Saturday, December 31, 2005

Thank You

A very good friend of mine, whose advice I can't, for the life of me, recall having ever taken, kindly informed me several months ago that blogging was "a waste of time."

"These people who write all this shit about themselves, and their stupid lives? Who the fuck wants to read that shit?"

Quite frankly, AM149238? Not fucking me. I don't want to read about it either. Who gives a shit? You work in a cubicle, your apartment's infested with roaches, you bought yourself a hooker, and you're a big fan of Patton Oswalt. Wow. Great life, dude. Lemme know when it's about to end, and I'll tune in for the last couple of minutes -- kind of like I do with Law and Order. The verdict? You suck.

Writing about it, though? Ay, there's the rub. That's the good shit. If it's my life, then it's not a waste of time. I peck away at this thing, night after night, and it changes things. I rationalize. I explore. I've unfortunately become a bit of an exhibitionist. I've learned some things. I've made friends. I've made money. Turns out I hadn't squandered a single moment up here doing this.

"What I meant is that it's a waste of my time."

So, 2005 was a year of interest. Started off will a lull, then segued seamlessly into a down period, which dragged for a bit, but then emerged into a slump, which eventually carried over into a malaise. Then came June, and people started reading. Two months later, and I'm sporting a book deal from a major publishing house. Go figure.

That happened for me because I persisted. Taught myself how to do this simply by doing it, night after night after night. I got better. Realized I had a speck of talent I hadn't ever known was there. Why? Because of you people. You read the writing. You commented on it. Told me what was good, and where I could improve. When I would disappear into the aether, you'd write to me and make me come back. When something worked, you helped spread the word, and eventually the right people noticed. I couldn't have done that on my own.

The blog did that. Without this, armed merely with a manuscript and my not-so-sparkling disposition, I'd never have caught this break in a million fucking years. Without you, the readership, this form of entree would never have existed, and I'd likely still be catching naps on the train three nights a week between jobs, and calling it my night's sleep.

I don't have to do that anymore, and I have you to thank for it. For reading. For writing. For referring. For recommending. For talking. For all the things that people have done -- people who've never met me, and probably wouldn't cotton to me if they did -- I want to use this last post of 2005 to simply, humbly, and from the bottom of my heart, say thank you.

Happy New Year, everyone. All my best for a safe and prosperous 2006.

And remember.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


"Hey," said Art. "Is that one a' those 'Indiglo' watches?"

"Yeah," I replied, giving him a better look at the sporty digital Ironman I would always wear on my wrist, back before I knew anything.

"You know what you can do with that thing, right?"

"No, what?"

"When you're in bed with your girl, and she's under the covers, and you wanna, y'know, eat 'er out or somethin', y'just go under there with that Indiglo shit, an' it lights up the whole thing!"

At that point in my development, I had just graduated high school, hadn't yet, y'know, "eaten 'er out," per se -- I started relatively late with the practice -- and the news that worldly Art had brought back from atop the mountain seemed righteous enough to me. Predictably, for as long as I owned that particular watch -- which didn't, incidentally, overlap with the date of my first performance of oral favors -- I would readily point out the advantages of Indiglo technology to anyone commenting on my choice of wristwear.

Chagrined by the lukewarm responses of those who'd apparently already done their time "down there," I eventually stopped randomly extolling the virtues of this remarkable 'feature.' In retrospect, the entire concept smacks of absurdity, and if some seventeen year-old nitwit came up to me claiming to regularly eat pussy by the light of his Timex, I, in all likelihood, would respond with a decidedly smaller helping of patience and understanding than was shown me.

When you really think this through, the vagina is, in point of fact, the least complicated thing about a woman. If you do find yourself thinking a bit of battery powered phosphorescence under the covers necessary to navigate the terrain, you would, perhaps, be well-served to audit your local seventh grade health class -- for an entire semester, if possible.

All of which leads us, here and now, to a rigid exploration of the truth. What, we're constantly, constantly asking ourselves, is the motherfucking truth? Without our precious Indiglos to light the way, and sans expectant girl-under-covers to serve as our metaphor, how on earth can we ever expect to arrive at the truth? Why, circuitously, of course -- through experience -- the same way some of us do it under the covers without watches:

"This night fuckin' sucked," said "Steve," the bouncer posted at my VIP spot after my epic move up front.

"Why?" I asked.

"Fuckin' slow, the cheap fucks. I only made like a hundred."

"A hundred bucks? Shit, that's not that bad."

"Fuck that," said Steve. "I can't stand these nickel an' dime motherfuckers. Hundred extra bucks ain't even worth comin' in for."

"Why's that?" I asked, curious, in an Indiglo sort of way, to hear where this exchange was heading. "How much do you usually make over there?"

"On an average night? At least two-fifty t' three. Usually more. That's why these fuckin' cheap-ass nights piss me off so much."

"More than three, huh? Wow. Good spot you got yourself there, I'd say."

Great spot, actually. Such a posting would be ideal, in our club, if it did, in fact, exist. Unfortunately for Steve, however, it doesn't. What Steve failed to recall, as his pontificatory bloviations ran their windy course, was that he had succeeded me outside the ropes of that particular VIP room. I'm intimately familiar with the financial machinations of the posting, and the kickback figure he claimed is -- and I'm being as delicate as I can, here -- just a tad excessive. In fact, the single best night of tips I ever went home with, while posted there, was somewhere around $80, and I believe that was last New Year's Eve.

Bouncing, essentially, is low wage 'labor.' You make your base pay -- in our case between $150 and $200 per night -- and you have to simply accept the fact that the bartenders, waitresses, hosts, and managers will be leaving with significantly more. If you're able to scrape up some tip cash here and there, it's a privilege, not a right, because the vast majority of us aren't doing anything deserving of the extra 'grease.' As a bouncer, you're not even in the same league as the club's big moneymakers -- they're prettier, they have a skill that makes the customers happy, and they're asked to put in exponentially more labor-intensive hours than you are. You're a bouncer. The simple act of standing in one place doing nothing entitles you only to what the club has agreed to pay you at the end of the night, and nothing more.

What you can't do is try to compete. The bouncer can't win this fight. Sure, I'm at the front door of the club, and there are some nights where it feels like my hands are composed of fly paper, but you know how I got there? By working inside the club -- yes, "standing on the box" -- making my crappy shift pay for the better part of eighteen months. Month after month of taking the train home with $150 in my pocket, and I was happy to have it.

You can't bullshit the master. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that there are thirty bouncer postings in a particular club. Most of these, at least twenty -- perhaps more -- will entail standing in one place, watching, interacting with nobody, and waiting for something to happen. You're won't be making any money, because it's virtually impossible. The remaining spots are hit or miss. Even at the door we'll have our share of cash-poor nights. This sucks, but I can't exactly reach in people's pockets and take their cash away, can I? If a jackpot happens, it happens, but you have to just sit and wait for it. Can't be forced, no matter how hard you're willing to press the issue.

To lie about it, though? To tell a group of guys who know you're completely full of shit that you're pissed off about only making $100? Please. Don't bother. You're not selling anything anyone wants to buy, either at your spot, or out your ass. Take your Indiglo watch, go back under the covers, and shut the fuck up.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Virtues of an Even Temperament

I'll hold things in. Stay out of your way. Avoid burdening you with my concerns to the point where you might believe I haven't any on my mind. I'll come off shy. Unexpressive. Stupid, even. I'll do this because it's the way I've learned to get by in certain circumstances. Best to stay off the radar, because whatever it is, it'll be over, eventually, and I'll be home - or somewhere else, at least - and that which I was made to sit and absorb will unceremoniously fade into background. And I'll resent it.

I'll take the worst of it for quite some time - with work, with family, with anyone and anything. Shovel the unfairness - the indignity - on my back, and I'll shift the load until it's bearable, regroup, and adapt to the additional tonnage. No problem. In the initial stages, there's always a small portion of my conscious mind that's convinced I deserve it. It is, after all, the way he taught me to do things - to accept, then fume. The way of the civil servant. Thirty-one years on the job, and some fuckin' quack says it's spread to your pancreas? Bear the burden, kid. Soldier on. It ain't that cold out here. It's adding up, though, and I'll resent it.

Gimme whatever you've got. Whatever the fuck your spite can conjure, I've heard before. Threaten me, point out all the disadvantages of being me, spit in my face - it doesn't matter. For a time, at least. I go to work, I do my job, I come home. And you write me off, because I've done nothing in return. A quick sigh, a shake of the head, a bit of eye rolling and the stray muttered oath are all you'll get for now, and so you'll think there's nothing behind any of it. But there is. And I'm beginning to resent the hell out of it.

Get me talking. Get me shouting. Start the argument early, because you don't want the silence. The watched pot, as it were. If it's begun, however, it's begun, and lifting the pot off the stovetop entails more than simply asking. Or, for that matter, arguing your case for its removal. That won't stop the process. You're only turning up the burner. And I resent the everloving shit out of it.

Finally, then, the lid. The boiling, the seething, the indignation - all too much to hold fast, even for one suppressing the works with such ardor. Ardor. At flashpoint, the entire conglomeration erupts, fueled by the ardor you hadn't even known was there. We all get burned, and I resent it no further.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Cry for Help

Several people have written regarding my previous post, and in reading these emails, it's apparent to me that many of you have completely missed the point. That's okay, though. The reasoning behind your inability to properly comprehend the meaning behind the post is quite simple, really: I was intentionally being cryptic.

The post was titled "Open letter," but it was actually a thank you note to my older brother, who -- in a stunningly out-of-character burst of altruism -- has generously agreed to provide me with the laptop of my choice for Christmas. He wasn't aware of the existence of the blog, nor the book deal, until last week, but instead of being angry upon hearing about these developments for the first time, he sat and listened, intently, while I pissed and moaned about not having the ability to work on the book anywhere but at home.

I haven't pulled the trigger on buying anything just yet, because I'm still not entirely sure what I want. I think it prudent, since I haven't made a computer purchase in nearly two years, to place this decision -- or at least solicit opinion in order to become significantly better informed -- in the hands of you, the readership. With the following criteria in mind, I'd appreciate some feedback:

  • I'd prefer to spend less than $1500.
  • I'll be using it mainly for the purposes of writing the book, although I'd like for it to have some multimedia capability and a decent amount of memory and processor speed.
  • It has to be lightweight, and travel easily, because I plan on making some trips in the next few months.
  • That said, I'd prefer at least a 14" monitor, and I'm more comfortable with a larger keyboard.
  • I understand why publishing/writing types lean toward Macs for their work, but I'd much rather use a PC at this stage of the game. I'm too used to them.
Please feel free to offer whatever recommendations you'd like. Tell me why you love/abhor your current laptop, and why I should purchase/destroy one just like it. Tell me what I need, what I don't need, and where I should go to get it.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My Commute

Working for the MTA is nobody's idea of a picnic. Let's get that straight right away. I'll spare you my customary "growing up around here..." lecture and simply state that I know a handful of guys with TWU jobs. Two are electricians in the LIRR's Hillside Maintenance Facility, and a few others work for NYC Transit. It's not easy work, it's often dangerous, and that sort of employment isn't for everyone.

I'd never begrudge anyone a pension, either. Half pay for the rest of your life after twenty years of service once you turn fifty? Who in their right mind wouldn't jump on that if given the chance? Sounds good to me. I have a friend who dropped out of college some years back to go to work for Jamaica Bus. Started out cleaning and parking buses in the depot down near Kennedy Airport. We all thought he was insane.

"Another five years," said his older brother, "he's gonna be laughin' at all of us."

Boy, was that poignant.

Here in New York, we're hip-deep in heavy industry, and the entire area happens to be one of the world's major seaports, so we've got just about every conceivable 'macho' job on the planet covered. For guys in "my neighborhood" -- there I go again -- the city itself is our industry. Like Pennsylvanians, for generations, went to work in steel mills and coal mines, and as Texans struck out into the oilfields, kids from the five boroughs of New York and Long Island have aspired to "get into the union." To "get the bennies," and "get vested," serving the city in some capacity.

The point of it all is to get your "twenny an' out," start collecting your pension, and get down to Florida by the time you turn forty-five. You're then required -- have to check the manual on this one, but I'm reasonably sure it's mandatory -- to start a housepainting business and refinish a boat. Mustaches are optional, but I'll look that up, as well, just to be sure. There could be fines involved for non-compliance. Damned near everyone I know is doing the same thing -- just killing off their twenty years until the pension kicks in. Meantime, you spend your time figuring ways to work the system, refinancing your mortgage, and telling everyone what a great hockey player your little future derelict is.

It's all good, if you ask me. You live around here, and you're not college material -- and, in many cases, even if you are -- you'd be insane not to milk the process for all it's worth. You move up the ranks in any of our unionized structures around here -- civil service, construction, teamsters, et al -- and you'll eventually be making seriously livable money. Not that you'll ever break the bank or anything, but you'll have immediate security, the best medical benefits package imaginable, and the knowledge that there's a big-assed light -- your pension -- at the end of the tunnel after twenty years.

I fully understand the desire, and the necessity, to take care of people upon retirement after years of service, especially in jobs like these. I really do. But if a guy drives a bus for twenty-five years, and retires at the age of fifty, I have a bit of difficulty reconciling the responsibility of the MTA to pay him -- based the salary he earned over the last three years of his tenure -- $40K per year (estimating here) for the next thirty years while he goes and works somewhere else. I'll probably be crucified for saying something like this, but I've always been mystified by the sense of pension entitlement around here. It's all anyone ever talks about. Mind you, this is coming from someone whose entire family is comprised of civil servants and union members. And I won't even get into the fact that most, if not all, of these union pension plans compare favorably to those received by twenty-plus year veterans of the US military, a subject I find particularly galling.

The MTA, however, isn't completely blameless here. The raises they're offering hardly match the cost of living increases employees will face over the life of this contract, and most jobs of this nature in New York are grossly undersalaried. But what the fuck do people expect with the monumental pension expenditures the entire system is facing? Most employers offer retirement plans which entail matching contributions, 401Ks and the like, but in "The Union" -- pick one -- all you essentially have to do is wait it out, and they'll simply hand over the cash, no questions asked, after your twenty years are up. And I can guarantee you that we'll see the results, whatever the outcome of these negotiations, in the form of major fare hikes in the very near future, as if $2 a ride to take the subway isn't absurd enough as it is.

So what happens? They shut down the entire fucking city, and then walk away from the table. Honestly? The rest of it is fine. Take your raises, take your pension, take everything else. No problem. But the moment Roger Toussaint and the rest of the TWU decided to get up from the table and walk out of the room, they should've been forced, at gunpoint, to sit the fuck back down and get the damned thing hammered out.

Toussaint: "I think that our members of the union has the goodwill and support of most working New Yorkers who distrust the MTA. I think that we'll have the growing support of working men and women."

Dude, in which alternate fucking sphere of reality are you living? Sure I "distrust" the MTA. We all do, just like we "distrust" the intentions of every major employer in the United States. Working people all collectively harbor that "distrust," but you're not winning anyone over by leaving us out in the cold to make a point about what you think you're "entitled" to. Do yourself a favor. Head over to Penn Station at around 5 PM tomorrow and see how much support you've garnered from the people standing in line down 7th Avenue, and then go back to the negotiating table so decent people can fucking go to work on Thursday.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Some cheese (with that whine)

Here's what I've learned thus far from my recent -- albeit fleeting, and as of yet unmanifest -- brush with modest success:

It doesn't matter what you've done in your life. It doesn't matter how fucked up things have been for you, or how many piece of shit jobs you've worked, or how much you've struggled to get where you are. It doesn't matter that you had the shit kicked out of you, weekly, until you graduated high school and moved the fuck out. It doesn't even matter if every single person you know, even those who've hated your fucking guts for years, would say you've been through enough to have earned yourself a break. No. None of this matters.

You know why? Because somewhere, someone's going to hate you simply because you have something they don't. No other rationale needed. The fact that something good actually happened to you cancels out anything you've ever done in life, and you're back to square one because that something's been 'handed' to you. They deserve it, and you don't, simply because they're them, and you're you. Your scars? Your calluses? The fucked up, crackling, perpetually achy manual laborer's body that can predict the weather two days in advance? The fact that until a few short months ago you were resigned to the notion that yours was doomed to forever be a "life of quiet desperation?" Makes no fucking difference to them.

The people you've buried? That visit to the cemetery every last Sunday of the month? That's St. Raymond's in the Bronx if you ever want to see who I am. I'm usually there around noon to tend the area around the headstones, plural. I'm hard to miss, because I usually sit there for a while, rain or shine, talking to myself. Been doing that for fourteen years now, at least when I'm in New York. Haven't always been, though. Worked away from here for a while and lived somewhere else, and that was pretty fucking unpleasant, too. Doesn't matter, though. All some people see is that you've come across something good, or lucky, or even earned, and they'll be damned if you actually deserve it.

So, yeah, cubicle-cockring, I'm sorry I don't sit around waxing poetic about my toaster oven and my Blackberry and the line at Starbucks. I've been too busy out here, where the buildings grow in crooked, living my life. You think you've earned this spot? Wanna trade places? Fine, but you get the baggage, too.

Deal with it if you think book contracts erase memories.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Signed, Sealed, Delivered...'s yours. The book, that is. At 5:30 PM, Tuesday afternoon, I was wandering irritably through Union Square park - regretting a personal lapse in judgment and wondering where the fuck Madison Avenue had absconded to - en route to my agency's offices to drop off that which had been requested: four signed copies of my book contract.

And so, it's done. Officially. As termed by one of my editors, I'm "a house author now," granted all the rights and privileges therein.

As we say on Jamaica Ave., it's time to throw down or get sued.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Lorna Van Sloten

I don't know who the hell you are, or how you came upon my blog, but your email yesterday absolutely made my day. I receive lots of letters every day, but that one was just fucking cool. Thank you. Seriously.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Merry Xmas, Trash

"I got a lotta private parties comin' up before Christmas," said JD. "You interested?"

"Yeah. I'll take whatever you got."

"How 'bout Sunday night, then? Six to ten?"

"Yeah," I replied. "I need the cash. What kinda party?"

"Dunno. Corporate Christmas thing, prob'ly."

Ever since I've been back in the bouncing game, I've been willing to work the door -- or stand on the box, as the case may be -- for anything and everything the club offers. Need a fill-in on a Wednesday night? I'm your man. Fuck sleep. What's that you say? You need a doorman for that after-hours industry shit on 26th and 8th? Until 10 AM? Sure. Why not? Every little bit counts, and all those little bits, accumulated, have been enabling yours truly to pay his rent and keep himself eating and driving for the better part of the past two years. Assign me a designated date, time and place, and I'll be there, in all my calculated malevolence, to collect your money and menace the customership with my unique combination of uncongeniality and negative vibes.

As I've stated previously, on several since removed posts, private affairs are decidedly my favorite worknights at any of the clubs at which I've been employed. You're paid your usual bouncer shift rate to spend the balance of the evening doing absolutely jack shit. You're simply a greeter, and that's the entire extent of your involvement. Once everyone's inside -- the club operates at about a quarter of its capacity, at most, during these things -- all I'm really required to do is stand at the door and make sure nobody tries to come in, uninvited, from off the street. I solve this problem simply by locking the door about a half-hour past the appointed start time on the invitation, once most of the names on the guestlist have been checked off. No sweat.

The single most attractive aspect of working private parties, however -- aside from the extra cash involved -- is dealing with a clientele that's markedly different from what you'd encounter in the club on a typical weekend operating night. It reportedly costs a cosmic fuckton of money to rent out this particular club, even for a few hours, so a bouncer can work these events with reasonable assurance that, just this once, he'll be doing his business unfettered by the spectre of Staten Island Guido harassment. Occasionally, you'll even find yourself in the presence of a celebrity, or group thereof, as they harmlessly imbibe themselves into oblivion, a situation I've found, at times, to be exceedingly lucrative.

Armed with this knowledge, I trained it into work on Sunday night prepared for the light and the easy. I'd be working with "Juan," a bouncer with whom I'd had a serious problem over the summer. We've since ironed things out -- to the extent that such ironing was possible -- but we're still not exactly bosom buddies, meaning I'd be working alone for the majority of the shift. Suits me just fine to do it that way, though. I'll work with the guy, but I'm not about to go register a complaint if he chooses to keep his distance. I prefer it like that.

"I'll take the door, you take the back," I said, sportingly offering him the easier assignment.

"Why, 'cause I'm brown?" The closest he'll deign to come to banter like we used to have.

"Yeah. Mexicans in the back. Why don't you go mow the lawn, wash the dishes, and hand out towels while you're back there?" Hollow.

"Si, jefe."

The first people to arrive were familiar faces. Coworkers. Bartenders. Male. Two of them.

"Hey, Rob, what's up, man?"

"S'up, Kevin. What the fuck you doin' here? Workin' this?"

"No, dick."

"You're guests?" I asked.

"Shut the fuck up."

"Seriously. You're guests at this thing?"

"Wait," said Kevin. "You don't know what this party is? Di'nt you get invited?"

"No, should I have?"

"Yeah, asshole! It's the club's fuckin' Christmas party!"

"No shit."

"Holy shit!" he exclaimed. "You didn't know? You seriously didn't know?"

"Had no idea, dude."

"Hahahahahahaha...That's fuckin' awesome. I bet the motherfuckers didn't invite any of the bouncers! That's fuckin' great!"

"Juan, pick up?" I called on the radio.

"Go for Juan."

"Come up front."


"Dude, did you know this is the club's Christmas party?" I asked.

"Nobody told me."

"Me neither."

"Who told you that?"

"Kevin," I said. "He and that other gay lookin' kid who works the back bar just came in."

"That's fucked up."

But to be expected in this business. Bouncers are perpetually kept out of the loop with this sort of thing. When most clubs decide to do something altruistic and appreciative for their employees, the rank-and-file bouncership generally finds out about it long after the fact. It's part of this whole deal we're in, and we're well accustomed to the slights by now. Why spend the extra money on all the free booze we'll consume? Why buy us dinner when you know we'll polish off an entire herd of bison before the first course is cleared from the table? Why load the softball team with ringers? Fraternizing with bouncers entails the unpleasantness of looking at us. Of breaking bread and clinking glasses with a group of unpretty men who exist in a reality running contrary to everything -- the shaved forearms, the waxed eyebrows and the abject narcissism -- the nightclub industry represents. For people who aren't even there? Fuck 'em.

And so I stood at the door and watched, detached yet -- surprisingly, at least in retrospect -- infuriated, as my coworkers transformed themselves into customers for the evening. And I couldn't tell the fucking difference to save my life. Stupid questions. Spasmodic dance maneuvers. Shrill, drunken douchebags and sluts who insisted upon screaming at each other a foot from my face. Little pussyboys wearing puffy silver snorkel jackets and whining like bitches about the cold. No, you can't take your fucking drink outside, asshole. The whole nine yards.

I locked out the door. People went outside to smoke on the sidewalk. I let them back in when they finished, every time but one.

"Yo," said some random little prick I had never seen before, "you not gon' let dem back in?"

"Is that a question or a statement?"

"Yo, you locked the do'!"

"So open it for them," I replied. "You're standin' right there."

"Fuck you, den," he said. "Dat's yo' job, muthafucka."

I finally had been granted a target for my annoyance with the indignity of the entire situation, and the opportunity wasn't about to slide by. Grasping the little fucker's collar, I kicked open the door and shoved him out onto the sidewalk.

"You wanna talk now, you little fuckin' bitch?"

"What da fuck's yo problem, man? You know who I am?"

"Yeah. You're the little bitch I just threw out. You wanna talk shit out here where nobody's lookin'? Go 'head, motherfucker! Try to get back in!"

"Yo, call Phil! You don' know who I am! Call Phil, man!"

"Do me a favor, you little piece of shit. Go call Phil yourself and tell him how lucky you are I didn't crack your fuckin' head open on the sidewalk."

"Yo, I din't do nothin'!"

Which, I suppose, is exactly why you were invited and I wasn't.

Monday, December 12, 2005


This post is bound, unavoidably, to read like the "macho posturing" I've tried so hard to avoid on this blog, but a certain segment of my readership needs to be made aware of some things before attempting to alter my behavior, or the content that appears on this page.

If you know me personally, and you're reading this, it's because I've trusted your judgment to the extent that I'm convinced you'll not be offended by anything I write. If you don't know me, you're reading this because you enjoy it, or you've been referred here by someone, or because something on this site has compelled you to take an interest. Fine. I'm not about to blow smoke up your asses and offer some gratuitous bullshit, saying "Calm down, it's just a blog," because that would be completely disingenuous. This little "just a blog" is about to generate a significant amount of money for me -- and, hopefully, an actual career -- so I won't be prick enough to sit here and belittle the concept.

The problem with having something like this happen to you comes when you have to tell people about it. If a schmuck like me gets a book deal from a major publishing house, do you honestly think I'm capable of keeping it a secret? From anyone?

"Hey Rob!" said the mailman. "How you been? What're you doin' with yourself these days?"

"Dude! I'm writin' a book! And they're payin' me for it! HarperCollins!"

"You're shittin' me! How'd that happen?!?"

"You know what a blog is? Gimme a pen and a napkin. You gotta see this shit."

So people know. As you're reading this, so are many friends, acquaintances, associates, antagonists, and disease-ridden hangers-on (Hi Pete!). Even a guy who runs an elaborate Ponzi scheme. At this point, nearly everyone I've ever met knows that it's me doing this blog, and many of them read it regularly. I couldn't give two shits. As I've said before, everybody who knows me is painfully aware that my life hasn't exactly been a heaping bowl of cherries, so even those who don't particularly like me (AM3.14579) won't begrudge me some modicum of success with this thing. Actually, he might, but at least he won't turn my happy ass in. That would be a waste of his time.

For whatever reason, people are objecting to certain things, and I can't, for the life of me, comprehend why. I mean, seriously, who gives a crap? Pardon me for sounding a touch arrogant here, but, again, this blog has given me the opportunity to write a book and get paid for it. In other words, I've already gotten my deal. Have I "lost my edge" as some people have claimed? Sure. On the blog, I have, because what's the point of pouring all of that psychic energy into work-related posts here, when someone's paying me to do it elsewhere? Have I really lost the aforementioned "edge"? I'd offer a resounding "Fuck, no" as a proper reply to this, but you're just going to have to get your hands on the book when it comes out. In my own defense, I'd say that the promise of a few bucks won't exactly offset three decades of dysfunction and bitterness, but that's for you, the reader, to decide. I highly fucking doubt it, though.

Difficulties arise, however, when things get personal. You see, you people have the upper hand for now. I need to remain anonymous, because the publishing process moves at a snail's pace, as does the mechanism through which authors get paid, and I need to continue working. Threw someone out last night, in point of fact, less than twenty-four hours ago. He didn't stop to ask me about the contract, either, the cock. I have, essentially, placed my financial fortunes in the hands of anyone I've entrusted with knowledge of the existence of this blog. I don't think I'd get fired if my employers found me out this late in the game, given the amount of publicity -- and business -- a successful book could potentially generate, and I'd likely be able to talk my way out of it in any event, but who the fuck wants to take the chance? Additionally, as many of you know, I'm an exceptionally private person, and I'd like to do this -- 'come out of the closet,' if you will -- on my own terms without having someone decide to 'play God' for me.

I have to stress here that this isn't aimed at any one particular person. By my count, this was the fourth such threat to my anonymity since the blog blew up, and this one wasn't even the most serious. Last week offered a bit of a scare, however, and it made me think about this for virtually the entire weekend. I'm fine with potentially becoming known in circles beyond my own, and when that eventually happens, I'm cool with it, because it'll mean I've done something successful. Thing is, though, I've got a bit of a reputation among those who know me, and many of you are well aware that it's entirely deserved. Ask "Clint." When it comes to protecting myself, and holding grudges, and avenging wrongs, so to speak, I've not always been "right in the head." Memorial Day Weekend '94 ring a bell for any of you?

So, yes, in a burst of immaturity, I feel the need to reassert my masculinity after bailing out and pulling the blog on Friday. It's predictable, but natural, and seeing as how I'm nothing but a brainless thug, it's actually pretty liberating to do so. There's an accounting that one undertakes in situations like this, however, and if you know me, you should know about it. I'm not always going to need people to stay silent, so what then? You think I'll keep quiet and take it?

If you know me, and you're holding that gun, you'd better think long and hard before pulling that trigger, 'cause if I survive the bullet...

Saturday, December 10, 2005


At present, I'm not exactly prepared to relinquish my anonymity. I had feared, however, that someone else was planning on taking care of that for me. Turns out this wasn't the case. I'm not yet ready to go down that route, though, so if there's ever any inkling that I might be found out, the blog's going off the air immediately, like it did Friday, and I'm gonna deny, deny, deny.

False alarm. I'm thankful it was, but in thinking about it, I've come to the conclusion that this blog is highly expendable. Maintaining it is not worth the bullshit I'd have to go through if my current employers -- and, of course, the Mob, and three quarters of the Italian-American population in NY -- knew who was writing this.

In other words, if this page suddenly disappears into the ether from whence it came, you'll know exactly what has happened. For now, though, we press onward.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Up and Running.

Back on the air. Thank you for your patience.