Monthly Archives: February 2004

February 29, 2004

This photo (courtesy of him) from the San Francisco gay marriages moves me more than I can put into words. E.S. and I aren’t there yet, but I must confess that little fantasies are popping up in my head, and I’m not always as quick to squelch them as I might be.

Let’s just hope our Stepford Government doesn’t manage to ruin the whole thing before I can say “I do” to somebody.

I mean, I’ve said “I do” to any number of men in response to any number of questions, few if any of which are suitable for repetition in polite company, but you know what I mean.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 10 Comments

February 28, 2004

When I was five, I went to summer camp at the Jewish Community Center. I have mentioned this experience tangentially before, in the third paragraph of this post, but never discussed it directly.

The kids at JCC summer camp were split up into groups of eight or ten. On the first day, each group had to come up with an animal name for itself. Most groups ended up choosing ineffably banal names like the Bears or the Lions. I, on the other hand, had been reading a terrific book about exotic animal species, and somehow through the force of my personality (which has never again been so powerful) I managed to convince the kids in my group that we should call ourselves the Golden Eagles.

That night, however, I finished the book and started another.

I went in the next day and insisted that we change our name from the Golden Eagles to the South American Giant Anacondas.

Evidently, the force of my personality had already begun to ebb. The other kids, morons to a one, thought the South American Giant Anacondas was not a good name for our group and decided to stick to the Golden Eagles.

I date my life as a societal outcast from that very day.


Posted on by Joel Derfner | 3 Comments

February 25, 2004

E.S. stayed over last night, as he didn’t have to be at the hospital today until 1:30. However, as I have written only 2/3 of a show that has already started rehearsals and that opens in roughly a month, the instant I woke up (at the insane hour of 8:00) I leapt at the computer and started working.

E.S. lazed around in bed for a while as I paid no attention to him at all. Then he said, “okay, I’m gonna get going.”

Convinced that he was leaving because he was upset I’d been ignoring him, I burst into tears.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“Akjkinejb sdkfjhm, fdohisd,” I snuffled moronically.


“I’m worried that you’re going to get sick of how much of a mess I am and not want to be with me anymore. Which of course is making me more of a mess.”

He started laughing, which made me cry harder.

“Look, honey,” he said. “You don’t have to worry about me.”

And so, astonishingly, I’m not.

Can you say perfect boyfriend?

Can you say mood disorder?

I knew you could.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 20 Comments

February 23, 2004

A few days ago, I was scheduled to meet with a collaborator of mine in the early afternoon. She called me in the late morning and said, “I’m observing the fact that I seem not to have moved, and I’m wondering what to do about it.”

“Well,” I said, “it seems to me that you have two options. First, you could operate from an understanding of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which states that the mere fact of observation changes the thing being observed. Or second, you could move.”

When I type it now, it doesn’t seem that funny, but I promise that in the moment it was, as they say, a laff riot.

Really, I’m telling this story as a way to introduce this link, but I can’t for the life of me come up with a graceful segue.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 3 Comments

February 22, 2004

Last night, E.S. and I went to the 50th birthday party of a friend of his, a delightful woman I’d met briefly the last time he and I were dating. Last night’s event took place at a Russian restaurant in Brighton Beach, which, for those of you unfamiliar with the geography of New York City, is about as far out in Brooklyn as you can go without hitting the Atlantic Ocean; this means it takes forever to get to.

What I was dreading, however, was neither the travel time nor having to leave Manhattan, but the presence at the party of E.S.’s ex-boyfriend E.W., who lives across the hall from E.S. and with whom E.S. is still good friends.

E.W. hates my guts.

I’d actually spent some time in E.W.’s company the last time E.S. and I were dating, and he was fun, friendly, and charming. However, when the whole debacle surrounding my reconnection with E.S. took place, his volatile, possessive, jealous, over-protective side came out; apparently, he raged and stormed and was prevented from issuing a fatwa only by E.S.’s continued insistence that if he could get over it, E.W. could too.

This would be the first time since E.S. and I started dating again that I’d see E.W., and, as I say, I was dreading it.

In the event, however, I wasn’t dreading it enough.

As unluck would have it, we ended up in the same subway car. After greeting me by the moniker Faust (rather than my real name), he spent the entire rest of the now-interminable subway ride neither speaking to me nor looking at me. Finally at one point he was talking about wanting to sit next to the birthday girl. He said, “If I have to supplant somebody, I will, though I’ve been specifically requested not to beat a specific person up.”

I said, “Oh, well, if you’ve been specifically requested, that’s almost an invitation.”

E.S. said, “He’s talking about you.”

“Oh,” I said miserably. “In that case.”

We finally reached Brighton Beach, got off, and headed towards the restaurant. Just outside the door, E.W. turned to me and said, “Faustus [my real name this time], I’m certain you’re aware that there are going to be several people here who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.”

I wish I could say that I had a snappy comeback, but I was so horrified that all I could say was, “I’m sure there are.”

Then he said [I’m quoting almost verbatim], “I don’t know what you’ve told E.S. about your past behavior to him, which you detailed for whatever narcissistic reason on your blog, but if I ever find out that your future behavior to him bears any resemblance to your past behavior, the consequences will be dire.”

Then he wished me luck.

Appalled, I thanked him.

Thus assaulted, I went inside to the party, where I was so mortifyingly underdressed I might as well have been wearing nothing but a thong made of Saran Wrap. Furthermore, E.S. and E.W. were the only people I knew at the party, aside from the hostess, who was busy having a blast on her birthday. E.W. immediately sat down at the table with all the fags, which meant that E.S. and I had to sit at the table with all the straight people, who talked about things like where they’d gotten the brooches they were wearing.

The food was dreadful—pickled things and gray meat in grayer sauce, which is terrific if you like that sort of thing, but I don’t. Finally, they brought out a huge cake and sang happy birthday, but my hopes of being able to eat and run were dashed when they took the cake away and forced us to watch a dance show of young Russians in costumes that glowed under black lights; after a little of this, the black light dancers left stage and were replaced by two guys in sombreros dancing with canes. This went on and on.

Finally they brought the cake back; E.S. and I gobbled down what we could, and left.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 21 Comments

February 20, 2004

You know what I hate?

When I apply for awards and other people win them instead.

I really hate that.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

February 19, 2004

The undergraduate musical theater department at NYU is producing a show of mine at the end of March. The show is about two-thirds finished, which isn’t bad, given that they started vocal rehearsals last week. The thing is, the bookwriter-lyricist for the show and I have absolutely no idea if what we’re writing will turn out how we want it to. We had the following conversation yesterday:

HER: “Do you think it’s working?”

ME: “I’m not sure. I know it’s good. I just don’t know if it’s . . .”

HER: “Transcendent?”

ME: “Exactly. But no matter what it will be good.”

HER: “Yeah, but if it isn’t transcendent, it’s failure.”


HER: “I’m not joking.”

ME: “I know. Didn’t you hear the hint of desperation in that laugh?”

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 2 Comments

February 18, 2004

Here is a poem written by my thesis advisor in college.

Two saw George go to school that day.
Two saw George as he went out to play
With his tiny friends in the schoolyard park.
But when he returned under cover of dark,
None saw George and the sinister grin
That slowly grew upon his face
As he interred his best friend Tim,
Whom he had done in with his saws
Beneath the schoolyard jungle gym.
Now why did George do it?
Well, just because.

I knew there was a reason I liked my thesis advisor.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 5 Comments

February 16, 2004

What I mean is things like this.

I have spent the last three days thinking obsessively about various posts I made while I was dating E.S. the last time, about people I slept with in various settings and various ways but all connected by the thread of gross disrespect for him. My train of thought has run thusly:

I know E.S. said he read my blog. But he never mentioned such-and-such a post or asked about it, though he might be naturally curious about it, and he asked about other things I wrote about. What if he somehow missed this post? That means that, although he knows in a general sense what a cad I was, there’s at least one specific sense in which he doesn’t know. I have to tell him. If I don’t tell him, our relationship is based on a lie. If I do tell him, what if it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back and he breaks up with me, because he hadn’t realized up to this point what a jerk I’d truly been? I have to talk to him I can’t talk to him I have to talk to him I can’t talk to him I–

You get the point. My rational mind realizes that this is all nonsense, that he almost certainly read whatever post I was obsessing about at the time, that even if he missed it somehow, he still knows I was a jerk and has forgiven me, that even if I told him about it and he got mad, he wouldn’t break up with me, that it’s just not that big a deal.

But try telling that to the norepinephrine flooding my locus ceruleus. And I’ve been so preoccupied thinking about this that I’ve become distracted and distant, which in turn is upsetting him, and if I finally work myself up to talking about it with him, I will have invested the issue with such a powerful emotional charge that it will have turned into more than a mountain when really it’s less than a molehill.

At least there’s a Law & Order marathon on TNT all day to distract me.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 12 Comments

February 15, 2004

The thing is, E.S. seems to have forgiven me for the way I treated him last time we were dating.

So why can’t I forgive myself?

Am I going to manage to fuck this up again, this time from the other side?

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 11 Comments