An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
I didn't think it was possible to catch Tourette's Syndrome, especially from a book. I was wrong. I'm reading Motherless Brooklyn, By Jonathan Lethem, it's fiction about a detective who barks, curses, twitches through a complicated plot about Buddhists and giant Polaks.
It could be my mood, though, not the syndrome.
Usually, I'm a jolly guy. Easily entertained. I enjoy the simple things in life... getting drunk, jerking off, taking a shit, being kidnapped in Albania. So how come I've been feeling so rotten lately?
It's not the politics. Dubya was as bad as Bambi.
It's not the age milestone. Just that I made it is cause for celebration, or at least amazement.
It's not the state of punkrock... In fact, sometime I'll write a column about the great state of punkrock in New York... especially the NEW SCUM scene.
I think I'm depressed by something I hinted at in an earlier column. Something you see in iTunes and Facebook. Maybe I'm barking at Twitter and Netflix. At the TV-sized screens in the local multiplex and the theater-sized screens in the apartment across the street.
Scene shift: Lefty Hooligan already complained about it. Now I will: I've got 764 friends on Facebook. What does it get me? Can I suck the squack from 764 vaginae? Can I wrap my rectum around 764 throbbing Vienna sausages? Can I ask 764 people to share my can of PBR? Sure I can. But will they show up?
For the past 12 years, I've had a group called DRINK CLUB. It started with me and a couple Japanese students. We went to the same bar every Monday. Gradually, more people joined us, and we started moving. Then I saw Fight Club.
“Yow!” I thought, “that's us! Not Fight Club, but DRINK CLUB!”
At the turn of the century, at least a dozen people joined us every week in our quest to discover new bars, cause trouble, slap each others' shoulders, nibble on each others' buffalo wings.
Right now I sit in Bamboo 52, in Hell's Kitchen. It's a long narrow affair. Up-front is the bar. In back are tables and a waitress. As is the fashion in New York, people stand at the bar trying to pick each other up. No one sits. So I snag a couple tables, push them together, put up the DRINK CLUB sign, and let the manager know to expect some people... both Occident-- and Orient-- al. Maybe even a colored gal or two. It's 9:15pm. Drink Club officially starts at 9:37. I pick weird starting times so people will think it's like a train schedule and rush to be on time. It doesn't work. People usually show up at 10. I'll wait.
Recently, I found out that Coors owns BLUE MOON. I order a Hoegaarten. The menu offers spurious Japanese food with a decidedly New York bend. Not a sushi roll, but a Bagel Roll: Eel, salmon, cream cheese and Tempura. Yuck.
I order noodles.
9:30: No one but me here.
I order a Kona Fire beer... a nice hoppy brew that's rare in New York. It comes with a lemon in it. What is it with bars these days? If it's from some warm place, throw a lemon or lime in it. Yuck!! If I wanted a fruit drink, I'd order a Fuzzy Navel or one of those other girl/yuppie abominations.
10:00: No one but me is here.
The only guy at the bar not hitting on one of the girls at the bar comes over to me.
“Hey,” he says. “Did anyone ever tell you that you look like Jeff Van Gundy?”
“Ben Weasel told me that,” I tell him.
He laughs like he gets the joke. There is no joke.
“Maybe if I find a gimmick...” I think. “People like gimmicks.”
Flash ahead to next week: Drink Club will be at Local 138 in the Lower East Side.
After a little bit of Googling, I find out that Drink Club Day is also National Battery Day. Huh?
On Facebook, I post that everyone should bring a battery operated something to Drink Club. It'll make for an interesting theme night. A gimmick.
It's about 4 in the afternoon. I walk through the front door, halfway down on Ludlow Street. The place is empty except for the bartendress cleaning glasses behind the bar.
I walk up to her. Six steps from the door to the bar. Six steps until my penis achieves full erection. When I reach the bar, I come.
You guessed it. The bartendress is the sexiest white female I've ever seen. Brown almost crewcut hair. Tall, skinny, with two teacup-sized breasts pertly and naturally aroused behind her t-shirt. If Lesbian Nation makes a recruiting poster, here's the model. I'll sign up. Now!
You know that Guys With Pies series? The butch lezbo equivalent of Chicks With Dicks? This girl is even better.
“Oh hi,” I croak.
“Is it so cold outside?” asks the enchantress. “Your face is bright red. You want something warm?”
“You bet, and it's right between your legs,” I don't say.
“I just noticed it when I came...er... came in,” I say.
She smiles one of those okay-bud-tell-me-what-you-want-or-leave smiles.
“A...act...actually,” I stutter, “I do this thing called Drink Club...”
I hand her a card.
“Every week we go to a different bar. Next week it's here. I just wanted to make sure there was enough room for the crew.”
“How many people will there be?” she asks.
“I donno,” I tell her. “The biggest group was 35 people. The smallest group was... only me. We'll be here Thursday.”
“No problem,” says the messiahness. “You can have the back room.”
She walks around the bar, toward the back. I follow at an admiring distance.
She shows me the room and I thank her.
On my way back home, I buy a toy tank from a shop in Chinatown.
When you turn it on, it flashes. A TRANSFORMER pops out the top and shouts FIRE! FIRE!
I return home, set down the toy and scrape the semen from my pubes. Then, I send out 500 reminder emails, text a few people, print out more Drink Club business cards, and get a very good night's sleep.
The night of Drink Club: I'm at the bar half an hour early.
Her majesty is not working tonight. And the back room is closed. Locked.
Dejected, I take a table, put up the DRINK CLUB sign, and wait.
In about a half hour, Evan walks in. Yeah, that Evan. The one who wrote I Was A Murder Junkie. The one who played in every George Tabb band since Roach Motel. That's the one who smiles and sits down next to me.
This is terrific. Last time I saw Evan was at my birthday party where I was almost as happy to see him as I was this girl Erin. Her, I'd met only a few times, but she was sexy as a lesbian and twice as friendly. I like Evan. Since he doesn't drink, it's strange for him to come to Drink Club. Still, I'm glad he's there.
“Well,” I say to him. “Thanks a lot for coming. I thought it was gonna be only me... like last week. Did you bring a battery toy?”
“I hope you're right,” I say, starting my second beer.
Three-quarters of the way through it, my cellphone buzzes. A text message... from Erin.
“I'm in Chinatown,” she texts, “I'll be there in a few minutes.”
Yow! Maybe it's too bad it won't be just the two of us. Me and Erin. How do I tell Evan it was nice seeing him, but...
“It's from Erin,” I tell Evan. “Maybe you met her at my birthday party. I have such a crush on her.”
“Me too,” he says. “That's why I arranged with her to meet me here.”
I shudda known!
The night is Erin, Evan and me. Two guys who like the same girl.
Two writers: My book is bigger than yours. Two smart guys, one nearing 40, the other just past seventy. Who has the best chance? I ask you?
Still, I'm game and I want to give it the ole' Drink Club try.
There's nothing else to do anyway. Nobody else is gonna show up... and I need some human contact.
“I kinda set my partner limit at age fifty-five,” says Erin sometime between the sixth and seventh beer. “Sorry Mykel.”
Can you believe she actually says that? Set her limit? What's the deal? Is she afraid I'm gonna keel over on top of her like Nelson Rockefeller? (Look it up.)
I get home at 4am. Sloshed. A hangover pre-curser... or maybe just a headache from butting horns with Evan. Two horny rams. What's to do now? I can't sleep. Maybe I'll go to xhamster.com and check if they got anything new to jerk off to? I usually search under Emo.
You may not like the music, but the porn is great. Or maybe they've got some excerpts from Guys With Pies.
Instead, I check Facebook. There's a message from Jennifer Blowdrier, former MRR columnist, and one of the few Facebook friends worthy of the word.
Hi Mykel, she writes. You know I had this writer's group here in LA? Looks like it fell apart. You can't do anything face-to-face anymore.
I Facebook her back, telling her how right she is and how I've been thinking the same thing. And, oh yeah, isn't it ironic that we complain on Facebook about how virtual the world is becoming. I do NOT include a smiley icon.
Below Jennifer's message is an invitation to The Bull Dyke Chronicals. Shelly Mars, my pal, former nextdoor neighbor, and George Tabb stag party performer, hosts a lesbian variety show in a small performance space on the Lower East Side. I think I'll pass on that one... yeah right.
Flash ahead: It's a little tough to find the small club. Dixon's Place is on Christie Street. Used to be a whore street in the days before people traded whores for virtual sex.
Now, there's a crowd of attractive young men standing on the street. As I approach, I see they are not young men. AAAAHOOOGAH!THIS MUST BE THE PLACE.
As cross the last street before the bar, a giant Whole Foods truck slams into me, running me over. I die instantly.
I don't actually remember that, but it must have happened, because when I enter the door to the bar, I'm in heaven. Wall-to-wall girls! White girls. Black Girls. J.A.P.s and Japs. The only girl missing is that bartendress from Local 138. I'm sure she's here somewhere.
Not the casual look-out-the-corner-of-my-eye-don't-want-'em-to-know-I'm-staring stare, but a Jezus-fuckin'-Christ-I-can't-believe-this-is-happening-to-me stare.
And these girls are just standing around talking. Elbows resting on palms. Drinks in hand, like being the sexiest creatures in an infinitude of simultaneous universes is no big deal.
And begin it does.
The lights dim. There's Shelly, dressed in sparkly tights and a gold lamé shift. She does a shtick about Joey Heatherton... a minor luminary. (Three people who read this might have heard of her.) She leaves the stage to applause; does a quick change; and returns as herself, the Mistress of Ceremony.
“Welcome to the Bull Dyke Chronicles,” she says. “You know, I've been Facebooking, and Tweeting, and virtually virtualizing everything. It's a bitch, huh? Nobody really sees anybody anymore.”
I can't believe it. It's me channeled through a lesbian body.
“Even if you go to a bar,” she continues, “you never really talk. You just stand there with your arms folded, trying to pick up some girl. And what does it get you? A hangover?”
“Yeah!” I shout.
Everyone looks at me.
“But when there's a performance, something to see and watch. People get together in a more human way. Audience and performers and all kind of mixes. It's... I donno... like real people....”
“Enough philosophy... And now, our first guest, from Macon Georgia, we have Debbie Mae Sue.”
A pert twenty something with a huge blond wig mounts the stage.
“Howdy ya'll,” she says in a drawl. “It's sure a pleasure being here with you tonight for the Bulldog Chronicles. The Bulldogs, that's the team from my hometown. So it's great to be celebrating with y'all.”
She leads the crowd in a rousing football song, complete with barking. A hundred and twenty lesbians singing We are the bulldogs, arf arf arf.” I don't know whether to laugh or come.
Following Sally Mae is Sugarbutch, a guy-with-a-pie and more personality than anyone I've seen on stage in the last 10 years.
She's a poetess who is not funny, but riveting. She's like those great actors you hear about, who can read the phonebook and make you cry. But her poems are much better than any phonebook, not sappy, not funny, but... well, you gotta be there.
“You don't like poetry?” she says. “Maybe you haven't had the right poet.”
There's so much more. It would take another column to describe. You can't imagine.
The place is packed. People are friendly, laughing, chatty... even to me. Leave it to the lezbos to touch lips across the Facebook wall. I only wish I could fit in.
Last year, Jesse made me an honorary Hispanic. This year, I want to become a lesbian. I'll pray tonight for the goddess to shrink my outtie even more. I'll let you know what happens.
ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (email@example.com) or website viewers (www.mykelboard.com) will get live links and a chance to post comments on the column]
--> Last month I made a mistake on Kyle N's MySpace page: it's nothingisttrue. Note the two t's in ttrue... or is it the German "ist" plus true. Ask him. Besides he needs your support in jail. Write to him at: Kyle Nonneman, #691768, 1120 SW 3rd St, Portland OR 97204
-->Only in America dept: Everything has its price. A new web service PriceDoc.com will let you bid on the cost of hundreds of medical procedures if you pay cash or with a credit card. You can also reserve a price from published fees, make a lower offer or "name your price.” If you "win," just call the doctor for an appointment. Cancer? Get a discount operation. It might work. Pretty sick, huh?
-->More on Obama dept: The Family is a Charlie Manson-sounding secretive Religious Right group. It sponsors an annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC. The group supports David Bahati, a Ugandan legislator who is pushing a super-hardcore anti-homo law.
The Ugandan proposal calls for the execution of gays and the imprisonment of those who promote homosexuality. Obama attended the breakfast and said nothing about the Ugandan proposal. Did you expect otherwise?
-->Save a life in lust dept: My pal Sid Yiddish sent me a link to a story about a town in Switzerland that is providing its brothels with defibrillators. Seems like... er... older gentlemen have been Viagring with the young women then kicking the bucket... mid-thrust. It's a good way to go, but it's even better if you get a second chance.