Wednesday, February 17, 2010

PLFM Says Goodbye

Once again, I’d like to thank you guys so much for following WWHM blogs.

Since the economy tanked just over a year ago, I’ve gone from self-employed technical writer / copywriter to once again finding myself slumming around in my skeevy, seedy and thankless back-up career. I’m currently working three jobs just to make ends meet, which brings up the primary reason why I’m finally shutting down PLFM: Time.

I just don’t have any anymore.

As you guys have noticed, I don’t post much anymore to either blog. WWHM will continue, but more likely in the same capacity I’ve been following for the last few months. I’m working on my next two WWHM entries right now, and hope to post them in the next few weeks. I work diligently to make each post better than the last, so if you stick with me, I promise to make it worth your while. I’m working hard to improve my writing.

As for PLFM, we felt it was time to let it go. I never felt comfortable, nor very skilled, at combining my lame sense of humor with my piss-poor excuse for investigative reporting. My time is so limited, I need to focus instead on getting my ass employed again as a writer. I have to. Before I fucking strangle myself.

For those of you seeking a good source of material similar to mine, I recently struck up a friendship with Jami Howard, a great writer who runs a site called Date Wrecks. She posts awful personal ads and dating stories, and not only does she do a great job, but she posts several times a week. You can find her here:

She really fucking calls them out, too. I’m proud of her.

I hope you guys stick with WWHM. I may not post often, but if you subscribe in one of the three million ways you can now subscribe to blogs, you won’t miss a post. I'm NOT going to stop writing.

Once again, I’d like to thank you guys so much for reading and I really hope you enjoyed our content from the past year.

-The Weasel

(Note: If you currently work for an ad agency / web development firm / any other organization with open opportunities for writers/ copywriters, please feel free to email me. I’m looking for a FT gig paying a barely livable wage in Seattle, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or any other city somewhat close to a large body of water.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Are You a Guy or a Girl?

See that picture to your left?

That's me. Post-crackhead.

If you still don't know the answer, I'm a guy.

Or at least an excuse for one.

Monday, June 30, 2008

How Did WWHM Come About?

In or around January of 2008, a lot of my friends decided to start posting personal ads on the internet. My friends are great guys, but we're all busy people, and sometimes you need a little help to meet someone who shares common interests.

Some of the guys had very little success. Most had none.

I was single at the time, but wondered "What the fuck does it take to create a successful personal ad?" I didn't know, but shit, I wrote constantly, so why not write a personal ad for myself?

Since my only semi-valuable skill in life is writing what a mighty few people might refer to as something resembling comedy, I wrote a really long, funny personal ad. But I didn't include a picture.

Surprisingly, I got a lot of responses, even though I didn't include a picture. (Maybe I'll have the balls to post it in the future.)

Not surprisingly, none of them remotely fit the profile of someone I would date. But one brilliant woman did respond, and she fucking knocked my socks off by throwing my personal ad back in my face. She was fiercely intelligent.

We corresponded for a while, and she began sending me some of the other ads she was coming across on the internet. I couldn't believe what she showed me. I literally found it impossible to believe the ads guys posted to try and get a date. And she kept sending them, and I kept logging them and re-sending to my friends with comedy attached.

And our correspondence became the backbone of what is now WWHM.

Originally, I only maintained this blog for 10 or so of my close friends, but since then it seems to have gotten around and spread a bit virally, and I hope it continues to get bigger.

And L, if you're out there, thank you!!!

Do You Make Up Those Ads On WWHM?


The unbelievable truth is I don't make these ads up. I couldn't if I tried. In some instances, I shorten them for brevity, and in a couple entries I added fake names in order to more easily segue into the analysis of the ad, which really helps the tone and timing.

Car Ad

Some readers of WWHM asked if I wrote about anything other than hairy-bellied, infantile child molesters. The answer, thankfully, is of course. Most of what I write has nothing to do with my blog. In truth, WWHM acts as an amusing distraction to my other work. And I write a lot of serious, adult shit too, like websites, TV specs, and a screenplay. All of which are destined to line a birdcage near you in the not-too distant future.

The following piece is the first of many extended humor pieces I wrote for my first comedy website which I never promoted years ago because, like most writers, I have an acute fear of exposing my work to the masses in the event that they may discover that I am indeed nothing but a talentless fraud.

I wrote this piece to sell a shitty car I used to own about six years ago. The ad itself was posted on and Ebay. Included here is the actual ad, preceded by a foreward.
I'm warning you right now, this is horrible.

Car Ad

When I was a young child, my German grandmother would often put me on her knee to tell me stories.

“When I was growing up,” she would say, “my parents always told me ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”

What a great attitude, I thought. Germany must have been a wonderful place to grow up.

Then she’d say “…but watch out for those fucking Jews.”

So much for that theory. She blamed Jews for everything from poor TV reception to stale soup crackers.

Life eventually did give me lemons in the form of cars. I always wondered how my Grandma would have “made lemonade” when my high school car went flying off a freeway exit and into a heavily wooded forest at 30 mph because of a bad tire.

“Maybe we’ll hit a Jew in a tree,” I could imagine her saying.

Luckily, that unfortunate episode ended with my body intact but my car destroyed. I ended up in a cow pasture, where a herd of guernseys feverishly grazed on the nettles embedded in the grill of my car like I was a fucking mobile bovine salad bar.

My luck with cars never quite improved. My next car, a Honda Prelude, snapped a timing belt at high speed, which shut off the car and sent me careening into a curb. In college, I drove my roommates Camaro, a comically constructed plastic car with a V-8 that offered fantastic views out the front window, the rear window, and through a hole the floorboards beneath the steering wheel in case you wanted identify what assortment of local pets you had just waffled-ironed into the concrete beneath you.

I even lost my virginity in my car, although that experience, like all the others involving cars, was a horrific, comedic occurrence meticulously designed to scar me for life. Commercial television in my teens had portrayed the imminent loss of my virginity as an intimate, delicate moment set in the romantic backdrop of soft lighting and a top ten hit sung by Steve Perry of Journey in his trademark ball-splitting leather pants.

Unfortunately, when I actually lost my virginity, I found myself drunk in the backseat of my 1983 Volkswagen Rabbit with an excessively Rubenesque girl whose idea of bragging about previous sexual conquests included trysts with a mentally retarded neighbor and two members of the high school Calculus Club. Nevermind the fact that you could barely fit a partially inflated basketball in the backseat of my Rabbit, trying to have sex in it was like trying to copulate inside of a dorm-room refrigerator. I was so nervous, I couldn’t maintain an erection, so I sat there, furiously pulling on my penis like I was trying to start a lawnmower someone had just yanked out of a river.

Watching a pathetic, skinny, pale boy desperately trying to breathe life into a deflated penis with the rigidity of overcooked asparagus, she eventually felt sorry enough for me that she decided to have sex with me anyway, a decision I like to term “Wounded Bird Syndrome.”

As some horrible Cyndi Lauper song bleated through my car speakers like a dying lamb, she eventually mounted me, and had barely bent her knees when I promptly ejaculated on her leg. She stopped, looked down, and then looked up at me. “Did you just pee on my leg?” Before I could answer, she stormed out of my Rabbit and up the street, walking with the confidence of a sixteen year-old girl titillated with the anticipation of telling the entire high school that I had either a:) urinated on her, or b:) came faster than a mentally retarded boy.

I had begun the night a boy in his car, and ended the night a man. Though, in retrospect, I had never imagined becoming a man involved sitting alone in the back of my Volkswagen Rabbit holding my sad, flaccid penis in my hand whilst I hastily scraped off stalactites of cold, misfired spermitizoa from the roof of my car.

Yet I digress.

Most people follow stringent guidelines when purchasing automobiles. They talk about pistons, gear timing, residual value, crash-testing, and performance ratios. Since I was 16, I have employed my own set of rigid criteria for purchasing a car:

It must have four wheels and an ashtray.

My mechanic knows this, and employing his own version of “Wounded Bird Syndrome” has always steered me towards purchasing cars made in Japan. “There’s two things Japanese men are obsessed with,” he says, “building good cars, and purchasing the soiled panties of American blondes.” He figures if I purchase an Acura or a Honda, I’ll only need three things to keep myself mobile. A car, a key, and a semi-solid theory about where I might put the gasoline.

My auto shop teacher in high school loved automobiles, and you would have hoped I would have learned something from him. He was the type of guy that would happily walk by someone brutally beating a defenseless dog with a stick and think nothing of it, but would call the police if he saw someone putting an inappropriately rated can of oil into a ’76 Chevy Chevette.

“Pennzoil 10-30 in January!” he’d scream, “What are you, some kind of fucking lunatic?”

But unlike him, I never have fell in love with the cars that I have owned. For me, a car is completely disposable, not unlike razors, tampons, a copy of Martha Stewart Living, or the bodies of my girlfriend’s parents.

I tend to acquire a car and drive it around for a couple of years until something goes drastically wrong with it. Once I realize something is drastically wrong with it, like say, it only has one wheel, I usually end up paying someone $150 to tow it to a car dealership, where I’ll try to get a trade-in for a new car.

“I’ll give you some paperclips and four Dentyne breath mints for it,’” the dealer might say.

“I’ll take it,” I’d respond, delirious with victory.

Three years ago I found myself back in the market for a commuter car. My boss at the time suggested I buy his commuter car, an old Acura Integra he had parked out back. “It’s not much to look at,” he said, “but it will get you where you want to go.”

We walked around back and found his Integra parked in the rear parking lot amidst a bunch of discarded beer cans. It looked as though the car had been back there binge drinking to cope with the drive home.

As the car looked homeless, I was afraid that when my boss started the car, the car might ask for spare change. To my relief, it started effortlessly. “I’ll give it to you for $1200,” he said, “which is $200 less than what I offered to sell it to anyone else. My son puked in the back seat over the weekend, so, you know… kind of stinks like milk puke.” He wasn’t kidding.

I sat in the drivers seat and made sure everything worked, which it did. I looked down on the console, and found an enormous fold-out ashtray. It met my criteria.

I bought the car.

And that was three years ago. And three years in, this car is ready to go.

Which brings us to the following advertisement, posted on and eBay, designed specifically to rid me of my 1990 Acura Integra in a somewhat legal manner, rather than just driving it into a lake.

Buying it was a mistake.

Driving it was a mistake.

And selling it will be an accomplishment.

Can of Lima Beans - $1000.00 (1990 Acura Integra included)

You are gambling on a 1990 blue (“bi-polar depression blue”) Acura Integra GS with 263,000 miles on it. No, that is not a misprint. This car has travelled the equivalent of 10 times around the earth. Believe me, there’s nothing left you can do to surprise this car. If you don’t buy it now, within 3 months you’ll see 18 soldiers in this Acura rolling around in war-torn Nigeria with two machine gunmen on top and a Van Halen sticker on the door.

It comes with a can of Western Family Lima Beans. Delicious!

I purchased this car two years ago with 212,000 miles on it for $1200. I thought I’d drive it for 10,000 miles, or until it spontaneously exploded or started releasing it’s own parts onto I-5 in a pathetic plea for death. Amazingly, that has not occurred.

Acura originally marketed the Integra as a “luxury touring car”, but this particular vehicle is now a non-luxury, mobile pack-donkey designed only to take you to Circle K to buy Twizzlers and meat sticks, or take you to your miserable job and back.

In the past 40,000 miles, I’ve installed a new timing belt, radiator, some new hoses and a couple of spark plugs. The previous radiator blew at 230,000 miles with my mother in the car. The car was fine, but my mother had a heart attack. I no longer get birthday cards.

I have the oil changed every 4,000 miles or so. I used to take it to Minute Lube until some fucking inbred with a Lita Ford T-shirt figured out a way to charge me $60.00 for an oil change. I had to spend a week in a rape crisis center for that one. Minute Lube, kiss my ass.

This car will remind you of a street hooker. You look at it and you’ll be startled because it looks like it was just attacked by a pack of zebras. And like a hooker, you don’t know where it’s been or how it got here, and it’s best if you just don’t ask any questions about it’s history. I’m the fourth owner, I don’t have the answers, and I’m thankful.

Starting it up is like trying to wake up your drunk roommate for a Mother’s Day brunch. At first it’s angry and confused that you woke it up, and it tries to go back to sleep. Give it a little encouragement, and it gets up, but it gives you an attitude for about 30 seconds, like you had asked it to take out the garbage. Then it runs smooth as a man’s ass at a gay bar on a Saturday night.

Here is a COMPLETE list of the major flaws:

1. It has a cracked windshield. It has been cracked since I bought it, but you can see fine. The car also comes with a fake undated estimate I got from an auto glass store, so if you do get pulled over, you can show it to the cop and say you’re taking it in on Saturday, that was the earliest they could do it. It worked for me. Twice. I’m serious.

2. There is a slight dent on the right front fender. It is shoe-shaped, so I imagine this car has been traumatized by some sort of domestic violence, or was struck with a frying pan. Believe me, fixing this dent won’t fix this car’s appearance. That’d be like giving an 83- year old woman breast implants.

3. There is some petrified gum on the base of the emergency brake handle. I believe it is Hubba Bubba grape. It will remain there. Don’t fight it. You will lose.

4. The trunk opens from the inside, but not with the trunk lock. Either it is broken or the actual key is lost. Do not buy this car for transporting dead bodies.

5. Do you like scary noises? The antenna makes a horrifying noise when it goes up when you start the car. All squirrels within a 100 foot radius will instantly die from sheer terror. If you’re in a supermarket parking lot, people will point and laugh, especially the children. Children can be so cruel. If you have any pride, you will disconnect it.

6. You have to put water in the radiator about once a month. There are no leaks, and I don’t know where the water goes, but it gets low after a while. I believe it pees when I’m not looking.

7. The driver’s seat on the door side has lost a little material on the corner, so the foam is exposed. It looks like seat cleavage. If your wearing black, make sure you brush your ass off before tea parties.

8. The passenger front window, and the rear left window are both very slow going up and down. And by slow, I mean plant-growth slow.

Now lets see what this car offers:

It comes with an engine. If you open the hood, you will find an engine, which I believe makes the car go forward. The engine in this car is primarily composed of aluminum, hoses, screws, plugs, pipes, cams, refrigerator parts, and little lids all over the place. It may or may not contain a “valve”. I also heard that it has a “shaft”. There are lots of little containers in it for various liquids, such as oil, water, Orange Julius, brake juice, and other things my mechanic calls “fluids.” I am a huge pussy, I don’t know anything about cars. It had a small oil leak in the pan, but it was fixed, and this car leaks nothing but your sense of pride.

It comes with four round wheels and tires, and brakes, and axles in various states of use. I ran over a pigeon one night a year ago outside Ivar’s Fish n’ Chips, so the undercarriage may also contain a varying array of pigeon innards and undigested fried fish products. The steering is power steering, very nimble and quick, so you can be sure to steer clear of your neighbor’s cat if it runs out into the street. Or, if you prefer, steer into it.

Four seats, four doors, five gears, floor mats. Excellent interior, except for the hasty stereo installation job. It doesn’t look too bad, and could be fixed by purchasing a face support. No wires showing, though. The cloth on the interior passenger door is beginning to flap a little, but could be fixed with a small jug of middle-school edible child’s paste.

The CD stereo is very nice, with a retractable face that becomes invisible when the car is shut off. I believe this stereo is embarrassed to be in this car, that’s why it is able to hide itself so well, like an ostrich sticking it’s head in the sand. It doesn’t want other stereos to laugh at it. It sounds nice at mid to high level, but the front speakers need to be replaced, because at really high volume they don’t emit melodious music as much as they do violent, repetitive senior-care-facility fart noises.

The car contains $1.12 in small coins wedged in the driver’s seat by the seatbelt. I did a cost analysis, and wedging it out would only be worth $3.46 worth of my time, so you do the math. You could hire an unemployed person to do it. The change is American currency, and recovery will enable you to purchase many gumballs and plastic wagon wheels and other Chinese products at your local gumball stand.

The car comes with an original Acura handbook, which contains many comical pictures and explanations of some other car that isn’t related in any way to this car. It also has a picture of what this car looked like new, which is about as shocking as seeing that picture of your Mom in her high school year book. It also states this car was originally purchased in Oakland, California. Now I reside in a crappy apartment community along with 8,000 shitting pond birds in XXXXXX, Oregon, so this car must really feel like it’s moving up in life.

There is a dead fly on the panel behind the rear speakers. It appears to be very dry, and very dead, and I believe the car is currently absorbing the fly carcass for nutrients.

There is a spare tire in the trunk. I’ve never actually seen it, but I’ve owned Hondas and Acuras before, and there is always one there, so we’ll check when you are buying it. And it’s not one of those pussy temporary tricycle wheels that you see people driving around on, humiliating themselves. It’s a full-sized wheel.

Look, this car ain’t gonna get you chicks. It’s not a show car by any means, and the only thing it could ever win is Worst Paint. I do smoke in it, but it doesn’t stink like smoke, but how would I know, I’m a smoker. So don’t bitch about it. It’s not like it ruined the car. It was ruined already.

You may want to put a dog cone over your head when you drive it around. But it does run well, and it will get you where you need to go, probably for a long time. This car is impervious to the laws of nature, the laws of auto longevity, and the laws of physics. Like diarrhea in Mexico, you think it will stop soon, but it never does, it just keeps getting stronger.

You’re buying a car with 263,000 miles on it, so do I really need to say AS IS? You are buying it AS IS, and that means it is yours the minute you sign the title. If it breaks down, it’s not my problem, but I would more than welcome your mechanic to come look at it with you. I’ve been honest with you about all it’s problems, and right now, it runs just fine. I hope it does for a while, but I can’t guarantee anything, it’s an old car.

I will take the following as payment: US currency. No checks, no money orders, no bank checks, no personal checks, no Thai baht, no payment plans. No out-of-state shipping scammers, no Nigerian bank-account promises. You give me $1000, I give you the title.

Do not even bother to ask. CASH ONLY. And lastly, the price is as low as it’s going to go. It’s a fucking car, not a black and white television. It is $1000.00, period. It runs great. If you show up and say “Oh, I only brought $950”, you can take your $950 home with you without the car. I’m in no rush to sell it, because I’ll use it until it’s sold. I love this piece of crap.
And yes, I sold the car.

Weight Problem

This was a piece I originally wrote for my first website under the auspices of becoming the skeleton of a book. I'm a little wary of showing it because of some of the information it contains, but what the fuck, the information always leaks out anyway.

It's the preface of my experience trying to gain weight after years of being way too skinny.

It's very long, but I just re-read it, thought it was sort of funny in places, and thought I may as well post it. It's quite dis-jointed however, and needs a re-write, some editing, and re-arranging, but I just don't have the time to do that right now.

Don't judge me, folks. Or pity me either. I don't mean to offend anyone by it's content, it's just something I wrote five years ago.

Weight Problem


To suggest my girlfriend Melissa carries some light emotional baggage would be to suggest that perhaps Richard Simmons might seem a wee-bit on the “fruity” side.

While I found the events of 9/11 traumatizing and life-changing, on that same day she was more obsessed with a broken fingernail.

“Those fucking Chinese bastards will pay dearly for what they did to me!” she wailed, as I watched another innocent civilian fling themselves in desperation from the burning North Tower headfirst into a light pole.

To her, world famine, terrorist attacks and deadly tsunamis were glancing personal irritants; a broken nail or moderately chapped lips were a global crisis.

“Do you even realize what is going on here?” I asked her. “Does this mean anything to you?”

She answered as the North Tower fell.

“Oh, I realize what’s going on. Maybe if their fucking Chinese eyes weren’t so fucking slanted, they could see my cuticles weren’t pushed back properly. Do they think I’m a fucking plumber or something?”

To say she was insensitive would be to apply some type of human quality to her. I’ve seen two wild hyenas doing a playful over-the-head meat toss with the still-beating heart of a recently felled musk ox with more compassion than her. Her self-absorption was astounding to even the most hardened narcissist.

“I’m hungry,” she followed, “I want some fucking french toast. Are you done watching this dumb show yet?”

Another piece of luggage on her emotional baggage carousel was her need for control. So desperate was her passion for control, that for me to accomplish the most menial task with her, it would require a level of planning and execution comparable to the construction of the Great Wall of China. Even simply putting her in the passenger seat of a car was like trying to put a rat in a cage. Tired of her clawing, biting, and launching sheets of spittle in my direction, I oft considered purchasing a Drivers Ed car simply to provide her with the steering wheel and pedals she so desperately needed so she could simply pretend she was driving.

Her need for control extended beyond the boundaries of her own body. Not only did she aspire for control over everything in her surroundings, she also demanded control over everything in my physical surroundings whether she was present or not. I was living in a communist relationship, where I played the role of a grateful, ditch-digging serf. Decisions were made for me, money was rationed. I was simply an observer, helpless as I would be watching a bus full of children launch off a cliff.

As an example, I let her drive me to Sav-Mart drug store later that evening so I could purchase a bottle of shampoo. I have no more interest in reading the shampoo bottles than I would a urine-soaked issue of Socialist Worker magazine. I buy whatever is cheapest. If I can find Suave at 99 cents, or Pert for $1.49, I’ll buy it.

Melissa, however, spends more time on her hair each day than humans have spent evolving from monkeys. If I buy anything less than $15.99, or anything not containing the boiled spinal fluid of fruit bats, my girlfriend immediately throws a fit.

“I can’t believe you put that crap in your hair,” she says. “It will absolutely ruin your follicles. I am not standing in line with you to buy that shampoo.”

She confessed she was too embarrassed to be seen with me purchasing such an inferior hair care product. She insists other people will judge her because of my selection, never mind the fact that they are Sav-Mart cashiers high on spray paint working the graveyard shift. This is the same girl who will happily stand next to me in line at the sex store to purchase for her an enormous black anal vibrator, yet flees like someone threw a hive of stinging wasps at her when I try to buy cheap hair conditioner.

"He’s buying Pert. How embarrassing! What if people find out my boyfriend uses cheap shampoo?"

If Melissa’s problems were a sandwich, her control issues would comprise the meat, her insensitivity would be the cheese, and her acute inability to take responsibilty for her actions would be the bread that envelops all.

Nothing is her fault, ever. Did she rip her new dress running through the bushes drunk? It wasn’t her fault, it was obviously a manufacturing defect. She’s Nordstrom’s worst nightmare.

Bank account overdrawn $630.00? She didn’t know there wasn’t any money in her account. Why didn’t the bank call her?

She also always has control of the remote control, and therefore, I’m always watching talk shows. She gets all her information from talk shows.

Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw, Montell Williams, corner the market on showcasing the “victimization” of America. I’m learning that everybody’s a fucking victim of something. We’re riding the crest of a growing wave of complete absolution of responsibility for anything that happens to us in our society. Our new national slogan should be “America. It’s not my fault.”

For example, Montell Williams recently did a showcase on domestic violence.

Montell leaned in, holding an overweight white woman’s engorged hand. “And then,” he said softly to her, “your husband struck you with a used clarinet, is that correct?” The woman, Kleenex in hand, wipes her tears away as she nods. “Am I to understand,” Montell continues, “that this is the thirteenth time your husband has been jailed for beating you?” The whole crowd gasps in mock shock. I do too, because I don’t know how anyone can find any sympathy for a woman who stays with a man that has beaten her 14 times.

As an example, if I walked out my door, and a piano fell on me, I’d likely make a mental note. If I walked out the same door the next day and another piano fell on me in the same spot, I’d probably observe a pattern going on. This woman had a piano fall on her 14 days in a row, and every time it happens she screams, “Oh my God! A piano fell on me!” At this point, I could have sold bleacher seats to people to watch the fucking piano fall on her. She’s not a victim, she’s an idiot.

Rather than use the word “victim”, TV talk shows now like to use the term “survivor.” I”ve noticed it’s very rewarding for the attention-starved talk show guests. It started with women and breast cancer, which I find legitimate, but then suddenly expanded to apply to any train-wreck of a person desperately trying to distance themselves from taking responsibility for the mess they’ve created in their lives. “I’m a gambling survivor,” a tearful woman would babble to Dr. Phil. Or my personal favorite, “I’m a fat survivor,” as seen on Oprah. Had you tried to rescue all these responsibility-dodging survivors from a desert island, you’d need to send a container ship full of pity. I’ll consider you a survivor only if you successfully fought off a family of polar bears with a noodle strainer and lived to tell about it.

The problem with telling people you’re a “fat survivor” is that you’re not owning up to your part in it. It’s as if all the sudden you woke up one day and “fat” just happened to you. But the reality is you spent 16 years of your life consuming Ho-Ho’s and siphoning the plankton out of your 40 oz. Strawberry Quik. You likely expend any and all calories during the day complaining about about the injustice of showcasing skinny models in Redbook magazine while you trot between the saggy cushioned couch and the fridge for mayonnaise soaked roast beef sandwiches. I’m not going to feel sorry for you because you look like a walrus.

It would be pretty simple for me to do the same thing in order to lavish sympathy on myself at parties. I’ll go stand on a busy street downtown and jump in front of a bus. Then at parties, I’ll introduce myself to you, “Hi. I’m Mike. I’m a bus survivor.” Then I’ll bore you to death about my inane “story”, which is a glorification of my idiocy, and watch you flee faster than if I had scratched my arms and told you I had a contagious sub-Saharan skin affliction.

Sometimes I reflect on my own life when I see these idiots on daytime talk shows. I spent my entire adult life completely obliterated out of my mind in alcohol and narcotic abuse. But I never look at myself in the mirror today and weep uncontrollably. “I’m so proud,” I could say to myself, holding my own hand, “because I’m a cocaine survivor. Oh, and a alcohol survivor. And a crystal and ecstasy survivor....someone give me a hug.”

I was an idiot. I never needed sympathy. I needed a punch in the face. Rehab willingly complied.

I realized the minute I walked into rehab that my life was never going to be the same. I was so used to watching people smoking crack and mainlining crystal that, to me, it was no more surprising than seeing someone baking cookies or ironing a shirt. But inside rehab, everyone was awake at 7 in the morning. People were happy and smiling, and other people were sweeping the floors or doing their laundry. The only thing I could muster was “What the fuck is wrong with these people?”

Rehab was an eye-opening, life-saving experience, but that’s not to say everything about it was perfect. In particular, I found rehabilitation, and Alcoholics Anonymous in general, extremely mantra-intensive. Part of going through Alcoholics Anonymous is being force fed hundreds of mantras, intended to cause you to look at every situation differently than you would before. You hear them constantly throughout the day. “Remember,” they’d say, followed by........

“An identical action over and over again will never produce different results.”
“One day at a time.”
“Complete control equals loss of control.”
“You can’t change others, only yourself.”
“Live through today, don’t live through tomorrow.”

These mantras are pounded into your skull before you’ve even had the chance to discover that rehab utilized the same cheap toilet paper as the National Park Service. Like a baby being force fed reconstituted lima beans, you can resist at first, but they’ll find a way to get them into you, even if they have to tie your arms to a chair. The end result, interestingly, is you could frequently witness various patients roaming the hallways of rehab, muttering mantras to themselves like crazy people. On the street, muttering to yourself made you insane. In rehab, muttering to yourself made you an exemplary patient. Rehab encouraged the same behaviors that got you into rehab in the first place.

If I ever did anything in rehab as hapless as walk into a wall or stub my toe, I’d start swearing in anger, and a squad of mantra police and behaviorists would immediately surround me, hurling applicable mantras at me like softballs at a celebrity dunk tank. “Don’t get mad about something you cannot change,” they’d say. “Why do you think you can control God’s will?” My only problem was that I’d stubbed my fucking toe. But now apparently it was always “God’s will” that my toe was stubbed, which upset me even more. Apparently God was bored during halftime and looking for some entertainment.

I ensconsed myself in the recovery community for about a year after rehab. But the dreary, depressing AA meetings in smoky church basements made me realize these people lived their lives in the past. They carried their history of addictions around with them like a dead hamster in their pocket. And the hamster was really beginning to smell.

Recovery was a daytime talk show on a grander stage, with particpants shouting back and forth their survival stories of so many years ago. Stories of addiction were no longer stories, but rather they became a means of competition of who had been more addicted. People fabricated ridiculous stories to garner more sympathy from the crowd, and I noticed people even changed their stories over time.

“I lost everything,” a particpant would say. “I went from being a litigation attorney to sharing iceberg lettuce out of a dumpster with a dog.”

Not to be outdone, the next person would offer something like “I sold my daughter to a porn company for two fifths of Jim Beam and a packet of sherm. I got on a moped and crashed into a tree, knocking my girlfriends two front teeth out. Now every time she talks, dogs flock to her.”

With pity filling the room like vodka into a bowl of prom punch, the stories would escalate. “I abandoned my children with a molestor in the Target appliance department, prostituted my own grandmother, and killed a family of migrant workers having a picnic.” It wasn’t sharing, it was gloating.
I confided in a friend that I was leaving the recovery community. He looked at me like I was something he had just picked out of this teeth, but kindly offered a final mantra as I skipped out the door.

“Just remember, you only have to change one thing. Everything.”

That was the only mantra I ever took to heart.


“If you were any skinnier, I wouldn’t sleep with you.”

Melissa was upset with me, as she always was. I was standing on a dock, dripping wet from a recent swim. That’s a good thing about being skinny. You dry faster. I repel water like a duck.

In her anger, she obviously decided to attack my most obvious and glaring physical shortcoming. Standing there on the dock in front of her, my surf shorts desperately clung to my wasted hips like a person flung over a cliff only to grab a small exposed root. “Must...hold...on...or.. I...will...fall,” I envisioned my shorts saying. It was an easy mark. Had you painted me pink and stuck me in a line-up full of flamingos, I wouldn’t necessarily stand out. My legs were nothing but colored bones leading up to a bulbous thorax, followed by a long thin neck similar to the ones many mammals use to graze foliage from treetops.

“If you were any skinnier, I wouldn’t sleep with you.”

The fact that she said this to me didn’t bother me a bit. First of all, she already had slept with me. I had already won that battle. She couldn’t un-sleep with me anymore than she could un-eat a Whopper with cheese. Second of all, my skinniness was just one of my many extreme genetic flaws I’ve obsessed about since I was a child. My nose contains a hollow ball on the end of it, courtesy of my mother’s nose. It would look more appropiate spray painted orange and affixed to a car antennae than it does lying off-center on my face. My cheeks hang low off of my face, like a pair of 90 year-old breasts ran into my head and just decided to stay there. In addition, the skin on my face is flush red nearly all the time. If you mention it to me, it will immediately turn redder, until I look like a human body with a deflated foursquare ball bolted to my neck.

My fixation on being too skinny tormented me through high school, and into college. My girlfriends during these years never felt I was too skinny, but I knew, I knew they were conspiring to leave me for the next burly soccer player with chiseled triceps that stopped to help her change a tire. “No,” they’d say to me, “it doesn’t bother me that you’re skinny.” I never accepted this statement as truth, however, and I would fabricate minute inflections of their voice in my mind as I replayed their assertions. “I love you skinny,” my girlfriend would say. But to me, she said it in the same manner she would during Christmas at grandma’s house. “No, grandma, I love the porcelain purple bullfrog jewelry holder you got me for Christmas. I just love it.”

After developing a healthy cocaine habit in my late twenties, my bicycle tire body deflated further until my appendages resembled a loosely stacked amalgamation of rigid Christmas ribbons. Luckily, in the late 1990’s, baggy clothing had become somewhat chic, and I was able to hide my weight loss from suspicious onlookers, my mother in particular. “Why don’t you buy some clothes that fit you?” my mother would ask. Sure, why don’t you pass me some drinking straws and I’ll put them over my legs as pants. For the first time in my life, even I had become concerned about my dwindling weight. I avoided the scale to avoid the truth that the drugs were ravaging my body mass. I was wasting away like a sand dune. My cratered cheeks had become so hollowed that if I’d been laying on my side, you could fill up my cheeks with milk and feed a kitten. When I checked into rehab in September of 2002 at 5’9 and just under 120 lbs.

“You only have to change one thing. Everything.”

It seemed impossible the day I left rehab. I had set a list of goals for my new life. They were scribbled on a shaggy leaf of moist notebook paper stuffed into my back pocket. The most impossible was the first. “Never drink alcohol or use drugs again.” Second was “Become a writer again.” Third was “Weigh 170 lbs.” Looking at the list, it seemed as though I had forgotten a few things. Namely “Become President of the United States in two weeks” and “Give live birth to a sprightly field deer.” Impossible yes, but at the time they didn’t seem any more implausible than the first three. But I did stay sober. And I began writing TV shows again.

But I was still skinny, and I hated it. I still smoked. If I wasn’t working or writing, I was sitting on my ass. My ragged sheet of promises still lay on my dresser, a constant reminder I had one more task to work on, but I just couldn’t find the motivation. I had all the excuses, just like the fat women on Oprah, who always came up with the infamous yet mysterious “gland problem”. I told myself it was “genetic”, and no matter how much I worked out, I’d always be skinny. I didn’t have time. I didn’t want to join a gym. I didn’t want to quit smoking. Of course it was all bullshit, I was just too lazy. Something needed to kick me in the ass. And something did. I met a girl who really liked to express what was on her mind.

“If you were any skinnier, I wouldn’t sleep with you.”


I was assigned to live on the bottom floor of the sober living facility. The day I arrived I found Robbie sitting in the living room watching “Golden Girls” and chain smoking Chesterfields. The ashtray on the coffee table next to his head was so full of cigarette butts, it took him about a full minute to extinguish a cigarette and find a resting place for the butt that didn’t cause the whole pile to topple over like a poorly constructed Chinese tourist mall.

Robbie stood up and introduced himself. “Hi. I’m Robbie.” Right away, I knew Robbie was gay. It couldn’t have been any more obvious had he worn a hat with a glaring neon sign and blaring tornado siren atop it, flashing “This man, directly underneath this hat, is really gay,” with an arrow pointing towards his forehead.

Robbie was an ex-crystal meth addict from a remote fishing town on the Strait of Juan de Fuca called Port Angeles. To give you an idea of how remote Port Angeles was, in Port Angeles you only cross the street for two reasons: black people and bears.

“How did you first figure out I was gay?” he once asked.

This guy hadn’t been in the city long.

Robbie was 6’2, sensitive and skinny, and very effeminate. His bitter and sarcastic sense of humor coalesced perfectly with mine, and we would become good friends. But I knew looking at his clothes Robbie hadn’t gotten himself involved in the Seattle gay community yet, because he dressed like he had robbed a Chess King Outlet store in 1986 and had simply forgotten to go shopping since. His closet was the Gay Style Court’s equivalent of the death sentence, and most his outfits screamed “mid 80’s Slayer concert after-party outfit.” Robbie was paranoid everybody hated gay people, including all the people living in the house. “Just because I’m looking at you doesn’t mean I want to fuck you,” he said to me, completely unprovoked.

“Why not?,” I replied. Not that I wanted him to fuck me, but I was more curious as to which heinous physical aspects of my physique made me particularly unfuckable.

“Good. We’ll just keep it to handjobs then.”

As I unpacked, Robbie obviously took note of my hat rack physique, and mentioned he was planning to start working out soon. He had brought some weights with him and stored them in the room. I told him what my girlfriend had said just a week earlier, and we made a pact. “You better not ever let me see that bitch!” Robbie said in his best angry inner-city head-cocking black woman impression. “You know, I’ve never turned down a cock. Human or chicken.”

Robbie suggested I go into the garage and introduce myself to Andrew, our other downstairs roommate. “He could help you on your workout. That’s all he ever fucking does. Just throw him a stew bone to gnaw on in the yard and he’ll do anything you want.”

I walked into the garage and introduced myself to Andrew, who was lying on a workout bench, bench pressing what appeared to be 4 tons of iron weights. He muscles were cut like he’d been sentenced to hammering heavy rocks in a prison yard for the past ten years. Which was partially true, at least the ten years in prison part. “I used to be a meth-head. That’s all I did, smoke crystal and work out. And steal people’s shit. Gotta stay healthy, you know?” Which I thought was interesting, because I’d hung out with many meth-heads, and “staying healthy” ranked somewhere around “knitting a scarf” and “taking trombone lessons”on their list of things to do. Most meth-heads I knew were completely out of their minds 90% of the time, and preoccupied themselves by trying to find hidden ninja warriors in the shower drain, checking the closets for evil elves, and looking for microphones that spies had hidden in their dishwashers.

We talked for a bit, until it became very clear to me that Andrew wasn’t quite all there. He lived in a constant state of glassy surrealism that I had once attempted to find through 16 ounces of cocaine. He lived up to the stereotype that muscleheads perceived their lives as a constant struggle for perfect pectoral quality and definition, rather than maintaining any level of normal human intellectual capacity. Andrew re-affirmed my observation when he pointed to the ping-pong table and noted how Robbie liked to play that “gay-ass volleyball game.” Yet I didn’t want to discuss quantitative statistical analysis with him, I wanted him to make me gain 50 lbs.

“Will you help me work out? I want to weigh around 175 lbs., no steroids.” Andrew contemplated, then walked over to a ping pong table and grabbed a stick and tried to break it in his hands. “I really wish I could break this stick,” he said, the dull thud of his inarticulate banter bouncing off the walls of the garage like a flattened tennis ball. At least he set high goals for himself, I thought. The stick broke in two after a couple seconds, and he jumped in air shaking the broken stick above his head. “Who’s the pussy now, stick?” He looked at the splinters sticking out from each end, and realized the stick was incapable of replying. He picked his head back up and looked at me. “Yeah, I’ll help you and the gay boy as long he long as he doesn’t wear his sweaty dance leotard.”

“I heard that,” Robbie yelled from the next room. “Good,” Andrew answered, “It’s not like you’re doing anything for me, Francis.”

“If you want, I’ll teach you how to spell ‘steroids’, you fucking monkey,” Robbie yelled back.

“Don’t make me come in there and break your Celine Dion albums.”

“I won’t be in here. I’ll be in the bathroom jerking off onto your muscle magazines. That way we’d have something in common.” Robbie countered.

Apparently these two didn’t get along.

Andrew approached me and gave me a quick once-over. He lifted up my sleeves and felt my shrivelled Cantonese noodle arms. He grunted a little. He walked over to a 7.5 pound weight and picked it up with three of his fingers and handed it to me. I took it from him and dropped it to my side, and it felt like it was going to pull my shoulder out of it’s socket. “Lift that straight out from your side. Like you’re a bird.” I didn’t get the analogy, but I complied. I could only lift the weight to about a 45 degree angle, until sharp, shooting pains seared through my shoulder. “Oh my God,” Andrew laughed, “Dude, my girlfriend has a bunny that could kick your ass.”

“Is that the same bunny that explains the newspaper comics to you?” asked Robbie, peering into the garage. Andrew brushed past Robbie and turned around to face me. “I’m going to the supplement store in 30 minutes. We can start tonight.” He faced Robbie “Shouldn’t you be practicing Lord of the Dance?” He sped into the house as Robbie shot back.

“Shouldn’t you be lowering a cable bridge over a moat? Troglodyte.”

We were already a big, happy family.
(End of Part I)