Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mayor For Life...From Beyond the Grave

Recently, former Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry, 78, died from cardiac arrest, (I’m not gonna lie, I’ve written dozens of news stories and press releases about people dying in any amount of ways and that has got to be the clunkiest, worst sentence I’ve ever committed to paper. Moving on.)

Marion Barry served as mayor of the Nation’s Capital from 1979-1991 and again 1995-1999. As of this printing, running for future terms has not been ruled out. Barry rose to acclaim and power in the 60s during the civil rights movement. He was best known for being friends with Jesse Jackson and famously once threw a two-day-old dinner roll at Gloria Steinem’s head out of consternation.

After working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Barry and the organization parted ways at the end of the 1960s due to his advocating the use of baboons with ice picks duct-taped to their wrists during marches. Several lines from Barry’s farewell speech made their way into the cultural zeitgeist of that turbulent period and still ring true today:
              
  I’m serious people. Have you all seen a baboon in person? Them sumbitches can rip off people’s faces! You give those turkeys some ice picks and let them loose in Chevy Chase? Hot damn that’ll leave a few scars. Scars for social justice, I mean. Also, stop comparing my boy Rollo to a monkey, it’s both racist and he can’t help the way he looks. Alright, now let’s get out there and bring some integration to D.C. But first, a short message from Newport cigarettes. Newport Classics: “Enjoy a full flavor menthol, without drowning out the pure tobacco taste.” Amen.

Following the D.C. riots of 1968, Barry helped institute programs that brought both jobs and money to the poor residents of the area, black and white (but not Eskimo, screw those guys), forever earning him a place in the collective heart of the Chocolate City. 

He endeared himself to the residents so much that he opted to get involved in politics to bring about whatever social change he could to make the world a better place for people of color.

Unfortunately, he ended up becoming infamous for smoking crack and meeting up with prostitutes in shitty motels.

Whereas controversies and setbacks, such as being a crackhead, would probably end the career of a regular politician, Barry used these flaws to his advantage, paving the way for future crack-smoking mayors from other towns to also ignore reality in favor of their own Loony Toons version of the world. Toronto douchebag Rob Ford has made embarrassing, drug-related gaffes a cornerstone of his political platform and it has served him well. Thanks to the trail blazed by Barry.

Also, luckily for Barry, D.C. seemed to not care about his legal transgressions, whatever they may be. Which is why, even though he has since been arrested and/or convicted for such crimes as buggery, adultery, hair cuttery, barn-pottery,* animal husbandry and necromancy, he’s still beloved by the citizens of D.C.

“We love that dude,” said some random drunk guy I accosted on the street early this morning outside of a diner.

I assume he was talking about Marion Barry. He could have been talking about the fire hydrant he was patting lovingly. We can only surmise.

The fact that Washington D.C., the seat of power for the majority of the world, the place where annoying people in their 20s and 30s come to flood the area with their stupid transplant ways, choose to continue to embrace such an obviously flawed politician says a lot about this city specifically, and about the state of politics in this country in general. At least, we all thought so. Until the recent President (“Capo di tutti cappi?) of Italy showed America how to get away with being a shining example of human decrepitude and still get reelected into power. Honestly, that guy banged half the women in the country, made rivals sleep with fishes and never saw a bribe he wouldn’t take. A fine man.

Now that Barry is gone, we have to all ask ourselves one important question: “Huh?” If we look back on this man’s life and the work he’s done for the last 50 years, we can see that he has done a lot of good. He has also done a lot of bad. He has also done a lot of controversial stuff. Like his 1987 bill to create “Whiteface Day” when all the minorities in Washington were encouraged to paint their faces light colors so that “the whites will know how it feels.”

And in a way, Barry’s all-over-the-place legacy fits best in this city that more often than not lives only on spectrum extremes. The District of Colombia itself represents all the best and all the worst that people can achieve. This town is an example that there are no definite black and white truths or absolutes. Everything that compels human action or influences human intention comes forth from a muddied gray soup of kinetic possibility. We all get to reach into that soup to create our own motivations and decide our own impacts on the world. We don’t always get to choose how we’re seen by others, or how our actions will be received, or even how we’ll be remembered. We can only hope to do what we can and maybe, if we’re earnest enough, no matter how flawed our efforts are, history may take pity on us and paint us with the broad, bright colors of heroes instead of the dark, subversive tones of villains.

Let us remember Barry for his best-known and most inspirational quote. I know I often recite it to myself in times of personal strife. The words are as true today as when they were first uttered, lo those many years ago: “Bitch set me up… I shouldn’t have come here… goddamn bitch.”

Amen brother Barry. Amen.  


*Shut up. It’s early in the morning and by brain isn’t switched on yet.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Run On (from the U2B Files)

It started off as a simple accident. But I guess “things spiraling out of control” is my specialty.

It was Thursday morning and I had to go to work. Since I had spent the night at my chick’s apartment, I was granted with both being able to sleep in a little (she lived closer to my job than I) and the delightful opportunity for different scenery on the drive in.

I worked in northwest Washington, D.C. In an area called Tenleytown, which housed rich jerks and most of the student body of American University. To get there from where I was currently, meant going through downtown Silver Spring, Md. (Singular, not plural. Silver Springs is in Florida. I swear to god if I have to correct one more person on this, I’m going to trail off with a vaguely threatening mumbling….)

I was on Piney Branch Ave., at the intersection with Fenton Ave., in the left lane, about four cars from the light. I was sick of sitting there and must have been really inpatient to get to work*, so I decided to cut across with a left turn into a parking lot that I knew joined up one block down with Fenton in the direction I wanted to go. Without hesitation, I grabbed the steering wheel forcefully in my hands, and accelerated my car into a left hand turn.

There was only one problem.

In my haste to make the turn, I had not properly judged distances between, say, my car and the car in front of me. Very improperly, would be a better way to put it. Didn’t judge at all would be even better. I hit the car in front of me would probably be the most accurate statement.  My front right fender nudged the left rear fender of that car. It didn’t stop my momentum, but it was jarring.

Oh well, I thought to myself. ‘Tis but a scratch. I have no desire to stop to assess the damage with this person and it’s probably not a big deal anyway.

Let me pause here in the story to tell you a little bit about me and cars. My car’s name was “Keep Getting Caught”** and unlike most boys with their toys, I have absolutely no respect for my vehicle. In the slightest. If my car was sentient and had the voice of, I dunno, Anthony Anderson, it would have called the cops on me years ago for domestic abuse. I think I get it from my father. We both drive our cars until parts fall off and the car dies like the Bluesmobile at the end of The Blues Brothers, (Look it up kiddies, best Saturday Night Live movie ever.) When people try to play chicken with me when it comes to changing lanes, slowing down, speeding up or anything else that could cause accidents and dismemberment, I just laugh at them, partly because my car is a piece of shit and I don’t care what happens to it, partly because I’m crazy and may have a death wish and partly for some third reason to be figured out later. So my scraping another car was just something to take in stride, as far as I was concerned.

Seven seconds

As I drove through the parking lot, I figured that even if I did pull over to exchange info with the guy, he didn’t have enough space to pull over to talk.  No harm, no foul. Then I took a peek in my rearview mirror. The other car had managed to use the space I had just taken up to reverse and pull into the parking lot behind me. It wasn’t over yet.

I had no intention of stopping for whoever this was, I had a shitty job to get to and I knew the streets of Silver Spring like the back of my hand (Funny story: I constantly forget that I have a tattoo on the back of my hand.) I decided to make a run for it.

Fifteen seconds

I negotiated the parking lot speed bumps without slowing down and exited onto Gist Ave. Seeing a break in the cross traffic, I tried to lose my pursuer by making a quick left onto Fenton. One block later I made a right onto East-West Highway. I knew that the light at the intersection of East-West and Georgia Ave., was annoyingly long, convoluted, poorly placed and resulted in a lot of backed up cars. I figured I’d lose the guy there.

Twenty nine seconds

So far, it had been less than a minute and my heart was pounding. I’ve eluded cars while on foot, rollerblade and bike, but rarely by motorized vehicle. I had no idea who the person/people were in the other car, but I knew that I had already made my stupid, impulsive choice of how I was going to handle the situation. I had to run on.



TO BE CONTINUED…



*That’s the only explanation I can think of. I must have REALLY wanted to go to work, or something.

**Because I never do.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pole Position

A few years ago, I wrote an article for a magazine that never made it past the concept stage, (The magazine that is. The story was completely written). I've actually done that quite a bit. The stories I write never go anywhere, and I (rarely) never see a dime from it. Such a waste. So, since I have this ridiculous excuse for a blog, I figured that I might as well post them here, to remind people that I'm not just a demented man-child with a keyboard. I'm actually a writer and, when the mood strikes me, a competent journalist. Enjoy!

With the requisite morning coffee in hand, I stumbled sleepily, to my computer.  My eyes blurry and crusty from the previous night’s slumber. I began to check my email, as is my morning ritual, (after all, you never know when that all-too-vital email from Amerie will appear, she has to respond to one of my hundreds of emails at some point!)  when an email from my editor caught my eye.
               
 “You want to do a piece about competitive pole dancing?” he asked.
              
  Do I?! Does a bear poop in the woods? Was the Pope a Hitler Youth? Is Susan Boyle ugly? Of course I do! What hot-blooded, straight man wouldn’t?
               
 I cleared the crust out of my eyes and checked the email again. Nope, it’s not an early morning, sleep-induced hallucination. It’s an actual offer to do a story about pole dancing. I must have done something good in a former life.

Images of dark and seedy night clubs populated by beautifully naked and tripled-jointed women, flashed through my mind. Scenes of dollar bill-stuffed, g-string-wearing pelvises, gyrating inches from men’s faces, danced in my head, like sugar plum fairies from the famous Christmas poem.

I immediately and enthusiastically agreed to do the story. After all, it’s my duty, both as a man and a journalist, to share the joy of pole dancing with anybody and everybody who cares to listen. I would be doing the Lord’s work. I just hoped I had enough one dollar bills for practical fieldwork.

After looking into things, my first revelation about the world of competitive pole dancing was also the most shocking: there is no nudity.  None. Nada. Not the slightest bit. This bit of news completely shattered my one-dimensional (and slightly misogynistic) idea of just what competitive pole dancing was about.

THE  EARLY DAYS WERE THE HURLY BURLY DAYS

According to Anna Grundstrom, one of the founders of the US Pole Dancing Federation, even though nobody is entirely sure of its origins, pole dancing can trace its roots back hundreds of years.

“There are many different sources of where pole dancing started. Some say it derives from an Indian dance called Mallakhamb. Other sources say it goes back to the Scandinavians dancing around the may pole,” she said.

Kay Penney, founder and managing director of Pole Passion Ltd., a UK-based company that offers pole dancing classes, parties and promotes the legitimacy of pole dancing as a sport, gives credence to the theory that the may pole could be the ancestor to our modern pole dance.

“The may pole has also been a suggestion where ladies and young girls used to do their fertility dance around the ‘pole’ to symbolize their fertility to males who were the bystanders,” she said. “The exact linage of pole dance is shrouded in mystique, with a certain stigma attached to the dance. There is little written history and until very recently, pole dance has remained ‘underground.’”
                
According to Penney, the first recorded pole dance was in 1968 by “Belle Jangles”, at a strip club in Oregon called Mugwump.
                
“There is however, a suggestion that the art form evolved much earlier in the early 1900s.The striptease dance was added to burlesque shows which featured strippers, including Gypsy Lee Rose.  Travelling tent shows had striptease acts whereby these travelling dancers may have taken inspiration from the Middle East and belly dance as they migrated throughout Europe,” Penney said. 

“In the smaller tents the dancers started to use the pole in the tent’s center to dance around.  These tents became known as the dance pole tents.”
                
POLE DANCING REDEFINED, MINUS THE STIGMA
                
The modern concept of pole dancing that most people are familiar with didn’t get started until the 1980s at table and lap dancing clubs in Canada and the United Kingdom.  It’s gained in popularity ever since, and not just with libidinous men, but with the performers themselves.
                
“Women in countries such as Australia and Canada, realized that dancing on a pole was an art in itself, and a great workout, and took it a step further by bringing it out of the clubs and into dance and fitness studios,” Grundstrom said.
               
 From strip clubs to dance studios, the movement to make pole dancing a legit sport is strong and is growing faster than China’s economy.  Interestingly enough, women are the greatest proponents of taking pole dancing mainstream. With the use of pole dance parties.

In the beginning of this nascent century, pole dance parties were created and designed exclusively for ladies by ladies. These parties were instructed in private party dwellings and were mainly held and organized for fun and fitness for the groups of ladies involved as opposed to titillate the opposite sex, Penny said.   

Women recognized the sheer athleticism required to do complicated and involved pole dancing routines.

The parties were and are about education of the dance form. The art and complex techniques required to do this art form safely and effectively with fluidity and grace demonstrates huge amounts of flexibility, strength, endurance, patience and practice, Penney said.

These pole dance parties whetted the appetites of women interested in learning more about this dance style and led to the creation of pole dance classes at fitness clubs around the world. There, women (and the occasional uninhibited man) could exercise and learn an art form at the same time. 

DARWIN’S THEORY OF EVOLUTION OF POLE DANCING

“Pole dancing is still in a developing stage and just this past couple of years it has grown in various directions. Some focus more on the athletic and competitive aspect, others on a more creative from or artistic expression,” Grundstrom said.

The increasing popularity of these dance and fitness classes led to the creation of pole dance associations, such as the USPDF, created by Grundstrom and her partner Wendy Traskos, both accomplished dancers who discovered pole dancing and were awed by the beauty, grace and skill required to perform the maneuvers. The USPDF does national competitions once a year, as well as smaller regional competitions.

“We wanted to contribute to the standards of the pole community and bring pole dancers together by hosting competitions. The only competitions we knew of here in the US were held in clubs which didn’t seem to fair,” Grundstrom said.

Similar competitions are held in England and other countries by other burgeoning pole dance associations. Although, without an overall governing and regulating body fully established, attempts to bring the sport mainstream hasn’t progressed as fast as it could. It has proven very costly and time consuming, Penney said.

The lack of uniform standards in the community, in terms of judging, scoring and dance moves has hampered making this a completely legitimate sport, but it has done nothing to dissuade athletes and dancers from giving their all in competitions, or when training.

ATHLETES? DANCERS? YOU DECIDE!

The training required to become a competitive pole dancer isn’t for the faint of heart. It demands dedication, commitment and the desire to one day be featured on a box of Wheaties.  Hours upon hours of exercise and training divide the serious competitors from novices just looking to get in shape.

“The current world champion [Felix Cane] trained for four to six hours per day, three months prior to this year’s world championships,” Penney said.

Zoraya Judd, 29, a professional dancer from Salt Lake City, focuses heavily on core and resistance training when she exercises.  Using a regimen given by one of her sponsors, Atlas Fitness, Zoraya hits the gym two to three hours a day, five days a week. 

The resistance training that I do is all based on functionality and core. I don't do anything unless it has direct correlation with what I do on the pole,” she said.

I train Monday through Friday and take the weekends off. Monday through Friday I do resistance training purely for core strength and functionality,” Judd said. “A few weeks away from competition I do heavy training. When it starts to get closer to the date, I do mainly cardio and focus on the pole. Pull ups are a huge part of my regimen. I do three sets of 20, three times per week. My diet close to competition is very much like a body builder preparing for a show: a lot of protein and not much of anything else.”

Judd discovered pole dancing a year ago, at the suggestion of a guy friend at her gym.

For the first few months of me attending pole classes, I was the only girl in an all-male advanced class. I was horrible! But I loved how it challenged me mentally and physically. From the first time stepping into a pole studio I was hooked,” she said.

Much like the other women lured into the visually poetic world of pole dancing, Zoraya was attracted by the grace and beauty of the sport, as well as amount of strength and determination it takes to make the moves look so controlled, she said.

From there, Zoraya decided to compete into whatever competitions she could.  Her first competition (which she also won) was the Miss Pole Fetish Utah, in April of last year. After that, she participated in the United States Pole Dancing Federation West Coast Regionals (try saying that five times fast) and others. Currently, she’s training for the USPDF Pro Division National Championship in March. The competition will be fierce. Scantily-clad women from all over the country will come together to do athletic moves on steel poles that’ll make firemen shake their heads in disbelief.

WHY SUCH SKIMPY CLOTHES?

A question that often comes up is, if pole dancing is about art and beauty and not about giving random men chubbies, then why the provocative and barely-there clothing?

I always make the joke that the better you get on the pole, the less clothes you wear. But the joke stops there,” Judd said. ”When you get into advanced holds and poses your skin acts as a gripping tool to help you remain on the pole. Clothes can be dangerous for that reason. This is also why the costumes for competitions and the dress recommendation for practice is what it is. I think of body building and other fitness competitions where the body is judged. Ironically enough, some of those costumes tend to be even more revealing than many things I've seen in the pole world.”

Besides, competing, Judd has decided to give back to the pole dancing community, teaching classes for women and men. Be it for training, or simply for exercise, her students come in all shapes and sizes and they all enjoy the sport.

“You can compare pole dancing to yoga, pilates and gymnastics. Even watching competitive pole dancing, some of the poses and moves are like those used in professional ice skating, elite level gymnastics and many forms of dance, both modern and classical,” she said.

WHAT DOTH THE FUTURE HOLD? PERHAPS THE ANSWER LIES IN SPONSORSHIP…

With more than 200 pole dancing studios in just the US alone, this sport is done being relegated to sleazy strip clubs (and it will be missed, especially by that clientele.) When you factor in the thousands of participants, here and around the globe, pole dancing is certainly on its way to becoming a legitimate sport. Who knows? Maybe one day soon, we’ll all be able to watch pole dancing on ESPN. Or, if the major proponents in the sport have their way, the Olympics.

I see pole as having the potential to go all the way to the Olympics. There is a large movement trying to get pole into the Olympics. I could easily see it as a category of gymnastics,” Zoraya said. “Pole is already a legit sport, though people need to look past their own false pretenses and see that it is an aerial art. I am an aerial artist and my apparatus of choice is the pole.”

One way to make this dream come true is by the use of sponsorship. Everything from poles, to shoes, to clothes, to makeup and hair spray is sponsored by companies. This sponsorship is a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship between athlete and corporation.

“[Sponsors] help get you to the next 'step'. Without sponsors, the competitor needs to come up with travel, hotel, rental car, entrance fees, costumes, etc. They also help to appear more acceptable. For example, say I have a clothing brand that is widely accepted as a trend. If they sponsor me then people will see me as acceptable due to the credibility of the sponsor,” Judd said.

So basically, the sponsor is the rich and attractive date with the proper connections to get you into the best nightclubs. Sure you can stand like a chump in the line while it’s raining, but wouldn’t you rather just walk straight into the entrance, give the bouncer a terrorist fist bump and sashay into the club? Damn straight you would, and that’s the role the sponsors play.

Combine a clamoring, passionate group of athletes, an exponentially growing fan-base, companies willing to participate in the enterprise and committed leaders and promoters and you could possibly have the next big Olympic sport.

Why not? It’s more interesting to watch than curling.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Heart Wants What It Wants

*This conversation takes place entirely over text.*

Saturday, Dec. 8, 1:14 am

Me: Hey girl. What’re you up to?

Her: Josh, it’s 1 in the morning.

Me: Yep. Batman is busy patrolling the streets right now. Ever vigilant.

Her: Go to bed. I’m sure your drunk.

Me: Nonsense. Sober like a fox. Haven’t misspelled a word yut. I have powdered alcohol. This stuff is great!

Her: Goodnight! (Emoticon that I will not bother to reproduce here because emoticons are, of course, tools of Socialist Satan.)

Me: Wait. Seriously, I have to tell you something.

Ten minutes go by…

Me: Hello?

Her: What?!

Me: Ninjas can be real assholes sometimes.

Her: Josh. It’s the middle of the night and your being stupid. Go to bed!

Me: For cereal though, I just wanted to talk to you. I’m so bored right now.

Her: Because it’s the middle of the night and sain people are asleep.

Me: “Sain”? Now who’s drunk? Can I come over?

Her: Why?

Me: I have a loose tooth I want to show you. Why doyou think?

Her: idk. Its really late and I’m tired.

Me: You know who else was tired? Debbie. But that didn’t stop her from doing all of Dallas.

Her: Wow

Me: I know, right?

Her: UR so romantic

Me: And a consistently good speller. Don’t forget that. Anyway what’s the deal?

Seven minutes pass…

Me: Come on! I’ll bring some wine. Actually, the rest of this bottle of rum. We’ll do shots. Shots of booze with powdered alcohol mixed in. We can watch a movie.

Her: I’m not doing shots and I’m not watching one of your bad movies. I’m not in the mood for Buckaroo Bonsai versus Hitler or whatever.

Me: Your words wound my tender heart. Buckaroo Bonsai fights the World Crime League, not Hitler. Everybody knows that. So what are you wearing?

Her: Pajamas. Sweatpants. Nothing sexy. Sorry (Frowny face emoticon. Seriously people, have we sunk to this level of communication? I should write a blog about it when the booze wears off.)

Me: I’m wearing a sock. I think.

Her: Just a sock?

Me: Not sure. I haven’t ventured a look down in awhile. If it is just a sock, that’d explain the pizza guy’s face earlier.

A minute later…

Just checked. I’m also wearing a shirt that advocates hitting pregnant women. Pants are AWOL. Damn I’m smooth.

Her: If you’re going to come over, just hurry up. We’re not in our 20’s anymore. Booty calls gotta stop.

Me: Ain’t gotta tell me twice! On my way.

After 22 minutes…

Me: Hello?

Her: Where are you? You close?

Me: Funny story and I’ll tell you all about it, but you’ll have to bail me out first. Unless Mr. Brooks can get here.

Her: WTF?! Your in jail?

Me: *You’re. Never an excuse for bad grammar. I’m not in jail yet. But things are kinda messy around here and the cops are on their way. I just want to get a leg up on things before they take my phone.

Her: What happened?

Me: I have strong objections to the rules about street parking in whatever neighborhood I’m currently in. People shouldn’t park in the street at all. They should park in driveways. Or, as I’m currently doing, in garages. Well, I’m not in a garage as much as I’d say it’s somebody’s living room. But you know what I mean.

Her: ?

Me: I’m sure the family who lives here will have a nice laugh about it in the morning. Right now they’re screaming at me and cussing a lot. Here come the police. I’ll talk to you later. Keep your bed warm and your legs closed until I get there.

Her: Your an idiot.

Me: The irony in that statement will keep me going through the long, cold, anally-penetrating nights in prison.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Just Like Warm Butter


 
Oh. So that’s what it feels like. This probably deserves an ouch.

“Ouch.”

I look down and see three things: the hilt of the knife peeking through her fingers, which are clenched in a fist so tight her knuckles are white; the place in my chest where the handle protrudes, like a morbid after-factory modification; and the blossoming pool of blood on my chest with lines of blood going down my stomach, like red rivulets of rain on a window. But more gross. And painful.

“Ouch.” I say again, with what I hope is a little more emotion to convey that being stabbed does indeed hurt.

I slide down the wall and land hard on my ass. Now my ass hurts. Where’s the justice in that? The stabbing isn’t enough? Still holding the knife, she collapses with me. Now we’re both just sitting, looking at each other. Except one of us has a knife sticking out of them and is tie-dying their shirt the hard way. Me. Have I mentioned the stabbing yet?

I look at her face. She seems shocked by her own actions, which she shouldn’t, because we are not even close to the kitchen and knives don’t magically appear out of nowhere. Her eyes are wide and they begin to tear up. Next thing I know she’s crying hysterically and babbling in confusion. I think I hear the occasional “I’m sorry,” but it’s hard to tell with all the crying and the rivers of snot. I can’t help but notice that she’s still holding the knife. Not cool.

Also, what am I supposed to do, accept her apology? I mean I am dying here. I don’t really think apologies matter anymore.

“It’s okay,” I say, feebly.

What’s the matter with me?! She didn’t accidentally step on my toes in the movie theater. She didn’t neglect to hold the door open at the grocery store. She stabbed me. I’m pretty sure I covered that with the two ouches.

Actually, now that I think about it, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Most of it didn’t really matter in the end. Being popular, religion dictating what I’m supposed to eat and who I’m supposed to hate, sitting in the front car of a roller coaster, what happens on Game of Thrones: meaningless. Yikes, I’m starting to wax philosophical, I must almost be kaput.

I’m still looking forward, but I don’t really see her anymore. It’s like somebody put a roll of wax paper in front of my eyes. Everything is hazy and gray. And then, like a movie projector being flipped on, there’s a click in my head and I’m starting to see stuff.

Hey, it’s the “life flashing before my eyes” thing I’ve heard so much about. Although, if it happens before death, then how do people who are alive know about it? Maybe ghosts. Maybe I can be a ghost! I can think of five people off the top of my head that I’d haunt. Give me an F on that algebra test in seventh grade, eh Mr. Brooks? Have I got a surprise for you.

I settle in to enjoy the documentary of my life. Let’s see. There’s me as a baby. Wow my head was abnormally large. There’s me learning to walk. I developed my trademark gangsta lean quite early. Good for me. Now there’s school. Hey, my first hand-traced Thanksgiving turkey! Who the hell invented that concept? God kids are idiots.

My first fight. Wow, that girl beat my ass. I’m sure such humiliation had no lasting effects on my psyche. There’s me playing soccer. I’m a natural. Annnnnd, more stuff of me growing up. Yeah, I get it, I used to be a kid, fast-forward to the good stuff!

Oooh. My first kiss. That’s what I’m talking about. Wait, what the hell? She was fatter than I remember. Hormones sure do make you forget about being picky. Yikes. And what am I doing with my hands? That’s not right. Wow, this is awkward. Next please.

First time having se… and I’m done. It’s a good thing I’m about to expire. That’s embarrassing. In fact, that’s put me off of watching the rest. College, jobs, Schnietz Marphis, Army, war, bullets, bombs, Roseus, I get it. I remember. No need to dwell on any of that stuff. Alright, enough of the highlight reel. Let’s do this thing!

I’m comfortable. My body feels light. Mostly weightless. Like I’m in the world’s most comfortable beanbag chair. Man, if I knew dying was this relaxing, I would have done it years ago! I don’t really even feel the six-inch, carbon steel blade in my chest. This body isn’t my problem anymore, let somebody else deal with this messy, smelly hunk of meat. I’m just gonna lay back and close my eyes. I feel sleepy. I think I’ll take a nap for a little…

*tic…tic…tic…*

I hit the alarm clock.