Sunday, June 10, 2007

An introduction from memory

I got the idea for this blog the same night I learned about a flavored wine drink called Mad Dog 20/20. Around this time last summer, a Japanese post-something-core band called Envy was playing at the Double Down and I was sitting on the low wall outside when a boy I know sat down next to me and started chewing on a sleeve of my t-shirt.

I'm one to hold people accountable for their actions drunk or sober but, looking at him, it was clearly no more personal than if he had knocked me over while in the throes of a seizure. I'm not sure he knew who or what I was just then.

That night I learned Mad Dog comes in a variety of blow pop-type flavors and turns strong men in the flower of youth into hell hounds with Alzheimer's.

I later learned Mad Dog is just a nickname. The drink is called MD 20/20, the letters stand for Mogen David. I learned it from either the maker's website or Can't remember.

I also heard the phrase "bad idea potluck" for the first time. My friend Sandra and I were passing out fliers for a show she was putting on. I got tied up talking to a guy wearing an Iron Maiden t-shirt and braces.

Sandra met a nice boy from, I think, Maine who was in town visiting family and we walked him part-way home.

On the way, we noticed the poorly-healing brand on the back of his calf in the shape of a bike gear. He explained how, back home, he and his friends hold bad idea potlucks. Everyone brings a bad idea to share. Once, they all waxed themselves. Another time, it was branding.

They seem to have gone about the branding in a totally different way from how this is practiced in, say, black fraternities. For instance, they used bike parts.

Never mind that his brand was obviously infected. This boy was a revelation to me.
The idea of a bad idea potluck focused my ordinarily disordered thoughts. The months leading up to that night on the far side of the summer had been kind of a jumbalaya of bad ideas. Some of them so embarrassing I don’t think I’m ready to list them here.

Ok, I broke my arms skateboarding at night and joined a random online dating site because it had a cool quiz and asked out a nice boy on there based largely on the fact the he was a pastry chef. I failed to notice he was also Christian. That precluded any long-term potential for the relationship but this didn't sink in until I had made a nice mess of things. Then there was the flash flood chasing and my dream date to the tranny bar but that came after the Envy show. I survived all of this but can't recommend any of it in good conscience.

In the midst of this, a stranger from Maine passed through my life and touched it with inspiration. His story moved me in a way that I can't explain.

I tried to get my friends to have bad idea potlucks with me — we would try to contact the dead and give each other jail house tattoos — but I don't really have very many friends and the ones I have are smarter than to let me be the leader.

A year has passed and my only recourse is to start a blog. "Bad Idea Potluck: a journal of inadvisable living."

The fall, winter and spring have been great but only a little less stupid than usual — and I can't take too much credit for the improvement myself. In all objectivity, the past year hasn't been that different from the preceding 26.

Which means I might, finally, be writing on the one subject I'm actually qualified to comment on.

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