Monthly Archives: November 2008

Chess Is Stress

Afternoon, fuckheads. Happy thanksgiving. “Don’t alienate your friends by calling them fuckheads.” OK, then: if you’re a friend, of mine, and you’re reading, this web page, then after this sentence it is illegal for you to construe yourself as the “you” in these sentences. Fuck you. For real. Choke on a chokeberrry. Suck a suckberry. Leaf a leaflet — straight up your ass. With chokeberry ink. You fuck.

Playing chess is intensely stressful. I’ve played a total of maybe ten games in my life, moast of them when I was [shut up] years old, being felt up by a majorly foxy hobbit, like the cutest female hobbit in the shire. I’m going to fuck you up with one of those switchblade combs. You’re like — Oh shit, he’s got a knife! You’re relieved: oh, dude, it’s just one of those novelty switchblade combs. But: Oh, shit, he’s not letting up! He’s really lettin me have it with this comb! He’s, like, jabbing  me all over my person! I’m getting the shit jabbed out of me!

Yeah you are.

I start to lose at chess and I get frustrated and impatient and want to give up immediately. It’s the same thing with “the ladies” (a.k.a. “women”). Everything’s fine at first — I’m like, Whatevers, I’ll open by making my pawn go out two spaces. Why not. It’s summer vacation, everybody’s waterskiing, so hey I’ll waterski, too. It doesn’t matter that without a shirt on I look like if every contestant on the worst-ever episode of Double Dare combined fatty forces and turned into one megafatkid contestant — I’ve got like five Hollywood game show kids’ stomachs lovingly embracing my one stomach. And someone appears to have written homoerotic doggerel in cursive Sharpie across my stomach. It won’t wash off. I’m on television. I’ve got painful flatulence. There’s a leaf of iceberg lettuce here being filled with unspeakable fluids.

Got my Pawns, fiddlin around with my knights, the old horses, whatever, maybe spritz her with my bishop. Suddenly, or maybe eventually, things get dicey. My horse is threatened. Her goddamn bishop takes my knight. Fuck this. I hate this. I give up. I don’t want to be here anymore. Now there are rooks knocking on my door, looking at my queen’s ass, jiggling my king’s balls with bare hands — humiliating. All my pawns look on in mute horror. Some of them make sweet, failed attempts to help. I can’t believe dad’s just standing there while those guys say that stuff to mom. This is awful. Why is dad such a pussy? Why doesn’t he say something back? So I get messy. A crazy, unthought-out attack puts them back, momentarily, on the defensive. Very momentarily. I start sloughing pieces and then it’s over. I’ve taken plenty of their pieces, but what does that matter? It doesn’t. What matters is “winning.” I’ve probably learned something from playing the match. I finish feeling impotent, stressed out, ineffectual, weak, and, above all, stupid. I hate myself. My girlfriend (hypothetical) deserves the winner of this chess game, not the loser. I am the loser. I wanna live on an abstract plane.

On the train after today’s plane I was reading Alan Watts. Found it at mom’s house. Was a gift to me long ago, never cracked because I teenly thought I was “over” Taoism. I am enjoying his philological approach. Ideograms in the margins, calligraphy.

Didactic but good reading for a northbound BART car full of earbudded frowning white people with Thanksgiving knapsacks on their laps:

You are asked—temporarily, of course—to lay aside all your philosophical, religious, and political opinions, and to become almost like an infant, knowing nothing. Nothing, that is, except what you actually hear, see, feel, and smell. Take it that you are not going anywhere but here, and that there never was, is, or will be any other time than now. Simply be aware of what actually is without giving it names and without judging it, for you are now feeling out reality itself instead of ideas and opinions about it. There is no point in trying to suppress the babble of words and ideas that goes on in most adult brains, so if it won’t stop, let it go on as it will, and listen to it as if it were the sound of traffic or the clucking of hens.

“The Wrath of Grapes” – SCENE ONE




WRATH: Nope, it was real. And now I am irrevocably roused. You could even say… “a”-roused

[GRAPES shucks her decomposing kimono with alacrity. Smoately, what does ‘alacrity’ mean?

SMOATELY: Ask me outside of the stage directions.]

GRAPES: “promptness of response.” (When I’m outside of the stage directions, I have my laptop, so I can just look things up on my laptop.) [GRAPES is spectacularly nude. Her body is  a weeping faucet, a city’s worth of sex only a few twists of the knob away]


SMOTELY: Imagine, if you will, that you live in New York City, have perfect vision, one of the nation’s finest critical apparatuses, and the body of Michael Phelps, the Olympic gold-medal swimmer.  Also you are Lou Reed, a little bit, inside, and in your clothes.


WRATH: He’s mostly talking to me.



SMOTEY: What do you do?

WRATH: Isn’t it obvious?

[It is totally obvious to both SMOATELY and GRAPES, but they look on anyway, mute and expectant.]

WRATH: I would fuck. A lot. Everyone. All those perfect peaches. I would pluck them. And fuck them. In their tiny apartments. Make their neighbors crazy with the sound. Go to work with my prostate a beaten and worn thing, tenderly tucked away for the lunch hour. I’d be a racehorse of pleasure. I would nail ersatz ponytails to my wall as trophies.

GRAPES: This is disgusting. [WRATH and GRAPES begin copulating hotly. SMOATELY steps forward and faces the audience. He fingers the buttons on his slate trenchcoat.]

SMOTELY: And here, thus, are the origins of Chicago post-rock, and that glitchy Aphex Twin sound, and freak folk, and whatever genre the Strokes and the Futureheads and all that is called. WRATH [gestures to WRATH’s pounding, exposed buttocks] is this culture’s Great Father. And Grapes [gestures exaggeratedly again, as GRAPES yelps with unvarying urgency] is the mother. Their spawn, which will sing its first note not nine months from tomorrow, will be the New Scene. Christmas is almost here.

[Giant snowflakes fall past the window. The downtown Brooklyn tower is visible, as is a cursive Coca-Cola billboard and San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid. What the fuck???]

[Eventually WRATH, who looks exactly like Wharf from Star-Trek, and GRAPES, who looks, whatever, hot, she’s Kate Hudson, who cares, are finished and lay spent on the bed. From the rafters, a gross oversized papier-mache baby is lowered onto the bed. It is dripping with syrup, which falls and pools on the bed as it is lowered. more syrup is poured down from above onto the baby as it comes down. The whole thing is gross. WRATH and KATE HUDSON aka GRAPES writhe and moan on the syrupy bed. SMOATELY, who looks, whatever, like Truman Capote or David Hockney or Elton John — lights a cigar and winks a bunch of times at the audience.]


Friday night dinners

We (just me) ate early, around 4 p.m. I pulled a lever at the health-food store to dispense some Zen Party Mix and accidentally filled the entire bag. “Oh well,” I thought. Then I ate it while perusing the outdoor book stall at Dog Eared Books. I saw three people I knew while I was browsing and munching. I browsed and munched for a long time. At the very end I unearthed a 1967 Noonday paperback of The Moviegoer.


Cover design by Milton Glaser

The Dog Eared guy I love, the guy who if I were a beautiful little indie princess (female) I would seduce and make him tutor me in the ways of World War I poetry in his monk’s bed, I am not gay, said, as I bought it from his coworker: “I’ve never read that.” Isn’t that adorable??? I love him!!! It’s very likely he’ll find this blog and ruin my career as a heterosexual seafood maitre’d. Breadstixxx keeps walking by and seeing that I’m not writing that email to Jenny I’m supposed to be. What the fuck is wrong with me? I had a large-scale panic attack yesterday. If you ever go to therapy or analysis and then stop going, it’s fun to say that  you’ve “fired” your therapist, even though you’ve really just stopped going. You didn’t actually say ” Bernstein, you’re fired!” or anything like that.

Part II of dinner was the chocolate cigar Boethius gave me when his son was born. I also stole some licorice from his bookshelf. The entire office immediately was all “OMG WHAT ARE YOU EATING WHERE DID YOU GET THAT??” So, Boethius– you should hide that licorice!

Tonight I’m going to covertly smoke marijuana by myself a la Hal Incandenza and either go to a huge indie rock show where exquisite girls in leggings and their rippling, serrated boyfriend-thugs with ninja stars where their hangin’ doodles should be will throng the throng right up to its throngy hilt. Or an approximation thereof [DELETE THIS? –ED.] I will twitch in place, the marijuana a beadly shroud that rapes my vocabulary with a deft, chai-spiced confidence. What??? I’m going to dance weirdly for a bit, and definitely try to hurt the feelings of anyone who recognizes me. So if you see me, maybe the Independent, who knows — watch out. I’ll get progressively more drunk on sweet sweet India Pale Ale (so named because the magic cobras that lined the bottom of the East India Company’s trade ships were as white as Michael Jackson’s eukaryotic organelles) and whip my night blindness around like a tube [that makes a great vibrating moan when you swing it lasso style above your head]. then it’s the  4 mile or whatever walk home, not getting mugged on the way but probably shouted at by someone angry . My hoodie and the 1.3 ounces of youth-culture strength it signifies will save my life. Then I will kiss an indie princess on the lips — on the other side of consciousness, in dreamy slumber. Her teeth will be made from candy corn. I go to wash my face and dicks pour out the faucet; angry bidets ollie  their skateboards over the vert ramp of my face, etc. Slumberland — you know how it is.  Right up till morning, when I’ll jog, shower, shave, and put in a full Saturday at the office.


You have an incredible body.

on the job

Tonight was feeling relatively defeated w/r/t work. Then, as a part of my job, I navigated surreptitiously, serendipitously, sandinistaly, sandwichismly, srichrachaly, snorrely, snarfly-barfly to this webpage commemorating in photos Chimimanda Adichie’s visit to Drexel University

Dr. Marilyn Piety and Chimamanda

Dr. Marilyn Piety and Chimamanda

And it ineffably, inexorably, indongly, incorrigibly, indefatigably, indarknessedly totally maxxed out my night. What do I mean by that? It cheered me up. It poured Capri Sun into the outward-facing thimbles on my tits. I was gladdened by it. But I can’t say why. I don’t want to know why.