Sometimes, a Bear Gets You

January 2016

In the many months it has been since I’ve updated any of my writing, much has changed in the life of good ole’ John Black. The biggest change, aside from the fact that I’m now in a different state but back to a location more central to Manhattan, is that I have more or less simply taken my old set of nightmare commuting parameters and instead replaced them with new ones. You see, kids, I have recently moved to a wondrous and promising land – filled with the most interesting types of people one can find, with a luscious scenic view of industry and all of its many effects on the local landscape, where the sounds of airplanes flying dangerously close to your roof can be heard frequently overhead, and public transit is so majestic that it can’t be bothered with descriptors such as “frequently on time” or even “barely passable” – a land known to the people of New York City as “Fucking Jersey.”

With all kidding aside, I’ve made it no secret that I often invite and even welcome the insane into my life because, well, it makes it a lot more goddamn funny, and that’s where I tend to thrive. So, when presented with the opportunity to witness something completely and utterly absurd, of course I am going to take it, because what is life if not the pursuit of laughter?

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Real Estate Employees on Business Trip Learn Valuable Lesson in Travel Etiquette

February 2015
I spend about 50% or more of my life commuting or traveling these days, and I have to say: I hate traveling. Perhaps it’s the fact that I just flat out don’t like most people, and cannot stand the concept of being crammed into a confined space with any number of assholes with horrible habits that are completely oblivious or inconsiderate of those around them. I could write an entire book alone that consists solely of my commuting and traveling fiascos, but by the end of it, I’d need to be committed to an insane asylum.

In recent years, however, to try and salvage what’s left of my dignity, sanity, and blood pressure, I’ve decided that rather than be that guy who is sitting in the subway car (or plane, or on the commuter bus) stewing over inconveniences and becoming visibly enraged at his surroundings – acting like the universe has singled him out just to make him late and that no one else around him has anywhere as important to be as where he’s headed – to instead find creative ways to mess with people in an effort to make them think twice about how they conduct themselves in public. An example of this happened to me within the last few months… Continue reading

The Cold Stench of Complete and Utter Failure

December 2014

In recent months, in order to save money, I decided to move upstate to the country in order to save money for a potential big move next year. Thus far, it has proven to be nothing but trouble, a failed exercise on my part due to poor spending habits and a lack of proper planning. I can blame myself for that one.

The most frustrating aspect of where I live is that I still work in the city and inevitably am forced to commute by bus a few days a week. The journey typically takes around two or so hours depending on the bus I take, but sometimes, on occasions like the one I experienced on Wednesday, can take far longer.

This past Wednesday, a complete asshole of a nor’easter positively slapped both the city and the area where I live. This was one of the days I was scheduled to be at my office for mandatory meetings, so I had to suck it up and make the trip. Starting with my 4AM wake up time, the day from Hell began its ill-mannered and violent choke hold on all of my hopes and dreams.

After having an absolutely crappy and long day at work, I left the office promptly at 5pm to catch my bus, which I made just barely. The snow had already begin to pile up in Manhattan, which meant it would be even worse up in the boonies. What normally should’ve been a two hour ride turned into a five hour expedition, riddled with what can only be described as a smorgasbord of near-death experiences as the bus repeatedly skidded out and nearly hit guardrails, inanimate objects, and other vehicles.

By the time that I arrived home at around 10:15pm, I was nearly in tears. I was exhausted, I was cranky and, most of all, I was painfully hungry. Needless to say, the only thing I wanted to do was eat. That, and booze. And not just regular “getting tipsy with dinner” boozing. I wanted to get rip-roaring, fall down, ripped to the core drunk. It was on.

So after experiencing the wonderful feeling of being able to take off my pants, I walked passionately and determinedly toward my refrigerator, made myself a sandwich, and poured myself a large glass of wine. To paint the picture of how much red wine was in this glass, I emptied half the bottle into this thing. And I was prepared to finish it.

This was it. This was all I had left. This sandwich and my wine were the last sliver of hope I had to have even a remotely redeemable day, one that didn’t make me feel like I was completely wasting my life. I had trekked over 200 miles and spent 8 hours in total commuting time on top of a 9 hour work day for this very moment.

I walked over to my table, placed the plate atop it, set my wine glass down, and took a seat upon the old wicker chair that had been sitting at the table since my grandfather bought it in the 1960’s. The chair had seen better days for sure.

Seconds after sitting down, wine glass in hand, I heard the chair make the unmistakable “thhhhhhh” sound that signified that something terrible was about to happen.

All in one horrifyingly painful motion, the weight of my fat ass completely eliminated any capacity for weight bearing that this old chair had left in it, and the weathered piece of furniture completely collapsed beneath me, sending me crashing to the floor, red wine spilling all over, and shards of wicker scattering the site of the collapse, some of which scratched my tired pasty ass.

So there it was, my one shot at redemption, the one thing I had left, the only thing that could’ve made me feel even remotely like a person again, like my life had meaning, manifested in a pile of shattered wicker and red wine in front of my living room table.

I left the scene as it was and went to bed to return in the morning to a reminder to never commute in the snow again.

Two-For Tuesdays: The Oral Conundrum – How I’m Slowly and Unintentionally Ruining The Confidence of Every Woman I Sleep With

There have been two times in my life where something so horrible, so mortifying, so absolutely embarrassing has happened in my love life that I’ve walked away from it fearing that I’ve completely scarred my intimate partner for the rest of their life and shattered their ego forever. Being that the most recent one occurred within the last several days, I decided to do a two part piece about how I’m slowly and unintentionally ruining the confidence of every woman I sleep with.

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The Trouble With Crashing On Couches

May 24, 2006

For those of you who know me well, you know that I never really know where I’m going to end up sleeping on any given night. Save for some brief time spent having my own place in Dobbs Ferry and a separate one later on in Astoria, I’ve pretty much spent the last six years of my life living on couches and going on wayward musician adventures that will one day be the death of me. I have some very supportive and fun friends to thank for that.

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The Only Reason to Truly Become Abstinent

November 2006 – April 2007

Shortly after my 20th birthday, I found myself working two dead-end jobs at a mall in Rockland, NY. One of the jobs, my primary one, was at a music venue and restaurant on the fourth floor, and the other was working daytime weekday hours at the small laser tag and arcade establishment on the outskirts of the food court. The laser tag job was pretty easy, and really allowed me to develop my customer service skills; however, it did provide a little hint of comical irony that still gives me a chuckle from time to time.

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Why I Now Know to Listen to My Body When It Tries to Tell Me Something

May 2008

When my former band, Sarah’s Redemption, had finally gotten what would be the most prominent lineup it would ever know together and began the recording process for “The Dreamer’s Gene” in Purchase, I started to become very hell-bent on getting myself back into shape again, knowing that we would be performing a lot more often. At the time, I had pretty much never idolized anyone as much as I did 2002-2003 era Adam Lazarra, in the days when he was actually young, in shape, and didn’t look and sound like a total tool on stage. I strived to mimic that portion of his career, which meant working off the 40-or-so pounds of beer and french fries I’d acquired being out of the music scene throughout the previous winter, so I started doing some serious running.

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The Great Blender Fiasco of 2001

July 12, 2001

Not unlike many of my fellow brethren who were raised in the strip of land just North of the city known as The Rivertowns, which included Hastings-on-Hudson, Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, and Irvington, I was introduced to the world of debauchery and extremely excessive drinking at a very early age. Having had a sister who was exactly four years older than I was throughout the entire course of my middle school experience, I basically witnessed, and sometimes part took in, an entire “dry run” of high school before I could even call myself a freshman. My mom used to work late hours, sometimes overnight shifts at the hospital, which used to force my sister into babysitting some weekends, and what happens when you take an extremely outgoing socialite and force her to watch and care for her younger brother on weekends in the summer time during the height of her social butterfly behavior? Creativity.

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John vs. The Garbage Truck (The Worst Summer Job Ever)

June – August, 2004

I’ve had some pretty crappy jobs in my life: employee of the Zaro’s bakery in the bowels of the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers (for about 2 hours before losing it and quitting by blowing up on a problem customer), spending a summer mucking shit and tossing hay at my father’s horse farm upstate, or waiting tables at an ill-prepared and understaffed entertainment venue and frequently getting sat with a 60 person section all at once. No job, however, has ever been quite as bad as the summer I spent working for the local Department of Public Works in my hometown of Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.

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Why Weighing Options Doesn’t Always Work Out

Labor Day Weekend, September 2010

Every year, Labor Day comes around and everyone I know makes a thousand different plans on every opposite end of the spectrum, then all proceed to act surprised and shocked when I’m not able to make all of them. This past year was the first year I can recall in a long time that I literally had absolutely nothing to do… yet.

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