by Tod Goldberg, Joe Lavin, Adam Finley, Will Leitch, Brian Lewandowski, and Bob Sassone
Will Leitch In 2004, I resolve to win one million dollars in the New York State Lottery. With that one million dollars, I will join one hundred million of those record clubs where you can get 12 pop hits for a penny. I will then sell those 1.2 billion CDs at a discounted rate, say, five bucks a pop, at a local pawn shop. With the $6 billion I net from that, I will join six hundred billion of those record clubs where you can get 12 pop hits for a penny. I will then sell those at a discounted rate, to show my magnanimous nature, of four dollars a disc. I will then use $1 trillion of the $4.8 trillion to join 100 trillion of those record clubs where you can get 12 pop hits for a penny. The other $3 trillion I will use to buy Africa, where I will cure the AIDS crisis and subsequently listen to my CDs in peace.
Will Leitch is a managing editor at The Black Table. Buy his new book, Life as a Loser, here.
*** Tod Goldberg
When making New Year’s resolutions, I hold firm on two rules: 1) Don’t resolve to do anything that requires physical exertion. I’m pretty lazy, which I consider to be a plus because it requires that I sit around a lot, which, if done correctly, leads me to think about ways to kill people, which, then, leads me to write novels where those sorts of things happen. 2) Don’t resolve to fundamentally change a part of my personality. I’m an asshole, I recognize that, and thus it would be silly for me to decide come January 1st to become the Mother Teresa of Gen-X novelists. I mean, really, who needs another pretentious artist who spends his days advocating for world peace, less land mines and better schools for our children when Bono is already out there plugging away so efficiently?
Those two rules notwithstanding, I do like to compartmentalize my life into neat little segments of hope and failure — and since my birthday falls in the middle of January as well — I do find that I like to make plans for myself in January that will come to crushing despair some eleven months hence when I realize what an utter failure I’ve been. So here’s what I’ve got on the burner for 2004…and I’m cooking with gas, baby:
1. Read more literary blogs instead of actually writing. Although it seems like I already spend a good portion of my day flipping across the Internet to see what’s posted on Mobylives, Bookslut, The Elegant Variation and Maud Newton et al, what I’ve found is that this activity spares me poor reviews, angry conversations with my editor and long- ranting sessions with my literary agent, wife, Larry The UPS Guy and the kid who makes my mochas at Starbucks regarding the long line of Just-Turned-21-Publicists who hold my very existence in their hands and then, yeah, fumble it away like Tiki Barber. So fuck it. Writing is played out. Reading literary blogs is the New Establishment. Tonight, I begin the Great American Reading of Literary Blogs. And tomorrow? Ibid.
2. Throw out all of my cassette tapes. Last week, I trundled out to the garage in search of an EPMD cassette and a Personics mix-tape I made when I worked at the Wherehouse in 1989 which contained a hella good Cabaret Voltaire song about…uh…well, sadness and death and other suitably morose topics that were important to me when I was 18. What I learned upon finding said tape was that A) Cabaret Voltaire sucks and EPMD, aside from the latter knowledge that Eric Sermon is kinda nuts, were still pretty good and B) Personics was a genius idea that came years before it’s time. What both EPMD and Personics held in common, however, was that both cassettes were so badly warped and garbled by the time I finally found them that, after all that searching, the entire experience made me yearn for the lawsuit free days of Napster when I could steal the songs legally. But anyway, cassette tapes, unlike records, just don’t stand the test of time and I swear this is the year when all my old Replacements, Husker Du and Alarm tapes get tossed…once I listen to them all one more time, I vow upon my honor.
3. Stop saying the word “dude.” As a 32-year-old adult male, I find it difficult to comprehend how the word “dude” entered my lexicon in the 80s and has subsequently remained like a pair of cuffed pants. Perhaps the most frightening aspect of this issue is that the word is generally preceded by the phrase, “And I’m like,” which serves to remind me that while a boy can leave a fraternity house, the fraternity house may not always leave the boy.
4. Learn to wipe sitting down. Now this is a weird thing. All my life, I’ve stood to wipe. My wife learned of this a few years ago and informed me that I was “weird” and that what I was doing was “wrong” and that I should learn the “right way” and while I’ve made strides in public restrooms to do this very thing, at home is another story. Part of it is my fear of colon cancer, which leads to my persistent need to make sure I’m not bleeding from the ass and part of it is that standing up is like sitting down to most others…it’s just part of the routine. But 2004 is the Year of Sitting Down, folks.
Tod Goldberg is the author of the award-losing novels Living Dead Girl (Soho Press) and Fake Liar Cheat (Pocket Books) and writes a weekly column in the Las Vegas Mercury. Visit him at TodGoldberg.com
*** Adam Finley
Consider this: “Resolve” is a type of carpet stain remover, and carpet stains are quite frequent around New Year’s. Is there something in “Resolve” that can actually make your carpet high? And has it found a way to plant the word “resolve” into your mind so that you purposely spill your Irish Red Delicious Apple Vodka; or your Dizzy Spelunker; or your White Kentucky Haberdasher; or your 12 oz. bottle of Felix Noelle and Son’s Parisian Sun-Grown Celery Wine; or your Mrs. Butterworth’s All-Purpose Maple Rum? Doesn’t this prove just how much fun it is to make up names for drinks?
Yes, they did.
The Chinese have their New Year’s in February. Since they exist in the future, they are far more advanced than we are in many ways, but especially in the realm of carpet sobriety. This year I took a lesson from the Chinese and chose not to make any resolutions. I also now look upon my carpet as a living organism unaffected by alcohol, but fiendishly addicted to Resolve Carpet Stain Remover, necessitating a once-a-year hypnotizing of the human race. So while I’m not making any resolutions this year, I’d like to think I’m a bit wiser than I was one year ago.
Adam Finley wrote this! Woooooooooo!!!
*** Joe Lavin
I resolve not to set unrealistic expectations for myself.
I will accept my inconsistencies for the healthy breaks in routine that they are.
I will not wait until the last minute to come up with my resolutions for next year. I will be ready with my resolutions on January 1st next year, so that I will not have to scramble to come up with a bunch of lame resolutions at the last minute.
I will not videotape myself having sex with Paris Hilton.
It is cold outside. I will not go outside.
I will not call back the guy from the health club who keeps calling me to join just because I stupidly gave him my phone number when I recently signed up for a two-week free trial, during which time I only went once.
I will write fewer run-on sentences.
I resolve not to let my inherent laziness get in the way of holding a good grudge.
I will watch more television and occasionally listen to bad pop music, in order not to fall completely out of touch with American culture. I will also laugh at commercials and tell my friends all about my favorite ones.
I will stay in bed longer.
I will try to feel less guilty about stuff. If I tell myself that I will do something and then I don’t do it, I will not beat myself up over it. I will simply remind myself that there will be plenty of other resolutions to keep in the future.
I resolve to be more mysterious, even if people just think I’m being an idiot.
I will buy a 2004 calendar.
If this year I come up with a resolution in December, I will act on it immediately, instead of waiting until next January just so that I can make it an official New Year’s resolution.
I will take my pitcher out when he gets tired.
When a cashier in a store gives me the wrong change, I will point out the mistake only when I’m the one losing money. I will not bother rationalizing this behavior. I will simply enjoy it.
I will use the word “no” more often.
Finally, I think I’ll have some cheesecake.
Joe Lavin resolves to get more people to read his weekly humor column at JoeLavin.com.
*** Bob Sassone
More drinking, more smoking, more sex.
Bob Sassone is editor of this magazine.
*** Brian Lewandowski
At this time of the year, most of us for some reason or another make a symbolic gesture to look at our life and to make changes in the coming year. Today, I feel I am finally coming to grips in my life.
Affairs, bankruptcies, and gangland style slayings are a thing of the past for this homey (and probably so is the word “homey”). I have to put the whole thug life behind me.
For too long I have been holding on to a dream. For too long I have wanted to bring something special into my life. I have pursued this to no end, to the point of rage and jealousy. I thought I could be so convincing that this special thing would want to be in my life forever. It went past love… it bordered on madness. So now, right here, I want to proclaim to the world that I am no longer addicted to my need to wear parachute pants! They just aren’t coming back… sigh.
Of course, that makes it easy for me this year. Some might even say it’s far too simple for a man of many vices like me. So maybe I should add a few more:
Seeing that Terrorists have stolen my sphincter, I resolve to come up with a color-coded warning system to protect the innocent from my ass.
I resolve to become an early adopter for wireless porn… giving a whole new meaning to “handheld device” (which I still refer to as my “unit.”).
I resolve never again to vote for any Presidential candidates with 6 or less letters in their last names. They have been nothing but problems… think about it. All the good ones have more letters than that in their monikers. So I am sorry Mr. Dean and Mr. Clark, it looks like I am gonna be riding the Kucinich – Sharpton ticket all the way to DC!
I resolve to only stare at a woman’s breasts on days that end in “y.”
Speaking of “y”, I resolve never to say “and sometimes ‘y’” when talking about vowels. “Y” is not a vowel… it’s a… it’s a… umm… err… “y.” Be happy with yourself “y.” There are many brave little consonants like yourself… and there you are right in those few words.
I resolve never to speak to women named Mildred. Men named Mildred still have a chance provided they aren’t named after their mothers.
I resolve to be more sensitive to people especially since I once asked an epileptic “What’s shakin’?”
In that vein, I resolve never to ask lactose intolerant people if they cry over spilled milk.
I resolve to one day visit my homeland of Caucasia.
I resolve to avoid lotions and moisturizers. My penchant for sitting naked on leather furniture makes the resulting slipperiness way too dangerous.
I resolve to never again ponder if vegetarians can give blow jobs.
I resolve to also never ponder if it’s a NASCAR or a NASCAR car.
And finally, I resolve to never make resolutions again!
Brian Lewandowski has a penchant for being opinionated, often daily, often at BrianLewandowski.com. He occasionally interviews celebrities of some sort at fiveforthefamous.com. He has a book, “Slop and Swill from a Festering Mind,” which is available at here. The rest of the time he explores his photographic and artsy side at hideedee.com. He resolves to shorten this blurb someday.