On The Chopping Block

I found this outside my house the other night and just felt like climbing it.

A stacked pile of sheet-metal, probably once covering the road repair work taking place on perpendicular Prince St, built-up into what would have made a really awesome ramp for some skateboarding (longboarding?) kids in an attempt to jump both a motor-scooter and a car, or maybe just a good excuse to skateboard on top of some cars.

I just walked up it and jumped off in a nice display of something to do on a walk home.

If Matt Chao had been around, he would have referred to it as a display of “ninja-ing”.

But it was just me, so it was just walking up some shit.

Did I say I was feeling happy with my life?

I guess I have some excuses.

Nice things have been happening for me.

A funny sketch (more on this later) that a friend  from my improv team, Charles Rogers, directed went up and I was pretty proud of my performance and how it turned out.

I got put on a mini-sort of sketch team at the Magnet Theater which is actually kind of a big deal to me.

The Magnet Theater is a place I respect that has become sort of a home base for me, a place I go when I’m depressed or have nothing todo, or just to sit or use the bathroom. The little mini-sort-of team I got on is one of the first times I’ve been recognized as somebody sort of “cool” there (other than the generally supportive atmosphere) and it means that I get to put up sketches, I get to write them, have a deadline. The other people on my team are really talented performers most of whom I know and respect. It seems daunting but was fun and Armando Diaz, my teacher, is there directing everything and my sketches I was trying to kill before reading, even got some laughs.

Of course, I can’t feel good about myself without killing it for me and, the way I see it, unlike the other guys who were all invited because they were funny, I kind of emailed Armando on a tip from my friend Teddy (who had been on a team before) and just said kind of :

“Hey need anyone to write sketches? Because, uh, I’ve done that before. Yup.”

And I’m guessing the thought process was something like:

“Sure, I guess. Why not just invite him to this thing I invited everyone else to?”

But it felt good to sit in that room, to know I was on my first sketch team, that somehow I snuck in to this weird pseudo-thing.

I felt back to the place in my life where I was doing things and gaining pleasure from that.

It was nice to feel.

But then again, my romantic life continues to go nowhere.

I tried throwing myself back into online dating, OKCupid or whatever, but it just seems too weird to me still, too much of an emotional commitment. My therapist put it that I lacked the “emotional stamina” for it and that seems about right.

I asked a girl out the other night and she took about 3 minutes before saying no and somehow that period of contemplation still rests on me, somehow seeing that someone actually took the time to think about it before coming to the decision that this (read: me) was probably a bad idea.

I’m seeing my dermatologist tomorrow and I’m going to tell him that I want acutane, the strange, synthetic form of Vitamin A that apparently cures acne forever though there unsure why.

Part of the reason is easy, I’m cursed with acne on my back and shoulders, making it hard to sit in a chair sometimes (you wonder why I don’t get dates) and occasionally I get those big gross pimples (“cystic acne”) on my face and neck and they don’t go away and can’t be easily squeezed as I used to my teenage-brand.

But the other part seems more self-destructive or self-illuminating (self-clarifying?).

Now that I’ve lost a bunch of weight, now that I feel again like I’m doing something with my life, performing and learning (as opposed to just learning), I’ve got a job (still, for now) and a witty disposition, I guess I want to strip away all those venal things that could turn away people until I just get a solid judgement for me.

The acne on my back is invisible (except when I talk about on these blog pages) to everyday people, but the acne on my face sucks. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a real jawline, to be able to shave? Wouldn’t I look nice?

I want to reach that point again where I can look in the mirror and find myself attractive without too many qualifiers, where I can find and appreciate the distance between my perception of myself and how others perceive me. It’s an informational tool, but also some sort of self-destructive request.

That is, I just want to see someone look at me and reject me for all the progress I’ve made. Or accept me.

A reminder: Of course all of this is silly. As I’ve said before, my mantra is there is “No Honor, No Shame” in attraction. Some people like to fuck in Elmo suits. Some people like super-models. Some people have elderly fetishes or role-play. Attraction is a relative thing and you feeling attraction or receiving attraction (or the inverse) has neither honor nor shame to it.

But just as I’ve said before, when you choose to change your appearance, you lose the strength and happiness that comes with not giving a shit and it cannot be regained.

As my friends Jon Bander and Matt B. Weir and I discussed as I distracted them from writing for their new show (“What To Get”), it’s just like learning about movies:

A child or an uneducated adult appreciates a film as an act of magic, feats which they cannot possibly reproduce given unto them.

Someone however who learns about narrative or filmmaking or even just reads a lot, soon loses that magic as they see the craft, the seams, the tricks being played on them, the audience. They can never again experience that same ignorant or innocent magic of filmmaking. But they can see a movie they love and get close, they can see something that takes them away.

An adult’s appreciation vs. a child’s.

I want to get to that place where I can respect myself again. Where I can see myself and think I’m attractive, that there’s nothing wrong with me. That what I have is acceptable.

It’s a difficult place to find or to be.

My doctor’s appointment is tomorrow.

***

So as I said earlier, more on the funny sketch later: My dad didn’t find it funny.

“That was really intense.” My dad said on the phone about my performance. “But it wasn’t supposed to be funny, right?”

“Ok, Dad, I’ll talk to you later.” I replied.

“Why?” He asked. “Wait was it supposed to be funny?”

“It’s fine, talk to to you later Dad.” I replied.

I hung up and then again he called me and eventually I just did have to flat out explain to him that yes, it was supposed to be funny and that no, he did not find it funny, and that it’s okay, it doesn’t make me feel great, but that I’d rather not talk about it or go through the inevitable series of reconsiderations or “Well…” statements that accompany parental recriminations.

Of course this later came in the form of my mother calling me and saying:

“Nick, I just wanted to call to let you know, I saw that video of you and it was REALLY FUNNY. Catch that? I thought it was REALLY FUNNY. I just wanted to make sure you understood that.

“Yes, Mom.” I replied. “I’m actually about to go to class.”

And the point was taken.

Later on that night, I did pretty well in a potentially stressful return to UCB classes, a place where I have a problem feeling judged and saw a fun show with my old teacher (the wonderful Cheslea Clarke) and my new teacher (Brandon Gardner, who seems like a pretty nice guy), where my friend Jeff got to get up and play somehow with Ben Schwartz and Neil Casey, both a pleasure, and I had to stand outside explaining to people I knew from high school the etiquette of OKCupid in front of (but not to) my old high school crush.

“Look, the way it works,” I explained. “Is that you can’t just go and tell someone that you’re not interested that you want to be friends with them. If they just put themselves out there and had that expectation and you rejected them, fine no problem, but to say oh let’s hang out, is to say ‘I’m so awesome that even though I just rejected you and you are probably crushed you want to hang out with me despite that.”

That last part the crowd’s talk just seemed to part so my old crush from high school could hear.

But that’s good, fuck her.

I mean I’m sure she’s a nice person so I’m sorry, world, but really, I’m sick of people acting emotionally oblivious in dating situations.

Just not feeling it any more.

Yeah.

***

Sometimes, I just want to do something nice for myself.

There are those days, you know?

I was up early, I trapsed all the way to NYU, hadn’t eaten in over 12 hours in preparation for a fasted blood test, was wandering the streets woozy having only eaten a post-blood test banana I had been carrying around for an hour.

And I saw Les Halles right there on Park on my way to the train.

And just decided screw it, I’m going.

I don’t care if everything comes with “frites”.

My one concession to my diet was asking for whole-wheat bread for my sandwich, since it tastes great and that isn’t the fun part anyway.

My waiter somehow found it (despite it not being on the menu) and brought out my simple chicken sandwich, deliciously prepared.

As I sat on that Park Avenue sidewalk, my ‘wich was the envy of businessmen, passersby.

I relished my frites dipping them each individually, crunchilly into the waiting ketchup,

The herb mayo even complimented the sweetness of the whole grain bread.

I polished everything off with gusto.

And damnit.

I still weigh the same.

***

BRASSERIE LES HALLES

Sandwich de poulet, Frites: quatorze euros

À Avenue Parc entre les rue vingt-huit et vingt-neuf (28th et 29th)

Prenez le metro sixième (6) à la rue vingt-huit (28th St)

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to On The Chopping Block

  1. Elena Torregrossa says:

    Great post! Glad to hear you’re doing so well with your diet. Regarding the acne, i suffered for many years with cystic acne too and my dermatologist prescribed me Clindamyacin face wash and lotion. Both meds have helped me tremendously, and while I do get occasional break-outs, I never get anything like what I used to have 24/7. I also have stayed acne-free by using a few products from the brand Mario Badescu, specifically the cystic acne buffering lotion and the drying lotion. Helps keep me acne free and moisturized, which is essential in remaining acne free. Hope it works out for you and if you have any questions, feel free to email me.

  2. Bresnah says:

    Accutane changed my life. It’s rough while you’re on it for sure, but it really is the magic drug. Plus you can’t get pregnant, so that’s good. I think it might make babies squirrels, I’m not sure but I remember pregnancy being a really frowned-upon thing when I took it….but it’s been like 6 years and I’m cystic-acne-free.

    Good luck with everything!

  3. I think “No Parking Tuesday” is a great name for an emo-punk band, no?

    And, that sammy looks deLISH.

    -Lucky

  4. CAF says:

    i thought it was genuinely funny! esp when u poked her nose said fuck you and walked away.

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