Tough Questions

Tough Questions: What’s the Most Trouble You Ever Got in Before You Were 18?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What’s the most trouble you ever got in before you were 18?

Rules are simple: when did a grownup threaten to send you to jail for something you did before you could drive? Read on to hear some stories about stupid kids being stupid kids at their damn stupidest. Sidenote: these are some of my favorite responses all year. Ain’t no one over ANY of this.

Alex Russell

In 8th grade the principal at my middle school gave a speech one morning about how students shouldn’t hand out in the hallways, but should go straight to homeroom when they got to school. I had a visceral reaction to this and I flipped off the intercom. It wasn’t anything I thought about, I just did it. My teacher at the time was one of my favorites I ever had, but she had to take me to the office, I get that. I had no perspective at all on this middle school principal or if he was happy with his job or how he’d respond to a young teenager flipping him off indirectly. Turns out it was worse than I could imagine. I didn’t get in trouble a lot in school and I never really adjusted to it with the “COME AND TAKE ME, Y’ALL” attitude I always hoped I’d exude in the moment. I freaked out, even when it got ridiculous and he turned red and threatened to send me to jail. That actually happened. He said “maybe we should send you to a correctional facility?” I got suspended for three days, but if they want me in jail for that one NOW YOU GOTTA COME TAKE ME.

Brent Hopkins

I was pretty lame as a kid so the most trouble I got into was for cyber-bullying before that was a major thing. I kinda snapped on one of my classmates/friends on a message board and this led to a super awkward guidance counselor conversation and a mild threat of police action if it continued (knowing what I know now, this was not actually possible). I obviously backed off and haven’t had an issue like that since, but apparently I was the hipster of cyber-bullying doing it before it was mastered by 4chan and the likes.

Andrew Findlay

In 10th grade English, we were given an in-class assignment to write a sonnet. The sonnet is such a limiting and exact form that no 10th grader will ever, ever write a good one. I was offended that my teacher would so clearly set me up for failure, and wrote “This is bullshit” on my paper, just for me. She swooped down the aisle, picked up my paper, and next thing I know I was in goddam in-school-suspension. Which, I gotta say, is bullshit. You sit in a cube, talk to no one for eight hours, and do schoolwork nonstop. Even if it doesn’t quite knock it down, it seriously treads on the toes of the 8th amendment. I did a bunch of stupid shit as a teenager, but as far as consequences, that was the worst. It’s weird – my dad was super strict, but whenever I did something involving wheels-falling-off stupidity, he reacted really differently. For example, I once got grounded for a month for talking back, but I received no punishment whatsoever the time the police woke him up with a phone call to tell him about the stupid shit they’d caught me doing (it involved fireworks).

Jonathan May

Man oh man, when my parents found out I was smoking cigarettes, I was in a shit-ton of trouble. I was 16 and working at a party supplies store that basically functioned as a pre-alcoholic training facility. There was always a cooler filled with whiskey and tea in the back, and believe me, people would help themselves. People were also free to smoke cigarettes (among other things) in the back of the store as well. One day, my brother and sister stopped by to visit and found me smoking in the back. I swore at them up and down when they promised to tell my parents, which they eventually did. My parents were fuming! I had to quit that job and take one closer to home, because they also took away my truck for a few months. I forgave my brother and sister for being uptight prudes, and thankfully they’ve come around to being normal human beings. But I still haven’t quit smoking. Yet.

Advertisements

Tough Questions: What’s the Stupidest Trend So Far in 2014?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What’s the stupidest trend so far for 2014?

Rules are simple: what really bothers you about the year? What are the kids up to? I almost said “new television” as mine because I am 10,000 years old and from space. Let’s all be mad together.

Alex Russell

I love Twitter. I always have; my account is from 2008 and I read everything everyone I follow posts every day. Most people don’t use it like that, so they can ignore when someone tweets a bazillion things about a baseball game they don’t care about or a cause they’re not interested in, but I can’t operate that way. It’s all or nothing. I have to watch the clip show episodes of TV. I have to 100% everything. Because of that, I can’t fucking stand @midnight. Technically the show started in 2013, but it seems even bigger now. Chris Hardwick is from my hometown. Most of the comedians on @midnight are really, really funny. But oh my god, reading 40 tweets in a row that are jokes about #StreetNamesInBreakingBad or #ReplaceAnActorWithAFruit make me want to die. Some people are really good at it, but just like how I did an open mic and learned that I shouldn’t have a mic in my hand, most people are not.

Brent Hopkins

I am not sure what is happening in America but the fashion trend this year that left me a bit stunned is Birkenstock sandals. These were THE shoes of the summer for both men and women in South Korea and it just rendered me confused more than anything. They are comfortable, I will give them that much, but it is weird to see so many people wearing the same exact sandals. Same design. Same colors (black or white). Same obvious lack of wear and tear that means they just bought them for this summer. This year’s Crocs or UGG boots. Blech.

Andrew Findlay

Being pissy about the success of the ice bucket challenge. Sure, yeah, viral phenomena suck, and distaste is a healthy response to bandwagoning, but no matter how stupid it was, no matter how much it annoyingly dominated your Facebook feed, it raised over 100 million dollars for a disease that gets very little funding because it’s relatively rare. A slew of “Ew ALS ice bucket challenge gross ugh millenials armchair activism” thinkpieces popped up midway through the event, articles that were little more than strung-together buzzwords, and I could never understand why there was so much aggression leveled at something that, while annoying, did so much good. I am a stickler for exact language. When people use literally wrong, I silently judge them. However, let’s say I’m eating a sandwich. Let’s say someone approaches me and says, “Hey man, if you say that sandwich is so good you are literally dying, I will make sure this orphan is adopted by a loving family.” I would definitely say it, because it is harmless and it helps orphans. The people hating on the ice bucket challenge are the people who would say, “Screw orphans, I have to stick to my principles.”

Gardner Mounce

The stupidest new word I’ve heard this year is “thot.” It’s an anagram for “That Ho Over There”. It’s also incredibly confusing. I’ve heard students say someone was a thot, and I mistook them for saying they were thoughtful or smart. Instead of calling the student out for his or her rudeness, I was impressed with their kindness. Anyways, it’s stupid, and it needs to die.

Jonathan May

I think perhaps the stupidest trend for 2014 so far is the benchmark Supreme Court decision Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.. Not only was this decision incredibly contentious, it also paved the way for further reach of corporate “personhood” by setting unusual and disturbing precedent. My favorite part is the opening of Justice Ginsberg’s dissent: “In a decision of startling breadth, the Court holds that commercial enterprises, including corporations, along with partnerships and sole proprietorships, can opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” Although corporations as people is anti-democratic in every sense of the word, I think it’s by far the hottest and stupidest trend of the year!

Tough Questions: What Are Your Pet Peeves?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What are your pet peeves?

Rules are simple: WHAT MAKES YOU SO ANGRY YOU TYPE THE INTRO TO A THING IN ALL CAPS?

Alex Russell

People… who talk online… like this… I want Twitter to have a function that deletes your tweet if it ends in an ellipsis. You see it all day. People don’t understand what it means and they just trail off all of their little missives into the world. Caring about Twitter punctuation might be the most curmudgeonly way to answer this question, but it always reads to me like someone’s doing the textual version of “Not to be an asshole, but…” You’re still being an asshole.

Brent Hopkins

My biggest pet peeve is people eating with their mouths open. I live in a country and region of the world where it is common and widely accepted and it grates my nerves to no end. It is so irritating to me that it might be a relationship-breaker for me. It tends to be the only thing I can focus on during meals and it just kills me.

Andrew Findlay

As I get older, the pool of things that annoy me shrinks. I feel this is an evolutionary adaptation, because if a sixty-year-old’s heart had to put up with the level of indignation experienced by your average teenager, the AARP would not exist. One pet peeve that has not fallen by the wayside deals with word usage. My fascination with reading stems mostly from an obsession with words, how they are put together, and what they can do. The more you know, the less you should use, like a kung fu movie hero who only fights when absolutely necessary. It’s always the people he beats the crap out of at the end that are the flashiest at the beginning, and their flashiness is the result of insecurity. An incisive, well-placed common word is a lot more effective than a bloated, ludicrous, damned-near archaic word. My pet peeve is when people use ungainly, gigantic words just to show they know them. There are many tiers to this offense, ranging from misdemeanor to outright felony. If you study reptiles for a living and someone asks you what you do, it’s okay to say “herpetologist,” because that’s what you are, and saying “I’m a snake herder” sounds a bit strange. If you use “pulchritudinous” instead of beautiful and “tintinnabulation” instead of ringing, you should be fined because you like hideous words and you don’t care if other people have a clue what you’re saying. If you use “hermeneutics” while discussing a TV show at a bar, you are a monster. If you use “hermeneutics” incorrectly while discussing a TV show at a bar, you are a dumb monster.

Gardner Mounce

The words quite, indeed, perhaps, and rather. They’re foppish.

Jonathan May

I have too many of these to quantify, but what follows are the major offenses. I hate improper texting. I hate when people don’t walk on the correct side of a sidewalk or staircase. I hate when my students don’t print off their papers or staple them. I hate when people complain about something at a restaurant to the staff, yet don’t want any action taken. I hate when people aren’t on time for lunch dates. I hate having to repeat myself. I hate when people try to moralize at me on Facebook or Instagram; I don’t give a shit. I hate when people use “LOL” as a passive-aggressive way of disagreeing. I hate when people say they don’t vote because it feeds into the system; grow up and vote, or go change the world, hippie. Also, I hate coffee shop people in general, but that’s just because I worked at coffee shops for ten years.

Tough Questions: What’s the Worst Advice You’ve Ever Been Given?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given?

Rules are simple: no one can tell you what to do, not even your dad or a cop. They can only advise you. Who has done the worst job of it in your life?

Alex Russell

I’m terrible about unsolicited advice, so I’m usually the other end of this one. As for advice someone’s given me, I’ve got to go with something I was taught in college. Have everyone write down their feelings. I was in training to be a high school teacher, but a series of my education classes were “general” classes for teachers from preschool through high school. When you need something to apply to a six year old and an eighteen year old, you have to be pretty broad. When you have to be pretty broad, you end up saying a lot of really silly stuff. The moment the shine came off the apple for me was when a person looked me straight in the eye and told me that the way to handle a teenager that wouldn’t listen in class was to have them write down their feelings about class and to take away their recess.

Brent Hopkins

The worst advice I have ever received was to be brashly honest in relationships. This just straight up does not work and causes so much stress and pain on both ends that it kinda is a self-sabotaging mindset to be in. I am not saying I am a consistent liar or anything now, but I have grown to appreciate the little lies and the withholding of information to keep the peace. There are times where lying IS actually the best option, not just Eagle Scout levels of honesty. That being the case I am regularly told I am still too honest, but I have figured out when that extra push is too much and to just keep it to myself.

Andrew Findlay

I am fortunate enough to have trouble remembering advice that has landed me in a laughably compromising position. People who feel qualified to give it out in my life generally give it soundly, and most problems arise from me not following it. That being said, one general piece of “advice” that really annoys me is “Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear.” There is no, zero, nada physiological reason the order in which you ingest poison will make you feel worse or better. It’s like having a rhyme that starts “strychnine before arsenic…” Alcohol is a poison. You feel bad because you drank poison. If you drink so much you find yourself muttering useless, rhyming rules about it, you need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Gardner Mounce

A youth pastor once told me that it is a wife’s marital duty to sexually submit to her husband whenever her husband asks for it. He said that since two people become “one spirit and one flesh” when they are married, and since someone can’t rape themselves, then a man can’t be said to rape his wife.

Jonathan May

“Write what you know”–an often espoused platitude in creative writing programs. If people only wrote what they knew, then science fiction and fantasy, as genres, wouldn’t exist. If people only wrote what they knew, there would be only autobiography, which (unfortunately) so much of “today’s” writing is inherently. With the rise of the personal essay and proliferation of creative writing programs, I heard this advice often from writers at all levels, and I wanted to ask them, “Do you ever write outside of yourself?” So yeah, “write what you know” is horrible advice. All you writers out there–do whatever the hell you want.

Tough Questions: What’s the Grossest Food You Still Love?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What’s the grossest food you still love?

Rules are simple: what are you eating? We all have some secret shame around food. I once knew a guy who made what he called “Oreo Sandwiches” out of individually wrapped cheese slices and Oreo cookies. You might say “that’s disgusting” but I’m certain you eat something that you don’t want to share with the class, either. What’s yours?

Alex Russell

In third grade we had a taste test in class to learn about taste buds. We all had to eat bitter chocolate, sweet candy, salty chips, and sour pickles. I’d never had a pickle before that moment. I’ve essentially never stopped. Sometimes I’ll make my own pickles, but it’s mostly just the insanely salty dill pickles you get in any grocery store. I’ll drink the juice. I’ll eat half a jar in one sitting. I’ll put them on things they don’t belong in — if you’ve never diced up some pickles in fried rice, you’re missin’ out — to the point where the meal is largely pickle-based with a suggestion of other foods. Pickles may be a simple food, but the look on someone’s face when you take a swig from a jar of pickle juice told me that maybe, just maybe, that’s not standard behavior.

Jonathan May

I’m not sure the food itself is gross, but the way I eat it definitely is (according to loved ones). Whenever I eat a baked potato, I scrape everything out of the hardened, brown skin and mash it together with a fork, over and over, until the cheese and chives and bacon and butter and sour cream all form an indistinguishable yellowish goo. I then plop this all back inside of the potato skin and proceed to eat it that way. Then I eat the skin slowly. I’ve done this ever since I was a child, and people still give me horrified looks whenever they see me eating baked potatoes. But the actual grossest food I love are probably Krystal Chiks with mustard instead of mayo. Seriously, that shit is gross, but I can’t stop. (I need to stop.)

Brent Hopkins

SPAM. I friggin’ love spam, raw or cooked. The saltiness and unique flavor of it just makes my taste buds sing. I picked this up from my dad and it just stuck with me ever since.

Andrew Findlay

The grossest thing I still eat and hate myself for is any form of fast food. I spend most of my time eating pretty well, and I read all those articles about pink slime, but I cannot stop. Every few weeks, I cannot resist going to Taco Bell, McDonald’s, or Sonic, ordering three times as much food as I should, and stuffing it into my face. Every time, I am so happy while I’m doing it, then I feel terrible for the rest of the night. Not like, morally terrible. Physically ill.
Gardner Mounce
Rocky Mountain Oysters (aka bull testicles) are the grossest things I’ve ever eaten and would eat again. They weren’t whole testicles, like I had expected, but chopped into slices and fried–frying them reduces them to crunchy, salty crisps. Though I’d eat them again fried, I’d never eat them baked or boiled or raw. Gross.

Tough Questions: What’s the Worst Book You’ve Ever Read All Of?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read all of?

Rules are simple: how’s your judgement? When did you last dedicate a significant amount of your precious, fleeting life to something you didn’t want to finish in the first place? This week we’re talking dedication for dedication’s sake. Let’s get to it, because wasting time in a thing about wasted time is just too much.

Alex Russell

I once got State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America as a gift. Look at this damned list of some of the contributors: Louise Erdrich, Jonathan Franzen, Ann Patchett, Anthony Bourdain, William T. Vollmann, S.E. Hinton, Dave Eggers, Myla Goldberg, Rick Moody, and Alexander Payne. Those people can’t make a bad book, can they? They didn’t, but they all certainly wrote some essays that appeared in a bad book. State by State is a series of 50 essays, each written by someone with a connection to that specific state. Some of them are great. Some of them are not. I was going to put in my least favorite one here but it makes me way too angry. The precious, scientific ways people write about their own states in this tome can be the worst. They are the opposite of love letters. That said, “Kansas” by Jim Lewis is fantastic, though if you Google it the first thing that comes up is an article from my college town’s newspaper about how bad it is. No one likes anything.

Gardner Mounce

I generally have a strict 50-page policy. Life is too short to read bad books and if a book can’t impress me in fifty pages then I have no qualms about ditching it. However, I did stick with all of The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman. It was awful, but interesting in the awful choices it made.

Mike Hannemann

The easy direction to go is to name something forced upon you in high school, but All the King’s Men takes the cake. The book before I read was Grapes of Wrath and it was followed by Invisible Man. Both of those novels are some of my favorites of all time. Wedged in the middle was a political drama which played out exactly how you’d expect. I compare it to Dances With Wolves. You know exactly where the plot is going the minute you start reading the book. There are a few twists here and there, but it lacks originality. When the most fascinating character is a simple Irish guy who eats sugar cubes, there’s something wrong with your story. Maybe I was too young to appreciate it, but “noble politician becomes corrupt” isn’t exactly groundbreaking storytelling. That said, I do sympathize with the Irish. And sugar cubes.

Jonathan May

There are so many contenders for this question. The worst book I’ve ever read in its entirety must be The Book of Mormon, which Mark Twain called “chloroform in print.” Not to anger any Mormons out there, but damn if it isn’t the most boring thing I’ve ever read. Compared to other religious texts, the battles are lame and the language stilted. The Bhagavad-Gita this ain’t. Mostly centered in language borrowed from the Masonic texts and translations of The Bible available at the time, this product of the early American 19th century could really lose a lot of clunky verbiage and focus rather on its chronologically-challenged plot. While religious adherents may find it to be divinely inspired, I find more inspiration from even the most unreadable of Dickens’: The Tale of Two Cities, my close second-place choice. If you disagree (and I assume many will), please do yourself a favor and read The Bible, The Upanishads, The Bhagavad-Gita, The Heart Sutra, or almost any other religious text and get back to me.

Andrew Findlay

This is difficult. For most of the past decade, if a book was terrible or even just not what I wanted to read right then and there, I just didn’t finish it. Any truly terrible books that I finished before that time are terrible enough to be supremely forgetful. It was probably one of the ranked masses of Star Wars Expanded Universe books I read in middle school, before I knew enough to be like, “This dialogue is laughable. Han wouldn’t say that. Besides, it’s nerf herder, not nerftender.” You know what, I’m willing to bet $100 that it was The Phantom Menace, released alongside the movie so George Lucas could squeeze even more blood out of his gasping, mangled franchise.

Brent Hopkins

This is assuredly not the worst book I have ever read cover to cover, but I will say it left the most vivid disappointment in me in recent years. George R.R. Martin’s 4th novel in The Song of Ice and Fire series A Feast for Crows takes the prize for me.  As has been mentioned by many other reviewers and general readers alike, this book is the equivalent of a fluff episode. Most of the characters focused on feel like the B-list of the tale, and after the massive cliffhanger at the end of the previous book you will read these pages and feel teased. The concept of splitting the books into regions as opposed to chronological order is cool and all, but it works a lot worse when all the cool kids are in one place and the wallflowers are in another. This also led to a bit of a muddling of the 5th book because many of the references are things the reader already knows, so it isn’t entirely as new as you’d hope. Knowing the answer to characters questions works sometimes, but not constantly.

Tough Questions: What Did You Love as a Teenager That You Can’t Stand Now?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What did you love as a teenager that you can’t stand now?

Rules are simple: what have you grown out of, or at the very least what do you think you’ve grown out of? Everyone is at their dumbest when they’re a teenager, and that’s never clearer than when you consider what you liked as a teen. When you were brooding, moody, and SMARTER THAN ANYONE, what were you, like, into?

Alex Russell

I want you to hit me as hard as you can. I was just leaving my teenage years when Facebook became what it is today, but with Facebook’s boom in the mid 2000s we all learned about the most common things people we knew liked. The answers for “favorite movies” on Facebook were eerily consistent: The Big Lebowski, Boondock Saints, and Fight Club. I’m not going to lie to you, I saw Fight Club about ten times as a teenager. I read the book. I considered the deeper implications of the philosophy of Tyler Durden on my life. The Big Lebowski is a pretty good movie and Boondock Saints is a pretty bad movie, but Fight Club alone represents the terrible nature of a teenager best. What better movie is there to sum up the angst and rage of a teen than a movie about pushing the reset button to wake people up, man!? There’s also The Matrix, I guess, but Fight Club is especially horrible because (myself included) people seemed to latch on to the supposed message. I lived in the suburbs and sometimes drove past one version of a fast food place to go to another version of the same shitty restaurant. I was not bringing down the system. Clean it up, kids that like Fight Club too much.

Jonathan May

Myself mostly. No, all jokes aside, I used to really love coffee, so much so that I worked at three different coffee shops over the course of ten years, from high school up to grad school. I drank the stuff several times a day, and, when I was on the clock, you better believe that black liquid cocaine rushed freely and sweetly through me. That day I quit working at a coffee shop, though, was the day I gave up coffee. It was like flipping off a switch inside me; I just never craved it from that day forward. Also the smell still makes me think of bitchy people.

Andrew Findlay

Admitting that I ever loved something worthy of hatred would be admitting that I ever made bad choices. I only make good choices, ab aeterno.

Gardner Mounce

I started writing and reading poetry more seriously during my senior year of high school. It was my first foray into contemporary poetry, and pretty soon I came across Billy Collins. My poetry education up to that point had been strictly assigned by English teachers, so compared to Shelley and Dickinson, Collins was off-the-cuff, and spoke with honesty and wit. He was so accessible. The reason I don’t read him anymore isn’t because he’s too accessible or because I think he’s a hack. I think Collins writes honestly and from the heart. I believe that. But he is so boring, in terms of both content and sound. Reading his poems out loud will put you to sleep. And the best of them are like diet drink poems. I think his next collection should be called Epiphany Lite.

Tough Questions: What Are You Superstitious About?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What are you superstitious about?

Rules are simple: what are you really, truly, weird about? The dictionary offers that a superstition is “not based on reason or knowledge,” which makes the dictionary sound like a bit of an asshole. These are real fears that you need to develop. How have you lived this long without these? How can you just STAND THERE with all this fear in the world?

Alex Russell

I’m a checker — I’ll go back home to make sure that my alarm is off, even if I’m almost all the way to work. That’s the most debilitating of my quirks, but my biggest superstition has to be a belief in lucky items. I drink out of the same coffee cup every day at work, I use the same water glass every day at home, I carry the same few “lucky” trinkets in my wallet. I cannot break these cycles because what if those are all the reasons that you and I can still get up every single day?! I’m saving lives.

Jonathan May

I’m an incredibly superstitious person by nature. I don’t walk under ladders. I throw spilled salt over my shoulder. I have lucky underwear. But the thing I’m probably most superstitious about is my birthday. I take great pains to avoid any kind of unpleasantry on that day, even going so far as (at one point) having a friend kick out a group of interlopers from my party. The day itself is very ordered, a high mark of superstition. I get up and make bacon, then sit down to write a birthday haiku. Afterward I see my family before throwing myself full-on into party preparation. Hosting a party decidedly invites unpleasantries into one’s life, so I’m basically all but falling apart by the time the whole thing goes down. I think if a black cat crossed my path on my birthday, I would physically recoil and break down in nerves.

Andrew Findlay

I’m not so much superstitious about anything as I am anxious about everything.

Gardner Mounce

We form superstitions towards things we’re scared of or ignorant to, and I ain’t scared of nothing. Once, while walking through the woods at night without a flashlight, I got tangled in a giant spider web. Except the spider was actually a jawless eight-legged man with eyes like pale eggsacs who tortured his victims by describing how much more their high school peers have accomplished than them. You know what I did? Fell asleep. All that to say, I ain’t scared of nothing. However, I am scared of spiders. I have this superstition where if I haven’t seen a spider for a good amount of time, like a week, I’m convinced that the spiders know this and will promptly dispatch their most terrifying member to my bedroom window. The worst part is that they always do.

Colton Royle

I’ve been taking a lot of certification tests this summer to be able to teach new subjects. I was told around senior year of college that blueberries were the best food to eat before a test, and now I start eating an entire collection of blueberries two days before the test. Catchphrases like “brain food,” others like “antioxidants,” and even some like “belly fat burner,” get me mentally turned on. On my Princeton Review book for the GRE I put a dedication on the front page to Violet Beauregarde.

Tough Questions: What’s the Worst Date You’ve Ever Been On?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What’s the worst date you’ve ever been on?

Rules are simple: so, like, what do you do for fun? Dating is extremely stressful, because it requires exactly the right blend of being honest about yourself and shielding a near-stranger from the horrible truth of who you are. Dating is exciting because it’s full of possibility, but one of those possibilities is that it will go really, really badly. What’s your worst experience?

Alex Russell

There have been a few, but nothing will ever dethrone the very first one. I was 13 and painfully shy, but I met a girl at a friend’s party and we hit it off. I don’t know how much one can “hit it off” at 13, but it at least went well enough that she wanted to see me again. She invited me to her friend’s party the next week and told me it was a “fancy dress-up party.” I showed up in loafers and a suit coat, and everyone else was ready for what was clearly a swimming event. I never figured out if she made an honest mistake or if she was just evil. As some kind of gesture to show I was a good sport, I jumped in and swam in my 13-year-old “nice clothes” anyway. An auspicious start.

Jonathan May

I’ve been on a ton of horrible dates. But one time really takes the cake. I was seeing this guy who wasn’t really my type, but he was really into me, so I thought, “What the heck? Okay.” He wanted to take me to a movie, which is my least favorite kind of date because you don’t actually talk to the other person at all. Well, I wanted to see Tree of Life, which (trust me) is not a date film. Halfway through the film, as Jessica Chastain’s character hovers mid-air, I started to cry because I was struck by the movie’s poetic beauty. It was at this exact moment that he tried to hold my hand. I can’t describe how little I wanted anyone to touch me right then and there in the dark theater, with a billion emotions roiling within me. That was the camel’s straw. Afterward, I begged off going for dinner due to a headache, which I didn’t even have to fabricate at that point. Ugh, the worst.

Brent Hopkins

The worst date I went on was with a Korean lady who started off by informing me that she always wanted to go out with a black dude but that I wasn’t that black in skin color and actions. I guess she saw me as training wheels to the “real” thing or something. I tried to explain that his was not something that was okay to say, which led me down this road of trying to figure out what type of backhanded offensive things I could say to her to get her to understand. So, yeah, I had a date that was entirely based on racism and stereotyping and it was, the suck, as they say.

Andrew Findlay

I met my wife when I was 18, so the only bad dates I’ve ever been on were bad teenager dates, where neither of you know what to do or what you want, and both of you are just super awkward for basically all the time you spend together. It was ten years ago though man, so I don’t know.

Gardner Mounce

The weirdest date I’ve ever been on happened when I was in 8th grade and was dating a girl I’ll call C. C and I were at her house one night watching a movie. C decided it’d be fun to get in her hot tub out back. We did. After a little while, her mom, who we both thought was upstairs sleeping, came out with a camera and asked if she could take a picture of us kissing. Ladies and gentlemen, I have never felt more uncomfortable. I wish I could say I declined, but I didn’t. I rest uneasy knowing that her mom probably still looks at that thing.

Colton Royle

I once went on a date with a woman who advocated for a fascist educational system. “Maybe some people with lower IQ’s should be taught what to think.” We report. You decide.

Tough Questions: What’s the Most You’ve Ever Eaten in One Sitting?

question-mark

Every week we ask everyone who hangs out around here to answer a tough question. This week:

What’s the most you’ve ever eaten in one sitting?

Rules are simple: how much is too much, but still not enough? When did you let yourself go on purpose? What the hell is wrong with you, grosso?

Alex Russell

I’ve already talked about competitive ice cream contests and I’ll never get into the time we had a ramen eating contest (do not do this), but mine has to be at goddamned Cheeburger Cheeburger. I was in my early 20s — that’s when everything dumb happens in your life I hope — and I had totally forgotten that I’d agreed to go to an eating contest at a burger place. They had some dumb thing where you eat a full pound burger and get your name on the wall. I forgot, so I had a huge meal. I ate mashed potatoes and meatloaf and felt that kind of awful/good full… and then I got a call reminding me to go to this burger place. I showed up and death marched through a full burger. My time was pitiful, but I did it. There’s a picture of me on the last bites staring into the camera/the abyss, and you can see the folly of human experience all over my face. Never underestimate the importance of the unimportant to someone in their early 20s.

Jonathan May

Memphis has a Texas de Brazil restaurant located downtown; for those unfamiliar with the concept, you basically are given a plate to load up on the salad bar and accoutrements, leaving some room for meat. When you saunter back to the table, a small circle, flipped either on green on one side or red on the other, indicates whether you are ready for meat service (which could be a gay punk band’s name). Then, waiters come around with skewers of garlic-roasted sirloin, pork chops, filet mignon, you name it. And then, plate full, you go to town. Now, it’s a bit pricey, so my family goes just a few times a year. But when we do, I deliberately eat a ton the day beforehand to enlarge my stomach, followed by nothing the day of to really get the hunger going. I can safely say I’ve eaten about five pounds of steak in one sitting, with no exaggeration. I’m no competitive eater or anything, but when I’m there, surrounded by the finest of Memphis’ tourist crowd, my stomach is a limitless plane of existence, capable of consuming all before it. The eventual food coma follows, coupled with remorse.

Brent Hopkins

The most I have ever eaten in a sitting would be two large pizzas. I was having one of those gaming binges and hadn’t eaten in awhile, so I just went to town. I am not sure how I put all of that cheese and crust away, but I did. I also promptly got sick and threw up sauce, but I did manage to get them both down in one go. I would say this was one of my greater “not proud” moments.

Andrew Findlay

There are probably a few dozen tie answers to this question in my life, but one that stands out is high school, Red Sun China Buffet. The same extremely competitive person that rage-ate a Vermonster challenged me to an all-you-can-eat buffet contest. This led to a piling-in of variously fried chickens, beefs, and noodles. I can’t remember exactly what I got to, but whatever it was, it wasn’t pleasant. I want to say about five or six entirely full, grease-laden plates. She only got to one plate below me. I mostly just didn’t want to move for the rest of the day, but something I will never forget is that, after she drove us back to her house, she fell out of her car and rolled around on her front lawn for a little bit, screaming due to the stomach pain she caused herself through hubris. She knows who she is, and if she is reading this today, I would like to share a message with her:

Gardner Mounce

I love to eat, but I’ve never been able to achieve legendary feats of stuffing myself, except as a teenager when it was normal for me to come home from school and eat two bags of Cheetos Puffs in one sitting. I didn’t do this all the time, but even doing it one time is disgusting in retrospect. And not because I don’t like Cheetos–because I do. Eating two bags isn’t even all that much food, but just look at the calories: 3,150 per bag. I had two bags. That’s 6,300 calories, or three times the amount of calories the average human should eat in a day, and 6,000 times the amount of shame any human should have to endure.

Colton Royle

In Mexico, in Aguas Calientes I believe, there is a little taco restaurant called Jugo’s. You can have “inside” tacos (beef and avocado), or “outside” tacos (chicken and onions). I had 15 inside tacos. This sounds like a lot until I looked over and saw my friend Hunter after he had pounded away 31 outside tacos. It all became this big competition each year and things got out of hand. Guppies.