Category: New York

The New York Jets: A Love Story


The New York Jets are my second favorite football team. That’s the goddamn truth. Right after the Pittsburgh Steelers, I HEART the Jets. I heart them so much.

As I sit here to watch the final game the Jets will play in 2014, I’m experiencing this weird blend of joy and longing.

My love for the Pittsburgh Steelers is quite one-dimensional. The Steelers are the team that I root for, and I bank on them to win. But also, despite my not being from Pittsburgh, long ago I pinned my fandom on the Steelers when I was in college while trying to impress my then-girlfriend-now-wife, who is properly from Pittsburgh.  So there’s that.  (In case you’re wondering, she couldn’t possibly give less of a shit about the Steelers – worst Yinzer ever.)

On the other hand, the joy I get from the New York Jets is so wonderful and complex, I’m frankly I quite astonished that I can process such thought and emotion.

Quite simply, the Jets are by far the absolute most hilarious professional sports team in the world, and I’m a sucker for top-shelf comedy.

In my entire life of watching sports on TV, I have never seen another team more hilariously horrible as the Jets. There are so many persistently awful teams in American sports, but none of them are horrible the way the Jets are. The Chicago Cubs? Frankly, I find them quite lovable in their aww-shucks brand of loserdom. The Cleveland Browns? As much as they lose, as corrupt as their owner might be, they’ll forever get a pass in my book because the Baltimore Ravens are the most despicable relocation team of all time. Of. All. Fucking. Time. (I’d like to take a brief moment here to digress: fuck the Baltimore Ravens forever.)

There are so many ways to love the Jets.

Let’s start with the fans. The best thing about actual Jets fans? That insane, delusional hope each year that their team are going to turn things around. That somehow, a new coach or a new draft pick is going to be their ticket to back to a winning season. “This is the year is going to be different.” “This is year is when we turn things around.” It’s like a very real pathological case of mass amnesia through allegiance – somehow Jets fans completely forget that they’re backing the New York fucking Jets, a team created for the sole purpose of masterfully fucking things up 24/7, 365 day a year, every year.

jets+steelers+1That’s why I’m happy for Jets fans when the Jets actually win a game once in a while. This year, when they were working so hard to lose, they beat the Steelers, but even I couldn’t be bummed by that. I hate seeing the Steelers lose, but to see that glimmer of delusional hope in the eyes of Jets fans – “OMG, we beat the Steelers, we’re practically in the Super Bowl now!” – knowing that there’s only crushing defeat and a return to tears and gnashing of teeth for these Jets fans is so, so sweet.  There is no nectar on this earth sweeter than a bowl of Jets fans’ tears.  Try it, it’s delicious.

fireman-ed-anzalone-jets-fan-52893dfacd878d41_largeOn the subject of fans, there’s the Jets’ number-one-cheerleader-best-fan-forever, that Fireman Ed asshole. Look at his stupid face.  Seriously, fuck this guy. This is their number one fan. The embodiment of their fan base in one fat, bald sack of shit. This asshole’s only life accomplishment is that he can scream four letters of the alphabet repeatedly for three hours on a given autumn Sunday in New Jersey. He is supposedly their number one fan, and he fucking gave up on going to their games ever again. He cited that his fellow Jets fans were all assholes (shocker) at the game, so he ditched his season tickets. Waahhhh! So even though he might be the single-most irritating fuckwit in the part of the hemisphere, he might also be the smartest Jets fan in decades. Which, by definition, no longer makes him an actual Jets fan.

Can anyone think of anything the team management have done that ISN’T a complete fuckwit move? That Fireman Ed shithead cried all the way home, and the Jets actually tried to get this guy to come back to the games by taking him out to lunch. They tried to woo a fan, for fuck’s sake. Who does that.

I’ll tell you who – a group of fuckwits led by Woody Johnson, that’s who. Was there a better Woody moment than when he told the press that he didn’t want to sign Tim Tebow, but his team went ahead and fucking did so anyway?   Imagine megalomaniacs like Jerry Jones or Bob Kraft admitting to such a thing, that your team probably thinks that you’re just some senile old man so they ignore the living shit out of you and get up to their own bullshit anyway. You’re the one signing all the checks, yet no one gives a shit what you think. Even the Wilpons weren’t blown off, but instead held a firm hand in driving the New York Mets right into the fucking ground. I’ll bet Woody Johnson still snacks on paint chips he peels off in his office.

EXCLUSIVE: NY Jets coach Rex Ryan and wife Michelle show some PDA whilst enjoying a Bahamas vacationYou know who’s not snacking as much? Dear Rex Ryan. Oh shit, I am going to miss that guy. Seriously, I am. When I think of colossal Jets coaching failures, first my head spins with so many names and faces that I fucking black out, but when I come to, there’s only Rex Ryan’s stupid jowly mug. You think your Jets were scary bad under Bruce Coslet or Rich Kottite? Holy shit, at least those guys had the decency to shut the fuck up while they were shitting the bed. Not so with Rex. In fact, no spawn of Buddy Ryan ever shuts the fuck up about anything (oh hey, Rob, how’s it going!). The hollow promises, the toe-sucking adventures, the Mark Sanchez jersey tattoo… I mean, holy shit, the most coked-up Hollywood writer couldn’t come up with a character this who’s this much of a shitshow. I’m gonna fucking miss Rex Ryan.

Rex Ryan was a big part of what made the Jets of recent years the best Jets ever. With him, the Jets have been in peak Jets form for a while now. Rex Ryan. Sanchize. The Buttfumble. Tim Tebow and the time they had like 10 quarterbacks on the team. Joe Namath and Suzy Kolber (OK, I’m cheating a little on this one, but that shit was awesome). I mean, they’re just Jetsing so fucking hard right now. And I never want it to end.

If it were up to me, Rex Ryan would be head coach for life. Tim Tebow would return as quarterback for life. That fireman dickhead would return to the stadium each home game, scream his balls off, then have to be carried outta there in the crushing shambles of defeat. Each year, they’d single-handedly earn the top draft pick, and they’d blow their first three rounds on shitty quarterbacks.  And each year, my Jets friends will regale me with high hopes and dreams that they’ve “definitely got a chance this year.”

If it were up to me, the New York Jets would never, ever fucking change.




A Year of Reinvention

Shit, has it really been a year? A year since I last posted something to this good-for-nothing blog? Almost to the day. Good thing no one reads this shit, or someone might’ve actually thought they were missing something.

So why start writing again? I don’t even know if I want to commit to that. “Writing again.” There was some self-induced pressure to post something every few week or so. I have no idea if this is going to be a one-off, or if I’m actually gonna get back to this.

Right now, I’m on a plane. With about 13 hours to kill. I started watching the first two episodes of Dave Grohl’s televised love letter to American music, “Sonic Highways.” I’d originally written off the effort as  yet another shitty way to shill the Foo Fighters’ new record. Yeah, I wasn’t completely wrong but I’m not completely right, either. While not an original endeavor, Grohl’s gone all Ken Burns on us by taking a deep dive into some pivotal points in American music history: Chicago blues, the DC punk scene, Nashville, and so on.

The second episode – the one about the ‘80s punk scene of DC – dealt a lot with the idea of DIY music. The DC punks had no one to make, press, and sell their music. So they did it themselves and that’s how Dischord Records came about. Invention being the mother of necessity and all that.

Well, it has been a year of reinvention for me. A year ago, I was at a job that was incredibly challenging – I needed to do more, but there wasn’t more to be done. So I walked across the street – quite literally – and started working at another shop, but it was ad shop to which I wasn’t accustomed. I’d cut my teeth at big Mad Men, Galactic Empire-type agencies: all TV all the time, hundreds of people with fancy titles and excruciating egos to match, and none of the creativity to back it up. Now I’d joined a shop that started life a few years ago as a modest digital ad agency that had grown up almost too quickly. At best, the median age is probably 28 (I have no idea, I guessing here) and most folks hadn’t done anything other than digital marketing. They weren’t familiar with the only world I’d even known: TV, print, radio – you know, all the shit that people used to consume before they all married their smartphones.

And that’s how I ended up on this airplane, on my way to produce the agency’s very first TV commercial. Shit, for some reason I feel like I’m taking this agency backwards.

And speaking of going backwards, what better way to embrace a midlife crisis than to start your own fucking band? For years, I’d jammed on a song or two with friends who’d play gigs around town. These friends are all crazy talented people, but they almost never played the stuff that I wanted to play. I mean, who many fucking times can you play a Marshall Tucker Band tune to a disinterested bar?

So in January, I hatched a half-baked idea to grab three of my buddies to start a band. Like a bunch of high school kids. Except we’re all old as fuck now, we all have families and responsibilities and shit, and we all have white collar jobs that we trudge to each day… but fuck it, you play the bass, you play keyboards, you play the drums, I play guitar, fuck it, let’s start a motherfucking band. DIY, motherfucker. Let’s play the shit that WE wanna play. With thundering drums. Distortion turned to 11. Yeah, my Peter Pan complex knows no bounds.

10270382_271781313032531_1058394622934270321_nAnd when we got together to play for the first time in our drummer’s dad’s basement (yeah, you read that right), we were fucking awesome. Wait, did I say awesome? No, actually, I didn’t mean that. I meant to say we were fucking awful. Yeah, we were so beyond shitty.

Half of us had played in real fucking bands back in the ‘80s. One of us played around New York in a hardcore band that once opened for GWAR, so you know he’s got his shit together. Another one of us actually went on the road with his band and a chestful of original songs. The remaining two of us had never played in an actual band setting. So, you know, what could go wrong.

The first time we played in front of a crowd, we fucking bombed.   We strutted to the stage like we were fucking rock stars and by the second verse, our whole show fell apart. We forgot entire passages to the song, my fingers knotted up on the guitar, sound levels were all over the place, and it was just a big fucking mess. Crashed and burned right away.  In front of a few hundred people.

Yet for some unexplained reason, we actually got asked to play a second time. People are either highly charitable and forgiving, or they’re all fucking deaf. Still, we were grateful for a second chance, so we took it – a two-song appearance at a commemorative screening of “Purple Rain.” We threw down two Prince covers – “Darling Nikki” and “Let’s Go Crazy” – and the crowd didn’t walk out! So, you know, SUCCESS!!

Summer came and we booked ourselves into two summer block parties. By “book,” I mean, we offered to drag our shit out to the middle of the street and play a set of covers during a large outdoor picnic, and get paid with free beers. No one’s dropping bills for our shitshow. These things were a humbling experience, so say the least. Now, outdoor sound quality is shit, no matter how good your gear is (and being a garage band and all, we have shitty gear), and no one’s really there to listen to you play. You’re auditory wallpaper, a lot of distortion and cymbals that are getting in the way of drunken conversations. But, after a couple of hours, when everyone’s a bit more tanked, it means you start to sound a bit more tolerable, and folks actually start to get into the tunes you’re playing. But you never actually stop realizing that at all times, you’re still a bit shit at this whole thing. Especially for a band that’s only been together for about 6 months.

Which is probably why we didn’t think too deep into it when our bass player got us a paying gig – an actual paying gig! – at a local dive bar. We had about 3 weeks to prep for this, and for 3 weeks, we were in our drummer’s dad’s basement rehearsing our balls off. We knew we were never going to be great, we just tried to be good enough so that people didn’t fucking walk out.

We worked the show from all angles. We told EVERYONE. We had to. This band was going to have a short shelf life if we had a paying gig and NO ONE showed up. We told everyone. We sent out dozens of emails. We abused Facebook and Twitter and every imaginable social channel. We told our friends, we told strangers. We needed to fill that tiny bar.


In the end, we’re told about 200 people packed into that little bar in our little town. Holy shit. The whole place was just a flurry of people and abuzz with friends from all over who came to see these four idiots play some cover tunes for 3 hours. I have no idea if we were any good that night, but that was the best we’d ever played. I have no idea if anyone had a good time, but we had the best fucking time ever.

That night, it didn’t matter if anyone else bought into the idea of us as a band, but we fucking believed we were finally a proper band. The training wheels had come off. We played the music we wanted to play, and we pulled our little shitshow together and we formed a fucking band.

DIY, motherfuckers. And that’s how I reinvented myself right into a(nother) fucking midlife crisis cliche.  Godamnit.

Last show at Terminal 5


I don’t go to a lot of concerts (relatively speaking), but I probably go to more than my fair share.  Thankfully, majority of bands out there are absolutely deplorable, so that certainly helps me set an artificial limit to my concert-going.

One thing I’d still like to do some time is go to a random concert every single night of one week.  Just randomly pick five different venues, then go check out whatever bands playing there that night.  Probably better if I don’t recognize the band so I’m not prejudging the show.  If I’m lucky, at the end of the week, I’ll have found a few new bands I want to listen to.  At worst, I’ll have uncovered a bunch of unlistenable bands to completely avoid like the plague.  Either way, it’s five night out, and there are worse ways to spend five nights out.

One venue I’m excluding from the list of venues is Terminal 5.  Fuck Terminal 5.

For as long as it’s been around, I’ve been going to Terminal 5.  After all, what choice do you have if a band you like decides to play there – you suck it up and go.  You go despite it being the worst fucking concert venue on the planet.

Last weekend, I went to what is probably my last time at Terminal 5.  The show’s line-up was absolutely brilliant, on paper at least.  The Beach Fossils, followed by Lee Ranaldo, followed by headliner Kurt Vile.  That’s a lot of talent packed into one night.  No throwaway bands here.  For the first time in the long time, we headed to the show right when the doors opened, unwilling to miss even a minute of the opening bands.

Getting there to Terminal 5 is both easy and hard.  “Easy” because being about as far west as possible in Hell’s Kitchen, it is surrounded by absolute shit.  There are no decent bars or restaurants within a 3-block radius to keep you from getting to the joint on time.  Most other concert venues have probably dozens of better than average watering holes where you can get a few brews and a decent meal before the show.  Not Terminal 5.  Terminal 5 is in the middle of Manhattan’s black hole.  There is jack shit around Terminal 5.  If you wanna grab a brew before a show, you’d have to walk a half-dozen blocks away to find anything.  It is also for that same reason that it’s hard to get to – it’s nowhere near any subways, and it’s in the anus of Manhattan.

Since it’s in such a shithole part of the city, the least you’d expect is for the joint to make up for it by being extra awesome.  After all, why would people keep schlepping all the way out there, right?  Well, the concert hall itself is fucking terrible.

T5 audience

Shaped largely like a cube, the main floor is peppered with large obstructive pillars.  The second floor balcony protrudes so far out that if you’re in far corner of the hall – any corner – you’re not seeing shit.

And that’s before you’re assaulted with what is indisputably the worst sound system in the universe.  It doesn’t matter if you put Jimmy Page or Jimmy Buffett on that stage – both will sound equally shitty.  Everything out of those speakers sounds like muffled farts through a bullhorn.  There is absolutely no articulation whatsoever (which is really important when you’re trying to listen to farts).  Honestly, I’ve had more pleasant afternoons listening to my neighbor’s dog bark incessantly at squirrels.

But that’s not all you have to listen to when you’re at Terminal 5.

You see, when you combine the fact that Terminal 5 is middle of the downtown Baghdad of New York and the fact that the sound is fucking dreadful, it becomes clear that Terminal 5 is being kept afloat by people who don’t really like music at all.

You go to any show there and you will invariable – and this entirely without exception – be surrounded by chatty assholes who don’t shut the fuck up.  People talk throughout entire gigs.  Whomever and whatever the fuck is playing on stage matters not one iota to these assholes.  Somehow, these assholes have rationalized the idea that the middle of a crowded thousand-decibel concert is the best place to carry on a meaningful conversation for two hours.  It’s always the same sort of person, too – it’s always either some tall bearded douchebag in a flannel shirt, or some overenthusiastic chick who looks like Marnie from Girls.  In other words, everyone in that place.  I can’t remember the last time I was at Terminal 5 when I’ve had to turn around to tell people to shut the fuck up.

Not one thing about Terminal 5 makes it appealing to see a band. I’ve been suckered into going to that concert sphincter for years, but I can’t bear going to Terminal 5 anymore.  I’ve seen my last show there.  I like Kurt Vile.  But Terminal 5 made me hate Kurt Vile.

And that’s what it comes down to: I’m not going to let Terminal 5 ruin the bands I like.

Fuck Terminal 5.




Pizza race number

So one week after I partook in a bike race by mistake, I found myself in another race this weekend.  This time, my entry was entirely on purpose.  And completely impulsive.

Because I’m surrounded by avid runners who take their sport very (too?) seriously, I’d been swept up with all sorts of talk about running.  I fucking loathe running.  I find it the dullest, most tedious athletic activity on the planet.  After all, per “the rules,” one should only run if being pursued; and one should only run fast enough to evade capture.  Everything else – fuck that noise.

So what the fuck was I thinking on Thursday when I opened my email and read an article about a foot race around Tompkins Square Park on Saturday?

This race was called the New York Pizza Run.  Apparently, this was the fourth year it’s been run, but this was the first I’d ever heard of it.  But unlike other races, this had a splendid twist to it.

The race comprised 4 laps around the perimeter of Tompkins Square Park in the East Village.  At the completion of each lap, you had to devour one slice of pizza before you could commence to the next lap.  At the end of the fourth lap, you cross the finish line and you’d have 2.25 miles in the books.

Two-and-a-quarter miles, four laps around a small park, three slices of pizza.  That sounded so goddamn ridiculous, there was no way I couldn’t not do it.  And so I signed up.

But I also invited my runner friends.  The ones who run multiple marathons a year.  The ones who are constantly training for some triathlon or other.  The ones whose every conversation at every party is about running.  It was as if to say, “Hey, you guys, I’m doing a foot race, I’m one of you guys now!”

Except, I wasn’t, of course.  This was just running around stuffing our faces with pizza.  TOTALLY NOT SERIOUS ENOUGH.  Not within a million miles of being in the same league.  If they were the NFL, I was tossing around a Nerf ball trying to be cool.  “I’ve got not time for jokes, bro.”

Hardly anyone even acknowledged getting my email asking them to join me in this ludicrous run.  Not that I gave a shit because I was going to do this run with or without them.

So Saturday came, and I took the train down to Astor Place and walked the four blocks to Tompkins Square Park.  I might’ve even sprinted a couple of blocks.  Gotta warm up, get loose.  This is a race, after all.  (barf)

I checked in to the race, and got a race number.  Ooooh, a number, this is serious shit.  Then I looked to my left and saw the professionally-crafted start line on the sidewalk of in the middle of 7th Street.  SO OFFICIAL, you guys.

Pizza Start Line

And of course this was exactly the sort of race that draws participants who dress up, run goofy, and take the piss out of the whole running thing.  There was a girl dressed in a banana suit, another dressed in a pizza costume, another in a Superman outfit.  Shit, even I ran with baggy knickers but that’s because that’s all I had.

Shortly before the start, a friend from work actually took me up on my offer and joined me for this race.  Yay, somebody to run with!  Except he ran a fucking marathon this past spring, so, you know… I figured he was going to just lap me at some point.  He’s fit as a fiddle, I’m fat and slow, it’s inevitable.

Pizza3So we lined up along the chalked line, and without much fanfare, the race was on.  This was not a closed course.  We were simply running on the cobbled sidewalk around Tompkins Square Park.  That meant we had to swerve around the homeless.  We had to take evasive action from oncoming hyperaggressive city moms with their massive strollers that were  We had to run around tourists (those fucking, wandering guys).

Oh yeah, and at the end of each lap, we had to wolf down some pizza.  And it seemed a real goddamn shame to have to go all Joey Chestnut on these incredible slices.  Sure, by the time we got to them, they weren’t warm any longer, but holy shit, they were delicious.  They were supplied by Cer Te, and they were quintessential New York margherita pizzas.  Ultra thin crust, sweet fragrant tomato sauce, large discs of melted mozzarella, and slivers of basil on top.

Mmmm pizzaThe rule was that you couldn’t run with the slice of pizza.  Before you were allowed to start your next lap, you had to eat the whole slice.  You were permitted to run-and-chew, which is what I tried on lap 2, and that turned out to be another in a string of poor decisions.  Trying to run with a bolus of half-chewed pizza in my fat gob meant that I choking on bits of pizza that would go down the wrong tube.  When your mother taught you to not run around with a mouthful of food, she was right.

When I got to the end of the third lap, I paused before I took that slice of pizza.  Three slices of pizza on any day would be more than I would typically eat.  Three slices while trying to run – that was bullshit.  But I had one lap to go and my friend had started to take off for his final lap.  I grabbed the final slice, stuffed it in my mouth, slugged some water, and staggered on to the final lap.

When I reached the finish line – yes, it was also drawn out in chalk – there wasn’t any over-the-top fanfare.  There wasn’t any big noise or confetti or anything grandiose.  (It’s a fucking pizza run, what do you want, jeez)  Just a lot of laughter, a lot of high fives, a lot of beaming smiles.  And for me, a slight sense of “huh.”  Somewhere between “well, that didn’t suck” and “that was pretty awesome.”

And that was it.  Four laps and three slices later, we were done.  It was hilarious, it was ridiculous, it was oddly satisfying, it was brief, and no one threw up.  We got a bit of a workout, and we were well fed.

My first ever foot race, only my second time ever running outdoors.  I was never going to come in first, but if I didn’t come in last, that was my greatest achievement of the day.  You know what, scratch that – the fact that I even ran this thing was my greatest achievement of the day.  And if it wasn’t so ridiculous, there’s no way I’d have done it.

Count me in next year.  Because when there needs to be a futile and stupid gesture done on somebody’s part, I’m just the guy to do it.



Have beer, will ride


At times, a fortuitous confluence of events will lead you to crack some hare-brained scheme that seems like a good idea at the time, when in the fact…


Since picking up a road bike in the late winter, I’ve been plotting different ways get more saddle time, either through frequency or distance.  Or both.  Right around the same time, I became friends with a neighbor down the street who’d been into home-brewing his beer, which alerted to me to the fact that these days, in the New York City area, there are more craft beer breweries than ever.

Now I, for one, have long held a particular disdain for this whole microbrew or craft beer movement.  Mostly because it seemed in the ‘90s that every other shitty microbrewery was bottling any manner of brown effervescent swill that seemed to taste like anything but beer.  You had beers that tasted like peaches, bubble gum, chocolate, you name it.  Fuck you, that’s not beer.  Beer shouldn’t taste like cherries.  Or bacon.  Or whatever the fuck they were putting in these beers and selling them to shitheads around the country who had an appetite for candy in a bottle that could also get them fucked up.

Fuck you, beer should taste like beer.  End of argument.

What’s turned it around recently for me is how these craft beer breweries seem to have abandoned the stupid fruity flavors, and have gone back to making beers that taste like fucking beer.

So, one day, I hatched a plan in which I’d ride my bicycle up 15 miles to Elmsford, NY to visit the Captain Lawrence Brewery to taste their wares, then shoot 10 miles eastward to the Craftsman Ale House – where they not only carry over hundred types of killer beers but they also brew their own – followed by a 10 mile ride home with a slight detour to the famous Walter’s Hot Dogs joint in Mamaroneck, NY.

I also knew the inherent risks of trying to do a 35-mile bike ride with two pitstops for beers.  I needed wingmen, so I recruited two buddies with equal senses of depravity to do this ride with me.

We chose a Saturday, and set off at 11am.  I figured it would take us about an hour to ride the 15 miles to the Captain Lawrence Brewery.  We kept a decent pace, around 15mph for the first 12 miles of the ride.  As we got towards Elmsford, the massive criss-crossing array of highways and winding country roads caused me to veer off the planned route, and we were suddenly – and painfully – faced with a hot and slogging climb up a mile-long hill.  It looked like an asphalt wall.  20mph speeds ground down to about 8mph.  Gears shifted to the smallest ratios, legs churned so slowly, and halfway up, all three of us were ready to puke.  And we hadn’t even had a drop of beer yet.

When I fuck up, we all suffer.

Hillside Avenue

When we reached the peak, we welcomed the downhill rush down to the brewery, which was set in some industrial park.  It didn’t look like a brewery in the traditional sense at all.  More like a warehouse with a picnic tables in the back next to a bocce ball run.

“Hey, are you guys here for the beer?” a portly fella greeted us behind a table at the entrance.  Was this the stupidest question ever asked?  Possibly.  We told him we intended to have a quick pint or two before setting off again.

“Sorry, today’s a pig roast event, and it’s $40 to get in.  You can’t get beer today without paying for the pig roast.”

Are you fucking kidding me.  If it wasn’t for that ludicrous hill we just climbed, I might’ve had enough energy in me to dish out a cockpunch or two.  We still had 20 miles to ride, the last thing I need is to stuff my fat face with pig and beer – we weren’t even halfway through our ride, for fuck’s sake.

After a lot of negotiations, they let us in to “discuss the matter with the manager.”  We walked into the tasting room, and were made to stand around for about 15 minutes before the manager graced us with his presence.  The whole while, pints are being poured liberally for pig roast patrons in front of us.  Not one drop came our way.  Not even a sympathy pour.  Fuckers.

After 15 minutes, some bespectacled hipster with a metal bar through his septum came to speak with us.  “Sorry, we’re only doing the pig roast event today.  Each of you have got to pay the $40 if you want any of the beer.  It’s all you can drink.”  Which would’ve been a stellar deal if we were going to park our asses at the bar and didn’t have another 20 miles to ride, fucker.  After going back and forth with the beer overlord, he relents – “Your only choices are to pay the $40.  Or if you want, we can sell you bottles to go.”

WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU SAY THAT IN FIRST PLACE, DICK?!?!!  Why the fuck are you guys making it so hard for us to buy your fucking beer?!!

3 Captain Lawrence beers

After I calmed the fuck down, we grabbed three large bottles, some cups, and settled into one of the picnic tables outside to quench our thirst.  It didn’t take long for one of their staff to come harass us about sitting at the picnic table without paying for the pig roast.  What the motherfuck.  After a brief negotiation, they left us alone to finish our beers, then off we went to the next beer stop.

While this leg of the ride was along considerably flatter terrain, it wasn’t an easy ride by any means.  The humid, midday sun was beating down hard.  The three large bottles of hoppy nectar – on empty stomachs! – weighed us down.  We coasted slowly through the next 10 miles.

At the end of the 10 miles, I promised the lads a second oasis of craft beers.  Craftsman Ale House in Harrison, NY boasted their own collection of brews in addition to hundred of other primo beers.  When we got there around 2:30pm, the place was empty, and we were more famished than buzzed.

As a stark contrast to the Captain Lawrence joint, this manager couldn’t possibly be more welcoming.  We pushed our collection of carbon fiber and titanium rides into the bar, and pulled up to three adjacent stools.

Hipster Ale

Polite banter, perusal of the massive beer list, three even more massive cheeseburgers (including one unceremoniously and viciously halved), and quick brew samples ensued.  Here’s when our next installment of downers took place: turns out that while the Craftsman Ale House brew their own beers, they do not sell their brew.  What the fuck.  So we were left with their confounding list of beers brewed by other folks… and this fucking thing on the right.

Time flies when you’re having fun and before you knew it, all three of us were getting buzzed on our phones.  Text messages galore, each with similar queries from our old ladies – “where the hell are you guys?”

Over an hour after we settled into that bar, we grabbed our bikes and started the final leg of our ride – the 10-mile slog home.  10 miles is nothing.  Correction: ordinarily, 10 miles is nothing.  It’s a ride that most cyclists can do on autopilot and barely break a sweat.  But 10 miles on belly full of hearty craft beers, cheeseburger and fries – that’s a different story.

Fuck, was that a sloooow slog home.  In our opening leg to the first brewery, we averaged just under 15mph.  On the final leg home, we average 8mph.  That is some pathetic decline in pace.

So, 6 hours later, we all finally returned back to the spot from where we started our ride.  6 hours later, we had made 2 lengthy stops for beer.  6 hours later, we had no interest in that final detour for hot dogs.  6 hours later, nothing had worked out as planned.  6 hours later, we were 3 hours late because I’m such a fuck up.  6 hours later, each one of us was in the fucking doghouse.

6 hours later, we decided we’re gonna do it again.




CONTINUED FROM: Ring of Fire – The Lead-up


Three weeks passed, and Phaal Day was upon us.  I did my best not to psych myself out, but the imminent horror was hard to push aside.  We all gathered at the restaurant a little after 6pm – there were eight of us in total.  By the time I got there, everyone was already about two drinks in and feeling loose.  And why wouldn’t they – most of them were there to witness insanity, not dive into it.

I took my seat at the table, doing a piss poor joke masking my nerves.  I started to ask our server about the phaal challenge.  How big of a bowl of curry are we talking about here?  “16oz.  And you have to finish everything, including all the sauce.  You can order it with vegetables, tofu, chicken, lamb, goat, any of that.  And you have 30 minutes.”  Jeez.

I started running through the game plan in my head:

  • I needed to finish this fast.  Get it down my throat and be done with it.
  • That meant now minimal chewing.  So no chewy meats.  Tofu would be a good choice.  Fish a second.
  • No rice, no naan, no starchy medium.  Again, I needed this to go down fast to minimize in-mouth burn time.  The more I have to chew, the longer I’m prolonging the burn.  Rice is bullshit.
  • It’s 16oz of molten nightmare.  That’s two cups of food I’ve got to inject.  That means there’s no way I can afford to drink much to put the flames out.  Just shovel.
  • There are two kinds of burn – the spices, and the temperature.  Why add to the spice burn with a temperature burn?  I would let the phaal cool off a bit before I dug in.

Phaal Line UpThe three of us who were competing all sat in a row, with our backs against the wall.  As if before a firing squad.  Backed into a wall with no means of escape.  When our three bowls of phaal were laid in front of us, everyone’s iPhones came out and I felt like The Beatles at a press conference.  *flash* *flash* *flash* *flash*  The pictures hit Facebook before I even took my first bite.

The other two dug right into their piping hot curries.  I think one of them might’ve actually squealed a little, completely taken aback by just how searing hot the phaal was.  I held back.  Stirring the curry, watching the steam waft up, but careful not to inhale the sharp aroma too much – that shit’s like a spike up your nose and into your brain.

After letting it cool off a bit, I scooped up a spoonful and took a bite.  Oh, the pain.  The startling immediate pain.  Like eating thousands of shards of glass in the form of a thick gravy.

I kept working at the bowl in front of me.  The other two would stop to converse but I ignored them – I had a job to do.  I had a strategy and I was sticking to it.

I scooped, I ate, I scooped, I ate.  We had 30 minutes to polish this off.  About 10 minutes in, I was about halfway through my bowl.  My mouth felt like the bowels of hell, my throat was charred raw from swallowing the molten earth, and my stomach started to feel like I’d swallowed a hot brick right out of a kiln.

My server came by for a bit of encouragement.  “Actually, you’re doing quite well.”  He then handed me a small bowl of yogurt dressing.  Decorum be fucked, I took out the serving spoon and chugged the whole thing and asked for a second bowl of the cool dressing.

I looked over and my partners-in-crime were grinding to a slow halt.  10 minutes in, and they were looking done.  One was casually swirling around a piece of naan in her curry.  The other was taking his time carving the goat meat from the bones.  Neither seemed in a particular hurry.

I, too, was slowing down at this point.  I contemplated throwing in the towel.  On account that I now felt like the fiery member of the Fantastic Four.  This was too much.  My mind started to toggle back and forth – slow down and dull the pain, or power through and compound the pain?  I looked down at the bowl, and I realized that I maybe had about three spoonsful left.

I had come too far to turn back now.  I made the three scoops, and raised my arms in victory.  “Holy shit, you’re done?!”  “WHAAA?!!”  Oh my God!”  iPhone popped out again. *flash* *flash* *flash* *flash*

Phaal Over

I asked the server over to evaluate.  I looked in the bowl, and I realized I hadn’t done a great job polishing the bowl.  A true competitor – and a goddamn sadist – would have scraped up the remaining bits of gravy.  My server gave a half-hearted approval of my feat.  Fuck it, I’m not tripping into the finish line, I’m marching right through it.  I grabbed my spoon, scraped up all the remaining curry in the bowl and let the burn in my mouth one last time.

Now, I’d fucking earned it.

I was the first to finish.  But as it turned out, I was the only one to finish.  That’s when I also learned that there was money on the table – $40 to a winner.  I grabbed the cabbage, then grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste that I’d packed and ran to the bathroom to clean the hellfire from my mouth.  I was a puddle of sweat, and I was in agony, but I’d done it.  I made phaal my bitch.

Now, just because I had hastily inhaled my meal didn’t mean that dinner was over.  Everyone was only just getting started on their chicken tikka masalas and their saag paneers and their rogan josh.  I sat there, with 16oz of pure grade, uncut curry hell in my stomach.

That’s when the staff showed up with my rewards.  A massive mug of lager and a certificate with my handwritten name on it.  Nice gesture, but easily the most pointless reward ever.  Where the fuck was I supposed to put that lager after I’d wolfed down all that blistering curry?


The pain wasn’t sudden but it was fast.

I excused myself to the bathroom, and that’s where I started to fall apart.  I started to feel woozy, nauseous, with a growing pain in my stomach.  I made a slight vurp, and quickly realized that hurling the contents of my stomach wasn’t an option.  That’d be going through the whole phaal consumption experience again, in reverse.

I stumbled back outside and crumpled into a chair, a big sweaty heap.  Which promptly freaked everyone the fuck out.  I have no recollection of how long I was out, but after a while, I got up, we walked out of the restaurant, poured into black limo that took us all back to the suburbs.

That’s where the full force of the phaal was realized.  I was soon to learn that the great lie ever told about phaal is that it’s an extremely hot curry.  What no talks about is what phaal does inside your body.

That night, I didn’t sleep a wink.  One might expect that I was kept awake because I was terrorizing my bathroom.  In fact, the bathroom offered no comfort.  The pain was buried deep in my gut.  Through the entire night, I was able to plot exactly where the curry was, as it made its slow trek through my innards.  The pounding pain just below my sternum slowly crept downward toward my navel.  There, wave after wave of dull, cramping agony ensured that there’d be no comfort anytime soon.  Sitting upright didn’t help.  Lying down didn’t help.  Laying on my side did nothing either.  Curled up like a ball?  Nothing.

I suddenly started think back to all the childbirthing classes the missus and I had taken just before our first kid.  The short, rapid breathes.  Ice chips, my kingdom for some ice chips!!  I was convinced that this was the closest any dude would ever get to experiencing labor pains.

When the night passed, and the sun came up, I had gotten no sleep.  Slumber was replaced with crippling agony and a million questions all centered around the same idea, “Why the fuck did I do that?!”

Why the fuck indeed.  I had just put some of the most hostile material created by mankind – highly questionable if it should’ve even been edible or not – into my body, paid the price for it, and for what?  For the satisfaction of having done it?  Exactly what part of it was satisfying?  I couldn’t even enjoy the beer I was rewarded at the end.

Now, 24 hours later, I still question whether or not it was a wise stunt.  Wise?  Well, most stunts aren’t exactly grounded in wisdom.  The best ones are grounded in some manner of insanity.  In this case, it sure was.  Mission accomplished, that case.

Now, if anybody needs me, I’m going to take a bath in a milk shake.




It started one drunken evening that got out of control quickly.  One minute I’m mixing up a strange brew called “Straight To Hell” at this party.  The next, there are incredibly ill advised joyrides in BMWs, cut-up cigars, and leg splits.  This was a dinner party that lost direction and veered off the deep end.

I can’t pinpoint precisely when, why, or how it came up, but the party decided that we needed to reconvene in a few weeks to take the Phaal Challenge.  Phaal, undisputedly the hottest curry in the known universe.  A dish conjured up by a sadist’s sadist for the sole purpose of inflicting excruciating palate torture.  I don’t really know what goes into a phaal curry, I just know of its legendary crippling powers.

Now, I don’t believe you can find phaal at just any corner curry house.  Most curry houses wouldn’t dare cook this.  We’d have to go to the Brick Lane curry house in the city, named after the famed street in London for all things India.  The Brick Lane curry house is THE place to get phaal in New York because they’re one of the few places outfitted to cook this curry.  Which – no joke – involves a full-face respirator and thick biohazard gloves.  The curry is cooked in a pot and stirred by what looks like a biochemical instruments.  It’s like Breaking Bad, except more lethal.  I’m pretty sure there’s witchcraft involved in making phaal.

In any case, about a dozen of us made this exceedingly poor decision about three weeks ago.  Of the dozen, only two or three of us were going to brave the phaal.  I wasn’t about to back down from this.  (I’m told that this whole phaal idea was my idea from the beginning but since I have no recollection of ever suggesting this, I’m not willing to own it – either way, I was in no matter what.) The rest of gang would cheer us on, laugh at our insanity, or have their fingers ready at their phones to call 911.

2 Hot Sauce BottlesI welcomed the three-week lead-up.  This would give me time to “train,” whatever the fuck that meant.  The best thing was having a good and proper excuse to order all the spicy shit when I ate out.  “Don’t mind me, I’m in training.”  Some people train for marathons, some people train for century rides, I was training for a bowl of curry.

It gave me a great excuse to eat unhealthy grub any chance I could.  And while I was at it, dump every imaginable hot sauce on everything.  I probably had hot wings a couple of times a week.  I loaded up my nachos with the hottest hot sauces I had.  Super spicy burritos.  All of it.

Then my friend – and fellow competitor – suggested that I try something called Dave’s Insanity Hot Sauce.  Made a beeline to the store and scored a bottle.  Turns out this sauce is so over the top, so willing to live up to its name that you’re only allowed one drop.  And that’s one drop into whatever you’re cooking – a big pot of chili, a vat of pasta sauce.  Just one drop.

Chili with DavesGoing balls to the wall, of course I ignored that advice.  The missus made chili one night, and I put a drop of Dave’s into my bowl of chili.  Not the whole pot, as suggested, but into my own serving.  Holy fuck.  I was completely unprepared for this level of heat.  There was no aroma or flavor like you get with other hot sauces.  This was bottled-up Hades by the drop.

I now had a new threshold of heat I had never previously experienced.

A few days after that, the missus whipped up a large pot of spaghetti arrabiata.  She kindly left me a note, warning me that it was spicy.  I thought bullshit, I’m in training – so I made myself a bowl of this pasta and dropped in a slightly more generous drop of Dave’s into the lot.

Pasta with DavesPain.  Nothing but searing blinding pain.  It was like eating glowing coals plucked out of your Weber.  I started sweating buckets and my vision started to tunnel.  I ran to my bathroom and brushed my teeth.  I must’ve drunk about a pint and a half of milk – somehow I seemed to remember some advice about milk being a good flame douser.  Which also turned out to be complete bullshit.  None of it worked until I cracked open a can of PBR and shotgunned the entire thing.  I had to lie down for about 20 minutes after that.  All that over pasta.

I was starting to lose hope.  If I couldn’t handle some bottled up sauce you can buy off the shelf, how the hell was I going to stand up to a secret recipe that single-minded designed to inflict maximum pain?

This was all going pear-shaped.


NEXT:  Ring of Fire – The Event



You’re too Canadian


Forget the “eh” suffixes, forget the poutine, forget the moose and beaver jokes, forget aboot it all.  The oft-overlooked Canadian stereotype is that they’re a painfully polite bunch.

This was never more evident that the show I went to a couple of nights ago:  METZ at the Bowery Ballroom.

It was hard for me to imagine what this show was going to be like, given that this is a band with only one album.  One album that comprised ten songs, with a total running time of about 28 minutes.  The last time I saw a band with similar credentials, it was Vampire Weekend at Terminal 5, and I swear that show was done by 10:30 – 10:30!! – and no one had any idea what the fuck to do with the rest of the night.  We were all let out of show, and I swear I saw kids in pajamas getting ice cream with their parents.  That was just fucking weird.

But METZ are nothing like Vampire Weekend.  I guess folks categorize these guys as noise punk, whatever the fuck that means (I fucking hate these categorizations because they’re all trying too fucking hard, and each label is more meaningless than the next).  A power trio from Toronto that’s not fucking Rush.  They don’t suffer Graceland-era Paul Simon-type melodies.  These guys are built one thing and one thing only – noise.  So maybe I shouldn’t get too concerned.

After a couple of entirely forgettable opening bands, roadies cleared the stage and started to set up for METZ.  After a very quick setup – gone are the days of thirty pedals on the floor with a rack of half a dozen guitars; now it’s one instrument going into one, maybe two pedals and that’s it – the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered… and the roadies came back on stage.  Wait, what?  Holy shit, those weren’t roadies – those guys setting up were METZ themselves.  I’d never seen that shit before – a headlining band setting up their own gear.  “Oh, that’s alright, don’t go through any bother, we’re quite happy to take care of ourselves.”

How painfully Canadian.

The lead singer/guitar player looked like a millennial Bill Gates.  The bass player looked like comedian Rob Delaney.  The drummer, fuck knows what he looked like but he was back there machine-gunning away at the heads.

A couple of polite hellos and boom, off they went.  Bill Gates launched into a rapid, piercing riff and shrieked into the mic like a dragon whose balls had been set on fire.  Eager headslamming on stage; in front of me, a mosh pit quickly formed.

A mosh pit?  That’s adorable.

About that mosh pit – it was the nicest, most gracious mosh pit I’d ever seen.  I mean, how often have we gone to show where fuckheads who don’t know how to mosh end up slamming around and punching someone in the face, then a fight breaks out, and everyone gets tossed from the floor by security.

In this case, everyone knew how to mosh.  It was weird, but everyone followed the unwritten rules of moshing.  If someone fell, a bunch of guys would reach right in to help pull him up.  Girls jumped into the middle of it, and the guys would take it easy.  Despite all the slamming and stomping around, there just wasn’t much angst and rage.  The mood was more, “hey, we’re just here to have a good time”, not “hey, we’re here to kick the shit out everyone.”

It was the most polite mosh pit I’d ever seen.  Meaning, it was the most Canadian mosh pit I’d ever seen.  Which begs the question – did the band bring their own moshers?

Back to the band, METZ’s on-stage presence bordered on being marginally comical.  When the amps were screaming, they shrieked and raged like banshees.  Between songs, Bill Gates would gently thank the crowd, “Thank you so much, you guys.  We’re so happy to be here.”  Insane noise machine one minute, boy scouts the next.  It was this seamless transition between madness and gentleness that made it all so fucking bizarre.  Yet, remarkably refreshing.  Here, check it out yourself:

Even when the bass player had blood pouring from the bridge of his nose when he slammed his head into the mic, he sheepishly told the crowd, “Excuse me, I’m gonna have this looked at to make sure I don’t need the hospital.”  He came back with duct tape between his eyes (a proper rock move), thanked the crowd, and then resumed slamming his head to his bass lines.

So, so Canadian.  Canada rules.




Not to sound ungrateful, but if there’s working lunch at the office and we’re getting food brought in, can we please never ever have stupid fucking sandwiches again?  Fuck sandwiches.

Sandwich platter

Now, working lunches are a bit more commonplace in some industries than others.  I work in advertising, and this shit is a daily occurrence.  It may not happen literally every day for you, but you can bet there’s always some group stuck in some big important meeting in some big important conference room at midday, and lunch is being brought in so that everyone can keep working.  This shit’s important, no time to stop so you can pop out to grab some lunch, we gotta keep going, right?  Right.

So wheel that cart of sandwiches in, why don’t you.

You wouldn’t be out of place for thinking, What an ungrateful wank, he’s getting a free lunch and he’s bitching about it?  Yes, yes I am.

I’ve had it with sandwiches.

In the time that I started working in the late-‘90s, I’ve have witnessed some absolutely remarkable leaps of progress all around me, in and around the workplace.  Snail mail letters and fax machines got replaced with email, the internet become far more indispensible than being just for porn, I can have a virtual face-to-face meeting with people in Sydney right from my office in New York, and I can sign and authorize shit with a virtual signature.  Fucking power moves.

Meanwhile, the working lunch has remained largely unchanged for decades.  The working lunch is like Little Richard, who still looks and sounds like he did 60 years ago.  It’s always the same, isn’t it.  Sandwiches.  A big predictable platter of sandwiches.


This is exponentially more preposterous for those of us who work in large cities, like New York or San Francisco, where there are literally hundreds of other food options out there.  I shit you not: there are literally 40 different food joints – restaurants, delis, food trucks, you name it – within a 2-block radius of my office.  It almost doesn’t matter where I’ve worked, past or present – there’s always been an overwhelming number of places from which to order food (the one exception is probably Times Square – those of you unfortunate enough to work in Times Square are fucked for edible options, sorry).

I can get tacos, mofongo, pho, curry, BBQ and fuck knows any number of other types of food within 5 minutes of my office, and that’s not an exaggeration.  If you can’t be arsed to walk the 5 minutes, every single one of these places will deliver to your office (because that’s just the sort of awfully civilized place New York is.)  All the choice, all the variety!

So why the fuck am I still eating goddamn sandwiches in the conference room?

This bears repeating: fuck sandwiches.  How many turkey and cheese on Kaiser rolls can one eat in a lifetime?  How many ham and cheese sandwiches can you fucking put up with?  Regardless of whether it’s turkey or ham or salami, they taste like nothing and you can only tell them apart by color (if you’re lucky).  All the cheese slices have the same consistency and blandness, they’re all shit anyway.  The rolls are hard as fuck by the time the sandwiches show up.  And as if to impress you, they always stick a bunch of wraps in the platter as well.  Fuck you and your fucking wraps.   You’re not fooling me with your fucking wraps.  Don’t pretend to be healthy or fancy with your stupid wraps.  They’re just as calorific and bland as the accompanying sandwich culprits. Wraps are just sandwiches shaped like penises, a big fuck you to your working lunch.

And these pathetic sandwiches and wraps never just show up on a platter and that’s it.  Some overenthusiastic assistant is always trying to impress you by ordering them with offending partners-in-crime.  It’s like some horrible Will Smith movie – you can always count on his dumb kid showing up to further ruin your shit.

That’s where the large bowl of salad comes in.  Actually, it’s always two bowls of salad, isn’t it.  You’ve got your obligatory plastic bowl of unappetizing lettuce that just stares at you, and right next to it is some toxic bowl of lumpy pasta salad.  Fuck you and your salads.

And the thing is, this whole mockery of a meal – the unimaginative sandwiches, the ritualistic salads – they’re always cold.  I’m so fucking sick of cold lunches.  Even when they try and mix up the sandwiches with a panini or whatever the fuck, it still gets to you cold.  If I want a cold meal, I’d be thrilled with a bowl of cereal, I really would.  Not your goddamn sandwiches.

If I’m giving up my right to a lunch of my choosing, then the least you could do is provide me with a lunch that is slightly more motivating than a fucking cold ham and cheese sandwich.  Because that’s bullshit.


Cock fight

I’m a lover, not a fighter.  And by that, I mean I’m a huge pussy.  I don’t like confrontations, and I certainly don’t like getting into fights because I’d just rather not get punched in the face repeatedly.

So it was sorta weird when I found myself having strange violent tendencies this morning.

Crowded TrainAfter a couple of warm(ish) days, mother nature decided to bring a fresh serving of mild rain and snow overnight.  Now, if you live in New York, you’ll know that the slightest whisper of inclement weather brings the highways and public transit to a goddamn halt.  And that meant that my commuter train into the city this morning was inevitably delayed. When it did show up, it was already packed full of commuters, with dozens more trying to shoehorn their way aboard.

Since all the seats were taken, I had to stand in the aisle.  No biggie, there are worse commuting catastrophes.

Now, to the uninitiated, there are two distinct forms of train-riding behavior.  There are those who’ll talk with anyone around them, whether they’re friends/neighbors or complete strangers.  These are outgoing, gregarious windbags who have a goddamn opinion about every fucking thing in the world.  Then there are those who will go to extraordinary lengths to mind their own fucking business.  Partly because of the first group who like to bloviate incessantly.  That first group need to go fuck themselves.  I fall squarely into that second group.  In fact, I’m almost religious about it.  More to the point, I find it hard to carry on some silly casual conversation without a beer in my hand.

Anyway, this morning, I’m standing the aisle in the middle of train car, minding my own business – headphones in ears (the new Orbital album “Wonky”, is lovely, by the way), tablet in hand, reading away.  Oddly enough, I was reading about a street fight.  Then I felt a slight nudge to the right.  Then another poke.  I look over and there’s some fussing from this guy in the seat next to me, as he reaches for his jacket, shuffles some papers around his briefcase.  He’s just being a fidgety wanker, I figured.  I ignored him and went back to reading.

As the train starts to pull into the Grand Central, there is now a distinct shove from my right.  Then what felt like an elbow in my side.  This middle-age Chinese guy seated next to me was now properly trying to irritate me with his shoving.

I swung around and barked, “HEY!  Stop shoving me.”  Everyone in this otherwise quiet train car now turned to glare at me.  Great, now I’m the asshole.

Like I said, I typically prefer to avoid confrontation, so I’m not sure what made me snap suddenly.  I must’ve spooked this asshole a little.  He looked at me and uttered, “Wha…?  What’s your problem?”

My problem?  My problem is you.  Stop pushing me.”  Everyone’s still staring at us, by the way.

He then motioned with his right hand, “Get out.”

What the fuck.  The train had just pulled in, the car was jam packed with riders, and there were easily 50 people ahead of me who were trying to disembark.  And this fucker tells me to “get out”?

I swear I was prepared to choke the bitch.  Actually, I was prepared to first punch him so hard and square in his fucking ratface, and then choke him.  I realized that my left fist was clenched, ready to launch.  I didn’t even think anything of hitting this fucking guy.  I was prepared to do it as if I routinely knocked people out every day.  Just as casually as if I was getting a cup of coffee.

What.  The fuck.

Somehow, common sense prevailed (or pussydom, depending on how you see it, I guess).  I gave him another glare and told him, “If you touch me one more time, I will hit you.”  And with that, I turned and walked off the train.  More bewildered glares.

Only after I had walked out of the train station did I realize that for some reason, I was fully prepared to beat the living shit out of some guy this morning.  Where the fuck did that come from?!  I don’t get into fights.  I get into plenty of arguments, but because I’m a huge pussy, I almost never let it escalate to the point of someone throwing a punch.

I’m pretty sure the last time I got into a fight was when I was about 10 years old.  When I was playing soccer in school, and some fucking kid missed a tackle on me, and in frustration, swung his open palm across my face, hit me square in the ear, and popped my eardrum.  I remember the instant pain and ringing in my head, and my own arms flailing wildly to exact revenge on this cowardly little shit.  That was the last “fight” I got into.  And it wasn’t even that good of a fight.

Anthony Bourdain suggests in one particular “No Reservations” episode, “I happen to believe that everybody in this world at one point in their life needs an ass-kicking.  It is an enlightening experience getting your ass kicked.”  He’s probably right.  Because whether you’re at the delivery end or the receiving end of an ass-kicking, it’s a life experience.  That’s a life experience I’ve never had.

Do I need this sort of life experience now?  In my late-30s?  Bullshit, I’m supposed to be a proper functioning member of society, a responsible dad (!), that sort of thing.  I can’t go around trying to punch complete strangers.  Right?  Right?

punchOr maybe I should just get it over and done with.  At the very least, if I get shoved again on the train, I’m just gonna punch the guy right in the balls.