Hump Day Grab Bag

by Chantal

Maybe we could do a Hump Day Grab Bag every week w/ a different one of us writing about things we like.

I always imagine myself giving interviews. It’s not only because I love to hear myself talk. But I like long, intense conversations. And I usually judge people on whether they are capable of having those. That’s wrong because maybe they just can’t have them with me because they’re intimidated or don’t share my interests or don’t like my conversational style. Maybe they aren’t in the mood for a long conversation. Maybe they have a pimple and think I’m staring at it (I don’t care about your pimple). I’ll stop judging people for that now. Last year I thought, “I know, I’m going to write a book that consists of a series of women being interviewed. It’ll play to my strengths. I’m great at imagining conversations. I’m so bad at physical description and also, (perhaps consequently) not much interested in it. This is probably because when I was younger I was always afraid to look up. I looked down alot. So the reason I couldn’t describe the physical world is because I never looked at it. Maybe that’s why I was bad at geometry. I’m working on changing that now, just for the purpose of describing things better during conversation. But I still don’t want to describe what the door looks like when I’m writing. I’m more interested in what the door might make someone feel, or of what it reminds them. Man, this book is going to be incredible.”  Then I realized that I can’t write anything longer than two pages and that David Foster Wallace had already written that book but with dudes. Now that I’ve read some of his essays I don’t hate DFW, but it’s funny when people think I or they should. One day maybe I will be interviewed. If that day were today and if someone asked me, “What are you reading, watching and listening to?” this is what I would say.

I think Max, Tommy, Jess, Tatyana, and others who are at work or who like to plan emotions would like this song.* (Oh that? That’s my Crying Hoodie. See the pockets? I stuff tissues and regret in there.) It’s for my mom.

Most days I just want to have a screening of Tyson in my apartment. If my description almost made Tommy cry, imagine what the real thing would make you feel? It’s basically a 90-minute therapy session; the director would prompt him with questions and then Tyson would just ramble on about a subject until he lost steam and they kept doing this until they had a movie. At some point I realized that I had been looking at Mike Tyson’s face for 15 minutes but hadn’t noticed because of how vivid his descriptions were. It was so deep, man, I saw everything in my head, man. Nas The Prophet/Street’s Disciple (never forget!) provides the background music to Tyson’s self-sketching. And the man can sketch!

Mary Gaitskill remembers a cat, has a sister with fibromyalgia and tries to mentor a poor kid. Awkwardness ensues, but she keeps it real. Real guilty. I love Mary Gaitskill. Because when she writes about a little white girl inserting a toothbrush up another little white girl’s vagina, you KNOW that Mary Gaitskill really did that to some little girl. Put the toothbrush down, little Mary. There are other ways to go about this. You can tease her until she develops an eating disorder, okay? All her fiction deals with sex, but in this memoir you can barely find it at all:

Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler talk about Funny People. Charlie Rose doesn’t ask the questions he should ask and I want his job. Apatow says he would’ve ended up depressed, selfish and alone if he had not decided to get married and have children. Many thoughts emerge from this, none of them easy. Adam Sandler is real uncomfortable during this interview because he doesn’t understand half the questions, and Judd speaks for him because he knows & that’s what friends do. Funny People is still brilliant even though it totes validates the nuclear family’s tyranny over social relations.

David Simon is just the smartest, most eloquent man. Share my fervor. His curiosity about the world is endless, his sense of race, class and labor history relentless. If I could do with mental health, pharmaceutical companies and poor people what he did with the drug war, government bureaucracies and communities of color then and only then would I die happy. Everyone should read his books, then curl up with me and Miu-Miu on the couch to watch all of The Wire and talk about the underclass! On a Friday night! I know how to have fun! I think I need another exclamation mark!

Why didn’t I mention or think of Blazing Saddles in my last post? I don’t know, but it complicates the argument. Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor co-wrote. Alot of great scenes like this one.

Have a great workday, y’all.

*Correction: I think Max, Tommy, Jess, Tatyana, both Laurens, Gigi, Roy, Diego, Michelle and Daniel would all love this song and in my dream we’re all listening to it together while we make zines. And eat pie. This Friday. I mean PieDay, you know, the day that comes before Caturday and Punday.


7 Responses to Hump Day Grab Bag

  1. Tommy says:

    I think I’ve watched Blazing Saddles nine million times. It was my dad’s favorite movie. Also, remember Cryin Man from Sliders? Oh man I can’t wait for next wednesday. I call dibs.

  2. Chantal says:

    I can’t wait either. OMG write about watching Blazing Saddles with your dad in your memoir. I’ll write about watching Seinfeld and getting banished to the land of White Humor.

  3. Chantal says:

    HAHAHA Cryin Man. Tommy I love you, same archive same archive same archive when I repeat it it makes me feel safe.

  4. Tayana says:

    I would like to take this opportunity to confess my undying love for one Miss Chantal Johnson. You made Wednesday my Fwendsday (boooo!). Mary Gaitskill makes me feel so many weird feelings. Also, DFW: have you seen the movie version of Hideous Men? I haven’t read the book and the movie (I hope) seemed to miss a lot of points/ subtlety of other writing of DFW’s that I like. I vacillate about him. What are your thoughts? Also Dry Your Eyes: I don’t even bother stuffing the pockets of my Crying Hoodie with tissues. I just use the sleeves.

  5. Tommy says:

    There’s no point in even wiping the tears away. Just let thenm flow let everyone know

  6. Tommy says:

    ps don’t forget duesday, friendsday, or cur’sday

  7. Chantal says:

    Tats–I haven’t read Hideous Men but I want to, b/c realistically I doubt I’ll ever get to Infinite Jest. I don’t even know where I would read that book it’s so big. I could never read Infinite Jest on the subway or anywhere public because I’d have to wear a sign that said, “Not obsessed, just interested in self-help and peer therapies and how people are feeling these days and so was he.” I could never read it in bed because I bet it’s too heavy. So yea, Hideous Men, think I’ll get it from the library and we can discuss!

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