Texting While Married, Dog Poop Destroys (Our) Family, and a lot more in this week's Hodgepodge #2
Also we are changing the name of the friday edition from "Backyard Kickback" to "Hodgepodge." Will it change again next week? YES.
Listen to me reading this article if you wanna hear me struggle through sickness and try to do a Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood impression halfway through!
Hello and welcome to all ye who wander and are thusly not lost, and a double hiya to all the new BATheads! Though I haven’t checked the numbers of subscribers in TWO WEEKS, I have been getting your replies to the welcome email (which have been so cool to read, thank you), and therefore know that we’ve got new readers because of the incredible shoutout from Michael Estrin, writer the newsletter Situation Normal which I’d describe simply as the Superman of the Comedic Personal Essay Universe (CPEU). Michael described Both Are True as:
a newsletter that’s hard to explain, but easy to love
and frankly, that just might become our new tagline.
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🎃 ICYMI: I released a very spooky piece earlier this week - The Existential Horrors of Middle Age: A Haunted House Experience. 🎃
The Hodgepodge #2
This is a Friday edition of Both Are True which means it’s a hodgepodge of everything: stories, recommendations, what have you’s:
also - the word hodgepodge is incredible. it’s got comedic heft with the hard d and hard b, it doubles up on the hilarious ‘odge’ - what more could you ask for??
I’ll tell ya what - the origins of hodgepodge (say that nine times fast I dare you). From my close personal friends, Merriam and her lover Webster:
Hodgepodge is an alteration of hotchpotch, which once referred to a thick soup of barley, peas, and other vegetables, and sometimes includes meat. Hotchpotch is itself an alteration of another word, hotchpot, derived from Old French words meaning "to shake" (hochier) and "soup" (potage).
So basically a shaky soup! Love it. Let’s slurp on in.
The Text Messages of Married Life
Let’s start with the last two text messages I sent to my wife and BAT fan favorite— Lauren. Now before I share these I do want to do a quick content warning - these are incredibly romantic and and sexy and I would recommend sitting down before continuing.
Ok, here they are:
hey let’s think about flu shots
have you been farting more lately?
Steamy? Sure. Salacious. Sertainly.
My favorite part about these texts is how easily they left my brain and made their way into Lauren’s phone. No hesitation, no trepidation, nothing. Sure it may not be the type of romantic gesture you’ll find in Fifty Shades of Grey, but there is a strange beauty in them, perhaps in knowing there is someone in this world with whom I will share my life, both the good and grand and happy and sad and also, the flus and the farts.
We will be getting flu shots, by the way (more on this in Lauren’s Ledger below), and Lauren was NOT farting more lately while I very much was and though the investigation is still ongoing, all signs point to the rather aggressive amount of kimchi I’ve been eating this past week.
How A Dog Turd Nearly Ruined My Life
I have never felt more middle aged than after the seething rage I felt about a big pile of dog poop that had not been picked up on the grassy area next to the sidewalk by our house.
Allow me to explain. I was walking with Wilder (1.5yo boy, also my son) and we’d just reached that point in the walk where he abandons all regard for life and limb by hurtling forward in what can only be described as a wiggle sprint. The goal of this lose-yourself-in-the-movement mania is to run way too fast and falls. His body during this process is loose, there is no fear, simply ready for the inevitable crash that shall follow. It’s poetic and terrifying, both are - points to the sign- true.
And today, as all days, he eventually fell. What was different today, dear reader, was where he fell - STRAIGHT TOWARD A STEAMING PILE OF FRESH DOG DOODOO.
I watched it all, helpless, afraid, painfully aware of the fragility of all things, as he hit the dirt, his face mere inches away from aforementioned turd.
And I was livid. How dare my stupid neighbors do this to me. To my son! I got on my knees and screamed toward the heavens just as Daniel Plainview did in There Will Be Blood:
I have abandoned my boy. I have abandoned my child.
Someone listening through an open window would not have been able to ascertain whether it was me out there or someone watching the movie itself, that’s how similar it was.
I picked up my son, tears streaming down my face, and carried him home, hoping for the guilty neighbor to peek their head out of a window, full of remorse, and for me to run toward them screaming LOOK WHAT YOU DID.
But that didn’t happen. Know what happened instead?
THERE WAS A LOT MORE DOG DUNG UP AND DOWN THE SIDEWALK.
This injustice would need to sit because it would not stand. I feverishly made a poster to print out and put up around the neighborhood:
I sent it to Lauren thinking she’d be proud of me and the initiative I was taking, but instead I get this “I don’t want to be a family with yard signs about poop.”
Just goes to show, keep your friends close, keep your kids closer cuz they may trip into dog shit, and maybe keep your wife far away if she doesn’t support your struggle against the asshats of the neighborhood.
And to clarify - I do not intend on putting these up in OUR yard. I want to put them up all through the neighborhood. Do you all think this is a good idea? Plz ONLY respond if yes.
And also to clarify - yes, I exaggerated a tad in the poster by saying Wilder did fall face first into the poop - this is a classic thing you’re allowed to do as a writer under Creative License Law.
Speaking of Lauren, I’ve decided to give her an exclusive section in the Friday newsletter called Lauren’s Ledger. She can post whatever she wants here. Fun! Today’s entry is as follows:
Can you get a flu shot while already sick with a cold? Asking for a friend…actually asking for myself.
There it is! Short and to the point. Plz respond in comments, she genuinely needs to know.
The Halftime Show
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Stuff that made me go whoa
This section used to be called Backyard Kickback but then BAThead Edward Rooster (writer of From The Future, a ‘newsletter of lyrical historical fiction, made of the past and the next present’) commented with “Alex, you provide consistently the stuff that makes me go whoa,” which is perfect so now that’s what this is called! Onward.
This week in Spotify Artist Pages That Go Way Too Hard
Jesus Ludwig, let people relax a little bit my god. The absolute GAME FACE he’s got on in spite of being dead for thousands of years.
Also loving this absolute murderer’s row of Fans also like - look at these big dummies with their wigs and also why did people back then all look like paintings?? Weird.
Quote of the week
This one comes from a hip new indie cat outta Tibet, he’s an old soul with a young heart - you’ve prolly never heard of him but I’ve got a feeling you will soon - The Dalai Lama XIV:
“If there is no solution to the problem then don't waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don't waste time worrying about it.”
Stuff to Read:
On Silence and the Inner Voice by Thomas J. Bevan: This one’s stuck with me all week in that “I am in this photo and I do not like it” meme sort of way. Thomas manages to transcend the cliches of writing about how we’re all so addicted to our screens and drop some real truths:
Our external searching and perpetual information hunting (and hoarding) are all ways of avoiding an answer disguised as earnestly searching for the answer.
WTF Thomas you didn’t have to come for me so hard!! And then this:
The truth I believe is that silence- like darkness- is a little unnerving but unlike darkness the apprehension comes not from the fact that it conceals but in that it reveals.
Son of a britch, he got me. Also let this be a big ol plug for the Soaring Twenties Social Club, a community of writers and readers that Thomas created. I joined a couple months back and love it.
The privilege of friendship - I love when you can really feel the way someone is through their writing. In this case, I could deeply feel and connect to the friendship between Tarzan (her newsletter Led by Stories rocks) and her bff Kathleen (who introduced me to Tarzan and also writes a badass newsletter Oh My Heart)- from the ashes of the horrifying world of cults and coercive control rises the phoenix that is their love for one another. It’s awesome and my description doesn’t do it justice. A couple lines that stuck w me:
I am a textbook “cult hopper.” No sooner have I freed myself from one high-control group than I find myself smack in the middle of another. Even today I cannot easily recognize abuse for what it is because to me it feels like love.
I love this one cuz I wanna get better at being okay with being mad:
My best friend loves it when I get mad at her. It’s basically her favorite thing and makes her do extra annoying things. I think she loves me getting mad because there was a time in our relationship when I never got mad at her and never disagreed with her because we were caught in some very unhealthy patterns that involved both of us acting out perfectly-matched adaptive strategies from our messed up childhoods. I didn’t know what a trauma bond was before I met Kathleen. We had to figure that out together too.
Still here? Great! Subscribe / share / click the heart below I need this to convince Lauren that I am “A Great Writer Of Our Time.”
a new spelling of certainly for people who take sertraline, the way cooler and much more generic version of Zoloft