Blown Loads and Blown Lives

Maybe there's more to life then winning at solitary.

When I was 11 I had a pair of orange, paisley-print boxers.  One day, I was sitting on the floor of my bedroom holding them and something compelled me to rub the boxers against my penis.  I did it.  I became erect.  I kept rubbing and a few seconds later I  came.

Few moments in my life are as crystallized as this one.  Later that day, I kept rubbing and kept cumming.  As a preteen and teen, I typically beat-off 3-10 times a day.  I’d usually do it in socks and underwear.  I also had a soft, red wool scarf that I was fond of.

Soon thereafter I discovered pornography.  Initially, I was aroused by just touching myself, but then I found the experience was greatly enhanced by fantasies derived from pictures or thoughts of girls I was attracted to.

In the pioneer days, what constituted porn wasn’t much—envisioning Christine Endler or Lisa Jones; a JC Penny underwear section from the newspaper or, le coup de gras, a Victoria’s Secret catalog.  In later years, I would occasionally score a Playboy or Hustler.  I would keep these magazines for years as I was too embarrassed (and perhaps young) to get new issues.

The internet was a game-changer.  Suddenly there was more porn than I knew what to do with.  At first, I had masturbation sprees—hours spent in front of a screen with dick in hand.  In later years, as my libido waned, my routine became a more civil once-a-day porn viewing.  Surf, beat, sleep.

Nowadays, I don’t look at porn when I masturbate.  I find rifling through the sites, looking for the perfect image or video, more trouble than it’s worth.  I usually imagine a girl—typically one I would never have sex with in my real life—then do my business and go to sleep.

If this seems all a bit too graphic, you are probably a woman.  Masturbation is an unspoken, all-pervading phenomenon; one that, controversial as it sounds, is particularly male.  Many women masturbate; some might even be compulsive about it.  But all guys masturbate, and the majority of us have been compulsive about it at some point. Continue reading “Blown Loads and Blown Lives”

You Will Never Get a Break

In the summer of 1997 I rode my bicycle from Boulder, Colorado to Seattle, Washington to Portland, Maine.  It was an epic journey.  I hated almost every minute of it.

The problem was that I wanted to say I rode across the US more than I wanted to ride it.  This dubious motivation made me want the trip over before it began.  I wanted the medallion of cross-country tourer.  Most of the countless hours in the saddle were spent listening to the nagging mantra, “Am I there yet?”

The only times I enjoyed myself were during the hardest moments.  There were a few mountain passes in the Washington—Rainy, North Cascades and Sherman—where I scaled 20-plus mile passes in rain and 40-degree temperatures.  The conditions were so consuming that I couldn’t focus on the fact that the ride wasn’t over.  As cliche as it sounds, when I became absorbed by the journey, not the destination, I actually had a good time. Continue reading “You Will Never Get a Break”

High Times all the Times

Walter from Big Lebowski looks like a fatter version of Shorty.

Shorty was a 6’5”, buzz-cut, Wisconsin native, who always wore army fatigues and shooting glasses.  He lived in a ranch-style house across the street from the soon-to-be-defunct Stapleton Airport in Denver.  He chose this gang-infested, jet-fuel-smelling neighborhood because it was a discreet locale for his weed-growing operation.

Shorty had a massive hydroponic setup with 5 x 1K watt high-pressure-sodium lights in his flowering room and an even bigger vegging room with rows of florescent lights.  He had 3 x 5’ clone mothers.  Because of the massive amounts of juice the lights used, the rest of the house’s electricity expenditures were limited to a couple bare lightbulbs and a discman with portable speakers.  No fridge, no TV.  Shorty spent his days tending his crop, listening to Little Feet on the discman and pulling hits from his resin-caked bong.

I was one of 2 people who knew where he lived.  I made weekly pilgrimages to pick up his fresh and uncured buds.  While impressive to look at fresh pot, curing it, particularly when I was living with my folks, was not a simple task.  If there was not enough air, it will mold.  If there’s too much air, it would become dry, harsh and brittle.  It also smelled like a dead skunk.

As Shorty’s main distributer, I was one of Boulder’s most reliable sources of hydroponic weed, and though our relationship could be fraught, I felt quite blessed.

I wasn’t a kingpin.  I sold weed to feed my habit.  I needed the shit.  My pre-weed life had been spent as a nervous turd, my waking hours spend wondering what people thought of me—was I dressed okay, do people like me, will I be successful, was I cool enough, smart enough, etc.?  It’s not clear whether weed allowed me to let those things go or merely mute them.  Either way, from the ages of 16-20, years largely spent high, I was able to cope.  I was able to sleep.  I was able to relax.

Dealing pot taught me some things too.  I learned that the way to make sure things went smoothly was not to worry about them; it was to relax and lay low.  One time I got pulled over by the police on my way to Shorty’s.  I had $3K in small bills in the glove compartment where my registration was kept.  I was able to calmly move the money, give the cop my registration and get a speeding ticket rather than a felony drug charge.

Another time Shorty unloaded 4 trash bags of freshly cut weed on me.  I didn’t panic here either (much).  We just unloaded the bags from his pickup into my apartment as if it were the most natural thing.

I haven’t smoked weed in almost 12 years.  After a while, it started to amplify my insecurities rather than mute them.  Yet my years of weed-smoking taught me many things.  I learned that it’s possible to be relaxed in any situation.  I stayed cool through some tense moments with Shorty, who’s chill, iry-vibe was replaced by an angry, violent one after he got into drinking, strippers and collecting guns.  I stayed cool moving pounds of stinky weed throughout Boulder County.  I stayed cool at high school, which had previously been a den of anxiety.  I learned I could be relaxed anywhere.

I was thinking about this today because I have been consumed with future-related anxiety.  How will I make money?  Will I achieve the goals I set out for myself?  What does the future hold?  Will I ever pay that stupid health insurance bill?

Then I thought, “I did so many things that were real threats while high and didn’t worry.  Today, I deal with perceived threats and am filled with anxiety.  What gives?”

I have no desire to smoke weed, but I might ask myself how I might act high?  Would I really give a shit?  Would I really be so hot and bothered about growing up, being a responsible boyfriend, friend, citizen.  Un-fucking-likely.  This is not to promote apathy, which is often the flip-side of relaxation.  I still want to unlock my potential.  I still want to be the good guy.  I just have to realize that tension and anxiety are not the ways to get there.

Be Fearless Like Me!

Let's look at the eye of the f'ing tiger (or lion as the case might be) .

I marvel at my power.  I am an unstoppable force, crushing inner and outer obstacles with the aplomb of a samurai facing battle.  For me, fear is a foe met and conquered.  Behold some of the areas where I have mastered my fears:

Staying home alone. I do not hesitate when it comes to isolating in my apartment.  I will watch one Netflix movie after the next with unshakable placidity.  I don’t even fear watching movies I’ve seen many times before—I have seen both the Godfathers I and II at least 10 times each with the steadiest of nerves.  Nor do I fear consuming foodstuffs purchased at Trader Joe’s while watching these movies.  As unbelievable as it sounds, I can simultaneously eat tater-tots dipped in barbecue sauce while watching Lord of the Rings without a vestige of timidity.

Shutting down my emotions. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but I have no fear of withholding how I feel.  Whatever the situation may be, whether it’s expressing how I feel to my girlfriend, family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, I can shut down my emotions with lightening quickness.  My mastery is such that I can stuff my emotions down until I’m virtually incapacitated.  I can smother my needs, suppress how I honestly feel, even withhold my concern, with Herculean strength.

Not putting myself out for scrutiny. While many people have difficulty withholding their gifts and talents from the world, such is not my lot.  I have years of experience withholding who I am.  I have library’s worth of unread writing.  I have fearlessly dodged scrutiny and judgment innumerable times.  I know what you’re thinking:  “How do find the strength to withhold all that?  Where do you store all your undistributed gifts?”  Frankly, I don’t know sometimes.  Perhaps this fearlessness is just another one of the innate talents I keep to myself.

Surfing the web, emailing and text messaging.
This one might sound the most improbable, but it’s true.  I have nary a shred of fear wielding these electronic sabers.  I can surf the web for hours, check Facebook links, scour the news, refresh my email inbox, and rattle off pithy texts on my phone, all without churning my stomach with fear.  I suspect I could even approach a woman online if I didn’t have a girlfriend.  That’s how little fear these things cause me.

Not asking for help. I can go years without addressing a need, stewing in pain and toil, never succumbing to the urge to ask for help.  This is made more impressive when you consider that help is all around me much of the time.  I seem to have been born with an indomitable pride that precludes me surrendering to even the most dire needs.

Wasting my precious life. This feat is almost beyond belief.  I know this life is extremely fleeting.  I have had people close to me die or undergo serious health issues.  I know that this window I have here, with all physiological cylinders firing, is a very short.  And yet I appear to no little fear squandering the hours of my days, stewing in resentment, asking for shit I don’t need, looking for my ego to be stroked, not loving those around me, not helping those in need, not sharing my gifts or engaging my world.  My strength is beyond comprehension.

If you too want master your fears, I urge you to keep reading my blog.  It may not be an overnight matter, but with time, determination and assiduous devotion to my instructions, you too can live as fearlessly as I do.

Dames and Dumbfucks

Everything's cool man.

I shan’t mince words.  I’m a liar.  And exactly 2 years ago, my lies created a life where I felt like someone was pressing the butt of a broom handle into my chest all my waking hours.  I was in a relationship and living with a great girl.  She was cute, generous, worldly, punctual, committed.  But she was in a relationship with a liar (me) and we were fucked from the beginning.

The first lie was the most basic one:  I thought that she was, or someday would be, someone other than who she was.  I saw red-flags from our very first meeting.  I rationalized them away to perpetuate the idea of the relationship—something I wanted to believe in.  But rationalizations are not solid building materials for relationships.

The trouble, in short, was we had nothing in common.  Our politics, spiritual views, tastes, communication styles were often diametrically opposed.  I joked about these things at first, but as time elapsed and our incompatibility became more glaring, the humor evaporated.  These issues would come out in fights and feeble attempts at communicating, but I knew, underneath my ideas and rationalizations, the relationship was DOA.

One night in February 2009, we got into a fight.  It was the same fight.  She accused me of not wanting to spend time with her.  She was right.

I would typically cauterize the fight with lies that I wanted to believe were true, but knew were not.  This night, I couldn’t do it.  I knew this fight would go on as long as we were in a relationship.  I knew things would not get better.  I knew she was who she was and I was who I was and given that, we had to break up.

So I told the truth and was promptly asked to move out (it was her apartment so there was no question about who would leave).  She went for a walk and I stuffed as many of my things in a large duffle as I could.  It was a Tuesday night at midnight.  I was a bum, but one with a modicum of integrity. Continue reading “Dames and Dumbfucks”

All in All I’m Probably Just Another Brick in The Wall

I'm the brick on the 3rd from top row, right where the K intersects.

In 1994, I was 18 and really into Pink Floyd.  Meddle, Animals, Wish You Were Here, The Wall—I loved them all.  Their songs were elegant, harmonic distillations of my disgust with the world.

Everyone was wrong.  Everyone was a brick in the wall.  No one knew why they were living.  They went to work, ate, drank, married, reproduced because they had been told to do so by the machine.  I had integrity (or at least as much integrity as someone can have while his parents pay rent and stock the refrigerator).  I would never be another brick in the wall.  No one would welcome me into any machine.

When I heard about their concert at Mile High Stadium in June, I made sure I had a ticket.  It would be the summer’s climax.

The day of the concert was a typically beautiful Colorado summer day—dry heat, sun with a little cloud-cover, a late afternoon sprinkle to cool things off.  Before heading down from Boulder, my friends and I ate some mushrooms.  To ensure the full experience of Pink Floyd’s insouciance, I ate a quarter ounce.

I had never been to a stadium show.  It didn’t seem like the best place to experience a concert, but I had faith in the Floyd to maintain their integrity.  Tickets were $80 after all.  How could an $80 show be bad?

My friends and I tailgated before the show, bringing a keg of beer to ease us into our mushroom trips.  Everything was going great until I entered the stadium.  The large spaces, the massive crowds of very brick-like characters, the hawking of t-shirts, the concession stands selling overpriced Coors and cheese-whizzed nachos.  I became immediately disturbed.  Then I found my seat.  It was on the first level, in the last row next to the exit.  Because the seat was deep under the first balcony, I had only a partial view of stage (apparently a large inflated pig came out of the top of the stage, but I didn’t see anything).  Florescent lights flickered overhead.  I couldn’t smoke weed because cops stood next to me throughout the show. Continue reading “All in All I’m Probably Just Another Brick in The Wall”

I Could Have Been the Next Zoolander

Gratuitous modeling contact sheet.

Shortly after moving to New York City, I decided to pursue a modeling career.  I was 25 years-old, tall, in good shape, directionless, and longing for affirmation.  The decision was a no-brainer.  I had some snapshots taken and used contacts from some gay men who’d taken a liking to me to get in with the top agencies—Ford, IMG, Boss, etc.  Most of the agents said the same thing:  “We like you, but you’re too commercial.”  This is agent-speak for you don’t have what it takes.

Despite narcissistic tendencies that say otherwise, I don’t think I was ever meant to be a model.  I could never warm up to the camera.  There was always a waft of fraudulence in my expressions—like I didn’t know why my picture was being taken.  The other problem was that most top models—male and female—have slim, photograph-friendly facial features.  I have a jawline as soft and narrow as an aircraft carrier.

Despite my physical deformities, one agency, Wilhelmina, did bite.  They asked me to test.  For those not in the know, a test is a professional shoot unrelated to a paid gig.  Some people test to have fresh shots in their portfolios.  I was testing so Wilhelmina could see how I’d look through a professional lens.

Interest by one of the world’s top agencies played into my fantasies.  I saw my life unfold—I would get the contract, I would travel around the world to exotic shoots, get a young, model girlfriend (probably French), wear awesome model clothes, swap workout tips with my model buddies.

And then Wilhelmina didn’t bite after seeing my test shots.  No exotic locales, no girlfriend, same clothes, same homely buddies.

A friend told me that many models cater-waiter between jobs as many catering clients like pretty boys to staff their parties.  Though I wasn’t pretty enough to model Diesel jeans, I was pretty enough to pass trays of champagne and caviar-topped blinis. Continue reading “I Could Have Been the Next Zoolander”

A Funny Thing Occurred to Me While Tripping on Acid

Drugs were an unspeakable evil as a child growing up in the 80’s.  The “Just Say No” campaign bludgeoned me with fear.  Many of my mom’s friends experienced coke-fueled implosions.  Shane fell off the bridge and got brain damage on Degrassi High.

But my adolescence was an unspeakable evil too.  Without drugs, I was like a cold Chihuahua, thin, shivering, plaintive eyes, tail between my legs.  I walked around certain that no one liked me, unpopular with both sexes.  I offered guys no competition.  I offered women no confidence.  Most of my nights in high school were spent alone watching reruns of Quantum Leap.

Shortly after moving to Boulder, Colorado when I was 16, I was introduced to marijuana.  I was working at a bike shop.  One night after we closed, “Shorty,” a buzz-cut, army-fatigue-wearing, 6’5” Wisconsan, who grew skunk-smelling, crystal laden kind-bud (I’m not sure if they still call it that) lit up a bowl.

I took one puff of Shorty’s weed and was sent into paroxysms of coughing.  When the coughing subsided, I spent the rest of the night in the bike-storage room hallucinating that my parents were at the front of the shop. It was not an auspicious start.

Undaunted, I worked past this initial foreboding experience.  No feelings of near-death and extreme terror were going to deter me from squashing my depression.  Throughout that summer, I learned to love marijuana.  When I started my high school, that love blossomed.

Nancy Reagan lied.  Drugs were great. I spent the next few years continuously high. Continue reading “A Funny Thing Occurred to Me While Tripping on Acid”

Defragment Your World


What are the gaps in your life? Any why are you still using a PC?

About 3 years ago I made a determination to stop doing work that was inconsistent with my values.  I was 31 years-old, had recently finished my undergraduate degree and was squandering my vital juices on well-paid, but meaningless work.  I wanted something more from my life.  I figured the first step to doing meaningful work was to stop doing the meaningless stuff.

The quick backstory of my late graduation is that I dropped out of school when I was 23 to get sober.  After floundering through much of my 20’s, I found myself 27 years old, bereft of direction, with access to an education trust set up by my grandparents.  The choice to return to school seemed obvious.

While in school, I continued to work 20-30 hours a week as a cater-waiter captain—essentially the head waiter or maitre’d of an event.  The job paid between $30-50 an hour.  Because my tuition and living expenses were paid for by the trust, most of the money I made from that job was saved.  I finished school flush with cash.

I got my degree in creative writing and literature.  I wanted to write for a living, but ideas about how to do that were not forthcoming, so I continued to cater in the meantime.

But catering created a huge internal inconsistency.  While it was fun and easy, I saw its net impact on the world was somewhere between zero and negative 1000.  Most events created mountains of waste, which completely ran counter to what I knew about what was going on with the environment.

Destroying the environment would have been tolerable if the work seemed important.  Instead, my principle duty was idealizing the artificial.  Most events were product launches and other PR events or posh dinner and cocktail parties hosted by the ridiculously-rich and mostly gay.  I directed staffs of male models and actors to create fantasy worlds—ones littered with chiseled features; ones that precluded ugliness, age, poverty or any other unseemly aspect of reality.  I felt like I was responsible for arranging human parsley sprigs on cardboard steaks. Continue reading “Defragment Your World”

Live Life Drunk

Be a lethal weapon without the booze. Image via In Touch

The Foundry held the dubious distinction as Boulder, Colorado’s coolest nightspot.  It was a sprawling, brick-walled, high-ceilinged former theater filled with mostly ornamental pool tables.  It was a regular haunt at the peak of my drinking career.

One night in the spring of 1998, I went there with my buddy Drew.  It was a sausage-fest, littered with hapless guys in baseball caps, nursing their drinks complaining about the lack of women.

This night occurred during my halcyon drinking days.  I had recently returned from a bicycle expedition from Boulder to Seattle to Portland, Maine.  I left a pudgy faced, thin-limbed boy, I returned a chisel-faced, strapping man.  To exploit my new appearance, I started going out all the time, getting the attention I had longed for, but never received, in my adolescence.  And whereas my previous intoxicant was marijuana, a substance I used to smother my libidinous urgings, I was now drinking bourbon, which gave those same urgings megaphonic volume.

So there I was in this charcuterie, 21, handsome, cocksure and reaching a sweet-spot with my bourbon buzz.

Continue reading “Live Life Drunk”