This is my old blog. I haven’t written in it for a few years. La la la la la.

Thank you for stopping by and here are a few things I have written since:

The Believer, “Without You I’m Nothing” (July/Aug 2014)

The New York Times Magazine, “She Told Herself She Couldn’t Die Because She Had to Write His Story” (Aug 2013)

Globe and Mail columns (June 2014-present)

Hazlitt, “Vice: We’ve Been Had, and We Let It Happen” (Oct 2014)

Hazlitt, “Why Was Nymphomaniac Made?

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The secret society of people who are having more fun than you

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been worried that everyone is having more fun than me. Partly, it’s true: right this moment, loads of people are having more and more intense fun than I could ever dream of. But partly it’s BS because everyone thinks everyone is having more fun than them, and we can’t all be having more fun.

There are different kinds of fun. Some people make wild and wacky plans and actually see them through. They belong to cliques in which everyone is up for wild and wacky things and has the moxie to make them happen. Do you guys want to go to the McMichael Gallery this weekend and just walk around and maybe do charades in the woods? I’m serious, but it also works as an example.

An extra good example because while I’m reasonably certain that none of my friends are up for this, I’m just as certain that some friend groups would be. There are friend groups out there who plan trips to New Zealand and go fishing for the heck of it and make Youtube videos of dance routines they choreographed. On paper, this might look twee and annoying, but it’s mostly annoying because it sounds fun and you’ll never do it.

Getting annoyed is one way to deal with other people’s fun. It usually happens when the fun seems more creative and spontaneous than you feel you’re capable of. In this case, fun is a frequency you just can’t hear. Another way to deal with other people’s fun is paranoia, and this usually happens when the fun seems to require secret knowledge or courage that you don’t think you possess. In this case, fun is a secret society you haven’t been told about and whose initiation rite you couldn’t handle.

For example, right now there’s probably an orgy in process at the other end of my building. Everyone at that party last weekend was high on MDMA, which means they were hanging out in a separate dimension where the shitty music sounded and felt like the porcelain jingle of a long-held pee, and all the boring small talk was as captivating as mystery dinner theatre.

As I said, I’ve felt this way since I was a kid. I was a lazy kid, but as an adult I try to be proactive. If it’s 3am and I’m tired but someone knows about a house party where apparently there are male pole dancers, I will hail a cab for us. If someone wants to do a sex thing that sounds unappetizing, but not totally painful, I will try that thing, but they have to give me a back massage afterward. If you wanted me to come to your sex party I’d maybe be into it, but I can’t picture anyone saying, “You know who we have to invite to this sex party? Alex!”

I won’t do your drugs, but that’s for the best, because if you gave me drugs I’d probably spend the whole night pleading with you to take me to the hospital. That’s what happened the first time I smoked pot.

My point is that I’ve had some fun. Even enjoyed it. But no matter how much fun I have, I’ve never stopped worrying that there’s a conspiracy of people having more fun than me. It’s at least comforting to think that I’m part of someone else’s conspiracy.


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Being too fucked up to love

I used to think about all the ways love had fucked me over. Nowadays, I think more about how I’m too fucked up to love. These thoughts are actually the same thought, and that thought is, “I’m bored.” Not much is going on in my personal life. I feel no passion for anyone around me. Sure would be nice to think about something other than work and food.

In fact, love has been fairly cordial to me. I’ve loved and been loved back (it was great!). I’ve loved and not been loved back (it was shitty! But great, too, in a longer-term sense). Maybe someone has loved me who I haven’t loved back (I probably shouldn’t hope so, but I do).

Oh, and I’ve known passion! Passion is the best. I wouldn’t want it all the time, but if I could get it intermittently for the rest of my life, that’d be excellent. Passion is like a Ghandi’s roti that way.

To be honest, there’s no way I’m too fucked up to love. I have a few “issues,” but I’m still reasonably loveable, and if I met someone who was worth working through my “issues” for, I’d go right ahead and love them. To say I’m too fucked up for a relationship is like saying I’m not fun enough for Disneyland. I just haven’t had a reason to go.

I’m glad I took on this mantra, though, because thinking you’re too fucked up to love is by far the most self-serving way to think of your romantic life, and it feels amazing. Being too fucked up to love means that nothing will ever be your fault again. And it means that you’re a winner.


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Taking pictures and posting them on the internet

My phone has a lot of pictures in it. Some of the pictures are doubles and triples of the same images, like a flower with bugs having sex in it or a sandwich board with a pita saying “Get in here for a pita!” I want to make sure I captured the images right, for when I’m older and can’t remember the state I was in when I took the pictures.

But the joke’s on me, because you can’t remember states when you’re in other states. Like just the other night I was trying to remember grade 9 French class. I spent a whole year in that class and all I can remember is that one girl told us she had a brain condition where if she thought too hard her head would explode.

As soon as you do something, you will never again know exactly what it’s like to do that thing. If it was a fun thing you did, your brain will start to puff it up like it was the most amazing thing in the world. It sucks that brains do this to us, but in fairness to brains, they make it so that we don’t have to think in order to breathe. Another guy in grade 9 told me that if he touched my back in a certain way, I would have to think to be able to breathe. You know when someone tells you something, and you believe it and never think about it again, and then remember it years later and realize you believed it that whole time? That just happened to me twice in a row.

Because memories are just dreams about things that actually happened, and because it hurts so much to know we’ll never be able to live them again, the only thing we can really do is take a whole bunch of pictures. At least then we have evidence that they actually happened.

Another reason to take pictures is that fun stuff costs a lot of money. When you spend a lot of money on something, you want to feel like it was at least an investment in your future. Unfortunately, it is impossible for your future to involve that fun thing you did again. So the investment has to be in pictures of you looking like you’re having fun and of stuff you saw while you were having fun.

Once you have those pictures, you should post them up somewhere, because if other people know you were doing that fun thing, it’s more evidence that you actually were. And when you die, you will have left more evidence that you actually existed, since you never will again.


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The point of deep thoughts

I didn’t do much last weekend, but I did have some deep thoughts. They were about death. I wanted to talk to someone about them so I texted a friend and said, “I got some deep thoughts with your name on ‘em.” When he didn’t write back, I said “Don’t worry, they’re about death.” When he still didn’t write back, I re-read those texts and realized they sounded kind of weird. I texted him as much but he didn’t write back to that, either. Turns out his phone was out of juice.

I would write about the deep thoughts here, but they would take a while to explain and they’re not really that funny. They’re not really that original, either. Instead, they are just riffs on stuff people have been saying since humans could say stuff, as well as stuff I’ve been thinking about and hearing people say since I was a kid. The only difference between these thoughts about death and the thoughts I was having about death at age 17 is that I understand the world better now and am less impressed by how clever I am for having thought deep thoughts. Less, but not not. I don’t understand why even thinking has to be embarrassing.

As I thought these thoughts, I thought about how easy it was to think them. Then I thought about all the times I’d heard them said before, and wondered how so many people were allowed to use up so many words to say the exact same things about death. When I finally found a friend to talk about my deep thoughts with, I realized three things: a) you need a good segueway to talk about death; b) things that make perfect sense in your head make exponentially less sense out loud; c) figuring out how to say them is 90% of the point of saying them at all.

For example, lots of the stuff I thought about was a variation on stuff I’d read in Being and Time. My edition of Being and Time is 488 pages long. I think you could probably summarize the whole shebang in about 20 pages. The other 468 pages are not that fun to read, but they help you to understand the 20 pages that actually make points and aren’t just Heidegger explaining how he’s going to make his points. That’s a pretty simple reading of Being and Time, so it may not surprise you to learn that I haven’t actually read all 488 pages.

But if Heidegger had just written 20 pages of maxims like, “things are the sum of their parts,” not many readers would understand him the way he wanted to be understood. They’d understand him however they wanted to understand him. Those 468 pages are 468 pages of insistence that you see things Heidegger’s way. I wish Heidegger had seen things in a funnier way, and I also wish he hadn’t been a Nazi, but neither wish changes the fact that he was a lot smarter than I am on matters unrelated to genocide. So it was worth the trouble to read however many pages of Being and Time I read.

When I think about Being and Time, I feel a lot like the way I felt this weekend when I stopped thinking my deep thoughts and decided to get some eggs. I had thought through some points and probably understood the world a little better for having done so, but understanding is a very small part of what you have to do to get through life. Furthermore, every point anyone has ever made has been made 50 prillion times in the history of human civilization, in 50 prillion different ways. I say “prillion” because I don’t know the word for that many. Louis CK has probably made points that Heidegger made in Being and Time. He probably made them through jokes about his kids, which makes sense, because kids have made points that Heidegger made in Being and Time.

My point is that having a point is important, but not that important. The way you get to the point is probably more important. That’s kind of one of the points I had about death, and I think it’s one of the points that Heidegger had about death as well, except that he was a serious German who understood Greek and I am a silly Canadian who watches a lot of Louis CK. Unfortunately I am neither as smart as Heidegger nor as funny as Louis CK, which is why I’m not going into my deep thoughts.

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Dog nipples

The other day, a friend and I got to talking about bitches. He remarked on how much bitches like it when you touch their nipples. I thought about that for a while and it made me incredibly uncomfortable.

I love dogs a lot. I’ve never had a dog of my own, so I can get pretty gooey around other people’s dogs. Often dogs don’t like me because they can sense my desperation and it weirds them out. That just feeds my love of dogs, because they’re so humany in ways you wouldn’t even expect.

One way that dogs are not humany, though, is their nipples. Humans have two nipples, but dogs can have like ten. Sometimes ten baby dogs will attach themselves to a mother dog’s nipples and that is an incredibly freaky thing to see. It’s uncanny, because the mother dog is doing one of the most human things in a seriously unhuman way. It’s also humiliating, because the mother dog is still five times the woman I am.

More than that, dog nipples are nipples. Nipples are difficult to talk about, because nipples serve two functions that are very separate functions. I would like to keep those functions as separate as possible, but I can’t, because I only have one set of nipples and they have to do both things. I’d like to think that if I had five sets of nipples I could reserve at least one for the function that is not giving nourishment to babies, but I don’t see dogs doing that.

This is probably why I am weird about my nipples. There is a picture of me standing next to my mother and grandmother in which my nipples are hard. It was cold out that day, but I still don’t like it one bit. I also don’t like it when certain people touch my nipples, such as boyfriends who have crossed the intimacy threshold into familyville. The wrongest thing I can possibly imagine is a family member touching my nipples, and yet that’s exactly why I have them.

The worst part is that nourishing family is the primary function of nipples. The other part is just a bonus feature. It’s like nature gave us a paring knife that can also be used as a dildo. Nature is incredibly weird, which itself is weird to think, because I come from nature. But the human brain is like a rebellious teenager who hates its parents and still ends up on the box factory line. Right now I’m having a great time treating my body like an amusement park. But one day a baby might rip itself out of my body and attach itself to my nipples, and then nature will be laughing.

Nature is not only weird, but shitty, because it programmed the human brain to find it disgusting. It programmed us with a concept of aesthetics, and then covered everything with little hairy germs and made us run on slime. It programmed us with a concept of decency, then packed us full of giant wormy tubes that produce shit. It programmed us to not want to have sex with family members and then based the whole family thing on sex.

Dogs are comforting, because even though they’re humany, they’re more natural than us. So even though it’s gross to watch a dog shit in public, it’s comforting to know that I would never do that. Another comforting thing is pleasure, which kind of sticks it to nature by treating bonus features as primary functions. Then I think about dogs getting off on having their million nipples touched and I remember that the natural world is one giant boggy morass and that I’m literally full of shit.


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Becoming nocturnal

One thing about my life is that I am fairly alone in the world. I always feared being alone in the world, but now I see it’s not so bad. It sucks when I feel sick, but when I’m healthy there are lots of things I prefer doing by myself, like eating and working and running errands. The great thing about living in a city is that even when you’re alone, there are always people around.

But the shitty thing about living in a city is that there are always people around, walking slowly and talking too loud and asking me for things like my precious alone time. Sometimes they even ring my buzzer, which is awful because have you ever heard the sound that buzzer makes? It goes straight the part of my brain that tells me my life is in danger, which makes it the same thing as pain.

But lately I’ve discovered that an entire world exists without too many people in it. It’s called “night.” At night, people are usually in bed. Not me, though. Most weeknights I do a thing where I pass out at 10, wake up at 1, and then stay up until 4 or 5 doing work. It sucks having to get up the next morning, but it feels pretty good being up when no one else is up, because it means no one will bother me. No one should, anyway. If any of you ring my buzzer at 4am I am going to call the police.

Another great thing about living in a city is there are actually things to do at night. There is an all-night diner not fifteen minutes away from my apartment. There is also an all-night gym at roughly the same distance. I’m not going to the gym at 4am, but it’s nice to know that I could. And I lied before, because sometimes neighbours come to my window looking for someone to drink with at 4am. It’s OK because they don’t ring my buzzer.

Yet another great thing about living in a city, which brings us to a total of three great things about living in a city, is that when the days start to get shorter, and you leave work in darkness, feeling like maybe you’re going to open the door to your bachelor apartment and plunge into the abyss, you remember that there are still things to be done.

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