on being an asshole

As I mentioned in last night’s post, I had a fever yesterday.

Apparently, while I was ill, I criticized another person’s web site here. I have no memory of having done this, but yet there are the words on my website, so I must have written them. I really don’t have any excuse… other than the fever, which is, I think, a pretty good excuse.

Generally speaking, it’s not my style to criticize the dreams and aspirations of others, and that is just what I have apparently done.

A comedian by the name of Lindsey J. Hammond wanted to write for Larry David’s HBO show, Curb Your Enthusiasm. She wanted to write for the show so badly that she started a letter-writing campaign aimed at Mr. David, and then went a step further by constructing a web site to document her progress. Things were, by all accounts, going well for her until I apparently stumbled in, weak from illness, and shit all over her dream.

I wrote nasty things here. I went so far as to call her efforts “pathetic.”

The internet, being the terrifyingly fast and pervasive medium that it is, there was already a note from her in my in-box when I got up this morning.

Here’s her note to me.

One of my readers pointed out your review of my web site. I’m glad you liked it! I just want to say, I read the following passage from yours AND I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING!!! The HILARITY of it all!

Alone in your underwear???!!! Stopped eating meat on a whim???!!! BAHHAAHHHA HA HA! (Picture Lindsey J. Hammond wiping away tears of laughter at the clever wit of one Mark Maynard.) How DID you come up with that?

I’ll send you a complimentary copy of my book when it’s published next year.

She totally got me with that. I’ll admit it. She found my Achilles’ heel (my writing), and she used it against me. I hate that “Meet Mark Maynard” section that she was quoting from, and I want to change it, but I’m not smart enough to get into the system to do it. It eats at me. I know that it’s not funny. I know it. I just can’t fix it. I needed something up there when Linette put the site together so I scrawled that out on a scrap of paper. Now it’s going to be up there forever, like a gun left on my front porch for any wino with a grudge to pick up and wave in my face.

She’s right, that material is weak. It’s not funny. I can take it. What’s more, I deserve it. If I’m going to call someone else “unfunny,” I should be ready to accept my punishment, especially when it’s legitimate.

As for her, I’m sure she’s very nice. I’m sure if I took longer than a few minutes just to scan her page I’d find funny stuff. I’m an asshole. The illness might have magnified it a bit, but it’s always there, waiting for my immunity to let its guard down.

If it makes her feel any better, I’m convinced, now that she’s positioned herself to be my comedy nemesis, that she’ll have a bright future. I wouldn’t doubt it if her phone started ringing with a call from Larry David the minute she sent that note. Everyone that touches me in a bad way is destined for greatness. Try it if you don’t believe me.

She’s probably on a plane bound for Hollywood as I type this, “alone in my underwear.”


changing skins, changing the definition of being human

The Sims On-line game goes live tomorrow and I can’t help but think that it’s a bad sign of what’s to come.

Anticipated to be the most popular computer entertainment program thus far, the Sims On-line will allow its paid subscribers to live virtual lives on-line, interacting with other paid subscribers from behind constructed cartoon bodies, or “avatars.” (I find their use of the term “avatars” to be frightening.)

It seems to me that this puts us all one-step closer to abandoning our bodies and living completely virtual existences.

I don’t really like that idea, but it’s what we’re headed toward.

If you’re interested, 60 Minutes II will be airing a piece about the Sims On-line tomorrow at 8:00.

From the Sims website:

Don’t miss 60 Minutes II, Wednesday, December 18, at 8:00PM ET/PT, when reporter Bob Simon takes an in-depth look at the video games industry with a spotlight on The Sims Online. The story features interviews with designers Chris Trottier and Will Wright.

If you don’t want to watch 60 Minutes II, but you’re interested in learning more about the Sims On-line, check out their web site.

Here’s a clip from the site:

Imagine being able to walk up to a good friend, hold a complete conversation with him, and have him never recognize you. Would you like a skin-color change? Have you ever fancied a gender change? Ever thought of becoming an alien? You can enjoy this type of charade and many more in The Sims Online.

Still not enough, you say? In The Sims Online, you can create three separate Sim avatars, each with a distinct look, each living in a different city.

Have you ever wanted to know what it feels like to be someone else? Ever dreamed of the ability to step into a totally different skin than your own? Would you like the ability to create a persona for yourself that could have your social and communicative qualities, and yet look nothing like you?

Here’s how you build your avatars.

Maybe it’s a good thing. Perhaps this will allow people to be less self-conscious about themselves. Perhaps thriving on-line communities will spring up where real communities have fallen apart.

I’m picturing people rushing home from their jobs to get in front of their computers so that they can swig beers on a virtual front porch with people they have never met face to face. I also imagine that each of the real people behind the avatars drinking beer on that front porch have never met their own real, flesh and blood neighbors.

Maybe that’s not all bad, but it depresses me.

self hatred american style

I find it a strange coincidence that the Sims Online launches on the same day that ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” debuts.

The two things are different sides of the same coin.

On “Extreme Makeover” ordinary people are given the opportunity to be better through plastic surgery.

According to the web site, on this first installment the following people have the following procedures done.

Stacey, a 31-year-old certified medication aide, had a nose job, brow lift, under-eye lift, liposuction, chin implant and dental work.

Stephanie, a 24-year-old insurance representative and single mom, had a nose job, breast implants, liposuction, Lasik eye surgery and dental work.

And Luke, a 29-year-old personal trainer, had a nose job, tummy tuck and dental work.

To find out more about the show click here, to show the world how much you hate yourself, click here.

(For those of you, like my wife, who refuse to follow my links, that last one would have taken you to an application to be a participant on “Extreme Makeovers.”)

Here are before and after shots of the first group to go through the “Extreme Makeover” experience.

In conclusion: We’re a pathetic race of sad, insecure, little creatures.

I need to get some sleep now. Sorry for the poorly assembled pessimism, but at least I didn’t insult anyone by name.

The fever hasn’t burned off completely yet.

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  1. Winfred Canella
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I found this post by googling “shitting all over someone’s dreams.” I was looking for practical advice, as there’s someone I very much want to destroy. If you have any advice, please let me know.

  2. Eel
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Assuming they don’t live in Michigan, you could bring them here.

    And, yes, we are a pathetic race of sad, insecure, little creatures.

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