You know that ugly feeling when a smug little man smiles at you like he just bought you on sale and suddenly your spine turns to glass and your ears become refrigerator coils and your guts squeeze dry and you’re filled back up with the warm oily urge to cross the room for no other reason than to smash all five of your ring encrusted knuckles through the soft meat of his lower jaw and relish the sound of his teeth hitting linoleum like you’d just dropped a handful of Skittles?
That is how I feel about Jason Schwartzman.
I went to visit my friend in prison again. He’s bored as hell.
When I mentioned that I was writing a whacked-out advice column, he begged me to let him read it. He suggested I print it out and send it to him like a letter. I thought that was a damn fine idea.
As it was my first time writing to someone in the slammer, I decided to check the manual. Every correctional institution in California has it’s own fancy-pants website, wherein you’ll find a comprehensive list of do’s, don’ts, and other little known jailhouse etiquettes to observe when sending a friendly letter.
I was rather disheartened to learn that “letters and envelopes must be free from any white-out, lipstick marks, address labels, or stickers of any kind. No large cards, musical cards, cards with glitter or other items attached will be allowed.”
As tempting as it was, I resisted the urge to leave him a lipstick mark in white-out and glitter.
Instead, I printed out Dear Coke Talk. Every last entry.
I followed the rules to the letter. Plain white paper. No paper clips or staples. No pictures or photocopies of pictures. It was a sixty page stack of dense black-and-white text that looked as boring as an insurance policy.
I slapped some stamps on that sucker and sent it off to the big house.
That was two weeks ago.
Guess what came back in the mail today? Yep. Return to motherfucking sender. At first, I thought I’d screwed up the address or something, but then I realized it had been opened.
Sure enough, there was a big red sticker on the front of the envelope with three check boxes. The first was labeled “Not in Custody,” the second was labeled “Need Inmate Number,” and the third was labeled “Unacceptable Items.”
Someone had checked the “Unacceptable Items” box.
Then, just to go the extra mile, they did something that made me very, very proud. Right there next to the checkbox, some corrections officer went out of his way to scribble out two additional words:
“I’m a vegetarian, but I eat eggs because I’m pro-choice.“
— Just overheard. Where else? LA.
First off, let me just say thank you. You guys are fucking awesome.
I wanted to take a quick second to tell you how much I appreciate you sending in your questions — from the whacked-out lunatic diatribes to the heartfelt and intimate personal dilemmas, I love ‘em all.
When I first started Dear Coke Talk, I could take my time answering every single question that popped into my inbox. Today, I officially gave up the last shred of hope that I would ever be able to keep up.
What was at first dozens quickly became many hundreds, and now I’m faced with a mountain of questions — good ones — that will never be answered.
I still read them all, but from here on out it’s pretty much random chance which ones I end up answering.
That’s not to say I don’t want to hear from you. By all means, keep sending in your questions.
Just know that this is something I do when I’m killing time at work or recovering from a night of debauchery. It’s not my full time job, so if I haven’t answered your question, it sure as hell isn’t personal.
Thanks again for writing, and stay wild!
A friend of mine has a roommate who voted Yes on Prop 8, the California ballot measure that made it unconstitutional for gays to marry in my state.
I know this because my friend just asked for my advice on how to handle her. They’ve known each other all their lives — childhood friends who these days don’t seem to have anything in common other than childhood.
Until now, it hasn’t really been an open problem, but it’s turning into one.
The roommate is a sweet but very naive young girl. Lately, she’s discovered just how much fun it is to go out partying with our flamboyantly gay friends. She loves them. She thinks they’re great. She just doesn’t think they deserve equal rights. (The great irony here being that she also happens to be black.)
All of this might have been overlooked had Maine not recently been in the news, but now it’s this big ugly thing between them.
The roommate has asked my friend to lie — that’s right, lie on her behalf so as not to offend our gay friends.
Rightfully, my friend refuses to lie. She wants her roommate to suffer the social consequences of her beliefs — as well she should.
Thing is, my friend is a better person than me. I would have kicked her out of the house the second I heard she voted Yes on Prop 8.
Naive childhood friend or not, there are times when a harsh lesson is in order.
If it were up to me, the consequences wouldn’t have been mild embarrassment. The consequences would have been banishment. Total fucking exile.
We live in a world that is almost all grey area, but on those rare occasions when things are pure black and white, you pick a fucking side and you defend it.
This is one of those occasions.
If you vote to ban gay marriage, you are a small-minded bigot. You are wrong. You are the enemy. No exceptions.
No shit. This actually happened to me.
I had a broken condom incident one night at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2005. Luckily, one of my traveling companions was a doctor who immediately wrote me a script for the morning after pill.
Problem was, I was in fucking Utah surrounded by a bunch of Mormons. There was only one pharmacy in town that actually stocked the prescription, and the holy-rolling cunt at the window straight up refused to fill it.
I was standing there in an major chain pharmacy with a legitimate medical prescription being handed a scarlet letter by a bible thumping pharmacy tech. She actually used the phrase “whoring around.”
I went fucking nuclear. Words cannot describe the wrath and fury I unleashed on that sanctimonious bitch. She threatened to call the police. I’m pretty sure I threatened to burn down her church.
Ultimately, it came down to the general manager and the security guard pleading with her boss to fill the script just so I would leave.
I still get angry when I think about it.
When I stop and think how much tangible influence Mark Hunter and Mario Lavandeira have had on popular culture over the past half decade, I want to slit my fucking wrists.
I suppose in some ways you have to respect their game, but come on. Look at these two dough balls.
Previous generations had men like Alfred Eisenstaedt and Hunter S. Thompson as chroniclers of cool. We get the Cobrasnake and Perez Hilton.
— A lovely new toast by yours truly.