“So where you from man?” He asked. He wore a flat bill hat that rested on his head at an impossible angle. Not quite 45 degrees and slanted to point upward, leaving the impression that it wasn’t adjusted purposefully, but it was, and any human who has ever worn a hat knew it. He was addressing a man with the same exact demeanor as himself. Slightly hunched to a point, to purposefully exude a carefree and relaxed nature. But, like the other guy’s hat, it was all show. Made to seem at nature with its environment but decidedly not at the same time.
“You know, I’m from Cleveland and shit man… You know. Around.”
“Word, word. Me too.” Said the first guy. He was all chin and all angles. They made geometry into conversation and I had to admire that. All juxtaposed into cool stances like a Picasso piece. Proto-Cubism in motion. It was at this point that they started to shuffle around each other awkwardly, hands stuffed in pockets, chin nods thrown at each other like rice at a wedding. Before long one asked the inevitable question; “So, like, where from around Cleveland?” The other guy reluctantly named a suburb to much the delight of his adversary. “No shit! I’m from-!” He lists another Cleveland suburb. It doesn’t matter which. I watch the whole shame dance as it unfolds. We’re all outside a bar in suburban Columbus, Ohio. I’m smoking a cigarette and I haven’t said a goddamn word.
As a 26-year-old gay guy living in this day and age, hook-up apps are not only THE way to go but almost an unspoken necessity, as they make every fear about actual interaction and flirtation simple (if not slightly reprehensible). Obviously I do in fact have a Grindr account, and have probably deleted and re-downloaded the app several thousand times. And yet, day after gay day, I continue validating its presence on my phone as the most practical way for me to navigate the Columbus gay scene.
“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” Well, the answer is yes. To even begin to process the definition of reality — “the state or quality of having existence or substance” — we must first ascertain what exactly is meant by “existence”. Google, tells us that existence is “the fact or state of living or having objective reality.” So the simple definition of reality and existence tells us that they are essentially the same thing. To be real is to exist and to exist is to be real. So how do we determine reality?
Labor Day is over but if you’re like us then you‘re probably desperate to squeeze as much summer out of the next few weeks as possible, before September ends and all of Twitter makes the same bad Green Day joke. That means BBQs, camping, and of course backyard games! Cornhole, though relatively uncool, has occupied the top spot of outdoor activities ever since lawn darts were made (probably rightfully) illegal. A close second would be bocce ball, but is somehow even less cool and infinitely more expensive. I recently heard of a game called kubb, which is a Viking Age leisure activity (cool) played with wooden blocks and various lengths of rope. However, much like disc golf (thoroughly non-cool) the vast majority of kubb players are balding men named ‘Mike’ and therefore can also never be considered cool.
As you casually wear that Superman shirt, do you know his backstory? Can you name any of the writers and artists that brought it to life? What of the ancient Els on Krypton? None of that “On my planet it means hope” crap either. See, a real nerd can’t just go home after watching the latest DC movie flop, lick their wounds and re-watch The Wire for the sixth time. Actual nerds turn to things like the Smallville podcast or obsessing through the Superman wiki—lest we torment our friends and coworkers with all the fan theories and canon discrepancies that we physically can’t hold back. Meanwhile, non-nerds have the benefit of catching a few episodes of Doctor Who and grabbing a Funko Pop doll, instead of agonizing over the Face of Bo’s timeline or if the Silurians have the same makeup in each iteration. Nerds wield the responsibility of having an encyclopedic knowledge of the inane—that comes up in no normal daily conversation—which is why we overflow with excitement when someone indulges our discussions about which Comic Book universe is better or which season marked the decline of The Simpsons. This culture has gotten to enjoy the fruits of our laborious tending while we watch our passions rot into oblivion. It’s fine to like stuff that’s cool but it’s become far too easy to claim the nerd struggle as your own just by transiently consuming various “nerd” things. Things like:
Is there any quicker way to tell if your neighborhood Mexican restaurant is bullshit than if the food there is described as zesty? How about chalkboard wall menus detailing various brunch specials? Or perhaps the mere presence of brunch specials at all? For what purpose are there rotating taps of craft beer? Surely we all know at this point that Modelo is the only acceptable non-margarita beverage for Mexican cuisine. Look around you. Is that an all-white wait staff? I guess she’s kind of tan—nope, nope. This place is boojie as fuck. Taco Tuesday used to mean something, dammit!
Welcome to a new column here on this site, a step by step recipe guide on how to prepare delicious and (sometimes healthy) meals while perpetually broke. My last submission was just me following the directions on a standard package of ramen and got rejected immediately, so this time I decided to up my game. It took me a few beers to think of what to make and then, when I came up with the idea, I realized I didn’t have the ingredients. So I decided to just scrounge for what I had in the kitchen anyway. I’ll level with you, I had gone out to the grocery store a few days ago but I just didn’t want to go again. After sleeping in my own indolence until noon I had no desire to start being productive. I did however wish to eat, which is how you get: