Sherman Alexie, “War Dances”

“Shit,” I said. “I have cancer.”

“Well,” my doctor said, “these kinds of tumors are usually noncancerous. And they grow very slowly, so in six months or so, we’ll do another MRI. Don’t worry. You’re going to be okay.”

“What about my hearing?” I asked.

“We don’t know what might be causing the hearing loss, but you should start a course of Prednisone, the steroid, just to go with the odds. Your deafness might lessen if left alone, but we’ve had success with the steroids in bringing back hearing. There are side effects, like insomnia, weight gain, night sweats, and depression.”

“Oh, boy,” I said. “Those side effects might make up most of my personality already. Will the ‘roids also make me quick to pass judgment? And I’ve always wish I had a dozen more skin tags and moles.”

The doctor chuckled. “You’re a funny man.”

I wanted to throw my phone into a wall but I said good-bye instead and glared at the tumorless people and their pretty tumorless heads.

I’d never read anything by Alexie until this essay and, I gotta say, I think I’d cope with a diagnosis somewhat similarly. Looking forward to learning how else we might align.

Like James Gunn, I’ve attempted to be transgressive or provocative when I write jokes. I was also an edgy teen before that. There are too many posts for me to ever sanitize. “Rape” and “retarded” tossed around flippantly. The n-word spelled out to make (unnecessary) rhetorical points about censorship. Sure, sexually-tinged jokes at the expense of minors.

But I also can’t and won’t ever be the director of a globally-popular superhero movie series. I doubt I’ll be recognized at a county-wide level, unless I fall down some stairs in a particularly funny way. So, like, sorry you didn’t consider your trajectory, James, when you took some shots at social mores. Society likes to shoot back.

On the positive side of comedy, today the New York Times contains a profile of Hannah Gadsby. If you haven’t watched Nanette yet, do so. It didn’t rock my world, but I’m swamped in progressive comedy and I dwell on it often. (I think I was most tickled by her cerebral, historically-evidenced line of material on Van Gogh.) The show she’s created is important and it’s accessible. Hannah demands her humanity and succeeds.

SIMULTANE STORY RESPO

Is the opposite of a red flag just a green flag? Why don’t we have a fair opposite to “red flag?”

I don’t think we talk about green flags enough. Because reluctance is a big part of conversations about dating, right? “Yeah, she seems cool, I guess. We’ll see where things go.” I think most of the time we’re falling in love with folks who are merely Okay, like they’re hot enough for you to fear losing them but they’re just generally Acceptable, and a big part of Accepting them is the comfort that they feel similarly about you. Then the red flags are the worst bits of them, the parts that make you say “what if he’s Unacceptable though?” Thenfor fair, healthy reasonsthey’re overlooked in the hopes that they aren’t planted too deep.

But shouldn’t love be about enjoying another person and then seizing onto the qualities that push them above and beyond? When I think of the women I’ve caught feelings for, it’s because I really like them, but then they’re also blowing my mind and making me laugh with these incidental phrases and body language and thoughts. Raising green flags left and right. Sure, shit may be unrequited, but I don’t really get bothered given that I’m excited to feel anything that shoots past my amiability toward all folks.

And dashing out “simultane story respo” off-the-cuff: massive green flag. I admit there’s probably some context missing, that you don’t know her personality and, even if you do know mine, you’ve got no idea how they interplay. Too bad; this is the most erogenous DM I’ve ever received.

I was stunned to remember that when I was fifteen years-old I once fit my twenty favorite songs on one disc as a mixtape for myself and others. Seeing as I’ve lived a whole second teenage lifespan, I’ve heard at least twenty more perfect songs. I’m not sure any can delete the others. A mixtape of my classics is no longer possible. It’s a five-disc set by Rhino.

I need to keep a list of what triggers Alexa, as a TV character saying “well, fuck, that sucks,” is the latest and likely greatest.

Rex Orange County, “Never Enough”

From an album of piano ballads comes this incongruous rollicking romp through self-pity.

No, don’t tell me you’re sorry
You’re just sorry for yourself
And though you may seem fine alone
I wanna be the one to help

There’s a college in Alabama called Samford University and if you are a student, that must be difficult information to share with people. “Stanford! Tree-mendous.” “Samfor-” “Because of the tree.” “In Ala-” “Calafornia, correct!”

I got to see a hawk swoop down on a smaller bird from about ten feet away today. Hawk missed. Looked clumsy as hell. Now I feel less fearful of them circling me.

snort

Upsetting that I’m now the prime demo for The New Yorker but not quite as upsetting as Luke’s chill at the prospect. I mean, c’mon, that’s a big favor by Chewie.