Enough is enough. At first I was flattered when Tristan chose me as the subject of his biography project for his ninth grade English class. I’ve heard all my life that I am a “character,” so it seemed appropriate to have an authorized biographer chronicle the first thirty-four years of my life. However, after obtaining a prepublication draft of Tristan’s final project, I am afraid I am withdrawing my endorsement of it, because IT IS COMPLETE BULLSHIT.
As a musician I am, of course, used to friendly chats with the media. What I am NOT used to is someone taking my life story and condensing it to five double-spaced pages of borderline slander. Here, for example, is Tristan’s overview of my musical career:
My cousin Thomas plays bass guitar. He wears little bells on his ankles when he plays but I’m not sure why he does that. He is pretty good but he’s not famous though so he has to live with his parents. His band is called Pretty Puppy. They’re really weird and make everyone laugh but they’re not supposed to be funny.
Uh, OK, last time I checked a biography was supposed to be grounded in FACTS. Tristan is in no place to judge my bass skills or make snide comments about my jam band. I could write nasty things about how bad he sucks at trombone, but I am trying to be the bigger man here. Also — pretty sneaky of the little Bieber-lookalike to correlate my music career with my living arrangements. Only, wait a minute: you live with your mom and dad, too, Tristan! (Oh, and I wear bells on my ankles for AUXILIARY PERCUSSION, IDIOT.)
The hatchet job doesn’t end there. I spent half an hour describing the intricacies of my position as Associate Rare Fungus Forager at the farmer’s market, yet here’s how Tristan summarized it:
Thomas doesn’t really have a job. Sometimes when the weather’s nice he goes in the woods for a few hours and gets plants, but “it’s more of an activity to keep him occupied and get him some fresh air than a real grown up job,” his mother told me. She said also that he never wakes up until after one in the afternoon, which is pretty cool and kind of weird.
I specifically told Tristan — multiple times! — not to talk to Mom. Come on!
When Tristan’s piece does make use of facts, he uses them to delve into several episodes of my life that I have moved past and didn’t enjoy seeing revisited:
When Thomas was my age he got in trouble a lot. He did not get good grades in school and one time my grandma says he got arrested for stealing a bag of marbles from Walmart, which is really weird. My cousin Carol says that Thomas once had a girlfriend for seven months in tenth grade but he never even kissed her because he was too scared.
Let me just give a big FUCK YOU VERY MUCH to Grandma and Carol for loading Tristan with such irrelevant gossip. I have been on this planet for thirty-four years, and THIS is what is relevant?
And not to seem petty, but as someone who spent twelve semesters as an English major, I am disgusted with Tristan’s biography for its stylistic shortcomings. Robert Caro he is not. His sentences lack variety. He apparently doesn’t know about a thesaurus, as he uses the word “weird” sixteen times. Hell, his opening for the essay is a question (Have you ever met someone you thought was really cool but turned out to be kind of not cool?). Uh, newsflash, Tristan: YOU’RE NOT IN MIDDLE SCHOOL ANYMORE. IF YOU’RE GOING TO SCREW ME AT LEAST DO IT WITH SOME ELEGANCE FOR GOD’S SAKE!
I have requested that Tristan rewrite his biography of me, and he has refused on the grounds that it would be “really hard and take a long time.” I have tried to meet him in person for a new set of interviews, but Diane won’t let me near Tristan because she’s scared I will “attack" him. (HEY DIANE, WHO ATTACKED WHOM FIRST, ANSWER ME THAT, OK?) So I am fighting fire with fire, and I need your help. I am writing a long-form oral history about Tristan that I plan to publish on my Facebook fan page. Please send me your top five moments of Tristan being sneaky and pathetic. Shouldn’t be hard.
This could have been productive for both of us. I never mentioned this to him, but I planned on hiring Tristan to ghostwrite my Wikipedia page. Not any more! At this point, he can either meet my demands and rewrite his biography of me, or I’m going to show him what a portrait of a loser really looks like!
Thanks for your help. Love you all,
P.S. Pretty Puppy is playing a gig on Tuesday night at the farmer’s market. We’re sort of headlining the open mic night. It starts at seven, no cover charge. Hope to see you there.