Monthly Archives: November 2008

November 17, 2008

While attempting to clean my office today, I came across the first gift I ever received from somebody who was not a blood relative. It was given to me when I was five by my across-the-street neighbor Meb.


Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

November 16, 2008

I understand that, for the young, Facebook has virtually innumerable appealing qualities.

However, for people of a certain age, the best things about Facebook, as far as I can tell, are that you find out

1) all the people you wanted to sleep with in high school but couldn’t dream of doing so because they were straight are now gay; and

2) All the people you were jealous of and wanted so badly to be that it made you bleed are now fat and real estate agents.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 13 Comments

November 12, 2008

From a conversation E.S. and I had tonight:

E.S.: Honey, let’s move to Bali!
E.S.: We could have a house on stilts!
E.S.: Why are you such a party pooper?
FAUSTUS: It’s my job as your lover.
E.S.: To destroy all my joy?

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 8 Comments

November 10, 2008

I cannot fucking wait till it rains:


Posted on by Joel Derfner | 7 Comments

November 9, 2008

One day, at the age of twelve or thirteen, as I was coming down the stairs into the kitchen I noticed the Hershey bar on top of the refrigerator and, being particularly desirous of something sweet at the time, decided to eat it, and did so. Technically there was a Hershey bar on top of the refrigerator so that if my diabetic mother’s blood sugar should ever fall precipitously low my father would have something with which to prevent her falling into a diabetic coma before she could be gotten to the hospital. I knew, however, that this was only a formality, since such a thing had never happened in my memory and my mother’s diabetes was well under control. The Hershey bar was delicious.

Then, about a month and a half later, my diabetic mother’s blood sugar fell precipitously low. I remember the ensuing scene only very, very vaguely; I know it involved my father’s roaring at me, my dissolving into wailing, tearful sobs, and the emergency delivery by some means or other of a Hershey bar to the house. My mother did not fall into a diabetic coma before she could be gotten to the hospital. She did end up having to stay there for a week or two, but when she came back she seemed more or less fine.

I grew up in a house where if you ate a candy bar somebody might die. Is it any wonder I’m fucked up?

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 12 Comments

November 8, 2008

Between the ages of eight and twelve the person who has never been seen in the same room as me lived in Washington, D.C. His family moved back to Charleston, South Carolina at that point, so he had to start seventh grade in a new school with people he didn’t know. Apparently he did in fact know a few of them, from when he’d lived there before, but he’d been seven, and he didn’t remember any of them by now. So it was with great apprehension that he sat down for homeroom in the fourth desk from the back in the far right row. He knew that his comportment over the next few weeks would determine his classmates’ opinion of him and that this opinion would be immutable for all time.

A girl leaned back from the row on his left, two seats from the front, and said, “What’s your name?”

“Joel,” he said.

“Oh, like Billy Joe?” she asked.

“Yes,” he answered, “but with an L.”

Whereupon he realized instantly that what she had actually said was “Oh, like Billy Joel?” and that he had effectively ruined any chance he might have had at a social life for the next six years.

He still wonders, I’m told, what his life would be like now if he’d just been listening a little more carefully.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 2 Comments

November 7, 2008

I’ve written a number of times on this blog about the musical drama I’m writing about Terezín, the Czech ghetto the Nazis used as a propaganda tool during the Second World War.

Well, we have an actual off-Broadway production planned, opening in May. Like, an actual New York production, with actual actors and an actual set and, one hopes, an actual audience.

The problem is, of course, that it’s going to require actual money. Like, somewhere between $500,000 and $700,000. The theater we’re working with is going to put up as much of that money as it can, but given the Late Unpleasantness I figured they can use all the help they can get.

So with the help of this lovely goddess I’ve set up a website at If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you to stop by and consider 1) making a small donation and 2) using the “tell your friends” option to forward the URL to friends and family you think might also be interested in making donations. The more help we can get, the better our chances of making this actually happen.

Thank you. And wish me luck.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 4 Comments

November 6, 2008

So Proposition 8 has 400,000 more yes votes than no votes–and there are still three to four million votes left to count.

And even if it ends up winning a majority of the votes, it will be invalid anyway, since the proposers didn’t follow the procedure required in cases like this by the California constitution.

All is not lost.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 9 Comments

November 5, 2008

Shortly after Senator McCain’s concession speech last night, I called my father, whom I’ve discussed before in the pages of this blog. He fought on the front lines of the civil rights movement in Mississippi in the 1960s and along with my mother was instrumental in the twenty-year extension of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He recently turned 70 years old, and though he hasn’t stopped fighting for justice–mostly in the field of labor law these days–the predations that began with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 have taken their toll.

So rather than share my thoughts on last night’s events, I’ll share his:

“You know how people say, ‘I never dreamed I would see something like this in my lifetime’?

“Well, I did.

“And then there came a time when I stopped dreaming, because things changed.

“And tonight I’m dreaming again. I’m so excited about the future, and so full of hope.

“And Faustus, you’ve got a great country ahead of you.”

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 10 Comments

November 4, 2008

When E.S. and I went to vote this morning, there was a guy with a handheld video camera making, one presumed, some sort of documentary. As E.S. conferred with the poll volunteer about which election district we were in, the guy pointed his camera toward me and said, “What does today mean to you?

And I thought for a moment, and I said, “It means I’m an American.”

The thought that that might soon start to mean something again makes me very, very happy.

However, the polling place, though a public school, made the regrettable mistake of not having a bake sale, which I really thought was mandatory during elections.

I hope this doesn’t mean my vote will be suppressed.

It’s okay, though, since at lunch I had red velvet cake, which was delicious and had the added advantage of not having been touched by a grade-schooler.

Posted on by Joel Derfner | 6 Comments