Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rodger

Hurt

I hurt myself today, To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain, The only thing that's real
The needle tears a hole, The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away, But I remember everything
-Nine Inch Nails, Hurt


I remember the green Christmas dress and navy sweater I bought for .99 cents at Salvation Army that smelled like old carpet. I remember the look on your face as I inhumanely slammed the door on you. That face haunts me because it was the last time I saw your grey hair and doleful eyes. It was about 2 pm the following day and I had decided to not go to Spanish class because my head hurt a little but the real reason was mom was making schnitzel for dinner and I didn’t want to eat McDonald's again. The phone rang, followed by a piercing scream and a broken phone. The room smelled like fermented cabbage. It was that moment I felt the most intense shooting pain in the back of my brain. It was like someone took a pair of scissors and opened up my skull. I thought Phillip or Olivia was dead, I imagined a drunk driver and some scenario that made for television movies wag their sharp tongues at.

I scooped the phone off the floor next to my grief stricken mother. It was some priest, he had a lisp. Rodger, my mom’s boyfriend had shot himself in the head in the bathroom of his Warren ranch. The pain was bad, 4 years later it still feels bad. Yeah I grew from it, it was the type of thing that forces you to look at your life and see the cracks that you've filled with dollar chocolate bars and 7 credit cards.

I’m still not sure if it’s Rodger or Roger.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Endearing Qualities you Should be Noticing



The way my jaw goes limp every time I watch prison documentaries.

How I politely remind you to replace the toilet roll and dust the cracker crumbs off my computer chair.

How often I instagram my food.

The way I dance around the apartment singing songs from The Lion King soundtrack.

The way I cry every time I watch Armageddon or Dark Knight Rises.

How many times I have seen Armageddon.

How I change exercise plans every 37 hours after the second workout had far too many push ups.

The rapid speed at which I drink my glass of wine.

The way I struggle to say persimmon and emaciated.

My salmon coloured trousers.

The way I spell colour and favourite even though I'm American.

My propensity to be English. If I eat Marmite directly out of the jar and watch enough BBC and complain about the weather often enough maybe one day I'll get it righty-o.

How quickly I speak when I know I'm right.

How I leave the room to burp.

How often and the intensity of which I say the word "FUCK."

This tattoo on my wrist that's my home state and how I don't regret it at all.

The way I get up at 6:20 everyday, even on Saturday when you want to sleep in and I want to watch reruns of The Office.

How I add hot sauce to everything, even hot chocolate.

How I can quote Oscar Wilde but can't name one play he wrote.

The times I pretend to be studying but am actually looking at food porn on the internet.

The way I start listening to Christmas music on October 1st.

How much I hate losing at Mario Kart.

My adorable duck waddle run.

How I like to make lists.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Food Blogs I Shouldn't Be Reading

If the words 'baked' and 'frozen' coexist in the same recipe title

If the egg whites are purple

If an ingredient needs to be at 110 F before adding it to the clotted cream

Honey, goat cheese and pistachio truffles

If it calls for larb

If a vegetable it meant to become a steak

When the nachos call for radish

If there is a recipe to make homemade cereal

When the marinade requires Champagne

If the 'Hearty Vegetable Soup' is photographed in a teacup

Fusion anything






Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Alternate Names for The Cheesecake Factory

The Place Where Health Goes to Die Factory

You Are Obviously Not in Michigan Factory

Gigantic Portions of Lard Factory

EAT EVERYTHING Factory

Your Child Likes Pie?!?!? Factory

Would You Like a Diet Soda With That Cheesecake? Factory

The Cheesecake Foratory: Delicious Dialogue

The Meatloaf Factory




Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Hungry Man's Guide to Making The Big Ass Salad

Congratulations for venturing out of pizza territory. I know this is not easy for a man to do and I applaud you for your willingness to explore an arena that has an entire section dedicated to it on the T.G.I Friday's menu: The Salad. Salad has a bit of a shit reputation amongst the male community and I completely understand why: it usually contains lots of green things. Fear not! I'm going to give you the tools you need to build a Big Ass Salad that is worthy of the hungry man, I'm talking really big, like as big as a Yorkshire terrier.

  Step 1: The Bountiful Bowl

In order to contain the mountain of food that will be your Big Ass Salad you need a bowl worthy of a king. Think Louis VI of France aka The Fat. A man nicknamed The Fat would definitely have had a big bowl. I recommend taking your bowl and gently putting your face in it. If the bowl is too small to accept your face you will need to upgrade. I suggest bringing this method to a big department store where people will stare at you with pity but you get the last laugh when you're enjoying your Yorkshire terrier sized salad.

  Step 2: The Gorgeous Greens

I know green can be a scary colour. The toxic green slime turned Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello into mega turtles. Thank God for Splinter who found and trained them in the ninja ways ensuring the streets of New York City we're safe from Shredder and other evil forces...but anyway, green shouldn't be feared. Protein powder is to body builders what lettuce is to The Big Ass Salad, it gives you mass. You needn't stick with lame ass iceberg go ahead and feel free to explore the many varieties: arugula, spinach, oak leaf, bok choy, kale. As my good friends the Black Eyed Peas say; 'get a little crazy, get a little stupid.'

  Step 3: The Tasty Toppings

Look at the stars, what do you see? Stars right? No shit Sherlock now pay attention to the salad. The toppings are where you can let your inner child go absolutely buck-wild. There are no limits to what you can put on The Big Ass Salad. If you like cheese go ahead a dump some bleu on that sucker or pepper jack or feta...the world is your big mouldy oyster. On a side note oysters would probably taste nice in The Big Ass Salad. You can explore your deepest, darkest desires and all in the form of vegetation: avocado, peppers, jalapeƱos, carrots, beans, red onions, asparagus, cucumbers, sugar snaps, eggplant, mushrooms or corn. You may even get a bit fruity and start tossing berries, apples or pineapples in there. Do whatever makes you feel good inside. Go 'nuts!' Give into your 'seed-y' nature. Anything goes in The Big Ass Salad.

  Step 4: The Powerful Protein

Perhaps the hungry man's favourite part of The Big Ass Salad the girth aka the MAN MEAT. It won't matter if you make a salad the size of a German Sheppard, without protein you will be hungry within the hour. You can take the classic route and go with beef, chicken or pork but protein comes in various forms. You can beef it up with beans, lentils or chickpeas. Perhaps you're feeling a bit adventurous and want to try some sort of soy based product like tofu or tempeh. Feeling so hungry your head might crack? Then go ahead a crack an egg or two on The Big Ass Salad. If protein is wrong then I don't wanna bacon right.

  Step 5: The Delicate Dressing

Up until this point you didn't need to think about much, you did whatever felt good and kudos to you but now the future outcome of The Big Ass Salad lies in your hands, well technically it lies in your bowl but figuratively it lies in your hands. I tend to think less is more when it comes to topping off The Big Ass Salad. I'm a sucker for heat so I usually put a mix of Tabasco, Frank's Red Hot and a dash of apple cider vinegar. You've been so open to this experience hence far why not bring it on home and create your own dressing? A beautiful mix of balsamic, olive oil and seasonings do beautiful things to The Big Ass Salad. No point drowning it in a white gooey concoction, you sir have class.

  Step 6: Tossing Your Salad

Obvious jokes aside you really need to get in there and toss that Big Ass...Salad. Toss it every which way and with vigour! You can use your hands but I've heard that can be a bit messy so stick with a fork or giant spoon. You want The Big Ass salad to be perfectly tossed so that all the ingredients make it into each gorgeous bite.

  Step 7: Devour Your Salad

Congratulations, you did it! I know it was a lot of work but this isn't the lazy man's salad. You won't find it on a menu at Applebees and you certainly won't find it at a fast food chain. You earned The Big Ass Salad now stop reading this and go eat every damn bite.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Politics Of Jesus Camp

I remember the tabernacle. It's rounded roof, it's outdated architecture, the only real building amongst a sea of fabricated one room cabins. Back in '99 some men in jump suits came and built a frontal annex. It's new paint smell was a welcome change from the musty aroma that seeped from under the tabernacle doors. They sold books in that new annex, and cd-roms and bejeweled hair accessories that resembled peacocks and other tropical birds. I half expected Jesus himself to descend from heaven to come and destroy our stupid looking hair accessories. I imagined him ripping plumage limb from limb while Dylan's 'Gotta Serve Somebody' softly played.

We slept on bunk beds that were donated from the local prison. They were black and metal and tough. Some of them had no guard rail and others had no climbing bars, only the most agile of kids slept on those. If you were a counselor you usually took two mattress pads which would alleviate some of the pain brought about from sleeping on donated prison beds. From above the set of dorms were shaped like a plus sign with each wing named after a direction. All the cool kids were in East dorm, West dorm was always second choice and god have mercy on your soul if you came late and ended up in North dorm. North dorm had the really fat counselor, I called her Sister Waterfall and Sister Waterfall sat in her bed eating double stuffed Oreo cookies and would do night checks by shining a flash light directly in our eyes. The dorms we're separated by gender, everything at Jesus camp is separated by gender.

Each year the head camp pastor would stand in front of us with a speech aimed at encouraging us to form a lasting relationship with god but he was mean and he was sexist and he told the boys not to date any of the ugly dogs at Jesus camp and the boys would stand up and shout and clap with the same enthusiasm usually reserved for sporting event finals and I'd clench my fists and give him dirty looks and silently die on the inside.

At Jesus camp if you're a boy you played basketball and baseball and if you're a girl you watched the boys play basketball and baseball. Girl's could take classes on how to do hair and attend seminars on the importance of modesty. We all had mandatory choir lessons and we all hated them unless you we're one of the chosen people that led the sections or sang the solos. It was always pastors kids or friends of the pastors kids and it was all very political and everyone was a Republican.

There were rules: girls must wear skirts past the knee, no slits, no exposed cleavage, nothing tight, sleeves to the mid-arm, no jewelry, no makeup, no cutting of your hair, no coolots. For those who may not know what coolots are essentially they are extremely baggy shorts that look like a skirt, kinda skirty but just not skirty enough. Boys were to wear trousers to the floor and shirts to the mid-arm, no facial hair and haircuts were to be clean and not touching the ear. If at anytime a counselor found your appearance inappropriate you were sent back to change. One year my best friend cut her hair and she was told to put it up 'don't go flaunting your sin' they said. And these were just the rules regarding appearance.

The food they served in the cafeteria was rubber in consistency and lacked any hint of natural colour and thus an acceptable form of anorexia known as the camp diet was born. I remember my friends using it as an excuse to starve themselves, I remember everyone claiming they would lose five pounds in a week and the reason they needed to lose five pounds was to get a boyfriend. I remember girls not wanting to eat in front of boys and I remember feeling annoyed and with wrath yelled: 'You stupid idiots! They know you eat AND guess what? They know you poop too!' surprisingly that didn't spawn any desire to pick up a fork. I remember feeling really bad for them, I remember wishing I had the will power to starve myself too.

There is no particular summer I remember more than others. The years start to blend together and memories blur into the wails of people speaking in tongues and the clicking of heels on pavement. I will always remember the girl who was married at 15 and came to camp with her new born baby and I remember thinking 'that's not what I want.' I will always remember how un-special I was in the camp hierarchy, how I wasn't a pastor's kid or missionaries kid or choir leaders kid and those were the one's that were nurtured and groomed to be the future of our movement. I could never be a camp counselor now, I wouldn't be welcomed. I have long since left that church and organized religion behind me, I have cut off my long hair and have visible tattoos but as summer quickly approaches I wish I could hold the hands of the new generation of un-special ones and gently whisper when no one is listening 'it's ok if you want to cut your hair too.'

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Woman

"I will remember the kisses, our lips raw with love and how you gave me everything you had and how I offered you what was left of me and I will remember your small room the feel of you, the light in the window, your records, your books, our morning coffee, our noons our nights, our bodies spilled together sleeping, the tiny flowing currents, immediate and forever, your leg my leg, your arm my arm, your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again." ― Charles Bukowski


I imagine her dark hair was probably waist length. She would wake up from her hungover slumber and run her fingers through it in lieu of a comb. Maybe she would braid it and pin it up in the back, tiny ringlets, a tribute to Shirley Temple in the film Heidi. She probably owned a big floppy hat, yellow or perhaps moss green with a polka dot ribbon wrapped around the base. She would put her feet up on the dash and he would drive along the California coast line. I'm sure she smelled of sea salt and lilacs, not lilacs, maybe lavender. She smelled like purple.

Her eyes were probably heavy, heavy carrying the burden of the pain she had seen. Perhaps an alcoholic father whose love of the bottle forced the family apart or maybe an automobile accident she witnessed and could not help and I'm sure she really would have wanted to. Heavy eyes but trusting and kind. The type you could see juggling clowns and baby lambs in. Eyes that told a story, eyes you couldn't bear to look at for long.

Maybe she was Hispanic. Maybe she had hands that rolled tortillas and feet that could dance le Quebradita. She would have had brothers. Many, many brothers, brothers who loved her more than themselves but brothers who couldn't express it. So she ran away. They were probably older brothers.

I bet she loved to sleep, and read and write. I bet that's why he fell in love with her. Her favourite position was curled up on the front porch hammock nestled between two blue posts of that California victorian. That house was a place for misfits for people who cared too much and people who didn't care at all. She felt too much all the time, too much euphoria, too much sorrow, a roller coaster she got on that had no final destination. She was probably bi-polar and chose to medicate herself with sleeping and reading and writing and coffee. Only black coffee, dark like her waist length hair.

I bet she felt like Sunday morning. Her lips tasting like citrus, juicy and plump, lips that he could bite into and keep inside him. Lips you don't forget. I'm sure her laughter was contagious, feeling her pain with every whimsical chuckle. I'm sure she was broken. I think he wanted to fix her. I think she would have liked him to but the broken can't fix the broken so instead they chose to laugh, and sleep and drink coffee and dance le Quebradita.

I'm sure she didn't want to leave but when things go right for too long she jumps before they go left. Maybe she smiled as she ran, that smile he loved and lost himself in. A smile that inspires, a smile one only dreams of, a woman who is no longer real. Red and raw with love.

This short was featured on Thought Catalog.
http://thoughtcatalog.com/author/natt-smith/