Gregory Sherl admits, “There is a girl I would like to share a tube of toothpaste with.”
Ignore everything you might have read in my other columns and just know this: I still wash my hands too many times and for too long.
I still sleep with my hands on my stomach, stiller than a canvas.
I still try not to turn doorknobs or be overly friendly with the skin of strangers.
I am still frightened of hands and where they have been. When they meet me, I wonder how long were they under the running sink with the pink soap between the rivulets in the cracks of their knuckles.
Esquire informs me that men should not wash their hands for longer than five seconds, but my college has signs on the bathroom walls that say you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. I imagine the signs say something like Washing your hands properly is the first step in keeping a healthy mind! or Lather with emotion! but I know that’s not true.
What the fuck, Esquire?
Sometimes I stand in the bar bathroom—any bar bathroom—and count the men who piss and then pretend the sink doesn’t exist.
What the fuck, guys?
Contagion scared the shit out of me, but I am glad Matt Damon didn’t die. I like his quiet aging, the white that has formed above his ears, like clouds refusing to leave, but it’s still sunny enough that no one cares.
My favorite things are becoming the most unnecessary things: poetry, sexting, 40 ounces of iced coffee after dusk.
There was no need for that line, but I wanted thousands of people I don’t know to appreciate my love of sexting.
Earlier today I went to Starbucks.
I should write a better sentence than that. That was a shitty sentence. This is what I mean: Earlier today I went to Starbucks and the table was sticky so I told the barista that the table was sticky and he threw me a wet cloth that looked dirty but I used it anyway and I sanitized my hands (twice, but still) after but I didn’t wash them so that means I am not nearly the man I used to be.
This is also what I mean: There is a girl I would like to share a tube of toothpaste with.
I want to tell her, We are smiling at each other even when we’re not smiling at each other.
I am so scared because I know I have nothing to be scared of.
Figure that out.
At any given time there are more pills in me than food, more coffee than water, but I usually keep both hands on the steering wheel when I’m on the highway, so I think that evens everything out.
When beer is in me, I feel like I have grown another limb. Things are easier to reach but it’s awkward, the clumsiness of this new limb. Baby Limb, I call it. Deer legs.
Sometimes I take a Valium with my Adderall, imagine them fighting in the pit of my stomach.
Who will win? I ask everyone who is not a doctor.
My iced coffee usually wins.
My poor liver never wins.
I judge how good my day will be depending on whether or not I get a free coffee.
Please don’t be concerned Mom: I am not high right now; I am stoically aware.
On YouTube Jeff Mangum is at Occupy Wall Street singing songs inspired by Anne Frank.
He drinks from a water jug bigger than his face.
He says, Sing along if you know the words.
It’s silly to say something like that when you’re Jeff Mangum.
Everyone there is dirty and tired, but they know the songs. It is hard not to know the songs.
Sometimes it is hard to even make yourself feel hopeless.
This happens: My ex drives eleven hours because she wants closure. She knocks on the front door, bangs on my window because she wants to know why I would rather sleep alone than next to her. Why today is okay for me but not for her.
She left Georgia at midnight, got to South Florida in bright daylight.
She stands outside my house for an hour and a half, almost knocking my door down, resting the tip of her finger on the doorbell before I finally go outside to talk to her.
Why? she wants to know. Why? Why? Why? Goddammit, Gregory, why?
I want to tell her, Acting is still acting even if you’re not paid for the role.
I want to tell her, Nothing good is ever decided after midnight, especially things that require a new state, but instead I stare at my driveway and nod.
The girl I would like to share toothpaste with wanted to know how my body shows sadness. I didn’t have an answer. Looking at the ground in the driveway, I have the answer.
On my iTunes a song that goes, Lord, please let them accept the things they can’t change/And pray that all of their pain be champagne.
I like that song.
I like champagne.
After the line about champagne: Happy screaming. Imagine an entire cinnamon roll that only tastes like the middle of a cinnamon roll, even the burnt edges, even the parts that fall on your pajama pants.
What I mean is, the great thing about songs is that you can always play them again.
Let me try that again: The great thing about lips is that even if they chap, eventually they will heal.
One more time: How many baby-naming books should one family own?
photo: jonasb / flickr