A sort of life

Paper trims stock tables

Michael:

As a avid reader of your sporadic column, I am writing to inquire about some missing parts in your serial biography: Who is this girl you keep talking about? What do you do for money if you dropped out of school (again?). Is your apartment as nice as it seems in the pictures, or do you just take a nice picture? Are you still selling your art? What is your art? Do you still like the Redskins? What is your favorite fast food item? Are you drinking? Do you speak Australian? Who are you doing editing work for? Why is it pro-bono? Does Bono still make music, or is he his own separate UN mission? If I shake you will you provide a yes or no answer? Are you willing to pay me $1,000 a month for the rest of my life whether I write or not in order to have exclusive rights to publish me? What was that universal code for the Sega Genesis? What ever happen to virtual reality? And, finally, while you’re out covering the world, who’s covering you?

Kisses where it hurts,

— Matthew P.

Let’s see if I can help you out. Ease your mind a bit:

Who is this girl I keep talking about? Which girl? There are many. A few here, a few there — they are all collectively a pain in my ass.

What do I do for money? I’m a high price hooker. I take it in the butt to put food on my table. No, of course I’m kidding. Though, if men we not involved I’d be game for such festivities. No, the real story is that I’m living off the interest from my failed entrepreneurial endeavors. Read into that what you will.

Is my apartment really that nice? Yes. Nice guy and nice digs means naked lady in aforementioned digs. Otherwise, I would choose to live in a cardboard box.

Am I selling my art? No. Nobody has ever bought my art, whatever “art” really means.

What is my art? People that call their work “art” are pompous assholes. I write, I paint and I take pictures. That is my art. I haven’t written for myself since Australia. I haven’t touched a paintbrush for six months. I stopped taking pictures when my grandfather died. That was more than a year ago.

Redskins? Talk about another pain in my ass. Yes, I still like the Redskins. And yes, I still cry in my soup every Sunday.

My favorite fast food item? I really don’t eat fast food, unless you consider the local pizzeria fast food. I do not. Last night I had them deliver a medium mushroom and olive pizza. Pepperoni makes me gassy.

Am I drinking? Right now, no. It’s about a half hour too early for my queasy stomach. Come noon, now that’s a different story. How else do you think I stay regular?

Do I speak Australian? No, but I can read it.

Editing work? Commonwealth Times.

Why pro-bono? Because I was too lazy to put my papers in at the beginning of the semester, and now that the semester is over for me, my papers would not be accepted if I did. Call it a “good standing” clause.

Does Bono still make music, or is he his own separate UN mission? I think he and Jolie enjoy the lucrative status of entertainers turned messiahs. Who can criticize these lovely folks after seeing footage of their bright and shining faces walk amongst dirty black Africans? It’s touching really. Could Jimmy Carter pull it off? Michael Jackson tried to position himself the same way with visits to orphanages in the early ’90s. Look how that turned out. As for Bono music, I hear he’s taking a break to rest his arthritic knees.

If you shake me will I provide a yes or no answer? No.

Am I willing to pay you $1,000 a month for the rest of your life whether you write or not in order to have exclusive rights to publish you? I’m not aware of any law on the books restricting the publishing of correspondence, unless of course, said correspondence is marked confidential. I’d probably publish anyway, so don’t start marking your letters as such. But I recognize that you have been a contributer of quality content, and I do owe you a bit of gratitude. However, if the writings here were ever picked up by a real publisher, I would promptly strike your work from the record to avoid having to pay you royalties. How’s that for gratitude?

What was that universal code for the Sega Genesis? I don’t know, I had a Game Genie.

What ever happen to virtual reality? The scientists all died while testing out Microsoft’s virtual intercourse module. Too strenuous, I think, is what their autopsies said.

And, finally, while I’m out covering the world, who’s covering me? Let me tell you Ice Man, I do just fine. I do just fine.

“Paper trims stock tables” is from Volume One: Frank’s Wild Years (1983–2009). Written between 2003 and 2009, Volume One was this author’s attempt to find meaning from life as a young twenty-something. While this endeavor would ultimately fail, what remains is a comical tale of loneliness and debauchery.

It sort of spooks you walking into an empty apartment

It sort of spooks you walking into an empty apartment

This writer's empty flat on Floyd Avenue in Richmond, Va. on June 15, 2006. It remained sparsely furnished for several weeks.