

Epsom Salts Table Lamp®.  

And I know what you’re thinking:

Absolutely. Must. Have!!!!

Here’s what you’ll need:  

  • An expensive Japanese table lamp with rice-paper inserts
  • A flagrantly wasteful 60-watt incandescent light bulb from your bathroom light fixture
  • The giant economy-sized container of Epsom Salts from Shoppers Drug Mart (OMFG not the lavender or eucalyptus. Seriously, are you a hundred years old?)

Also useful: 

Some patience.  If not familiar with the concept, examples of patience would be:

  • allowing someone to actually finish a sentence before you speak instead of nodding with increasing agitation then blatantly cutting them off with the more important thing you have to say;
  • holding a door open for someone until they actually walk through it rather than sighing dramatically and letting it hit them in the face at the last minute because their cane was slowing them down too much; or
  • actually pouring boiling water on the instant oatmeal instead of just eating handfuls of it straight from the box.

Don’t worry if you can’t do any of those things, because really—most people will cater to you if you just scare them enough.  Or lie.  Lying is effective, too, and probably less effort.

A desire to improve your life by means of folk medicine, wishful thinking and willful ignorance combined with a compulsion to spend money as an end in itself.

  • The desire can be sincere (i.e., you are a “low-information adopter”, i.e., stupid) or patently fake (i.e., you’re an asshole but can at least keep up your side of a conversation, which is, in the final analysis, the only side that matters).


Alrighty.  Having gathered together the materials for my celebrated Epsom Salts Table Lamp®, it’s now time for you to actually assemble the shit.

To begin, casually dismantle your zen-style Japanese lamp with rice-paper inserts and place the-wooden-bit-with-the-light-bulb-in-it upside down into the mouth of the mostly-empty Epsom Salts container.

To anticipate your objections, mostly empty is fine, so don’t worry, honey, you don’t have to actually finish anything.

And “casually dismantle” should give you the idea that, naked or clothed, scarfing foie gras at a window table at Scaramouche or brushing cockroaches off stale pizza crusts in a crack house, your lack of commitment is what signals your sophistication, so—DO NOT CARE.

Once you start caring, everyone will want a slice of you, and then where will you be?


On to step two.

Let’s take stock.  You’ve assembled and you’ve casually dismantled.  You now have to hold the-wooden-bit-with-the-light-bulb-in-it firmly in place or it falls out or burns the side.

So like, when this post first appeared two years ago, I was deluged with emails requesting the “correct term for the-wooden-bit-with-the-light-bulb-in-it”.

OK, I got one email, and it was a flyer from Target.  So I’m responding to it now while it’s still fresh.

Dear Target:

Please know that if you would prefer a more Martha-type VIBE“my hens lay eggs in Nantucket Blue to match the drapes, next up, clambake for 500, let’s watch Jacinta line the pit with fresh kelp!” kind of deal—you’ll need to find a blogger who is good at doing Martha-type THINGS, probably including responding to email in under two years and definitely before you shut down all your Canadian stores and flounce off in a huff.

You know, and can I just say, honestly. You guys at Target all desperately need to rethink your priorities. Sketch-bags are crashing like bowling pins thirteen to the dozen at Dollarama checkouts all across Canada due to a scarcity of my Epsom Salts Table Lamp®, and you’re worried about terminology. Nice.

I hate to be the one who pointed this out to you, and I should probably soften the blow. But hey.

Movin’.  On.


Underlying Esthetic Principles (form follows function / Vorsprung durch Technik):

So, like:

1. Not pretty.  2. Dangerous to make. 3. Oh why do I bother.

kind of thing.

The Ordained-by-God and Inescapable Milton Friedman Cute Slogan Law of the Universe

This is the cute slogan bit, which may creep up on you unawares.

This bit is like, you live in London, England and you want to tear down your outhouse which is at the end of the garden, and install a proper WC in your home, then you find out that this will take twelve years, twenty-thousand pounds for union labour and require a signed letter from Buckingham Palace because it’s 200 years old and Sir Edward Elgar may have once taken a dump there, and anyway, why would you ever want to change anything? Oh, yeah, and then the cost of the Blue Plaque with Elgar’s name on it.

So what I’m saying is, this cute slogan bit is “the catch”.

Anyway.  Every new product has to have a cute slogan, and it’s no different for the ESTL.

Like, just because it’s probably saved the lives of everyone you bump into in the course of a day, that doesn’t change the LAWS, you hear me?  It has to obey the same Milton Friedman laws of, like, your toothpaste or your cars and so on.

For example, even if it was found that my ESTL killed all newborn babies within a mile radius, that’s OK.  Because it got made.  It can’t be UNmade and if it makes a profit that is the ONLY THING that matters.  Are you getting this down?

Milton Friedman was GOD, which was why he had such insider knowledge of how the universe works and shit. I don’t know why we just didn’t make him GOD-KING  of everything!

So anyway here’s my cute slogan:

“Epsom Salts Table Lamp®: It’s all about the sketch!™”.

and good luck with  yours.

How to deploy your new ESTL:

Placing the lamp close to your face is great when you’re feeling sketchy. If you can find your face.  Up a little, that’s it.  Well done, sweetie.  Just focus on the Epsom salts and they will draw out all the toxins. From everywhere. 

You know.  The toxins.

Look, just trust me and do it, OK?

As you get more adept with your Lamp, you will start to block all those nano-bots with spy cameras that somehow got implanted in the wallpaper and soft furnishings when you weren’t paying attention, and your semi-permanent erectile dysfunction will gradually abate until you can, with enormous effort, squ-e-e-ze into existence a fleeting, sponge-y hard-on that will fool no one.

Soon everyone will be saying things like, “You used to be so sketchy? You know? And like, all the cameras and shit?   And now you’re like, OK?” ¹

and you’ll say,

“It’s all thanks to David at slowpainful dot com—and my Epsom Salts Table Lamp®!!!” ²

(¹ The term “OK” should not be construed as referring to, or implying any improvement of: chronic headaches, sketchiness, or the sponge-y, fleeting quality of your hard-on, a.k.a. “a semi”. Consult your family doctor before undertaking any new-age project that might ignite even a flicker of hope.)

(² not available in Québec, je suis so fucking desolé)

(Photo: © 2012 by David DelaRoddis, from his NYT Bestseller, “Photography is Hard Unless Of Course You’re Me.” )


The End of My Long Hiatus +PLUS+ Str8-tards should just STFU!

text-manipulateDid you miss me?


Come on, dudes.  I’m just looking for a standard portion of totally unwarranted validation here, so I can feed the ravening beast of self-esteem.  You know?  So stop making such a bernie-sanders out of everything.

Well, then. Poor Bereft You, aching with the manque de moi, staring at those used syringes and pre-mixed speed balls, praying for an overdose and that final passage on the Good Ship Lollipop – I do feel your pain.

(PRO TIP:  Be sure to have some old-style double-sided razor blades and a bottle of Percs handy, in the case the speed ball turns out to be just as much crazy-ass fun as the last one, thereby feeding your delusion that your life is not a fucked-to-Kingdom-come bomb-site, but a perpetually self-renewing gay-day pass to Canada’s Wonderland that you share with Athena, your personal purple Unicorn.  

Oh, yeah, don’t forget to run a warm bath.  You’re welcome!)

Now, and with a big, obvious sigh of relief, back to me.  For it’s been weeks since I posted here, after a veritable golden shower of inspired scribbling that will serve perfectly as the main corpus of my roman à clef-style autobiography and magnum opus, Runs Like A Girl.

Oh, boy oh boy oh boy!  They’re gonna eat it up in Des Moines!  All of it!  Eat it up like friggin’ corn dogs and red-eye gravy!   And I wanna tell ya, it’s a very, very happy camper called Dave who’s whackin’ off while fantasizing about his own personal five minutes of man-meat-drenched fame.

With the title of my life-story mind-mapped in its entirety, in part thanks to a couple of handy apps I downloaded from Google Play —“Trudly”, which takes your family tree and reworks it so you can plausibly pass yourself off as the 1972 love-child of Margaret Sinclair and some coked-up stud from Studio 54; and “Obaminator”, which pushes random insulting versions of “Obama” to your cell phone so you can intimidate those libtards on Buzzfeed—only the tedious transcription plus the creation of the actual text remains to be outsourced to an underfed, resentful Third World laborer.

That is, assuming there’s a feisty young Ahmed or Haizan with a typing hand and a few fingers remaining in any of the –istans who isn’t double-booked modeling for GAP or too busy figuring out how to wire his suicide bomb to his iPhone 5.

I tell ya, the global search for available slaves is getting so competitive, it’s hard to resist venting my annoyance with a nice, hard boot in the face to the Islamo-terrorist who polishes my shoes at Union Station.  So I don’t resist!

I mean, it almost takes the fun out of flying to Mumbai, rounding up a busload of civilians for “call-centre work”, shoving them into a concrete bunker containing a pile of un-sewn blue jeans, pointing a machine gun at them, then locking them up overnight with a couple of Happy Meals and setting fire to the place.

What burns me is I only included the Happy Meals ’cause it was women and kids. And if there’s one thing I hate, it’s wasting perfectly good food.

Anyhoo, now that I’m no longer lightly beaded with sweat from laboring over my title, I am well disposed to begin Venn-diagramming my latest, in fact, my only, contribution to the literary schwa that is self-help literature, provisionally called:

“I’m OK, You’re a Retard:  Why White Str8 Males
Have WAAAAAY Too Much Self-Esteem and
Why I’m the Gay to Deal With It, Bro!

Oh, stop.

Oh, it is not.

Really?  You think so?

Well, believe me sincere when I say that the fun never pales when it comes to watching you squirm with discomfort as I fish for a compliment.  But Dude – you just have to remember:

Never, I mean jamais, I mean Nuh-nuh-NEVER forget how good I am to you.  Ja, OK? Bitte sehr please??

Which segues like the grinding of unlubricated gears to the REAL topic of today’s post, namely:


Fig. 1:  Shutting the fuck up:  Correct placement of Duct Tape

(a.k.a. Str8-tards)!  (Fig. 1)

Yeah,  you heard me.  SHUT THE FUCK UP,  ’cause no matter where I roam online in my hunger to hear the IQ-destroying, toxic talk radio that is the “Innernet”, white straight guys are the static.


Static!  Sound and fury, and oh boy, the fury – signifying nada.  Niente.  Gar nix.  They out-pontificate Pope Francis – shout-out to Francine, BFF!  Love ya, girl! – and they out-entitle – hmm…

I’m stumped, cause there ain’t no one more fucking entitled than a white straight male.  To wit:

We have Gay Pride?  They’re all worked up.  They gotta have Straight Pride!  Down with the oppression of the one human class who’s never actually suffered any, and down down down with one nano-second of paying attention to anyone but these spoiled-rotten rejects from privatized childcare.

I want to marry my partner?  Nuh-nuh-NO!  That’s not traditional!

I’m gonna take this real slowly for you:  Equal marriage is just as traditional as traditional marriage. It’s the same institution of marriage, get it?

See what I mean?  Dumber than cum!

As for your spiteful, slippery-slope argument that equal marriage means we’ll all be hooking up with our pet hamsters in mass ceremonies and fucking dogs in the town square, I wonder if you’re just jealous about the options available to the broad-minded now that you’re squirming with boredom in your sex-less common-law arrangement with your high-school sweetheart, “Suzy behind the goalposts”, and driving a second-hand Ford Focus, that kid-crammed, four-wheel-drived slap in the face, the vehicular expression of your thwarted Lamborghini dreams?

Dumb, and lacking in gratitude.  I wonder if you geniuses have ever stopped to think about the selfless service we fags have performed over the years?  Namely:

There’s at least ten percent more women available for you, and all because of gay men!

Yeah, not so clever now, are we? But instead of thanking us, you sit there in your soiled bathrobes, mouths glowing orange in the dark from powdered cheese and masturbating compulsively as you post misspelled comments online about abortion, “gay” marriage and socialism.

DUDES! Get out and objectify some piece of tail!  Now!

Surely it’s no secret that the online static is all about male bonding; the actual content is just a good old stinky red herring. (Notice how they always go off-topic? Exactly.)

Str8-tards care about only one thing:   that other str8-tards see how MANLY they are <scratches balls, farts>.

It’s the VR edition of hangin’ out with their bro’s at Fred’s Garage and Live Bait, where they can snicker at the Sports Illustrated calendar and tinker with their camshafts.

But I bet you a triple-triple at Timmies that all you’d have to do with some of these hammer hawks is bring ’em  home, sling ’em a couple of beers, and they’d be down on all fours sucking dick faster than you could say “pedophile hockey coach”.

I’ve written about these Geezer Libertarians before.  But now I’ve reached the tipping point.  I tell ya, I’ve had it had it had it up to the very tops of my Louboutin pumps – the ones with the plexiglass soles and nine-inch heels that I wore to Pride with my chain-mail jockstrap, and you gotta admit, it’s a look! – with the stupidity, the ubiquity and the iniquity of the belly-scratching, Fox-watching, wind-breaking, closet-casing, homophobic, racist, misogynist, all-denying, all-knowing, asshole-speaking white male str8-tard-iverse.

And there’s only one way to deal with it.

Luciano?  Take a memo, baby!

TO:  All Str8-tards
c/o the Str8-tard-iverse.

Hey, Str8-tard!

Are you gay?

First, look down and locate your penis.  I’ll give you a few minutes.

Ready?  OK.  Is it hard and in another guy’s mouth?

Are you now, or have you ever been, ejaculating all over another male’s pink, gaping hole?

Check your left nostril:  Is it shoved half-an-inch deep onto a bottle of amyl nitrate?

Have you recently tag-teamed a barely-legal twink (proof on file) with the other members of your all-male show-tunes choir, “The Sondheim-ites”?

Was there ever a night where you got trashed on girl drinks, acted out the entire party scene from “All About Eve”, then faked a suicide attempt?

Have you ever attended Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden dressed in leather harness and chaps, and sporting a butt plug that doubles as a puppy tail?

Are you holding crumpled, autographed programs from every city in Madonna’s most recent world tour?

Do you make protest signs, take off all your clothes and march against oppression and bigotry at Gay Pride, then say to your friends, “I wouldn’t be caught dead at Spa Excess! It’s full of Asians!”

If you answered NO to all of the above, I’ve got news for you: You’re not gay!

So SHUT THE FUCK UP about gay rights.   Next:

Are you a woman?

Look at your chest :  Are you at this moment nursing a minimum of one infant?

Do you take to your bed with “the vapours” every lunar cycle?
While in bed, do you hug one of the many adorable stuffed animals to hand because they care?

Does your boss chase you around your desk brandishing a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, while you simultaneously make half his salary cause you were passed over for promotion?

Have you recently, or ever, been the victim of an “up-skirts” video prank?

Do you wait in the rush-hour cashier line-up for twenty minutes, then, when all your groceries are totalled, open your handbag, rummage around for your change purse and say, “Twenty-nine ninety-nine? Let’s see, I’m sure I have some nickels I need to get rid of! Let’s count out the exact change! By the way, your new uniform looks just darling!”

Do you wear your hair in a girlish, Marlo Thomas-y flip, and was there, last time you checked, a vagina between your legs?

NO?  You’re not a woman!  Congratulations, dude!

SHUT THE FUCK UP about women’s issues.  Furthermore:

Are you black?

Turn out the lights and look into this mirror.  Can you see your eyes, and only your eyes? Now smile. Exactly.

Do you find yourself from time to time craving a mess o’ grits and collard greens?  Jerk chicken?  A bit of man-pussy on the D L?

Do you experience an irrepressible urge to get shot while at a full stop at the traffic lights?

Do you find yourself spontaneously rioting in economically-depressed urban centres due to decades of oppression?

Are you 85 years old yet still manage to put on your Sunday Best all-white zoot suit and shoes with spats, then head cheerfully to the only available polling station in your county with your walker and 14 pieces of ID cause you can’t afford the bus?

Do you use, in your casual, day-to-day conversation, terms such as gangsta, fuck that shit, homey and bootilicious?

Do you have, or have you at any time in your sorry life had, rhythm?    NO?

Then you ain’t black, muthafucka.  SHUT THE FUCK UP about Black Lives Matter.  


One, two buckle your shoe, three four SHUT THE FUCK UP.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  To SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Knock, knock.  SHUT THE FUCK UP.

It was the best of times, it was the SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Romeo, Romeo, SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Oh Jerry,  let’s not ask for the moon.  We have the SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Get the idea?

And never, I mean NEVER – you know.


Seen on “Living Blue in a Red State“, a Facebook page devoted to keeping the discussion going around Liberal values:

“Scientifically speaking, punching Donald Trump in the mouth
would be considered fisting.”

The Property Manager Only Rings Once, Assuming He Even Knows Your Apartment Number (a.k.a. The Cockroach Diaries, Part 1)

Boheme-poster1Cockroach heaven in my kitchen.  David hell.

My strategy:  Render the cupboards air-tight, then coat the entire space with a whisper-thin layer of lethal poison.

I’m on it!

We’re talking, please note, about creatures who will spend the first thousand years after the nuclear holocaust cheerfully nibbling on crumbs of plutonium and sipping heavy water, the Champagne and foie gras of high-living Blattellidae since the dawn of creation.

I spend a small fortune on silicone sealer, buckets of pink spackle, spray styrofoam that expands to fill holes and adheres to your skin so indelibly that its wear-off half-life is measured in decades, and aerosol insecticides so potent they can kill anything that walks, flies or crawls except Donald Trump, whose infestation of the planet thus continues unabated—and my roach problem, so I convince myself, is finally solved.

Added bonus, I am guaranteed a seat on the TTC now that my toxic aura, wafting from my clothing and bodily secretions like cold-war nerve gas, paralyzes entire streetcars full of the peasant classes with just a lift of my arm.

(Why do poor old ladies even take public transit, anyway? The world has bifurcated into five rich people in a stretch Mercedes and everyone else: Therefore take thee up thy bulrushes and goat and WALK, my black-babushka’d komradins! And have a bath in ’17 before you need a vegetable peeler to undress!)

My building management, come by to inspect, is touched by my efforts.  Then Nick the Super points to a tiny glass of dead zinnias that’s sitting on the kitchen counter.

“Dried flowers,” he says, stroking his beard like Dr. Finkelstein the B-movie scientist who’s about to send Tuesday Weld into space in a cardboard rocket held aloft with visible strings.

“Dried flowers will attract roaches like crazy.”

I nod, thinking: He’s stupid, he’s Russian, he’s six-foot-two and talks like Marlon Brando on opiates, and I haven’t been laid in at least 48 hours, so no way am I going to be contrary.

“My bad!” I gush.

And I feel like such a manwhore.  But you know what?  Being chary with your sexual favours at sixty is like dieting on the Titanic.  Have the fucking cheesecake, bro!

Do I have time to shave my legs before he finds the door?  I totally think I do!



Nighttime in unit 805.

I’ve been in the kitchen enjoying my roach-free universe and the attendant foreshadowing, and I turn to leave, holding my cup of No-Name Earl Grey tea.

(Geddit?  No-Name Earl Grey?  Not with me?  OK, look – the joke is, if it was really no-name, it wouldn’t –  

Oh why do I bother.)

And as I turn to leave – a sleek young cockroach, name of Chuck if I recognize him from his days as a nymph on the lam, swings around one of the metal supports of the kitchen shelves with the alacrity of an Olympic gymnast turned European-style lap dancer and fixes me with a hard gaze.  And a hard exoskeleton. His antennae flick at the air.

“So, Daaaavey,” he says with that rattling, elongated “a” common to all Southern Ontario roaches.  “I expect you’re pretty daaaamn proud of yourself, eh?”

(Oh, he’s Canadian, no doot aboot it. Yeah, Americans, all of us Canucks talk like that, doon’t we?  Just like you all sound like JFK, you should be so lucky.)

“I doon’t knoow what you’re talking about.  And let go of my arm!”

I make an attempt to leave with some of my dignity intact.  Which is difficult when you’re wearing nothing but a black net tank top and crocheted slippers from Oxfam that double as hand-puppets.

“Just a little picnic, we was gonna have.  Me and Muriel and the boys.”cockroach

Holy manipulation, these roaches are clever!  Somewhere, deep in my lapsed-Buddhist soul, I feel a twinge.  He’s got me right by the short and curly Siddhartha-pubes, the Buddha-balls, the Gautama-gonads.

“A nice sunny daaaay in the kitchen,” he continues.  “A couplea coffee grounds, some cheese flecks, maybe a fingernail paring, a nice sip at the taaaaap.  Then a fun game or two of ‘Beat the Toaster Element’ or ‘Cluster Behind the Stove Clock Glass’.  Wallow in somea that peanut butter on the floor, then a group scurry.  Simple pleasures, dude!

“But oh, no.  You. You had to have your firestorm, your little cockroach Dresden, didn’t you?   They say we caaaaan survive a nuclear bomb, but that’s a lie I tell you – a rotten dirty lie!”  Hoo boy, he can turn on the waterworks, too.   “Roach torturer!” he gasps. “Aaaaarthropodist!”

And then—he pushes it just that much too far.  A sniff, a little cough <kek kek> and—he starts singing.

Singing Puccini.  “Che gelida manina“,  from La Bohème, if you must know. Oh, yes.  This one’s obviously willing to scrape to the very bottom of the roach-desperation barrel.

His little cockroach voice scratches and warbles, his mandibles throb as he clasps his delicate cockroach front legs in an impossibly affected attitude. He even staggers about and clutches the box of sea salt, just like a real operatic tenor.  Luciano Cockaroachi!

“All right, buster,”  I think.  “You’ve overplayed your hand”.

I spot the can of insecticide on the shelf just beneath him.  He sees that I see it.  I see that he sees that I see.

Some time passes while we notice the other one noticing and notice that we notice the other one noticing and think about making a first move before the other one decides that he’s probably noticed enough noticing to actually do something.

I grab the Raid, aim it squarely between his compound eyes.

“Any last words, Charles?”  I can’t help but leer in that self-satisfied, I’m-gonna-blast-your-little-carapace-to-Kingdom-Come way that we do.

But Chuck knows the game is up and says nothing.  He gives me a wry, fatalistic smile, flips me the bird, turns and scuttles away.

I press down on the white button, releasing the patented, chrysanthemum-derived insecticide in a volley of sweet-pungent spray.  Tears stream down my face.

“Chuck!  Chuck!!” I sob.  “I’m sorry, Chuck, it’s just – oh, Chuck, tell me you understand!” But I keep spraying.  And spraying. And –

And when I finish – well, Chuck’s just a quivering pile of melted chitin.

Show me a cockroach that can write La Bohème.  Just show me.