White People’s Gift

Tonight in one of my English conversation classes (here in Japan), we were discussing eating habits and weight gain. One of my students proclaimed that it’s okay to get fat; especially for white people.

“Most white people look Doraemon shape,” she said. (Doraemon pictured below for reference.)

“But,” she went on, “it’s okay. It’s a gift!”

What? Really? What do you mean?

“It is! it’s a gift! Their organs are so strong! They can eat so much bread and get so fat, and it’s okay! They are still alive! If Japanese people get so fat, most of us will die.

“White people’s organs are so strong! They can drink so much, drug so much, and get so fat, but still they are alive! It’s a gift!”

Well, lady, when you put it that way, I guess you’re right. White people certainly do appear to be quite gifted in that way these days.

My Return to Japan

When I was in my late twenties I moved to Japan to teach English for two years. When I returned to Canada, I struck up a correspondence with a Japanese woman I had worked with at my school. She came to visit me for a few weeks and one thing led to another, as they do.

For the purposes of this piece, we’ll call this woman, Keiko.

After Keiko returned to Japan, our original plan had been for her to come back to Canada for a longer visit. However, family obligations kept her from being able to. Also at the time, my job was really turning up the suck, and I was having no luck finding anything better (or even comparable). So I realized that returning to Japan was the best thing for me romantically and professionally. It totally was, too. We’ll have been married for ten years next month.

However, outside of my immediate family, who were very supportive, there was a lot of resistance to me returning to Japan, and the different ways it was articulated was quite interesting.

I had been aware for some time about the bubble of altered reality that most white men in North America are equipped with. “Racism? Prejudice? These don’t exist!” I learned this fairly early on when I started working with a Sikh man at the gas station. Again and again, regular customers who I had always known to be polite and reasonable would fly off the handle in ignorant tirades at him over the most petty bullshit. Of course, as “polite” Canadians, they had been long since trained to avoid any overt racist language, so to my coworker they just seemed like plain old assholes. To me, I realized there was something else going on. It turns out there are a lot fewer assholes in a white male’s world.

So I wasn’t too surprised when Keiko and I would go out places and receive what I now refer to as my “inter-racial couple customer service downgrade.” But my friends are all reasonable and open-minded people, right? I mean, what complaints could they possibly have about this?

I expected flak from my more typically blue-collar circle of friends, but was surprised when Keiko’s visit was a wild hit with them. This was a trans-pacific booty call of epic proportions, and my status among them was upgraded to full-on player. Most of these guys remained completely positive about my relationship and my move to Japan. (“You mean they pay you to sit around and shoot the shit with Japanese hotties? Fuck man, go! GO! Go live the dream for all of us!”) However there were exceptions; ironically from the people who style themselves as more enlightened.

“How can you go back to Japan, with how they treat women over there?”

What do you mean by that? Not that there aren’t issues, certainly there are, but what do you know about them?

“Well, there’s all that foot binding!” (No shit. I’ve had this fucking conversation multiple times.)

Uhhhhhhh. No. That’s China. Or, was, actually, since they stopped doing it almost a century ago.

“Well, they abort or just throw away baby girls!”

Again, that’s China. They are different places, right? Babies of either sex are cherished to a degree that borders on mania in Japan.

“Well, they’re weird sexually.”

Really? How have you ascertained that?

“Well their porn is all rapey. How could you want to be with Japanese women, since they all want to be raped.” (No shit. People have said this to me.)

Okay, then, if we’re going to play the Let’s Judge Women Based on The Porn Men Watch game, how’s about we turn that around on North America? If you were to judge North American sex lives on the more vanilla porn produced there, giving a blowjob is the only foreplay women need for unlubed anal sex. Then, if you want to get into rapey predatory stuff, we don’t even need to talk about the full on rape fantasy porn, what about GirlsDoPorn and all the casting couch horseshit? Nothing unpleasant going on there? No? Okay then, we’ll just keep pretending that North American culture is totally perfect and normal. Nothing to see here, move along.

If you watch the vast majority of Japanese porn with the sound off, the only distinguishing feature is how bland and pedestrian it all is. Yes, those squeaky, “I’m being raped,” noises the women make is weird and off-putting, no doubt. What this feature of Japanese porn says about Japanese men’s fantasies and turn ons is certainly debatable and potentially significant in a cultural analyses, but it should also be remembered it is no more real than all the, “Oh! YEAH! Fuck my ass! Oooooo!” bullshit in American porn. It also does not mean that all Japanese porn consumers like it. It’s probably much the same situation as all the women in American 90s porn wearing high heels: it double loads a scene to cover a wider base of consumers. The shoe fetishists got something, and the shoes were easily ignored by those who didn’t give a shit for them.

So mainstream American porn producers think men want to fantasize that women love going mouth to ass to mouth and getting coated in semen, and Japanese porn producers think that men want to fantasize that taking their cock is painful. And keep in mind that porn producers are fucking idiots at just one remove from pimps, so let’s not take what they think too seriously, shall we?

Be all that as it may, I was suddenly in this weird position of defending an entire culture and country from the random ravings of people who had no idea what they were talking about. What was really going on was that they were sorry to see me go. They missed me when I went the last time, it looked very much like this time was going to be longer term, if not permanent, and they didn’t want me to leave. But, being men, they wouldn’t admit to any feelings on the subject, and instead adopted a bullshit, moral high ground position from which to be a cunt and vent their anger. I just had to suck up the worst for a little while, and once I was married I only had to do the, “Pardon me? Did you just call my wife a Jap? Well, she is Japanese, so I think you did,” routine the once before most folks got the message. Those that didn’t have not proved any great loss to me.

Another group that exhibited extreme displeasure at my move was almost all of the non-familial women in my life. At that time, I had finished picking up the pieces from getting dumped by my spouse of ten years and bottoming out in a spectacular, alcoholic crash. But I was now sober, employed, in good shape, and looking more and more like a prospect for at least some casual fun. A plague-rat no longer. Yay!

When I got into the long-distance relationship with Keiko, and let it be known that I was taking it seriously, I figured the attention I was getting would diminish.

Boy, was I wrong. It seems that in the North American sexual climate at that time, being a desirable male in a committed long-distance relationship was some kind of invitation to be used as a disposable booty call by every down-to-fuck female who could get near me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming them for it, and the attention was flattering. I guess it’s the same phenomenon that makes a wedding ring such a pussy magnet: fucking a married man provides sex without all the potential danger of male emotional entanglements and delusions (or, at least, it probably seems that way in the wishful thinking initial stages). In this way of thinking, a man in a long-distance relationship is even better: he’s guaranteed horny, and obviously has his long-term sights set on someone else.

That was all well and good, except for one catch: I don’t cheat. I never have. Not even a little bit. So you can tempt me all you want, I’m not going to bite. Just try not to take it personally; I aint fuckin anyone, but if I were, I would most certainly exchange some fuck faces with you on any timetable you cared to devise.

But they did take it personally. And when word got around that I was taking the whole “Japanese thing” seriously, oh boy was there a lot of hostility. I do run with a more educated bunch, generally, so the nastiness was never fully articulated, but it was there. I had a real feeling that it was coming from notions of competition: Team Caucasian vs. Team Asian in the strictly racial sense, and the slightly more philosophically evolved, Team North American Feminism vs. Team Patriarchal Foreign Paradigm.

This was pretty fun to fuck around with, I must say. I’d already run the gauntlet of full on ignorance with chaps prone to regarding a punch in the face as an acceptable stage of human interaction, so this was minor. I’ve also had a liberal arts education, so I can play your little games with the best of them, thank you very much. With the racial side, there isn’t much for you to say that isn’t going to come off as anti-miscegenation. With the more intellectual savvy types, you want to talk patriarchal society? That’s fine; I’ll just counter with cultural imperialism. Either way, it’s all just so much more posturing to tart up and cloak what you’re really mad about. And I don’t really know what that is, but I can venture a generalized guess. Maybe it’s a bit threatening when an attractive, respectful to women and yet masculine man gets completely fucked over at the buffet of North American monogamy, and he decides to say “fuck it, I think I’ll try something different this time.” Perhaps your white knuckled refusal to criticize a fellow woman, no matter what she does isn’t serving your cause in the long run, and you don’t like it when a specimen such as myself slips through the cracks. Or maybe not. Maybe you’re completely right and I am just a patriarchal douchebag who’s looking for a subservient stereotype to service my every need. Either way, I don’t really give a fuck. Peace out; it’s been a slice.

This takes me to my final observations about the negative reactions concerning my moving to Japan to marry a Japanese woman. These observations are more generalized, and not based on any specific instances; they’re more simply an attempt to articulate my long-term ruminations on the topic.

When I was really gearing up for the move, one of my smarter friends gave me the best caution I received from anyone. I don’t think he was trying to talk me out of it, it was more that he wanted to be sure I was moving forward with my eyes wide open. This I appreciated, and his caution was well noted. He said that in an international relationship, the only practical outcome for its long-term survival is that one of the partners say goodbye to their homeland for all practical purposes. I can’t disagree, and I have made that choice. I already had, deep down inside, when he talked to me about it; I just hadn’t articulated it in those clear terms yet.

I think this truth is the missing puzzle piece on what was so disturbing for so many in my move to Japan. This was not a one thing leading to another, happenstance kind of thing. This was me, eyes wide open, making the conscious choice to leave Canada and move to Japan. This led to several conversations that went basically along these lines:

“When are the two of you coming back to Canada?”

We aren’t. The job market sucks for me, and is basically nonexistent for Keiko, so there’s really no professional incentive to do that. Keiko has said she is willing to live in Canada for a time, but was clear right from the start that she needs to return to Japan when her mother gets elderly and needs her help. She was also clear, in no uncertain terms, that she will not raise her children anywhere but Japan.

That last revelation has consistently been the one to really set people aback. It took me a while to get my head around what was going on, but another clue came from some other cautions people would give me when things were just beginning:

“Careful, she probably just wants an easy way to move to Canada.”

Yeah, but she doesn’t want to move to Canada. The overwhelming majority of Japanese people have absolutely no interest in living anywhere but Japan.

People in Canada really don’t like hearing this. Combine this reaction with the one to Keiko’s refusal to rear children in Canada, and we have our finger on a major revealing issue here.

You see, in your average North American’s mind, the rest of the world all want to be like them. Ours is the culture that matters. Our culture is the cock of the world that penetrates others and injects them with the seeds of our ideas and thoughts. All those foreigners want to move here and be like us. They should do things our way, think our way, and want our way.

Well, sorry, they don’t. Not even a little bit, in most cases. And when a white man in his prime of life decides to emigrate from Canada to Asia, this is deeply unsettling for many people. This is not how their world is supposed to work.

Just before Keiko’s first visit to Canada, many people liked joking about my mail order bride. However, when I was heading back over here, there were not so many laughs when I joked that Keiko’s mail order husband was on his way. This is not how the world is supposed to work.

Sorry, times change. There is no natural primacy to North American culture. The clock has already run out on that; only the perceptions of chauvinists lag behind the reality. Joke and pat yourselves on the back all you want about the lack of Chinese women, but do understand that the laws of supply and demand do not serve America alone. When the caucasian mail order brides start flowing that way, as they will, perhaps these notions of cultural supremacy so many North Americans cling to can start to implode.

This is the way the world works. Get used to it.

Cherish Your Anus

This is no joke, you fuckers.

Not everyone is lucky enough to have an anus. Think on that when you’re knuckling into yours after a some sweet itch. Cherish it! When you have one of them scratchy poops that hurts so good, you need to really be in that moment and treasure every last nuance of it.

When I was 14, or some shit, I met a guy in Mumbai who was cut off at about the fucking navel. He was getting around on some plank of wood with casters on it. Scooting about with blocks of wood in his hands.

And when I say “met,” I mean he and a bunch of lepers grabbed me on the street to try to get my dad to give them money. Dad went full on apeshit and flailed and yelled a lot to scatter them and we ran for it.

True story.

I remember looking at that cut in half beggar, thinking: “How does this guy shit?” It still bothers me.

Being fondled by lepers was also kinda memorable.

So, yeah. Don’t take your asshole for granted. One day cancer may chew it right out of you. So give it a scratch and then sniff your finger. That’s the heady musk of your humanity at its finest right there.

Or don’t, if you think you’re so fucking special. Fuck you.

On Noah’s Ark

I have an itch to stick with this whole Noah’s Arc thing, since the story had a lot to do with me repudiating Christianity at a fairly young age. Having never received any religious indoctrination from my parents or grandparents, either positive or negative, I suppose it could be said I had a pretty open mind about the whole affair. I remember in grade 2, talking with kids in my class about going to church, I thought it sounded pretty interesting. I asked my dad if I could go to church with some kid’s family and he said that was fine, so long as I didn’t ever expect him to go. However, when I learned that I would need to be picked up at 8 in the morning, I bailed on the whole thing. Getting up at 7 on a weekend for church? Fuck that. That is just uncivilized.

It was around that same time, when I was about seven or eight years old, that I had my first run in with old Noah. My mother was involved with some kind of hippyesque commune in a big-ass used bookstore downtown, where my sister and I would go to play with all the other hippy spawn in a mostly unsupervised free-for-all. Those were pretty awesome times. At some point we were told that, if we were interested, a lady was going to come to read stories to us. I was always down for stories, so bring it on, lady!

Unfortunately, the lady pissed me off right from the get go since she wasn’t making with the stories properly. It turned out this was the first step of some kind of Christian indoctrination, where they tell you all the pretty Bible stories. She had all these fascinating picture books, with Roman legionaries, giants, and pyramids and shit, but she was sitting there yakking on about fuckin dogma. Make with the stories, bitch! I remember thinking that if I could just get my hands on one of those story books for myself, I could cut that cunt loose. Man, she was pissing me off!

I had already pretty well sussed out by that point that adults bearing reading materials were almost always full of shit. Holding that shit up like some kind of talisman, while they piss in your ear about this or that. When I learned how to read for myself, about 90% of the adults in my life ceased to be necessary. Shut the fuck up, leave the reading material with me, and fuck off already; I’ll get back to you when I need some more.

Anyway, Christian-storyteller-lady finishes with her preamble and trots out Noah’s Arc. Oooo, look at all those cute animals lining up to get on the arc, nice as can be! Doesn’t it look cosy inside? Isn’t it lovely?

Whoa. Whoa! Hold up, lady. I’m still processing that bit right at the start, can we go back to that? Yeah, that bit where God got mad and decided to kill everyone. I know they were wicked, you said that already. How were they wicked? Just bad, huh. What did they do, exactly? What about their kids? Were they wicked too? The babies? What about all the animals that couldn’t get on the boat. Just, fuck them? If my parents are wicked, which I know they are by your standards, does that mean I’m fair game for God to murder me whenever he gets into another fit of spleen?

The parable/historical fact of Noah’s Arc is a such lightning rod because the story is so fucking stupid. It belongs in a kids’ storybook alongside Hansel and Grettle and the Gingerbread Man. The only reason that I can see why Christians don’t quietly hit the whole episode in the back of the head with a sledgehammer and bury it out behind the shed (along with such gems as stoning your daughter to death for premarital sex and David collecting hundreds of Philistine foreskins as kill trophies for the king) is that the imagery seems to make for such compelling propaganda for kids. It is a lovely image, all those animals on a big, cozy boat. With the Patriarch at the tiller while the rain lashes down outside.

Critics tend to focus on the impossibility of the whole story, and that is fun. It’s fun baiting cretinous fundamentalists; forcing them to double-down on their moronic horseshit. But from a kid’s perspective that kind of nonsense isn’t a deal-breaker. We’re reading stories about talking animals and all manner of magical stuff. A tardis boat isn’t a big stretch. It’s the heart of the story that’s important; the message that it is intended to impart.

And just what is that message again?

God gets mad and kills everyone. Everyone. Children and babies and kitty-cats and doggies are all punished for the sins of others, regardless of their own behavior. They all die and there aint shit they can do about it. Noah watches them drown. Because fuck them, that’s why.

Now, stop asking questions, submit, and blindly accept what I’m telling you. Not because it makes sense, but because I say so. You want I should rain a flood down on your ass?

Covid Work Diaries

So I’m having a zoom English lesson today.

Me in a room by myself at a laptop. Somewhere around eight or nine kids, between the ages of two and seven, in three separate households are participating in this thing.

Forty minutes, I have to fill.

So this is my life now.

Okay. Let’s get it on.

Thirty minutes in: it’s going okay. Then it all falls apart.

I’m sitting in this empty room, staring at a screen with four video feeds on it. In one of them is me. In two of them is the empty voids of ceilings: the smartphones delivering these feeds have been set down on a table or the floor and left alone, apparently.

In the the last feed sits a mother, stone faced and unmoving. There are no children around her. There have been no children near her for some time.

At least one child is crying at the top of their lungs. Somewhere. Wails of anguish roll out of the computer at me. I cannot tell which feed is delivering this misery to me.

But there I sit, I shit you not, singing: “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Doing all the actions for the webcam.

The crying child wails. The mother continues to stare at me stone faced. I finish my song and say goodbye to the abyss and close the feed.

This was the highlight of my day.

What that mother might have taken away from it, I can only imagine.

Hashtag: telework is awesome!

Marley’s Discovery of Imagination

When I was eighteen, fresh out of high school in 1994, I got a job working at a full-service gas station and automotive shop. Overall, it was a great job for a young man and the lessons I learned there (up to, and including, how to potentially get away with murder) have generally served me well.

The first regular coworker I had, who we’ll call Marley, was a real education for me.

I grew up in a kind of hippy, intellectual, liberal bubble in an older neighborhood near the university. While there were people who worked with their hands in my parents’ crowd, they were craftsmen with serious theories about what they were doing. I could ask my dad’s friend (who was also my friend’s dad) what he was doing to that chair, and the ensuing lecture could wind up drifting into 19th century wooden church framing before I’d gotten free of it.

So heading out into the world of work at 18, I did think I had an idea of what people who work with their hands are like. I was wrong.

At the gas station, I was plunged into the real Albertan blue-collar world; where serious physical assault is on the spectrum of acceptable human interaction, and ideas die a miserable, lonesome death from neglect and abuse. Not a week of work had gone by before I was physically accosted by a mechanic in the stock room for spraying dirt on his tool box with the pressure washer. In his late fifties, and nicknamed “the Badger” by the other mechanics, he followed me in there, cornered and ambushed me prison assault style, and grabbed and shoved me into the lockers to tell me to clean up his fuckin toolbox.

Education commenced!

My fellow pump-jockey, Marley, was about three years older than me, and having worked at the gas station since he was fifteen, was my first guide into that world. He had his beefs and his allies in the station, and would tell people where to go in a dialect of Edmonton English that was more fascinating to me than any of the car repair I was learning.

Marley was a burly, oafish loudmouth who could pivot from affable to belligerent in an instant. Generally his default setting was friendly, so mostly he was okay as a coworker. As is typical with burly, loudmouth oafs, he was lonely (but would never admit it) and would glom onto anyone who gave him the time of day. Then, being a loudmouth oaf, he’d alienate them sooner or later (sooner, usually) and the cycle would repeat and intensify.

Over the first couple of months we worked together, he made a couple overtures at friendship, but I had him well figured out and was able to avoid those without too many hard feelings.

Marley’s younger brother, Travis, also worked at the gas station, and he and I actually hit it off. (In case anyone is paying attention, I have written about these two hosers before.) Travis was a year younger than me, had also worked at the gas station since he was fifteen, had dropped out of grade 10 (although pretended he hadn’t), and was intelligent, quirky, funny, and completely perverse. Over my first year at the station we wound up working together a lot and became good friends.

At some point in that first year, Travis and I were making plans to go downtown to see a movie and I suggested walking over to the apartment he shared with his brother, Marley, to meet up. Travis looked sort of pained about this and said:

“Yeah, okay, I guess so. You can meet our friend, Spanker. He’s coming over to do a Spankfest with Marley.”

Okay! Lots to unpack here!

Yeah, the friend’s name is actually Bob, but they’ve all called him Spanker since junior high school since he loves porno and masturbation so very much.

A Spankfest is when Spanker, Travis, and Marley rent a bunch of porno tapes, and Spanker brings his VCR over to their apartment to make copies. They plug one VCR into the other and record the tapes one at a time, playing in real time. They also will make more than one copy of many of the tapes, so for each rental porno, they might play it through from start to finish up to three times.

This meant a Spankfest was a minimum of a twelve hour affair, and sometimes could wind up being an all-nighter.

I show up at ten in the morning so that we can catch a bus in plenty of time to see a matinee (number 46 from Whyte ave to Eaton Center downtown – E-town represent!), and I’m trepidatious to say the least. Porno and masturbation, for me, had always been a deeply private and embarrassing affair. I quickly learn that this crew has no such shame in their game. (I would later be told that Travis’ Indian [Native American] name in this crew is: “Spanks With Lotion.”)

Travis buzzes me into their basement apartment and there’s porno tapes, blank tapes, sharpies and cables everywhere. Spanker is introduced to me as Spanker and nods amiably from the floor where he’s organizing the tape sequence. He has an impressive mustache and goatee for a nineteen year old.

On the TV behind him was a group lesbian scene with a daisy chain of awkward, fake 90s lesbian porno cunnilingus. I believe the title was an earlier ,“No Man’s Land.” Marley was sitting on the sectional watching it with a glazed expression. He barely looked away from it once.

Then we sat around and watched porn together for about an hour. It was all very normalized. I do have the feeling that there probably was going to be some furtive group wanking later, but perhaps the boys had matured out of that behavior by that point.

We get done with the lesbo gangbangs, and Marley gets one of his titles loaded. Pretty soon they get to a blowjob and Marley tells Spanker to stop recording and just fast-forward through it. I can’t help myself: I have to ask.

“Okay, so why don’t you want the blowjob scene?”

“Whad’ya mean? It’s just a fucking blowjob! Why would ya wanna see that?!” Marley shouts.

“Uhhhh… I like blowjobs?”

“Yeah, but you aint fuckin gettin it! It’s just some guy’s dick in her mouth! Ya can’t even see her pussy or tits most of the time. Yer just lookin at dick! Ya like that?!”

“Yeah… It’s my favorite kind of scene, actually.”

Marley busts into high pitched, manic cackling. “His favorite scenes is blowjobs! He likes lookin at fuckin dick! Yer just lookin at cock! That’s fuckin gay! It’s fuckin gay! Ya like lookin at cock! It’s gay!”

This goes on for a while, with Marley laying it on really thick for far too long. I suppose even then I realized this was pretty blatant misdirection in trying to throw off any notions about the latent homosexual eroticism in the room. But I couldn’t get into it. I was intimidated of Marley, and was basically short-circuiting on an intellectual level.

I knew Marley wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but was now realizing that the shed I’d wandered into was all fucked up. Came in looking for a boxcutter and there’s only trashed wood saws and stuff made out of wire and animal bones.

Anyway, I got out of there okay and went to the movie with Travis.

Afterwards, I took to having Spankfests of my own with Travis: bringing my VCR and rented titles over. However, Travis and I would just run the VCRs without watching the tapes and play video games. Marley would lurk around and talk shit about video games and dicks and gayness and how meat is murder and fight about Star Trek characters with his brother. Once he interrupted our movie and forced us to look inside a big cut on his hand; pushing it open with his fingers like a porno pussy.

About a year or two after that, long after the whole gay thing (or that element of it) had died down, Marley was hanging around the gas station while I worked with his brother. I’m bored, having a smoke, holding the counter up, and Marley comes sidling up to me with a sly smirk on his face.

“Hey,” he says, like he’s really proud of what he’s about to lay on me. “I figured out why ya like watching blowjobs in porno.”

“Yeah?” (oh no)

“Uh-huh. Ya like watching the blowjobs cause ya pretend that the girl is giving you the blowjob, right? Like, ya watch it and pretend that it’s yer dick she’s suckin. That’s it, isn’t it?” He’s even more excited now, but still all quiet about it.

“Yes. That’s what I do,” I answer, totally deadpan.

Marley gets a really big grin and nods deeply at me. Then he moves off slowly, never breaking eye-contact, really happy, and clearly filled with a new-found respect for me. Like I had cracked a big code or discovered a cure for his herpes.

I guess that notion blew his fuckin mind. (In more ways than one.)

It does beg the question: what the fuck was going on in his head when he was watching porno before that? I can’t even begin to imagine.

So, if I have accomplished nothing else in my life, at least I gave Marley the gift of the power of his imagination. The power to imagine so many blowjobs and whatever other stimulus he decides to stick directly in front of his eyes. A whole internet full of possibilities!

But, keeping it real, it’s probably mostly blowjobs and anal sex for Marley. And why not?

Body Rapping With Aiden

When I was about eight or nine years old I befriended Aiden, a small kid a year younger than me who lived nearby. Aiden was an only child with a single mom, and I guess he had things pretty rough. His mom was always working, so Aiden was by himself a lot.

However, the big bonus of having a hardworking single mom (as far as we were concerned) was that she felt pretty guilty about not being around. This meant that Aiden would sometimes be able to get her to buy him a cool toy.

One such toy was the body rap system.

Now, most folks won’t be aware of the full throttle  awesomeness that was the body rap system. Check this shit out!

Body Rap

Like I said: pure awesomeness.

Aiden invited me to come over to play with his body rap system and we got right to it. We soon discovered that rather than wear the “sound pads,” it was much easier just to lay them out on the floor and use them like a mini drum kit. What fun!

Man, did we ever rap it up! I’d say we had us a good, solid fifteen minutes of fun before it started getting old. By this time, Aiden was getting mad (he had some rage issues) with the sound pad that said, “BODY!” He didn’t like it, for some reason.

I kinda thought that one was cool, actually, because, you could make the machine stutter by tapping it quickly. “B-b-b-BODY! BODY! B-BO-B-BODY! RAP! *cymbal crash*”

But Aiden was adamant: the “BODY” pad was fucking him up. Perhaps he was just jealous of the awesome, stuttering grooves I was laying down with that motherfucker.

Whatever his reasons, Aided decided the “BODY” pad had to go. He ran off to the kitchen, came back with a pair of side-cutters, and clipped the cable of the “BODY” sensor. However, rather than solve his problems, this must have pushed the two wires together in the cable to form a short-circuit.


It wouldn’t stop saying “BODY!” Even worse, the body input seemed to override all the others, because that was the only sound it would make. Aiden was getting angrier, and my gales of laughter were probably not helping.


Feeling a little bad. I recommended turning it off and on again. (My dad was an early adopter of the home computer, so I was already all over that shit.) We did so.


Then we tried taking the batteries out and then putting them back in.


It was at this point that Aiden flew into a complete rage and started smashing his body rap system into the floor by its cable bundle. I can’t remember if that held up, but however he did it, Aiden persisted and completely destroyed his body rap system.

No mo body rappin for us.

Aiden was pretty inconsolable. By this I mean he flew into a full on, ape-shit spaz attack (the technical term we had for such behavior in those days) and began demolishing other stuff in his room. I went home at some point during this.

Poor Aiden. This anecdote wound up being a lot less amusing than I tend to remember it, now that I’ve typed it all out. But that’s childhood memories for you.


Back in the day, I worked as a pump jockey in a 24 hour full-service gas station. I worked with a pair of brothers who lived together for years in an odd and vaguely incestuous way. I became pretty close friends with the younger of the two, Travis.

Eventually, the elder of the two, Marley, got a girlfriend and she moved in with them. Then things got weirder over there.

I would go over to their house almost every week and, when they weren’t showing me porn (they had the internet before me, you see), Travis and I would watch movies and play video games in the basement until I crashed on the couch.

Usually, we’d also listen to Marley and his girlfriend fight. Horrible, abusive, screaming fights that would go on for hours and hours. These would often culminate with her physically attacking him. She’d kick, punch, bite, and scratch, and he’d have to wrestle her to the ground to protect himself. We would sit in the basement listening to them howling and banging upstairs; rolling across the floor just above us, their curses and grunts barely audible, yet so much more visceral than their louder noises.

Now, the thing about this woman was that she wasn’t one of these “hot and cold” types where she’s a psycho some of the time and the rest of the time would be some kind of an exciting “firecracker” type. Not Donna. No, she was surly, miserable, vindictive, petty, and thoroughly unpleasant at all times. The kind of person that will suck all the energy, light, and life out of a room with their mere presence.

A real superb cunt.

I think about her sometimes. (Obviously.) She might seem an odd person to dwell upon, but you have to understand that there’s no malice or heat to the memories of her. I never really suffered her; I was simply a witness. So, over the years that have passed since I last saw her, Donna’s memory has grown into a unique nugget of entertainment within my inner world.

It’s like when you see a disturbing but perfectly executed work of art that sticks with you. It’s not like you enjoyed consuming it at the time, but it planted something within you that you take away. It can come to represent something larger for you; serve as a symbol for an otherwise inexpressible element of the human condition.

So it is with Donna. She holds a special place in my psyche as though a work of art.

Cunt. By Donna.


On Tough Guys

I was terrorized by so-called tough guys for much of my younger life.

In my elementary school days, it was not a problem. I was with the same kids right from first grade. I had my little circle, and my idiosyncrasies were accepted by my classmates. But I was in a French immersion elementary program and decided not to keep that up in junior high school. So I switched programs and went into a new school without knowing anyone in my class. I was also late to hit puberty, so even in grade 8 I was one of the smallest kids in the school.

It was rough at first, but I figured out my survival techniques. I kept my head down and my mouth shut, and it was not too long before those kids that bring it all on themselves were soaking up most of the hits. Then I did my best to befriend the gentle giants; the biggest boys who were not bullies. I got through just fine.

In high school, I finally grew a bit. Also, my idiosyncrasies, and those of my crew, created a reputation that we were some kind of psychos. We were left the fuck alone. But my school was beefing with another bigger school, and boys were always getting jumped walking to and from school. Up to four guys, with bats sometimes, would hop out of cars, beat kids down, and then “boot fuck” them. It was a paranoid atmosphere and I got pretty good at slipping through danger zones on foot.

After high school, I went to work pumping gas at a 24 hour gas station and automotive shop. This was the real initiation to the shitshow. It had never occurred to me that adults could consider fist fighting an acceptable stage of human interaction. Those mechanics were fucking rough. When I sprayed dirt onto “The Badger’s” (that was his real nickname) toolbox with the pressure washer, I got a real education. He grabbed and shoved me into a work bench; I was completely physically dominated with a basic violent assault and the implicit threat of a much worse one if that shit ever happened again. “Now clean it fuckin up!”

The location of the gas station was less than ideal for physical safety. It was in a kind of buffer zone between the university’s bar strip and daytime yuppie shopping promenade, and a light-industrial, blue-collar neighborhood one quick bus ride from downtown skid row. Urban poor would come to beg money from the yuppies and then get their drink on, while all the breeder boys from towns all around would come to cruise for poon on the strip. When unsuccessful with women, packs of those feral assholes would rove around looking for guys to intimidate and beat up. “Fag!” Stabbings were fairly common.

I spent a couple years being thoroughly terrorized. When a skid-row, tough guy bully wants to get free stuff, he doesn’t necessarily need to rob places. If he comes around a business everyday, by slowly terrorizing some solitary staff member for a couple of weeks, he can simply start taking stuff without paying. “I don’t need to pay fer this, do I boss? No one’s gonna notice.” Chips, pop, smokes, and dignity all for the taking.

Then I just fuckin had it. Enough was enough. I started bringing a zippo to work (I pumped gas for a living, remember), harboring the fantasy of burning some of these fuckers alive.

Around that time, things got even worse in the neighborhood. Meth had moved in. Now we had street dealing right at our location, with meth-heads swarming all over the place. We started restricting the bathrooms to gas customers only, which created friction with the down and outs. I guess there were some serious confrontations involving some of my coworkers. I was working more graveyard shifts at that time too. One night a Native-American gang enforcer got me cornered (Native street gangs are a big thing in my home town), put a high-end prison shank down on the counter between us (shitty photoshop recreation pictured below), and spent some time explaining that “you don’t fuck with my people.”

“Good to know, man.”

Prison Shank

After that, I started carrying a knife. It was a legal flick knife: one of those raised thumb-stud jobbies that may as well be a switchblade. I carried it legally too; riding high on my back pocket where everyone could see it. I had a year of fencing in junior high school, and I spent time practicing my draw and stab into wooden posts, so I was good to go. The next time a sketchy as fuck piece of shit started trying to stare me down, I shifted my stance, met his eye, and got ready to go. One look at me and the guy melted.

I had learned a new thing. With these tough guy bullies, you don’t need to run faster than the bear; you just have to run faster than your friend. When I got mentally prepared to do what I had to do, I no longer needed to do it. They took in my attitude and wandered down to the next open business to try their luck there. My life got a lot easier.

Then, with the realization of the power of that attitude, I flipped the coin over and became something of a bully myself. I have some regrets about that time in my life. Be that as it may, my deep hatred of and intolerance to tough guys has remained. Those shells of men who need to intimidate in order to feel whole. I would love to cut all their throats. (I am aware of the irony in this.)

Around the time when I was graduating high school, the Vietnamese were making their presence felt. I don’t know if they were proper gangs at that time (they later would become so), but they were definitely asserting themselves. It quickly became common street knowledge that if you fought an East Asian, you would probably get stabbed.

Many of the white tough guys I was forced to listen to at that time would go on and on and on about how the “gooks” were such “pussies.” Like, what’s wrong with a fair fight, man? Why can’t they just have a fair fight?

Fair? Really? These primate assholes spend all their time pumping iron and practicing fighting, and then act like it’s fair when they force some Asian kid that’s half their size to “step outside” in order to save face. Try moving to a foreign land where everyone is huge and mostly hate you, and punching people in the face is considered entertainment. Maybe then you too will learn to embrace the liberating power of escalating violence.

What’s that? You don’t like me calling you an ignorant asshole? You want to step outside? Well, instead of that, why don’t I just take yer fuckin eyeball out with a screwdriver right fuckin now? How’s bout that?

If a line gets crossed, and someone need to go, then what the fuck does a fair fight have to do with it? Bullshit, made-up rules about “masculinity” are not relevant. But “tough guys” don’t like that. They don’t like it when someone calls their bluff and bluster. They want the whole world to play along with the rules they’ve created to keep them safe while they dominate those around them. So, for those who break their made-up rules of engagement, they trot out the worst insults they can imagine: “pussy” (woman), and “fag.” If these guys think that accepting penis into your body is the worst thing someone can do, then what does that tell you about their self-identity? I think they realize, on a deep psychological level, just how toxic they are.

I may be white, but I was small for most of my developmental years, sensitive, quirky, and liked geeky things like D&D. So I do understand all too well being the victim of manly white men’s notions of fair play (of course, not to the degree that others do; I’m not trying to lay claim to the full experience). Their “fairness” is a system of codes of conduct and even legal rules that exist to give them every advantage. Be they the social conventions surrounding stepping outside for a fair fight, or America’s conceal carry and stand your ground laws.

If you want to find out who’s tougher, then by all means, get into MMA or step into the ring or dojo. Or, if you’re really nuts, the rugby field. There is a place for that in society. But thinking that being tough should have any relevance in modern society, in any way, is completely fucked.

We say to young men: “there’s never a reason to hit a woman.” I disagree. I say that a reason to hit a man is also a reason to hit a woman, and that self defense is the only acceptable reason (outside of sports that involve hitting). Other than that, there is never an acceptable reason to hit anyone.

Thinking otherwise is precisely the kind of macho bullshit that helps makes the world the shitty place it is today.

Ikea Ball Pit

Like so many, when I was a kid I really, really loved the ball room at Ikea. It was a special, magical world; so tactile, lurid, and fuckin fun!

I believe I was four years old the last time I went into one. It was a formative experience for me.

Now, the time before my last was special too. It was during this visit that I finally worked up the courage to go face-first down the slide into the ball pit. I’d been watching other kids do it for a while and really wanted to myself. But I lacked the guts. It was not until the very end of this visit, with my dad hollering at me from the parents’ area to, “come on!” that I finally did it.

I went down head-first into all those marvelous plastic balls and it was everything I had dreamed. Then my dad poked his head through into the ball room to yell at me directly and I really had to go.

I became completely obsessed about getting back to that ball pit to do the slide again. I could not stop thinking about it, and would not stop pestering my father to take me back. After about a week of this, he obliged me.

Everything about that visit is etched so clearly in my memory. Rushing in the entrance. Seeing all those balls through the play room window. The glorious slide standing so majestic above it all. Me struggling to take my shoes off as quickly as possible. And, finally, climbing to the top of that slide, getting down on my belly, and going face-first down into the beautiful colors.

All exactly like I had been imagining.

Except, it wasn’t just like I had imagined. These balls were wet. All wet. And the wetness is on my hands. And face, And some is in my mouth. It was at this point that I realized the wetness was piss. Some kid had pissed in the ball pit at Ikea, and not just a little bit.

And I had just slid face first into it.

Joy turned into claustrophobic, disgusted horror inside of a second. I remember my visceral reaction so well: the rage that something so pure and so fun should be ruined so completely by someone else’s ignorance.

But I realize now that I was looking at it all wrong back then. This experience was really a chance to get a head start on understanding how our world is. I should have been thankful! Thank you so much, fellow humans! Thank you for preparing me so well for life, in such a succinct, easily understood physical metaphor.

Oh boy, little me! I bet you can’t wait to go to school! It’s going to be so much fun! (Face first slide down into a pit of piss.)

Hey, a girl actually likes me! I get to have a girlfriend now! (Face first slide down into a pit of piss.)

At last, I’m going to university, where I can interact with intelligent and motivated people and be judged for the quality of my ideas instead of people’s fucked up preconceptions! (Face first slide down into a pit of piss.)

Hey, I’m getting engaged!

…well, you know the drill.