Hello everyone. Interloper speaking.
I met Ed six and a half years ago, two hours after I had barfed on the side of my friend Anna’s car, a few days after ACL reconstruction surgery.
I had a fever. We probably should have driven straight to the hospital after I vomited, since it turns out I had a nasty bacterial infection related to the surgery and ended up spending the night in the emergency room, but no. My priority that day had been to locate the abundant tables of wine and cheese at the launch party for Asian Quilt, a small literary journal run by Vassar students, which had published (God bless them) some angsty piece I had written about trying to locate myself during a homestay in China.
That year I had incidentally been charged with laying out the journal, so I was familiar with all of the pieces published within. Ed had written a poem entitled “Yin Yang Man.” He had a line in there that said something like “Fuck you, Barnes and Noble.” As I partitioned his poem into text boxes in InDesign, I thought, “Who is this vulgar creature? I must be his friend!”
At the beginning of the event, Shruti, the Editor-in-Chief pointed Ed out to me and tasked me with sitting next to him and making him feel comfortable. So Ed and I sat at a table together, him in a new-person daze and me with my swollen foot propped up on a chair, crutches and all, and Anna by my side in case of an emergency (Anna became a nurse BTW).
The whole event is kind of a haze. I couldn’t tell if it was because of the novelty of meeting Ed or of being in a lovely sculpture garden, or if it was because I had an actual fever. I can’t even remember if I ate the cheese, and I hope I knew better than to drink the wine. I have no idea what Ed and I talked about. But what I do remember is that at some point, the published writers were asked to volunteer to go to the front of the garden and read their work out loud, and I was shocked when Ed went up to perform his poem in front of a room full of strangers. He did the hand gestures and everything, like how they do it at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
And I THOUGHT HE WAS SO BALLSY!!!!
He was the only person he knew at this event and he went up and did his ‘tudinal speech and didn’t care what anyone thought!
(To be fair, when it comes to public speaking skills, it’s really not that hard to impress me. I pretty much think that anyone who can go on stage and speak without making an ass of themselves is superhuman. It’s because in seventh grade we had to write and recite speeches in front of the whole class. I had written an excellent speech about dreams, and the moment I opened my mouth to tell everyone how cool dreams were and to mispronounce “Freud” twelve times, the stale piece of gum that had been marinating in my saliva fell to the ground. I have hated and sucked at public speaking since.)
Anyway, Ed and I became Internet friends. I’ve only met him maybe three or four times in my life but now we know way too much about each other.
When Ed initially proposed the idea of starting a group blog to me a few months ago, I cynically (or astutely) assumed that he was trying to use my experience setting up websites to help him migrate his thoughts from the embarrassing, angst-ridden recesses of Tumblr onto something more legit, but that he was trying to disguise this by benevolently inviting me to ~express myself~ on his blog. I pushed this thought to the back of my head and agreed to help him.
However, over the course of a month, I endured a relentless stream of inane gchats from him, 95% of which pertained to What We Should Name This Thing.
Ed: How about lookdope.com?
Me: WTF that sounds like a dapper dude’s website!
Ed: I’m gonna be straight with you, I got that domain name in hopes of starting a fashion related website.
Other names that didn’t make the cut: loudorquiet.com. wordstroll.com. (Word Stroll? Words Troll? Seriously Ed!!)
I suggested 26 and Stupid, passive-aggressively trying to indicate to Ed that he was, well, stupid.
There’s no denying it, people. Ed is 26 and stupid. But so am I. And so too will Jack be, when he turns 26. We’re all 26 and stupid in some way.
So we got the domain, messed around with the blog, then put some of Ed’s posts on it. I told Ed I would help him set up the blog but that I had no plans to contribute. Basically, after the blog was set up, I wished to terminate my relationship with it. I wanted to stop the stupid gchats.
But it was not to be!
After we nailed down the name, statcounter became Ed’s new obsession. He sent me message after message about statcounter. “ZOMG!! Where do I put the code?” “You can see people’s IP addresses!” My work day was punctuated by Ed’s name flashing blue in my gmail, clamoring for my broken attention. “Someone in XYZ is reading the blog!”
One day Ed sent me multiple urgent emails from his iPhone asking me to set up an email address @26andstupid.com ASAP because, according to statcounter—which he was checking from his bloody iPhone—ZOMMMGGG someone from a publishing company was reading the blog.
That’s when I kind of lost it with him. “I see right through you,” I said. “Stop using me for your stupid narcissistic venture! I don’t want to be involved! And who the F uses statcounter anyway?”
I’m sorry, Ed, for being such a twit that day. Thanks for being such a pal about it all and for letting me say my piece.
As you can see, Ed and Jack have gone right on, posting piece after piece of funny, sad, observant (and perhaps stupid) writing that probably no one is reading. It’s great!
I realize now my resistance thus far to participating in this blog isn’t really because of Ed.
It comes from somewhere very deep inside me. It’s a fear that I have nothing to say, that I don’t know enough about any one thing or experience to write lucidly and interestingly or cleverly or whatever.
I mean, every time I sit down to write, the questions start tumbling around my head:
What is a voice? And how does one cultivate it? Do I have the discipline to do this? Who wants to read my opinions? Do I even have opinions? What if writing’s not my medium? And most importantly:
DO I SOUND LIKE JENNY FROM THE L WORD?
(This question has plagued me since her professor told her, in Season 2, “You are a compulsive excavator of your own emotional navel lint. A nit-picking, obsessive truth-teller.”)
Well, there’s really only one way to find out the answers to these questions! I shall blog!
Consider this a peace offering to Ed, and to everyone that I have started—and abandoned—a blog with. And, I suppose, to myself. My stupid, 26-year-old self.