the bit saloon.

he got off work and thought about what he should do. he was older now, so he didn't have many friends. who needed friends anyway? he would get laid tonight. yes, that sounded like a good plan. sure, it was his plan just about every friday, but tonight would be different. this time, he would "seal the deal," as they say. he had just gotten his hair cut, and he had his black leather jacket drycleaned recently. he purchased a blue lilac shirt from the nordstrom rack, and he was feeling confident. on top of his game. he showered, put on cologne. who could resist him? he was a winner. and do you know what winners do? they seal the deal on friday nights.

he would have to take a cab because he planned on getting pretty sloshed. he didn't want to go too far, though, because long cab rides are expensive. he googled nearby bars. the bit saloon was the first hit. it would be nice to meet a girl nearby, anyway. that way, they could seal the deal more often than not. he thanked the cab driver, and he walked into the bar. it was early, and no one was around yet. slowly, people started coming. a heavy-set girl with black hair and bangs checked identification at the door. she was goth or punk, she couldn't decide.

he had a few beers, and he was feeling good, looking around, scoping out the talent. there weren't any hotties in particular, but he decided that if he kept drinking, he could convince himself otherwise. the bands played. they were big band or punk/ska, they couldn't decide. he greeted a girl at the bar, even though she was with a guy. she said, "hey" back, but refused to look at him. he had a few more beers, and he was starting to feel invincible. he had reached that point where he could just open his mouth, say anything, and it would be brilliant.

he went up the group of girls sitting at a booth. "i really love pussy," he said. the girls said nothing back. one rolled her eyes. another glared at him. one of them encouraged him. she danced with him a bit, until he started getting too grabby. then, it was over. an asian kid in the corner took his picture with a digital camera. he thought he was a star. he was on fire. he was the life of the party. "can i tongue one of you?" he asked. the girls didn't say anything.

finally, one of the women got up and got in his face. "get the fuck out of here," she said. she said it calmly, so he didn't think she was serious. he didn't budge. "are you deaf? i just asked you to leave us alone," she said. "i'm not doing anything," he said. "yes, you are! you're bothering me and my friends, and i want you to leave!" "are you serious?" "do i sound like i am fucking kidding?" "alright, alright," he said, "i'll leave." he thought that he was having a good time, that they were having a good time. he thought that he was lucky, a winner.

the night was over. there's always tomorrow, he thought to himself. saturdays are better than fridays, anyhow.
you know about greenpeace?

on my way to get chicken teriyaki, i was stopped by a greenpeace canvasser. "hey bro," he said. i'm not your bro, hippie scum. "hello," i said. "you know about greenpeace?" "yeah, i've seen that," i said, pointing to his binder. "i saw a girl outside qfc." "was it greenpeace?" he asked. he caught me in a lie. shitballs. "no," i said, "i think it was environmental washington." "oh, well you got a sec? i wanna tell you about greenpeace." this guy looked like a real tool. he looked like he lived in a van down by the beach. if i had seen this guy when i was fourteen, i would've had to rethink the whole concept of "selling out."

i told him i was gonna grab some lunch and that i would be back. "go for it," he said. i was off the hook. i bought my teriyaki, and then i walked all the way around the law school to avoid him. i am really starting to hate these canvassers. when i was unemployed, i saw ads for this type of work on craigslist all the time. i hate that these little hippie kids think that they are saving the planet with their smiles and aggressive friendliness. i hate that the organizations they work for are extremely alarmist and probably don't do all that much to make the world a better place. the whole thing reeks of sanitized activism.

i mean, seriously. if you're gonna be a rebel, be a rebel. go live in a tree that's marked to get cut down. chain yourself to it. if you want to make some noise, go stand on a soapbox and preach. bring the evildoers to justice through the law or through violent means. don't pretend like we're buddy-buddy to get me to contribute to your organization. that's the worst thing you can do. it makes me feel more like a walking dollar sign than a human being.

a job's a job, i guess. do what you gotta do, canvassers. i'll continue to be the dollar sign, and you can be the statue that i, once again, choose to ignore.
girl on the other side.

before i even got through the door to the dean's office, lizzie was waving and grinning, as if she knew me, as if we were friends. she had just returned from her spring break trip to vegas.

me: "how was it? did you have fun?"
her: "yes, it was really fun."
me: "cool. i'm glad."
her: "what about you? what have you been upto?"
me: "oh, you know. just working (lie)."
her: "yeah."
me: "i made a boogie nights quiz on facebook. you should take it. have you seen it?"
her: "no. oh. the movie? yeah."
me: "alright. i'll see you later."
her: "later."

i sometimes wish that our brief encounters didn't always have to be so painfully awkward, but i guess i kind of treasure them because they are.
how does inflation work?

"i'm originally from denver."
"denver is getting bad, i hear."
"yeah, everything is closing down. it's terrible."
"we've definitely stumbled upon the new great depression."
"i wonder what happens when inflation kicks in."
"it's gonna get real ugly."
"but what about inflation? how does inflation work?"
"you got me."
"once inflation happens, that ruins everything."
"everyone fills up their piggy banks, and it all falls apart."
"and the media totally downplays what's going on. i mean, what's really happening."
"definitely. they do."
"i just can't believe it."
"my uncle told me he saw three men jump out the window in denver."
"yeah. in 1929."
"and there was that guy who killed his whole family."
"yeah, i heard about that. what a mess."
"a real nightmare."
i wanna be part of the human race.

i am fourteen years old, and i am a freshman at jesuit high school in carmichael, california. i have acne and braces. i put on tetracyclin, a liquid which stings my face, hoping that it will clear up my skin and i can once again rejoin the human race. i put hair gel in my hair, though i don't know why, since i attend an all boys school. i put deodorant on, and it's gelly stuff, and i hate the smell of it. my mom buys it, though, so i just wear it. i hate the way i look, and i hate the way i smell. i smell like i'm trying to be a man, and i clearly am not. as i have already mentioned, i have yet to join the human race.

as i am putting the finishing touches on my perfectly gelled hair, my dad honks the horn. he is ready to leave, and he doesn't want to wait another second for me. i get in the car with my heavy ass bag, and i don't say anything to him. he doesn't say anything the entire ride. he burps a lot, and sometimes, he opens his door so that he can spit. i listen to the radio, and i hate it. it's kwod 106.5 and the jackass djs aren't playing any music. they are just talking about some goddamn nonsense. if they just played music, my life would be better. if my parents just moved somewhere else - somewhere that isn't the shithole that is sacramento - my life would be better.

my dad drops me off. it's raining a little bit, and he tells me to put on my hood. reluctantly, i do it, but just until he is out of sight. then, i take off my hood. if getting wet really will make me sick, then so be it. give me the illness, god. give me whatever i need to take me out of this school, this city. the entrance to our school has been tagged. it reads: jesbians suck cocks! god, how i would love to attend our rival school, rio americano. i would love to be in a school full of girls, full of people who can unanimously agree that my school does, in fact, suck cocks.

i get to our table, where all us asian kids hang out. no one is really saying anything. some are listening to hip hop on their cd players, while others are quietly reading some textbooks. what the fuck are we doing, i want to say. we're in prison, goddamnit! am i the only one sane enough to realize this? i want to cry. i want to jump from the second floor and break both my arms. i want to puke on somebody's face. instead, i pull out my discman, and i listen to ok computer. if it wasn't for this album, i would not have been able to get through the next four years. the album is confirmation that someone else is thinking exactly what i'm thinking: i am utterly alone in this world, and so what? i am too good for it, anyway.

the warning bell rings. i go to my first period class, latin. i was duped into thinking latin would help me on my s.a.t. verbal. i was tricked into thinking that building a solid latin vocabulary would help me learn other languages, maybe even medical terms later, if i were to become a doctor. i am a fool. i sit there, taking in no information, and then the bell rings. it's time for p.e. i go to the smelly gym locker, and i hate my life some more. i change into a nasty jesuit high school t-shirt that i haven't washed all semester, and a small pair of black shorts.

there are boys slapping each other with towels. dax is talking about how he pulled out on some girl, and tommy is telling him he's an idiot because a girl can still get pregnant that way. tony is running around flashing his dick and balls to everyone. he gets up real close to another boy and he shows off his dick and balls. i am horrified. i don't know what to do with this. i should just kill myself, right? how am i supposed to live with this? a group of boys gangs up on a boy named jamal because jamal is slightly effeminate. they push him around and call him faggot. everyday, it's the same. jamal tries to pretend that it doesn't bother him. i am hoping that one day, jamal will kill them. kill them all, jamal. but please, spare me.

after we play basketball, we are told that we have to shower. the showers are not individual stalls, but instead, they are big open spaces, giant squares of yellow tiles, and three shower heads. some of the more modest (see: frightened) boys refuse to strip down completely. we are smart enough to know that our bare asses will get towel-whipped once we leave the showers. i know enough that the jocks will point at my penis and laugh or make some comment that will leave me with some psychological complex for the rest of my life. how do i know this? because they do it to everyone.

having left my boxer shorts on while showering, i am now forced to go through the rest of the day with wet underwear. i sit in my third period global studies class with soaked thighs and a soaked ass. still wet, i sit through my fourth period english class. english is the only class i can tolerate. i like reading to kill a mockingbird. i like pretending that i am somebody else, somewhere else, far, far away. there is a boy named spencer in my class, and he has a girly voice. everyone laughs every time he speaks. kill them, spencer. but remember, spare me.

at lunch, i hang out with the asian gang again at the same bench. they are talking about some local hiphop groups. they assume i don't care, and they are right. i wish i had someone to talk to about the brilliance of ok computer, someone to talk to about a crappy punk show happening next weekend, someone who knows how to play guitar. but there is no one. there is only me, my lunchbag, and the genius that is thom yorke. i suck it up, though. everyone says he hates high school. nobody is actually supposed to like high school.

for fifth period, i sit through theology. at this stage in life, i am convinced that there is no god. for sixth period, i have art history. it's also bullshit. the final bell rings, and it is my only moment of joy i have in my miserable day. it is almost as sweet as the opening riff to "airbag." it is a sign that i can say goodbye (at least for a few hours) to the assholes, the homophobes, the mandatory dress code, the acne and tetracyclin, the sexual repression, the bullshit bravado, the weaklings who are unable to fend for themselves, the teachers who know nothing, the stubborn administration that thrives off their neverending power trips. that final bell might as well be me yelling, "fuck you!" at the top of my goddamn lungs. for the next four years, i have only one thing to look forward to: may 26, 2001. graduation.

my dad picks me up. "how was school?" he asks. "fine," i say. we don't say anything else. he picks up some chinese food, and i eat it, while he watches tv in the bedroom. i go in my room, and i fall asleep. when i wake, it is already dark out.
take a lap.

there was that one practice - basketball or soccer - where our coach was pissed, and he made us run laps the whole time.

now, god is the coach. and every day is just another lap around a muddy soccer field.
we're not going to save the environment today.

"haven't you ever talked to one of those guys?" emily once asked me. "no," i said. she was talking about those people who stand outside qfc and solicit money, signatures, or whatever it is they're after. i never got sucked into talking to one of them. i had no idea what they were about, or what kind of work they did. like most people, i passed these canvassers (or whatever they're called) as though they were statues. most likely, they are working for a good cause, but since i don't support working at all, i never talk to them.

today, however, i wanted to talk to someone. i wanted to disappoint someone. i went in knowing i wasn't gonna sign anything, wasn't gonna sign up for some monthly membership. the girl wore a beanie and smiled. why are they always wearing beanies? why do these nonprofit save the world environmental agencies always hire young twenty-something hippies?

"what have you got there?" i asked. this threw her off. she was expecting me to just walk past and not even look at her. i was already off to a good start. "i've got some information about environmental washington." she handed me the binder. "i'm kristen, by the way." i looked up to see if she would shake my hand, but she didn't. i flipped through the pages, looking at the pictures, taking in no information at all. she kept talking about washington state and legislature and how our environmental is falling apart. is it, kristen? is it really? are things...bad?

i got to the very last page of the binder, and i saw the little square boxes with the dollar sign preceding them. she said something about a monthly contribution. i nodded. "can i look this up online?" i asked, stupidly. "yeah," she said, "" "cool," i said. i handed the binder back to her and turned to leave. "we could really use your help today," she said. i knew exactly what she was on about. she needed x number of memberships today, tuesday, so she could collect x number of dollars from her employer. "i'll look it up online," i said. "i really gotta get back to work." her look of disappointment was priceless.

in the words of modest mouse, "sometimes i'm so full of shit that it should be a crime."
a visit to the playground.

the father and child were riding the bus on a monday morning. the father looked tired, and he stared blankly out the window. "my god, you are tragic," the child said to his father. "you struggle for meaning when there clearly is none, none at all! what is the matter, you old fool?" the father coughed. "enough with your unfulfilled dreams and desires, old man. your time is up!" the father put his hand on the child's head.

a beautiful young woman with shoulder-length brown hair boarded the bus and sat in front of them. the child stared, mouth agape, nearly drooling upon himself. he elbowed his father's side. "old man, court that woman!" the father glanced at the beautiful young woman, then looked at his son. "do not confuse love with lust," he warned. the child's eyes narrowed and he slammed his fist hard on his father's thigh.

they got to the park, a dumpy little place with rusted monkey bars and a dented slide. the child needed help on the swing, and then demanded that his father push. "old man," he said, "why do you take me here?" "this is where my father would take me," the father responded. "your logic is as backwards as your take on life," the child said. the father's tie flapped in the breeze. suddenly, an ice cream truck emerged. "would you like a drumstick or an astro-pop?" the father asked. "will you slowly poison me now?" the child said. "drumstick."

they sat on the bench, the child eating the drumstick and the father eating an astro-pop. "it is rather good," the child said. the father didn't say anything. a spot of red dripped onto the lapel of his corduroy blazer. "father, what hope is there for me, if you continue to act the way you do?" the child rose from the bench, then stood on the playground's wooden border, a sort of improvised soap box. "what good do you do me at all? you are no role model! you have nothing to teach me, nothing at all!"

the father finished eating his popsicle, and wiped his hands with a blue handkerchief. "i gave you life," he said. "i'm not obligated to do much more than that."
fish fry.

for lunch today, meagan wanted to go to the fish fry. the fish fry was an okay place until we went there today. they open at 11:30 a.m., but when we arrived there exactly at 11:30 a.m., the two workers were standing outside the little hole-in-the-wall talking to some tall dude. the tall dude must have realized his buddies had customers because the tall dude said he had to get going. the two workers must have been irritated that we had decided to show up right when they opened because they shot straight into the shop and gave a half-assed, "how ya doin."

then, they blasted the jesus and mary chain's "just like honey" at full volume. meagan tried to say something and i couldn't hear her. i like to think that these two white asshole hipsters were just rocking out to the jesus and mary chain - hey, i like jmc just as much as the next guy - but i also think they were expressing their annoyance in a not-so-passive-aggressive way. i didn't get up to ask them to turn it down because i rather would have liked to spit in their faces. meagan asked them to turn down the volume.

i got upset and i told meagan how jaspreet had told me the night before that everyone in india was so polite. any time one enters a store or restaurant in india, one is treated like an actual human being. imagine that! in the philippines as well, any time i entered a store or restaurant - even if i looked like a scrub with no money - i was greeted with a "hello, sir." decency, can you dig it? under no circumstances should any two clerks be able to play music so loudly at a restaurant (at 11:30 in the fucking morning nonetheless) that they render their patrons utterly incapable of hearing one another.

in addition to their sodomite-inspired inhospitality, the two jackasses oversalted the fries. i refuse to eat there ever again. may the dumpy hole-in-the-wall next to neumo's suffer a fate worse than that of its far superior predecessor's, belgian frites.
billingsley! party at taylor's house!

we got to the party, and it wasn't like how i imagined at all. i am always imagining parties where the lights are turned low, or else completely off, and there is smoke and alcohol everywhere. the parties in my head have loud music, so loud that the bass shakes the whole street. there are girls in tanktops and short-shorts dancing and they've got glow-in-the-dark earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. and of course, there are douchebags with button-down shirts and rolled up sleeves. the people are mostly white, but the cooler parties i imagine have a few minorities in them. real parties make an attempt at diversity.

like i said, friday night was nothing like that. later, i told my friends how upset i was that i didn't ever get to go to real parties in high school or even college. since i went to an all-boys school, all our "parties" were total sausage-fests where my idiot friends would try to outdrink each other. they would smoke weed and listen to the grouch. i didn't mind that, but i would've liked better. i would've liked to put on dude ranch and be surrounded by hot girls who tried to outdrink each other. why didn't i get in on any of that? all sausage, no tang.

so, friday night, i convinced my friends to go to this thing at ross' hippie co-op house. i think ross is a decent guy, so i am not trying to badmouth his little shindig. i guess i just want to see some crazy shit at some point in my life. anyway, at ross', i was the only asian guy. my friend emily was the only girl wearing make-up, and she sensed that this other girl who wasn't wearing make-up but who played the violin was giving her dirty looks all night. i could see that. the violinist didn't say anything to any of us, and we didn't say anything right back. the violinist played some traditional irish folk songs with a guitarist, a bass player (the guy used a stick with a string and a tub turned upside-down), and a banjo player. "how the fuck do these people know these old ass irish folk songs?" i asked. emily shrugged.

the music was cool. the three of us sat on the couch and watched them play music. at one point, i said, "you mind if jam along, too?" the guys said alright, and they handed me a blue guitar, which belonged to ross' sister. i tried to play some song - i don't know what the fuck it was - and i was able to keep up by playing d minor the whole time. after that song ended, i started playing the opening riff to neil young's "unknown legend." "what is that?" the banjo player asked. he had glasses and blonde, stringy hair made into a ponytail. "it's neil young," i said. "oh yeah! do you know the words?" i said i did, and i started singing. at that point, i only had one bottle of guinness.

"do you know any other songs?" the banjo player asked me. "yeah," i said, "do you know erasure's 'a little respect?'" "e-rase-sure?" the banjo player asked. "yeah, erasure," i said. "an eighties band?" he shook his head. i started playing "a little respect." he played along on banjo. who were these hippies that knew traditional irish folks songs but didn't know eighties power hits? granted, i just learned about "a little respect" last year, but i don't know the melody to "finnegan's wake." that logic doesn't make any sense, but since you read this blog, i'll assume you already know what i'm talking about.

so, where's this crazy party with the glow-in-the-dark jewelry and the lil' jon blasting out the bose speakers? i wanna get invited to that shit.
great big elephant turd.

you there. you are going to die. did you know that? it may be tonight. it may be tomorrow, or else fifty years from now, but it will happen. have you really thought that one through? you will die. you will cease to exist. do you realize the severity of that fact, the finality of it? you'll never have the opportunity to bungee jump, to fuck, to visit uzbekistan, to watch an elephant take a shit ever again. isn't that crazy? everything amazing that you could be doing right at this very moment, you will never ever get to do again. you will be dead.

you there. you are worried about what other people think of you. you are worried about failing that class, not getting that job, not getting that letter of acceptance. you are worried about the economy and getting sick and having a relatively non-existent social life. and one day, it won't even matter. none of it will matter. we are human beings. we are supposed to be running around, marveling at the world, doing all kinds of crazy shit, but instead, we spend our days looking at shadows.

you there. you spent most of your childhood in a house. a fucking house, can you believe it? a house where no one was ever around. you spent most of your time interacting with a television and computer than you did with actual people. a commercial jingle probably stimulates your brain more than your cousin's voice. you probably didn't know your mailman's name. you didn't know who made your clothes, or where your food came from. you had air-conditioning, and you fell asleep with the television on.

you there. you are going to die. have you forgotten that part already? so, why aren't you being more cordial toward other human beings? you may joke and say that you are already in hell, but trust me, if there is a real hell, you don't want to end up there. this is serious business. there are things you won't ever get to do again. you won't be able to take a hot bath or eat a really good burrito. this is all going to end, and you aren't doing a thing about it. when will you do something?

you there. i really hope this means something to you.
why today rules.

my boss is in nicaragua.

the rest of the office is going to jillian's for lunch to watch the games; they're not coming back.

there will be free pizza at noon.

i'm going to leave after the free pizza.

i'm going to drink guinness tonight at ross' house.
how is your bathroom coming along?

yesterday was spring cleaning day at the office. i threw out a bunch of old papers in our filing cabinets. some of those papers might have been important, but since no one has bothered to check all year, i figured that they couldn't have been that important. i could probably throw everything away and delete every email in my account, but it wouldn't matter. the people i work with would just be like, "didn't you get that email i sent you?" and then they would forward me the most "important" emails.

i shouldn't have cared so much about finding work. i shouldn't have cared so much about being twenty-five and feeling like it was either do something, even if it's something meaningless, or else feel like a failure. the only person who really cared that i wasn't working was myself. i beat myself up over it, even though it really wasn't that big of a deal. sometimes, my mom would say, "when are you going to do something?" and sometimes, my friend would say, "i'm just afraid you're missing out on a lot." strangely, my dad seemed to be the only "supportive" one. even six, seven months into unemployment, he would still tell me, "just think of it as vacation." i think he was really glad to have me home.

at the spring luncheon yesterday, i sat at the table with my office mates. i never branch out and try to sit with, or talk to, the people from alumni, the registrar, or i.t. maybe this is abnormal, but even just sitting with my office mates was enough of a struggle. it's not that they are painful to listen to, it's more that i feel i don't belong. after all, the majority of the people who work here are white women. stacey was talking about how she and her husband are in the process of working on their bathroom. i nodded and smiled when everyone else laughed, but mostly, i just ate and kept to myself.

why was it such a bad thing having endless days with nothing ever on the schedule? was it feeling like a mooch? was it feelings of stagnancy, inadequacy, and complacency, while the rest of the world was seemingly moving forward? why does every college graduate in america continue to think that higher education is the only answer? it's gotten to the point where people might as well tell me that if i don't go to graduate school, i will end up living in a cardboard box and eating noodles for the rest of my life.

i'd like to be able to stop feeling like i don't belong, that this isn't good enough. why can't i just eat a bagel with cream cheese and talk about my first-round picks with the director? what stops me? feeling like i'm too smart for my job? the color of my skin? social anxiety disorder? feelings of mediocrity? being stuck? i'd sincerely like to hear how your bathroom is coming along. does that make me a sell-out? am i being phony?

a few weeks ago, i read a postsecret that had the line, "i don't want to be like holden caulfield anymore." it really got me thinking.
tom is clearly a cat.

people at the office have recently become very obsessed with the march madness pool. sometimes, two coworkers will talk about their picks and teams for a good twenty minutes to half an hour.

i added lizzie as a friend on facebook. i think this made her think that she didn't have to be so formal when answering my calls. "heyyy," she said. "lisa?" i answered. "no, lizzie," she said.

during my lunch break, i went to jaspreet's apartment. she asked me to water her plants and bring in her mail while she is india. i watched a little bit of tom and jerry. in the episode, this brown vulture was trying to make out with tom. tom had a horn over his mouth for some reason, and the vulture mistook tom for another bird, even though tom is clearly a cat.

i changed channels. there was the barefoot contessa, a news segment about how the seattle p-i is now officially defunct, a slam dunk contest, some dna criminal show, world's most amazing videos, and finally, i settled on a repeat of a uconn/syracuse game.

i am on the computer all day. i wonder what kind of effect this will have on me.

today is the first day of spring break for the law students. that doesn't mean anything to me, since i still have to be at work. there is no actual work to do, though. shawn started an office pool, and he requested that everyone fill out brackets for march madness. i haven't been following college basketball, but i filled one out anyway. it gave me something to do. i spent the whole morning filling out the brackets, writing in teams i had never even seen play.

there is an online survey i have been trying to fill out. my boss asked me to do it, and she has even said that her job could depend on it. it is an annoying survey, and any time someone makes the slightest mistake, the whole survey turns grey and becomes inaccessible. today, i tried to fill out the survey for the third time. surprise, surprise, it turned grey again. other times, it will just become totally inaccessible with an error message that reads: please try again in 60 minutes. it is the worst survey in the whole entire world.

i really want to go somewhere this summer. my friends are talking about going to chile, sweden, or india. i think that i could go somewhere, since i now have a job and i've heard that summer is a pretty slow time for the school. maybe i will go somewhere and have an adventure. i always hear about people taking trips to places and i always end up wondering why i didn't go with them. i should have been to a lot more places by now.

shawn stopped by to check out my brackets. "you have no upsets," he told me. i tried to act like i knew what i was doing, since i am the only other male in the office. i didn't want to let him down. "yeah," i said, "north carolina is gonna win it all." he told me that my wake forest pick was a good one. "they're a good team," he said. he said that syracuse "doesn't have the legs." i didn't know what that meant.

it is fun, though, to have something to talk about with other people. i am tired of being judgmental and isolated. let's talk about something. even if it is just meaningless brackets.
potential kill screen coming.

last night, i watched this documentary called king of kong: a fistful of quarters. it was about this guy who wanted to get the high score for donkey kong. what it was really about, though, is how people get so obsessed about things, even stupid things, like donkey kong. okay, well donkey kong isn't that stupid. according to the film, it requires really good skill and exceptional hand-eye coordination. the film also stated that most of the early video games required actual skills such as hand-eye, timing, and reaction. i found this hilarious, since the games of today (i.e. call of duty, grand theft auto, manhunt) just teach people that human life is worthless.

anyway, i found the movie fascinating because the people in it weren't just some geeks off the street obsessed with playing donkey kong. the two main characters were fully grown men with jobs and wives. it got me thinking about how people today can get so obsessed with the most ridiculous things. the other day, i watched a comedy called role models, and one of the characters was obsessed with laire, a real live role-playing game where people dress up as knights and attack each other with plastic swords. it is all too real.

recently, i talked to my cousin about the new street fighter 4 game. i told him that i didn't see the difference between the new one and the older one (street fighter 2). he told me some of the differences, and i had no idea what he was talking about. for example, he said that a player could now "cancel a focus attack on a shoryuken." in response, i essentially called him a nerd, and consequently, he got upset. he told me that i had always given him a condescending attitude when it came to his other games and hobbies before even giving them a try (i.e. risk, world of warcaft, etc.).

i've never gotten into world of warcraft or dungeons & dragons. not because i was afraid of what people would think of me, but because the games looked really complicated and boring. when i was younger, i bought a pack of magic: the gathering cards, thinking that i would get into it. but the cards looked stupid. and there were just way too many fucking rules. i bought pogs instead. pogs i could understand. you hit the pogs with a slammer, and whichever ones fell face up, you got to keep. even today, if i'm going to play a video game, i just want to shoot shit and not get lost. even reading the map on grand theft auto is pushing it.

maybe i am more american than i thought.
dear kristen.

dear kristen,

you ate your school supplies. you were totally the ralph wiggum of our class. everyone i've ever talked to has a story about some dumb kid in his class who ate crayons, and forever, you will be that dumb kid to me. but you were sweet. and i really liked your voice. i think that you had some problem with your vocal cords, and it made your voice all raspy and cool. i really would've liked to hear you sing "bette davis eyes." but who knows, maybe your voice was just a result of all that fucking glue finally solidifying in your throat.

i mean, i was tempted. we all had those flavor-scented markers in our art supply boxes. i sniffed and sniffed, and i was tempted to lick, but jesus christ, i never actually did it. you did not discriminate, though. erasers, crayons, glue sticks. you ate it all up. usually it was one of the other girls in class who would rat you out. i'm sure i caught you once or twice and didn't say anything to the teacher. i probably sat there thinking, god. this girl loves to eat some nasty awful shit. i was both intrigued and appalled.

but the other girls, no, they weren't as free-spirited and experimental as you. those close-minded prudes ratted you out every single time. i can even see jenny n. raising her little hand, colorful braclets dangling down her forearm. "ms. crawley! kristen's eating crayons. again." this would elicit some strong reactions from the class. "eww!" "gross!" "kristen, that's disgusting!" and you would just sit there, blushing, mouth full of wax, trying not to draw attention to yourself.

once, in the first grade, you left class early. vicky, the school secretary, called you on the intercom: "kristen, your mom is here to pick you up." ms. rice said, "all right, kristen. pack up your stuff." your little half-black friend, ashley, wanted to know where you were going. "we're gonna see a movie," you said. a few of us giggled. even us six year-olds knew enough that we could only leave class for horrible things like doctor's and dentist's appointments. not you, though. you were different. ms. rice piped up. "kristen, just so you know, for next time, going to the movies isn't an excuse to leave class." "okay," you said. and then you left.

you left our class in the second or third grade. i'm not sure exactly when, and i'm not sure what became of you. that was the thing about that school. one kid would leave, and nobody would know anything about where he or she went. eventually, we would all leave, and no one would give a shit. some community, huh? i like to think that you ended up an artist, and that you are now puking up decades-old wax on canvas, making brilliant art somewhere in the sunny hills of southern california.
math would be necessary.

lisa came in to talk about how she hates children. there was a little two year-old in her office, and all these women were stopping to say how adorable the kid was. lisa did not like it. "they were even stopping to take pictures of him! who does that?" she said that the kid would even sneak behind her desk, and then she motioned with her foot how she would've liked to kick him away. lisa really does not like kids.

emily thinks that when laura closes her office door, it sounds "angry." laura closes her door rather swiftly, and it almost comes across as a slam each time. laura is never angry about anything, but i would agree. sometimes her closing her door makes it sound like she is angry. last week, an eighth grade boy wrote to the law school, asking how math would be necessary to learn as a lawyer. laura said she would be "delighted" to answer the boy's letter. laura is not an angry person.

arliss came in to talk about three movies he does not like. they include: there will be blood, no country for old men, and mulholland drive. he added that he did not like friday night lights. emily and i groaned in disagreement with arliss' poor judgment. however, i should clarify that he didn't find the movies completely disagreeable. he just did not like their endings. arliss said that if i ever wanted to go to a shooting range, he is the guy that i should go with.

both lisa and arliss came in at different parts of the day on wednesday to say how much they adore erin, a woman who works in my office. erin is always upbeat and super friendly. she is always smiling and laughing about something. even when she ruined the car she was planning on selling, she complained a little bit, but then apologized and said, "i shouldn't be bothering you guys with this crap. i'll get over it." such a positive and inspiring outlook erin has on life.

yesterday, emily and i decided on nicknames for a small group of students that frequent our office. they include: tone-it-down (a woman who wears too much perfume), tobias (a guy who talks like david cross' character on arrested development), emily's bff (this arrogant guy who both emily and i cannot stand), winnie cooper (a girl who looks like said character from the wonder years), and the asshole (a guy who wrote a really condescending response to one of emily's emails). i have found that giving students nicknames makes things more interesting.

these small interactions and short conversations are the only reasons i bother coming in at all.
don't expect thunderbolts.

she made the mistake of thinking that there was a plan, that there was some logic and reason to what she considered her life. she also thought she was an artist, but that's a whole other story, a story not worth getting into. she listened to artists, real artists, and longed for coincidences, some sort of signal that she was not of this world, but above it, better than it. she was afraid of both rejection, but she also feared acceptance, and this troubled her greatly. in an interstellar burst, i am back to save the universe, and at that precise moment, she noticed the letters t.k.o. scrawled on the window. somebody had vandalized the window with a knife.

she was nuts, obviously. maybe it was something less dramatic. maybe she was just bi-polar, or else suffered from social anxiety disorder (one in nineteen americans suffer from it!), something less appealing, less attractive. more ordinary, more boring. wasn't it better to be crazy? there are crazies, sure, but only the kind of crazies who nod to themselves, have open arguments with themselves in public. "no! no, sir! you are quite mistaken!" if she was nuts, then she had to be talented. and if she was talented, she wasn't really talented unless she was out of her goddamn mind.

at a spiritual retreat once, a retreat leader told her, "don't expect thunderbolts to come down from the sky. please write that down." she wrote it down, thought about it, remembered it for the rest of her life. thunderbolts, she pondered. what could he possibly be talking about? thunderbolt = winning the lottery. thunderbolt = finding a job she loved. thunderbolt = making a lifelong fail-proof friend. what could i expect, she demanded. what could i fucking possibly expect? the inner-child within her was crying out loud. though her lips quivered, she made no sounds.

she spent the majority of her adolescence thinking thoughts like, i'm no good. what good am i? when is my life going to mean something? she wrote these thoughts down in a black journal that she carried around with her. these were secrets, secrets that terrified her. she knew that if she released them to the world, she would be fine. everything would be ok. but she would not release them. paramedics would have to pry those words from her cold dead arm, her cold black purse. and even then, there was a lock. they would have to go to her apartment to find the key. her braindead logic would go as follows: i am dead now. only now can the whole world know who i was, who i truly was.

but even then, who was to say the world would give a shit. this haunted her some more. all they would find was poorly written poetry, incoherent sentences and symbols. totally indecipherable. totally useless. she would lie in bed for hours, rolling from one side to the next, i'm no good. what is the point of any of it? after some time she'd get up, put a record on. bike down. down to the downtown. down to the lock down. she cried herself to sleep. how pathetic. how cliche. how dramatic. can't you think of someone other than yourself for a change?

she'd ride her bike to work. today, i am really going to do something. today, i am a whole new person. i am empowered and beautiful, and the world is my oyster and all that crap. she gleefully rode past commuters stuck in traffic. they were killing the earth; she was saving it. she was an artist, did i mention that? as she sped down the street, faster and faster, she flipped off the comcast billboard, and smiled at the starbucks employees. they, of course, never saw her, but still, it was worth it.

it was just another cold sunny morning like so many others. but i will make today count, she thought. "i will make today count," she said under her breath. she could scream it, but it wouldn't matter. she let her inner-child scream for her. i will make today count! she was stopped at a light. her inner-child was screaming at the top of her fragile lungs, crying tears of joy. the cold breeze stung her slightly blemished, far from perfect (so she thought) face.

we all know how the story ends. those three to five seconds were all that mattered. so what if the rest of the twenty-three hours, fifty-nine minutes, fifty-five seconds were bullshit. that was more than most people get. she was clinging to seconds.
turbines for my meat jet.

me: you need to sign up for gmail, so we can gchat.
lisa: i don't want to. i don't want two different accounts.
me: but look, you can have all these themes for your account.
lisa: hmm, that's interesting.
me: see, bus stop changes with the weather.
lisa: how does it know where i am?
me: you type in "seattle."
lisa: oh, that is cool.
me: and when it's raining outside, the little people hold umbrellas.
lisa: instead of a giant ice cream cone?
me: yeah.
lisa: turbines for your meat jet?
me: what? oh, that's spam. i don't know what that is.
lisa: sure you don't.
me: it usually sends those emails directly to spam.
lisa: well, look what gmail can't do!
i used to go here.

there is this asian kid who works for seattle university. he works for the catering services, bon appetit. on mondays, he delivers cookies and lemonade to our social justice mondays events. a few mondays ago, we had the event in a different room. i caught him in the elevator and told him about the room change. "thanks," he said, "i would've found it eventually." "no problem," i said. he had to wait for the elevator, and i took the stairs. i was sitting in the room when he arrived. "so, we meet again!" he said, very lively.

he is a skinny kid and he is usually wearing his black bon appetit jacket. he has big hair that makes him look like an anime character. sue me if it's racist to think that. yesterday, we had pizzas delivered for our event. he showed up with cookies and the cambros of lemonade and water. "you're trying to show me up," he said. "all i got is cookies. how am i gonna compete with that?" i told him i didn't know.

i took the empty cart that i used for the pizzas to the elevator. he also took the elevator. "so," i said, "are you a student here, too?" he shook his head. "undergrad?" "no," he said. "i used to go here, but not anymore." just like me! i thought. "what year did you graduate?" "'04," he said. "oh, i was '05." he nodded. "yep. i just never had the incentive to leave." i nodded. "i mean, how can you turn down free food?" he shrugged his shoulders and left.
dear noel.

dear noel,

the other night, my mom said you lost your job. you have a degree in civil or chemical engineering, but you were working in real estate. what was that about? i have to admit, i was pretty happy to hear about you getting laid off. i know, i know. that makes me an awful person and it'll probably bring me bad karma and all that crap, but whatever. ever since we both graduated college in 2005, my mom has been giving me frequent updates about you, like how your parents helped you buy a million dollar home in los angeles county, and how you drive some flashy red bmw convertible or something.

you had everything when we were kids. you always had the latest air jordans, the ability to play basketball and talk to girls, and most importantly, you got the rich white boys' respect. i don't know how the hell you did that. i remember your sixth grade birthday party. you and me, and five or six white boys. i didn't want to be there. i didn't feel like i belonged there. you managed to fit in with them somehow. at recess, you played basketball with them, not with us. most people called you a "traitor," a "twinkie," "white-washed," and all that crap. i didn't join in the labeling. i've never really been a fan. i just thought, that's how it is.

our parents would make us hang out sometimes. i didn't get it, but don't take it personally. i found it just as absurd as when they'd make me hang out with joseph. you know what i mean? it's like those hawaiians that came to seattle university, and they all just hung out with each other. why go to a new state, or a new country and recommend your child to hang out with his "kind?" you came to my house once and we played street fighter II. i think i showed you a g.i. joe jeep that i got for christmas, even though i wasn't really into g.i. joe. i think you told me that i was too old to be playing with g.i. joe.

i'd go to your house all the way out in roseville sometimes, and you'd put on some stupid movie with gratuitous nudity. i think one of them was called body of evidence or hard evidence or something like that. you fast-forwarded through all the boring parts and got to the sex scene. you even recited some of the dialogue, it went something like, "pleased to see you again, mr. d.a." it kind of freaked me out that you had memorized this particular scene, but then again, your brother had an entire closet filled with pornographic vhs tapes, so i guess i shouldn't have been that surprised.

we'd play basketball in your backyard. already, at eleven or twelve years old, i would make comments undermining my ability: "if i don't make this shot, i suck." i missed. "you don't suck," you told me, "you just need to practice. i practice like two or three hours after school everyday." i was amazed that someone could spend so much of his time dedicated to something so pointless as basketball. i mean, i enjoyed the sport. but practice? work...hard?

there was that one spelling bee where you told everyone that you didn't want to play, so you were going to purposely misspell the first word you got. i didn't really get it. you didn't seem to have trouble competing when it came to anything else. anyway, your word came. no one else had been eliminated yet. i think you were so confident that you would be the trendsetter that everyone would just follow suit. misspell a word, sit down. fuck the game, fuck the teacher, right? barracks. "b-a-r-a-c-k-s." you were eliminated. you sat down. i still remember mike m. smiling to himself, and then how everyone around him started giggling. and then it all just erupted into uncontrollable laughter. your plan had backfired. you cried, and then you left the room.

there was that time we had all received our report cards. i had all a's except for an a minus in science. that brought me just below a 4.0 g.p.a., and so i was no longer eligible for high honors. i would only get first honors. you and edgar trailed behind me, exalting your high honors certificates. "what happened?" you asked, in a blatant, condescending tone. "yeah, what happened? how come no high honors?" edgar asked.

that was the thing i didn't get. you were a baller and a crier. a friend and a bully. you worked hard, but i don't think any of it was ever fun for you.
i heard your mom was a little nuts when it came to pressuring you to achieve. she was on anti-depressants or something and jumped from the top of the stairs. i don't know if it was true. i just heard. and what became of it? where did all the pressure, competition, tests, spelling bees, homework and high honors get us? you: laid off. me: blogging in an office.

during our four years of high school, you spoke one sentence to me: "hey, how's it going?" "alright," i said. and then we just kept walking. after that, i saw you at my cousin's wedding. you probably said, "how's it going?" again. i probably gave you the same answer. as though we were robots, complete strangers. you danced with my cousin, pinned a twenty on her wedding gown. i didn't even dance with her. i think you knew her better than i did.

it's amazing, isn't it? you were once a real human being to me, a complex individual of flesh and blood, and now you're nothing more than a minor figure in a few scenes i don't really remember, or even want to remember. put that way, i'm sorry you lost your job. nobody's laughing now, though. i guess there's some comfort in that.
i have nobody to call my own.

when milo first came to the states with his mom, he was five years old. already, he was a chubby kid. i was still in seattle, so i didn't get a chance to see him. my mom told me about him, though. he sat at the dinner table with my dad, and they were eating some rice and chicken. my dad spoke to him in english, asking him about school and the philippines. when my mom entered the kitchen, my dad said something to her in tagalog. suddenly, milo's attitude changed. he addressed my dad in tagalog saying, "what? you speak tagalog? why have you been speaking to me in english?"

my parents ate dinner with milo and milo's mom, myla. my mom asked myla if jun-jun, my mom's nephew, was still smoking. "yes, he still is," myla said. with a full mouth, milo said about his mother, "she smokes, too! and she drinks! as soon as my dad leaves the house, she smokes and drinks!" myla's face turned red, and she kept quiet. my dad excused himself to go to the bedroom so he could laugh out loud.

the four of them took a trip to san francisco. when my parents go to san francisco, they like to do the same thing. they go to golden gate park, and they walk the path near the water. then, they go get sundaes at ghiradelli's. after a few blocks of walking, milo got tired. he asked my dad to carry him, and my dad refused. "you're too big to be carried," he said. milo insisted that his dad still carries him sometimes. still, my dad would not pick him up. during the rest of the mild walk, milo continually complained that he was tired.

i finally met milo during christmas break. by then, he was ten years old and my parents said he had gotten even bigger. my mom asked if he had a girlfriend yet. he said, "only a crush." my aunt ampy, his grandmother, said, "you are stalking her." milo denied the accusation. "who is she?" my mom asked. "she was in church, sitting in the front row," he said. my mom immediately knew which girl he was referring to.

milo insisted that i play basketball with him in their backyard. the backyard was tiny, and there was a small plastic hoop set up with a pink rim. each time the ball hit the rim, the rim would fall flat, and someone tall enough (namely, me) would have to go fix it. i told him that we should walk the two blocks to go to a real basketball court, one they had in their village, but he liked playing on that shitty plastic hoop. i imagine it was because he didn't want to have to walk in the heat.

we also played nba2k8 on his playstation 3. he liked being the lakers, and i played as the new orleans hornets. each time kobe bryant dunked or made a three-pointer, milo would get really excited. he would make faces and say, "yeah!" and get really close to my face. "please don't do that," i said. "how come?" he asked. "it's annoying," i said. i asked how he liked his uncle ed, since i heard that milo acts completely different around him. "i'm afraid of him," milo said. "why?" "because he's very, very strict. and he's a doctor."

we spent new year's eve at my aunt ampy's house. they had a magic mic, which is a karaoke machine that connects directly to any tv. milo would only sing two songs, but he sang them multiple times. one song was "mr. lonely." milo would really belt that one out: lonelyyy, i'm mr. lonelyyy. i have nobodyyy to call my own. and then he would sing "a whole new world," the song from aladdin.

after a three hour drive back from calatagan, around ten at night, one of the drivers escorted milo out of the car and back into the house. it wasn't unusual for milo to go to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning, and sleep in until noon the next day. i asked aileen what was wrong with him. "he gets these headaches," she said. "he really needs to go to the doctor. i'm sure his eating habits aren't making things any better." i agreed. once, after stuffing himself silly at an all-you-can-eat buffet called dad's at the glorietta mall, he helped himself to a large bowl of ice cream. almost immediately after we left dad's, jun-jun bought him a haagen-daaz ice cream bar.

we would play timezone, an arcade chain, for hours on end. i liked that he thought of me as his buddy, as did my other ten year-old cousin, sam, but it also made me wonder when i'll ever be viewed as an adult. maybe never. oh well.
talented, gifted children.

"hello, and thank you for coming to this meeting."
my pleasure. no problem. thanks for having us.
"as you know, poor fools think that they deserve what we have."
yes, it is an outrage. it's communism is what it is.
"i have created a proposal to keep them in their place."
let's hear what you've got.
"well, to start things off, we will first look at education. teachers who want to work with troubled youth in underfunded schools will be given the lowest pay."
that's a terrific idea.
i agree.
"schools that perform below average will also receive less funding."
those sames schools that are already struggling. ingenious!
i have a concern. what about schools that have some of our own in them by some sort of regional planning accident?
"it's quite simple. we create a program that separates our students from the rest. we'll call it something like 'special' or 'gifted.'"
but that sounds like you're talking about retarded children.
"you're right. how about something like 'honors?'"
brilliant. an honors program where our children can go.
what if one of the
others rises to the top?
"these abnormalities we shall refer to as 'tokens,' and their mere presence will allow us to quell any suspicions about our plans of segregation."
okay, enough about education. what's next?
yeah, this is boring. let's move on.

the career woman.

"you are almost thirty now. you ought to start thinking about marriage."
"marriage? yeah right."
"what? now you have something against marriage?"
"no, i have nothing against marriage. it obviously worked out very well for you. should it work as well for me, too?"
"i'm trying to be serious here. you are an adult now, you should act like one."
"i am serious. i just don't see why you're trying to push something on me that i have absolutely no control over."
"you have control. you have some control. anyway, what happened with ... ?"
"i already told you. it didn't work."
"why not? you smothered him. that's it, isn't it? always with the smothering."
"no. i did not smother him. it just didn't work, and that's all there is to it."
"he is, what? the fifth? sixth? how many do you need before you find one that works?"
"i don't know. eighty-seven probably."
"go ahead. continue making your jokes. see where that will lead you. you want to be a spinster. be a spinster."
"christ. nobody uses the word 'spinster' anymore."
"then you must prefer 'old maid?' or how about career woman."
"what? i can't have a career now?"
"you can have a career. choose any career you want. all i am saying is that time does not last forever. show me a career. show me marriage. how long will you be a single assistant? how long will you spend thinking about what you should do instead of doing them?"
"don't rush me. please."
"i am not rushing you. i only ask you to think about them."
"how can i think when you are telling me what to do?"
"there you go again. always changing things so that i am to blame."
"i'm not blaming you for anything!"
"then why are you so upset?"
free aids test.

"we cheated, so now our stocks are folding. i'm transferring accounts."
"that sucks. wait, where did the screen go?"
"it goes blank. it will come back after a while."
"i gotta go. i'm gonna be late for work."
"yeah, see ya."
"i'm back."
"you're wearing slippers!"

"does her boyfriend sometimes sleep underneath her bed?"
"that's what she told me."
"i have no idea."

"you look like a flower."
"i do?"
"yes, we should plant some seeds."

"are you at home?"
"haha. he's just saying words."
"want to get lunch? i could use some help brainstorming."
"we can brainstorm tomorrow."

"i like your glasses."
"i like the size."
"thank you."

"her form totally goes against everything we talked about."
"it's bullshit. it's totally fucked up! i mean, what do you think?"
"i don't know. there were definitely some valid points raised at the meeting."

"you know, if you wore that yesterday, we could've been twins."
"i know. why do we have the same fashion?"
"it's because we're genius."

"do you give blood?"
"no. i don't really like needles."
"well, i don't like them, either. i mean, they're not, like, my favorite thing in the world, but i still do it."
"and if you get all woozy, you get free orange juice and cookies!"
"so, you do it for the free food?"
"you also can find out if you have aids or not. so, it's like a free aids test!"
"another benefit, huh?"

"and she said, 'you don't just cancel christmas because it's stressful.' this isn't about cancelling christmas! this has nothing to do with it being 'too stressful!'"
this is not forever.

there's the 7:00 alarm. then there's hitting snooze three times, four if lunch is already made. it is birth, pulling the comforter off, but it's not the comforter that keeps everything warm, no, it is the body. there's the shower, always waiting for things to get warmer, and some days take longer than others. there's shampoo and a lack of conditioner. remember to buy conditioner. there's green soap, irish spring (worst), with the previous sliver stacked on top. there's the washing away of invisible germs and the constant need to feel clean. then there's off with the water. haven't you used enough already? it is birth, stepping out of a warm shower into the cold bathroom.

there is breakfast. the cold bowl with the cold milk (soy) and the sugared flakes that are supposedly organic, but what does that mean exactly. there is a clean spoon that scoops up the cereal with milk, and there is the cold floor underneath the slippers. there is changing of the clothes. an old vintage elton john shirt traded for a plain navy, brown, or black shirt and then a dress shirt on top. sweater and pants and belt, anything considered "professional," but really, nobody is there to enforce the rules. it is all done out of habit.

there is timing things perfectly, arriving at the bus stop just as the bus arrives. there is the driver. sometimes, it's "good morning," other times, "hello." sometimes nothing at all. there is walking to the back, all the way to the back, where it is less likely that the man will have to give his seat up to the woman. there is the usual group of people back there, bags and mp3 players in hand. the two bi-racial girls who are classmates and talk about things.

there is getting off at the right stop, usually a last second ordeal. should i really get off? what would happen if i didn't? there is walking down the hill, down the cobblestone path between the engineering building and the library. there are students studying in the windows of the law building. there is the blue handicapped button that opens the doors automatically. there is immediate warmth and the sidebar's aroma. there are steps leading to the office. there are more students, black chairs occupied by early birds.

there is "good morning" greets "good morning," and little else. there is not much else to say at 8:30 a.m. there is the on button to the computer. there is email. there is checking cracked, facebook, failblog, blogspot, twitter, pitchfork, cnn, npr, bank statement (have i overdrawn?), anything new. anything new at all? there is tragedy and comedy and news and updates and brief messages from friends. there is work, but it's the new kind of work, the kind little children never could have seen coming. it takes the form of meetings, responding to emails, and providing something vague, something invisible, something called support.

there is dreaming of love, of traveling, of adventure. dreaming of something bigger and better, the only means of moving forward. this is not forever. the grass is greener on the other side. there is office banter and the ringing of phones. there are smiles and small talk. "how was your weekend?" soon turns into "any plans for the weekend?" it is stores preparing for easter in march, christmas in september. always looking forward to tomorrow because today wasn't as successful as it could have been.

how could it have been?