A Walk Down Commonwealth

Just “checking in” You know. Checking in. Heartbeat. Checking In. No Worries. No worries. Nobody’s worried about anything. Dave Eggers tried to get people to stop saying that 100 years ago. Dave Eggers Dave Eggers Dave Eggers. Man it’s like I’m 29 again.

Calm yourselves, this isn’t for nostalgia. It’s only because Destructooblivion is down. “Down.” If only we always knew what was behind something being “down.”

Okay, shoot, what do I have on my phone? Let’s get it now. What style…hmmm…am I going to behave, Chris? Right, don’t name names. Don’t name names.

And I don’t have the energy. No energy to not swear. But I need to be accessed by all. Life is futile. I’m old. What’s on my phone? Who’s gonna read this… The bog? The blog? MOVE ON A-RON!!!

I miss bullshit Harvard Square and the Orange Line and the Green Line with the train cars designed by Italian firm Pininfarina (also makes Ferraris!) The North Shore and the South Shore. I miss the fake accents and the real ones. The Pride Parade and the Marathon. I miss the triple-deckers and the parks. The little old gems on some corner with a statue of some statesman from before the country was born. You drink red wine with friends in those old parks. And the trees- they’re so much better out there. I miss the snow and the sitting, waiting on the tracks for the stupid Redline to move again. The underground tunnels of MIT that I ran through. That’s where we were supposed to take band pictures. I miss the Charles River and my spot on it, where I’d ride my bike to and brood.

Is it Park Street with the gloves? Or the hands? The gloves are in Porter, that crazy station in the center of the Earth. Park Street has a big old pair of hands in the middle, above the tracks. You’d think they’d be more obvious, but someone has to point them out to you…

-That’s right! Porter has all those bronzed, fake lost gloves. And it’s like Journey to the Center of the Earth down there. The game to play at Porter is Teeth, of course. You start with a baseball bat at the bottom of the stairs and sprint to the top. The batsman who collects the most teeth on the way wins.

I didn’t get to see the Arboretum until the end, when it was covered in Snow. With Stacy and Dog.

The Boston Public Library was where I dressed in sweaters and every now and then a tie- what you wanna know the TRUTH? You wanna know everything? That when I wrote one of the early big ones, that I walked out of the library and there was a light dusting of snow on the ground. Right there for me in Copley Square. First of the year. Cuz I hit it in the trees. I rode the subway home- none of those people knew that I’d hit it in the trees and the only song that sufficed was Aliens Exist by Blink. A Tom song. A freakin Tom song was the only thing that matched my energy level. There you go- that’s for the punks.

I miss the gee-tar. And by that I mean getting nasty. Playing some nasty sheisse. You know, I played the bass for like two weeks and the ladies started asking questions. I’d obsessed over writing for a decade and they never gave a hoot. But when the young fella would still tune my bass and play along to my fricked up timing like a Dad holding the back of his kid’s bike, the ladies started talking.

Holding down the bass while some young freak lands on top like Jack White. We were reasonable people, but we got loud. You earn the gesture, when you lean in and turn the volume knob. Somedays you never lean in. But when you do it’s special. It’s the point where you say that what you’re doing is greater than whatever anyone else in the building is doing. And you absolutely do earn it.

You know what? You know how many times they told us to turn it down? They knew. They knew.

WORK, we were always told. WORK. Gettin’ outta bed and gettin’ at it. The Grind! WORK! Bootstraps!

As if it took no work to get nasty with that guitar. Like for all of us it was some kind of breeze. The shaking and the trembling and hauling amps up escalators. Big ones. Like it was nothing. Like it was lazy. There’s a laugh. Yeah, nothing to it- ex Jesus Freak moves to Boston, easy as pie. A walk down Commonwealth.




But my protagonist was too passive. Rocco, my creative writing teacher in Jr. College, told me that “Passive main protagonists normally don’t work.” Have I said this all before? …I can’t remember what I’ve put down anymore. I never go back and read. Anyway, my old girlfriend told me that I was passionate, before she was even my girlfriend. What’s this passive bullshit?

There’s Brother So-And-So  dressed like a woman. It was Surreal. Elder H. swore he saw the guy dressed in drag before and we didn’t believe him. We didn’t believe that the Ward Mission Leader dressed in drag and drove around in his car. Then one day I was in the back of the extra cab Dodge Durango, with my man Elder Marshall when Elder H. thrust his hands in front pointing to a compact car that housed a very large man in a blonde wig and what looked like manipulation of the chest area. Elder H. was right. We were wrong, he told us.

Naturally, we were insane about girls. As missionaries, we truly did watch the girls play softball.

The members we usually clicked with the most were usually semi-active. Didn’t go to church too much. But maybe we’d get them to go. In the protection of their homes we escaped a world where we were constantly reminded that we were irritating. One of my early companions explained that these types of folks could potentially be “missionary hook-ups” which is a person or group of people who allow you to flop on their couch and watch TV and just snack for a few hours as opposed to knocking on doors telling people who look like your relatives a message about Jesus Christ.

In the respite of a hook-up, insults weren’t yelled at us from passing cars. Doors were slammed in our faces as people explained that they didn’t push their beliefs onto us- we weren’t Jesus freaks behind these doors. More than the outside world hurling its empty soda cans, we escaped the church. The church’s saying was “every member a missionary.” Meaning every member tries to convert people, not just the full-time missionaries. In front of a missionary hook-up we joked that “every member was a mission president.” This joke keeping with the oppressive theme stateside missionaries were well too familiar with; theme of course being that every member has their eye on missionaries. Every member is familiar with the missionary handbook. They know the rules and they know you shouldn’t be within a thousand feet of a movie theatre. And they know that you shouldn’t be anywhere without wearing your proselyting clothes, unless it’s P-Day. And they know that P-Day isn’t even a full day.

The rules. All the rules. One of my first A.P.’s, Elder Abrams was rumored to have OCD which was theoretically the cause of his severe obedience. Yours truly over here, Youth In Revolt, was actually dubbed “Anal Litchfield” in the early days. Anal about the rules.

In a Missionary Hook-Up’s house, the T.V. was left on. Whoops! Can seem to turn it off fellas! Clicker’s broke! Don’t fear, we’re taking the spiritual toll for 49ers vs. Vikings! It’s on us, Elders!

IN THE FUCKING MEASURING CUP??? My Zone Leader, Elder W. repeated a hundred times, in his young hung-over girl voice. Except he said effing- IN THE EFFING MEASURING CUP???

In the fucking measuring cup is what we heard one of them yell when they convened away from the screen door after Marshall and I approached and asked for sugar. They were the girls in the condo building next door. Each modest condo building had four two-story units. They lived in the quad unit next door, less than 90 feet away. We asked them for sugar as an excuse to meet them. Especially the taller one. The darker one. Not Donna.

IN THE EFFING MEASURING CUP??? Elder W. would scream in his best rich girl voice. Elder W was a thick 5’10” and grew up tougher than most of us. Most missionaries could be classified as sheltered upper-middle class suburban white and most generalizations would be accurate in associating behaviors and tendencies. In contrast, Elder W. had experience with larceny, at least car stereos and things like that. Also, he was heavily informed by the edgier rap and hip hop of the time whereas most of us whitey’s were Blink-182 through and through. It was just assumed that W. had relatively advanced lady knowledge.

So sure, there was the day that my greenie Marshal and I asked for sugar. We got it. I can’t remember the receptacle used- measuring cup or what have you. Interaction was minimal until one night a few weeks later, when the zone leaders, Elders W. and H. were over.

Left Field

YO, Air-Head!




Uh Oh, We’ve lost him!


Maverick’s disengaged!


Not again!


He’s waaaaaay out.


talk to me goose


What was it he said he needed last night?


He needed a row.


Waaaaaaay out in left field.


Right, he needed a row.


A row for the boat.


Talk to me goose


Not a paddle, not an oar.


You know, a ROW, he said.


He ran up the hill, pissed off.


Don’t say that word.


-Is he even in there? My goodness!




Holy Mackerel, he really is on another planet this time!


What was he saying the other night?


talk to me Goose


He wanted to live in the country, on a farm.


Right! But the next minute he wanted the city.


Yeah, he wanted to live downtown.


The plaque for the alternates is in the ladies room

I keep forgetting to tell you.

I saw my old missionary companion a few weeks ago- Oh, right, he was never my companion. Over the years, the companion distinction fades and it’s just missionaries you remember.

Elder Oak as he’s called. My zone leader. A stout 5’9 or 10.” Built like General Ulysses S. Grant, whom I’m reading about! By happenstance, the first area of my mission was in the pop. 5000 town of Ulysses, in the heart of Grant County.

Anyhow, Oak was just tall enough to not be short and he had that tree-trunk thickness. Elder Marshall said Oak’d get a waiver from the army when Oak observed that he was to “fat” according to the height weight metric. Marshall’s dad was a Colonal in the army reserves and a director at a Frito-Lay.

Marhall and I were quite the duo, but I noticed he pushed the army stuff more on Oak. Late one night, when I expressed some insecurity and doubt about my future, Marshall just laughed, crying out my name- “Litchfield! …Litchfield- you’re killing me!”

Oak called Marshall Aaron and he called me Litchfield. Marshall and I were Aarons. I only know Oak as Oak, or Elder Oak- not Adam, like I weirdly called him when I saw him and his family a few weeks ago. Adam is my brother’s name…

Interesting how we obeyed certain rules. We rarely sweared, “Damn and hell are fine” Oak would profess. Nothing worse.

We went haywire with the fake swears. We said shiz of course, all the effing time. Fricken and freaken, naturally. I’m pretty certain members of the faith coined the term “F-Bomb.”

Once when (Marshall and I) were with (Oak and Monday) for dinner at a member’s house, we were escorted through a dark cavernous entry way as Sister Smith apologized repeatedly for all the “S.H.” Initially I was confused. The other guys had to inform me she was just spelling half of the word shit. “Sorry about all the S.H. boys. HONEY, you need to get rid of this S.H.!” In the following weeks we got weird and shouted “S.H.I.S!” My guess as to why we ended with the S. and not a T. or a Z. is as good as yours.

Oak was our leader. Sure he wasn’t an Assistant to the President (Not yet- he’d later he would defy the “aspirers” and nerds and head to the office.) But when I knew and loved Oak, he was my Zone Leader in Pueblo.

Fish Day


You gotta do certain things on Saturdays, like put the sausages in the freezer.

Delington, is that a euphemism?

My last day was a Saturday. The big day! The biggest day of the week. Sunday off, thank goodness! Saturdays are real busy with all the Tufts kids and everything.

So, Saturday. My last day. I walked over to The Deli. Davy was long gone. It was dusk, summer in beautiful Somerville. Closed for an hour or so. Davy had cleaned up real good. The slicers were clean, the knives were clean. The counters, everything was nice and clean. I opened the fridges and looked at the stacks of turkey and capicola and I thought that perhaps it was the last time I was gonna be doing this.

I was so charged up, but it was this quiet moment and I remember thinking that this was a big deal. Not that I had really lost my temper this time. I kind of knew that was a big deal, the temper thing, but I was going to have to process that later. There were going to be a lot of changes. What was really on my mind though, as I looked at the provolone and manchego, was that I would not be opening the fridge doors anymore. No more fish days, I knew that was big.

Fish Day, Delington!

They called my stacks of meat Delington Stacks. I was proud of them. They were nice and tight. I’d try to stack slices like salami, that came in a tube, back into the cylindrical form they arrived in. Chris and Davy did a fine enough job. It didn’t really matter, but their stacks were easily distinguished from mine. Their salami slices hung out a centimeter or so. No big deal. But I thought I did it well and I was proud of it because I didn’t feel like I did a lot of things very well. I knew it was a silly thing but what can you do?

Sam named me Delington. Aaron Delington. Chris was named Chris Delis. Delis plural. Davy was The Duke of the Deli, or Deli Duke. We listened to Bruce Springsteen, Rancid, Goo Goo Dolls, and a lot of other bands that are too cool for you.

The Improv

Circa 2004. GWAR and TYSON are two fellows in their mid-twenties. Both are a little overweight and exactly six feet tall. Both have served full-time missions for their Church. GWAR’s mission was cut short after about sixteen months while TYSON completed the two years.

This film begins as they attempt to re-live their pre-mission days of waterballooning. TYSON is in the front seat of GWAR’s 1987 Honda Prelude. They developed this practice of targeting both pedestrians and other cars on the streets of Poway, California around 1998-1999. Back then, there were more participants in the suspect car- typically three or four. Notably absent on this day is DAN, who was The Driver. DAN could drive and toss balloons with remarkable accuracy. TYSON’s marksmanship from the passenger seat was also legendary. At this point in their lives DAN, who has also served a mission, is married to a woman who is expecting their first child. As a result, GWAR defaults to the driver position on this day. GWAR is not a good water balloon driver. He was never even a great tosser of balloons. At best he got the Spirit Award. He once hit the inside of DAN’s car in a spasmodic thrust toward the window.

It might be obvious, but it should be noted that GWAR and THOMAS are the same person in this story.


By Aaron Kingsbury Litchfield


Dude, What are you doing!? What in the world are you doing!? Why do you slow down? Every time, Thomas! You don’t need to slow down! It messes up my timing!

Sorry! I’m not used to driving.

Dan could really drive. He never slowed down. You DON’T slow down.

I know. Shut up. We shouldn’t be doing this anyway. We can’t get arrested for throwing water balloons. What if we get caught doing this? We can’t get caught doing this. We’re too old.

TYSON (nefariously)
We never got caught before, Thomas S Preston Esquire S Gwar.

That’s cuz Dan used to drive.

Dan could drive that car like a champ Thomas!

Yeah, and he’s married now. With child.

Later on GWAR and TYSON are driving down Garnett Ave in Pacific Beach. They have quit throwing water balloons at cars and pedestrians. Garnett Avenue is where MTV used to go to cast lotharios in their shows The Real World and MTV’s Beach House. TYSON and GWAR’s drive down Garnett Avenue, with its myriad bars that specialize in Birthday Cake shots and Irish Car Bombs, is very observational in nature.

Thomas, it’s your turn now.


TYSON (building enthusiasm, in a devious manner)
C’mooooooon, Thomas!

No, It’s not funny. I don’t know why it’s funny.


(rolling down the window) I hate you.


GWAR leans his head out the window as they pass a group of popped-collard, puka-shelled-necklace-wearing brutes with a couple of thin, loud-talking females. He yells out a startlingly loud and abrupt- HEY! This results in a young mini-skirted girl nearly falling to the ground. The group mostly laughs, though a couple of the big males affect an angry disposition.

Good job Thomas!

GWAR (excitedly)
Oh Oh Oh Oh, get that group right there!

TYSON rolls down his window and yells with a remarkable amount of mocked vigor-


The crowd hollers back uproariously. If they are aware of the irony, they aren’t offended. Though it’s safe to say they aren’t aware.


That’s the most fun I’ve ever had on Garnett Avenue.

Whaaaat? Better than all the bars? The beers? Thomassssss? Thomas S?

Yeah I guess. I mean, the beers helped me in the beginning. I don’t think I would ever have gotten Emi fall in love with me if I never had a drink. She would have dismissed me as awkward and intense like all the girls before her.

TYSON(with caricatured zeal)
You didn’t need beer to talk to ME, I love you for who you are Thomas!

Alcohol lowers inhibitions, and you never had any. You don’t need it. It’s weird to think what you’d be like drunk. Don’t ever drink.

TYSON(still with the exaggerated zeal)
I wouldn’t be your guiding light if I did, now would I Thomas?


A few days later GWAR walks into TYSON’s house. TYSON’s mother, in the kitchen to the left, sees Gwar walk in without knocking. He immediately turns right and walks toward Tyson’s room.  When he gets there, he finds that the door is locked. He leans in and hears that TYSON is in the shower. Through the door GWAR also hears Weezer’s Green album playing. He smiles at this. He knocks, knowing Tyson won’t hear, and knowing that even if he did hear, he wouldn’t end his shower early. GWAR curses himself. He turns around to look down the hall. He can see TYSON’s mom, wearing an apron in the kitchen. GWAR paces in the hall awkwardly before walking to the foyer to sit in a chair by the front door. After less than a minute, he gets up and walks back toward TYSON’s room. He leans in and hears TYSON still in the shower. He tries knocking again to no avail. He walks out to the foyer and stalls a bit trying to decide what to do.  Finally he walks to the kitchen.


Hi Sister Young.

Hello Gwar.

THOMAS(reaching into a cabinet for a glass)
What’s happening?

There is no glass, so he walks across to another cabinet where he finds one. He opens the fridge and pours himself lemonade.

Still don’t know where the glasses are?

Sure I do. How are things?

Oh, busy. Denise and Darren are coming in a couple of weeks and I’m trying to clean up before they get here.

Well that’s cool.

How are things with you?

Oh, fine I guess. Up to no good, you know. Same old.

That’s nice Gwar.


So what are you two up to today?

Tyson and I are carpooling to college.

No kidding? Well that’s wonderful.

Sure is. Tyson didn’t tell you?

He never tells me anything… you know, I saw your mother at Costco yesterday.

Oh really? How is Meg Ryan?

She seemed fine. We talked about you boys…

Yeah? What about?

TYSON’S MOM(sheepishly)
Well…I don’t think I should say.

I’m sure it was about just how proud of us you are and how great we are for each other. Tyson and I. Yeah, no need to tell me! Speaking of, I need to get that guy going. We’re gonna be late!

Bye Gwar.

TYSON (wearing a towel, at the entrance to his room)
Well if it isn’t a Thomas S Preston Esquire S Gwar!

GWAR (hushed)
That’s me. Hey man, I wish you wouldn’t lock the door. I walked into the house without knocking, thinking I’d just slide to your room but of course you have to lock your bedroom door. Why? I’m not gonna go into your bathroom and interrupt your shower routine. I know you lock that door too, you weirdo. Anyway, I bumped into your mom and I know she’s mad that I didn’t knock. We had a little chat.

TYSON (loudly, across the house)
Mom, have a nice talk with Thomas?

TYSON’S MOM (from the kitchen)
Yes Tyson- you know, Gwar doesn’t mind me.

THOMAS (still at the doorway)
Just let me in man. What does she mean? She doesn’t mind me?  Like I don’t have a problem with her?

No like, you don’t mind her, like acknowledge her, or respect her, by just walking through the door of her house without knocking. Gwar the genius writer over here. A regular Bill Shakespeare.

Well, shucks. I don’t mean anything. I love your fam. You know I always wanted to be a Young.

TYSON (with an exaggerated smile, pats GWAR on the shoulder)
I know you do Tom.

GWAR (entering the room and closing the door)
Do you have a shirt I can wear? (tugs his belly) I hate this one.

TYSON holds the towel with one hand on his hip and opens his sliding glass closet door with the other. He stares into a vast, colorful closet.

Ahhhhhh, what can I get for a Thomas S Preston Esquire S Gwar? (resting his now free hand on his other hip)

GWAR(grabbing a t-shirt that says THE FIRM)
Remember when I wore this to your old man’s office? When we visited him at the firm?

Sure do Tom.

That was somethin’ else. I wrote about it. Anyway, I got us an appointment to tryout for an improv place in Los Angeles.

What? Are you serious? When?

Thursday. We’ll leave at noon, right after your oceanography class. We don’t have to be there until four.

TYSON (sighing again)
I don’t know if my liege will be OK with it Gwar.

She’s fine with it dude.

TYSON(sighs again)
You asked her? Oh Tommy. Tommy Tommy Tommy. What are we gonna do with you?



GWAR walks toward TYSON’s boxy new Scion. Someone is playing an electric guitar plugged into a miniature amplifier. GWAR knocks on the car window.  TYSON is disgustedly clearing the passenger seat for Gwar.  Without looking up, he unlocks the door and GWAR enters the car.

What do you think about that guy over there, playing guitar?

TYSON still hasn’t made eye contact with GWAR. he’s picking up half-full water bottles and throwing them into the back seat

I think it’s the gayest thing in the world and you do too. So don’t ask me.

Are you excited?

TYSON(He still hasn’t looked at Gwar)
Sure Tom. (picks up a water bottle and holds it in front of Gwar’s face) How many millilitres did she drink out of this one? Riddle me that, Tom.

I don’t have an answer for you man.


Hey, you know how the Terminator asks little John Connor why he cries? (in a very mediocre Arnold Schwarzenegger accent GWAR utters) Why do you cry?

Yeah, sure.

Well, what if he was like Why do you fart? and Why do you laugh, when you fart?

TYSON (not missing a beat, in a perfect 13-yr-old Edward Furlong voice)
You know, cuz it’s funny.

Yeah, Yeah, exactly. That would be a funny skit or whatever, like on Saturday Night Live.

Sure it would Tom.

Hey, also, when we’re up on stage, you gotta do Chris Farley auditioning for the part of Sam from Lord of the Rings. You know “Master Frodo…”

Whatever you say Gwar.

Anyway, that guitar player’s shirt told me to listen to Bob Marley and his hat told me to party naked.

I told you I don’t want to talk about him.

Alright alright, you know how to get there? Just drive up The Five for like an hour then I’ll tell you where to go from there.

With resonant disgust for the fellow in the parking lot, TYSON intently scrolls through his Ipod looking for a more obscure Talking Heads song. After his selection, GWAR picks up the Ipod and changes it to Road to Nowhere. Tyson’s look implies that GWAR needs to move on past Talking Heads’s radio songs.  If GWAR was directing this film he might show TYSON and GWAR eating at In & Out burger as Road To Nowhere plays. TYSON is truly happy as he takes his first bite into a Double Double. Under GWAR’s direction, he’d perhaps show TYSON’s road rage. He’d show some exteriors of the drive from San Diego to LA. The ocean. The immigration check-point. The signs that caution families crossing the freeway. He’d show Gwar opening TYSON’s glove compartment, show a bunch of things falling out of the glove compartment and show TYSON’s irritation of the whole thing.


TYSON and GWAR pull up to a tiny, street-front improv place.

We have almost an hour. Lets walk around for a while.

TYSON and GWAR walk down the street and quickly enter a typical LA vintage/ironic t-shirt store.


Hey this is where that guy at college gets his shirts and hats that tell us what to do.

That’s right Tommy Tom.

A very young blonde who most likely works at the store absently walks past them. GWAR catches her attention.

Excuse me, have you heard of the improv place a few doors down?


Really? (pointing) It’s just a couple of doors down that way.

Nope. (she moves along)

GWAR looks at Tyson apologetically.

They walk to the Imrov place. They go through the door and enter a very small lobby. There is a woman sitting behind a box office.


Are you here for the tryout?


Go ahead through those doors and have a seat.

They enter a tiny theater with maybe twenty chairs. There are a handful of improv actors already seated. One looks about 30 years old and is wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles jacket. In fact, they all look about 30 years old- with the exception of a 45 yr old man who is outfitted in Sam Kinison’s hair and wardrobe.

NINJA TURTLE(to a cute 30-year-old woman)
Where do I know you from?

I Don’t know.

Was it a movie?

30 YEAR OLD WOMAN (sighing)

It was! It was 13 Conversations about One Thing!

You’re right. I was en extra in that.

Nice! Me too!

GWAR picks up a brochure from the seat back in front of him.  He points to Chris Kattan’s name on the program and promisingly shows it to TYSON. TYSON nods.

A 50-year-old man with the world’s worst haircut enters the room. Think Javier Bardem in No country For Old Men, except this man’s hair is thinner. The following doesn’t really need to be scripted: The Improv owner shows them around the small studio. There are pictures of famous alums like Chris Kattan and Tim Meadows. Pictures of Jr. Varsity casts, Varsity casts, and Wednesday Night casts.  He explains that only the top one or two levels get paid.  Most do it for free and the rookies pay to perform.  He sits them down and tells them about himself.  He’s been in a few episodes of Three’s Company. With a smile, he says the residual checks are nice. He nods silently, giving this cast of hopefuls time to soak in the glorious residual money that he’s earning, suggesting they could be so lucky. So now it’s time to perform.

Ok, we’re just gonna do some things to get you loosened up here. First, I want you to swim around like fish.

Everyone does their interpretation of a fish.  TYSON is visibly annoyed at this stupid exercise as he just pretends to swim like a human, using his arms to backstroke. GWAR is more pathetically attempting to appease the improv man than TYSON. Initially, GWAR uses his arms like a human, then self-consciously pulls them back toward his body and attempts to show swimming without arms.  This results in a pathetic upright serpentine movement. As GWAR swims past TYSON, he gives a look of confusion, TYSON in return, silently expresses his annoyance for the whole thing. The other six hopefuls are generally desperate and over-zealous in their fish impressions.

What follows is a series of cuts that displays a typical bottom-level Los Angeles improv store: A good-looking Asian-American man does an excellent Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. TYSON and GWAR do some heavy, bookish British accents. The Ninja Turtle finds a way to work a make-out session in with the woman he met on the set of 13 Conversations About One Thing. The Sam Kinison man doesn’t do much at all.

At the end, the Improv owner lines everyone up onstage and tells them he wants each of them to do whatever they want, anything they want. They take turns doing freestyle improv. The Asian American man does some more excellent Arnold. There are a few other random things. Some funny, some not. Then we get to Tyson.

TYSON (very loudly)

When it is time for GWAR’s freestyle moment, he is extremely nervous. He’s silent for a few awkward seconds. Finally, he utters, in a horrible Arnold Schwarzenegger accent that nobody in the room can decipher-

GWAR (softly)
…why do you fart?

There is deadly silence from the Improv leader and the other actors. Tyson looks down the line at Gwar with astonishment and horror.

Cut to the car. It is quiet for a few moments as Tyson drives. Finally-

Why do you fart?

(uproarious laughter from the two of them)


BONUS! An early short: The Firm



I decided that I’m gonna blog. I’m gonna blog cuz I don’t know what else to do.

There’s that memory of my mom. She must have been my age now- maybe two years older. She’s in Dr. Stevenson’s office and they’re just talking about Tyler’s future appointments and then conversation ventures off into non-medical, life stuff. Not too personal or anything. I’m not going to make anything up, like: She had to go to the post office before 4 pm to drop off a credit card bill that she UGHHHHH, didn’t want to get into right now and that she HATES credit card companies and whatnot and she doesn’t have time to deal with any of this right now.

Cuz I wasn’t really paying attention, I was maybe 6 years old.

Everyone is quiet for a second, then she begins to cry. She doesn’t wail. And she doesn’t cry for too long. Dr. Stevenson does the best he can and of course her crying isn’t a surprise, nor is it out of line. She stops. He tells her that he couldn’t possibly understand. He says that they’re all doing the best they can.

He was a good-looking guy. He wore a plaid shirt. Not too old. He didn’t get out of his chair and come around and physically comfort her.

I’ve had that memory for a few days. Hanging around.

I remember playing outside the hospital with Tyler.

I went to the hospital with Nick right before I moved here to Boston. I was 26, Nick was 16. We drove down there late at night thinking we’d take a look at Tyler’s old 8th-floor stomping grounds. We found out that the 8th-floor was no longer the pediatric floor. In fact there wasn’t a pediatric floor in the hospital at all. Everything had moved to Children’s hospital.

As a 15 year-old I remember swinging the bat in the parking lot of the hospital and asking Pop if I swung as fast as they did in the majors. He wasn’t too thrilled with the question.

As a 17 year-old, in the elevator with Nick, someone asked if he was my son.

Tyler never spent a Christmas in there.

I’m 29 now and I’m doing the same thing. How am I any different from who I was? What am I going to do to “grow up?” Will I ever be less emotional? Will I ever calm down? Can I go back to school? Can I relax? Can I change things? Can I be happy for a while? I’m kind of happy now. I am so weird.

And then there’s the elevator memory. Another early one. I always wondered why I remembered a moment like that. I asked myself what made it stick. My mom told me once that Dad’s role was The Rock. He never showed emotion. It wasn’t his job. It worked even better that they divorced so young. We had two worlds. The one where we emoted, and the one where we didn’t.

In the Hospital Memory my brain likes to picture the three boys together- Adam, Tyler, and me- the youngest. I’m about six. But if we were leaving the hospital, Tyler wouldn’t have been there with us, waiting for the elevator.

There were six elevators that led to the 8th floor and we’d stand there and wait for a ping. It’s just a memory of my Dad asking which elevator door was going to open up. Just a trivial little thing.

Hello everyone, 2014 Aaron talking here. I know I said I was done with SFSF after the Ultimate Post, but this belongs here. It’s old. Plus, who actually believed I’d stick with closing out the blog? Anyway, the above was written four years ago, just days before I began SFSF. It began as a sort of manifesto, but then it quickly turned into a journal entry, with the weak segue being “I decided I’m going to blog.” That decision was a product of the manifesto, a baby step that I’d decided must be done. (I deleted the bullitt-pointed, actual manifesto portion that included topics like More Grocery Shopping and Less Eating Out.)

At the time, I never would have posted it. The blog was my first public writing venue. The early entries were vague. Prior to that, I kept everything locked up and unfinished.

While going through it, I remembered that I’d written about the elevator before so I looked in an even older online collection of my journals in Hotmail Documents and found the following:


…and then there’s Tyler. Tyler. Am I a writer because Tyler had cancer and died? Did he die to enlighten me and you all? “You all” being really only a small segment of the population? A few hundred thousand or so young kids that will read this and relate to it and love it and clutch it and make them want to tell people to fuck off when they’re told dinner is ready while they’re sitting in their rooms thinking about it? Did Tyler have those 30 operations and spinal taps for YOU? Did Tyler have all this happen to him so I would be extra submissive and self-conscious for waaaay too long in order for me to better question and observe everything? So I could always think about that time in the hospital when we were leaving and my Dad was like “Which one do you think it’ll be? Which fucking elevator will be the one to take us out of this hospital, the hospital Tyler’s in cuz he has cancer and he won’t ever kiss a girl or get married or hit a home run or drive a car? Which one? No, Aaron, that one’s going up.”


“Ahh, there we go.”