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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ON WAR

A very curious thing happened on my way to the Rite Aid, Guess Road, Durham, North Carolina, the other evening.

At the exact position you see on this blog post, NPR reported that two American troops had been killed in Afghanistan during routine patrols in one of the country's rural provinces. I suppose we are conditioned to this sort of news; I focused on navigating through rush-hour threads of cars all trying to exit the freeway and make their way to either Duke's East Campus or the near west neighborhoods of Durham. But my father, sitting in the passenger seat--himself a federal employee and vocal opponent of both wars our country are currently fighting--let out an audible sigh and exclaimed "Jesus Christ," under his breath.

I kept driving, concentrating on getting into the correct lane for Broad Street. A few seconds later I couldn't help but ask, "what's wrong?" He replied "They're dropping like flies over there."

I reminded him that rules of engagement are not one-sided. It's a horrible fact that our soldiers are dying at the hands of an enemy that we have decidedly declared uninhabitable in their current state. People are going to shoot back when you target them, I said. I am all for the American effort in Afghanistan. But I am not surprised when the people of that country--so long besieged, so intent in their specific cultural vision--fight back against a perceived threat.

"But we've had nine years," my father replied. "They got in, killed so many and let [the Taliban chiefs implicitly responsible for the 9/11 attacks] get away."

"Well, there are a lot of issues at play," I responded. "You can't just go in and get out if things don't work out the way you want."

"Yeah," he said.

We crossed Perry Street, smooth cruising to Guess Road.

"There is a lot of money involved in this... Nation-building is a big business these days, that was in that book I read," I said.

"What book?"

"Imperial Life in the Emerald City," I said. "It's pretty eye-opening. People are making dollars every second this unrest continues."

"Right, that book," my father replied.

It's not about the books you read, or your viewpoint on the current wars. Facts are facts. Soldiers are dying every day. My father immigrated to this country in 1979. It wasn't until our drive off the freeway and his breathed "Jesus Christ" that I really got goosebumps about what it means to be an American. Helpless, concerned, optimistic, upset when that optimism continually comes back in your face as harsh reality. Even with the gentle tones of an NPR newswoman.

One car, amidst millions in this country, at rush hour. One conversation, in a car, between two Americans of disparate ages.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

LUNCHES, BRUNCHES, INTERVIEWS BY THE POOL; CONSIDERED THE FOOL BECAUSE I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL

Jeff: SNOPY

me: gime snopy

Jeff: Snopy performs minor surgery on himself before walking out to meet his date. he is dressed in leftover chicken-skin. It was different in Prague and he liked it.

me: Snopy sits in his darkened bedroom fingering the Fender Strat delicately. He'll write the song that opens her heart, he will.

Jeff: Snopy looks out over the city with a great weight on his aura. As great as his penthouse suite is, he cannot help the grief. He calls in his secretary to see if she'll give him head. Always helps.

me: Snopy hits the gas and burns rubber on the Dulles Toll Road. The sun is shining, the radio plays his favorite song. His cell phone lights up with her name on the screen. 'This can't be real,' he thinks. Birds circle overhead.

Jeff: No one knows pain like Snopy. He places another two quarters in the slot and plays nudie photo hunt. He gesticulates wildly as the time winds down on a particularly hard one. He takes a wild guess and wins.

me: Snopy absorbs Beanie Sigel's immaculately placed punch to the throat. The whole bar turns to look and an ominous silence descends on the dusty old joint. "Dude Looks Like A Lady" begins blaring from the juke box as if on cue.

Jeff: Snopy creates space with a hard crab-dribble. Sure, it's only legal because he's a star. He careens through the lane for tough reverse layup and one. The jumbotron speakers cry of "DE-FENSE" makes him chuckle. They forgot to turn it off.

me: Snopy discreetly barfs up his Lunchables ham and cheese crackers behind the 7-11. That bully won't leave him alone. He's done nothing wrong. Why'd they have to move? Is life always gonna be this tough?

Jeff: Snopy wakes up to the Indian woman next door singing out of tune. He considers yelling "IT'S 8:30 YOU STUPID HINDI BITCH," but he pours a glass of orange-tangerine juice and puts on ESPN First Take instead. That fucking Skip Bayless is full of shit.

me: Snopy pierces Christian Laettner's heart with his gargantuan cock. Cameron Indoor Stadium swells to a roar as the strobe lights trigger. Dick Vitale explodes.

Jeff: There were three sides to Snopy: a strange mixture of ostrich-like reactions, brilliance in artistic form and charm when one got to know him. He was, in his way, the beginning and end of any conversation; the quelling of human emotion at its most dramatic point.

me: The wind shook the elms as we stood on the patio smoking silently. In hours we'd be off to Hertfordshire, for the old woman's funeral. But in that stillness, in the featureless time between midnight and the first faint light of dawn, SNOPY MADE ME HEH HEH

i'm really quite concerned about our sanity

Jeff: Snopy corners you in your home. You reach for your mace, but he he is so strong. He looks you in the eye-- only inches from your face and demonically smiling. He says, "WHARS ME TOOTHPICK? YOU'VE HAD YOUR LAST HEHEH"

me: Snopy hurt me oh so bad

Jeff: I don't know, Paul, we've lost it.

me: women aren't attracted to this jarf. they don't like men who are BATSHIT INSANE

Jeff: so tru

me: FUCK EM. SNOPY FOREVER AND EVER

Jeff: that explains why I am sitting around naked as a jaybird listening to sad folk music

me: i am hours away from getting drunk again

Friday, December 12, 2008

I'VE BEEN BUSY

[14:26] paul at sonic: do you like pepsi
[14:26] Bigteef100: no. not really
[14:26] paul at sonic: it's the taste of the carolinas

[14:27] paul at sonic: joey do you like pepsi
[14:27] whatsupjoey: yeah i prefer it to coke
[14:27] paul at sonic: it's the taste of the carolinas

[14:33] paul at sonic: hey stan do you like pepsi
[14:34] staaaaaaan: WELL HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES
[14:34] staaaaaaan: yeah pepsi's fine i guess
[14:34] paul at sonic: it's the taste of the carolinas

[14:29] paul at sonic: aaron do you like pepsi
[14:29] Dovetailer5280: no
[14:30] Dovetailer5280: i'm all about the RC cola
[14:30] paul at sonic: it's the taste of the carolinas

[14:32] paul at sonic: joey do you like pepsi
[14:38] paul at sonic: answer me goddamnit

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

PIER ONE LIVEBLOG

Gotta get some wicker baskets.

This song sucks. OH MANDY YOU CAME AND YOU WROTE ME AN E-BOOK. I am fucking drunk!

What's with all these stories about tarantulas jumping out of bunches of bananas at the grocery store? You're probably saying "that's an urban legend". Well if that's the case, how come when I Google it ten times a day I inevitably find an article about it? Arachna-what? Is that the pottery place near Fayetteville? [This reference will only make sense to North Carolina residents from 1992-1994, and maybe not even them. --Ed.]

Nothing says loving like a tattoo of your kid's school district on your lower back, ain't that right, Tiffany, Assistant To The Manager?

I remember the day John Candy died. It was a pretty good afternoon, actually. Puppy love. Oh sorry, I thought you were the Assistant To The Manager.

These wicker baskets are all the wrong size!

I'm suing Pier One and its parent company, Bang Bros. Productions, for every goddamn dime. I've been driving around this town for two hours drinking whiskey from one of your vases but you just lost a customer.

These pillows all look so comfortable!

It's night? Well gat damn.

Who decided to call 'em 'cat tails' anyways? The native americans? Well, all right!

They got this island out by the coast where the horses run wild and every year they fly around in helicopters blowin' their brains out. It's just like the opening of Magnum P.I.. What? Oh right, not the assistant to the manager, I forgot.

I'm no scientist but here's a scientific breakdown of who reacts the worst to public urination:

Children (23%)
Cops (10%)
Pier One Manager (67%)

What the hell is so special about Pier One anyways? What about piers 2-198? I was in San Francisco and we went to Pier 39 and I shot a bunch of pilgrims with a gun that spat nickels. It was a game, yeah, but it made my dick hard just like the real thing, Tiffany.

I love this fucking song! FINALLY IT'S HAPPENED TO MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

September 12, 2000

Monday, June 30, 2008

DINNER TIME


Ice T is a real pain in the ass. Picks food off your plate with his bare hands without asking. Talks about asses through the whole conversation, even though your date is quite visibly uncomfortable. At one point he leans back in his chair, toothpick dangling, raises his sunglasses and says "So what do YOU wanna do about it, homeboy?" Everyone else in the place seems to be having fun.



Ice Cube shows up around sunset in a Raiders jersey, which dismays you a bit but it's an informal dinner at your house so whatever. You give him the grand tour and in the kitchen he meets your wife who is tending to a steaming pot of boiling pasta. Suddenly he pulls you aside to the laundry room. Grinning, he quietly suggests you just order a couple of pizzas. There is a tense silence as he stares at you, still smiling.



Richard Kind is two hours late, muttering something about bridge traffic, which is odd because we live in Reseda. He has a couple of bottles of wine with the labels peeled off. He may or may not have tracked dog shit into the foyer. As you sit and watch him gobble deli meats from a plastic plate (he brought his own) you casually mention that you heard he is good friends with George Clooney. Cue two hours of hurt expressions and a lot of hand to the forehead, exclaiming "I am a man with a fragile soul." The other guests left hours ago.



Nelly invites you to his house in suburban Webster Groves for brunch. You figure why not, he will be entertaining at least. Visibly nervous Nelly greets you in the driveway in a Lakers jersey and tuxedo pants. His house is huge but has practically no furniture. When you comment on the smoky condition of the kitchen you notice the dozen or so empty boxes of Eggo waffles tossed outside onto the back porch. An hour later, sitting on the floor, Nelly hands you a silver platter of scorched waffles. His arm is trembling.



Jeff Gordon drives up the front entrance of the wine bar in a 1995 Honda Accord, which is really disconcerting. He seems aloof. The whole time he checks his Blackberry and follows the bartender with his eyes. You try to compliment his new haircut but he cuts you off mid-sentence and goes to the restroom. Another disappointment, you think to yourself, remembering that bottle of painkillers you have left over from back surgery in the rear of your medicine cabinet.



Raekwon calls you at the office one Friday afternoon and says "meet me downstairs in fifteen minutes." Within hours you're on a private jet to Naples, drinking champagne and discussing whether Pizzeria Mozza really can hold a candle to Chris Bianco's operation. 24 hours later you recline in the grass on a hillside near Battipaglia, enjoying the sunset and a bottle of Malvasia Bianca. You lean on one elbow and say "Rae, this has been the best weekend of my life." Rae looks at you with a piercing stare and replies, "nigga, I know that."



Chris Kattan screams "food fight!" and is promptly shot by your security detail.



Thursday, June 19, 2008

GO SHORTY, IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY



Five years ago tonight I came back from a run in Duke Forest and sat down at my computer. After about 30 minutes of surfing porn on dial-up I decided I really wanted to write more and post it to the web for anyone to find it. This Is Depression was born.

In June of 2003 I was fresh out of college with a degree in Screenwriting and no job prospects whatsoever. I had applied at seemingly every company in the Raleigh/Durham area but to no avail; I was literally thinking about applying to Burger King just to be able to claim a paycheck from somewhere. Needless to say, things were not going well. I was living at home with my dad and trying my best to kick the 12-beers-per-evening habit I'd maintained for the previous four years in college.

Eventually, I found a job, saved up some money, and by Fall I had moved to NYC. Now, five years on, many things are different, and many things are the same. But I honestly look back fondly on that first summer, when I'd write TID posts in my sunny office on Six Forks in North Raleigh, or when I'd zoom home on I-40 from work with a fresh idea in my head that just had to go on this site. I was 22, I was writing whatever came to my head, life was great.

So thanks, TID, for five years of being a creative outlet for me when I was too lazy to craft anything else. Thanks so much also to the few but very cherished readers out there who have written me emails in the past saying how much they enjoyed the site. I really am truly humbled. If you're somewhat new to TID, all I ask is that you bear with me; I'll keep on with it--I know I've been lazy recently. Expect big things soon enough and if you haven't ever looked through some of that stuff from '03-'05, give it a shot. Some of it might make you laugh, some of it might bore you, but know without a doubt that what you're reading is an honest reflection of my life during those years where I wasn't sure of anything.

Thank you all so much.

Love,

PN

Monday, May 19, 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT

So a couple of weeks ago we were all sitting around drinking in our living room. We ended up playing this infernal drinking game called Clink-It that Sharkey always insists on. It gets you really drunk, really fast.

I ended up registering a domain name that I regret getting now. I had to do something with it so I decided to create This Is Depression Express. You should visit there often. This Is Depression will still be in full effect, but TID Express will be a repository for my briefer thoughts (meaning it will be frequently updated). It might also have links to shit you like. So... Go there. That's all the news for now. Hope you're all well.

Bonus points if you can find out which URL I registered that auto redirects to the new blog.

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