I am surrounded by imbeciles

Imbeciles in New Jersey

parked car

What nerve. That’s not even a high-end sedan that needs to be protected from dings. It’s some mid-market bucket o’ crap. Who does he think he is?

Imbeciles in New York City

I was sitting in Bryant Park reading (“A Swell-Looking Babe” by Jim Thompson. Not very good.) when, to my left, I heard a very audible:


I was hoping it wasn’t some uncouth pig who peeled off his dirty white sock and was clipping his toenails.


It was. In what culture is it acceptable to clip your toenails in a PUBLIC PARK? Oh, I know where. Stupidistan.

Kiki Smith

kiki smith1

Look how she sits in that pool of light. She’s clinging to a wall in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met is often thought of as being a bit stodgy but they have some very satisfying contemporary pieces. Here’s her best feature:


I disagree with you. She’s not creepy.


binsAugust 24, 1995

I got a call from Betsy. She’s a major hypochondriac and is always on the threshold of something catastrophic. Normally, I can only take so much of that stuff but she’s a sensual dynamo so I am pleased to offer a sympathetic ear.

Some rich dude bought her a new Mac Quadra and a PowerBook and she wants me to come over and show her how to use them. She doesn’t even know how to turn the damn things on. I’m not kidding. I said I’d be happy to give her lessons but she was going to have to PAY ME, and said it using an intonation that implied payment was to be something other than a cash transaction. She piped right up and said, “Yes! Yes! I WANT to PAY YOU!” and said it in a way that makes me think we’re on the same page.

What’s with older women? It seems sex is much more important to them than it is to younger women. While I’d love to see some sweet, young 22-year old peel her clothes off, there’s something delicious about an older woman who is so willing and so knowledgeable in the science of romance. A tight body counts for squat if you don’t know what to do with it. Or, worse, lack a certain esprit de corps.

I asked her what kind of Quadra and PowerBook and she said, “The BRAND NEW kind!” Who knows what that means? And who is this wealthy guy, anyway? Is she sleeping with him? Or does he want to sleep with her but she won’t? Does he want Betsy to wear a strap-on? I wonder if I can talk her out of the PowerBook?

That girl down the hall I want to sleep with dropped off more guerrilla theater flyers. She’s a Lower East Side cliché: an artist/activist. One show is a benefit for her legal fund. She’s a defendant in a case against the police department for unlawful arrest. The show is a performance art piece whereby members of the audience are “placed under arrest” by the “NYC Police Department.” She was arrested and thinks everyone should know what that feels like. That sounds like a terrible night out! Why would I pay to be roughed up by a bunch of malcontents who are pretending to be the NYPD? What if, once the shoe is on the other foot, they enjoy the sensation and get carried away with themselves? No, thank you.

Her living room is her art studio. There are coffee cans all over the place filled with paint, brushes and chemicals. That can’t be healthy, right? Canvases are stacked in every corner. The artwork isn’t very good. It reminds me of that ugly de Kooning crap. I’d like to make out with her, though. Can you imagine if she’s able to channel all that rage?

Knicks/Cavs later tonight at the Garden. I’m meeting John for lunch tomorrow at the World Trade Center. I’d like to see Life in a Blender at McGovern’s tomorrow night but I’d have to go alone again. Naturally.

85 thoughts on “I am surrounded by imbeciles

  1. You know what I noticed? You’re writing to someone. This wasn’t just for yourself. You say, ” I’m not kidding,” to your unseen reader. Like you knew we’d be reading this someday. And why not? This stuff is like candy!

  2. Toenail clipping, huh? Nice. I am not sure which I prefer, the car or toenails. Guess it depends on how full the parking lot is. As for the woman in the wall…. She makes me think of an X-files episode.

    • Maybe it’s not his fault. Maybe he was raised by barnyard animals. He wasn’t homeless. That I could forgive. He should’ve known better. Made me madder than it should’ve.

      X-Files is a gold-star reference.

  3. Folks are crude and have a sense of self entitlement. They are everywhere- not just in New Jersey or NYC. Look what our country has become. A bunch of Trumpettes following a hate monger, racist and a man who is become rich by hook and crook.

    Older women I suppose have a certain intrigue and are in a way more sure of themselves and as rule generally established in a profession. Maybe some of that is alluring to men.

    • How much do you want to bet that guy is voting for Trump? Seriously, am I being a big baby or is this a wildly inappropriate thing to do in lovely Bryant Park. Go ahead and tell me the truth. I can take it.

      • How does that saying go? Something about “the plain, unvarnished truth?” Well, He certainly matches Trump in crudeness and vulgarity. Cutting fingernails or toenails- doesn’t matter, it is still inappropriate. He might as well brush his teeth at the water fountain or change his underwear that is if he wears any. Yes sir, he is probably a Trumpophile but you have to wonder if he is someone that actually cares enough to vote.

        I detest crudeness and lack of self respect. You are not being a baby. The photo of that guy reminded me of a nurse I once worked with. It is not a similar incident but it’s the lack of manners and self respect that gets me. The RN brought an entire chocolate pie to the report room and ate the whole damn thing while she pretended to listen to report. There were about 8 of us sitting at the conference table.

    • I like older women — I lost my virginity at the age of 18 with a 40-y-o and the last two women I sex I had (I’m in my 50s now) were in their 60s. I’m not interested in them having a “profession” — it’s more that they’re physically attractive, they’ve got things to talk about, are more sexually experienced, and are up for it. The menopause is wonderful for men.

      • I don’t know why everyone is so obsessed with virgins. My greatest experiences have been with women who knew their way around the bedposts.

        P.S. Do you remember “The Men All Pause” by the dance/R&B all-girl band Klymaxx?

      • Well, once seen, never forgotten — unfortunately! Oh dear Mark, that’s four-and-a-half minutes of my life that I’ll never get back 🙂

      • I go away for a bit and all these posts, jeebus maaan, now i gotta catch up, one day i’ll write about the virgin i bedded who read way to much Cosmo, i believe it falls somewhere in the tragic/comic realm. Do love the journals though, and of course you were writing to someone, every time we write there is an imaginary reader somewhere, i believe mine is usually naked and waiting to feed me cheese and grapes…

  4. Your journal entries are irresistible! Witty, focused, and honest, I really love reading them. And although I have no idea who you are, we’ve clearly past each other in the street and gotten drunk at the same bar many (many!) times… Thanks for sharing these gems.

    • Hello, there, new blood. Thanks for taking the time and effort to come by. Thanks for your kind words. Much appreciated. There’s plenty more where that came from. All that time I didn’t think I was having any kind of life at all. Who knew? Those were the days, weren’t they? Different city now.

  5. As a Connecticut girl, I wish I could blame that car all on New Jersey. But alas, there are one or two privileged assholes in CT, too. They do drive nicer cars.

    Oh, and I am going to mention you in a post I’m trying to get around to writing. It’s about art, so I must reference you. But even you haven’t posted on the art I’m going to show. You will be in awe.
    And now I have to write it.

  6. Man, it takes all kinds, eh? I commend you for documenting the atrocities in photos!

    Interesting that Ross noticed that your journals do seem to have a reader in mind, even if it’s your future self. That’s the fascinating thing about journals. Why are we writing this stuff down? To remember what we did on certain days or to make our lives seem more like a story? I don’t read my old journals much because it turns out my future self thinks my past self was a real dweeb.

    • I didn’t give the car a key job because that’s not my style. But my verbal wrath fell upon his empty head. He’ll never know about it but that’s how I roll.

      The journals became an emotional necessity for me. I didn’t have anyone to talk to. Believe me, I’m protecting you guys from the really awful stuff. I was a big cry baby who didn’t know how to treat people. I’d like to think I’ve risen about that.

  7. Our parking issues play out differently in Arizona. Here, it’s usually guys in big trucks parking perpendicular, taking up three spots. They get away with it because, 1) they park at the far end of the lot when everyone else wants a close spot, and 2) they drive a truck. Bonus points if the truck has caked on mud from four-wheeling.
    By the way, I pinged you on my last post because I was talking about an old journal of mine and thought my readers should see what an intelligently written one was like. On reflection, I really should have asked you first. I fear it was rather uncouth of me. Not clipping my toenails uncouth, but still.

    • I’m perfectly okay with them taking multiple spots in the far corner of the lot that shows a measure of self awareness. The clown in the example above was, literally, in front of the entrance to the building.

      Not only is it OK to ping me whenever and as often as you like, I am flattered and grateful. I have no ego about these things at all. Link away!

  8. I’m surprised feminists haven’t complained about that sculpture. I don’t want to put ideas in their heads, but she looks as if she’s waiting for God to butt-fuck her. Did any young women make you feel like they’d done you a favour after sex?

    • I think every woman I’ve ever slept with felt like they’d done me a huge favor. And they’re right. They did. No word on the feminist take of the statue. I don’t want their take on sleeping with me.

  9. Did you know that if your toenails get too long, it gets really difficult to park the car exactly where it supposed to go?
    Also, I wonder what you would think of the clipper man if he were clipping toenails as a part of Met performance art exhibit…

    • Look how you tied it all together with a pretty bow. Editor extradionnair.

      You’re going to laugh but I’m on my way to an outdoor art installation. 800 homing pigeons with tiny LED lights strapped to their tiny ankles are let loose at dusk. A glowing, undulating cloud. Is that so far removed from toenail clipping art?

      • It’s just looks prettier. But put that nail clipper into a gallery, and you’ll have art experts earnestly discussing whether toenail clipping represents rebirth and shedding of old and ugly parts of oneself, or whether it symbolizes the domestication of man and his movement towards the superficial standards of outer beauty from his natural form.
        Or maybe it’s a deliciously ironic paradox of careful adherence to the norms of hygiene while simultaneously flaunting the behavioral norms against doing so in public.

      • Did you see the recent prank that a couple of high school kids pulled in an art gallery? One of them took his glasses off and set it on the floor as if it was an exhibit. People took it seriously. They photographed it and gathered around it. What does that tell you?

      • I was thinking the same thing about the toenail dude. Who’s to say he wasn’t engaged in performance art exploring the relationship between personal and public space in the urban environment? Or some such crap.

  10. Baby C came over while I was reading this and saw the statue and proclaimed, “He kills people because he’s a statue and he’s real.” Not sure if that’s what the artist was going for or if that should be taken as a compliment, but there it is.

    • Holy cow! I haven’t seen you in a dog’s year. How’d you like the new Star Wars? Happy with the end result, I presume? Or not so much?

      I like baby C’s take on it very much and I’m sure Kiki Smith would, too. Although the statue is a he. Not a she. Glass eyes make it a 10.

  11. The man in the park should have had a slap round his head. Filthy bugger. I’m sorry, but the girl creeping up the wall is creepy (ing). No.

    You are such a bloody tart and I’m so proud!

    • If the man in the park had been homeless I could’ve excused this behavio(u)r. But he wasn’t homeless. Just stupid. You won’t see that in Hyde Park.

      I *was* a bloody tart. Quite settled now. No comment on how that sits with my ego.

  12. I like anecdotal Friday posts from you, sweetpea! There’s something about the here-it-is-take-what-you-like-ness about it. Or maybe, I’ve just been watching too much of The West Wing and everything is an escape for me right now. *cheers* xoxoxo

    (I’ve been so angry about shit I can’t do anything about that I posted pics of the grands to remind myself that there really is goodness in the world!)

    • It’s funny but I don’t post on Friday on purpose. It just works out that way. But I agree with the spirit of take what you like. Something for everyone!

      I saw the grand kiddie pics yesterday. Surely you can find solace in those?

      • I do, brother! In fact, in 17 days, BGM and super nana will be here for a month! Mr Matrix will be here the last 2 weeks of that month AND for a change, the MITM will be home all summer! So, yes, even with all the garbage out thre, I am happy. xoxo

  13. Yep,you do have your fair share of imbeciles there don’t you? We’ve got some too but ours are official. As the capital of the country we have all the Embassies here (you should see the US Embassy – huge – you must have a lot of CIA personnel there-Ha!). Ambassadors and their staff all have diplomatic immunity and can break whatever laws they want – and they do. Imagine,if they don’t feel like stopping at a red light, they don’t. The embassy cars all have red licence plates for easy identification and so we law abiding people can be forewarned of any aberrant behavior. We have a whole division in our police department that are trained specifically in how to handle the delicate embassy staff- those special cops are called whenever an embassy employee gets into trouble. A few years ago there was a Russian embassy employee who actually killed a guy and he was just deported. What can you say?

    Really enjoyed your diary entries Mark. Awesome. You really need to do a book.

    Great Post. thank you.

    • New York City is home to the UN. The town is choked with felons who have diplomatic immunity. There have actually been cases of rape and assault where nothing was done because of it. My blood boils when I read those stories.

  14. To NJ imbeciles – unfortunately, this parking style is becoming more prevalent in other states too. To NY imbecile – that is just, it’s just, NO. OMG, NO.
    The artist/activist – I hope you escaped that one unscathed. I sensed a dangerous liason filled with WAY too much drama. And the “show”? Um, I’m with you. Plus, I suffer from anxiety so… that would be akin to the threat of riding a rollercoaster that gets stuck at the top. Upside down.
    To the woman on the wall – WHOA.

    • It’s good to know I don’t suffer alone. We should form a support group.

      That artist/activist would have nothing to do with me. Most girls wouldn’t. She was just shilling for her show. I never went and I don’t think I missed out I on anything.

      I like the woman on the wall. I don’t know that I’d hang her in my house, but I do like visiting her when I go to the Met.

  15. This brought a smile to my face on this dreary afternoon. As for parking in two spaces… Straight to execution!

  16. I was watching ‘TRADING PLACES’ and saw a guy trimming his toe nails in the police station waiting room just like in your pic. It was the scene where Penelope was bailing out her boyfriend Winthorpe. Disgusting!

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