#181 – Receiving a Text Message

I don’t keep my phone on anything but vibrate or silent any more. It’s been that way for about, honestly, four years. So, with that said, I miss a decent amount of phone calls, e-mails and texts. Which, if you know me, is sort of pathetic because not that many people are calling, e-mailing or texting.

Still, when the phone is on vibrate, there isn’t much better than getting a text message. You might argue that a call is more significant, but frankly, that’s why it’s worse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these new-age hipsters that only communicates via textual message. I enjoy a good phone call every so often and even prefer it at times when I know it’ll save me time.

But, the text is always a nice feeling. For me, it’s a longer buzz than the e-mail and shorter than the ones in the ringtone. Twitter gives off two shots, voicemails are one longer one. But the text is quick, distinguishable. From the depths of my pocket, I know based on vibration when I’ve received one.

Of course, my first hope is that it’s a girl. She wants to meet up as soon as I’m free, she found my number and had to reach out to me. Naturally, this is a ridiculous premise—it’s typically a family member or friend—but a boy can dream.

And, you see, that’s what this feeling is about. It’s the excitement of not knowing who it is at first. It’s the fun of knowing that someone actually wanted to reach out to you. Of all the people in their phone book, they chose you.

Polar Opposite of This Feeling? Getting a phone call from a random number, getting excited it might be someone or something fun and having it be one of those recorded voices telling you that you’ve just won a vacation.

#116 – Finding a Store With Clothes That Fit You

Unless you’re like my friend Rob, most clothes don’t fit you like they do the mannequins*. The large is just a little too long in the arms or baggy in the waste while the medium looks like you’re wearing your little brother’s clothes… from the 6th grade. The XL used to be cool in high school and the small said bye-bye about 15 years back. You’re in no-man’s land.

Then, one day, you come across a store that some how has a size for you. Of course, they still go by the traditional norms of large, medium, etc… but it’s as if this store made these measurements with you in mind.

For me, that store is Express. For whatever reason, their 1X Modern Fit shirt in medium fits me like no shirt ever has. For years, I’ve been trying to find a shirt/sweater/polo that doesn’t look ridiculous on me. I’ve either had it appear as if I’ve got a tarp stuffed into the back of my khakis or as if I’m wearing a marionette’s outfit. Nothing in between.

Until now, that is.

The funniest thing about all of this, to me, is that I’m not even much of a shopper. I do it maybe twice a year with any real earnest. Both are generally in the company of my mom and one is always around my birthday (and that’s only because it’s not socially acceptable to ask for toys any longer).

But, now that I’m at least attempting to play an adult in real life, I’ve found that at times I need to look the part. Until this store goes out of business, I can.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling? Forgetting what size you are in that store, buying the wrong size and coming home to realize your tragic mistake.

*Side note about this kid: He’s in good shape and stands at least 6 feet tall, but there’s nothing Olympian about his physique. Yet, somehow, clothes fit him like he’s had everything from t-shirts to sweaters to suit jackets tailored. It’s fabulous.

#219 – Fast Forwarding Through Commercials on Your DVR

Younger generations won’t even understand this one. When this list goes to the Smithsonian in a few years time, young children from an era unaware of a time without DVRs will simply be unable to understand the joy of this feeling. Lucky us.

Of course, people my age always had the ability to fast forward through commercials, whether it was through a DVR or VHS tape. I guess, for me, I specify DVR in this feeling because I wasn’t a crazy VHS-taper. Every so often I’d tape a show or sporting event, but nothing with incredibly frequency.

Nowadays I have my DVR on the hunt for Seinfeld, making sure at least 5 are always in stock at all times. My roommate tapes Anthony Bourdain and The League. Not that any of that matters. What matters is that whatever you’re watching is pure show.

Jeopardy! goes from a half hour to about 14 minutes. Saturday Night Live goes from an hour and a half to anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes depending on the week.

There’s something nice about being able to skip out on the commercials and it’s not just being able to watch only the content of the show. For me, it’s about control. For once, with regards to television, I’m in control. I don’t need to budget a full half hour or hour any longer… unless I want to.

Oh who are we kidding. It’s all about not watching commercials. They’re largely awful and now we can avoid them. I’m sure DVR boxes will get smarter and force us to watch certain amounts of commercials, but until then, long live the >>.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling? When you are watching something on delay, skipping all the commercials and eventually catch up to live. It’s great to be caught up… but sucks that you can’t fast forward any longer.

#190 – Peeing Sitting Down

This is clearly a male-dominated feeling. I’m not even sure all men agree with me on this, but there’s something enjoyable about the occasional seated urination.

Before you say anything, I’m talking about the times when you’re already seated for other reasons on the toilet and remember you have to pee. I’ve never just randomly sat down to pee… that would just be strange.

And, I don’t think there’s a female equivalent to this. I’m nearly certain that, for a woman, peeing standing up is neither relaxing or a welcome change in routine. It’s simply a mess.

Either way, it’s not like aiming at a porcelain bowl the size of your torso is difficult, but it’s nice to be on cruise control. To know that you can simply take a load off. Hell, you’re already seated, why not?

Hopefully this explains it best: These situations typically don’t arise purposely. Instead, for me at least, they come after I’m done doing other business on the toilet and realize, “Hey there fella, you’ve gotta urinate…. And guess what, you’re already in here! And even better, you’re already sitting down! Let ‘er rip!”

Polar Opposite of this Feeling? Trying to pee with an erection. It’s just the pits.

#36 – Two of Your Favorite Artists Collaborating

When I was a kid, I never put much thought into who appeared on what album. It seemed to be fairly formulaic… Biggie did songs with Puff Daddy and other Bad Boy artists because they were on the same label. Every so often a rapper would get some female artist I hadn’t heard of to sing a hook or something. Even more frequently, a singer will get a rap artists to lay down a verse for them on a song. 

I’m not talking about that.

I’m talking about a real collaboration. Here’s an example outside the rap world:

This  features probably my favorite modern author (Jonathan Tropper) and definitely my favorite screenwriter/actor (Ed Burns). I should clarify, I’ve read all of Tropper’s books and seen nearly all of Burns’ movies (I think I’ve missed one), but I’ve been a fan of Burnsie longer. So when, in a bit of twitter stalking a while back, I stumbled upon the news that Burns and Tropper actually worked together to make one of the latter’s books (The Book of Joe, my second favorite of his) into a movie, you could imagine my excitement.

Part of the fun of being alive is enjoying the work of people who are better than you are at the things you love. When those people happen to work together and create, that’s a great thing.

The best analogy I can make is this: I don’t know about you, but there’s a part of me that’s happy when two attractive people are together and have kids. I realize, there’s a chance those kids aren’t as talented and good looking as they are… but they’re certainly stacking the deck in their favor and that’s better than I can say.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling? When people talk about collaborating and never ever do (ahem, every rap super group ever discussed). Or talk about getting back together (ahem, Fugees) and never do. Or when they do get together and make Harlem Nights (ahem, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy).

Chronicles of the Single Man, Episode 8: Judging A Book By Its Last Name

You can be Italian… and Jewish? What’s next, Black and White?

This story is, in fairness, a few years old at this point. That doesn’t remove any of its value or humor.

I was at a friend’s birthday party in New York City. I felt generally uncomfortable for a few reasons:

  1. I didn’t know anyone besides the friend whose birthday it was (and he is/was one of those kids with a seemingly never ending supply of pals… all of whom were in attendance).
  2. It was in a trendy hotel bar with one of those oh-so-cool decks.
  3. Everyone was dressed up like you’d expect them to be (which is to say aggressively straddling that line between douche and douchier*).

So, there I am, generally feeling like I was watching the whole event from outside of my own body. It was, as a friend and I like to say, a Robin Williams moment. My one and only concern was finding someone or some group that I could either talk to or that would let me stand close enough that it wouldn’t be weird (and would still appear as if I was in their group).

Most of the time, I flitted in and out of various mediocre conversations… until I met her. She was cute. Long, dark and curly hair, a sharply featured face and mind to match. She was a real joy to chat with and I even asked myself (at the time) if that was influenced by how badly I wanted to find someone to attach myself to. The answer was, resoundingly, no. I was, to my surprise, having a legitimate good time.

Over the course of conversation, we exchanged phone numbers and last names. Hers was decidedly Jewish… mine as you can tell, is not. Once we separated for the evening, we agreed it would be great to see each other at some point soon. And why not? We seemed to be experiencing some physical attraction to one another and the conversation was certainly stimulating.

A few days later I text her to follow up, asking if she’d like to get dinner that week. A few hours later she responds to my text**:

Scott, I had a great time meeting you last weekend and you seem like a great guy. It’s just that I’m looking to date seriously right now and am only interested in Jewish men. I don’t want to waste either of our times.

As you could imagine, I was floored. I responded, fairly shortly thereafter:

Well, unfortunately for you, I’m Jewish. How does this Thursday sound?

She thought I was kidding just to get a date. I didn’t say this, but I wanted to tell her not to flatter herself. We exchanged a number of texts that ultimately ended in the following things happening:

  1. Me explaining the whole “your last name can be Italian and you can still be Jewish” thing.
  2. Her saying she was sorry (several times).
  3. Me saying I understood even though I didn’t.
  4. Her saying that she would love to go out that Thursday.
  5. Me saying I’d see her then.
  6. Me realizing I’d never, ever date this girl more than once or twice.

And of course, that’s exactly what happened. We had a lovely first date, a mediocre second date and then never saw each other again. I couldn’t get my mind off how she was willing to not see someone she had a great time with simply because his last name ended in a vowel. I could get into how truly ridiculous this, but I’ll spare everyone.

The irony of the situation is that she didn’t want to go out with me because she assumed I wasn’t Jewish, and I wound up not wanting to go out with her because I was.

Life’s a trip.

*For anyone that’s ever been to The W in Hoboken and been told they can’t come in because they’re wearing sneakers with the wrong colored soles, you know what I’m talking about. Fuck that place. For real.

**As this was over two years ago, I obviously don’t have the exact text, but this is the general gist.

#250 – Having A Bill Come To A Perfectly Round Number

I suppose this one makes the list because of how truly rare it is. Think about it… how often do you actually get a check, before or after taxes, that comes out to a whole number. I’m talking $34.00 even for something. It never happens.

Amongst my group of friends there was a game we’d play call “guess the check”. First person to grab the bill gets to be the game show host and go around the room asking for everyone’s guesses. Based on that knowledge, the host, if so inclined, will guess at the end. Depending on the group of pals I’m with, we may or may not be playing by Price is Right rules.

The point of all that is this: I’ve been playing the game for a long time and never–not once–has a check come out to a whole number. Once, a friend guessed a whole number. We didn’t talk to him for a week (then again, he couldn’t do much talking either seeing as we threw him in a burlap sack and beat the shit out of him for an hour).

I’m not sure I’ll feel any true satisfaction when my day comes for this feeling, which is probably why its #250. Still, I think the rarity will account for at least a hint of a smile. And when it happens, I can cross this off the list.

Polar Opposite of this Feeling? Having a bill come out to way, way higher than you thought with a group of people you’re not that great of friends with anyways.