I use my right arm, the arm draped across her shoulder and down her own right arm, to pull her close and ask if she’s enjoying it. We are watching The Great Muppet Caper. That is not The Muppet Movie or The Muppet Show and it is not the same thing as subscribing to the Sesame Street YouTube channel because Elmo is cute. This is a level below that. This is placing feet on the next rung and climbing down into the next basement crypt.
The Muppet Movie was a runaway success and it walked away with a box office of seventy-six million dollars. The Great Muppet Caper walked away with thirty-one million dollars. We are climbing down into obscurity. You are going to see the t-shirts on my shelf that my mother purchased for me at Christmastime. They are of Kermit and Animal and the Sesame Street roster. I appreciate them and I wear them to bed occasionally, but she confused stylish interest with interest itself. That’s alright. But at some point she will walk into my apartment and I will be wearing nothing and I will be watching Sam and Friends, and I do not know what she will think.
Do you like her? Did you kiss him? What were you saying about me? I am a nosy person. I bothered my friends. Childhood trauma, suicidal ideation, eating disorders. I was told about them so that I would quit asking, so I could go back to saying something funny. Come up with new material. Exploit it, exploit it, come up with new material. I am twenty-three and I have to find balance. I am not bipolar nor mentally ill. I just care about what I care about, and the things I care about I care too much about. I care about video game reviews, I care about the pretty girl in front of me in study hall. I can care without saying “I love you” in the first week. I love her, still, but that might not be endearing to everybody.
My father may be an introvert. He has friends, but his friends are rarely seen. His friends are not used as a support system. He does not value time out of the house or time away from work if he is gone for more than a few hours. But to label my father a hermit would be wrong. I could take a picture of him, upload it online, and he would be fine with that. His information is available, his address is possible to find. If you look at the Raleigh Craigslist long enough you’ll surely find a bundle of chopped wood that can be picked up for free. No one in my family is a recluse, they are just homespun.
Even as an introvert, I cannot understand the recluse. The recluse avoids cameras and abhors interviews. The well-known ones are those that have contributed some kind of great work and left the public world. Some recluses may be mentally ill and some may be perfectly capable. I understand the introvert. I take the introversion from parts of my family. But I would not avoid a camera or turn down an interview. I want to be successful when all is said and done. Not celebrity, but successful. If anyone wants to break into my home and murder me in the dead of night, they may feel free to do so. My address is
My mother keeps asking me for an updated photograph of myself. The problem is that I don’t know who will take it. Do I go to a professional? Do I ask a friend to stand there awkwardly with a camera while I stand there awkwardly with a pose? The last photograph she has of me is from August 2006, when I was inadvertently at my trimmest and most boyishly handsome. I worry that picture will be the last, or the last of any importance. I can simply disappear into the ether and be an idea instead of a tangible person. Perhaps someone could go ahead and cut out my brain to place in a vat. That way I won’t have to deal with taking pictures any longer.
I have long hair and I need a haircut, and I have a beard and I need to shave. Maybe there is no specific “early 20s” variation of myself, but an altered shape based on mood. Maybe all of my extremities will swing in the other direction after a nice hot shower, and then all my appearances would be rendered useless.
I am available for interviews. Feel free to contact me, Oprah or The Daily Show or C-SPAN. But even though I tried before, I am really just not the type to take selfies in the bathroom.