The first 5 minutes at a house party where you don’t know anyone are crucial. You want to choose a smile that conveys a warm, non-threatening nature while maintaining a certain edge, which lets people know you are a mysterious sex machine. I often botch this look and produce an undesirable result, something in between medicated and the forced smile you use watching your friend in a terrible play. Despite my facial blunders, I still carry enough confidence from years of house partying to navigate with authority. You may catch me euro two stepping in the living room asking a girl what her go-to move is. Or maybe I’m in the kitchen, whipping up a terrible cocktail talking sport with the resident bro. I may even brazenly strike upstairs to use the host’s private bathroom. With all my bravado one might assume there is no party situation that fazes me. Wrong. One element of modern adult partying remains, which, can freeze, even the boldest attendee. The cocaine room.
The door opens and shuts quickly. Pretty little creatures shuffle in and out giggling with wide eyes. You can only catch a glimpse for secrecy is paramount. Except that everyone in the fucking party knows what’s going on in that room! Yet you wouldn’t dare step foot inside without an invitation or an 8 ball. Like its exclusionary predecessors, the cocaine room creates jealousy, curiosity, and resentment and ultimately divides. Even if you don’t do drugs, you’re left to wonder what exactly is going on in there. Who is in there and why were they chosen? Clearly those with the cocaine are the prized guests, but what do you have to do, or wear or say to be one of the coke advisors that get the nod?
I’ve always found it fascinating that people, especially in the privacy of a home, are paranoid about people watching them do drugs. No one bats an eye at a dude chugging a beer, even if we know that will lead him down a dark path to becoming a drunk asshole. Often people have no problem telling you they are high once it’s in their system, but god forbid you should see them do a bump off the keys to their Honda.
I made the mistake of entering unannounced one time and it was the worst. It’s like a combination of the “seat’s taken” bus scene in Forrest Gump and the first day at your High School cafeteria. There were no Jennys with hearts of gold in this room, just attractive weirdoes who wanted me to leave.
Some day I’m going to forget my ex girlfriend’s phone number. I’m just going to wake up one morning and hit the alarm and in that moment realize that I’m not sure whether the last four digits were 7062 or 3062. This will be such an achievement, the only instance in my life where being forgetful actually helps me out.
Thanks to my iPhone, I never have to remember a goddamn thing. I only know four other peoples’ numbers off the top of my head: My mom, dad, brother, and sister. She’s the fifth. Not even family! We’re talking about some coveted brain space here which she has no right to occupy. I mean I deleted that girl off my phone over three years ago to make a statement – I want that coveted brain space back – a new number for that fifth spot. There are so many better numbers for me to have memorized: my license plate, my buddy Matt, 20 digits of pi, that bomb Ramen restaurant for takeout or how about ANY of my credit cards! I’d even settle for that stupid three digit security code on the back of my visa card that I can never ever ever trust myself to get right.
Her phone number isn’t even easy to remember! It’s got no flow, no repetition, no character, no gravitas. It’s fucking boring, obnoxious really. As opposed to my number, which has a double repeat and closes with double zeros. My number rocks, tons of people know it. And yeah I know it’s sounding like I’m not over this girl, I know it appears to be leaning that way but I am. It’s just some of my brain synapses apparently aren’t and it’s pissing me off.
Seriously I can’t wait for that forgetful morning, and also for those dreams to go away. The dreams where I’m supposed to meet her *and* my current girlfriend in a restaurant then I start panicking because they’re going to know that I double booked them and then I wake up. Grow up brain! You’re supposed to help me out here, not offer up dreams with clear interpretations for my life. Stop pulling this crap.
Last week I was filling out forms for my car insurance company – I had to walk all the way downstairs and out to my garage to double-check my license plate number. It was really hot outside. Look I don’t want to forget we were ever together, it’s just there’s more useful things for my brain to be focusing on. I know I can’t potentially fuck my credit card number when we both run into each other at a mutual friend’s birthday, but it’d be nice not to have to pull out my wallet to read off my security code every time I order delivery from Silverlake ramen.
Recently I watched a college edition of Jeopardy. Everyone knows College Jeopardy is for pussies, but we all need victories no matter how petty, so I made sure the idiot from Dartmouth heard my condescending screams thru the TV. I performed admirably, but as the three awkward students shook Trebek’s hand at the end of the game I was left to wonder; how smart am I? It’s a hard thing to measure in your adult life. I’m not in class anymore, there are no scantrons or blue books to test what knowledge I do have, and to be honest some days I wonder if the information I learn is really all that important.
If I wanted to impress you I would sit you down and tell you all about the spread of Islam, specifically how it related to Spain’s early history and how there was a beautiful yet controversial period called the convivencia in which Jews, Muslims and Christians all lived together in relative harmony until the crusades, church and the reconquista squashed it all. I could confidently mumble my way through the definition of what a quasar is, and might even be able to tell you what Boo Radley really represents in To Kill a Mockingbird. These are facts and theories that are not my own that I can spit out at a moments notice. When repeated properly to a willing audience, they provide a thin veneer of what many of us consider to be education and intelligence. I, however, am not so sure of this.
I graduated from a 4-year institution with modest accolades. I never pushed myself too hard, nor did I allow myself to fall behind. Let me be clear before I continue that I would not trade those 4 years for anything (maybe a jetpack with unlimited fuel) because I met the most amazing people and had unforgettable experiences. Some would argue that socialization, learning how to behave in a pack, and thus becoming a quality citizen is the true objective of College, and if that is the case then College was a great success for me. I am more concerned with the education we receive from 4-year institutions in the U.S. and specifically the classes we are offered.
My sophomore year I chose to take a class called Earth Science and the Cinema. Yes, you read that correctly. We would watch clips of popular disaster movies like Twister, Armageddon and Deep Impact and then do simple math problems to prove why these disasters as portrayed in the movies would never happen that way. It satisfied my quantitative requirement as well as my penchant for shitty disaster movies. It was all very funny back then, and in many ways still is, but it’s also very sad. It’s sad students had the option to waste 6 weeks like this, it’s sad the university wasn’t more creative or progressive in their offerings, and in times of intellectual doubt, and we all have those times, I can’t help but think back to Earth Science and the Cinema and wonder what the hell I was doing.
You can point to many reasons why these problems exist. Institutional bureaucracy is hard to deal with. Things don’t change with the snap of a finger. For me, College came too early. I wasn’t ready to be smart and seek out my own education. Maybe I would have been better served taking time off and traveling or working, or completing my general education requirements at a community college for a fraction of the cost. I chose to major in history early on because it was the class I didn’t fall asleep in during high school. Many other students pick their classes based on their friends, sleep and or drinking schedules. These choices don’t matter a whole lot when you exist within the colligate bubble, but what problems do they potentially create once you graduate? I may not want to trade those 4 years I spent for anything, but if I were creating classes to best aid students in “the real world,” I would do things a little different. The following is a mock syllabus of a course I’d like to call #Realworldshit (You know, to appeal to the youth or whatever).
Week 1 – Graphic Design
• A skill that allows you to call yourself an artist while getting paid? Awesome. Sometimes the freelance life can be stressful, but as long as there are movies, concerts, companies, ads etc… Graphic designers will be in demand. Go torrent Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and lets get started.
Week 2- Web Design
• Similar to week 1, but this week will focus on HTML, basic coding and maybe some looks into Ruby design and app development. Kids are on their phone and apps all the time; let’s make their appsurd ideas a reality.
Week 3 – Tax Returns and The IRS
• These guys aren’t just bad guys and assholes in movies? What!? Yup, they exist and want your W-2’s, A-1’s, and G-6’s. I made up the last two, but maybe you don’t know that I did. Some basic financial knowledge goes a long way.
Week 4 – Car Maintenance
• You don’t need to be a grease monkey, but checking your own oil, jumping your car and changing a tire are all things you should have in your carsenal (sorry). Plus girls get super wet when you can do car things.
Week 5 – Actually Learn A Language
• Juan and Pablo sit at a café: Juan: Hola Pablo, como estas?—Eff this shit. You will never learn anything this way. I think studying abroad should be mandatory. It’s the best way to learn a language, learn about yourself and meet hot foreign people in the process.
Week 6 – Ping Pong
• It’s just a great game.
Maybe one week for each of these is too short, maybe they deserve their own semesters, or even majors, but I can guarantee the world at large does not care how many times you can use the word ‘hegemony’ in a sentence. There is no premium placed on the general knowledge of anything, in fact, life can be quite specific and often rewards those who seek out its niches. We need to take responsibility for our education. I still don’t know whether I am smart, but I know damn well I don’t crush at Jeopardy because I took Earth Science and the Cinema.
It seems like every month a new article comes out in a high profile publication either taking a huge crap on my generation or taking a smaller, more polite crap while at the same time reassuring our parents that we’ll get it together soon.
The NY Times fired two shots, “Millennial Searchers” and “Embracing the Millenials Mindset at Work,” wherein the latter essentially paints us as a bunch of over-educated, under qualified status seekers who need constant encouragement, gold stars and magical hand jobs from unicorns to be useful employees. Slate asks, “Why can’t Millenials Grow Up?” The Atlantic wants to know, if Millenials are the “Greatest Generation or the Most Narcissistic?” And even Buzzfeed, that never ending nonsense machine churns out their shitty opinion in Pulitzer prize winning pieces like,”19 facts we learned about Millenials in 2013“
To my knowledge, none of the authors of these pieces are in my age group, which is evident in the length and detail of each article. (Don’t they know we got ADD and only watch the YouTubes!?) They give us gaudy statistics, colorful pie charts, and interview disappointed millenials who studied for too long and now find themselves stuck in entry level jobs paying off heaps of debt. Boo fucking hoo. I’m never sure what the point of any of these articles is. Life is sad and frustrating, but there is hope? We’re terrible, ungrateful shitgoats who should respect our elders and go die in a corner somewhere? No wait, we are insightful, emotionally intelligent, tech savvy dreamers who hold the key to the future if somehow we could just get out of our parent’s basement? Thanks 50 year old journalist mom of two, without your intensely accurate analysis of what it’s like to be a fledgling 20 something, how would anyone ever know how to interact with us? I get it; we’re a real mixed bag,
There is nothing inherently bad about our generation; we are merely products of our surroundings. If Tinder was around in the early 20th century, your grandfather would have never gone off to be a war hero, he would be in his Model T trying to get fresh with Eloise May or whatever girls were named back then. Hemingway would be the most subscribed to YouTuber as he belligerently vlogged his tales of bravery and breast fondling. None of us are going to write the next great American novel or build miles of interstate to connect the country, but we might create an app that makes it safer to send dick and titty pics and get offered a billion dollars for it.
It’s hard to blame us for being ambitious yet distracted when faced with these realities. Our successes and failures cannot be measured in the same way as previous generations, but I assure you older folks and self-deprecating millenials that cool shit is happening. You may not achieve all you want as quickly as it takes to swipe to your next match on Tinder, but ideas are important. The founder of SnapChat was laughed at for his idea at Stanford Business School, but he charged forward and followed through. I don’t think it will alter history, but it altered his life, made an impact on people and realized a dream of his, which is all we can really hope for. I don’t necessarily want you to make an app, but we all have great ideas that go to waste. Kindly forget the naysayers, charge forward and follow through. You may be shitheads to them, but you’re all right with me.
It’s 2:15 AM. You double click your keys to unlock your modest midsize sedan. You try to focus your vision thru the slightly fogged windshield. Your last call whiskey soda put you .05 over the legal limit. A date, lover, girlfriend, hussy plops into the passenger seat and tells you to turn on the heat. You are holding in farts.
You arrive at her two-bedroom apartment. You wonder if her roommate is finer than her. It’s quarter to 3 because parking is terrible. Her living area smells of pomelo and citrus, but don’t second-guess why you know this. Her room is surprisingly messy. Everything you thought about girls being cleaner than guys is an illusion now. You kiss her. You have to poop.
In her most seductive voice, she asks you to fuck her. You hold in a burp as the night’s dinner is still clashing with the Jameson and IPA. You silently oblige, and unhook your belt, while you take one last look over at the nightstand. 3:30 AM. You tell your insides to shut the hell up and cooperate. You imagine your dick as Thor, conqueror of women and worlds, able to shoot lightning from its tip and render mortals and gossips speechless. Your abs hurt from clenching.
She falls asleep because it is her bed and she is in familiar territory. You are overheating because she has a duvet cover and too many pillows. You try to stick one leg out in an attempt to counter balance the temperature, but alas the covers are too well insulated. You drift in and out of consciousness, stomach still unsettled, your arm trapped under her dead weight. Big spoon problems.
At first light, you sneak out to the adjacent bathroom. You hope for a fan, if there is no fan or it’s not loud enough, you put on Two Chainz Pandora radio at mid to high volume to mask the trombonery. You aim for speed, but without the velocity to stain porcelain. It is uncomfortable and the reading material is sub-par. You wonder why you held it for so long. As you put back on your clothes and tell her goodbye, you start to question many things.
On the car ride home you think how much easier it would have been to just take a crap at her apartment and then resumed activity. You wonder why it’s so taboo to poo. You also consider not staying out until closing time, which not only cuts down on drink costs, but also maximizes energy and agility. You wonder if you are getting lame or smart. You decide it’s a combination of the two and happily accept your fate.
It’s hard to party in your late 20’s. You’re too old for clubs, too tired from work, and too bored for bars. House parties would be fun if more people danced, and dinner parties would be awesome if there weren’t babies there. Yes, human babies. This is starting to happen in my life and I’m not down.
Babies are the new age beer pong. They are both the unnecessary focal point of a party. Beer pong in the wrong hands, and in the wrong environment is poison. The game has a bro tractor beam, which would be great if all the terrible people at a party were somehow sucked into vortex and rendered speechless the rest of the night, but this is not the case. Good people are sucked into the vortex as well, and so they stand there with hands in pockets muttering, “who’s got next?” The competitors at the table are a complete mess and are elevated to momentary celebrity status as the pong-less peasants hang on their every word, “Lemme get a re-rack bitch!” Lolz. Classic.
Babies are harder to hate so passionately. They can sometimes be funny for like a minute. Otherwise, they are the worst guests ever. They cry, scream, slobber and fall asleep everywhere. Imagine you invite an adult to your house, and he or she shows up crying, spits everywhere on your floor, makes a couple incomprehensible noises while flailing his limbs and then passes out. You might laugh for a second, but ultimately I would hope you call 911 and never talk to them again. You would ask this person to leave, and so I am asking babies to kindly leave.
Babies are also huge cockblocks. Everything they do in public is applauded and cheered. They are the party show-off you can’t call a dick, cause everyone will call you a dick for calling a baby a dick. Baby dick. There is no competing and it frustrates me to no end.
So I remain in purgatory. I’m too cripplingly self-aware to throw balls in cups of shitty beer, and too immature to start a family, but I still want to party. If you are ever bored, shoot me a text sometime and we can kick it in limbo together until our moms tell us they really, really want grandkids.