Why It’s OK To Punch Dicky Spencer, Neo-Nazi


Everyone seems to be clutching their pearls over whether or not it was OK that a worthless piece of shit got punched in the face. Some of the reactions extolling the violent consequences of Richard Spencer’s stomach-churning, ignorant hatred tap into the same ugly side of humanity that parasites like Spencer prosper in. At the same time, the liberal hand-wringing over whether or not that is an acceptable form of engagement with a man who openly emulates Nazis and advocates white supremacy taps into the same well of milquetoast ideology that is partially responsible for the current American hostage crisis.

Let’s agree on one thing: Richard Spencer is a white supremacist, and is therefore a person whose very existence is rooted in a philosophy of irredeemable (for now) hate, bigotry, and ignorance. Spencer and his followers believe in one thing, when you strip away all the half-baked, ersatz intellectualism: might make right. This is the basis for the whole of White Nationalism; Caucasians have, in recent history, dominated the civilized world, and therefore the world is theirs to rule by divine right. Exactly how these morons manage to reconcile this plank of their ideology with the other primary ethic–that whites are gradually losing their grip on global society–is one of many head-scratching inconsistencies, but that’s a rabbit hole we won’t go down for now.

The point is, Spencer and others like him rule their dirty little corner of society by postulating that strength the overriding moral imperative of humankind, and that anybody who suffers underneath the boot heel of Eurocentric fascism essentially deserves it. If their lives were worth anything, after all, they wouldn’t be so easily conquered.

The figureheads of fascism have always been strong-men for a reason. They appeal to the powerless and the weak, who deep down feel that every one of their problems is due to some uneven tipping of the scales. While the spoken ethos of these losers is rooted in an advocacy of unfairly maligned and persecuted white men, they really just want an authority figure to punish those who outperform them every step of the way. They want a Donald Trump or a Richard Spencer to heap scorn and ridicule on their betters so they can all have one big pity party together.

Thus, it’s not only appropriate that Richard Spencer got sucker-punched while bloviating on live television about the awesome power and glory of white men, it’s the right way to deal with his ilk.

One of many problems that progressives deal with is an inability to remove themselves from the idea of a rational mindset. They think winning the argument is tantamount to success in a representative democracy, when the last few months have shown us time and again that this isn’t true. The trolls who elected Donald Trump, and more narrowly, the mouth-breathers who give even a lick of credence to anything uber-failures like Richard Spencer fart out of their wordholes, don’t care about who is right, they care about who seems strongest. Their personal ideology, inasmuch as they’re capable of forming one for themselves, is rooted in social Darwinism: anybody who needs help is weak.

Everybody braying about the cold-cocking of corporal butt-cutt, wailing that “we’re playing right into their hands!” is wrong. Sure, there will be tons of stormtroopers who take it as an opportunity to galvanize, who will rant and rave about the Jewish state refusing to punish the “thug” who clearly would have had his ass kicked if he hadn’t run away, but that’s a smokescreen. The truth is, for the great multitude of neo-nazis out there following Richard Spencer’s every move, the lip-quivering mask of cowardice the cameras caught as his people spirited him away from the scene are signs of weakness.

This is one thing we can actually agree on.



An Open Letter to Everyone I Went to High School With:

It’s easy for you to tell people they should “stop complaining,” and be “productive” when you see news of protesters. You, like me, were born into security, and most likely you continue to enjoy that privilege and will for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean you don’t have problems, that you don’t feel pain, or that you’re not allowed to complain.

It does mean that you should probably consider how this day feels to people who have not, and probably never will, have what you have.

For a lot of people protesting, this isn’t about “complaining” or “whining” or whatever else you’ve decided to recast the constitutionally protected right to dissent as. A lot of people today, myself included, are very nervous, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be.

A lot of us will weather the next four years, however they go, without much change in our lives. Some of us won’t. Some of the former feel the latter are being screwed over the hardest, and they think it’s up to those who have everything to help prop up those who have nothing.

I don’t expect everyone to devote their time, money, and even emotional or mental resources to resisting Trump. If you just can’t bring yourself to do anything else but dig in and try to weather the storm, I understand, and I don’t judge you for it.

But if you’re actually taking time and effort out of your day to talk shit about the people who are expressing themselves, in whatever way the can and whatever way they think is appropriate, who aren’t hurting anybody, who aren’t breaking any laws, there is something black eating away at your soul.

My uncle was a Vietnam vet. He was a soldier. He also was recruited by the NSA, and then was asked to leave because he thought it was his duty as an American to protest the war he had fought in, and watched people die needlessly for.

So when you scoff and spew bile at people who think protests are important, you’re insulting me, you’re insulting everyone who has less than you, and you’re insulting the memory of my family members.

So if you tell me “don’t take it personally,” you can go fuck yourself.

On Bullies

I was perusing my twitter feed (I took an extended break post-election and it felt GREAT) and came across a story about the leader of CKI (Conservative Kleptocrat Insurrection) leader Donald Trump’s tweet regarding LL Bean.

Apparently, Linda Bean was/is a big Trump supporter. That’s a bit of a bummer, but whatever. I find it kind of curious how some people can’t seem to make educated guesses about certain public figures. I mean, the CEO of a corporation that sells high-quality camping gear/apparel that is based out of Maine is really conservative? COLOR ME SURPRISED.

That said, the article was about Trump publicly thanking her on his twitter feed, and urging his followers to buy her stuff. The bulk of the article dissected why this is unusual and inappropriate behavior for a President–public officials, let alone the President of the United States, shouldn’t be endorsing privately owned corporations. A small aside: I weirdly can immediately identify Trump’s train of thought. He’s such a greedbag, that in his mind telling anybody to give money to anyone other than him is about as warm a gesture he can offer.

But the thing that struck me was a quoted comment from Linda Bean, one in which she referred to critics of the whole fiasco as “bullies.”

That word’s being thrown around a lot these days. It’s a big social issue, and thus, it’s becoming a political one. School bullying, bigoted bullying, political bullying. There’s lots of talk of punching down, and the like. Can comedians be bullies? Some people seem to think so.

Weirdly, now that the balance of power in this country seems to have swung back to rampant conservatism, the Trump-bots absolutely love to claim that they are the ones being bullied. Those mean liberals and progressives are demanding that they change how they talk, think, and act. They’re BULLIES! Anybody who offers criticism these days, even when the criticism is something as simple as “maybe you shouldn’t donate money to a guy who is proud of sexual assault,” is referred to as a bully.

I don’t doubt that a lot of the rank-and-file GOP voters do, in fact, feel bullied. I’m pretty dismayed to see a lot of pushback from the left against accusations of living in a bubble (everyone lives in a bubble, the problem is that nobody wants to try empathy, and politicians manipulate these culture wars to their advantage), because it’s easy for me to understand why solid red-staters of a certain socioeconomic station feel as though they are under attack. To be clear, they’re confused about who it is that’s attacking them, and who it is that’s acting in their best interests, but that’s for another article. My point is, I think some conservatives do feel as though they’re being ganged up on, right or wrong.

What’s more concerning are the bullies that are hiding in plain sight. These are the folks that know how to manipulate public perception and an electorate that thrives on emotional appeals. People like Paul Ryan, Linda Bean, Steve Bannon, and any other millionaire conservative who wants to pretend that they’re being unfairly treated by progressives making minimum wage who think their health is more important than a CEO having slightly lower taxes.

I hit puberty somewhat early, in the 5th grade. I remember a kid in gym class innocently commenting that my legs were hairier than his dad’s. I was one of the first kids to shave. I was always a tall kid, but I towered over my classmates until high school, when people finally started catching up.

There was a kid in my class–let’s call him Jimmy–who picked on me. He was an obnoxious little shit, and a runt, to boot. One of the smaller kids in physical stature, but someone who knew how to corral friendships, who knew how to make or break a fellow student’s popularity, who could seize upon anybody’s weakness and lead them around by the nose with it. I wasn’t the only person he picked on, but I was an especially easy target because I was so easy to spot.

Jimmy never physically picked on me. At least, not in any way that was remotely serious. Again, I was much bigger than him (though I was a beanpole at the time) and my school community was tight-knit and conservative enough that people didn’t really get into fights. Jimmy used psychological warfare. He loved to spread rumors as a way of exposing just how lame somebody was. He had the guts to needle people publicly, which had the vampiric effect of making him appear larger as he made others look smaller. And here’s the kicker: Jimmy knew that he was relatively safe from repercussions because he was small.

I know a lot of people who got picked on in high school by the big, hulking jocks don’t want to hear this, but there is a certain breed of kid who knows full well that he can play the victim card the minute anybody who’s bigger than him starts to fight back. Jimmy did this all the time. He blatantly lied to teachers, coaches, parents. I can’t tell you how many times I was told to “pick on somebody my own size” because I had dared to shove Jimmy back, or hit him with a verbal retort, or basically do anything besides sit there and take it.

This is how conservatives operate these days. Because the social tide has begun to turn against greed and might-make-right, a weird parallel universe has sprung up: one in which wealthy white people are somehow being victimized by people who don’t want to die, or have their rights trampled, or be harassed alone. The same people who send anonymous jpegs of Jewish caricatures being executed to reporters and activists screech that their rights are being trampled when somebody suggests that they should be banned from Twitter, a privately owned company (see also: Duck Dynasty guy, Donald Sterling, et al). Anyone who opines that American have a right to be outraged by a reality star turned politician screaming at reporters who dare to question him is, in one breath, referred to as a “special snowflake” and also a “bully”. Someone I went to high school with, whose company I enjoy, and whom I like to talk football with, has twice flagged me down on social media to complain that people like my friends and I are “shoving our liberalism down his throat,” yet then declined to have a discussion about any issues being raised because it “would be pointless.” In this fairy-tale conservative wet-dream, progressives are at fascists for merely existing, yet also whiny cowards capable of achieving nothing.

Americans love a victim, and the more cynical among us, on both the right and the left, know how to manipulate this into political gain. Rhetoric has become jiu-jitsu. The person on the offensive always has the potential to be thrown on their back, even if the “attack” is coming from something that used to be shared value, eg: The President-elect shouldn’t mock disabled people publicly and then lie about it. Donald Trump and his cronies are small, small people, just like Jimmy was, and probably still is. But just because you’re smaller than your opponent doesn’t mean that you aren’t the bully.

The Jimmy story has a happy ending, though. Once, while changing for PE class, Jimmy was up to his usual mean-spirited pageantry of calling me names, trying to shove me, etc. I was mostly ignoring him, but at one point he pushed me into the locker, and I pushed him back, hard. He fell down on the floor, and a few people laughed. There was enough of a row at this point that one of the coaches came out from his office to see what was going on. PE was one of the few places that pricks like Jimmy didn’t have the full run of the school, and this particular coach clearly didn’t like Jimmy and didn’t buy his “I didn’t even do anything” shtick. He looked at both of us, and then calmly said: “Y’know Jimmy, I’m not going to stop John when he decides he’s had enough of your shit and kicks your ass.”

Jimmy didn’t bother me much after that. There’s no real “coach” to step in and lend a voice of authority to the Americans who are fighting back against a bunch of bigots and cowards who are claiming that they’re being victimized anytime someone calls a spade a spade, but sooner or later, small people like Jimmy and Donald get theirs.

On “Free Speech”, Speaking Up, and Getting What You Want

Something interesting popped up in my social media feeds recently. A friend of an acquaintance posted a video that shows him being asked to leave a bar that I have often patronized in Dallas, called Double Wide.

The accompanying caption and other posts presented the issue thusly: Guy A was drinking at bar when he saw Guy B, who was sporting a leather vest that had many different patches affixed. From the video, it’s clear that at least two of the symbols have associations with the Nazi military: an SS double lightning patch and a German Iron Cross.

Now, it’s hard to say exactly what happened from the video, but it would appear (and nothing from Guy A’s testimony seems to challenge this) that Guy B wasn’t being a shit or saying terrible things or trying to fight anybody. It would also appear that Guy A got into it with Guy B over the patches, and presumably the resulting scene was enough of an ordeal that Guy A was asked to leave the bar. It’s unclear whether or not Guy B was ejected as well.

SO. The social media shitstorm that followed proposed the narrative that Double Wide was “harboring Neo-Nazis,” which seems to me an outsized reaction.

Before I press on, I want to address what some uncharitable readers might already be interpreting as my refusal to condemn blind racism/bigotry and the excusing of such. I’ve tried to be more pro-active about condemning shitty behavior from my fellow white people, especially in the wake of all this All Lives Matter anti-Kaepernick bullshit.

That said, I think context is everything, and that the full-court black-and-white press that so many of my more lefty progressive brethren seem to be supporting lately is becoming counterproductive.

Consider this business at Double Wide. I do not know any of the people involved in this incident personally. However, I’m let with a few distinct impressions after watching the video.

1. Yes, Guy B is a Douchebag

Wearing Nazi gear, like wearing Rebel Flag bullshit, may be constitutionally protected, but it’s still a dick move. Even if you don’t know what the symbols mean, you should probably be a little more aware about what you are pinning to your clothes. Which leads me into point two:

2. Guy B also Doesn’t Seem to Know What The Symbols He’s Wearing Mean

In this age of Trump-tardation, racists are more emboldened than ever before. So it’s a little surprising to me that Guy B, when confronted by Guy A on camera, adamantly denies that he’s a white supremacist. He doesn’t have any intelligible explanation for why he’s wearing an SS patch and an Iron Cross, but he seems pretty intent on not being perceived as a white supremacist or a Neo-Nazi (“I’m not wearing a fuckin’ swastika!” he shouts at one point). Wearing the symbols of the German Nazi Military is certainly a weird way to go about that, but like the old saying goes, never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity.

3. The Way Guy A Tried to Get What he Wanted Totally Didn’t Work

Again, I didn’t see what prompted the ejection, but I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts it involved Guy A screaming at Guy B, the confrontation escalating, and staff being alerted, who then told the guy screaming at another guy to leave. Now, it’s totally possible that he approached management, was told that there was nothing he could do, and then went back to confront Guy B. In either case, it seems like nothing was accomplished other than Guy A (and possibly Guy B) being ejected.

So my question is, why? Why lose your shit over somebody who seems to be so stupid that they don’t even understand what an “SS” Patch means? I would definitely feel differently if Guy B was screaming racist stuff or trying to start fights, but honestly, if he’s just chilling in the corner drinking beers, I find it hard to criticize the bar’s choice to leave him alone, assuming they even knew he was wearing that shit in the first place. It’s entirely possible and maybe even likely that nobody else in the bar noticed besides Guy A.

Which brings us to the larger problem this whole thing casts in sharp relief: why do we keep falling back on these kinds of tactics to try and effect change? It seems clear that none of it is working, ever. Guy B probably came away from that encounter with no thoughts other than “Why is this dude yelling at me, what a prick” and Guy A is now angry that a bartender working for tips wanted a potential fight out of the bar he was responsible for.

If it were my place, I’d like to say that I would probably ask somebody wearing that kind of stuff to not come back with it next time, and make sure they knew why I was telling them that. The thing is, if I owned a bar and somebody started screaming in another patron’s face (especially if I owned a bar in a state where lots of people carry guns), I would definitely move them outside as quickly as possible.

On the other hand, if I owned the place or if I was the bartender, I’m sure I would be much more genuinely concerned about Guy A’s issue if he, I dunno, approached the staff calmly and coherently and explained the situation and why he had a problem with it so I had a chance to decide what to do while not also trying to stop a potentially violent altercation.

Think about it, are you more likely to listen to somebody who comes up to you at the bar or writes an e-mail the next morning and says “Hey, so there is/was a guy in your bar wearing some pretty offensive Nazi stuff and I wanted you to be aware and encourage you to not allow that kind of stuff in here”, versus a guy who just screams “why are you protecting Nazis” over and over again while shitfaced?

The entire thing seems like an outsized reaction to what really should’ve ended with “Ugh, look at that stupid asshole wearing Nazi shit,” or “Dude, you realize you’re wearing Nazi shit, right?”



Directed by Luca Guadagnino

Written by Dave Kajganich


Here it is, up at the top: ***SPOILER ALERT*** So don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Sometimes I feel that films like A Bigger Splash are the ones that disappoint the most on a fundamental level. Most movies that I well and truly hate are easily identifiable from trailers and advertising, though a few slip through the cracks and surprise me in their aggressive awfulness. Hack-maestros like–for instance–Michael Bay occasionally hit you right between the eyes with films that seem accidentally transcendent (Pain and Gain). But films like A Bigger Splash fall into a frustrating kind of cinema purgatory: a critical space wherein the whole of the experience is enjoyable, or even beautiful and invigorating, and yet the moments of failure frustrate deeply enough to sour the sweetest of seductions.

Seduction is the name of the game from the first moments of A Bigger Splash, as our beautiful leading couple lounge in various states of undress in a magnificent villa. Sunbathing, sex, solitude, and all the sunshine that can be captured in one exquisitely photographed frame–these are the touchstones for the world we’re about to be drawn into, and one that’s about to be disrupted by the arrival of Harry, an aging lothario who stumbles into Marianne and Paul’s getaway at just the wrong (right) time, with his smoldering, estranged daughter in tow. Sounds like a recipe for delectable fun, right?

And so it is. To back up, the story involves a cold war/love triangle of sorts between the coupled Paul and Marianne, and the latter’s former lover, Harry. On the surface, everything is alright and the tension is playful, but underneath it all, dark passions are beginning to cloud all of the sun-choked and carefree gallivanting. Paul and Marianne’s relationship formed from the ashes of Marianne’s breakup with Harry, and their love seems to have had a calming, centering effect on the both of them; Paul has given up drinking and drugging, and Marianne has begun to settle her own demons (that are alluded to but never explicitly mentioned). Harry, meanwhile, seems to have filled the void Marianne left with plenty of partying, reminiscing on glory days, and pining for his lost love.

It’s all a convincing and compelling tapestry, and one performed exquisitely by its players, particularly Ralph Fiennes as the brash, bawdy, and clearly insecure Harry, as well as a nearly-mute Tilda Swinton in the role of rock star Marianne. What the two had and what still remains is apparent, relatable, and at times heartbreaking as the two stars’ magnetic personalities collide in a dance that should be familiar to anybody who was ever wrapped up in a doomed relationship that burned everything else to the ground. The film has a lot to say about how we parse relationships in conjunction with our sense of self, and hard looks at what constitutes a love that truly blossoms versus one that destroys. There’s also plenty to be mined about the at-times toxic and malignant nature of patriarchal heteronormativity. Harry and Paul are (former?) friends who barely speak to Marianne when she’s present, and fight over her like teenage brothers vying for a shared car when she is absent.

Here’s the trouble: A Bigger Splash sets a stunning table, but never quite delivers the banquet that has set our mouths watering for the first 2/3rds of its too-long two-hour runtime. There is an issue of severe pacing, one that leaves the audience wondering if the relationship between Paul and Marianne really seems worthy of such a violent–and ultimatley fatal–outburst, and one that, most frustratingly, sees Harry’s estranged daughter, Penelope, wedged into a Lolita-esque role that never evolves into much more than window-dressing.

Still, the film could have slunk away without raising too much ire if it left us to ponder the fallout of the climax, but it bafflingly continues, heaping on a pile of half-formed ideas that are designed to enrich the narrative, but end up burning a hole right through it. There’s some eye-roll worthy, half-baked allegories about Syrian refugees that go absolutely nowhere, but even these pale in comparison to a series of reveals about Penelope (Dakota Johnson, hitting all the right notes in a somewhat workwomanlike fashion), and this is where A Bigger Splash goes (pardon me) off the deep end.

For a film that posits much about the importance of relationships, the past, and identity, Penelope is treated as little more than an afterthought when it comes time to weave her into the story in a way that actually ties up loose ends. Beyond serving as a reminder of how utterly transparent yet alluring the desperate and rudderless can be, Penelope seems to have no organic place in the story. Her pseudo-relationship with Harry is never unpacked, her assumed dalliance with Paul is kept ambiguous and only barely touched upon in the final few moments before Harry’s death, and (most bizarrely) we find out that she has been lying to both Paul and Marianne (and perhaps to Harry, though this is also never explored), but in a way that has no discernible impact on the characters or narrative.

Pile all that onto a final few minutes that seem ripped from the pages of an overdue creative writing project and you’re left with an ending that almost completely erodes all of the good will the film spent the first 100 minutes carefully building. A Bigger Splash might be the most tragic outing of the year thus far, only because it promises so much and delivers so little beyond mood and performance. The experience of watching is enjoyable, but by the final credits, discerning viewers may find themselves wondering if they were thrilled less by the development of the plot and more by the seemingly oh-so-lovely lives that our beautiful and exotic principles are unraveling for our pleasure.

Tonal visual poetry is certainly an artistic feat in and of itself, and A Bigger Splash deserves credit for building the exquisite moods that it does, and the lovely, at times lyrical way that the story unfolds in the winds of the Italian countryside. However, this is a film that insists upon the drama and import of a narrative that ultimately builds to little. In the end, we’re treated to a series of delightful overtures that never quite coalesce into the symphony we’ve been promised.

Final Grade: C+


Am I Going Insane?

I usually don’t need to ask this until sometime around the August of an Election Year. This time around…hoo-boy.

Look, right off the bat, I need to make one thing perfectly clear. Donald Trump is a disgusting piece of shit who should be dragged out into a landfill and shot by teamsters. He’s a disgusting amoral greedbag who is actually running and already gasping-for-air country into the ground in order to grow his personal brand. I don’t know if he believes half the things he says, but he’s OK with spreading those beliefs to get ahead, which is no less disgusting.

That said, this Election coverage/reaction to the coverage (at this point I don’t even read news, I just sometimes click stuff my friends post on facebook, how sad is that) has really gotten out of hand. It seems like every week, the Internet has suddenly decided that Trump is now even more SUPER-elected even though it’s May.

Honestly, I don’t understand the rationale that says because Ted Cruz dropped out, democrats need to start losing their goddamned minds. It’s been clear that Trump was going to be the nom barring something ridiculous for a while now (and honestly, for my money, a Cruz/Clinton showdown is much less of a sure-thing than a Trump/Clinton showdown), so why all the sudden gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing? Equally annoying are the brave souls who are still saying with a straight face that “NOBODY SEEMS TO CARE ABOUT TRUMP BEING POISED TO TAKE OVER THE FREE WORLD.” How big of an egomaniac do you need to be to honestly believe that. Literally every single news outlet/person with a social media account can’t talk about anything else!

As for the election itself, I’m still of the same opinion I was many months ago: HRC/Trump in the general and HRC wins by a significant margin. Trump is too detestable, too inexperienced, too divisive. He has no traction with anything but hard-right white men, and even though it seems incredible, there just aren’t enough of those to win a general election.

Well, that will happen IF dems can accept that the Bernie ship has sailed and rally behind the nominee. I know everybody wants to keep waving the “Hillary is a War Criminal” flag, but this is Donald Trump. Anybody else, seriously. No, I don’t wanna hear it. Vote for the democratic nominee. I shouldn’t even have to tell you this.

For my part, I know what my options are at this point, so I may have to do a full election-news blackout in order to keep from losing my own goddamned mind.

My Trip to the ER

I haven’t had a long and prestigious career of celebrating 4/20, and this year was–well, I’m not sure how to finish that sentence. I guess it all depends on how you look at it.

I suppose I had more or less forgotten that the hallowed day was coming up, until I was texting with D about the wall-to-wall mindfuckery that is Tiptoes on one fine Tuesday evening. Somehow, this conversation led into running over the well-trod ground that is my having never seen Space Jam, and that in turn spun into a mutually reached decision that April 20th might be just the time for a double-header.

The complications? Such an endeavor clearly requires snacks, and D was ready, willing, and able. She purchased all of the necessary components or making guacamole and we were ready to have a nice, relaxing evening in, enjoying the spoils of our culinary prowess while we watched Michael Jordan dunk on cartoon aliens. And then, I had to go and ruin it all by slicing my hand open with a chef’s knife.

The sheer dumbassery of such a tale is compounded by the fact that I narrowly avoided slicing ANOTHER finger open moments before, when the blade glanced off the nail of my left index finger and took out a chunk, but did not break skin. “Whew, that was close!” I said, and switched from chopping an onion to pitting an avocado.


It only took two tries to extract that pit before the knife skittered right and sliced clean through my left pinkie. It’s a surreal moment when you examine the wound and see a huge gap where there shouldn’t be a gap, but no blood. Then: lots of blood.

I’m not a real queasy person, but I’ll admit that I was at something of a loss. Luckily D helped me wrap the wound up with a makeshift paper towel bandage and helped me get an Uber to the hospital. Once there she even stuck around the whole 4 hours I had to wait to get stitches, entertaining and assuring me that I didn’t need to apologize for ruining the evening. She was a real trooper, I must say.

I was prepared to feel like a huge jackass for walking into a Bushwick ER with a boo-boo on my pinkie, but it turned out to be a slow night. I got fast-tracked upstairs almost immediately, but from there it was a few hours of sitting in a chair, before being moved to another room where I sat in a more uncomfortable chair.

While waiting, I took stock of the other patients. One guy seemed to have a similar hand wound, but his may have been a crush injury from machinery (one nurse informed me that almost all the hand injuries they get at that location tend to be factory workers). At least one kid was very, very high on something, and some of their nurses kept getting him to stand up and walk around. It seemed like his grandmother had brought him. I wondered how she was going to talk to him about it the next day, if at all. Another kid was bleeding profusely from the nose, but seemed completely alert.

The doctor finally came in, asked what had happened, and barely reacted when I said I was cutting avocados. She cleaned the wound out, examined it, then told me the cut was too close to the nail-line and she was going to have to call a hand specialist. Another forty-five minutes later, the very annoyed hand specialist came in, looked at the cut, then left the room to go yell at the first doctor for not doing it herself. However, his tone changed somewhat when he prepped me for stitches and looked at how deep the cut was. “What kind of knife did this?” he asked. When I told him it was a very sharp, fresh-out-of-the-packaging chef’s knife he only nodded. “Why do you ask?” I wondered. “It’s a really deep cut,” he responded, sounding almost impressed. He then added, somewhat bewildered, that he sees at last 2-3 cases of avocado-related wounds per week. This was repeated by the doctor who examined my stitches nearly two weeks later. Anyway.

Watching the doc sew up my finger while pumped full of numbing novocaine was certainly an experience. By that point it was past midnight, and I couldn’t help but reflect on how this wasn’t exactly the night I had planned. By 1:30, we were out of there, and took a cab back to Ridgewood to finish the guacamole.