Originally published January 14, 2022.
The War on Drugs
You make your own paella and take super long naps on Saturday. Like over two hours, consistently. You prefer the smallest possible hardware store with the oldest possible employees. You used to sincerely call male friends “brother,” but you stopped.
You should have moved to Brooklyn when you had the chance. You never had the chance. At what point does the artisanal whiskey interest become just alcoholism with a higher word count? You used to think you were once great at soccer, but now you’re not so sure you were ever good at soccer. This is causing a very low-level existential crisis that will vanish in three years.
What if your own sad dad had more shirts and more of a beard and more debt and more fun, and there was just more of him in general? Your Charles Bronson knowledge doesn’t need to be acknowledged. Your son’s friends know not to get you started on amps. You’ve never figured out your relationship with the idea of camping.
Your son’s friends like you and worry about you but they don’t tell your son this. You point out where things used to be when you drive around town, but all the things you point out are somewhat shady and confusing. Was that place a dance club? A friend’s house? Were there parties there or just a drug dealer? You may have misplaced your David Foster Wallace books in the last move, or your spouse quietly donated them. You like walnuts now.
You have a lot to say about the little restaurant on the coast where you’ve actually become good friends with the owner. He let you come by in the afternoon once and learn about cooking shellfish. You shake your head at the word “crypto.” Four of your friends are named Josh, and one dead friend is named Josh. You’re glad you don’t work in “business development” anymore. You wake up screaming sometimes.
Someone hurt you. Multiple someones, actually, and at some point, you just said fuck it and made a spreadsheet to keep track, deleted the spreadsheet, undeleted it, and stored it in a file titled PAST. You’re nearing a point where you like making pesto more than eating pesto. Never been a sports fan but might give hockey another try.
Father John Misty
You and your friends still drop Mr. Show references to each other over text. You haven’t had as many Zoom calls with them as you all said you wanted to have. You’ll inevitably watch any movie The Rock is in. Kayaks.
Look, you know that the term “PTA” puts a lot of people off but what if we could remake it in a way to really benefit the school AND the kids? Maybe there could be parents-only events at night, like at the brewpub, like a low-key fundraiser—I mean, hell, maybe your band can play. You also refer to Paul Thomas Anderson as “PTA,” and sometimes people don’t know which PTA you’re talking about.
Perhaps the most accurate term to apply to your situation is “seriously injured and lost in the woods.”
What are you on? What are YOU… ON? You’re on LIFE, man. Life and energy drinks. No, you haven’t heard from Jen in many years now. You heard she might have moved back to town, actually. You’re not on Facebook, because, yeah, that’s all you need, THOSE people listening in. Your bike is transportation to and subject of the protests you attend.
My Morning Jacket
You know how to cook an eel.
You’re fine working in software development. You’ve been there a long time, your friends are there, no one else in the company knows what the fuck you do all the time, but that’s because their brains can’t handle it. You don’t even like IPAs anymore. Your daughter moved back home.
You died seven years ago.
Death Cab for Cutie
Academia isn’t nearly as much fun as people think it is, but it’s nice being on the other side of the tenure process. You joined a rowing crew but your shoulder is all fucked up so you had to stop, for now anyway. Clearly, your fandom for The Bachelor can no longer be considered to be ironic. As you sit in the Adirondack chair in the backyard, an hour after sunset, you fire up a joint and a dissociative disorder.
The Mountain Goats
You have received sensible health care. You drive Toyota cars and your dalliance with a used domestic pickup that had character did not end well. Your tolerance for people telling you a lot about building a computer ends at the nineteen-minute mark, at which point you politely excuse yourself. Without explanation, you decline the escape room team-building event at work.
The New Pornographers
You’re pretty good at building fences, enough so that people ask you for help building their fences and then pay you a little something despite your protests. Should you just become a fence guy? Eh, you’ll stay with this finance thing for now. You are reading a book about naval mishaps.
You received a stand for your keyboard for Christmas. You can ski pretty well. Stephen Sondheim’s death hit you harder than you expected. You have mentally composed but never posted an OkCupid profile.
Turns out that if you really want to get anywhere in the commercial cannabis industry, it’s all about who you know.
Can someone really know all this stuff about cucumbers? You are proof that someone can. You have more of a comment than a question. You are giving the Catholic Church another chance. High-top Chuck Taylors hurt. You remember what making out felt like when you were seventeen years old, and you’re writing it down so you always will. Your sister had friends named Connie and Tracy that your dad called “Bonnie and Stacy,” and everyone in the house got audibly mad at him about it. You have a favorite sock brand.
Read a short interview with John Moe about writing this piece over on our Patreon page.