Thursday, March 20

You Have No Idea What 'Having No Idea' Means.

You Don't, You Know.

When I was an criminally underweight Freshman in high school, there was this girl that I spent a large amount of time with, we'll call her 'Margaret.' My friendship with Margaret was solid and rare; we cheated off of each others' tests, we exchanged idiotic notes throughout the school day and advised each other through short-term relationships, crushes and obsessions. It was a pretty decent and worthwhile arrangement; one of those situations where everyone naturally assumed that we were a couple, and we would just nod and play along, certain that our platonic agreement was cooler and stronger.

Now that I'm older, I know for a fact that platonic relationships are impossible. You cannot be friends with someone of the opposite or desired gender without wanting to sleep with them in some capacity.

So, as these stories go, our solid friendship was to be short-lived, thanks in part to the contents of my pants. I eventually fell hard for Margaret, far outside the reaches of what a strong friendship could provide, and felt it necessary to destroy the good thing we had going for the chance at a more physical and advanced form of bodily communication. I knew going in that it was sabotage, but something had to give. I couldn't look at her anymore without wanting to tell her. I couldn't hear another story about a bad date without begging her to let me make things right. I couldn't even eat or listen to the radio. Surely, a friendship this strong would only be strengthened by this revelation, right?

I actually believed that. I also listened to Marilyn Manson, so... yeah.

As detailed in the classic CDP essay, 'No Scents Whatsoever,' my attempt to cross into this forbidden territory was tragically shot down by what could be accurately described as a gaffe of Shakespearean proportions. Margaret turned me down in the most unexpected way possible, our friendship hit the wall and I almost ended up getting arrested for indecent exposure.

'No Scents Whatsoever' is also featured in 65 Poor Life Decisions, which you should order right now. In fact, you should read that essay in order to get all caught up. Go on, I'll wait.


'No Scents Whatsoever' only told the funny part of the story, though. The 'let's all laugh at the poor kid who whizzed everything down his leg at the football game' part. What happened the next day was far more interesting, deep and somewhat damaging.

Upon returning to school, I knew I had to do something, say something, to hopefully justify my actions and attempt to get things with Margaret back to the way they once were. We almost instantly ran into each other; the once-simple transitions and conversation now awkwardly vacant. We both had some serious explaining to do.

ME - "Hey. We should probably talk."

MARGARET - "Hey. I know."

ME - "Look, I'm sorry for messing everything up by trying to mine something that wasn't there. I didn't think it through, and I know it's going to be impossible to go back to the way things were, but..."

Margaret cut me off.

MARGARET - "I just...I can't go out with you right now. I'm really sorry."

The tone in her voice suggested that she wasn't necessary believing the words she was saying. This conflicted me, but more than anything, it pissed me off.

ME (still frustrated and embarrassed) - "Well, why the hell not? Because I know your secrets? Because my jaw clicks all loud when I eat? Because I wear the same stupid cologne that your dad wears? Why can't this work?"

MARGARET (incredulous and saddened) - "Ryan, I can't go out with you because you don't believe in God."

My eyes got wide, and I shut down. Right there, in the middle of a crowded high school hallway, the two of us hit a moral and emotional crossroads that was still probably years out of our league to correctly tackle. Somehow, through our several months of wonderful friendship and happiness, we never allowed a massive topic like religion butt in and ruin the party with its polarizing attitude and smug grin. However, this was clearly an issue that Margaret took seriously. Seriously enough to turn down a relationship with someone close to her.

MARGARET - "I...I just can't do it. I'm sorry. It's not like I don't want to...I just can't."

I didn't know what to say. Part of me wanted to beg her to shake it off and give this oily heathen a chance. Part of me wanted to hold her and praise her for being so deeply rooted and mature in her faith. Yet another part of me wanted to know how she was so sure I was an Atheist. I had never mentioned my beliefs to her explicitly; I'm assuming she simply took a cue from all my terrible jokes and constant mocking of organized religion. Either way, she jumped the gun.

If you asked me if I believe in God right now, I'd say 'not really.' Had you asked me at the age of 14, however, I probably would have said yes. In any case, how do you respond to a statement like that? It's not like Margaret told me she disliked my haircut, or that I listened to terrible music. I couldn't remedy the situation by saying 'I'll try harder next time!' or 'I can learn!' This was serious. An issue of faith that had no room for a guy like me. I could be her friend, we could even grow to love each other as friends, but she would never be mine unless one of us drastically changed their spiritual views.

I was dumbfounded. I had reached the Boss Level with no cheat codes. It was over.

ME - "Are we going to be....okay?"

MARGARET - "Yeah, we're cool. We just can' know."

ME - "Yeah, I know...I think."

Wow. All that stuff I did for her to show that I was quality best friend and boyfriend material wasn't even close to cutting it. She didn't need someone who was willing to borrow her a shirt after a lunchroom food fight covered her own with pineapple juice. She didn't need someone that bought her an ice cream cone every day after school. She needed someone to pray with. Someone to attend church with. Someone to court her. A jock or preppie guy was the usual sort of challenge I was used to overcoming when it came to women, but this?

Jesus Christ, why didn't any of this come up earlier?

As previously stated, I knew I wasn't possessing the mental facilities to properly re-evaluate my entire stance on spirituality during my Freshman year. If you need proof of my immaturity, know that at the time of the argument, I was wearing a shirt that said '69' on it. All I knew was that I wanted to go out with her, and this new roadblock driven between the two of us wouldn't go away until our friendship was completely off the rails. I had to do something to keep Margaret close, protect our bond, slap God directly in the face and prove to everyone that I was able to go to the next level for her.

For most women, this would be a show of gratitude; like meeting her parents or ceasing communication with ex-girlfriends. For Margaret, this meant church.

And I was in.

There was a teen-centered church service that Margaret liked to go to every Wednesday night in the city. It was one of those places where the minister wore blue jeans, boasted a goatee and desperately attempted to phrase the words of Jesus in a way that apathetic teens would understand and care about. Decent music was played. Coffee was sold. Candles were lit in the darkened, small conference area, and I was there with Margaret, wondering just how far I'd go to prove a point or see her in her bra.

I tapped my feet and hands simultaneously under the table, trying to ward off a panic attack as claustraphobia and religious anxiety sank in. I looked over at Margaret, who was saying hello to friends and placing her order.

MARGARET - "Coffee?"

ME - "Uh, no. I don't drink coffee."

MARGARET - "Wow, I had no idea!"

I thought to myself, "You clearly have no idea what 'having no idea' means. I'm sitting here, waiting for Mr. Biblepants McGee up there to start blowing smoke up my ass about the paradise of accepting God's love, when all I really want is yours."

Instead, I just said:

ME - "Well, you learn something new every day. I'll take a bottle of non-blessed water, please."

MARGARET - "Oh, you're hilarious."

Fun Fact for you. I was raised Catholic. Catholic mass, for those out of the loop, is basically an hour-long punishment every Sunday morning. You show up, exclaim to the world that you're a worthless and flawed human being, beg forgiveness and give thanks to God for allowing you to live. At the age of 14, this was the only religion I knew, and I was preparing for more of the same as I chewed my nails to the marrowbone and wondered if this was all really worth it.

I've done a lot of things to win the affection of women. I've written beautiful songs and poems. I've driven hundreds of miles and talked for hours on end. I've spent money I didn't have for gifts I didn't understand. I even got punched in the face a couple times. But none of that compared to the uncharted, uncomfortable waters I was wading into. I peeled the wrapper off of my water bottle and the service began.

Of course, the night went well. The pastor did a good job of reminding me that Jesus was a fairly amazing guy, and no matter what I believe concerning my mortal soul in the hereafter, it wouldn't hurt to try to remember some of the interesting teachings and words of the Big J. Same goes for other visionaries, like Buddha or even Martin Luther King. That, I could honestly handle, and even now as an adult, I hold a certain amount of faith in the words of prophets, just not the way they are perverted, twisted and used as a weapon by some of his closest followers.

I feel the same way when an e-mail floats around that was incorrectly attributed to George Carlin or Kurt Vonnegut. Stop disgracing the name, people!

Throughout the night, I was on my best behavior. I bowed my head when everyone else did. I shredded my napkin to bits when I got bored. Each time I heard something that I wanted to dispute with every fiber of my cynical and humanistic being, I just looked over at Margaret and thought about what I'd be missing out on by being an asshole. "Get your mind right," I reassured myself. "It's for the greater good."

I ended up going back to the church with her for most of the Summer after my Freshman year. Our friendship bloomed back into the rare and wonderful thing it used to be, and we both settled into the harsh realization that we're better friends than lovers. By the time Summer was over, we were both seeing other people, and we were happier for it.

I'm glad that I was pushed out of my comfort zone, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. I knew that she knew, too, and she made a point to let me know that she appreciated it. We both knew that I'd never be the guy to complete a successful courtship. The guy to save his virginity until marriage. The guy that voluntarily gave his time to organized religion for any reason other than a friend's companionship. At the end of the day, we both emerged a little smarter, a little further apart, and a little more aware that we were absolutely horrible for each other. When Sophomore year started, we were too busy and preoccupied to speak to each other.

Six years later, while I was working at the hardware store, Margaret walked in. We exchanged a few words and e-mail addresses, with the mutual promise that we wouldn't lose touch with each other again. That was the last time we spoke.

So basically, you would do anything for love, but you wouldn't do that. Wow.

Can you imagine the blowback if a nonbeliever refused to date someone based solely on his being a Christian? Oy vey. Not only would our pool of eligible dates be comically small, people would call us idiots.
Indeed. In retrospect, if someone told me that I needed to do that in order to go out with them today, I'd laugh my ass off. I can reflect on this somewhat fondly and humorously now, though. I probably deserved to be thrown through the ringer.

Of course, it goes without saying that this essay is less about religious discussion and more about relationships in general.
And then she proceeded to date Vinny. She wasn't none too smart. (<--funny)
And then I got punched in the face. Geez, does this story need a Part 3?

Yeah, I came out of this whole thing on top, if I may say so myself.
You just need to write a book called "Vinny"
And have Vinny write the intro.
Or another good one.. "I Married My Wife Because I Didn't Have to Do Stupid Stuff To Make Her Like Me (Or Not As Much Stupid Stuff, Anyway)"
I didn't have to do much, just become a totally rad punk rock superstar. Besides, drummers don't have to try hard.
This great essay has me thinking. I don't think I can read this blog anymore unless you compromise an essential value. We need to be on the same page right? So I think I'm not alone in needing you to cave in to your egotistical desire for readership. you must make a grand gesture. You must eat bacon... or admit We built this city is a pretty catchy tune. Your choice.
We Built This City fricken rules...I don't see why it's so hard to admit.
Mmm-hmm, I saw this coming. Funny.

You won't believe it, but I actually was just thinking about some sort of CDP publicity stunt I could do to coincide with the writing of my next book. I was thinking about a 24 hour Stickam Sleep Deprivation Marathon.

Basically, I would set up shop in Stickam for 24 straight hours, answer questions, work on the book and create general hijinx and tomfoolery.

Exact date to be determined.
BLU - That's harsh.

CDP - First off, you're right: drummers don't have to try. We are inherently awesome.

Secondly, though the essay is great and illustrates an interesting point, I have to respectfully disagree with your assertion that platonic relationships between people of the desired sex are impossible. They're fairly improbable, but I've had several that, at least for me, never evolved into wanting anything more. I can't speak for the other party, but I'm fairly certain I'm not enough of a hot sex magnet that all of them secretly wanted me. Just sayin'.

EVERYONE - Happy spring! Those of us in Wisconsin will be celebrating the occasion by completely not enjoying the final blast of snow that is to hit us this evening.
The platonic statement was the only one that I wasn't entirely sure of on a broad level. I'm only speaking personally of course, and I totally understand what you're saying. In my experiences, however, it's hard for my brain to work in the capacity of having respect, admiration and chemistry with another woman and not at least considering the thought of physical intimacy. As much as I want to admit that it's possible and I could pull it off, I'd probably always be thinking about it in the back of my head. I'm not a pig or anything, it's just human nature.

If that woman also happens to be a drummer, then it's truly impossible. You should see my new electronic kit; it's funky fresh.

Ahh, the Late March Snowstorm. A Wisconsin tradition, as Winter gives us all one last boot in the testicles before it's ushered out the door.

Well played, Winter. You're a magnificent bastard.
The opposite-sex friendship works only if the friend is 100% totally taken and so are you. Like me and Ryan and best friends with Ben and Sherry, who are also a married couple. Sometimes there was jealousy in the early stages of the dating and mingling, but now they're just the people that come over and sit on my couch. So it's possible in that regard.

But not 2 single people. No way, no how.
Right, it doesn't count if someone is taken. Then it doesn't matter what you think.

It's like Shotgun Rules. Calling Shotgun is always up for grabs, provided that the driver's significant other isn't in the car. Otherwise, they get shotgun, no questions asked.
The opposite-sex friendship works only if the friend is 100% totally taken and so are you.

...But not 2 single people. No way, no how.

Or a married person having more than a casual friendship with a single person of the opposite sex. Unless your SO is absolutely the most secure person on the planet.
Good call, Maus. Marriage also throws a monkeywrench into the whole thing. If the Missus brought her single male friend over for dinner, I'd probably have a few questions for him.
The last girl who told me that she couldn't date me ended up marrying me but there was no Jesus involved.
Clearly I'm going to have to interview several of my past and present close male friends and find out if they ever thought about doin' me. Inquiring minds needs to know.

Otherwise, I'm living proof that it's possible for single people to have platonic relationships. I wasn't in any kind of romantic relationship until almost 4 years ago. Prior to that, it was total solo sailing, and I had good male friends, too.


OK, I'm done being a pain. So, about that electronic kit....
WILL - Hard to get, but not too hard. That's a good combination; The Missus was the same way.

EMILY - I look forward to hearing the results of your findings...hopefully sexy results.

You may be a rare exception to the rule, and I'm not denying that possibility. Furthermore, I haven't met you in person yet; perhaps you give off a very platonic vibe, minus all the innocent fondling and whatnot.

It's Business Time, Baby.
I like to refer to When Harry Met Sally... for matters like these:

"...because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her."

"So, you're saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?"

"No. You pretty much want to nail them too."

Furthermore, two people that have had a relationship in the past cannot be friends once said relationship is over. "I would like us to be friends" may actually be a desire for teh two people ending a relationship, but come on. It can't happen. Take my former lovah, we'll call him Tom. He doesn't understand why me and my husband (of two months, mind you) don't want to hang out with him all the time once he moves back to Atlanta this summer. Seriously?

"Is it because your husband threatened by me?"

Yeah. That's it. I married him, not you, didn't I? :)
If the Missus' ex showed up in Madison and wanted to hang out, I wouldn't do it without a fair amount of hand-wringing and thoughts of a possible triple-homicide. It's just uncomfortable, you know?

It's pretty rough having a weiner.
Seriously, I don't envy you the wieners.

As for your kit, that looks pretty good. I'd like to have an electronic kit some day, but I'm far more interested in acquiring random acoustic percussion instruments and that kind of distracts me from the pursuit. Doesn't stop me from totally rocking out on friends' electronic kits, when available. :)
Any woman will justifiably tell you how difficult it is to be a female, and I fully and completely understand that. Having a weiner ain't exactly a picnic, though.

For me, getting an electronic kit has to do with me living in an apartment, and my normal kit being very depressing to play with thick silencers in the basement. With this kit, I can just put the headphones on or run it through an amp, and your iPod hooks right up through it so you can play along to any music.

I quit heavy drinking a couple weeks ago, so I needed something to fill the gap of whatever fun I was having drunk. It's also good for writer's block.
It was pretty sad hearing the dull thud of silenced drums coming from the basement.

I'm very glad that the CDP can rock out in full force now, and with all sorts of fun sounds too! And all this can be done in the confines of headphones. It's beautiful, really.
It's also allowing me to get a little better with certain things. I did mainly punk rock for about 8 years, so I picked up a lot of bad rudimentary habits.

Drumming naked, for example.'s hard to have a weiner.
This conversation has gone way off-track.

I'll blame...let's see...oh, what the hell...Carrot Duff.
Funny...I had a similar situation in high school, except she wouldn't date me because of my atheism and drinking.
Look, just because the poor guy lives on the other side of the pond and can't easily retaliate in person doesn't mean you need to rag on him all the time.

That said, Carrot Duff goes to Duke! Or is a duke...I'm not sure how it works over there exactly.
JT - Maybe the name of my new book should be 'C*ckblocked By Jesus.'

I couldn't not say that. I just couldn't.

EMILY - Duke Carrot Duff. Thy will be done.

Duff will be happy to know that I used some of his ultra-crisp money to enter myself into the office NCAA pool. And now that Georgia is out, I'm officially screwed as far as my Cinderella team is concerned.
I'm thrilled.


My speakers still don't work.


My e-string broke.


My friends have stopped talking to me for no apparent reason.


And I'm sitting at home on the computer talking to a bunch of Americans I don't even know.

Feel that raw teen angst.
Oh, I feel it. It's thick and minty. Sorry about your e-string.

Do you wear a uniform to school, or is that just certain British schools?
The whole shaniz. Ginger hair really doesn't go with a navy blue blazer.

So I dyed it black, but now I'm getting depressed all the time.

Srsly wtf!?
Dyed black hair = depressed all the time. Also black tinted pillows. Didn't you get the handbook?

And speaking of punk rock (I swear, it came up a minute ago), this just made me pee myself a little. Ooooh yeah.
Hmm...normally it's the other way around.

Expect to be depressed for the next 3-15 years; it's all part of adolescence.

As you get older, you're still depressed, but you become a better liar about it.
Chris Pennie is insane. Watch some of his drum clinic stuff on YouTube, and you'll feel all tingly in the wee-wee area.

I was watching a 1981 Misfits show yesterday, and during one of their songs, some dude just fell completely out of the sky and into the audience. It was a hard camera, so it just caught this flailing mass of arms and legs that must have gotten launched from somewhere else in the venue. I laughed until I piddled.

I will continue to incorporate differing names for 'penis' in my comments until the day is over.
Well the video looks funny.

Exept I can't hear shit.

I will avoid black tinted pillows though. Recipe for disaster.

I'm going to go have a shower. The sooner this crap comes out, the better.
Totally, it's infecting your BRAIN!!!!
Do you wear a uniform to school, or is that just certain British schools?

He was rocking the e-string under his uniform until it broke.

*ba dum ching*
I'm so dope, I'm rocking an J-string.
I was in a catholic school for a good portion of my life and then schooled with a group of honest to god godless heathens for the other half. Needless to say my early teenage years were more confusing and angsty then a mall full of fifteen year old girls.

Not to mention the near-crippling anxiety I still carry today.
It's okay, Caveman. You're home now. It's safe here.
I was in a catholic school for a good portion of my life and then schooled with a group of honest to god godless heathens for the other half. Needless to say my early teenage years were more confusing and angsty then a mall full of fifteen year old girls.

For girls, this combination usually leads to teen pregnancy.
At 26, being in a mall full of 15 year old girls makes me confused and angsty.
Makes me feel fat, old, and irrelevant. haha.
Everything makes me feel fat, old and irrelevant, especially the mall.

For as much as I love Rob Dyrdek, he ruined skate fashion. I've never seen so many fruity-ass hoodies at one time.

I sat on a bench in the middle of the mall last week, waiting for the Missus, and I killed everyone that walked past me with my mind. Just freaking wasted everyone. Then I bought a shirt.
I sat on a bench in the middle of the mall last week, waiting for the Missus, and I killed everyone that walked past me with my mind. Just freaking wasted everyone. Then I bought a shirt.

I did this a couple weeks ago, only I was sitting at a Starbucks waiting for a concert to start and mentally annihalating all the obnoxious scenesters with invisible throwing stars. (My friend and I might make our own movie featuring "invisible death stars" and urban carnage as the central element...we can be kind of violent sometimes, in a totally repressed and passive way) This is also why I only go to the mall when I have no other choice.
I pretty much just hate going to the mall because Ryan walks WAY too fast. He's always 10 steps ahead of me...I have to toddle along behind him like a lost puppy. Then he yells at me (or whoever else is with us) for being turtles. I should film him sometime...if he could see just how comically fast he's walking, maybe he wouldn't do it anymore. He does it in parking lots too...I'm no more than out of the car, and he's impatiently waiting by the door of the store for me. I almost got hit by a car one day trying to cross the crosswalk in a sad attempt to keep up with his figure 15 feet ahead in the distance.
...I work at the mall.
I have a brisk gait, what can I say. For those who've never met me, did you expect anything less?

MAUS - Louis CK has a bit about hating hipsters in a coffee shop that's hilarious.

"I hate them. They wear their snow hats in the Summer and say all these cool things, like 'yeah, me too.' I hope they die."

CAVEMAN - Sorry, man.
And I'd like to maintain the appearance of not being at the mall by myself, but what can I say? Not gonna happen.
Duke sucks.

I'm out of town for Easter, so Lost Monday may be delayed by a day. Just an FYI.
We all knew this was going to happen, but:

Duke went to Duke
Us Wisconsinites were very upset to see Duke get the #2 seed when we were left with the #3, but you know what? At least we get to play next week.
Mainers aren't so hung up about basketball. We're more hockey people...,and usually 2nd in the Frozen Four(goddamn Michigan).
Wisconsin is usually around there, too.

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