a priori/a posteriori

Sunday, August 30, 2015


My daughter sits across from me, at our dining room table.

We are back at this week's home, in Brooklyn.

Which means our "dining room"

is the part of our kitchen with a table.
She -- like all the rest of us --
wants the air and space
of the town and home
she just tasted,

And that her mother and I
applied for this morning.
Her mother,
bedroom down the hall,
dreaming of her dream-life,
with one island in her kitchen,
and another two blocks down the road.
We are exhausted.


I sit in the lobby of my Motel 6.

The desk lady and a coffee guy talk about spilling things,
as she wipes something up off the floor.

I wonder how clean my chair is.
The fiancé showers upstairs, in our family's new home,

which will no longer be ours, at 11 a.m.

By the time she checks out, she will have almost gotten used to the smell.
The kids lie on the bed next to ours,

one passed out cold,
one pretending to be,

because nobody knows how to wake up, with someone else in the room.
Next to them, in the corner, lying on a cheap wooden table,

lies our very rude house guest.

It is a lease application.
for a dream home.

And for the next few days,
It will demand all of our emotion.

Friday, August 28, 2015


My half-packed bag on the floor beside me.

The kid's dog is sleeping on top of it.

My bag is her Tiananmen Square.
The kid is passed out cold, in her room.

The up-all-night taunts
of her and best friend
are mere echoes,

bouncing around her walls like a screensaver.
The fiance' strides confidently

between bathroom and bedroom.

Back forth,
back forth,
back forth,

doing whatever needs to be done,

so that when we pull in tomorrow morning,

we'll look like those pictures you've seen
of a family.


I sit on the edge of our bed.

Weight vest on.

Waiting for my body to agree with my mind.
My fiancé has a half-hour lead.

Her body dances in rhythm with the bike.

The sound of the pedals is a one-person locomotive.
The step-kid is sleeping down the hall.

Dreaming in the world
of wherever the TV takes her.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I sit in my office, table overwhelmed with papers.

My step-daughter is laughing about something, down the hall.

My fiance' is sleeping -- I hope -- in the room next door.
I pick at the receipts.

It's like raking leaves, but one at a time.
Leaps of faith are scary, in this world.

They feel a lot better

when you have six legs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Dear Droid,

You were just in NYC, a few weeks back.  We didn't get a chance to meet up.  I was away at my family reunion.

It was the 2nd family reunion for me and my fiance', Miss Butterfly Starfish.

You know her as more than just her internet persona, because not long after she and I had been dating, I introduced her to you.

You gave her a gift as you left that night, and it's the perfect symbol for how great a friend you are.  From minute 1, you respected Butterfly as if she might very well be my wife.

Soon, she will be.
I think that's part of why I'm dragging my feet, as I (am supposed to) plan our wedding.

I spent this past weekend at Preston's bachelor party, and it was...perfectly Preston.  There were no strippers.  There were no drugs (except for some alcohol, which of course doesn't count as a "drug," for some reason).

There were just nine of his best friends, gathered together to celebrate a major turning point in his life.

And not even a "turning point."  Because getting married is less like a "turn," and more like a set of rocket boosters going off, and propelling you forward far-faster than you could have ever imagined going.

I won't go into details about the weekend, but I'll say that I left feeling not just closer to my brother, but closer to yours, too.  It was just a great chance to chill out, check in, and see how everyone has been doing, the past 10 years.  Or in some cases, 20.  Or 25.
I think for Preston, it was meaningful that Todd and their friend James were able to make it for the weekend.  And as I'm thinking about it now, I bet it was meaningful that I came, too.

Things are changing pretty quickly, in my world, and I'm getting more and more okay with that.

On the selfish side of things, I feel more athletic than I've ever felt.

On the less-selfish side of things, I can feel myself preparing for the dive back into the 9-5 world.  I imagine it's going to be cold, but once I jump in, I'll get used to it almost immediately.

I was doing well when I was first out of school, and living in DC.  I don't know if I realized how steep the "life curve" was.  Even fully employed, and pursuing my stand-up dreams in DC while turning a profit and saving up money,

I still felt like a complete fraud.  I'm not sure where the feeling came from, exactly.

Probably because I felt inferior sexually, at that age.  I felt completely overwhelmed.  I'd been competing against kids my own age for women, my whole life...

and then all of a sudden, I was 22.  And if I wanted to date an adult woman, then I had to beat out the other 22 year-old guy next to me,

and the 25 year-old dude, who had a solid job,

and the 28 year-old dude, who owned a nice car,

and the 31 year-old dude, who had his own house,

and the 34 year-old dude, who had all that and could cook,

and whatever other 38-80 year-olds, who had their lines and their moves, and could run circles around a 22 year-old woman's mind, like they were lassoing a baby calf from atop their horse.
It just felt like the whole thing got...unfair...and all of a sudden.

By the time I woke up, I'd spent 5 years trying to pretend I was a man, without having spent one minute actually paying attention to the lessons I could have been learning, day-in and day-out.
I don't know why I'm telling you all this.  I know you asked for an opinion on this article, instead.

But we didn't get to catch up.  So basically...here's what I would have said, if we had:

I'm doing well.  I'm terrified.  Terrified of getting married.

But not terrified of marriage.  Not terrified of giving it a go.  Because the woman I'm with makes me understand that I am allowed to keep growing, even after I have committed my life to someone else.

I'm quickly maturing, and I'm proud of who I'm becoming.  And I'm excited to catch up in person, once you're here again.  Or Butterfly and I will get a chance to come visit you, there.  (that chance will come once Dragonfly enters college 4 years from now -- and maybe sooner)

I saw this video once, and it changed how I looked at "commitment."

Feel free to take a look, if you haven't yet.  I thought it was pretty profound.

If you decide to watch it, don't watch it expecting some sort of profound revelation.  Watch it as if you are friends with Koji, and you're having a conversation over soup.
I'll try to write a response, about the Seinfeld thing.  Because Butterfly and I had good talks about it, and I felt like we both had interesting takes on it.

But for now, I'm trying to focus on growing up, and fully-removing myself from this hole-covered-with-leaves that I fell into, when I was about 23.  This trap of trying to "seem like a man."

For lack of a better term, let's say I've been in a state of "Arrested Development"

Miss you, dude.  Hope all is well.

Oh, also:  how do I send a wedding invitation to Africa?

Your best childhood friend, and worst adult one,

(and Butterfly says hello)

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Message to My Supporters: Don't Worry, Be Happy

I'm a lucky man.

Let's start there.
I think people that care about me, these past few years, have been doing what they should be doing:

focusing on themselves.
I remember in high school, and then in college,

thinking about the irony of celebrity.

I remember dreaming that I would get to do shows one day, and my "fans" would come up to me after shows, and they would tell me what they've been doing, since the last time they came to a show.

As I look back now, it's kind of funny how arrogant that was.  By worrying about what other people were doing, and what they were or weren't accomplishing,

I was getting in the way of me doing anything.
I'm sure, looking back, that people who came to my shows in college would have happily traded my concerns for them,

if it meant I would have written a new ten minutes of killer stand-up.
I'm not sure where exactly I got burnt out, along the way.

I think somewhere down in Texas.  Or maybe running around New York City.  I don't know.

Maybe I didn't have that drive.

But I think I did.  I never had the discipline, but I did have a drive.  I wanted to succeed.

Before I would do shows on my college campus, I would sneak into an empty lecture hall, and I would run through my set.  Multiple times.  To an empty room of 200 seats.  I would time every syllable, perfectly.  I knew which words I was going to start saying, and when I was going to cut myself off.

I wanted to be the perfect comedian.

It was an impossible goal, of course.

And now, for whatever reason, I can't get my discipline right.

Oh, wait.  I know the reason:  I'm not being present.
I could blame my childhood, my parents, my brother, my 4th-grade teacher, my 5th-grade teacher, my 7th grade teacher.

I could blame people, for the rest of my life, and never actually address the issue.
that is why I've taken the career nosedive that I have.

Because deep down, I looked at where I was -- as a person -- 2 years ago
and I wasn't satisfied.

Maybe I would have pulled my life together, as I sat in motel rooms on the sides of highways, waiting to do my headlining set that night, at comedy clubs around the country.

Maybe I would have gotten into a routine, and gone to the pool in the morning (when they had a pool),
and used the weight room (when there was a weight room)
and eaten the Continental Breakfast (usually slices of cantalope and old muffins)


I would have wasted my 20s and 30s, running around the country, trying to make sure I didn't piss off any club owners.

Not "wasted."  That's not the right word.

But it wasn't the best use of my time, I decided.

I admire people like Bill Burr.  But he's one of the 3 best comics of his generation, and I don't know if I'd trade my life for his.  I know I wouldn't trade mine for Patrice's.

At some point, we have to start making our own decisions.  And the decision I made, was that I wanted to have a family.  I wanted to at least give that idea a shot.
Watching Louis C.K.'s extended interview on The Daily Show yesterday, I was struck by how close the two of them were.

That's fairly common, I've found, with comics.  Some of us become closer with each other than we do with our own spouses.

It's probably not healthy.  Though it's also probably pretty common, in all professions.
We get to know some coworkers better than we know our husbands and wives.

This isn't so much "tragic," or anything like that.  At least not to me.

No.  To me, it just kind of feels like...a missed opportunity.

I wish Patrice had lived 5 more years.  He might have realized how brilliant Von was.  And is.

Granted, I've never met Von.

But I know how much Butterfly impacts my thinking, and how much she impacts my world view, and how much she (already) impacts my comedy.

And I know from watching Patrice, and listening to him, that he had an "informant," from the woman's side.

He experienced more with Von, than with any other person in life.  He can talk about how close he was with Colin Quinn and Bill until they're all dead (1 down, 2 to go),

but I don't think anyone impacted him as much as Von did.  And she was only in his life for the last decade.
If you're reading this, I doubt you know the full impact that Butterfly has had on me.

it is not in ways that have shown up yet, in my comedy career.

But rest assured, I never would have prepared for, or recorded, my 2nd special without her.  It was largely her, myself, and Liverpool Marshall, making that special happen.

When it comes out, I feel like these past 2 years will make a lot more sense.  Even professionally speaking.
I just haven't been disciplined, in the past.
My entire life up to this point, I haven't been disciplined.

Rather than hide behind an industry that is already filled with responsible people -- who would have made me seem like a more complete, put-together person than I am in reality --

I decided to aim higher:  I decided to try to actually become the best version of myself that I hoped to pretend to be.

So far, I'm failing.

I wanted to write a blog every day this week about The Daily Show.  I wrote one.

That comes down to time management, and discipline.

That's okay.  I'm documenting my reality, on this site.  I'm documenting the journey.

As I continue to grow and mature, you will see it happening, before your eyes.

Because I intend to keep being honest on here.
Right now, in terms of my career,

I am failing.

I have the right partner, to not only create that career,
but to keep smiling and laughing, the whole way there.

If you're reading this,
and rooting for me,

Don't worry, Be happy.
Without the Butterfly,
there could be no Bee.