Wunderluster


Friends will be Friends
January 20, 2008, 3:54 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

(Editor’s Note: The Wunderluster tried to make this coherent and meaningful, but he got pissed off about three-fourths of the way through and realizes this post mostly went to shit. Enjoy!)

Thanks.

I’ve just tried to call some of you. It’s about four in the afternoon on a hotter than usual summer’s day here in Dunedin and I needed a friendly friend fix and you weren’t there. Nobody picked up. You’re all probably watching the NBC Democratic Candidate Debate. Let me be clear: I’m not killing myself about you not picking up, or mentally killing you over it either. However, like any great epiphany, or convenient segue; it made me start thinking about something.

Friendship.

 

Please, please don’t run away. I promise some of this will be interesting and I’ll crack a joke about myself and you’ll snicker and nod your head. Just bear with me here.

No, I’m not talking about MySpace friendship. I’m not talking about summer camp BFFL’s (Best Friends For Life), either. Neither Bros, nor Hos fall into this conversation. I’d like to talk about the crux of modern adult friendship, which I might add, is a fucking drag.

Let me preface this bitchfest with a little note. Lo, around early November, I was still hell bent on moving to New York City in January. But I was feeling suffocated, as one would when one lives in one’s mother’s basement. So, in a time of need, or a need for a friendly friend fix, I called one of you just to chat about life. You didn’t pick up. Nor did you call me back in what would be considered a reasonable amount of time. I’m talking about five days.

Like all the petty ways in which I’ve tried to measure my life (you’re nodding now!), that particular persona-non-caller registered as the litmus test for my universe in that moment. It was time for a change. That was enough. So I bought a ticket, said my goodbyes. Yada yada yada and now I’m so fucking happy I got rainbows in my eyes and sunshine bursting outta my ass. Everything is fine now, truly. 

Close your eyes. Try to get a rough estimate of how many people from high school through college and up through now you’ve met and talked to at least more than five times socially. In my mind, the five conversation threshold lays the seeds for a MINIMAL friendship. So for me, I’d say I’ve averaged about 20 or so 5-Convo friends since I was 16. That puts me up around 200 people that could be in my close social network. Now, of those 200, who do I talk to on what I would regard a regular basis (as in twice a week)? One. Yes, I’m taking into consideration the fact that I’m in fucking New Zealand. I get that. I’m estimating since, say, this past summer. So, from young adulthood, until mid-20’s, my good friend rate is about .5 percent.

Please, stop giving your computer the middle finger for a second (it’s very unladylike) and let me poke holes in my previous paragraph, both relieving your dainty digits and further articulating my soul.

There are myriad reasons my good friend rate is about .5 percent. Moving. Work. Relationships. Travel. Family. Flame-Out. Different Classes. Different Workout Schedules. Outgrowing. Outdrinking. Bad habits. Bad Sex. 

Whatever.

I’m not saying anything new here: it’s hard to keep friends throughout your adulthood because your life is changing so much around you. We’re all happy with that explanation, right?

When I hear people talk about long gone connections, most sentences start with “Well, I’ve been so busy that…” or “Me and So and So had so much going on…” This again, because I’ve come to find out is how things work, is acceptable. If the majority of people function a certain way, there exists a logical leg to stand on. If you begin sentences like mentioned above, remember, I still love ya.

But I believe that work and proximity determine adult friendship. This means that who is available when you’re not working (or is at work with you) and who is in a reasonable distance from where you sleep are your friends. That’s who you invest in and who invests in you. Again, this may be Civilization 101, but I find it terribly depressing.

 (Editors Note: It’s all downhill from here.) 

Some of you I thought I’d know forever. I thought our kids might know each other. Heck, I even was looking forward to fathering some legitimate and not-so-legitimate Zach Jr’s with you, too.

 Most of you are gone or on your way out. Friendship, I guess, is a little allegory for life. From the moment of creation, friendship is on a one-way ticket to death. This makes marriage such a transcendent venture. Sickness. Health. Richer. Poorer. Your friendship with your spouse should be impregnable to such ills as moving to a new apartment in the Upper East Side or a new job in Tucson. But I repeat, should be. 

Friendship is a war of attrition. I’m going to fight that war tooth and nail. But do me a favor, look around and take stock of the people you have and love them intensely now. Your life together withers each day. Make an effort to extract from friendship every last bit you can. Don’t be too busy. Don’t be too tired. And next time, pick up the fucking phone.



The Blogvellas: Vol. 1
January 10, 2008, 2:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

To honor a former editor, I submit to you, My Six, several mini-posts or “Blogvellas.” Think of them like Shakespearean Sonnets, except not about “the Dark Lady” and just as overtly homosexual. 

 

1. An alarming number of you have corresponded with me about my sexual health in the wake of my last post. I would like to put all rumors to rest and say that my sexual health is pristine, with my date rapes up only 16 percent thus far in 2008 and my porn usage stagnated due to the low third-world-like internet access here in Middle Earth. So, just chill with the sex references. It’s not befitting of a blog like this to toss such virtual verbal salad. Ahem.

2. To those of you who don’t already know, my long struggle against Kent County Hospital finally ended last month with me winning. Here, jump in the Wunderluster Time Machine again (yes, again) and I’ll spin the fascinating story of pan-continental basketball domination, boogery crying, reconstructive knee surgery, the painstaking and soul-stretching fight back to perfect physical condition, a $12,000 surgery bill, 27 months of denial, a last minute reprieve from a hospital and sanctimonious gloating. Wait. That is the story.

Anyway, I’ve had a $12,000 guillotine hanging over my head since the Hospital decided that a bureaucratic coding snafu wasn’t worth correcting; a snafu that switched the burden of the bill from my poor, cash-strapped heath insurance company to the economic behemoth that pens this burgeoning electronic journal. The hospital was all ready to take me to court, but fortunately, I’m just poor enough to qualify for financial aid. Hoo-f’ing-ray.

3. When I first moved to college in 2K1, I threw around a few revolutionary ideas, as one does at such an intellectual bastion as Northwester…I mean, Northeastern. One idea was a book about how we could really misunderstand tone and context in online convos – like Instant Messaging. Yeah, I am that smart. Get over it.

I’d like to think that half-assed sociology book fetus was in fact the cousin twice-removed of what would become the news-feed-of-our-lives, Facebook or yet the Byzantine MySpace. I’m not the first to talk about how these social networks have changed our lives. So, I’m not going on that track. I will say this: Facebook has ruined my day before. Of course, it’s made my day before, too. But, I’m not going to go on this track either.

Facebook has done an immense job of chronicling my life like I could not have imagined. It has photos from my last three years. It has my address, job history, the fascinating results of my friends’ movie knowledge quizzes, the fact that I’m a pirate and not a ninja and illustrates though a nifty graph, and my social history. And somehow, and this is freakin’ amazing, Facebook posts links to Wunderluster every time it’s updated without my prior knowledge! Basically, it’s my life index.

This dawned on me a few days ago when, in my news feed, the “R.I.P. Skip Gruneberg” Facebook group appeared. In high school, during my ill-fated and not-talked-about Hendricken days, my 1987 Ford Econoline Conversion Van would occasionally break down and I would need a ride to school. With some prodding, okay, a lot of prodding, Skip would drive about three-fourths of a mile out of his way and pick me up in the morning for school. Though a member of the now-defunct and overtly homosexual Hendricken social club The Swixtas, Skip was generally a good dude.

The point is not to harp on him here. And I can’t properly memorialize him, either. But I sit here in awe, in New Zealand, and know about the fate of a footnote of my life. Even 10 years ago, I would have never have known about what happened to Skip. I’m not going to any Hendricken reunions. I’m certainly never cavorting with any known douchebag Swixtas. Anyway, R.I.P. Skip Gruneberg.

4. Day-to-day life here has been going much better. Dunedin has returned from its month long lunch out. And, the moody Otago weather has mellowed out. This made for a sea-kayaking trip out to the small seaside town of Karitane. Yes, I have a friend out there: an American professor and his courteous and startlingly well-behaved family of five sons and a wife. It was beautiful. Along with the domestically annoying, yet annoyingly functional Monica, I set out in the two-seater vessel and traversed a peninsula, spying yellow-eyed penguins, seals and a manta ray.

 

 Yet in the same week, I watched the first season of The Wire in just less than 36 hours. That’s 13 hours of The Wire. Sixteen hours of sleeping and seven hours of other, boring stuff. It’s good to know that my life here has finally found some balance.

5. I’d like to give this site some routine features… besides the top quality gripes of an intellectually insecure half-breed. One feature was started last week with those mind-boggling philosophical life questions I threw out to My Six. But it doesn’t count yet because it didn’t have a catchy name in capital letters. Monica just suggested the clever, yet not entirely bright enough, “Zach’s Corner of Q’s.” Veto. I’m going with iWunder. So without further adieu, the eagerly anticipated debut (but not really debut) of the iWunder feature!

A. You have the chance to flash forward five years and meet your soul mate. (Note to the delusional: this is assuming you haven’t already found them.). This is the person who will complete you in every way: ignite your deepest desires, buy you good Christmas presents, have that heart-softening knack of kissing you when you’re angry and will make you a spinach and feta omelet and perfectly percolated coffee on cold, winter weekend mornings. This is not just your soul mate; it’s your soul mate, soul mate.  The rub is you’ll have just a vague memory of the previous five years, akin to a comatose dream. However, you will not live through these five years. There is no guarantee you’ll meet this person if you don’t take the five-year free pass. Do you make the life trade?

B. Imagine three people of the opposite sex. Person 1 is very physically attractive. But sex with this person will cause a 50-50 chance of sterility due to a groin-crippling STD you’ll contract. Person 2 is physically acceptable, nothing to get all excited about, but is a generally nice person. Sex with Person 2 has to be done in front of their spouse, an acquaintance of yours who is watching intently and approvingly. Person 3 gives you the willies, but is not necessarily a bad person. Doing it with No. 3 will cause a pregnancy. Abortion is not an option. Who do you do? WHO DO YOU DO?

C. Do you like me better with short hair or long hair?

   



Bumping boners
January 2, 2008, 3:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

A little Jewish humor to get us started off.

Q: What happens to a Jewish guy right before he bumps his boner into a wall?

A: He hits his nose.

Hilarious, right?

Yep, I went there

Many of you reading this have either (1) slept with me or (2) really wanted to sleep with me, so a boner reference is sure to have my readership plunged deep into the throws of some most furious carnal passion, but stick with me here.

This joke is not to inspire the six of you to either leave your boyfriends, husbands or finally admit that you’re gay. It’s a metaphor, people.

Since arriving in Dunedin four weeks ago, Monica and I have been bumping our boners into the wall. See, it’s dead here. The university students that number nearly 40,000, give the city its soul and very reason for commercial existence, have gone for the summer, leaving an urban skeleton.

So the city looks like fun. It teems with several closed businesses and is plastered with more concert posters than Brooklyn. And, because the key economic demographic is trekking through the rest of the country have casual sex, eating Tim Tams and drinking flat whites, no jobs exist for those of us who need them.

Well, let me qualify that. Monica works as a waitress at the Ra Bar, an upscale café/bar (mostly bar) that is located in the Octagon, the city’s nerve center. But waitresses here don’t get tips. But what they do get is condescending locals, retarded tourists and the odd slap on the ass by the inebriated denizens. I don’t need that shit.

But you guys are saying “wait, you got a job with that world famous basketball team that’s gonna pay you gobs and require that you get some minor celebrity perks like third-rate groupie tail.” This only partly true. While I’m banking big time on that last part, the basketball pay is going to be spotty at best as my paycheck is tied to specific projects I work on, not an hourly rate or a Zach-friendly salary system. The pro season doesn’t really even start until February. So, I’m going to need another job regardless.

With all the momentum that came with this trip: the romance of travel, the escape from my mom’s basement, the deeply satisfying rubbing-it-in-to-your-friends phase, I’ve kind of hit a wall…with my soul erection, or Soulrection. I’m metaphorically dry humping drywall. Now, I’m famous tenor Flacido Domingo. I vacation in upstate New York at Lake Flacid. I recently dropped flacid with a couple of hippie friends.

But, wait, wait, wait. It’s really not all that bad. Essentially, I’m only damn near broke. But what would a Wunderluster entry really be without dragging the readers down with unfunny jokes, immature and untimely sexual references and a general bleak outlook on life without uplifting the spirit just at the very end to prove the author’s worth? Exactly.

Without further ado (and whining), the good stuff!

1. Nothing.

2. Just kidding.

*We finally have friends. At the hostel up the street, we’ve somehow befriended the owners and their motley crew of internationals who are vaguely our age. So, every night, I make my way up the hill around 7 p.m. without the knowledge what debauchery will ensue. Usually, there’s no debauchery, unfortunately. However, it’s a place to drink, tell stories and play unusually competitive board games, usually inflamed by unreasonably aggressive Germans.

We spent Christmas with these hostel people and went off-roading into the Otago countryside. I, of course, DJ’d the whole five-hour trip. Needless to say, everyone in the car was in raptures and ready to rip off each one of my fingers.

The day before that, our group drove down to the beach on the advice of my flatmate, to dig for cockles. (A quick note about the flatemate: due to the terms of our lease agreement, I can’t mention this dude in the blog. So, bear with me). Cockles are, if you stupids didn’t already know, like small clams. After ethnically cleansing the shelled delights from the bay, we drove back to the hostel and peer-pressured said flatmate into cooking the cockles for a dinner party of 10. It was delicious. And it has inspired me to only gather my food from now on. So, I do the shopping and Monica cooks. It’s like frontier living.

*I’ve been tossing around some philosophical questions in my head recently, so I put them to you, My Six.

1.For the ladies only: One day, Jesus Christ appears to you and says “look, my dad and I have been talking and we agreed he fucked up with the whole immaculate conception thing. Admittedly, it’s a little, well, unbelievable. So, we want to bring the next generation of our dynasty in the proper way. Wink, wink.” Here’s the question, do you bang Jesus? For those of you who are curious, Monica refused to answer the question on grounds that it was sacrilegious. I said yes because (1) I’d be super-famous and (2) parents would be naming their kids Zach-Katherine, Zach-Jane, Zachia, Zachie and several other derivatives thereof for 2,000 years.

2. You’re stuck on a deserted island for three years, Cast Away style. You can pick a television or movie character to spend that time with. Who is it? Mine was Kate from Lost. Monica’s was Hans Solo. He-who-will-not-be-name-due-to-the-lease-agreement picked Amelia Earhart. No kidding.

Seriously?

3. You’re given the chance to immediately find your soul mate. This is the person who completes you in every way imaginable and gives you transcendent bliss and comfort. But here’s the trade-off: this person is of the same sex. Now, to make this transition a little more palatable, a genie that looks like me appears to you wearing nothing, save for a blue speedo and matching blue turban and said if you make the choice, you will forget that you were ever heterosexual. But everything else is the same. Monica said no because of cultural repercussions. I said no because I’m employed full-time as a bi-sexual genie. Dr. Voldemort, M.D. kicked me in the face and went back to reading his biography of Amelia Earhart.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a happy new year. In accordance with recent history, my New Year’s resolutions will remain unchanged.

1. Love and success, hopefully at the same time.

2. No more freakouts.

Enjoy 2008.