Accolades & Blowback | Sunday Shit Show | Fortify Your Ride
Hello, situation normies! There are WAY more of you here than there were this time last week, so I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the newest situation normies. I’m sure you’re all magnificent human beings, and I want to assure you that subscribing to Situation Normal will solve all of your problems, or maybe some of your problems, or maybe just bring a smile to your face while you struggle with / ignore your problems. Point is, you’re here for Situation Normal, and Situation Normal is here for you!
Accolades & Blowback
This past Saturday was a big day for me. My plan was to wake up early, take our dog, Mortimer, for a long walk, then go see Infinity Pool with Christina and our friend, Norm, and after that, discuss the movie over Chinese dumplings. All of this happened, but something unexpected and wonderful happened too:shared one of my stories! They even gave me a badge, so now Situation Normal is totally legit, right?
The story Substack Reads shared is called Porn conventions are decadent and depraved (and also very mainstream). In one sense, the subject matter is a departure from what you typically read in Situation Normal, which is why I house the Porn Valley stories in a section of this newsletter I call Smutty. But in another sense, the piece is a continuation of what Situation Normal has always been about: writing from my personal experience with as much humor and humanity as I can muster.
I’m proud of Porn conventions are decadent and depraved (and also very mainstream), but some people were really mad that Substack Reads would include a piece about a porn convention in the weekly roundup of noteworthy writing. You can’t please everyone, and honestly it’s best not to try, unless you want to to be boring. Still, some of those nasty comments stung!
One guy asked how many subscribers my soul was worth! The answer, as of this writing, is approximately 600. But unlike Faust, I like to renegotiate as a go.
Multiple readers accused me of producing and distributing pornography. But they literally missed the point. I actually wrote about people who produce and distribute pornography—a distinction that allows me to keep my clothes on, while staying on the right side of Substack’s terms of service.
A few readers threatened to leave Substack because of me. That seemed kind of dramatic, or maybe melodramatic. Honestly, I think they were bluffing.
Finally, one person was so upset that they made a hilarious typo👇
I don’t know about you, but I’d love to see more immortality in this world, if only because it would be nice to skip paying my life insurance premiums. But we’re getting off topic.
The topic is: Situation Normal is now a featured publication on Substack!
I’ve been told to await a treasure chest full of gold doubloons and precious jewels, as well as the ceremonial keys to a mid-sized North American city. I also shared my number with the White House switchboard, just in case Joe Biden wants to call to congratulate me, or lodge a formal complaint about the Situation Normal Presidential mustache competition.
I’m kidding, of course. But if you’ll allow me a serious moment, I want to thank each and every one of you for helping to make Situation Normal what it is today. I wouldn’t be writing this newsletter, if you weren’t reading it. So, whether you’ve been here for years, or you’re brand spanking new, this recognition is as much yours as it is mine.
Sunday Shit Show
Usually, I wake up early on Sunday, take Mortimer for a walk, then go to the market, then return home to meal prep for the week while I listen to an audiobook.
This Sunday, I planned to roast some squash and broccoli, grill some chicken breasts, and make a few batches of overnight oats. While I cooked, I planned to listen to Football For A Buck: The Crazy Rise and Crazier Demise of the USFL by Jeff Pearlman. But that plan went to shit before I could pre-heat the oven.
While washing a large mixing bowl in the sink, my muscle memory reminded me that I am a klutz. I dropped the bowl, and it shattered into a dozen pieces. My thoughts were as follows:
Dang it, I hope that noise didn’t wake up Christina.
It’s a miracle I didn’t cut myself on the broken pieces of the bowl.
I’ve got to get Mortimer out of the kitchen so he doesn’t cut his paws on any of those broken bowl pieces.
Why is there so much blood on the floor?
That’s my blood.
The blood is coming from… everywhere.
I used a kitchen towel to stop the bleeding. Christina woke up and ran into the kitchen. She was foggy because she’s not a morning person, but to her credit, Christina wasted no time. She whisked Mortimer away to safety, then helped me clean and dress the wounds on my hands and wrists. Then we cleaned up the kitchen. Actually, Christina cleaned up the mess. I stood there feeling sorry for myself.
“Maybe you hold off on meal prep for now, honey.”
I looked at my hands. I wasn’t cut too deep, but three of my cuts were real motherfuckers because they were on my finger tips. My left index and middle fingers, along with my right pinky were out of commission.
I decided to skip meal prep.
Later, our friend Anna came over. Christina and Anna have been running a Colin Farrell film festival in our living room these past few weeks. So far, they’ve seen In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths. To round out Farrell’s work with writer-director Martin McDonagh, they decided to watchThe Banshees of Inisherin.
Anna thought is was a beautiful film about an under-appreciated topic: male friendships. Christina wanted more action. I skipped the film because finger wounds feature prominently in The Banshees of Inisherin, and that just hit a little too close to home after the morning’s meal prep fiasco.
As evening approached, I realized that my original dinner plan wasn’t going to fly because I was counting on using the chicken and some of the veggies I was supposed to prep in the morning.
“We’ll go out,” Christina said. “Thai or Mediterranean?”
The three of us took a vote because it’s important to exercise those democracy muscle whenever you get the chance these days. Despite some populist rhetoric from a gyro who claimed that he, alone, could satisfy our hunger, Thai food won in a landslide.
Dinner was great because our local Thai place knows their shit. But while we were out, Mortimer snuck into our bedroom, even though he knows he’s not allowed in the back of the house when we’re away.
It was dark in our bedroom. And Mortimer, who is getting old, doesn’t have the eyesight or the fortitude he once had. Somewhere in the darkness, our four-legged family member panicked. Instead of jumping off our bed and running to the living room to pee on his pad, Mortimer peed on the bed.
When we came home, we discovered that Mortimer’s pee had gone through the comforter, through the sheets, and into the mattress. We treated the soiled sheets and comforter, then loaded the washing machine.
“How do we get pee out of a mattress?” Christina asked.
We’d never faced that question before. We were stumped. But then I remembered that the Ye Olde Google Machine always has answers.
With my bandaged fingers, it took a little hunting and pecking on the keyboard to find the answer, but the Google people connected us to the Casper Mattress people, and even though we didn’t buy our mattress from Casper, the company’s content marketing saved the day. Actually, chemistry in the form of water, vinegar, soap, and little baking soda saved the day, but it was the Casper Mattress content marketing team that put that solution in our hands. Unfortunately, treating your mattress with Casper’s homemade chemical pee-remover takes eight to ten hours.
“I think we need to setup the bed in the office,” Christina said.
So we set up the bed in the office. Then I took the sheets out of the washing machine, put them in the dryer, and loaded the comforter into the washing machine.
I was exhausted. All I really wanted to do was go to bed and forget about Shit Show Sunday. But the laundry was in progress, and I really wanted overnight oats on Monday, and there are only two non-negotiable parts to overnight oats: the oats and the fact that they must be soaked for about as long as it takes Casper’s homemade chemical pee-remover to remove pee from your mattress.
So I returned to the kitchen that had done me wrong. I meal prepped late into the night, taking time out to manage the laundry. And the whole time, I listened to a story about a half-baked pro football league, a young running back named Herschel Walker, and a bullying team owner named Donald Trump, whose ill-advised decision to sue the NFL hastened the demise of The United States Football League.
Fortify Your Ride
As many of you know, I’ve had a hell of a time securing the catalytic convertor on my Prius. This past summer, thieves stole my catalytic convertor. It took months to get a replacement, and when I finally did get a new catalytic convertor, the thieves came back and stole the replacement!
It’s frustrating and absurd, and if I’m not mistaken, it was the repeated theft of his catalytic convertor that inspired Albert Camus to write The Myth of Sisyphus. Camus earned a lot praise for his essay about the search for meaning in the face of life’s absurdities, but The Myth of Sisyphus didn’t solve his car troubles. In fact, Camus continued to bum rides off philosophy majors for the rest of his life. Legend has it he was even late to his own funeral because his Uber driver had a case existential dread that later turned out to be ennui.
Thankfully, I’m a Lyft man. Also, Christina has been gracious enough to share her car with me, so I’m doing better than Camus, at least in terms of navigating the absurdities of transportation.
Meanwhile, my mechanic assures me that the supply chain is just as messed up as it ever was. Supposedly, I’ll get a new catalytic convertor in May or June, but I’m not holding my breath because I can’t survive that long without oxygen.
I’ll get a new catalytic convertor at some point. And when I do get my new catalytic convertor, I have a good idea on how to protect it from thieves, thanks to a reader named Penni, who sent me some Instagram screenshots of a catalytic convertor wrapped in barbed wire.
I don’t know if barbed wire will keep the thieves away, but at least it’s something. Also, riding around in a Prius with a barded wire undercarriage is as close as I’ll probably ever come to living that Mad Max life.
You can read all about my catalytic converter woes here, here, and here.
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A list of awesome people
Situation Normal is free, but I keep this enterprise going with the help of awesome situation normies who pay what they can to support my work. This past week, 16 of situation normies put their names on the awesome people list. A big thank you goes out to:
My sister, Allison, who became a founding member, even though she’s always been a founding member.
Allison’s partner, Craig, who saw Allison’s pledge and said, “two can play at that game, dear.”
My friend Becky, who said the annual subscription was “well worth the moola.”
Maddmac, who went big with an annual subscription to Situation Normal!
Dan, who is doing the monthly thing!
Kathy, who is also doing the monthly thing!
Steve, who dropped $50 for the entire year!
Jan, who committed to an entire year of Situation Normal shenanigans!
Peter, who also prepaid an entire year of shenanigans!
cjdahl60, who is taking it one month at a time!
Richard, who said some really nice things about Situation Normal before signing up for a year!
Harry, who is taking it one month at a time!
Art, who is also taking it one month at a time!
Mark, who is monthly because alliteration is awesome!
Carl, who said, “I need 365 days of Situation Normal in my life.”
Beth, who is taking things one month at a time!
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Stick around and chat!
You know the drill. I have questions. You have answers.
Did you come here from Substack Reads? If so, hi!
Aside from skipping your life insurance premiums, what would you do if you were immortal? Wrong answers encouraged, but not required!
Were you a USFL fan? I vaguely remember cheering for my hometown team, The LA Express, and I have a very clear memory of a cherished plastic cup emblazoned with the logo for the Houston Gamblers.
What’s your favorite Colin Farrell film, and why is it Tigerland?
What book are you reading or listening to at the moment?
Until Sunday, when I’ll be back with a new story…
You are two of the most accident-prone people I have ever virtually met.
Yes, I’ve been around for a few months.
I did want to share that I’m reading “Not Safe For Work” by the best Michael Estrin, not the software Michael Estrin. I’m finding it wildly funny and very enjoyable. I encourage everyone to go to your local bookstore to buy it. Or do like I did and get the Kindle edition.