Category Archives: Pusillanimous

Tá Lá Fhéile Pádraig uafásach

When asked, I say I’m Venezue­lan, but my pale skin & freck­les, my blue eyes, and my tem­per tell a dif­fer­ent sto­ry. I’m a stum­bler, not a dancer. My rages are more singsong than oper­at­ic, my cru­el­ty more snub-nosed & self-hat­ing than the .50 cal­iber pee wee macho of a Hugo Chavez or a Tony Mon­tana. I’m real­ly Irish with a Span­ish name. Well, most­ly Irish. Or, more accu­rate­ly, I’m Irish enough ; I’m also Scot­tish and East­ern Euro­pean and Ashke­nazi, plus that soupçon of Iber­ian that comes with the sur­name. I’m so lit­tle of so much that I don’t care about any of it. No Venezue­lan pride. No secret Jew­ish squee. Too sub­ur­ban for my hill­bil­ly cred and too indif­fer­ent to claim any­thing Irish at all. (Unless indif­fer­ence is an Irish trait — I’ll nev­er know, though, because indif­fer­ence.) Plus I hate St. Patrick’s Day. I always have. When I was a kid, St. Patrick’s Day was about putting in the min­i­mal effort to avoid some dum­my pinch­ing you. That’s it. When I got old­er, I thought I’d dig the par­ty vibe, but I quick­ly learned St. Patrick’s Day com­bines in all the douchey drunk­en­ness of frat par­ties and spring break with dis­gust­ing food col­or­ing in the booze. And in the vom­it.

So it’s days like today that I’m dear­ly hap­py I live in Los Ange­les, a city so bereft of Irish peo­ple that we aren’t even on the map of Irish com­mu­ni­ties in the Unit­ed States :Irishmap

This is okay with me. I know right now most of my friends in New York and Boston and Chica­go are either get­ting drunk on green beer, vom­it­ing green beer, dodg­ing peo­ple vom­it­ing green beer, watch­ing parades next peo­ple about to vom­it green beer, or some nasty com­bi­na­tion of these.

Usu­al­ly I get city envy on hol­i­days here. Los Ange­les shows its sleepy provin­cial roots. New Years Eve and Fourth of July are par­tic­u­lar­ly dire. Restau­rants close at 11. Bars close at 2. But today, I was hap­py I had no idea it was St. Patrick’s Day until I over­heard two of the girls work­ing at the vet :

Are you doing any­thing tonight?”


St. Patrick’s Day, right ? Isn’t it?”

Oh, that’s right. Oh, wow. Now I got­ta stay home. All the bars are gonna be gross.”

Yes, yes they are.

T + 48

This is the sec­ond day since I delet­ed my Face­book account. I joined back in 2009, so that’s sev­en years of posts, com­ments, threads, friend­ships, “friend­ships”, and more gone for­ev­er. I don’t have to look back very far here to see that I’ve tried deac­ti­vat­ing my account in order to gain some sep­a­ra­tion from all the things whirling around in the world. I’ve tried it a few times. It didn’t work. I’m an idiot child. I’ll fol­low any dis­trac­tion through the trees and into the rape van it’s got parked behind the com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter. Not that Face­book is a rape van, but it is, kind of.

So I delet­ed it. It wasn’t hard. I like scorch­ing the earth behind me, leav­ing nowhere to go but ahead. A bunch of years back, some­one robbed my house and took my cold weath­er coats, my stereo, and my lap­top. I didn’t have any­thing backed up. Every­thing I’d writ­ten since grad school through the first three years of my career was gone. Sto­ries, let­ters, poet­ry. I wasn’t upset though. I felt lighter, freer And I felt an urgency to go out and make new things.

I’ve gained at least two hours per day over the last cou­ple days. It’s ridicu­lous but it’s true. I’m not all chum­my with my phone any­more either. I don’t check it when I wake up. I don’t don’t check it dur­ing the day. I hard­ly look at it at all. I know I’m miss­ing out on stuff. My friends from every­where are writ­ing smart, hilar­i­ous things and shar­ing art I’d want to see. I’m already out of the loop on all the lat­est out­rages and gaffes and rev­e­la­tions and lis­ti­cles and deaths and sta­tis­tics and out­rages, again. It real­ly is a loop, accel­er­at­ing, feed­ing back, blow­ing apart and then reform­ing, giv­ing me no time to sit in the after­noon breeze and won­der what’s hap­pen­ing with me.

Let’s Come to An Understanding

Let’s come to an under­stand­ing. The party’s over. There’s not going to be any more of that elec­tric hard-on music. No more of you and her pop­ping out from behind fur­ni­ture and mess­ing with me when I’m just try­ing to answer the door. All that hec­tic prat­tle she invent­ed, that baby talk, that’s fin­ished. You want to say some­thing, use Eng­lish. It works a twat­load bet­ter than your squeals and chirps and what­ev­er that shit is she does with her cheeks. 

I’m not becom­ing “impe­r­i­al” or what­ev­er. I’m just try­ing to get back to the way it was. It was fine. We were always say­ing how it was hor­ri­ble, that we rode the horse into the sea. But you know what ? It was­n’t that bad. Not like this. 

First there was Dad­death. There was lit­tle Bethdeath in the pool — I was the only one home, and I had to fish her out and car­ry her through the orchard, and you think that was easy, that I wasn’t tear­ing my skin off while Lena keened and Bryce puked in the gar­den ? Then that ass­hole bik­er laid his motor­cy­cle down in my lane going eighty. I remem­ber his hands flut­ter­ing like moth wings, that’s how hard he was try­ing to stop before I ran him over. So that was the first year. 

And then what ? Some bac­te­ria got aggres­sive. Thou­sands dead. Every orange in the state gets incin­er­at­ed. But that’s all it was. It passed, but you can’t let it go. All that oth­er shit you and her have been say­ing, it blows up easy on every­body’s feed, but it’s not real.

Stop. I’m just try­ing to catch my breath. How can I hurt you, Don­ny, when all I do all day is try to avoid piss­ing you off ? You. Her. Both of you. I don’t know — look at my hands shak­ing. That start­ed two nights ago and it has­n’t stopped.

She was hun­gry and you got out of con­trol again. I tried to get away, but the truck would­n’t start, so I ran out into the orchard, and you and her chased me. The fuck you did­n’t, Don­ny. I tripped and rolled into the irri­ga­tion ditch. You ran right past and nev­er saw me. But I saw you. She was on your shoul­ders, whip­ping you across the eyes. You could­n’t see but you yelled my name, and when you ran by, I saw your feet, and they were two inch­es off the ground.

I know you can’t fly, tool. It’s her.