A Rich Texting Life; Or, One Dreaded Messausage

June 18, 2009

It’s been a long time, butterflies and bay windows.  I’ve missed you.  Well, I’ve missed the dirty emails (Actually, gross.  No more treadmill action shots, please).  An explanation for my world wide webular wastyface is forthcoming, but first, let’s talk text messausages…

I get a lot of tomfool text messages, especially as of late, what with spreading my number over the Internet like a goat spreads shit and all.  One stranger recently told me that she (he?) drank four shots of vodka at work.  Another stranger ask if I would officiate her gay wedding, which I probably would do if said communal bliss wasn’t happening the same weekend of my annual menstrual hut party.  I’m currently in two texting relationships that are far more hopscotch than any homo-to-hominid romanicism I’ve had since that thing with the lady cop last summer.  Unfortunately, my pillbox only holds 30 texts at once and I deleted a bunch of rubies from 512 Stranger, my most LTR virtual girlfriend, before recording them (many apologies, 512), but below are examples of recent pop rocks:

  • Just got a kitten.  Thinking of naming her tyra banks. I almost went with Oprah… Obviously she’s black. (828 Stranger)
  • I was gonna go to work. Then I puked. Then I realized my kitty is noticeably bigger. And I don’t want to miss her youth. I will be a shitty welfare mom one day. (Also 828 Stranger)
  • The unemployed do not have the joy of being surrounded by drawers with such labels as “trachea chopper,” nor do they have the opportunity to order herring sperm from a catalog.  By the gallon.  For reasons such as these, work can be pleasantly surprising.  Or maybe you have these things at home. I don’t know. (812 Stranger)

Fun, right?  My unlimited texting plan is getting mad kalistenics and sometimes I get answers to the important questions in life, like, is it ok to break up with someone for using AOL?, or, how about for using the term foodie?  Also, how do you know if a dude is gay or if he’s Italian? There are also, natch, the dang-shooky-dirty texts that make me wonder why people don’t understand the concept of good, clean text messausaging fun.  Rude.

But the worst t.m., the one that gave me heart palpitations like that time I mixed poppers and ketamine, didn’t come from an anonymous wwwer.  No, it came for my very first landlord, a woman who’s house I lived in for the first nine months post-conception until rudely being evicted in the parking lot of a Mexican restaraunt: Mazog.

The text? Rding 20/20.

That’s right, wwwers, Mazog read my very public, very Googlable private diary.  And although this really shouldn’t be that big a deal—after all, this a woman who told tried to convince my sister to spend a full day on that most democratic of public transit, the Greyhound, by saying, “It’ll be fun.  You can pretend you’re poor.”  But even though Mazog and Pazog are about as lowdown straightup combo of xx and xy one could want in a landlord, there was a not-so-small pool of urine at my feet when I found out that the innermost secrets of my public internet diary were being read by my MOTHER.  I mean, I’m developmentally 19 years old.  I’ve done some really dumb shit; mostly dumb rite of passage shit—getting arrested for skinny dipping in a water trap at the country club, for instance, then getting kicked out of the dorms the following week for making my room into an opium den/speakeasy.  Nothing too terrible, but still not the shit I want my xx and xy donors to know about when writing their will.  Kids have always lead double lives.  The part of you that’s masked from your ma and pa under a sheen of business casual and dinner parties is what makes being human worth singer songwriters and popped collars.  I consulted my doctor friend about this (ok, more astrologist than doctor.  And more Miss Cleo than friend), and she showed me a scientastic paper about how when life expectancy was 15, six-year-olds hide their papyrus secrets under stone pillows. True story.

You can imagine how I felt.  Exposed.  Betrayed.  And, mostly, terrified that my patrons/benefactors are going to cut me off the family plan if I don’t get my shit together.  I considered retiring 20/20, but I already paid for the domain.  Then I considered only posting lists of my good works (Thus far today: getting ranch with my cheese fries even though I’m terrified that the Brit Brit in me comes out merely by saying the words “ranch” and “cheese fries.”  Meaning, I laid classism at the feet of french fries.  Also, I didn’t call my most hated barista faggot under my breath this morning, despite the fact that he is definitely not Italian.)  Instead, I’m going to man up.  I’m going let my testes swing under these denim cutoffs.  I going keep up this shit and ask Mazog to sign a binding contract stipulating that if she ever peeps this again, I’m getting Tori Amos’s face tattooed on my neck.


Dear Charles; Or, You Don’t Know Shit About Shit

May 11, 2009

Dear Katie,

Recently I have fallen into a slump.  I sit on my fallen love-seat because my house does not have room for a sofa, and I think, What Would Katie Say? [enter Nylon Bracelet Here]

I have fallen into the depths of alchoholism.  Now, in my attempts to sober up, to say, tonight i Will ONLY have six Beers, and then finish the last of the liquor bottles i have from here and there,  i wonder what would Katie think?!

I am sad. I have been for along time.  i smoke my cigarettes with my windows open or closed depending on the season, and I think, why on earth would I ever go back to the alumni event at my fraternity

life is hard. I realize this.  at this moment, alexis meade is making [her] way.  i am gay, though i do not idenitify as such.

I have gained fifteen pounds since march, and lve watching urine flow thorough my penis.

my life is sad, and i need help.  what sort of advice can you give to me?



Dear Charles,

I’m sorry to hear you’re wallowing in shit, but I’m glad to hear you’ve purchased the limited edition WWKD? bracelet, which is not actually a bracelet, but a noose for your wrist.

I want you to close your eyes, Chuck, and imagine this: you’re in a treehouse shotgunning non-GMO smoke into Drew Barrymore’s open mouth.  The two of you are 74 feet above the cilantro and mica carpeted ground, sitting in a perfect square of sunlight that’s coming in through a heart-shaped hole in the ceiling.  The floor is so worn and smooth that you wouldn’t get a splinter even if Drew used your naked body as a mop, which she would not do because she is a lady and no longer drinks.  It’s just you and Drew in that tree house, watching Lisa Frank dolphins cha cha in the ocean below.  This particular ocean is like what the Pacific ocean would be if it were the temperature of warm breath on a January morning while you wait for the bus because your mom stopped driving you to school after of the DUI and the thing with the horse.  This Pacific is warm and oxygenated and filled with puppies and gay marriage.

But, wait.  You hear something over the next chocolate hill.  Something unpleasant.  Something bacterial.  Is it an organ grinder coming to steal your movie star?  Is it the Fannie Mae looking for her interest?  Oh, right.  It’s your girlfriend divorcing her stomach contents five feet from your head after waking up and discovering that the bathroom floor is covered in human waste.  And by waste, Chuck, I mean shit.  Shit and piss.  Your girlfriend is not happy, Chuck, not happy at all.  Her first thought is that the waste-filled bathroom is somehow connected to you and your late night out with your co-workers, co-workers she doesn’t particularly trust after the Christmas party last year when you may or may not have made out with your boss in the bathroom of the karaoke bar.  Drew fades as your girlfriend pulls you out of your cloud pillow and into the bathroom to see what happens when the plumping fails and your bathroom becomes the entire building’s bathroom as their shit is forced out your drains.  And is this your fault, Chuck?  Are you the one who didn’t update the septic system when you should have ten years ago?  No, no you are not, but it is you who has to call the landlord and describe the Dante circle in your bathroom, and you who has to stay home from work to wait for the plumber, and you who has to drink beer outside all day because your apartment smells like Bradford Pears if Bradford Pears smelled like shit instead of rotten vagine.  And then after the plumber has taken the toilet off of the floor and pulled out the shit-entombed pet hamster that the dude across the hall was too lazy to bury after accidentally sitting on it last weekend, it’s you who has to mop your neighbor’s shit from your bathroom floor.

Did this happen to you, Chuck?  No, no it did not, because it happened to me.  So when I say I’m sorry that you’re “wallowing in shit,” what I mean is, you have no idea what it is like to really Wallow In Shit.  I’ll listen to your bitching when you can’t look at your neighbors without seeing corn kernels and mustard greens.

Put down the bottle and open your fucking windows, Chuck. Lose some goddamn weight and donate to your alumni association.  You’re making America look bad.



Welcome To My Home

May 7, 2009

Dear Friends and Lovers,

I know I said I’d spew more sluice here on the regular, but I’m exhaustified and back in Carrboro, USA after a grueling FIVE HOUR drive that should have taken FOUR HOURS AND FORTY-FIVE MINUTES.  Fucking East Asian monsoons are infiltrating our fucking weather.  GO BACK TO THAILAND, THUNDERBITCH!!! 

Vajacay with Fireball and Pazog was what one would expect.  Like every 25-year-old, I turned into a teenager immediately upon crossing the county line (“But Maaaaaaaaaahm, I don’t waaaaaaaana do the dishes.  I’m biiiiiiiizzzzeeeey.”), and spent the week trolling Craig’s List for a job and/or girlfriend.  Oh, and this is an actual quote from my actual mother: “Did you know ‘box’ is a sexual term?”

Anyway, I’ma sharpen my knives and leave you with this. You’re welcome.

Family, Feelings, Fags; Or, Sex and the Kiddie

May 6, 2009

During my semi-annual car bathing today, I balanced my wet Hooter’s tee shirt and short shorts with a little NPR.  Terry Gross was interviewing a novelist named Ayelet Waldman, who just published a memoir called Bad Mother, a title that refers to some pretty unchristian criticism she received after publishing an essay in the New York Times with the following statement:

If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.

Whoa.  Lady Waldman may be the only mom since Mary-Mother-of-Jesus to admit that sort of Hallmark-kiling sacriledge, and she was married to God.  My mother, however, loves me more than anyone else in the world, which I know because she sends me texts like, i ❤ u bestst 4 eva., so Lady Waldman’s discount mothering isn’t really something I can relate too, nor what I really want to talk about.

But Mz Waldman’s memoir isn’t just about hating her spawn.  It’s also about sex.  Specifically, the anticipation of her children reaching that parent-dreaded period of early sexuality.  At 14, her oldest daughter is precisely the same age the author was when she dropped her pimento.  Ignoring that slightly disturbing fact—disturbing, at least, to a late bloomer still waiting for those buds to bud—Mother Of The Year Waldman has a good 21st century attitude about sex and discussing it with her young’uns.  When relating the unfortunate tale of her unfortunate hymen-breakage to her daughter, her advice was to not go into a room with a 21-year-old Israeli soldier with a drinking problem and a boner, which seems like a good idea to me. (Apologies for the anti-semetic implications here.  I’m not anti-semetic but I do have a fear of the awkward hand gestures used to bridge language barriers.  And boners.)

After the interview ended and NPR returned to the usual communist/botanist/astronomist propaganda, I cleaned my cigarette lighter with a Q Tip and Windex and pondered that thorniest of horniest issues: sex and kiddie….

My parents told my sister and I about the whole bio-ween/vagine thing when we were relatively young.  And when I say “told,” I mean they gave us a book called Where Do I Come From? after B– said “stop sexing me” after our mom gave hugged her.  The book was cute.  Sperm were dapper in top hats and tuxes, eggs matronly and welcoming in aprons and bonnnets—the kind of cells you would want to catch lightning bugs with.  Where Do I Come From included such insight as, “If sex is so much fun, why don’t we do it all the time?  Well, because sex takes a lot of work.  Jumping rope is fun but you couldn’t do it all day, could you?”  This particular statement was proved problematic after I told my gym teacher that I didn’t want to jump rope because I was tired and you can’t have sex all day.

Sex wasn’t really something I discussed with anyone in my family, which is sort of surprising considering that my father taught Human Sexuality and regularly enlisted my siblings and I to help him grade quizzes on autoeroticism and self-flaggelation.  He is also the proud owner of a New Guinea penis sheath, a vibrator from the ’20s, and a penis pump once reportedly owned by Rodney Dangerfield.  Even though we are progressive folk, the kind of folk who are more likely to get a letter of recommendation from Sinead O’Connor than the Pope, sex in my younger years was only discussed when promient God-fearing d-bags got busted for some man-of-the-cloth/altar boy action in the confessional at the local diocese.

I haven’t gotten any more comfortable talking about sex with my folks, no matter my age.  I think it’s great that some mothers advise their daughters on keeping the maritial bed busy when the kids are asleep, but that will never be me.  At this very moment, for instance, I’m sitting in my parents’ living room while they’re watching Law & Order.  The victim of this particular drama is a high school sophomore who’s into sending photos of her naked self to her mans via cell phone.  And even though I’m 25 and I’m in graduate school and I live alone and I got my oil changed and my car inspected today, my mom just leaned over to ask if I’ve ever heard of “sexting,” and I am now fighting the urge to flee from the room as fast as a tween to a Jonas.  The mere acknowledgment that sex exists when I am in the same air space as my parents makes me feel like I’m ten years old and Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze are doing that thing with the clay and the wheel and I am so embarrassed that I would rather tell my third grade teacher Mrs. Sheapard that I love her (which I do) than sit here for another goddamn second.

Yes, I am perfectly happy to tell the Internet that I have only a vague idea of how many people I’ve slept with because my definition of sex changes to suit my needs at any given time, but the idea that my parents realize that I have been and may currently be a sexually active person induces the sort of panic other people feel when stuck between Rick Warren and a Twinkie.  Ignoring the things that make me uncomfortable (swine flu, for instance, and Ohio) is one of my more refined attributes, so it’s easy enough for me to maintain the illusion of my parents’ ignorance.  That is, until my mom discretely places a dozen Gardisil pamphlets in my bathroom.

But it’s not just talking about sex with ma and pa that makes me feel like a Mexican jumping bean.  It’s also the gay thing, and this is especially weird because the vast majority of my tongue kalestenics come via the discussion of gay people, gay music, gay jobs, and gay hair.  But every time my mom asks if I’ve been keeping up with the WNBA, I hate that little gay gene and it’s blonde tips inside of me as much as Larry Craig hates the foot-rubbing bottom inside him.  It’s not like my parents even give a fuck that I’m homo.  In fact, I bet they prayed to the Flying Spaghetti Monster that at least one of the twins would be either black or gay.  I mean, what’s better than having a gay daughter to a couple of left-wingers?  A gay son, of course, but a dyke will do as long as there are a couple of Asian babies in a Prius somewhere in my future.  Shit, I didn’t even come out to my parents—they came out to me.  When I asked who told them, my mother said, “No one.  Your father has gaydar.”  And yet, every time my mom suggests we watch Boys On the Side, my gay ass knows the hometown reprieve has come to an end.

Oh, fuck.  Lil Kim is on Dancing With The Stars. I gotta get out of here.

Spring: The Unethical Way To Get A Job, Gays At War, and Legal Emancipation

May 4, 2009

I’m spending the next few days at an “artist retreat” in the mountains (AKA my parents’ house). Even though I like my hometown about as much as I like waking up in a stranger’s bed covered in stale DNA and realizing that I don’t remember a) said stranger’s name, or b) where I left my car, this is a necessary sabbatical now that school is over. Because my six hour work week isn’t quite enough structure and there’s a direct correlation betwixt free time and reputation erosion, I have to retreat to a dry county to preserve my good name every once in a while. Cullowhee, North Carolina is pretty like Shiloh, Vivi, and Knox are pretty, but I have no lust for the place that is the archive of the many small humiliations of my youth. There was the time, for instance, that I was pissing behind my car after a high school football game—something, by the way, I seriously did not belong at—when my sister pulled away from the curb, exposing my expelling lower half for all to see. And by “all,” I mean my English teacher and her family, including the two preteen boys I often babysat until that very night. Also, people used to call me gay.

Because no one in my hometown understands that my mullet is ironic, I don’t plan on leaving my parents’ property and therefore anticipate plenty of shit-done-getting. I’m going to spend the week browning my opalescent skin and working on my resume, both of which are difficult like the Jew’s harp is difficult. I know this is shocking, but my work history is a little, um, marbled. I’ve had a lot of jobs, but the longest was for just a year and a half—a job, by the way, that I did not get fired from, though I probably should have considering that I took smoke breaks at the bar across the street, g&t in hand. My first job, besides selling hemp necklaces and nickel bags stolen from my friend’s parents, was Taco Bell when I was 16. The shirt was to big for me and the rubber gloves made my palms sweat, so I left on my lunch break and returned to pick up my one and only paycheck the next week. I somehow convinced my parents not to make me apply across the street (Wendy’s) because my athletic training was more important than learning self-sufficiency and work-ethic. The sports thing is actually factually. For most of my teenage years, I was a serious athlete, which seems about as likely as that time five minutes ago when I smoked a bowl with Drew Barrymore, but it actually is true. I wasn’t a ribbon girl or anything, but I was a semi-professional freestyle kayaker, which basically means that I wore a lot of Patagonia and had swimmer’s ear from 12 to 20. My athletic career didn’t work out in the end, maybe because I was surrounded by dudes all the time and I’m not really socialized to enjoy that sort of thing. Months traveling around the country with eight dudes might seem like an opportunity for ass-getting/cloud-surfing to the heterosexual among us, but for me, this was about as fun as taking out your contacts after cutting jalapenos. I also wasn’t much of an athlete.

Anyway, my checkered work history is problematic because, of the 24 jobs and five internships I’ve had in the past nine years, my only references are people I’ve never actually worked with but who have professional-sounding outgoing messages and don’t mind lying for me. My sister’s resume, however, is well-stocked with fancy titles and the only things I have to alter are the letters b, s, and y, and poof! Job offers aplenty.

In addition to resume-stealing, I plan to spend the next few days writing letters to President O in support of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which I think is the best thing that’s ever happened to the fagotry and cannot understand why the gays don’t realize this. It’s not bigotry if it keeps your well-toned ass out of fire fights and combat boots. Believe.

In addition to the aforementioned noble pursuits, I’m going to choose my new name. I just don’t think that Katie is appropriate for either my appearance or personality, and, as hard as I’ve tried to convince people to call me Ajax, I won’t feel complete until I’ve paid the government, gotten the certificate, and seriously offended my parents. The problem is that I can’t actually think of a name that embodies the characteristics I want to project and masks the ones I don’t want you to know about. Considering that I spent the majority of yesterday being referred to alternately as Hotdog and Ding Dong, I’m kind of stuck on one of those. I could really use your help on this. Email suggestions to krherzog@gmail.com or post in the comments if you’re feeling creative and your boss isn’t looking over your shoulder.

The Return of Innocence; Or, Becoming Jonas

May 4, 2009

You are not the most well-behaved Crayola in the box. On the good people palette, you’re maybe a cerulean blue or a burnt umber or one of those grays nobody ever talks about. Most of your bad behavior has been the easy, good-in-nature brand. Lots of skinny-dipping and peeing in sinks and being towed on a skateboard behind a 1984 12-beer-brown Ford 150 by a drunk with a rope. Easy, right? No harm done.

But not all of your bad behavior has been quite so innocent. The one person who was fool enough to be in a real girlfriend/girlfriend romance with you—the kind in which you hold hands not just at night when you’ve somehow convinced her to go home with you, but during the day when sidewalkers can easily peep you and your gay hands; the kind of relationship where the two of you have your own words, like, for instance, calling breakfast “pile,” and also have little routines like watching the L Word on YouTube in nine six minute clips uploaded by some community-oriented gay in Denmark—was treated to several massive lies and maybe even a sort of double life. There were, of course, the standard girlfriend/girlfriend lies, like still being an actual smoker two years after your quit date and even switching from Bali Shag to Camel Lights because that’s what your housemate smoked and it’s a lot easier to hide if there’s only one brand in the ashtray. And, of course, there was the hypocrisy, particularly in regards to smoking, like your tsk tsk on the rare occasion she bummed a fag at a smoky bar where even if you’re not smoking you’re smoking, which made your heart shiver, not just because you were contracting osmosistic cancer but also because you loved her so much that you sometimes had thoughts like, “if a pig with a taser made me choose between my mother and my girlfriend, who would I choose?,” and then felt sorry for your mother.

Bad behavior may also have involved petty theft, academic dishonesty, and manipulating kind and good-hearted gayelles and sometimes straights into thinking that you are also kind and good-hearted, when actually you’re going to pretend to be asleep when they leave in the morning so you don’t have to face the truth, your truth, that you are an asshole and threw away the only girlfriend who was fool enough to be your girlfriend, and for what? For this? For not having had sober sex since you left two years ago because you wanted to be “free?”

Do you believe that you are fundamentally golden despite the evidence? That all it takes to be good is growing patio tomatoes and shopping at the co-op and riding your bike to work? That the bad behavior has all just been kid stuff, life lessons, learning experience? Maybe so. Maybe you know that you are still good despite it all, despite the friendships dead and the letters returned and the universe-shaped scar on your shoulder from the time you fell off your bike and onto your head and then lied to the EMTs and the nurses and the doctors who were just trying to make sure you didn’t die of head trauma and/or stupidity. You lied, you told them that your name wasn’t your name but that is was, in fact, the name, the only name, the name of the only girlfriend who was fool enough to be your girlfriend and who you tossed away like that plastic cup you could have recycled but didn’t because the trash can was right there.

And then maybe late one night a month or three weeks ago you are slapped with the evidence. You wake up in the middle of the night to a loud and insistent banging first on your door and then on your bedroom window, at which point you stop breathing and hide under you covers because the door-banger could be any of three possible candidates, two of whom deserve to restructure your guilty face. And then when the banging stops and the breathing starts you literally crawl from you bed to your living room to get your phone, the same phone that you turned off a week before because you could no longer deal with the calls and the texts from people who know that you are an asshole. And then you are awake, very awake, at 3 o’clock on Friday night/Saturday morning and are kharma-slapped again when your neighbor upstairs starts having the kind of sex that isn’t just about speaking springs but also about sounds, human sounds, the very the thing you hate to hear above all other things you hate to hear, more even than Kenny G.

The next day as you muse the events of the night before, you suddenly have the aha realization that the door-banging and sex-hearing were punishment from that Santa-like god you don’t actually believe in, punishment for being an asshole. At this point you not only feel sorry for yourself, you also feel sorry for everyone else, everyone you have tossed and everyone you would have tossed. And this is maybe when you start to reconsider the of-course-I’m-good way of thinking and realize that it’s time to actually be good.

You mop your kitchen floor and clean your fridge and contribute to the NPR fund drive. You get library books and re-pot your basil and buy running shoes. And you stop drinking. And this is where the bad behavior starts to maybe dissipate a little bit. Yes, you are a little bored of Netflix, but when you wake up you feel good, very good. You look at your plants and you are happy. You start to resemble Nick Jonas more than ever. It’s not just the mouth and the chin anymore. It’s the virginity, a virginity he has and which you, a non-drinker, are re-growing. Will it last through summer? Maybe, although your will power is small and your thirst great and sangria at the pool makes adulthood, makes buying gas and setting your alarm, almost worth it. But before you lose your virginity once again, you hope that the memories you lost, the little things, the girlfriend/girlfriend language, knowing someone else’s life lines and thumbnails, remembering if she liked sweet tea, which you think she probably did because she is Southern and good, but which you cannot remember, making you feel like the little heirloom seedling outside of your window when the wind blows—maybe it will all come back as you and Nick Jonas fade into each each other. You, you and Nick Jonas, you will one and you will be good.

Search Terms!

April 29, 2009

Mons itch?  I’m no doctor, but sounds like someone needs to get a syringe and some Yoplait.  And you might want to lay off the Cheesecake Factory.