I first heard the phrase “jerk off” when I was about 10. I was at my local Boys and Girls Club and the older kids kept saying that Ronnie got caught jerking off in the bathroom. I kept repeating it all day because I was convinced it just meant that a jerk was having an off day. Someone simply caught Ronnie in the bathroom when he wasn’t on his game. What other explanation could there be? Ronnie was generally mean, but he seemed pretty reserved that day. A real off jerk.
"I’ll take a jerk off any day," I said gleefully to my mom once we arrived home. She laughed and let it slide, as she knew I was too young to understand the ramifications of what I had just proclaimed. But I knew. I knew I’d never be ashamed of myself for being a huge jerk off. And unfortunately, for most of the people reading this, this might be the only promise to myself I’ve managed to keep. So Ronnie, if you’re out there, I hope you burn in hell. There were kids around you sick fuck.
I’m realizing that I must now say goodbye to the idea of young love. Now it’s medium-old love. Adult love. Made from recycled materials love. I guess I’ll give this one a shot love. God I’m alone love. We should finish the basement love. Why the fuck haven’t you mowed the lawn yet? love. I’m too tired love. Maybe after my program love. The dog’s dead love. I’m leaving you love. Three divorces myself love. We should get motorcycles love. You forgot my birthday again love. No, I told you I hate almonds love.
Anyone wanna grab a bottle of chianti, listen to some Elton John and get this over with already?
It’s hard to be honest with yourself. To get down to the core of who you are. I’ve always been so afraid of people thinking I’m not cool and that has driven me to live lies. I’m sick of living lies. It’s suffocating me from being me.
For instance, I tell people I played college basketball. Yeah, I did, for four months. Then I quit because I got in trouble for getting my fellow freshmen drunk at Disneyland. You want to know how I got on the team? My mom asked the coach if I could play. God only knows how I can now stand on a stage and tell strangers jokes after living for so long as such an egregious pussy.
Once I quit the team, I joined a fraternity - another part of my life that I’ve been ashamed to admit for the last decade. I was a raging cokehead, drunk frat boy who got fucked up to run away from my feelings. I didn’t date girls because my friends thought they were sluts. They were not sluts. They were sexually adventurous, beautiful women who cared about me. I miss them to this day.
I’ve always taken the easy road, wasting time and my talents, but no more. No more lies. No more not being who I am. But who exactly am I? I’m a guy that loves to party. I m a guy that loves old Chevy Chase and wishes he could be him, but better, one day. I like medium-weird sex. I love to laugh. I love friends. I love being loved but am realizing that it’s ok not to be loved.
Some people will never love me. Some people will never even like me. Some people will never book me. Some people will never look me in the eye. Some people will eventually give up on being fake nice to me. But it’s not “fuck those people.” It’s good for those people. Those people know who they are. Those people know that we aren’t peoples. My only regret is not stopping sooner, in trying to convince these people to be my people.
And for the record, I’m still mad nice at hoops and a real shithead bro at heart. But that’s fine because…just because.
Being an adult is different. It means being alone a lot. Wishing you were younger a lot. Spilling coffee on yourself in public a lot. Creeping out babes a lot. Not paying bills on purpose a lot. Aching a lot. Watching friends start families a lot. Watching friends still live with their parents a lot. Crying a lot. Mostly at happy things a lot. Loving more a lot. Hating less a lot. Hating for the right reasons a lot. Being yourself a lot. Not giving a fuck a lot. Being the best you’ve ever been a lot. Being a lot.
With that said, I’m 32, I wear a gold chain and tell jokes about not pulling out. I like being an adult. A lot.