Friday, September 29, 2006

The Summit

So, this is a lovely thing. Scads of people came out from under rocks on Thursday, got themselves all cleaned up, and sat down over at John Jay to have a very meaningful conference about straightening out the "nightlife industry" here in New York. Politicos, cop brass and club owners, all yammering away together at the same table, getting nothing accomplished because they're the three groups in the city who aren't around when shit happens on the sidewalk at the end of the night.

A question for scumbags: How do you get the scum off your skin before you appear on camera? Can you whittle it off with a pocketknife?

You want a solution? I'll give you a solution, but you won't like the solution I have to offer because you won't want to hear that kind of truth. You can get your facts about a situation from spreadsheets and flowcharts, or you can get your facts from someone who's standing at its heart. Sometimes, you know, the pilot of the helicopter flying over the rainforest on a beautiful day doesn't want to hear, from the pygmy who lives in a tree, what it's like when the anaconda gets hungry. But here it is anyway:


New York City is not a nice place. Despite what many choose to believe, sunshine and rainbows and puppies are decidedly not in evidence on every corner. That quick-witted bouncer with the heart of gold might take you to South Jamaica and rape you and cut you to pieces -- if, and that's a great big if, he doesn't decide to simply put a bullet in you in front of the club. New York City will murder you.

New York City is not a place where eighteen-year-old girls can walk around with impunity, at four-in-the-morning, wearing halter tops and miniskirts. My sister was aware of this fact and many others from a very young age, because we had parents with enough common sense to inform us that the world wasn't quite as enamored of us as we were with ourselves.

Most people will leave you alone to go about your business. Others want something out of you. That something they want is your money, and they'll do whatever they can to separate you from it. They'll beat you and kick you and stab you and shoot you and leave you dead in a dumpster without a second thought about your piano lessons or the fact that you learned French at Cornell. My father explained this to me. He told me that we're essentially alone in the world, and that aside from our limited little spheres of influence, nobody gives a fuck if we ever take another breath or not. And, for the most part, he was right.

He told my sister than men would want to throw her in the backs of cars and do unpleasant things to her. He explained that this was the sort of thing that happened in New York late at night, and he taught her how to keep her guard up. To not put herself in situations where she was subject to the whims of the living dead who troll the streets of this city looking for a comfortable -- willing or no -- place to insert their penises.

My father taught me how not to be the problem, so I've never been the problem. I work in a nightclub, and I'm still not the problem. I don't stab people, nor do I shoot them. I don't start riots. I don't break beer bottles over peoples' heads because of nightclub issues. I don't punch people when they step on my shoe and I don't cut the line for the bathroom, because I was taught that doing such things would come with consequences. I was taught that a life sans decency is fraught with consequences, none of them good.

Customers create problems. They're disgusting. They're animals. They haven't the faintest notion as to how to behave in public. I've been punched, kicked, stabbed, slashed and bashed with blunt instruments by people whose nights began in their bathroom showers, the same way mine did. These things happened because the people who made them happen were pieces of shit with no regard for any human life other than their own.

Why are people like this nowadays? Who the fuck knows? I have no answers. None are forthcoming from this "nightlife summit" either, but that, I suspect, is because a discussion about the disgustingness of the human race wasn't on the agenda for today's conference. We're too far gone for all that, and the object of the game now is to contain it. And you can't come out in the open and tell the truth, because that's simply not done. I'd love to hear about it on the news, though, wouldn't you?

"The New York City Nightlife Summit today declared the root cause of the nightlife problem in New York to be the fact that approximately seventy-five percent of nightclub customers in West Chelsea and the Meatpacking District are complete and total pieces of hot motherfucking garbage who, in a perfect world, would be incarcerated forthwith."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

He-man woman haters' club

Ray, the fighter, held court leaning against the avenue-side wall of the lobby on Saturday. He twirled the clip-end of his earpiece round and round -- a wiry propeller slicing rounded grooves in the shitty, smoky soup that infiltrates our lung cavities for the better part of seven hours a night. You can't see the grooves when you spin your earpiece clip inside the room, because they're too small in the darkness. There's too much smoke -- from the illicit carcinogenic dragging of the customers and from the fog generated by the incessant huffing of the club's several dry ice machines -- and the entire miasmic brew settles into the unoccupied space too quickly for the human eye to adjust.

"If I was president," he said, twirling steadily away, "all these motherfuckers would vote for me. Every single one of you."

"Why's that?" I asked, planting my right foot on a bouncer box in anticipation of one of Ray's trademark homilies. When you hand him the ball, the idea is to get comfortable while he runs with it.

"I've told you this already. I'd run on two issues, an' that's it."

"Racial profiling and the war in Iraq?"

"No," he replies. "That's too fuckin' easy. Racial profiling's the only way to protect ourselves, an' I'd build a fence around the fuckin' country an' forget about gettin' involved in all this other shit all over the world, like givin' money t' everyone an' stickin' our nose in everyone's fuckin' business. That's how the fuckin' problem started in the first place."

"So you're an isolationist, I take it?"

"Listen. Saddam Hussein was a fuckin' monster, an' the world's better off without him. But the thing is, who gives a fuck? Why the fuck's he our problem? He never fucked with us. Countries fuck with us, we should do what we gotta do, but why're we even gettin' involved otherwise?"

Talking to Ray, it's best, sometimes, to consider your words. To maybe let him dictate the course of the conversation without offering an opinion to be discounted. "So what's your real platform, then?"

"The first thing I'm puttin' in is a four day workweek. Ninety percent of everyone in America would vote for me just for that by itself. I mean, who the fuck decided we gotta work five straight fuckin' days and only get two off? I tell people I'm puttin' in a four day week, by law, in the fuckin' Constitution, an' I get elected right there."

"What's the second part?"

"The second part," he replied, "is that we set up a day, maybe one day a year, where it's legal for a man to beat his wife. You set that up, that one day, an' maybe they'll start treatin' us better."

"What, they'll start being nicer with the threat of a beating hanging over their heads?"

"Yeah. When they know that day's comin' up, they'll know to ease up on us because we won't have any reason to smack 'em around, you know?"

"You ever thought about hanging around with nicer women?" I asked. "You know, like, women who don't deserve beatings because they're not assholes and don't treat you like shit? And, you know, wouldn't you want your wife to be nice to you because she's actually a nice person, rather than because she's afraid you're gonna bash her face in?"

"Lemme tell you somethin' else," he replied, ignoring my questions. "I'd put a little addition onto that day. I'd make a law that says you can automatically beat your wife if she treats you like an asshole and blames it on her period. I can't take that shit."

"Nice. I think you might be winning me over."

"I'll tell you what. I think it's all bullshit. I been wit' broads that say that shit makes 'em crazy, and I seen other ones who don' even tell you when it's goin' on. I don't buy that as an excuse for nothin'."

Work in the nightclub business for three years, and traces of misogyny form around your edges. I've felt it happening to me, and I've been powerless to stop it because of the preponderance of worthless human beings who cross my path all night at work. Where I'd once have thought, "My God, that's somebody's daughter!" -- and I did, believe it or not -- I'm now more inclined to point my finger and say, "Look at that useless fucking whore."

Work in the nightclub business for fifteen years, like Ray, and it's impossible to differentiate. The club becomes the world, and all the women who inhabit that world become sluts and whores. You think they're all the same -- that your lovely, faithful wife of a dozen years would do things unspeakable with strangers for a line of coke, the same way you see "them cunts" doing it in nightclub bathrooms. Misogyny is not a quality I admire in other men, but while I can't exactly say I understand it or condone it, I can at least piece together the process by which it develops in my friends.

"Did you hate women this much before you started working in clubs?"

"I don't hate women," he said rather reflexively. "I just know how the fuckin' world works."

I considered this for a moment. "You know, if you really do know more about the world than me, and the world really is the way you're always sayin' it is, I don't see the fucking point. I honestly don't."

"I don' think you ever seen the point anyway."


Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Sorry about the dropoff in posting. I haven't had any fucking time to write anything for this site for the past two or three weeks, so what you've been getting is the garbage you've been getting. It's that simple -- when it rains problems, it pours them, and since I'm not about to post about them, I haven't had the opportunity to do anything else here.

For what it's worth, I'm getting all that squared away. I'm not some narcissistic fuck who's prone to deluging you with posts of the "oh, poor me" variety, so what you get instead is silence and that kind of sucks. So, long story short, it's all being taken care of and I'll get writing again immediately.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Post-work post

Sometimes, when you decide to take on a shit job like the one I have, what happens when you first start work is, you're fascinated.

"Whoa," you say. "I can't believe that Guido is dancing like that by himself. Has he no shame? Has he no mirrors in his house?"

"Whoa," you say. "I can't believe that slut just went into the mens room. I wonder what she's doing in there!"

It fascinates you to such an extent that you start telling everyone you know about the things you've seen at work. They're entertained -- you can just tell -- so you start a blog and you write about it all there. You see the shit and you write about it and you leave very little out because you like the release. And the blog's a good read for a while, because you're noticing all sorts of new things at work and the writing is as fresh and new and exciting as your perspective.

Like anything else, though, the whole process starts getting old. You hate your job after a while, and you hate everything that has anything to do with it. You hate the music, and the carpeting, and the Grey Goose and the Red Bull. You find yourself getting more and more pissed off at the customers, and maybe you choke one of them until they're really hurt, like I did last year. And after that's done, and they're helping the kid of the sidewalk, you simply can't give a fuck anymore because you've had it, and maybe you wish you'd hurt the kid a lot worse. Maybe.

But you keep on writing, because the more you hate the place, the better the words come out. You keep going to work, because you can't afford not to, and years pass before you've realized how much time you've wasted in that shithole. You wake up and remember you've been working this shitbag job for three years now -- two longer than you'd intended to in the first place -- and showing up for work is nothing but a reflex action now. It's no longer good. It's no longer bad. It's just there. You go in, you do your time, you pick up your money, and you go home.

The New York nightclub world is exactly what I've always said it is: just fucking there. It's just there, and there's nothing you can do about it. It's there, wherever you look, and it's never going away, and I don't care anymore. I'll never beat it. I'll never get any of these places shut down, no matter how fast I will myself to type. I'll never stop people from painting themselves orange, spiking their hair, threading their eyebrows and saying stupid shit at four in the morning. I put my head down now. Go in, count hours, go home. Wake up and do it again.

The problem comes when the numbness works as a set of blinders. The blinders keep me from paying attention. They keep me from carrying a notepad and a tape recorder and giving a flying fuck about writing down and recording the observations I need to make in order to write about all of it here.

"Hey look," I'll say. "Guidos are fighting. What a novelty."

"Hey look," I'll say. "Look at that slut. I'll bet she's from Staten Island and works in a nail salon. Isn't that something?"

It's life, man. You get bored. Bored and complacent. You worry about money, bills and about people. You don't worry so much about your job when you're numb. You don't think about it when you get home. It doesn't mean things are going badly, or that you're not happy with the way your life's going. It just means you don't give a shit about nightclubs. You don't give a shit about the next generation of assholes who are too ignorant to avoid acting as stupidly as the last one did.

And when you're there, not giving a flying fuck about any of this stupid shit, you'll find it's not such a bad place to be.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mezzanine, Section 12, Row M

Watched the Mets clinch the NL East title last night at Shea. Regular posting will resume shortly.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


My "real life" friend Pat Stack did the Mike Tyson "fade into Bolivia" and ended up writing this article. Shockingly, it's not written in ebonics.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I have some questions.

In a few months -- nor sure how many, exactly -- this site will be rendered obsolete because of the book and all the promotional crap I'm going to have to do for it. I like having a blog, though, and I like writing on it almost daily. I've gotten used to this shit. I think what I'll probably do is get myself a website with my real name on it, and write stuff there the same way I do here.

I don't know if I'll be doing this through HarperCollins or on my own. I'd probably prefer to do it on my own because I like fucking around with templates and changing shit up and writing whatever I want to write. Maybe I'll have two sites -- one for bullshit self-promotion and one to keep letting people know when I'm taking a shit.

Blogger has been good to me. My only problem with them is that this site, at its peak, had some seriously high numbers for a blog-done-from-home -- still does, occasionally -- and I've never been listed on their "Blogs of Note." I know people hate when I mention this -- so I don't anymore -- but you'd figure they'd have at least given me a little nod when I got my book deal. After what happened to me, I'd promote Blogger full time if they asked.

Whatever. Sour grapes. Who gives a shit? I'm not really mad about this. What I'm curious about is what people who know better than me think I should do in the way of getting myself a site when the time comes. I don't know the first thing about any of this. I know I'm supposed to go somewhere like GoDaddy and buy my domain name, but after that, I'm clueless and would like to start learning.

If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to let me know. Thanks.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Here's your memorial

If the attacks had never happened, I think he'd be a reader of this site. I think he'd congratulate me on getting so lucky with all this, but I also think that sometimes, when we'd go out drinking, he'd bust my balls about trying to be some kind of "writer," all sensitive and shit.

That would've been nice.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Pointless car wash post

In my neighborhood is a do-it-yourself car wash. In back, by the barbed-wire fencing surrounding the adjoining auto body shop, are the vacuums. When I get to the do-it-yourself car wash, I first go directly to the vacuums. I take all the trash from my car, toss it in the giant waste bins they have, then work my magic on the floor, my mats and my seats. This takes about ten minutes, because I don't vacuum my interior very often. When I do, I like to be thorough and make the job last.

The vacuums cost a dollar in quarters to use. I usually do two rounds' worth. This costs me two dollars. I find the quarters in my center console.

After this, I start my car and drive it into one of four "bays." In these bays are a multi-purpose hose, a foam brush and a coin operated control panel with a timer. For four dollars, you buy yourself six minutes of washing time. An alarm sounds when you have one minute left so you can put more change into the machine. There's a sign in each bay telling you that mechanical work is prohibited. The signs are there because in the past, people have gone into the do-it-yourself car wash and worked on their cars. It would never occur to me to do this, but if it hadn't ever happened, the signs wouldn't be there. That's how it is here.

First I rinse, then I turn the dial to "soap" and coat my car with suds. Then I turn the dial to "foam brush," and the foam brush starts to bubble and hiss. The foam brush smells like bubble gum. I like this smell. I've been using the do-it-yourself car wash for several years, so my brain associates the bubble gum smell with a clean car. The sensation is pleasant, and makes me want to go have sex with women who are either non-caucasian or here on a visa. This, evidently, is how I roll.

After rinsing, soaping and brushing, I turn the dial to "tire cleaner" and spray some kind of green shit on my tires. I'm not sure if tire cleaner is really green, but I trust the do-it-yourself car wash. Then I set the dial to "wax," and cover everything until the droplets formed by the mist begin to bead. Finally, I go back to "rinse," and hose the whole damned thing down until time runs out. This is how I wash my car. The Armor All and window cleaner can wait until I get home.

The problem with the do-it-yourself car wash is that it's infested with Guidos. The Guidos are there. They hang out in back, by the vacuums, taking up inordinate amounts of space for inordinate amounts of time. This is fine, because they're paying to be there, and they're working. Guidos work very hard on their cars. They spray and they wipe and they wipe and they spray and their brows are furrowed in concentration. I envy them. I wish I could maintain that kind of focus on getting my car clean, but after a while, my energy tends to dissipate. Unlike the Guidos, my resolve begins to fade. After twenty minutes or so, I'm thinking, "I want to get out of here."

The problem is, Guidos need a soundtrack. The problem is, Guidos turn their stereos up as loud as they'll go, tuned to New York's club music station, and pretend they're on the dance floor while they're polishing their rims. The problem is, two Guidos will be listening to the radio, while another is playing a CD.

What you have then are Dueling Guidos.

Guidos need this music backing them, so what you have , everywhere you go around here, is doom-chick-a-doom-doom-DOOM-chick-a-doom-doom...CULO!!!


Everywhere, this "music." And what you want to do, when they're inflicting "CULO, MAMI, CULO!" on you, is line them up, side by side, and bash their mutated fucking faces in with your fists until the brims of their hats face directly forward like they should. To hit them so hard that the resultant trickles of blood form streaks on their spray-tans. What you want to do is walk over and reach in and turn their radios off. And when they protest, what you want to do is rip their arms off and stick them up their asses.

Especially the fat ones. One of the Guidos at the do-it-yourself car wash was fat. He wore sunglasses and the brim of his hat was turned to the side. His car was an Acura, and it had a spoiler. This is a disease. This child has a disease, and what I wanted to do was beat it out of him. I wanted to be the antibiotic that treated his virus. Fuck him, man. Fuck these Big Pun wannabe dudes in their velour sweatsuits with their earrings and their hats pointing east and their unjustifiable arrogance. Fuck them all.

One word: conscription.

Then I went home.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


My great-uncle -- my mother's father's brother -- survived the Allied bombing of Dresden during World War II. He was interned in a German POW camp at the time. As it happens, so was Kurt Vonnegut.

I read Slaughterhouse Five last night. I won't be overlooking Vonnegut any longer.

I was named for my great-uncle, and also for my grandfather on my father's side. My great-uncle was considered an eccentric. My cousin, married to a manufacturer of orthodontic equipment, once ridiculed his eccentricities.

My cousin didn't witness the Allied bombing of Dresden as a POW, so nobody listened to her nonsense.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Welcome to Long Island

This is what Guidos do when they win the lottery.