By Brendan O’Hare.
7:45 AM — My Childhood Bed: I wake up by mistake and try to go back to sleep, but before I can do so I get an email from the editor of this website saying that it’s my day to write a diary. Even though I forgot I was supposed to do this, I send an email back promising I’ll do “ a very good job,” which almost certainly won’t be the case. I check the writing credentials of the other people CC’d on the email to see if I can beat them in writing. Nope. I’m not gonna be able to go back to sleep, and I’m up about ninety minutes earlier than usual, so I’m just gonna stay in bed and ease into the day like…the visible light spectrum?? Is this an apt comparison?? Okay, well, just imagine that “barely awake Brendan” is the color “red” and “fully awake Brendan” is the color “purple”…and there’s a bunch of colors (states of being awake) I gotta go through first??? Christ, this is gonna be a disaster.
8:25 AM — My Childhood Family Room: I’m purple or whatever so I decide to go downstairs. I eat a truly nice bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch and a small glass of orange juice, no pulp. I’m doing all this while watching SportsCenter. The man onscreen is asking me to figure out why the boxer Manny Pacquiao used to be bigger and stronger. I don’t want to do this, so I go take a shower.
9:45 AM — My Childhood Dining Room Table: I sit at the table and attempt to write a bunch of really good things…and you KNOW I’m listening to all the top music in the background: the new Drake mixtape, the soundtrack to The Master, and all the other hits and songs. I’m typing and chewing on the strings of an old Virginia Tech sweatshirt I’m wearing, a sweatshirt my Aunt Judy gave me about a decade ago when I was really into Virginia Tech football. I just shaved a truly awful beard that I had been growing, this horrific patchy disaster, so I’m also mindlessly checking to make sure I didn’t miss any hairs. And hey, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a whole bunch of these little flimsy monuments to shitty grooming littered all over my bad face, something for Future Brendan to deal with.
10:15 AM — My Childhood Laundry Room: One of the pipes on the washing machine is frozen so my mom asks me to thaw it off using a hair dryer. I stand there for five minutes holding the hair dryer, slowly running it up and down the pipes. I had been writing for 30 minutes, and it’s so nice to finally take a break. Other than being their well-behaved and firstborn son, doing occasional chores like these are one of the many ways I avoid paying rent to my parents. I moved back home in August after being away at college for two years — I took a leave of absence because I got a job working at The Jack and Triumph Show as a writer’s assistant, and colleges don’t let you live in the dorms when you aren’t going to school there. Otherwise, you’d just be some employed weirdo. I think I am moving out soon, though, now that I have some money from working, to try and finally achieve my dream of becoming a 20-something who lives and plays in New York City. The show ends its break in mid-March, so I’d like to move by March or April, during a little season I like to call “the Springtime.” I think my family will be happy to see me try and make it On My Own, but I think they’ll also be sad that I’ll be gone. I am a good son.
I finally finish blow-drying the washing machine, and suddenly a question pops into my head, a question that pops up quite frequently: Was there any comedic value to that situation? Yes, that little question that constantly rears its head in the mind of people who are wired like me… Ultimately I decide to do nothing with it, because I remember there is nothing funny about being a good son. I pour myself a cup of coffee and get back to doing what I love most — being logged on to my computer.
11:00 AM — A Red 2004 Dodge Neon: I’m taking my younger brother Liam out to practice driving. Living at home again allows me to see my siblings grow up in real-time, rather than coming home every couple of months and being visibly startled by the dramatic height increases and personality changes that are near-to-constantly happening to 16-year-old boys—Liam has a twin brother named Daniel, but only Liam will be driving today. Just because they are twins does not mean they drive at the same time.
We drove for about a half hour around town, down a bunch of winding roads and through the town’s main park. We go over what he says is his “first speed bump,” which, I dunno, big deal. Talk is concerned with driving—past experiences and little tips, the latter of which end up mostly being me spending what feels like the entire ride fumbling an explanation about what happens if he encounters a yellow light. (Sample quote: “Now see, if that light was yellow, uh, well, when you see a yellow light, you’re, uh, well, go fast, unless you can’t do that, which in that case, slow down. Hold on, sorry…”) Other than that, it feels like I’m being chauffeured around my childhood town, like a wistful big-time superstar, trying to remember what life was like before I had a whole lot of cold hard cash, and became permanently corrupted. I can dig that.
11:35 AM — My Childhood Dining Room Table: I get some more coffee and try to continue writing. Before I open my laptop, I take a look at the hands that are about to do great things. My fingernails are a goddamn mess because I bite them constantly. It looks like I dared myself to put the tips of my fingers in a paper shredder and I won the self-dare. If my dentist reads this he’s gonna be pissed because I’ve chipped my front tooth four times the past two years biting my nails. Well, hold on, dentist: You will be happy to know that I am using a different biting tooth now.
Speaking of teeth (oh boy), so far today I’ve taken four pictures of a dentistry-sponsored holographic bookmark that my mom gave me. I had asked her to pick up a bookmark from the library she works at. This simple request led to my mom seeing this monstrosity that “had just been lying around for days” (her real words), thinking “my son will enjoy this” (again, her real words). She was extremely right.
It’s an absurd-looking thing. At first glance, it just says “SMILE” in big rainbow letters. But when you move it a little bit, you see it also has a bunch of anthropomorphic teeth on it — three of these sexless mutant canine-lookin’ things, all with a distinct personality trait: You have the goofy tooth, you have the normal tooth, and, of course, the tooth with one strong human arm and one normal tooth arm. I don’t know what I’m gonna do with all these shots. Maybe send them to my dentist, just to make sure things are good between us.
1 PM — My Childhood Family Room For Lunch: I’m eating a turkey-and-cheese sandwich with kettle chips, a mozzarella cheese stick, and a banana — a little thing I like to call The Gentleman’s Lunch. My sister Micaelie is also in the room, watching the series finale of Lost. I arrive just in time for the part when Claire fires out a baby. While I’m eating my Nice Meal, my grandma calls, asking for me. My grandma is a big fan of mine, and it’s easy to see why. I’m a very good grandson. The Jack and Triumph Show premiered last night and she wants to talk about it. She stayed up at her house to watch it live, at 11:30, just like my family and I did at home. She tells me she doesn’t like all the sexual humor and wishes Triumph had a Brooklyn accent instead of an Eastern European one. I tell her Triumph’s been around for 20 years, so that isn’t going to change. You’re just gonna have to deal with it, Grandma. I don’t say that, I never would. But she still seems to like the show, even if they “talk too fast.” Maybe she’s just trying to be a supportive grandma. I dunno. She says the credits at the end moved too fast to see my name, which she seems to be most upset about, lending more credence to the “supportive grandma” theory (SGT). I hang up and finish eating and reward myself for such a well-eaten lunch with a donut.
1:45 PM — I was going to get a haircut in 45 minutes, and then it started to snow, so I cancelled the haircut because snow is the bad driving weather. I tell my parents that I made a mature decision and they say something along the lines of “Yes, our Good Son, we agree.” I respond by saying something like, “You raised me well, and you two are very good at being Parents.” My hair is a horrible curly disaster and it needs to be cut with extreme prejudice. It has grown into this unmanageable mess, with stray curls reaching up towards the sky that beg for an end from a god who isn’t listening or is long dead, and it needs to be eradicated from this Earth.
2:42 PM — My Childhood Basement: I’m playing NBA 2K13 on the Playstation 3 with my brother Daniel. I’m the 1986 Boston Celtics and he’s “The Celebrity All-Stars.” Justin Bieber plays for the Celebs, and is inexplicably six foot six, even though in real life he’s definitely not, and all the other celebrities are their normal height. I like Bieber as a little singin’ man a lot, actually, and I think making fun of him is super hack at this point, but this is weird. There’s no way he didn’t ask to be that tall. I can’t not mention it every time Daniel and I play. I beat him 90-82 and there’s a lot of trash talk, mostly from my end, including brilliant passive-aggressive swipes like “nice shot” after any and all of his missed shots, and we have a nice time as brothers.
3:30 PM — The general restlessness that happens when you are a 21-year-old boy living at home: Walking around, leafing through the Very Special 90th anniversary of the New Yorker, mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, noticing the official Lil Wayne Facebook page just posts memes now (This Puppy Has Outgrown His Crate In The Best Way Possible), asking Dad if he’s gonna get the New York Times tomorrow, petting my dog then remembering she ate shit yesterday so stopping, letting the dog outside into the snow to likely eat more shit, going back to the dining room table to write more, and just being generally well-behaved.
4:30 PM — Even though I’m not a writer on The Jack and Triumph Show, the people who work there are nice enough to let me pitch lines from time to time. A line I pitched made the final cut last night, so I email my dear friend Hollywood’s Jack McBrayer and tell him the good news. It was a line for him, and while we were shooting the episode, he knew it was mine and told me “I will do everything in my power to get it cut.” Jack is maybe the nicest person I’ve ever met, but our running joke was that he would act very mean to me, and he was/is very good at this. He writes me back and says it’s the saddest email he’s ever received.
5:00 PM: I decide I’ve written enough for the day, so I move on to reading the book I’ve been flailing at for a few weeks now, Gravity’s Rainbow. Look, I know what you’re thinking. Hey, Brendan, you’re probably not actually reading that big hard book. You just want to sound smart online, when in reality, you’re insanely dumb. You probably pronounce Pynchon like “Pine-chone” or think the ‘p’ is silent and say “Yin-chon” or some shit. Well, all I have to say about THAT, is, “Please don’t say that about me.”
I’m pretty sure this is the best book I’ve ever read, and I’m also pretty sure it’s the most frustrated I’ve ever been while reading one. This is mainly because it’s one thing to know you’ll never be as good as someone at writing, but it’s another thing to be just taunted with that fact on every page. Every time Pynchon describes, like, shadows, I can’t help but feel like another big ol’ reclusive middle finger is being waved in my big dumb slack-jawed face, and I simultaneously get furious while also loving it a whole lot. If my reaction to this was verbalized, it would probably something like “Gahhhhhhhhhhh….nice.”
6:30 PM — My Childhood Family Room: Mom made enchiladas for dinner. We eat them while watching the new Dr. Steve Brule joint, BagBoy. I’ve already seen the show and have been telling everyone in the house how great it is. Both my parents walk out before it ends.
7:21 PM — It seems like we are just going to watch TV the rest of the night as a nice family unit. A commercial comes on where John Leguizamo says he loves New York. I think to myself, Okay, now I definitely have to check it out. We’re watching one of the several hundred shows my parents watch that involve Alaska. Mom mentions she wants to watch a movie she brought home from the library called The Rover. She brings home one post-apocalyptic movie per week, never knowing anything about the quality, repeating the mantra, “This is about the apocalypse, how can this be bad!” Dad has a fire going. It’s a good fire, a nice fire even. I’ll miss nights like this when I move away.
8:08 PM — We try to watch The Rover, but it is inexplicably deemed by my mom, of all people, to be “too disturbing and creepy,” so we end up turning on that James Franco student documentary he made about Saturday Night Live. After that, everyone goes upstairs, and I’ll be left by myself, continuing to consume media.
11:45 PM — I finish watching an old episode of Louie and decide that I’m going to go to bed. The Oscars are tomorrow, and I need to get my 40 winks!…one wink for every hour the Oscar Awards are on 🙂 The Oscar Awards are long, and they need to be much shorter. I guess I’ll end it this way, yeah.
Brendan O’Hare is a writer’s assistant on The Jack and Triumph Show and is a contributor to Clickhole. He tweets at @brendohare and is a very nice young man.