I want to smoke every cigarette in every bodega in every borough.
I want to drink the way I used to drink.
I want to take every drug I swore I'd never do. I want to let them take me down river and send me out to sea. I want to drown slowly and quickly all at once. I want to see what all the fuss is about.
I want to eat junk food and cancel my gym membership. I want to watch old cartoons and regress and lose my emotional capacity to understand and relate.
I want to plug my guitar into a stack bigger than my entire apartment. I want to wake the entire block. I don't need a microphone. You will hear my screams loud enough.
I want to lock the doors, close the blinds, and break my computer with a hammer. I want to pry out every key one at a time. God damn me for believing the pen was mighty at all.
I want to fight every twenty-two year old in a tailored suit. I want to cut off every strand of hair that I see is covered in gel. I want to hurt them before they hurt me.
I want to pray to God.
I want to buy a gun and have a man in a red MAGA hat teach me how to use it. I want to gorge myself on the irony.
I want to listen to loud music and find my old xacto knife.
I want to steal a car and drive out into the desert. I want to stay there fore a while. I want my skin to burn.
I want to look my students in the eyes and tell them to go into a STEM field, or better yet just stay home. I want to tell them to wake up from their dreams. I want to assign this as homework. I want to fail them all because I already have.
I want to go back into my old journals and read the entries from November of 2008. I want to go back to that Drive-By Truckers concert the week of that election where everyone was so happy that we had a new president. I want to see my face from back then, my smile, my wide eyes. I want to put that kid in the hospital. I want to break his fingers and steal his notes and burn his college applications. God damn him for thinking the pen was mighty at all.
I want to disappoint my friends and family.
I want to hack into your e-mails and publish them anonymously. I want to do the same with mine. I want to level the playing field. I want to lift the veil. I want to see you for what you really are.
I want to burn every book in my library before someone else thinks to do so.
I want to stay in bed forever. In bed where there are no task forces, no walls, no private servers, no 3am phone calls, no nuclear codes, no red hats.
I want to give up.
I want to. But I can't. I want to. But I wont. I want to, though. Right now, I really want to.
But I can't.
Not. Fucking. Ever.
There is work to be done.
Monday, November 7th, 2016
I remember exactly where I was when I found out that Donald Trump had entered the race.
I was sitting in a movie theatre in Ireland. I was about to watch Amy. I was prepared to be devastated. But I wasn't prepared enough.
I knew Trump was going to be making an announcement, but I never thought he'd actual enter the race. I checked Twitter. He had entered the race.
I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all of my Irish friends. Because when I was sitting in that movie theatre reading about how Trump had promised to build a wall and in the same breath called Mexicans the things Donald Trump calls Mexicans, my thought process wasn't even "Well, he won't win a single state." It wasn't even "He'll be gone in a week." It was "What a fucking joke."
Because that's what it seemed like. That's what it still seems like, though it's becoming more and more clear that the joke is on us rather than it is on him. Back then, in that Rathmines movie theatre, the joke was very much on Donald, as it had been for my entire childhood.
To me, a suburban kid from New Jersey, Donald Trump never represented success so much as he represented celebrity. He was a Famous Person, first and foremost. He was a celebrity. He had a TV show and he was featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. I always figured his name being on buildings was all part of his brand as a celebrity, not because he had any business sense. It never really even occurred to me that he had a business. He was just a Famous Person.
So when Donald rocketed to the top of the polls, that's what I figured the cause was. He's a celebrity. He's a Famous Person. He's winning because people already know him and he doesn't have to introduce himself to the country the way that someone even like Jeb Bush does. But that's not enough to sustain a campaign. Even as he maintained his lead throughout the rest of that summer, I had multiple conversations with my Irish friends in which I, after apologizing, said, "He will be gone in three weeks. You have nothing to worry about from Donald Trump. Don't be scared of Donald Trump. He's just a celebrity."
Three weeks turned into three months turned into what feels like three years. Donald Trump is one smelly orange cock hair away from the Presidency.
So I'm sorry, Irish friends. I spoke the truth that day. What I said was absolutely the truth. "Donald Trump will be gone in three weeks." I did not lie. I just happened to be living in a different reality.
At least that's what we've been telling ourselves for this entire campaign, hasn't it? Not just that Donald Trump lives in his own reality or that there are two different versions of America. We tell ourselves, "This can't be real. This can't be happening. I must be in an alternate reality."
The latter examples are hyperbole, sure, and the earlier examples are knocking on the door of truth. But to claim that we live in two different countries - one in which Donald Trump is a savior and the other in which he is a dictator - is kind of a cop out. Furthermore, it's an end to a conversation rather than the beginning of one.
Yes, I as a kid who grew up in the suburbs who makes a living writing plays have no idea what it's like for a struggling family with no running water in the middle of the Ozarks. That doesn't mean that we are living in two different worlds, and that sure as shit doesn't mean that we're going to be voting in two different elections tomorrow. We share this country. We share this responsibility. We live in the same reality, no matter how we try to color it.
I made a promise to my Irish friends whenever they talked to me about Trump. I promised them, "You have nothing to worry about." Even if i was wrong about his shelf-life, even if I was wrong about his power, I still truly believe that they should not worry about him entering the White House. I plan on making good on my promise.
And if I'm wrong on that front, too, then I can only hope they welcome me back to Rathmines with open arms. Because Donald Trump makes Enda Kenny look like Paul Wellstone smoking legal weed through a spliff made out of welfare checks.
Vote. Be safe. Be with your friends. Tell your family you love them. Don't stay up too late watching scary movies tomorrow night, and don't do anything I wouldn't do.
Sunday, November 6th, 2016.
Now Playing: New Cannonball Blues by TV on the Radio
My shopping list for this evening includes portabello mushrooms, some Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice, avocados (if they're ripe), a bag of apples, a bottle of bourbon, five bottles of wine, and popcorn. A lot of popcorn.
Stocking up for election night is a lot of like preparing for a storm. You want to make sure you're not going to run out of anything, you buy a lot of everything. It's better to overprepare than to underprepare. And if the power and water never go off, you can say to yourself, "Sure, we didn't drink any bottled water, but hey - now we have a case of bottled water!" Tuesday night is going to be like that, but with lots of drugs and alcohol.
I am going to drink with purpose on election night. I am going to numb myself with extreme prejudice. I will not be alone in this endeavor. Do a quick Google search for election night drinking game and browse through all of the options, all the different ways people have found to get through the returns. One sip every time someone says "rigged." One shot every time a new exit polls come out. Finish your drink when we have a President. No matter what it takes, America is going to play like a champion this week.
I, for one, have no intention of playing a drinking game. I have no intention of getting too drunk too fast. My goal is to sustain myself all night long. I'll pace myself, yes, but as I said before I'm drinking with intention. I must remain focused enough to not lose my temper or start screaming, but I also must be drunk enough to be able to look at the TV screen. I won't be able to look at the electoral map sober, but if I'm too drunk I'll refuse to believe that it's real.
The first exit polls will be released at 7:00 pm Eastern. I get off work at 6:00pm and it will take me roughly forty minutes to get home. Upon arriving home, I will drink a beer, and then promptly at 7:00 I will open a bottle of wine and drink a glass once New Hampshire is announced. My goal will then be to make the wine last me until 9:00pm, after which Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina will have been announced.
This is where it gets slightly more complicated. I will be a bottle of wine and a beer in, and at that point will likely have a pretty clear idea of where the election is going. If Hillary wins at least two of those states, I will continue with the wine. If Trump wins either Pennsylvania or Florida, I will make myself an Old Fashioned and drink that over the course of the next hour.
If it is clear come 10:00pm that Hillary will cross 270 at 11:00pm when she wins California, I will open the champagne. If things are still in the air, I will take a shot and then switch back to wine until the contiguous 48 have been called.
God willing, by that point, one way or another, we will have a new President. And if we don't? No more drinks after 11:00pm. No more running away from the results, no more masking the pain. If we have a new President at that point, then it will be time to accept their ascension head-on, warts and all. If we don't, then it's even more important to stay sharp, keep vigilant, and expose lies and bullshit when detected. Besides, it's a weeknight; we have work to do.
Dear Roger Sherman,
Introductions are in order. You don't know me, but I know you. See, I'm from the future. You died over two hundred years ago, which is sucky, but your influence lives on to this day! Those documents you helped write: the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution (thenceforth known exclusively as The Toosh)? Their influence reigns supreme to this day! Indeed, you and all your friends are now known as The Founding Fathers, and you led the world's first revolution built upon the Enlightenment. And you are the Founding Father to have had a hand in all three of the major founding documents of the United States! You're a gosh-darn rock star, dude!
Except you're not. Most people don't know who you are. Your buddies are all pretty much the closest thing we have to royalty in this country. I'm sure that bums you out, what with the wanting to do away with monarchy thing, but don't worry because you're not so much royalty as you are a historical footnote.
See, there's this saying nowadays - it's not really a saying, it's more like a rule of thumb - that says, "Pictures, or it Did Not Happen." Maybe it's a proverb. Basically what it means is that unless there is proof of an event in the form of visual evidence, then no one will truly believe that it actually took place. This extends to the Founding Fathers, though no one was around to get a good photo of you.
In practice, this means that if there isn't a movie, tv show, or musical written about you, then you effectively don't exist. John Adams has a miniseries. Thomas Jefferson has a Ken Burns documentary. Alexander Hamilton... don't get me started.
You, on the other hand, didn't even get to really be in 1776. You helped write the Toosh and you didn't even get to really be in 1776. Burn.
Though, perhaps that's not the worst thing in the world. You're still a Founding Father, Roger, and arguably the most influential one. You're like the silent partner of America. You're the man pulling the strings. You don't have the fame, but that also means you don't have the notoriety.
See, people today love to talk about the Founding Fathers. The Framers. The people who created this country. Not only do they love to talk about them, they also love to put words in their mouths and interpret what they would think about today's modern politics. I strongly doubt you, Roger, ever had an opinion about whether or not owning an AR-15 is an American right. You were to busy focusing on "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" to think about that, I suppose. But lobbyists (people who tell people like you what to do for a living) will go to Capitol Hill (the place where the government now governs) and argue that the Founding Fathers fought and bled for our right to own big fucking guns. The Founding Fathers gave us the Toosh. The Founding Fathers created this country as a Christian country. The Founding Fathers this. The Founding Fathers that.
The problem is that the government of today would be unrecognizable to you. It's not that the government has turned into something that you were trying to fight against or something that you would abhor, it's the times have changed, people have changed, and therefore government has changed. You thought that the government would need to do little more than run a postal service. But you also thought that Black people were three-fifths of a person, so maybe it is a good thing that you didn't get to be in 1776.
The real problem, Roger, is you never would have considered the problems facing Americans today because during the time that the three founding documents were written, those problems did not exist. Assault rifles, abortions, gay marriage - Americans today speak a different language than the one you spoke.
You would not recognize the America of today. You would not recognize gerrymandering and voter suppression, poll watching and ID laws. You would not recognize Super PACs, you wouldn't recognize special interest groups, you wouldn't recognize voting blocs or online polls or hanging fucking chads. Which is almost certainly for the best - you'd spin in your unmarked grave if you knew what was going on to the country you helped create.
In for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose; we wouldn't recognize you on a list of Founding Fathers so why should you recognize the country you gave birth to?
I guess what I'm saying is this: who really gives a shit if you, a Founding Father, wouldn't recognize the America of today? Who gives a shit if the EPA and NEA are not what you had in mind? You gave us the Toosh, and now we're going to use it. You founded our country. We'll take it from here.