Plenty

How did it all begin? Why are we here? What happens to us after we die?

I remember asking my mom these questions as a child. Her answers never satisfied me.

“God made the world, honey.”

“Why?”

“Because he was lonely.”

“Why?”

“Because he had no one to play with.”

“What about his mummy?”

“God doesn’t have a mommy.”

“Then how was he borned?”

“God created himself.”

“How’d he do that?”

“With a miracle.”

“What’s a mira-go?”

“It’s when something very special happens, like magic.”

Magic my ass (minus the sarcasm) is basically how I felt after these conversations with my mom. Things didn’t add up. Her answers only led to more questions. It was irritating. And, like all kids, I was a little ninja and could perceive she wasn’t satisfied with her answers, either. Right around Kindergarten, I stopped bugging my mom about the “meaning of it all,” but I never stopped wondering.

In college, I grappled with the great mysteries of the universe as an (“independent”) “adult” for the first time. And I began to view my parents’ explanations, and those of the church, as not just flawed but silly even. Ridiculous, some of them. I mean, come on: God created the earth in 7 days? Anyway, I began to question pretty much everything I’d been taught and (sort of) accepted up to that point about existence. And I began to experience the pangs of existential angst that would hinder me in years to come.

After college, when the framework of school and organized sports was no longer there to guide me (a.k.a. when I had to figure out what to do with my life), the big questions with which I used to torture my mom as a toddler returned to center stage in my mind. I felt like I needed to figure out the meaning of it all so that I could move forward in the right direction. I tried my ass off to figure things out. I really did. But it was like banging my head against the wall. As time passed, I got more and more tired and hurt; and I really began to suffer from anxiety.

Before things got too terrible, something happened. Not an epiphany, but a blessing in disguise: my savings ran out. I was in Pasadena, California at the time, where I’d moved to explore the film industry. (But really all I was doing out there was walking the streets, smoking butts, talking to homeless folks, and scribbling notes and ideas for stories and screenplays I’d never get around to writing.) By the time I went broke, I’d been out there plenty long enough to know that I wasn’t exactly poised to take over Tinsel Town, so I decided to wave the white flag, move Back East, and take the first job I could find.

Shortly after my return to the Northeast, I accepted a job as a laborer with a small landscaping company on Cape Cod. And thank God I did. Thank God for all the failure and paralysis by analysis and other shit that led me to that landscaping gig on the Cape. For if it weren’t for that move, I probably never would have met my wife, Annie. And had I not met Annie, we of course wouldn’t have had our baby Ellie. And a world without my girls is unimaginably empty.

Annie and I met at a bar–the Woodshed–in Brewster, Massachusetts. The night we met I was with a buddy from the landscaping crew. A band was playing, and the place was packed. It was hot, loud, and so crowded it was hard to move. Honestly, had I been alone I would’ve turned right around and left. Miraculously, though, moments after we arrived, I spotted what were probably the only two open seats in the place at a nearby table. My buddy and I moved in. And I’ll never forget it: I sat down then looked up, and there, across from me, was a beautiful, tan, dark-haired, brown-eyed girl.

Holy shit.

Somehow, I was able to work through the shock of love at first sight in order ask her if it was okay to join them. And when I heard Annie’s voice for the first time (“Sure.”) and saw that smile, I practically busted a nut. Yes, she is very pretty, and projects an aura of sweetness, but that’s not why I was so blown away. This was different; there was something else going on here. I know it sounds nuts, but the best I can explain it is our souls connected and were like flirting or something. After five minutes of chit chat we had somehow gotten to talking about our dreams. Our futures. We wanted the same things–right down to living in Vermont and owning chickens!

Before I met Annie, I was not a romantic. And, now that I think about it, I should probably bring her flowers and stuff more than I do. But I really do try pretty hard to express my love. (I can’t help it actually. Whenever I look at her I just want to hug and kiss and…) Every once in awhile, like for an anniversary or something, I try to demonstrate my love in writing. But when I try to put it into words, I never do it justice. I mean, I scribble about how I love her compassion and kindness, and how she looks, smells, and feels, etc., but these qualities are not really why I love her. These qualities are just qualities. Qualities are things. Beautiful things, yes, but just things. And lots of people have them. And while I love all people, in a way–I don’t love them how I love my wife.

No–I can’t accurately explain our love any better than I can put my finger on the secrets of the cosmos. And even if I were capable of this task, language isn’t. What I can do, though, is continue trying my best to come up with ways to show my love. And while demonstrating the depths of my love for Annie is about as futile an endeavor as capturing it in words, it’s totally worth the effort. Because even when it doesn’t land me any poontang, it will at least get me a kiss, a touch, a smile–or even just a glance from across the room, any of which are more than enough to keep me playing Sisyphus.

The other day, Annie and I were outside in our Adirondack chairs with our baby girl, Ellie, who was climbing all over us. It was pure joy watching our little one laughing–without a care or concern in the world. She was giving us kisses, and we were tickling her and making her laugh until she screamed. The sun was shining on us and there was a nice breeze, carrying the scent of lilac.

Sitting there, I thought to myself: Even if I get hit by a truck tomorrow, a universe in which this moment is possible is a really great universe.

I thought about how it won’t be long before our daughter starts asking us about life and death and the meaning of existence.

I put my hand on Annie’s, and she looked at me and smiled.

Working With A Small Schlong

JD Salinger accurately expressed why writing is so hard (at least for me) when he said that immediately after publishing a book he felt like he was walking around town with his pants around his ankles. I agree with that metaphor and then some: writing creatively for others is not just leaving the house with no pants; it’s dipping your balls in a cup of ice water just before going onstage in the “buck” with a spotlight on your small, shriveled wang.

For the record, I don’t have a small cock (though I can’t say it’s big, and it’s certainly small enough to be insecure about).* But my cock—or anyone’s real, actual cock—is not what this piece is about. This piece is not really about real cocks. It’s more about writing cocks. The definition of which is simple: the amount of courage a writer has in creating and sharing his or her work with others. The bigger a writer’s writing cock, the braver he or she is with his or her art.

Most writers have small writing schlongs, which, of course, means they are overly sensitive about their work and what others think during both the writing and sharing processes. Some writers have big ones, but they are rare (and, unfortunately, many of these “writers” out there with massive writing schlongs don’t have a lick of talent). My writing schlong is, well, basically very tiny. And so for years I have been excruciatingly insecure about my work (which has led to extended bouts with the writing schlong version of ED: OCD).

Over the years, I’ve tried to increase the size of my writing schlong (with the hope that it would: 1) make me comfortable sharing my work; 2) allow me to stop obsessing over it; and 3) enable me to actually finish a thing or two). I’ve tried everything, guys, I really have. I went and got my MFA in writing**. I revisited grammar books from grade school. I kept a journal. I wrote (grinded through) several papers and short stories (none of which I’ve ever deemed “finished”). And I read every word E.B. White ever wrote***. The end result of all this engagement with the craft? I write wicked good emails and sound work-related documents.

I try to resist coming to conclusions, because (unlike what Opera would tell you and we would all like to believe) almost nothing is conclusive, and as soon as you do conclude anything you eliminate all other possibilities—which is dangerous. But if I had to sum things up and encourage a fellow writer cursed with a small writing schlong, here is what I’d say: 1) you can’t increase the size of your writing schlong any more than you can your actual schlong; 2) the key to working with a small schlong is probably the same as (Trevor and Jeff’s secret to) having sex with a small schlong: don’t think about your size. Just go bust a nut and/or express some love and/or make that baby. Don’t lose sight of your purpose; love your partner nice…

These days when I write, I try hard to stay focused on the message I am trying to convey, and I allow and remind myself to have fun. That is the whole point! If I see an opportunity to give a reader a little pleasure or impress him or her by showing off a tad, fine—I’ll try it. Maybe.

But I know that if I worry too much about pleasing others (a.k.a. my performance), I’ll never accomplish much—if anything—at the keyboard (or in the sac), and I’ll never (satisfy my wife or) be satisfied myself. And both of those scenarios would suck. (Dick.)

(Real dick, this time, I mean.)

*Consider this is a mere “sidebar”… But. I have a good friend with a monster dong—I mean huge, as in: He. Has. Three. Legs. And, despite the freakish nature of rocking an extra appendage, the dude got swagger… I can’t say so for sure myself (much to my chagrin), but there must be some form of confidence that comes with having a huge hog.

I don’t know—maybe I’m wrong, but I just feel like I’d be wicked happy all the time if I had a real big one. Even when life throws a guy with a big one a curveball, he can always remind himself that he at least has a big cock.

If I could supersize my wang for a day, I’d have a lot of fun. My inner monologue would go something like this: “Wassup, wassup, wassup. I’m the man. What’s that? Excuse me? Oh you wanna step to me, bitch? You sure about that?” Then bla-zam I’d grab my wang with two hands and swing and boo-ya-kasha; the perpetrator would be laid out. The End.

**Don’t do this unless you are wealthy and/or fortunate enough to have been born with a large writing schlong.

***Do it.

Day Sex

Day sex is so good, and you know it (at least I hope you do).

For most of us, day sex is rare, and rare is special. But I think day sex rules for other reasons, too. For one, I have more energy during the day. Secondly, there is more light—so I can actually see my hot wife while we bone. And, finally, both of the above circumstances tend to bring on a rock-hard “woody.” Which is nice.

Woody often graces us with his presence at night, too, but half the time (usually tired and a few beers deep) Woody’s cousin “Chubby” stumbles in for the night shift. I love Chubby, he’s great (and certainly better than Noodle (who fuckin sucks ass)), but let’s face it: Woody is “the man.” Love that guy, I really do.

Normal weekdays are out—no day sex during the workweek because we both work. So, our only real opportunities for loving like that come during our daughter’s 2-hour nap on vacation days and weekends. It’s pretty sad when you do the math: over the course of any given year, with a 2-week vacation, we have a mere 124 hours of daytime availability for sex. That’s just 1.4% of our existence.

My daughter absorbs the majority of time that would otherwise be available for “smushing” before the sun goes down, but I obviously don’t hold it against her. After all, she’s 1. Plus, I have to remember, too, that, thanks to (the idea of) her, the several months it took to conceive her were filled with sex—morning, noon, and night. Truth be told, I got so much loving while trying to conceive my daughter that Woody started calling Chubby in for back up—even, on occasion–during the day!

Unfortunately, our baby girl and our lack of free daylight hours aren’t my only day sex “cock blocks.” First and foremost, my wife isn’t as enthralled with day sex as I am. She is a doer (and I wish there were more of double entendre to that statement). And, she is a busy body who views our daughter’s naptime as an opportunity to tackle her “to do” list—to clean, pay bills, shop, organize and get ready for [insert any of a million things here (except for my wang)].

Day sex remains elusive, but it would be insane for me to complain about our sex life or anything at all. I am raising a family with the woman of my dreams, and—as my wife was quick to point out after reading a draft of this post—she is generous with her loving. And while she would never let on otherwise, she really does seem to like doing me (even when Woody can’t rise to the occasion and sends his lazy cousin in to do the trick).

I am a lucky man. And, as soon as we start trying for another child, I will become even luckier—regardless of whether or not we succeed in this endeavor. When we will start trying is not entirely clear. But what I can say is that Woody is ready, and Chubby is on call (in the event it takes a while).

And as soon as my wife adds “making a baby” to her “to do” list, I will be very excited to put our daughter down for her nap.