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 firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comments if you’re feeling creative and your boss isn’t looking over your shoulder.