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hello?

Does this thing still work? I hope so.

Anyway, I’ve got some insider information for you. But don’t worry. You can share it with anyone you want. This isn’t the SEC and I won’t Martha Stewart you.

I’ve got a new blog. If you’re bored, curious, click-happy or suffer from any other feeling that makes you want to see it, it’s at ajerseykid.com.

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Hi, kids.

How’ve you been?

Good.

And your cousin?  The one with the thing?

Good good.  Glad that healed up for her.

It’s been a bit; 13 days, actually, since I packed my bags and set off to see the Wizard.

Guess what: I’m still in the waiting room at the Wizard’s office.  Apparently, there are a lot of people in front of me with questions of their own.  It’s like being in line at the counter at Whole Foods having picked number 123590foreverfromnow44.

You probably wouldn’t believe some of the people I’ve seen here waiting on their own answers.  I’d tell you who, but just because I’m talking about where I am with this thing-called-life doesn’t mean everyone else wants their coordinates revealed.

While waiting, I’ve been doing some self-diagnosis because I imagine the Wizard, unlike doctors, likes when we come into its office with ideas of our own.

My idea?  I’ve outgrown this space.

My first blog was like a disaster onesie.  My second was like one of those brightly-colored (probably horizontal-striped) matching short sets from Kmart for boys aged 3-6.  This blog is like a bunched-elastic cuffed, tapered-leg pair of stonewashed Bugle Boy jeans: once awesome but now ill-fitting.

I’m just not Franco Beans anymore.  Pretending that I am stifles me.  I have an actual name certified since birth and real goals that this façade doesn’t serve.  I had always wanted to use this space to change directions, but I’ve been realizing lately that it has been enabling my immobility.  It has been my escape from stationary rather than its solution; my “but at least I have an outlet” excuse when I look around and wonder what I’ve actually changed in these last several months.

I need to continue pushing towards promises I made to myself not much more than a year ago.  That means new.  Among the new: new approach; new URL; new blog.  Either I’ve solved the puzzle already here or the pieces don’t fit anymore.  Whichever it is, it’s time for some new.

I know how incredibly self-consumed this post is and I’m sorry about that.  And even though I call you “kids,” I want you to know that my separation from this blog is not your fault.  It’s not.  This blogationship is ending but you won’t have to decide whether you love the blog or me more or worry about whether we’re going to fight over custody of you.  We can still be one big happy family.

Oh!  That reminds me.  The blogroll starring you and featuring your friends has moved from the front page to the Worlds of Pure Imagination tab up at the top.  Go ahead.  Look.  I’ll wait here.

Are you on there?  I hope so.  If not, I apologize on behalf of my witless brain and ask that you please humiliate me openly for missing you.

Other than that, I guess this post is good to go.  I’ll be around a few more times before what I hope is a brand new start at the top of 2010.  And my Twitter account and I are back on good terms.  So in the meantime, I’ll definitely be less incognegro than I have been.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the line in front of me is moving again.  It seems Tiger Woods is getting an expedited chance to learn why he can’t bring himself to just tell us why his car was wrapped around a tree outside his house at 2:45 a few mornings ago.

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off to see the Wizard

The figments of my imagination have been withering, lately.

Maybe it’s that I haven’t been watering them enough. That definitely seems better than the alternatives — that there’s been some major climatic change I’ve ignored or that their soil (played in this analogy by My Right Brain) has become infertile and harsh. Or maybe I’m getting in their way, blocking sunlight.

I don’t know. And since I don’t see any Miracle-Gro nearby — no quick-fix to get me from these scattered seeds to something I can be proud of — I’m going to take a little time to figure it out the hard way.

Just a little. I have no intentions of making this a long-time thing. I just have every intention of getting it right.

And so I’m off to see the Wizard, because I’ve forgotten how this garden grows and I’m hoping s/he can give me some pruning lessons.

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You,

I bet it doesn’t make you feel good.  I bet you don’t even care enough to notice.  I bet you’ve simply become accustomed to the comfort of cruelty.

It’s easy, right?  It’s just a dog.  It’s just a dog.  Plus, you don’t have to go out of your way.  All you have to do is forget to feed it, to forget to ever bring it inside and forget to schedule that vet appointment.  Easy.

We’ve noticed, though.  We’ve noticed that, everyday we walk home, we walk past your door and your dog is always there; outside.  We’ve noticed that this is always true regardless of weather conditions.  We’ve noticed the neglected appearance — the complete lack of energy, the mangy coat, the weak frame and the sunken, red eyes.  We’ve noticed.

And so we’re going to tell on you.

We’re going to tell on you because you’ve apparently forgotten — or have never known — what it’s like to be defenseless and so you need to be reminded, even if all we can really do is get someone to come to your house and force your unwilling hand.  We’re telling on you because your dog can’t.  We’re telling on you because I know what it’s like to have to put a dog to sleep because we’d exhausted all other options and I can’t imagine why you’d simply let yours fade away for no reason.  We’re telling on you because as I’m writing this, there’s a dog resting against my leg that I’d fight for.  And we’re telling on you because apparently none of your neighbors care either.

No, this is not just some PETA-inspired, lefty rant.  And no, we’re not going to get busy with work and forget.  We are going to discreetly and legally attempt to take pictures from the sidewalk of your dog outside your home.  We’re going to do our legally-trained best to document what we’ve seen.  And we’re going to contact each relevant local entity that will listen.

Sincerely,

Frankly, much better people than you.

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[Note: for purposes of this conversation, you should imagine my voice sounds like the bass dude from a mid-90s R&B boy band]1

*ringring*

you (collectively): hehroh?

[Wait; stop.  Cut post.  I forgot to mention I imagine you say “hello” like Scooby-Doo.  Okay.  Let’s start this from the top.]

*ringring*

you: hehroh?

me: hey. it’s Effbee.

you: yeah, right. i’d recognize that voice anywhere.

me: look, we need to talk. you might want to sit down for this.

you: it’s not mine.

me: what?

you: the baby you’re about to tell me about. i don’t have time for a–

me: i can’t even have babies. you know i’m a dude, right?

you: …

me: the point: we’ve been cool for a while now. like, over a year.

you: yeah..

me: but i have a secret. i feel like i’ve been living a double life. my name isn’t actually “f.B” or “Franco Beans.”

you: excuse me while i struggle under the weight of my surprise.

me: you knew?

you: if you are asking whether i knew your parents didn’t put a name with a period and blatant miscapitalization on your birth certificate, i’m saying “yes.”

me: and you didn’t say anything?

you: i figured you’d tell me when you were ready.

me: well, i’m ready. it’s Brad.

you: B-Rad! like that wack-ass dude in Malibu’s Most Wanted!

me: no. stop that.

you: then “Brad” like the brunette chick on Hey Dude?

me: nonotlikethatbrunettechickonHeyDude!

you: whoa.

me: sorry. childhood nomenclatural trauma. anyway, the thing is, it hasn’t been a total secret. some of you knew and some of you didn’t. so i’ve been kinda going behind some of your backs, giving up the real name goods.

you: wait. who’s “you?” am i “you?” or is there some other “you?” this is getting confusing.

me: you you. well, some of you, you. you’re a collective.

you: whatever. slut.

me: what?

you: just felt right.

me: i guess that’s fair.

you: …

me: …

you: so is that it?

me: yeah. i guess so. it doesn’t sound nearly as momentous as it did in my head.

you: because it wasn’t. like, at all.

me: oh, well. it was nice to finally talk to you and not, like, at you.

you: we done?

me: huh? oh, yeah. sure.

you: cool. holla.

*click*

*click*

_____________
1Yes, even if you know better.

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Last week, Carissa so so generously tagged me as an Honest Scrap.

Wait.  Am I using “scrap” correctly?  Can I be one?  Or is it just like a shield of honesty that I hold?  I don’t know.  Let’s assume anything is possible.

honest-scrap

I tweaked the rules a little and went with ten honest things that risk me looking like a tool in your eyes.  So, here’s a list guaranteed to make you remember Smash Mouth’s Why Can’t be Friends?1

10 Things You’d Hate About Me

1. I don’t know much, but I know I argue. Really. Me: not that smart about a lot of things. But sometimes I like to argue just to see if you are.

2. I don’t really like chocolate. I mean, I’ve always eaten chocolate chip cookies and I will drink Swiss Miss with a smile. And I’m coming around in the last few years with some desserts. But I’ve never even had a chocolate bar; of any kind.

3. Attention to your detail. Ladies: I will probably know if that matches (though, I admit, maybe not why). Dudes: if you try to convince me the New Orleans Saints play in the NFC Central, I will remind you the Central is now the North and then list all 32 teams by division.

4. I gets deep, yo.2 I was a high school debater, a philosophy major and then a law student. I can’t help it. Sometimes I really do want to talk about things like race and gender. And so I might ask you a question that makes you uncomfortable. I just hope you’d know I do it with the hope that you’d do the same for me.

5. I’m a morning person/not a coffee drinker. Aside from one shot of espresso at the Empire Diner, I’ve never had a full cup of coffee in my life. And, no: not really that curious.

6. I’m a doer. I have things to do. What things? Good question. I don’t know. But I need to get them done. I say things like “I’ve got so much to do today” without any idea what they are. I just struggle with being idle.

7. I take ignorance very seriously. I don’t like excuses for it and don’t forget it easily. So, for instance, I haven’t seen an episode of Seinfeld — a show I used to love — since Michael Richards opened his mouth too widely at the Laugh Factory in 2006. The sight of him makes me sick.

8. I think Megan Fox is so obviously unattractive-with-the-face that there must be some media conspiracy to convince us otherwise because everyone seems to disagree with me.

9. I think we’re all at least amateur mind-readers. So maybe you don’t know exactly what I’m thinking.  But even dogs know “sad,” “happy” and “afraid,” so I’m thinking we can figure out some silent communication, too. If I have to produce a report detailing how you possibly could have offended/hurt me every time you do, well, I will take note of that but don’t actually expect any memos after the first time.

10. I fill empty space with opinions. If you don’t have a plan or opinion, then I will just make one up and keep moving. Life is short, kids. It’s not that I even really believe my idea is a good one. It just sounds better than sitting on my hands.

_____________

1Or maybe not, since after listening to it for the first time in years, I have no idea what that song is actually about.

2That’s what he said.

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houseofmirrors800

It’s not what we are; it’s what we appear to be.  This is our currency.  This is what we exchange.  I don’t get to see whatever it is you actually are.  I don’t even really get to see the you you wear by design.  None of that has anything to do with my eyes.

I’m like a fun house mirror.  What I see in you depends on how I’m situated; where I stand.  If my history was different, my vantage point would be, too.  But all I’ve got is this angle.  And I know that does you no favors.  I know that you’re likely aware that perception is king and that you, like all of us, often feel impressionable under the gazes of others.  Little things, like walking into a crowded room, are almost scripted as our wondering whether we’ll make a good impression actually in and of itself changes our behavior; changes the exchange.  I get it.  Each time we walk out of our front doors, we all feel a little like we’re standing in front of fun house mirrors.

So I realize I might be being unfair when I say that I see you as an unfortunate birth.

I imagine that what I see when I look at you is the reflection of your parents.  But, I suppose, like good people make bad decisions, good parents can make bad babies.  So maybe it’s not their fault.  Maybe you strayed from the flock to live the kind of renegade life that would make Lorenzo Lamas proud.

I don’t know.  My purpose in life is not to figure you out.  Trying to get to the heart of the matter with you would probably be like journeying to the Land of the Lost; except less funny because Will Ferrell wouldn’t be there wrestling a T-Rex.

What I see in you is your overreaction to situations.  You don’t even wait for them to become uncomfortable.  You jump the gun and take them there yourself.  You do all the dirty work that absolutely no one else would even think to do, because, well, it’s entirely unnecessary and wholly counter-productive.

Or maybe it’s the way you say exactly what you’re thinking when the situation calls for diplomacy.  I certainly enjoy the refreshing surprise of an explicit thought that goes against the comfortable grain.  But the problem with you saying what you’re thinking is that you seem incapable of thinking for yourself.  The result?  Garbled insults out of context.  The image of you as an asshat impressed upon my cornea.

I don’t know what the answer is.  And, honestly, if I thought saying this to you would get us anywhere, I’d do it.  But my patience has worn thin and when my patience tires, my motivation wanes.

Besides, why would you care what I see in you?  I’m sure I don’t look much like a masterpiece in your eyes, either.

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