Friday, January 02, 2004

YEAR END RECAP: The Good, the Bad & the Everything In-Between

I. Me
A. Life Altering Events

1. My Father's Passing

I. Obviously nothing comes close to what happened on the night of January 13th, when I had just walked in from a date (a very good date, mind you) and my sister called telling me to come to the hospital quickly. Something was wrong with my father.
In my head, I had created a million different scenarios, to prepare myself mentally, to be ready for the worst. But no matter how far your mind goes, how deep it can journey to the most pessimistic reaches of your brain, the news--the verbal communication--of a death hits you like nothing else. When I was in the fifth grade, I fell while riding on my bike. The handle bar had dug significantly into my stomach and I was unable to breathe for almost more than a minute. While I was in the hospital, this is how I sort of felt but this time, I felt like I would actually never regain my breath.

Whenever I think of this particular night, it's a mental grenade. A small violent explosion goes off in my mind. It's a million flying pieces of glass scaring my very essence, my being. I think of my father every day. Sometimes it's a particular memory or sometimes it's a generic one, of him smiling or looking at me. Or the way his beard smelled when I kissed it--like no-frills after-shave. Or the way he would call my name ("Arrrrrrrrrr!") much like a pirate. His way with people and how much I admired him. The way I had never personally told him that I admired him.

The hardest part is that no matter how long someone is gone, you still don't completely believe it. I still expect my father to call or to walk down the stairs of my home. I still, eerily enough, expect a short terse email from him (he was not the most tech-saavy). I've discovered that the presence of something is always definitive proof but the absence of something, i.e., my father, is never certain. The mind is a cynical part of the body. It always possesses this weird uncertainty. I know that he passed away because I saw him, I was at his funeral, and I spoke at his funeral. But truthfully; do I know every waking minute that he is not alive?

B. The Job Market

Here's the problem, Greenspan. It's not the economy, it's the people who are in positions of authority.
But I digress; I left advertising officially. I write copy no more. It's a lame, artificial business. People in the industry have a lot of ego but very little pride and integrity (there are exceptions, obviously). I wanted none of it. Soulless, dishonest, backstabbing. It was enough to make you think that you were on Melrose Place.
So I've made a full transition into magazine writing. This is going slowly but surely. With the thanks of Dave Eggers, who I spoke with at a book signing, I got my first gig writing for Spin. Seeing your name in a magazine that you essentially grew up is a pretty big event, no?

C. Seeing My Name In A Magazine I Grew Up With

Where was I? Oh, the magazine writing. Well, here's the problem? Remember when I mentioned "ego" in reference to advertising. Now add the fact that your name appears in print to millions of people alongside an article which is probably a combination of snarky, ironic, and condescending--my friends, then you have EGO. The problem with EGO, the main problem, is that EGO prevents you from writing people back and being cooperative.

In my short life span, I have never been so repeatedly, albeit rudely, ignored by more people in a specific industry. It's actually criminal how certain people forget what it was like to be at the bottom of the totem pole. It baffles me how you could be so blase about other people. Where is the human kindness? Where is dignity? Or was that so 2002?

Yes, I know that people are busy and they get emails like mine regularly but that still doesn't excuse the fact that they are wrong. I will never be this way. No matter how rich, no matter how famous I get, I will remain grounded, communicative and out-reaching. I can promise this. I will be that person. I will be better. I do not want to be them.

I forge ahead in the industry. I am making headway. I am proud of what I am doing. It may take a long time but you know what they say about Rome? Yup, that Rome couldn't write so he stopped.

B. Superficial Changes

I. The Hair. My God, the Hair

1. While I watched Lord of the Rings, I saw Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) fight his way to destroying the ring and all I could think was "I finally have hair like that."

Most men, from the time they were little boys, had always wanted to look like a rock star. Anyone who doesn't admit this is probably in the process of losing his hair. I have not cut my dear tresses since April and I feel pretty cool about it (I am also in the process of sounding like such a girl). As superficial as this sounds, something as small (and I reiterate, as superficial) as the length of your locks could do a great deal for a healthy self-image.

All those stories about Samson and how he lost his strength when Delilah cut his hair...I kinda understand them now.

II. Vintage T Shirts

A. Favorite purchases: Ice Cube, circa The Predator. George Michael, circa Listen Without Prejuidice. Eddie Money, circa No Control. Extreme, circa Pornografitti. Peter Gabriel, circa Games Without Frontiers. Jesus Jones, cicra Doubt. Queensryche, circa Empire.

B. Drug addicts have heroin. I have eBay.

Ca. I have learned to sew. Quite proud of me self. If the T shirt is too large, I simply cut it up and re-size it. So if you see a nice one, pick it up. Don't worry about the restrictions of size. XL has nothing on me!

Cb. People accuse me of being ironic when I wear the above shirts. But if they only knew my emotional attachement to the aforementioned bands (and others)...I realized only recently that when we wear vintage clothing like a relevent T shirt, we are essentially trying to recapture our youth and the experiences that went along with them. When I wear my Jesus Jones T Shirt, I think about Doubt and Perverse and how those albums, to this day, make me feel a great deal more, emotionally, than most music I am listening to in recent years. It is not necessarily the tunes that I respect or relate to, it is the nostalgic attachement and the mental photograph that comes with them. Like for example, anytime I wear a Van Halen T shirt (circa Sammy Hagar), I remember that For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge was the first "heavy metal" cassette that I bought with my own money. That shirt makes me feel like I am in Kmart again and that I am 14. It makes me feel like girls are scary and intimidating and I am dealing with pimples. Like I am only discovering how great the world is and how much there is out there that I don't know. That my parents don't understand me and that my sisters are probably always telling on me. That all I want in this world is to be understood and appreciated. Come to think of it, perhaps nothing has changed.

C. Social Life

I. (to be continued)


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