Vintage Heartache

Instead of a year-end review or making predictions about 2015, I’m dipping into my journals and going back to 1994.


April 24, 1994

Klinger and Fun threw a great party last night. He’s insane. He’s got one of the tiniest apartments I’ve ever seen but he invited everyone he knows. People were standing in the staircase drinking and smoking and carrying on. It’s like they were queuing up to get in. The party spilled out onto Cornelia St. I’m surprised nobody called the cops. It felt like everyone in town was there EXCEPT the cops. Maybe there wasn’t anybody left to complain.

Cornelia St., January 2, 2015, 5:45 p.m.

cornelia stKlinger, scam artist that he is, got the invitations to us without spending a penny. [Note: 1994 is long before email or texts or Facebook or any of that stuff.] He addressed all the envelopes to himself and used our addresses as the return address. Then he chucked them in a post box without putting a stamp on. Every invitation was delivered on time. They’d been cancelled with a red rubber stamp that said ‘RETURN TO SENDER. INSUFFICIENT POSTAGE.’

Some friends of his brought their new puppy. They were so in love that they couldn’t stand the thought of leaving it alone for the night. Everyone was ooh-ing and aah-ing the little fluff ball. It was kind of cute. It went missing for a few minutes and when we found it, it was almost dead because it had eaten rat poison. They rushed it to the puppy hospital and I guess it’s going to be okay. They’re lucky nobody stepped on its head. Idiots.

Mimi was there. Klinger and I are so in love with her. She’s beautiful and deeply troubled. Just the way we like ’em. I told him to fuck off because he’s already got Fun and I don’t have anyone but a prior commitment is no match for raging hormones. It’s no matter. She thinks of us both as amusing/ annoying little brothers. She dates a famous artist who takes her to the Hamptons every weekend. When she’s out there, Klinger and I sit on our broke asses in a dive bar on 4th Street nursing a beer and stewing in our rejection while insulting her boyfriend’s work and manhood and question her taste in men. Yesterday, she told us about their morning walks on the beach to watch the swans crane their necks. I wanted to DIE. Did I mention that Fun calls me Dark Mark? Not in a mean way. Fun and I are pals. But I don’t know where that comes from.

I told everyone I’d submitted writing samples and had been chosen to interview Richard Nixon for Interview Magazine. I said they were looking for a complete unknown who didn’t have any affiliations and that it was a once-in-a-lifetime shot that was going to change the course of my life forever. I acted all excited and pretended that I hadn’t heard he died the previous night. Most people got the joke and laughed but the ones who hadn’t heard he dropped dead seemed genuinely impressed. Are they insane?

In other news, I didn’t see Special Beat at the Marquee last week because I couldn’t cough-up $19 for the ticket. I’d spent a fortune at CBGBs buying beers for everyone the night before and I was very broke. Then Laura phoned and said she was free so I took her to a movie and spent $28 on tickets. Pretty smart, right? The next day I met her in Central Park. She was on her rollerblades and I rode my bike. We laid down in the middle of the Great Lawn. The sky was blue and warm. The grass smelled nice. The sun was shining on her hair. It cascaded around her shoulders and down her chest and it broke my heart just a little bit. Ella Fitzgerald is right. Spring can really hang your ass out to dry.

I spoke to Diane and asked what she’s doing the upcoming holiday. She said, “Getting divorced.” She’s meeting Marcello in the Dominican Republic. If they file here in New York they’ll have to wait a year. They just want to get it over with. She’s going from the airport straight to the courthouse and then to Club Med in the Dominican for a few days. She said a few people asked if they could go with her to be supportive but she told them all to fuck off because she wants to be alone. I wonder if Marcello will be stupid and tactless enough to bring the woman he’s leaving Diane for? I wouldn’t put it past him. Idiot. Brazilian men are not to be trusted.


Fun with the pause button.

screen cap

67 thoughts on “Vintage Heartache

  1. Everytime I read one of your posts, I want to write about it. Or write it… re-write it? Fictionalize it? I don’t know what that is, but it never happens to me. I love these posts, and can’t quite get enough of them. Feels like I’m kicking myself in the head as I read someone’s journal while drunk on tequila, only to go home to my uni dorm room with its shitty little drafty window and ache to write it out. Write it out, he says.

    There are characters here that I would like to steal, they seem dramatic in a way that would work so well… I figure I know people like this too but the way you write about them (I know it’s real and it was what you saw at the time – so what, what of it?) is just kind of inspiring. I don’t come to the blogverse for inspiration. I come here for buddies and the occasional wonderful piece of writing, but not inspiration. I wish more either a) you would post more, b) others would post like this, or at least have the sheer courage to delve into their past without sugar-coating and making them sound so ultra-cool and tactfully modest, or c) shamefully encourage you to write a fucking novel.

    Nixon… what a twat. I love that word, as I loved the man. He was bigger than me, but I could have drank him under the table and then I would have robbed the shit out of him. I would have kicked him in the nuts too, not because I endorse that kind of thing, but because I’m occasionally just a realist at heart, and I figure we all got it coming. Especially when we’re drunk and drinking with people who are more skilled than we are. That’s happened to me a couple of times. I dream of waking up in a ditch. A cold, slushy ditch with some water running but it’s leaking into my underpants. These are the dreams of writers. I shudder to call myself that, but in moments of mental enema, I can go there. I sure can.

    I like the postage scam… that’s a bit of genius. The puppy… I could go for a puppy, but I would do exactly this same thing, try to lug it around with me everywhere at the beginning, until it too ate something that disagreed with it and then where would I be… Never trust Brazilian men. That sounds like ‘never get off the boat’, only from a different continent. I wonder if they’re related.

    I know I’m rambling, but mostly just wanted to say thank you for posts like this. I feel genuinely privileged to be reading them.

    • The funny thing about my past is that when I was living it, I was quite miserable. I thought I was nowhere, doing nothing with nobody. But I crack these books open and I had quite a splendid time. Now, it never amounted to anything. I still have a middling career that I wouldn’t miss if it ended today. But the experiences I had were rich, even if it didn’t lead to much.

      I don’t have it in me to write a novel. Thanks for the compliment. It seems like a lot of work. I’m pretty good with these short bursts but I don’t think I could sustain.

      Nixon tapes are the best. Have you heard any of them? “Those Jews are out to get me.” A lot of that. They’re very funny. I can’t believe that guy had his finger on the button. Although, he was saner than Dick Cheney.

      Klinger had a MILLION scams like the post office one. He moved to L.A. to try acting. I wonder what happened to that guy?

      Ramble away, pal! This is the place for it!

      • I had that experience. Being in uni for an extended period of time, I was so poor and yet so happy. I didn’t feel like I lacked for anything. Maybe I just never wanted or needed anything. I don’t think my experiences were anywhere near as rich as yours, but they are memorable and I met some really cooky people… most of whom I’m lost touch with, but every now and then one shows up and it’s pretty cool.

        I think a novel is just a collection of thoughts. Your journals, from what I’ve seen of them, have a narrative thread running through them (aka your life) that is pretty strong. That’s all I will say on that.

        I didn’t hear the Nixon tapes, but really should. Is anyone less sane than Dick Cheney? Even we know and fear that guy. He sounds like an epic wanker.

      • Democratic Representative Alan Grayson once said, “I have trouble listening to what he says sometimes because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he’s talking,” which is about as accurate a description of Cheney as I’ve ever seen.

  2. Ah, another “lucky dip.” The poor puppy reminds me of a Siamese cat that behaved very oddly at a party.We never did learn what the kids had given it, but it did some major damage.Mostly to the curtains!

    • Who brings a puppy to a party that’s got wall-to-wall people who’ve been drinking and smoking weed?! It was just a little thing. It’s lucky it survived the evening. 20 years ago. I’ll bet it’s gone now.

  3. You are too good with writing about your past. The characters that you knew! Those kinds of folks really do exist but thank God I’ve never known any of the kind except maybe I did and just haven’t realized it yet. Now your post has me thinking. 🙂

    • My journals are invaluable. I wouldn’t remember any of this stuff if it weren’t written down. I’m torn over what to do with all these binders. There’s a lot of very dark, depressing episodes that I don’t want my daughters to ever read. But I’ve tried to destroy them and I always stop myself. It’s a real problem.

      • I don’t think that you should destroy your journals. There is value in keeping some things of your past even if it is dark. Someday you might decide to write a book- seriously and you can use your past as a reference for characters or what ever. And your daughters just might want to read about what happened to you as a young man (when they are grown)Your journals have meaning and that’s why you have not destroyed them.

        I find your blog well written and interesting. Few bloggers have your talent.

      • They’re valuable but I think there’s a real price to pay in keeping them if they fall into the wrong hands. I wasn’t an altogether happy guy back then. Sometimes, I was mean to women. We all have those episodes in our past but do you want you kids reading about them? And there are a thousand single-spaced typewritten pages of this stuff!

        Thanks for your generous words about my writing. It means a lot to me.

  4. Every time I read one of your posts about your past life, I think it should be a book. I agree with Trent in that I’d like to steal some of your characters. Of course, that’s the trick with writing fiction. You can’t write about all the people you know…until they’re dead. Just kidding! What a genius trick with the postage. Too funny. And the dog, and the hot chick you’re fighting over. The overflowing apartment. You think about this stuff and just know it was about the time you were in. It probably wouldn’t happen that way now. Things would just be different, maybe people wouldn’t hang out…or maybe they still do. What a fun story. Sorry about the girl. But I guess you didn’t need her after all.

    • Maybe it should be a book but I don’t think I have the talent to pull it off. Plus, at the very core of my being, I’m a slacker. I always have been. That accounts for my not having set the world on fire. I’m comfortable with my low-energy. I was ashamed of it for a long while but now I kind of like it.

      The city is so different now. It’s SO bloody expensive. I was always broke then but I seemed to be able to eek out a good time but I don’t think that’d happen now.

      I needed the girl. Don’t kid yourself.

  5. Mark! I can now comment in my reader my dear… but shit, now I feel like I need to say something as amazing as Trent…which I know is impossible.

    I so enjoy your journals. I still have mine on a pile on my desk. There’s a few stories I want to pull from there as I think it helps explain some of my, ahem, ideocyncracies.

    I quite enjoyed your city by the way, although realized yesterday it was ironically the first time I didn’t watch the ball drop on TV.

    • I hope you’re kidding about feeling obligated to say something flattering in this space. That’s never the requirement here. There’s no price of admission. Plus, I’m not very good at taking compliments. It makes me uncomfortable.

      What age do your journals cover? You can consider your blog your contemporary journal. We all can. But are they from your misspent youth? throw up a few posts, for heaven’s sake.

      I’m dying to know where you went. I have a vague idea from our offline conversation. Did the plan shift? Ball, schmall. If you’re in NYC, you have no business being in front of a TV. OR in Times Square, for that matter.

      • I have journals from age 8 to 25. I stopped when my now ex broke up with me after we had exchanged “i love you” (we got back together but I never wrote again).

        I do consider mg blog my online journal, actually, and am determined to not hide the hurtful or embarassing stuff again. I have posted some stuff from my journal and will find the links for you.

        NYE I was at Soho House. We also did the VIP skate thing at Rockefeller on the 1st. I don’t have a bucket list but I have always wanted to skate that rink. It was awesome 🙂

      • I have to watch what I write. I have family members who look in once in a while so I have to censor myself a bit.

        Not being a VIP, I don’t know what the VIP treatment at Rockefeller Center entails. In fact I didn’t even know it existed! (Again, not being a VIP.)

    • If YOU think YOU’RE happy to finally be able to comment here, imagine how I feel! Welcome. Nice to see you.

      Are you still in NYC? I wonder if we saw some of the same bands at CBs? Wouldn’t that be weird? Do you know what CBGBs is now? Scroll to the bottom of this post to see before/after photos. (Coincidentally, this links to another journal entry. I like it even better than the one above.)

  6. Wow Mark, that is spell-binding. I’m with Trent and Amy – that writing needs a book. It is interesting, perhaps because when you wrote it it was for only your eyes, that it feels like it is written without any judgement – just honestly describing your very real thoughts, feelings,and actions. And that is so rare. If you’ll pardon the comparison, the style is very much like parts of the Bible – you know the places where it says stuff that you and I would never admit, and appear to make no sense at all, like, “And so he was taken by his neighbour’s wife and they meet each other for relations every Tuesday at 3pm and had a child out of wedlock who they named Metamucil. And Metamucil married his half-sister (not knowing she was related) and together they had 37 children, who formed the basis of a new tribe that became the most powerful and just in the land, defeating all who tried to kill them,.God was well pleased and visited great wealth upon the tribe.” What!? What!? How did forbidden acts turn out to be the salvation of humanity? And was Metamucil regular?

    And yet it is so, we humans with all our mistakes, desires, foibles,and questionable acts, somehow have a thread of great nobility in us. That thread is only visible when we view life without judgement. And that is so rare Mark, that I can count on the fingers of one hand the people I have known who can do that (and I’m not one of them).And you are one.

    Amazing writing Mark. Thank you so much for the peek through the window of time at your past.

    • Can I just hand my journals over to a real writer and have him/her do the dirty work? I’m not good at heavy lifting. I’m a lazybones. Another comment from you that could be a stand-alone post. Nice work, Paul. I was such a dope when I was young. Chasing women who really thought nothing of me at all. But I don’t feel a bit guilty. Who hasn’t passed through that dark forest? I’ll bet you did.

      • Egads, yes. I thought that was normal? Ha! It’s your ability to write so honestly about it that brings it to life.

    • No. Mimi was an actress. The city chewed her up and spit her out, as it is prone to do. I dated a few actresses and it’s a hard life. They go on auditions and are constantly told they’re not “right.” Too old. Too young. Not tall enough. Not pretty enough. The list is endless. Eventually, they flee.

  7. Haha, Klinger, what a bum! Same name as the Lebanese corporal in M*A*S*H but much less integrity. Was his girlfriend aware that he was lusting after Mimi? Do you know what he’s doing now?

    • Klinger was a genius! He was doing stuff like this all the time. I admired him for it and have always wondered what happened to him. He moved to Los Angeles and I lost touch. He wanted to act or do stand-up but I’ve never heard his name anywhere.

  8. You do know a whole book is made up of lots of short bursts don’t you? Also, your kids will be young adults one day, and they’ll need to know you were less than perfect so as not to feel hideously inadequate, so don’t throw the journals away! The honesty, and the detail of them makes them invaluable as historical documents. I can see the film already.

    • And here I thought a book was one long story. When you put it like that it almost seems achievable. I can assure you, The Daughters are already fully aware of my imperfections. They don’t need to see it in black-and-white. Destroying them might be painful, albeit, necessary one day.

      I think a film version is a superb idea. Where do I sign? I see George Clooney as me except they’ll have to ugly him up a little bit.

    • We’re supposed to learn by our mistakes. That’s one of the reasons why I kept these journals. I thought I would learn from them. But I continued making the same mistakes over and over. I am a creature of habit.

    • Hi Malcom. First comment here? Well, thank you for that. There’s no embellishment. If I were to embellish, I’d have painted myself as more of a ladies man instead of an idiot who pined away for women who weren’t interested. Hey…that’s not a bad idea, actually. Too late for this post, though.

  9. I enjoyed this blast from the past. I think there are stories like that going on all across the country. But you make it worth reading. The mail scam is 50 years old. I wonder if it still works? Were you and your friends considered hipsters back then? Cornelia Street looks pretty descent now. I saw 4th street from a 1986 Woody movie and it appeared very trashy. Ah yes the good old days. Nixon is easy to pile on. Every president has done horrible, illegal acts while in office. The media picks and choses which ones to investigate. The worst crime is drafting young people to be killed in a war you will not win (LBJ). Enough of that!
    I agree with your readers, these journals could become a book. A book that would keep a person wanting to turn the next page. Quit beating up on yourself about the past. Most of us (older) have been there, done that.

    • I think we were hipsters by virtue of the fact that we were living in New York and had no direction. Isn’t that the very definition of hipster chic? I had no animosity toward Nixon. I just thought it would be funny to have my dreams dashed because he died on me. And as far as beating myself up is concerned, that seems to be my ninja skill. I’ve done it my whole life. It’s a struggle not to do it but seems to be part of my DNA. I wonder where comes from?

  10. As everyone says, your journal extracts are always excellent! I love the envelope invitation trick that guy pulled. Also the Nixon thing, hehe.

    You really should turn these into a book, you could work with someone to do it. What you need is a hook to hang everything on, what is the one theme that threads it all together? When you find that, then you weave everything around that – that’s what keeps it flowing.

    • There’s a famous bookstore here in New York called The Strand. They boast eight miles of shelves, all packed with books by people who went through the holy hell of writing them. I’m pretty sure that’s where my tome would end up. I’m just not up to the challenge. I know how unattractive that sounds but we are honest about ourselves here in the anonymous ether, aren’t we?

  11. Love your journals. You should publish them.
    What kind of morons take a bloody puppy dog to a party? Numb nuts.

    April 24th is a great day for a party. The very best people on earth are born on this day.

    Klinger’s mailing invitations scam was ingenious. I love him with all my heart just for that.

    So, what happened to Miss dark and troubled? Do you have any contact with any of these characters from your misspent past?

    • I am publishing my journals! They’re here for free. More to come. Maybe.

      We were young and stupid. We spent money on women who didn’t care about us and brought puppies to parties that were wall-to-wall people. None of the people mentioned above are in my life anymore. They slipped through my fingers like water. Miss Dark and Troubled was an actress but the city beat the shit out of her so she left. She took a little piece of me with her. If you see it lying around anywhere, can you post it to me? Make sure to stamp the package.

      I just happened to stumble across your birthday?! How arbitrary is that? What were you doing on April 24th, 1994? Were you still an egg?

  12. I do enjoy the journals, funny how you don’t realize how strange and weird and interesting things are when they’re happening, as the Wilderness Years move on and i start bringing back the people i dealt with and what i was doing and how i thought it was fucking normal it makes me chuckle, maybe all the drugs did have an effect, haha… i remember having a beeper, a fucking beeper, so that when i was at the bar slinging i could go the payphone in back by the bum toilets and call people back, have them come down and sit in the red vinyl booths and pass gear and money under the table… keep up the good work.

    • Isn’t that the oldest argument in the book? That youth is wasted on the young? You should see all the moping and moaning in these journal pages. You’d think I was stranded at the bottom of the well. You guys are lucky I filter all that crap out.

      Beepers. Do you know what that reminded me of? This.

      • That’s funny. The post is coming about my beeper days so as one of my only readers you’ll have the heads up, a place called American Pagers right around the corner from my apt., display case after display case of beepers in all colors and designs, oh how far we’ve come… and i’d like to commend you on a nice call on that sisterwives post, of course i always love the use of the word sycophants and there certainly was a ton of that shit happening there, it’s one of my main problems with the blogosphere, it’s all nice and full of ass-kissing, i know that every post on the lounge is not some golden fucking nugget of literary genius and wisdom, hell 97% of it is dogshit, when i see nothing but fawning comments about every bloggers genius and ability i put on the fucking waders cuz the shit’s getting deep, i understand that people feel the need for approval and want to be told how special they are and blah blah fucking blah, it’s why i refuse to play the game, i don’t give a shit if i have 2 readers or 200 or none, but i’m a hard case, i’ll do it regardless and don’t need my hand held or ego fucking stroked, i’ll believe in my own fucking ability because in the end that’s all that matters and maybe i’ve been smoking to much grass and digging to deep into Alan Watts about and chanelling the Wu Wei or the art of trying not to try, just doing for the sake of doing and not for adoration and praise but to practice a contemplative mode of self expression in order to explain my reality… or as the lecture goes i could just point at a salt shaker and shrug… but i’m getting off track, either way nice work and nice call my friend…. Oh yeah and to quote John Steinbeck, “Universal praise and adoration is the sure sign of mediocrity.”

      • Do you remember Beepers or was that a bit before your time? After I posted it I listened several times. Ah, the memories.

        As far as the Sisterwives post, I think we have to be careful about being TOO supportive. Not everything that everyone writes is right or good. And we should all, myself included (especially!) should be put in our place when it’s called for. There’s a nice way to do it. You don’t have to insult someone when you call them out. That was my goal. I’m glad she wasn’t rattled. Took it like a champ.

        I wouldn’t say you were a hard case. I would say you were evolved. I wish this pathetic, unattractive bottomless pit of need in my gut would just go the fuck away so I can enjoy my time in blogland instead of being cursed with this constant yearning for validation that sends me to my comments section a few times a day. The first step is admitting a problem. I hear.

  13. I know we are newly acquainted, but I wanted to tell you how much I truly enjoy your style. I also wanted to ask….and if you’ve addressed this in a previous post, I do apologize, but as I’m working backwards, I haven’t had a chance to see the beginning of the journal posts…are you posting them here ‘as they were written’ then? If so, wow…if you’d have had a friend in the biz that had seen them, I’d lay odds you’d have had a best seller on your hands decades ago.
    As one with a rather dark history, I understand your fear of some of your journal entries getting into the wrong hands…so you do what you must to protect them and those you feel would be hurt or disillusioned by them…but never act on those thoughts of getting rid of them. You wrote them for a reason then and they have a very valuable place in your life now. Good or bad…they are you and you wouldn’t be you without your past. That was today’s Captain Obvious statement.
    🙂

    • The journal entries are in no particular order. I pick up the black binder under my bed (the rest are in the basement), crack it open in a random spot and start reading until I find something interesting. Sometimes it takes a long, long time to find something suitable. I’d say about 70% of it is pretty dull stuff.

      I wrote them for ME. Now that I’ve got daughters the game is different. I can’t have them reading these things. The vulgarities alone are enough to make me cringe. Don’t get me started on the content.

      • What I was asking, rather badly I think, was whether or not you posted them here as is, as you wrote them then…or had you edited them for these posts. I was just curious to know if you wrote this well back then. And I understand about your wanting to keep your daughters out. Absolutely as it should be. Being our children doesn’t mean they have to know everything about us. It is valuable to you, so you’ll do what you have to to protect your girls.

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