After Édouard Levé
I’ve never been arrested. I don’t currently hope to have another baby. I often have a bad time on vacation, but almost always remember it fondly. I was once called an idiot in a job interview and then took the job anyway. I make an amount of money that I used to think would make me feel rich, but it doesn’t. I think I am generally better to other people than other people are to me, but I also believe that I benefit more from society than I contribute. I think about sex fewer times per day than the rumored male average, but I probably do so for longer and with more intensity. I once thought, Gentlemen, start your vape pens. My heart has been broken once. I’ve broken other hearts somewhere between zero and two times; you would have to ask those women. I’ve lived in poverty. When my son was twenty months old, he grabbed my shoulders and said I love you into my ear, and ever since, the internal standard I use to measure all beauty has been negatively skewed. When I leave New York to visit other American cities, I don’t experience them as being much smaller. I’ve never forced a woman to have sex with me. After a few drinks, tears can well in my eyes at the thought of a second line in New Orleans, or the surf off the coast of Montauk, so I’ve learned to excuse myself from conversations that might involve those places. I spent a night in the hospital after threatening to kill myself but never actually tried. I’ve taken doses of drugs I thought might be lethal and woken up the next morning without so much as a headache. I find it hard to believe that I could hate anyone I’ve had sex with, and yet I do. There are people who consider me to be their enemy. I’ve never been unfaithful to a woman, but at least one believes otherwise. I’m in love with my wife. I was surprised that having a child only made me more aggressively pro-choice. As I get older, I feel even more heterosexual, which is the opposite of what I expected. I think monogamy is difficult in theory but easy in practice. I tend to think of myself as a bad person, even with little supporting evidence. I have an investment portfolio, of which I’ve felt both proud and ashamed. I‘ve kissed other men but don’t plan to again. I’ve been to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Georgia, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. I’m not sure if I’ve been to West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, or Missouri. I haven’t been to Kansas. I’ve spent eight hours a day for the past decade programming computers, but still don’t have the skills of a master. When asked which religion I am, I say antitheist. I’ve been an altar boy for a pedophile priest but I’ve never been molested. I no longer consume art that was made by a known rapist. This has only been difficult in the cases of CeeLo Green and Tupac. I consider my ear for music good, my palate discerning, my eye for design bad, and my manual dexterity terrible. I tell people fatherhood has been rewarding in ways I can’t even explain, even though I hate when other people say that, because it’s true. I believe the most important thing is to not be full of shit. I am not prone to jealousy, except when I read about a celebrity who has been hospitalized for exhaustion. I believe that knowing a good lawyer is more valuable than knowing karate. I think my hearing is getting worse but haven’t had it checked. I’ve never had a cavity. I broke my nose twice, and am always surprised when people notice and ask about it. I once jumped from a tree in hopes of getting a cast and being able to ask my classmates to sign it, but never broke a bone. I’ve never shot a gun. Receiving a blowjob makes me feel loved. I’ve always preferred aggressive subgenres of hip hop: gangsta rap and horrorcore as a teenager, drill and trap as an adult. I want to believe in astrology. I live on the block in Brooklyn where Do the Right Thing was filmed and think it’s funny that I have an analogous character in Clifton, the oblivious gentrifier. As far as I know, I’ve never impregnated a woman who then had an abortion. I’ve never had a bad cup of coffee at a diner but often do in cafes. I tend to be annoyed by other people who share my specific hobbies and interests. I worked at McDonald’s when I was seventeen. I’ve legally purchased cannabis. I hold strong opinions about programming languages. I’m suing my neighbor. I’m glad I no longer smoke cigarettes but often miss them. I’ve run a marathon. I block ads. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. I feel guilty for eating meat but continue to eat it anyway. I have four tattoos, all black. There was a time when I thought I might become well-known for my industrial noise music, which now makes me laugh. I own my apartment. I’ve written a matching algorithm for a dating website. I haven’t felt negatively about living in New York ever since I started to make friends with the people who intimidate me. I think my fear of making others uncomfortable often manifests in an awkwardness that makes them uncomfortable anyway. I don’t follow sports but I have a favorite team. I once gutted a deer. I love to float on my back in the ocean. I cry more easily and more often as I get older. I’ve been in many fist fights, but not as an adult. I am becoming more materialistic. When presented with two choices, my response is almost always it depends. I would wear a gold chain if I thought no one would comment on it. I think it is good for a work of art to be problematic. I hear the word predator in my head whenever I fixate on a woman I find attractive. I don’t believe in copyright. I’ve persuaded 50 Cent, through intermediaries, to do something he didn’t want to do. Real pain for my sham friends is the most clever phrase I’ve ever heard. I like to dress my son in clothes designed to make him look like an animal. I think being an immigrant is in itself worth admiring, like being a mother. There are certain activities that depress me when I perform them alone, like masturbating, or reading the internet on my phone in the bathroom, or eating unhealthy food in front of the television, that bring me a sense of peace when I imagine them being performed at once by whole cities of people. I’ve never taken an unpaid internship, but I’ve worked jobs for which I was not paid. I thought a pint was a metric unit of measurement until recently. I don’t have a sweet tooth. I never have trouble sleeping. I’m more comfortable in complete silence or deafening noise than anywhere in between. I’ve ordered a fluffernutter sandwich as an excuse to say fluffernutter. I’ve never put my hair into a man bun. To me, Knee Play 5 is the most beautiful piece of music, and I agree that the night should be a time of peace and tranquility. I’ve seen it performed at Carnegie Hall and held my wife close to my side as we both sobbed and those nearby collected their programs and left us to be alone with each other. When I’m telling a story I’ll often cut it short by saying that was a boring story, I’m sorry. I believe a large proportion of the population is evil and simple. My dreams aren’t interesting. I believe everything would be fine if I only had a million dollars. I hate knowing that that is a song and that the song is corny. I find it strange that going off the grid would cost a lot of money. Sometimes I notice that my actions are misaligned with my goals and try to correct them. As a younger person I saw gossip as a poison, but now recognize it as useful for power redistribution. I am glad that mixed martial arts exists as a form of entertainment. I enjoy the way, when I drink, that my thoughts arrive as non-sequiturs, and with them the anticipation of being trapped inside a puzzle that is nearly complete. I don’t believe in the afterlife. I like that my beliefs don’t fit squarely into the current political spectrum. I don’t always feel the need to see my friends. Sometimes I will do something unpleasant just to see what it’s like. I like to be reminded that I am a mammal. In the 1990s I wrote a program that repeatedly clicked the ads on my personal website and earned thousands of dollars.