Monthly Archives: April 2003

April 30, 2003

I woke up late this morning and realized that if I took the time to shower I would be late for my step aerobics class. Since this one is taught by the really cute gayest step aerobics instructor ever, I didn’t want to miss it, so I figured, what the hell, I’ll just shower after class.

Unfortunately, since the walls of the step aerobics classroom are covered with mirrors, it became immediately and painfully apparent to me the second I walked into the room that, unshowered, I looked like a deathly ill heroin addict. I don’t know why this should have bothered me, given that every week he sees me grimacing and sweating as I clomp around gracelessly on my step. But it was all I could do not to run from the room, claiming appendicitis.

But then after class I flirted with him in the steam room, so it all turned out okay.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

April 29, 2003

I spent the evening working on the musical I’m writing about a concentration camp. More specifically, I spent the evening writing a love song sung by a Nazi to the Angel of Death.

I feel kind of gross.

I guess that’s a good thing.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 4 Comments

April 28, 2003

Tonight at cheerleading practice I was supposed to pass the spirit stick on to next month’s winner, but I forgot to bring it.

The astute among you will notice that I never mentioned being awarded the spirit stick in the first place. This is because, after bending all my mental and psychic energies to ensuring that I would win the spirit stick for April, when I did, I instantly felt I didn’t deserve it. I’ve missed too many squad events, I can never go to the optional practices because I teach at the same time they’re held, and I can’t deal with going to the squad bonding nights because they’re all held in bars and I hate hate hate bars, and so when they said my name, instead of leaping up to accept the spirit stick with the pride and joy that should have come with the knowledge that I had beaten all my competitors into the ground, I was so miserable that I wanted to throw myself out the window and die.

I wonder if I will ever let myself enjoy anything.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

April 27, 2003

Okay, I’m going to say this once and once only, so listen up.

If you are invited to an orgy, you should assume, unless you are told otherwise, that the other guests will be interested in exploring various and sundry parts of your body, not just the ones traditionally associated with sex acts.

So please don’t wear deodorant.

It tastes really gross.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

April 26, 2003

N.B.: Yesterday I posted four times, to make up for recent lapses. I am now officially caught up. The veritable orgy of blogging exhausted me, but I seem to have recovered.

The problem with having sex with a French person is that the French word for “yeah” (“ouais”) sounds exactly like the English word “wait,” just without the final “t,” which one might leave off anyway if sufficiently distracted.

In the throes of passion, the course of action one takes upon hearing “yeah” is very, very different from the course of action one takes upon hearing “wait.”

Luckily, the glamor one feels sleeping with a French person is more than enough to make up for any momentary awkwardness.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 3 Comments

April 25, 2003

N.B.: This is my final post of four today. God, I’m beat.

In step aerobics class, I spend a lot of time and energy checking in the mirror to make sure that I’m holding and moving my hands and arms according to eighteenth century precepts of correct stage movement. This involves, among other things, curving one’s arms slightly and holding one’s hands either with the fingers slightly fanned out or with the third and fourth fingers together, slightly bent in towards the palm (or, if one wants to be particularly refined, with the ball of the third finger slightly on the nail of the fourth finger). There are also rules governing how one stands and walks, but they become impossible to obey once one starts dancing around a plastic platform.

I’ve been doing step aerobics classes for three weeks and it only occurred to me today that this wasn’t just the most ordinary thing in the world.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments

April 25, 2003

N.B.: This is my third post of four today.

When I was fourteen, my father, brother, and I went to Israel to visit our 88,000 cousins there. Very few of them spoke English, so my brother and I spent most of our time listening to my father talk to them in Yiddish, which we do not speak, and eating the bad food they cooked for us.

We spent one day, however, touring Masada, a desert mountain fortress that was the site of a famous Jewish rebellion in the first century A.D. and the subject of a terrific TV miniseries in 1981 starring Peter O’Toole and Peter Strauss. A thousand Jewish Zealots, led by Eleazar ben Yair, managed to resist a siege by 15,000 Roman troops for a year, and on the eve of their defeat, the Zealots all killed themselves rather than submit to Roman capture. They set fire to the fortress and everything in it except the food, to show that starvation had nothing to do with their fall.

We were in a tour group with several other people, including a family of four (two parents and two daughters) who had given the younger daughter the trip to Israel as her Bat Mitzvah present. (A Bar or Bat Mitzvah, for those of you who don’t know, is the Jewish ceremony that marks a child’s passage into adulthood at age thirteen.) As the tour guide showed us various parts of the fortress—”this is where the cisterns were, where they had enough water to last them another two years,” etc.—it became clear that the younger daughter was very unhappy to be in Israel, where it was, she said, hot and boring. Her complaints to her older sister became more and more vociferous until we got to the room where the Zealots had drawn lots to see which ten men would kill the others, and which of those ten would in turn kill the remaining nine and then himself. We all stood in silence, even the younger daughter, and I was pleased that she wasn’t so callous as to remain unmoved by the thought of such a defiant refusal to submit.

And then she turned to her sister and said, “I mean, we coulda been in Aruba!”

I tried to push her off the side of the mountain but unfortunately my father wouldn’t let me.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 4 Comments

April 25, 2003

N.B.: This is my second post of four today.

I normally don’t address political issues here, because thinking too much about the state of the world gets me so angry and depressed that I want to impale myself on a flaming tiki torch, but this is simply too priceless to be passed over. You need the sound on, but it’s work-safe unless you happen to be employed by the Republican National Committee, the Department of Homeland Security, or 10 Downing Street.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 1 Comment

April 25, 2003

N.B.: This is my first post of several today. See below for the juicy details.

All right. This has gone far enough. In recent weeks, there have been three days on which I’ve failed to post. I know it’s about quality rather than quantity, blah, blah, blah, but my OCD is hounding me like an avenging Fury. (I tried to write something about the unposted posts following me like Hera’s gadfly followed Io, allowing her no rest after Hera discovered that she was Zeus’s latest infidelity, but for some reason—perhaps senility is finally setting in—I just couldn’t construct the clause in any way that both made sense and had any shred of elegance at all. So I had to make do with the less apt but more straightforward Fury bit. Please forgive me.)

In any case, I’ve decided to post four times today, thereby getting rid of the backlog of unposted posts in one fell swoop. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. . . .

It seems to be my day for allusions that aren’t quite right. Please forgive me. Maybe I’ll be more awake later in the day.

Or maybe just more senile.

Wish me luck.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 2 Comments

April 23, 2003

Are all step aerobics instructors from another planet, or just the ones I’ve encountered over the last couple of weeks?

There was the woman yesterday who kept on seeming all perky and fun and then every once in a while would slip for a nanosecond into a growling yell that made me think the class was being led by the love child of Harvey Fierstein and Darth Vader. “And right basic, and V step right, around the world, and LUNGE!!!!!!!, and left basic, and TRAVEL!!!!!!!, and . . .” I was terrified she was going to eat me.

Then there’s the guy who does the Wednesday morning class who has the best body I’ve ever seen on a human being and is also the gayest person I have ever met. Last week, at one point I thought the music sounded familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. Then I realized it was a disco remix of the Titanic song. Then, during the cool-down at the end, the music was “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”—the London cast, with Elaine Paige. I ran into him in the locker room afterwards and asked if he taught regularly, because I’d enjoyed the class a lot, and he said he was only in town for a few months, doing an off-Broadway show. I asked him which show, which was foolish of me, because of course he’s doing Naked Boys Singing. The only way he could be gayer would be if he wore a Carmen Miranda hat during the class.

The one really disturbing thing about his class last week, though, was that, in the midst of all the steps with fun names like “around the world” and “revolving door,” he introduced a step called “peg leg,” which involved stepping on one foot while dragging the other along the floor in the manner of Captain Ahab. I had to do the peg leg about twenty times, and I cringed every time. I realize that step aerobics class is not necessarily the most appropriate venue for heightened sociolinguistic awareness, but come on. Peg leg?

Though I suppose “differently limbed” or “drag your prosthesis” don’t have quite the same élan.

By the way, the climax of yesterday’s dilemma has been delayed, so to speak: the straight guy who has been flirting mercilessly with me for a month couldn’t go out last night for ice cream or a drink, because he had to catch an insanely early train. However, he did ask for a rain check in such a way as to make it clear that he meant it.

I’ll have him yet.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments