Monday, June 23, 2008

The "Busyness" Fallacy

I have several theories about people who always claim to be “busy.” First, however, I’ll give you a rather cryptic version of the situation that motivated this little screed I’m about to offer.

A month or so ago, I wrote this post about a friend of mine who was being treated unfairly. Unfortunately, I have nothing new to report, because he’s still being treated unfairly. Because I can’t get into specifics here, I have no real way to get across how much it galls me to see this happening. This is one of those cases where everyone can see that what’s going on is wrong, yet there’s nothing anyone can do or say to change things because there’s only one guy pulling the strings of unfairness, and his decision to act entirely for his own benefit – disregarding the “needs of the many” - has already been made.

What bothers me most about this situation is that there’s little I can do to help, other than calling attention to the fact that the guy who’s screwing over my friend is a corrupt asshole with no regard for anyone but himself. Even this – the process of calling attention – has proven to be difficult, because in trying to enlist the help of someone who’d actually expressed some interest in rectifying things, I unwittingly ran headlong into the time-vortex of the sort of person to whom I like to refer as a “busy guy.”

A “busy guy” is someone who’s constantly lecturing you on how little time he has to do anything – which would be fine if the “busy guy” in question actually had a job that entailed having serious responsibilities. With busy guys, however, this typically isn’t the case. Most busy guys I know have no responsibilities at all. They just try to make you – and everyone else, including themselves - think they do. A friend of mine recently called this phenomenon “settling into a life of busyness.”

It’s a trap. The “busy guy” trap.

The “busy guy” in this instance is a member of the media who’s responsible, two or three times a week, for approximately two typed paragraphs of information in a local newspaper. For this, he went to college.

I could do this blindfolded, with a pen strapped to my penis, but I’m still working the door of a nightclub. Go figure.

I was told by this very busy guy that he needed to wait until he had a day off before he’d have time to call me regarding this matter, despite the fact that he’d written an accuracy-free article about it the day before I first contacted him. I found this strange for a variety of reasons. First off, I’m what you might call “a source,” so you’d think it’d behoove a journalist to contact me during his working hours – especially since the information to which I’m privy has direct relevance to something he’d published.

It’s the “busyness” angle that really fascinates me, though, because I’ve been running into it a lot lately with people I deal with. I can only think of two reasons why someone would claim to need a day off to engage in a ten minute phone call:

1) Because they really are engaged with work, full time, eighteen hours per day. From the moment they wake up until the moment they fall asleep, this man’s life belongs to someone else. If this is the case, I have a ton of respect for the amount of work he’s doing in order to pump out those precious six paragraphs each week. Proportionally speaking, each word in his articles must require a minimum of an hour of research. This, my friends, is truly impressive.

2) He doesn’t care.

Since I’m not mentally retarded, I’m well aware that option #2 is the case here, which pisses me off because it’s fraught with dishonesty – both to me and to himself. Why can’t people simply come out and tell you they’re no longer interested in what you have to say? I mean, I know I’m always full of unsolicited advice on this website, but here’s some I think you should take:

Don’t do this.

When you avoid contact with people by sanctimoniously lecturing them on how busy you are, it’s disrespectful. What you’re saying, in essence, is that the person to whom you’re speaking has no understanding of what it’s like to be as “busy” as you are. This, to me, is a defense used by people who have no idea what it’s like to actually work for a living. They don’t know shit about shit, and they project their ignorance on us, assuming we don’t know shit about shit either.

What kills me about these types is that I know people who actually are busy that don’t do this. One of my friends is a very prominent surgeon here in New York. If you know me personally, you’ll know to whom I’m referring. How anyone could possibly work more hours in a day than this person does, I have no idea, yet she has never once, in over a decade of knowing her, used “busyness” as an excuse for not getting back to me. She pretty much just returns my calls.

In other words, I know fucking trauma surgeons with more free time than some of the dime-ass, small-timer journalists, personal trainers and bouncers I know.

And yes, asshole, this is directed at you.

Friday, June 20, 2008

My Contribution

I had jury duty today.

I was called into an empaneling room at approximately 10 AM. The two lawyers who were supposed to be running the show – read: selecting a jury – did nothing but fight with each other. This was very exciting.

“I have a few follow-up questions,” said the plaintiff’s attorney.

“This isn’t proper procedure,” said the defendant’s attorney.

“Yes it is.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Yes it is.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Well,” said the plaintiff’s attorney, “I’m just going to ask one or two more questions, if you don’t mind.”

“No, you’re not.”

“Yes, I am.”

“No, you’re not.”

“I am.”

“That’s IT! Counselor, step outside!”

And so on. This went on for several hours.

At 4:30, we were dismissed. No jurors were selected.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Mott Street, Chinatown.

Friday, June 13, 2008

What You're Reading

Here is the full list of reading recommendations you’ve sent thus far. Any spelling errors are YOUR fault, not mine, because I simply copied and pasted some of these directly from the emails I’ve received. This list was compiled in chronological order, so it’s not organized in any particular way, nor is it sorted - which I know is pretty annoying, but hey, I just spent the last two hours copying all this shit down, so take what you can get.

And don’t say I’ve never done anything for you.

What Is the What -- Dave Eggers
The Chess Machine -- Robert Lohr and Anthea Bell
The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories -- Susanna Clarke
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell -- Susanna Clarke
The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel (P.S.) -- Michael Chabon
Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy -- Jostein Gaarder
Motherless Brooklyn -- Jonathan Lethem
Savage Night -- Jim Thompson
Generation Kill -- Evan Wright
Playing for Pizza -- John Grisham
Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets -- Sudhir Venkatesh

Ugly Americans: The True Story of the Ivy League Cowboys Who Raided
the Asian Markets for Millions -- Ben Mezrich

Dies the Fire (series) –- S.M. Stirling
Stones for Ibarra –- Harriet Doerr
The Road -- Cormac McCarthy
American Gods AND Sandman (series) -- Neil Gaiman
Then We Came to the End -- Joshua Ferris
Lush Life -- Richard Price
Absurdistan -- Gary Shteyngart
Beautiful Children -- Charles Bock
The Lions of al-Rassan AND A Song for Arbonne -- Guy Gavriel Kay
Boss -- Mike Royko
Forever - Pete Hamill
The Zanzibar Chest -- Aiden Hayley
Murray Whelan series -- Shane Maloney
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century -- Barbara W. Tuchman
The World Without Us -- Alan Weisman
Shadow & Claw: The First Half of 'The Book of the New Sun' -- Gene Wolfe
Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever -- Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman

Skillful Means -- Tarthang Tulku
Shame -- Jasvinder Sanghera
Long Walk to Freedom -- Nelson Mandela
Infidel -- Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Beach Road -- James Patterson
Deception Point -- Dan Brown
The God Delusion -- Richard Dawkins
Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found -- Suketu Mehta
Run With the Horsemen -- Ferrol Sams
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? -- Philip K. Dick
The Fountainhead -- Ayn Rand
Einstein: His Life and Universe -- Walter Isaacson
Anything by R.A. Salvatore
John Adams -- David McCullough
Island in the Sea of Time -- S.M. Stirling
Blood Curdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre -- H.P. Lovecraft
The Walking Drum -- Louis L’Amour
Grim Lands -- Robert E. Howard
The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder -- Vincent Bugliosi
Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army -- Jeremy Scahill

Glenn Reynolds -- An Army of Davids
John Robb -- Brave New War
Riddley Walker -- Russell Hoban
Waiting for the Barbarians -- J.M.Coetzee
Pan -- Knut Hamsun
Anything by Derek Robinson
Carry Me Home -- John M. Del Vecchio
Anything by Alan Sillitoe OR David Storey
Hot Property: The Stealing of Ideas in an Age of Globalization -- Pat Choate
Falling Man -- Don DeLillo
The Thought Gang -- Tibor Fischer
Life, A User's Manual -- Georges Perec
Concrete Island -- J.G. Ballard
Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth -- Andrew Smith
The Trouble With Physics -- Lee Smolin
Red Harvest AND The Maltese Falcon -- Dashiell Hammett
Anything by Slavoj Ziztek
America’s Splendid Little Wars -- Peter Huchthausen
The Pillars of the Earth -- Ken Follett
Anything by Tom Robbins
The Rediscovery of Man AND Norstrilia -- Cordwainer Smith
City -- Clifford Simak
Immortality -- Milan Kundera
Mr. Vertigo -- Paul Auster
The Magus -- John Fowles
The Scramble for Africa -- Thomas Pakenham
The State of Africa -- Martin Meredith
One Day In The Life Of Ivan Desinovich -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Death's Men -- Denis Winter
Among the Thugs -- Bill Buford
The Soul Of Battle: From Ancient Times to the Present Day -- Victor Davis Hanson

Down and Out in London and Paris -- George Orwell
James Clavell OR Robert Heinlein
Lamb -- Christopher Moore
Lost Fleet (series) -- Jack Campbell
Anything by Andy McNab
"No Matter Where You Go, There You Are" by John Kabat-Zinn
"Persuasion" by Jane Austen
Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the
Beatles -- Geoff Emerick

A Short History of Nearly Everything -- Bill Bryson
Aspects of the Novel -- E.M. Forster
The Harry Dresden series of novels by Jim Butcher
A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels by George R.R. Martin
Any cookbook in the "Cooks Illustrated" series
Melissa Good (Lesbian romance novels!!!)
John Kennedy Toole -- A Confederacy of Dunces
Baghdad Without a Map -- Tony Horowitz
Portnoy’s Complaint -- Phillip Roth
The Idiot -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
Roughing It -- Mark Twain
The Children's War -- J.N. Stroyer
Factotum -- Charles Bukowski
Raymond Chandler OR Nabokov OR Nathanael West
Altered Carbon -- Richard Morgan
Charles Stross (Halting State & Glasshouse)
Neal Gaiman (American Gods & Anansi Boys)
John Scalzi (Old Man's War trilogy)
In the Presence of Mine Enemies: War in the Heart of America, 1859–1863 AND The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction -- Edward Ayers
Shantartam -- Gregory Roberts
The Terror -- Dan Simmons
Revelation Space -- Alastair Reynolds
The Blind Watchmaker -- Richard Dawkins
The Canon -- Natalie Angier
American Psycho -- Bret Easton Ellis
Liar’s Poker -- Michael Lewis
The Chosen -- Chaim Potok
Youth in Revolt -- C.D. Payne
The Man in the High Castle -- Phillip K. Dick
Dubliners -- James Joyce
A Prayer for Owen Meany -- John Irving
The Glass Castle -- Jeannette Walls
God is Not Great -- Christopher Hitchens
Slaughterhouse Five -- Kurt Vonnegut
Anything by Andrew Vachss OR Jonathan Archer
Shadow Divers -- Robert Kurson
The Devil in the White City -- Erik Larson
Anything by James Ellroy
Private Angelo -- Eric Linklater
The Know-It-All -- A.J. Jacobs
In a Sunburned Country -- Bill Bryson
Anything by Cory Doctorow
Jack Reacher (series) -- Lee Child
Sharpe’s Rifles (series) -- Bernard Cornwell
Little Fuzzy -- Henry Beam Piper
Ender’s Game -- Orson Scott Card
Parasite Rex -- Carl Zimmer
Freakonomics -- Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
With the Old Breed -- E.B. Sledge
His Excellency: George Washington -- Joseph J. Ellis (Isn’t this the guy who claimed he fought in Vietnam, but didn’t?)

The Poems of Wilfred Owen -- Jon Stallworthy
The Master and Margarita -- Mikhail Bulgakov
Crime and Punishment -- Dostoyevsky
Boomsday -- Christopher Buckley
The Mortdecai Trilogy -- Kyril Bonfiglioli
Anything by Paul Auster
The GM -- Tom Callahan
Anything by Alan Furst (agreed)
Manhunt -- James L. Swanson
Anything by Mary Roach
Anything by David Sedaris
Anything by Chuck Klosterman
Ace of Spades -- David Matthews
The Professor and the Madman -- Simon Winchester
Fine Balance -- Rohinton Mistry

Power of One -- Bryce Courtenay
Piercing -- Ryu Murakami
Geek Love -- Katherine Dunn
Reefer Madness -- Eric Schlosser
Dante’s Inferno -- Dante Alighieri
Hegemony or Survival -- Noam Chomsky
Jesse Livermore: World's Greatest Stock Trader -- Richard Smitten
Gates of Fire -- Steven Pressfield
Perdido Street Station -- China Mieville
Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World -- Mark Kurlansky
Already Dead -- Charlie Huston
The Siege of Mecca -- Yaroslav Trofimov
Anything by George R.R. Martin
The Sopranos OR Morvern Callar -- Alan Warner
Theft -- Peter Carey
The Fox in the Attic OR The Wooden Shepherdress -- Richard Hughes
Scoop AND Vile Bodies -- Evelyn Waugh
Black Swan Green -- David Mitchell
Anything by Penelope Fitzgerald
Lives of the Saints -- Nancy Lemann
Anything by Robert Girardi
Kissing in Manhattan -- David Schickler
A Time of Gifts -- Patrick Leigh Fermor
Anything by Julian Barnes
Towing Jehovah OR This is the Way the World Ends -- James Morrow
The History of Love -- Nicole Krauss
An Artist of the Floating World -- Kazuo Ishiguro
The Eyre Affair -- Jasper Fforde
The Count of Monte Cristo -- Dumas
A Feast of Snakes -- Harry Crews
The End of the Road -- John Barth
A Modern Magician -- Robert Weinberg
Anything by Matthew Reilly
Supercapitalism -- Robert Reich
The Name of the Wind -- Patrick Rothfuss
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party -- M.T. Anderson
Doomsday Book -- Connie Willis
Life of Pi -- Yann Martel
The Inspector Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri
Anything by Louis Bayard
Bounty Trilogy -- James Hall and Charles Nordhoff
Robinson Crusoe -- Daniel Defoe (Great idea…this might be the first one I read on this entire list)

Anything by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Thousand Splendid Suns -- Khaled Hosseini
The Rising Tide -- Jeff Shaara
Anything by Jeff Shaara or Michael Shaara
Anything by Steven Pressfield
Anything by Italo Calvino
Scott's Last Expedition -- The journals of Captain R. F. Scott
Atonement -- Ian Mcewan
The Last Campaign -- Thurston Clarke
The Fighter -- Craig Davidson
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War -- Max Brooks
In the Heart of the Sea -- Nathaniel Philbrick
Liberal Fascism -- Jonah Goldberg
Moment of Truth in Iraq -- Michael Yon
Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth -- Gitta Sereny
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt -- Edmund Morris
The Fifties -- David Halberstam
Befriend and Betray -- Alex Caine
Nocturnes OR The Book of Lost Things -- John Connolly
Ishmael -- Daniel Quinn
Life in the French Foreign Legion -- Evan McGorman
Shock Doctrine -- Naomi Klein
Revelation Space -- Alastair Reynolds

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Thanks to everyone who wrote in with reading recommendations. I appreciate all the material you've suggested, and I'm especially grateful for all the kind words.

This has been a strange week - the strangeness has nothing to do with Preparation H, I can assure you, although I could probably use some right about now - so in lieu of a regular post today or tomorrow, I'll publish a list of everything that's been recommended to me. Hopefully someone can find something to read.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Reading Material

I need something new to read. In other words, feel free to email me recommendations, because I'm out of ideas. Yes, I am openly soliciting email on this subject. Don't worry about trying to tailor your selections for my tastes, because I read everything.

I will read your suggestions, then "review" them here. I will also publish a list of what's been sent to me before I read anything. I usually get some very good information when I run posts like this, so I'll share the wealth this time.

Thank you.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Straight From The Door

I’m at the point with bouncing where I have nothing but complete and utter disdain for everyone who approaches me at the door. It’s been this way for a while. This is not my fault, and it’s not some sort of character flaw. As I hate to say, but all-too-often do, it is what it is. Do this stupid job long enough, and it’ll happen to you, too.

I work as a bouncer because it’s ridiculously easy money. You, the average reader of this site, wouldn’t be able to get my job. I’m not saying this because I don’t think you’d be able to do it. You probably could. Not that it’s anything worth bragging about, but I’ve been lucky in the nightclub business. I’ve been in some of the right places at some of the right times, and I’ve met some people who’ve been able to help me out. The point of this is not to crow about having a “money spot” at a nightclub, because in the grand scheme of things, that’s crap. All I’m saying is that with the economy the way it is right now, I’d be an idiot to give it up.

That said, I despise the customers so much that I’ve fallen into the habit of throwing their licenses when they act like arrogant pricks at the door. I take their cards, hook my index finger around the topside corner, and scale them down the sidewalk like little Frisbees. Yes, this is an asshole move on my part, and yes, I know some of you will say to yourselves, “If he ever threw my fuckin’ license, I’d stab him in the throat.”

That’s fine with me. If someone pulled this maneuver on me, I’d feel the same way. It’s “bullying” at its worst. I accept this, and I understand the sentiment. I also don’t care anymore. I’m done being a fucking punching bag, and I’m done with arrogant little shitbags who think the process doesn’t apply to them.

I’ve been less accepting than ever lately, in my non-bouncing life, of unsolicited hostility. This applies both to people I know and people I don’t know. If you’re hostile to me for no reason, I’m going to be openly hostile back to you. A handful of people with whom I’m acquainted can attest to this after having their steaming plates of hot garbage dumped back in their laps in recent weeks. I neither have the time, nor the patience, to be on the receiving end of anyone’s shit – especially if I’m not the cause of the problem.

So, if I’m not taking any of it from people I know, I’m sure as hell not dealing with it from some twenty-three year-old slapdick who pretends not to understand that the owners of the establishment he’s trying to enter are running a business – one that’s legally obligated to ensure that its clientele are all of legal drinking age.

I know I’m a boil on your ass when you’re trying to get into the club. You’re one on mine, too. Just take your fucking ID out, and we can avoid interacting altogether. Thanks.

Friday, June 06, 2008

For The Record

I didn't ask anyone to write about me, quote me, or put me on TV. All I did was write a blog post on this, a personal blog. Nothing here was "presented as fact," other than the unfortunate reality that the use of Preparation H is widespread among the New York/New Jersey Guido club-going populace.

That people failed to recognize obvious satire - and it was pretty fucking obvious, based on all the emails I've received - and proceeded to blame me for their own failure to get the joke is what's really funny here.

This site may never win a Pulitzer, but at least I know a "slapdick" when I see one.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I'm being interviewed on something called the "Greg Knapp Experience" at approximately 3:50 EDT. Here is a link to the show's homepage.

The country is at war, and I'm on the air talking about Preparation H.

Suppository Story

The story began in my car. I was driving my friend Kevin to the airport at the beginning of May. En route, he related his account of something that happened the previous weekend.

The gym at which we train has a relatively small membership. If you keep going there long enough, you’ll eventually learn everyone’s name, because it’s usually the same twenty people going there every day – or night – at the same exact time. I can tell you what most of the people at this place do for a living, and I can also tell you where most of them live.

So when two of them asked Kevin if he’d like to do some club-hopping in the city that weekend, he thought nothing of it and decided to go. This is a perfect illustration of how you don’t really know someone until you see how they act in every possible situation. I’m friendly with the two guys he’s talking about here, and I definitely didn’t see this coming:

“They picked me up and we decided to drive into the city because Rich (the guy with the car) wasn’t going to drink. Right before we’re about to get on the LIE, he pulls over, parks the car, and the two of them take their shirts off and start rubbing Preparation H all over themselves.

“At this point, I’m like, ‘What the fuck?’, but they explain to me that they put the stuff on because it lifts the water out of their skin and it makes it look like they’re more ripped.”

The first thing I did, right then and there, was what I always do. I wrote down the idea, thinking I’d figure out a way to use it the next time I wrote something on the blog. A few days later, I wrote this post.

Now, what you need to understand about this post is that it’s completely fabricated. “Peter Minichiello” does not exist. I didn’t go to CVS on Hempstead Turnpike and speak to anyone named “Lawrence Weisz,” nor did I interview a nightclub manager named “Mitchell Goldner.” I’m sure there are people in the world with these names, but I haven’t ever spoken with them. I did take the precaution of Googling these names before using them to make sure I wouldn’t embarrass anyone, but the only legwork I did for this “story” involved taking a leak in the middle of making it up.

Everything contained in these “journalistic” posts came directly out of my head. The situations are real – guys really do rub Preparation H on themselves before going into clubs – but the names and quotes are all me. The post was mentioned on Gawker, which is always cool, and I pretty much forgot about it from there because I figured everyone was in on the joke.

Until this week, that is.

First, this story came out. This led to a series of emails from Fox asking me to appear on Mike and Juliet – their morning show here in New York. They sent a limo to pick me up, gave me a room in a luxury hotel in Manhattan, then had me as a guest on the show’s 9:45 segment. Once I was finished looking really uncomfortable on-air, I went right back into a limo and was driven home. Funny shit, but it was actually a good idea to have me as a guest because, sadly enough, I probably know more people who’ve applied Preparation H to themselves for purposes other than hemorrhoid relief than anyone on the planet.

Then, I check my blog stats and see this story, which claims that “Fitzgerald, who writes the blog Clublife, recently conducted his own research on the phenomenon, interviewing a user, a drugstore worker and a nightclub manager.” Of course, as stated earlier, I did nothing of the sort. Figuring everyone would just “get it,” I didn’t think I needed to qualify these posts by issuing a disclaimer. You’d think people would ask before quoting me. In fact, they should probably hire me. I’ll write the story better and check my facts.

This is very funny: “I don’t give a shit what these slapdicks are using it for. I wish they’d stay out of my fucking life. To be perfectly honest with you, I think the shit doesn’t even work, because if it did, these club assholes would all disappear. It’s supposed to get rid of hemorrhoids, isn’t it?”

But who says shit like that? I mean, how can you not know?

In any event, this is yet another example of why starting this blog was both the smartest and stupidest thing I’ve ever done – and yet another reason to disbelieve damned near everything you’ll ever read.

Update: The Fox story has been edited since this post first appeared.

Monday, June 02, 2008


We instituted a tightening of the dress code this past weekend. This was done because we’ve been having problems lately. These problems have invariably involved people wearing similar kinds of clothing. When this happens, the logical solution is to stop letting in people who dress in the same manner as the people with whom you’ve been having trouble, so that’s what we did.

One gentleman – from Long Island, of course - came to the door on Friday night wearing one of those horrible Ed Hardy tee shirts. This thing had so many rhinestones and sequins on it that I found myself having a hard time reading his license because of the glare. This pissed me off, so I told him he couldn’t come in.

“Sorry, man. I can’t do the tee shirt tonight.”

“Why not?” he asked.

“You gotta have a collared shirt tonight. That’s what they want.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yeah, man,” I replied. “That’s what the owners want tonight.”

“Yo, dis fuckin’ shirt cost a hundrit fitty bucks!”

“Oh, please,” interjected Guestlist Girl. “I could make one of those for five bucks with my fucking Bedazzler.”