tough question

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.

Advertisements

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.

Tough Questions: What’s the Most Meaningless Game You’ve Ever Cheated In?

question-mark

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

What’s the most meaningless game you’ve ever cheated in?

Rules are simple: what are you capable of doing to win, even when the chips aren’t down? A story about cheating to win is still a story about winning. A story about cheating in something meaningless — something truly, truly meaningless — is a story about depravity.

Alex Russell

Either only children cheat in games more often or that’s what I tell myself to excuse my shitty behavior. I was ruthless as a kid. I would move pieces when people looked away. I would do anything it took to give me an upper hand. There’s a great term in the world of video games for this now, a euphemism for some kinds of cheating: “clever use of game mechanics.” I’ll take my best moments to my grave, but my dumbest “use of game mechanics” surely has to have happened in a bowling alley. I have a ton of hubris about my bowling (which is dumb in a different way), but like anyone else with too much pride, I fear the fall. I’ll talk in your backswing. As the expression goes, “It is not enough that I succeed, others must fail.” Bowling doesn’t matter, but damn if I don’t forget that instantly in those places.

Jonathan May

Monopoly: the game my mother calls a “marriage ender.” It’s the kind of game where people generally agree upon “house rules” beforehand, but I generally also operate on a few private rules of my own. For instance, I make deals with players concerning property and free passes and such, and I’ve been accused of cheating many times while taking the “Free Parking” money. But I just consider those who call “cheat” to be jealous. Monopoly is totally the kind of game that reveals everything about someone. It should definitely be played with Xanax.

Brent Hopkins

I don’t remember the last time I cheated in a game. I am a bit of a “knight” when it comes to competition and I’d rather get beaten badly than win unfairly. That’s probably why I never accept handicaps in games, also. How else am I supposed to be the very best? Like no one ever was.

Andrew Findlay

I do not resort to cheating. I mostly just yell loudly at whoever is beating me. I am going to tell of the most egregious cheating that has ever been practiced upon me. I was at a wedding in Germany with a lot of good friends and my wife. German weddings are uh, kind of next-level when it comes to festivities. I don’t even mean drinking – I mean all the skits and games the ones close to the bride and groom are supposed to come up with. The groom’s best man, his brother, decided that his contribution would be to introduce dizzy bat to Germany. He was successful, and it was great. It was also girls versus boys. The men stood up, taking this very seriously, most having already tied quite a few on. All of us were very dedicated, and I can definitely say that spinning around on a bat, drinking an entire pint, then running down the room is almost a terrifying experience. I cannot remember any other time in my life where, running, I could literally not tell where the ground was going to be the next time my foot hit it. Anyway, we committed. The women went through their whole relay a split second before we did – damn, we lost! Then we saw five entirely full beers on a table right next to their team. They were just setting the beers to the side, and our entire team was too into competing to even notice.

Gardner Mounce

I’m sure I cheated at games a lot when I was a kid, but nothing sticks out except for this dick move I’d do when my older sister got “Free Parking” in Monopoly where I’d dig my fingers under the board–really get both hands under there, as close to center as possible–and I’d try to make the board hit the ceiling. Then I’d laugh like it was funny, like no one else had been enjoying the game either and I had just livened the mood. Except everyone had been enjoying the game, especially my older sister. It’s okay. I hate myself, too.

Colton Royle

I could insert any video game from the 1990s into this category. In all seriousness though, our family played Bible Trivia, which is just a religious Trivia Pursuit. We would have a weekly bible study and my sister and I would try to convince my parents to play trivia instead. During these games I would do anything I could, whether it was keeping a bible in the bathroom, or just something simple like looking behind a card, to get the “answers.” I can’t tell if I was a either good player for being desperate for answers or a terrible person for cheating at bible games.