Ahhhhh sweet early 90s atmospheric jangle pop, you’re all I need!
I don’t want to walk dogs anymore. It’s a noble profession that matters to society certainly as much as firefighters and surgeons, but it’s just not “me.” Not anymore! I’ve decided I will now be a grownup and have a career that I desire to have which also yields a lot of sweet money for me to use for any sandwich I want at any time of day. But you can’t just make this decision and then suddenly be sitting in the offices of Saturday Night Live writing a sketch that captures the American zeitgeist and leads to a movie and two sequels and retirement at age 35. You have to do things first. Ugh. I hate doing things. For example, I don’t even want to finish writing this post. I got bored after two sentences. But if I can’t finish writing this then I definitely can’t get a writing job or whatever the hell I’m looking for. So here are things I guess I have to do?
- WRITE A SPEC SCRIPT. I once bought a book that teaches you how to write a spec script. I got really excited about it and moved to Los Angeles thinking I would write spec scripts all fucking day and be working for the hit TV show Parks and Recreation in a month. Once I got to LA I didn’t write so much as one word of potential dialogue for Amy Poehler to say. I went to the Writers Guild library, thinking I’d take a look at some scripts and get the formatting down. A librarian asked me, “What do you want?” I said, “I don’t know. Do you have Parks and Recreation scripts I can read?” She said, “Doesn’t seem like you know what you’re doing here. Maybe you can go home and do some research on your own and then come back with a clearer purpose.” I said, “Ok.” Then I went home and gave up on my unclear dreams.
- AUDITION FOR STUFF. I think I kind of suck at acting but I could definitely ham it up enough for a commercial or some soul-destroying shit like that. I took an acting class and never got comfortable, and I’ll never pay for another one again. If I get some acting job where they’re like, “you suck and need to take a class and we will pay for it,” I’d say “ok.” That’s seriously how I think! I won’t take an acting class to learn how to act but if I get an acting job and they offer to pay for the class, then okay I’ll take a class. What a moron. I’m one of these dipshits who moves to the big city and pictures himself in a Manhattan high-rise with some vague, awesome career that I just got somehow. It was just given to me because I am talented and deserving of a sweet career. Good lord, I am doomed.
- GO BACK TO SCHOOL. What if I went back to school???? Like, real school. Creative writing school. Is that real school? I mean, maybe if I got my masters in creative writing then they’d (who’s they? Dunno! Some asshole with glasses) let my creative writing appear on their websites. Or maybe they’d like, give me money to write a thing? I don’t even know what I think could happen or is supposed to happen from going back to school, but it seems like I’d have to walk even more dogs just to pay for school and afterwards I’d be a dog walker who just finished school. Fun!
- JUST SUBMIT A LOT OF WRITING FOR FREE. I’ve submitted just five pieces in 2014. That’s very few. They have all been rejected, but then I put them on my personal blog and they get a decent reaction. So I think if I just keep submitting stuff, someone’s gonna have to accept it eventually. Probably not McSweeney’s. Maybe I should go after smaller game than McSweeney’s. Like, go after a website I know for sure how to spell properly.
Anyway, there are more things I could do but I have to go walk dogs right this goddamn second. So, bye. Wish me luck. And good luck to you! We’re all a little confused, right? Yes? Are you kicking ass? Sometimes I see posts from people who I thought were making lots of money and they’re all, “I suck and my career sucks and I’m a failure.” And I’m like, “Huh? You’re living off your writing/acting/standup/whatever. Quit being an asshole. I walk fucking dogs! I’m almost 30! My own therapist is disappointed in me! Fuck.” So, if you’re living off what you want to be living off of, please shut up. But tell me how you did that.
Yesterday I launched my website, bradaustincomedy.com. One of the tabs on the site is called “twitter” and it serves as a link to my twitter page. I thought it would only be appropriate to announce here on my blog my first tweet since launching my site (so many social media platforms!). Anyway, here it is. It was inspired by a commercial I heard today on spotify that told me to make lunch my game-winning meal. I hope you enjoy it I hope you like my site!
Hello, and thank you for your interest in becoming the next President of the United States of America!
Due to an overwhelming amount of submissions, not everyone will be chosen for the United States presidency. While we wish everyone could be president, the sad truth is that only one of about a hundred thousand applicants will become the president. With this in mind, please follow these submission guidelines to a tee.
Please submit a 5-7 minute tape of you “being the president.” This does not NEED to be in the form of a public address. While we do tend to favor applicants who go to the trouble of putting a suit on and addressing the entire United States of America in a well-written speech, we are often very taken with applicants who do something a little more creative. In recent years, we’ve seen applicants submit tapes of the following:
-Being the president waking up in the morning (how does a great president wake up in the morning? How long does he/she lay in bed and stare out the window or at the ceiling, if at all? What kind of expression does a United States president have on his/her face right when he/she wakes up, etc.)
-Being the president eating a meal (What type of sandwich would you order as the president? Or, would you make a sandwich for yourself, as you are the president and should be able to make a sandwich. What would you do while eating a sandwich? Would you read a paper or handle official US president business, or would you focus on just eating, as this may be one of your few moments of free time?)
-Being the president at a party (how would you conduct yourself as a president in a party situation? Would you abstain completely from alcohol to show you are better than most people, or would you have 1-2 glasses of wine to show that you’re a man/woman of the people and can still have fun? What if you were offered pot or cocaine at a party and were the president? How would you handle this?)
In addition to your tape, we also require a 500-1000 word essay. This can be anything. You can tell us precisely what your politics are (i.e. are you a “democrat” or a “republican”?) and what you plan to do as president (would things be better if you were president? Would America run more smoothly?). Or, similar to the video submission, you can get creative with this essay as well! The following topics are examples of ways to approach this essay.
-Describe a previous situation in your life where you acted particularly presidential.
-Describe a situation where you acted rather un-presidential. Tell us how you would handle the press and the American public if this story were to go viral and create a controversy.
-What if you were the president at a party and were offered pot or cocaine? How would you handle this?
We also require a headshot and a bio. Your bio should be tweet-length. A great president should understand the importance of word economy and be able to communicate succinctly. Use this bio to tell us unique information that would make you a special president. Are you currently or have you ever been the president? The vice-president? A woman? A homosexual? A black person who is all-the-way black? Please include your net worth.
Lastly, we require that you are a natural US-born citizen who has lived here at least 14 years and that you are at least 35 years of age.
Please submit your headshot, bio, essay and video (URL links only!) to email@example.com.
We look forward to reviewing your submission! Please do not submit if you have already been the president twice.
"Don’t go outside, ever. Don’t. Outside is where you lose pens. I lost 27 pens last week running errands. Writing is hard, I tell you." - Ted Shlemp
"People are gonna try to get you to not do the thing that makes you think this is the thing I was put here to try so I can expose my pain to this place where I am currently and maybe it’s worth letting myself not listen to these people who are always trying to steal my bliss but you need to not listen to these people is what I think I guess unless you think they have a point is what I tell people." - Margaret Blossox
"Writing? Don’t even get me started! Seriously!! Hahahahaha" - Hank Crop
"I was nine years old when I published my first novel. If you can’t say that, Get. Out. Of. My. Face." - Lester McRobinsonian
"What you need to do is wake up everyday at the same time and take your dog for a walk. If you don’t have a dog, get a dog, and if the dog can’t walk because it has only two legs or something retarded then find some sticks that are of similar length and width to its two real legs and somehow fasten them to the dog and just make it walk. If you can make that dog walk every morning, you can write a novel, jack." - George V. Tawlerb
"Don’t write anything. Stay out of my fucking way. Do not become a writer, I will kill you." - Gretta “Gramma” Nancy
"Anyone can be a writer if he is bold, persistent, well-read, good at writing, white, a man, industrious, a white man, careful, a straight man’s man who is white, and self-aware." - Clyde White
"Have fun!! Don’t use too many exclamation points though LOL!!!! ;)" - Betsy Quarfer
"The only two things any real writer needs are a cup of coffee and a rich uncle!" - Trent Egg
"AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!" - Seth Clarence-Clarence
"Rejection is a bitch! I once wrote a story and submitted it to a magazine and it got rejected. I never tried ever again! Now I’m 59 and I work at Chase Bank and life is okay by me, jack!" - Homer Loaf
"This is the only piece of advice any writer needs. If you follow this, you will be alright, I promise. If not…well, don’t say I didn’t try to help you out…ugggghhhhh" - Zoe Plumper (her last words)
And I am only writing all of this to prepare you. In a world controlled by business why should we not expect businessmen to think first of business?
And do bear in mind that publishers of books, of magazines, of newspapers are, first of all, businessmen. They are compelled to be.
And do not blame them when they do not buy your stories. Do not be romantic. There is no golden key that unlocks all doors. There is only the joy of living as richly as you can, always feeling more, absorbing more, and, if you are by nature a teller of tales, the realization that by faking, trying to give people what they think they want, you are in danger of dulling and in the end quite destroying what may be your own road into life.
There will remain for you, to be sure, the matter of making a living, and I am sorry to say to you that in the solution of that problem, for you and other young writers, I am not interested. That, alas, is your own problem. I am interested only in what you may be able to contribute to the advancement of our mutual craft.
But why not call it an art? That is what it is.
Did you ever hear of an artist who had an easy road to travel in life?"
— Sherwood Anderson in a letter to George Freitag
Not sure how to begin this. First, I want you to know I miss you. I miss our friendship, I do. And I’m genuinely happy and proud of all the success you’ve had. You deserve it. But, I also want to be honest with you about how these past years have been for me.
“Mr. Jones” turned 20 last year. 20 years! 20 years since you played me the song and I laughed and said, “This’ll never be a hit.” 20 years since you had to stop hanging out with me because of how busy you became after it became a huge fucking hit. 20 years since you became famous and I became a drunk guy going up to women at bars when the song came on, trying to convince them, no, seriously, this song is about me. I’m Mr. Jones.
Jesus, I still do it. I take out my license and show them. “See? Marty Jones.” They laugh and say Jones is a very common last name and that they’re pretty sure the Mr. Jones in this song is not even a real person. And then I remember, I’m fifty goddamn years old. And then I get really fucking mad that you called it “Mr. Jones” and not “Marty Jones.” Would it have been that hard to use my full name? “Marty” and “Mr.” both start with an M and have two syllables. It wouldn’t have made the song any worse. Then I feel like a big piece of shit for wishing you’d called it “Marty Jones.” Why would I want that? So I could feel famous? For a song I had nothing to do with? A song I wasn’t even invited to play bass on? Fuck you.
God, sorry. Goddammit. I don’t wish you’d called it “Marty Jones.” I wish it had never been written! I’m sorry, but that’s what I wish. Please don’t think I’m just being an asshole here, Adam. But the last thought I have before falling asleep each night in my basement apartment after I finish regretting that second bottle of wine is “what if he’d never written ‘Mr. Jones’?” Counting Crows might have never hit it big. He and I would still be best friends. We would have gotten our band back together. Maybe I’d be famous, too. Me. Not Mr. Jones. Marty Jones.
You never knew this, or maybe you did, but in ’98 I got my own band together and we played a few gigs. Mostly covers. But one original song. “Mr. Duritz.” That’s right. I wrote a song called “Mr. Duritz.” And no, it’s not a hit. It’s not my fault you have a goofy last name that doesn’t rhyme with anything. Otherwise I’d be a “big star” just like you. It’s a good goddamn song, spoiled by “Duritz,” just like my whole life was spoiled by Duritz.
You said “we’re gonna be big stars.” You were half-right. I’m a bartender. At a bar where “Mr. Jones” comes on the jukebox pretty fucking frequently. And any motivation I felt during the day to make something of myself gets zapped dry at night when that song comes on. That song that makes people cringe and say, “Oh fuck, not THIS SHIT.” Then what happens? They laugh. They sing along. SARCASTICALLY. It’s a big joke. I’m serving alcohol to these assholes that drunkenly sing my name and laugh, not even realizing they’re laughing at me.
So yeah. I’m resentful. My therapist and I are working on it. I’m in therapy because of “Mr. Jones.” How many people can say that? Crazy world. She’s really good though. I did not tell her I’m Mr. Jones, but I think she’s figured it out. I mean, of course she has if she has a brain in her goddamn head. She calls me Mr. Jones in her fucking emails for fuck’s sake. And in our first session I mentioned that my depression mainly stems from my friend (who I will often refer to as “that dreadlocked fuck,” sorry Adam) writing a song with my name in it that was a huge hit. If she hasn’t figured it out, I need a smarter therapist.
Anyway. She says I need to let go, and I think she’s right. But when I think of you in your hot tub drinking champagne and having sex with the entire cast of “Friends” I just want to scream. I told you I wanted to be someone “a little more funky” than Bob Dylan. You never asked who exactly, because you never gave a shit about me, clearly. I was talking about you, Adam. You were the funkiest, coolest guy I knew. I wanted to be you. And now, I just want to be anyone else. Anyone other than Mr. Jones.
Congratulations on all your success.
Marty “Mr. Jones” Jones
It’s hard making friends when you get older and start “shutting down as a person,” as Mom says. Meaning, any kid can go up to any kid and say “you’re my friend now” and the other kid goes “okay.” But when an adult goes up to another adult and says “you’re my friend,” the other adult just goes, “No I’m not. I am busy.”
I thought I could make friends with anyone because of my money. Or, Mom’s money. Whatever. I have money in my pocket, shouldn’t matter how I got it. But people are surprisingly unimpressed with how much money Mom and I have. So, don’t have money just to make friends. Does not work.
Here’s how I made friends.
Two Christmases ago Mom stuffed my stocking with a boring stocking stuffer: bandages. Not just any bandages. Urban Outfitters™ What Happened? Bandages. I looked over the little tin box (quickly; I had lots more in my stocking and of course there were actual presents to get to) and read the words: 25 BANDAGES TO EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED? SHARK BITE. NINJA FIGHT. DANCE OFF. JOUSTING. Okay. Funny bandages. Great. I didn’t even say “thanks Mom.” I don’t say “thanks Mom” for stocking stuffers. Most of it’s silly garbage I’ll throw out. And chocolate (and, inexplicably, there’s always a tangerine, which I throw out). I save “thanks Mom” for real gifts; the MacBooks, the telescopes, the gold-plated, Swarovski crystal-encrusted Beats by Dre headphones. Things I spent all year earning with goodness. Goodness that somehow always goes unnoticed by potential friends (but always noticed by Mom).
The side of the tin box said GREAT WAY TO PICK UP CHICKS OR MAKE FRIENDS. I didn’t think much of that. It was Christmas and I didn’t need friends, I needed a pair of Gucci sunglasses, so I tossed the bandages back into the stocking and started in on my presents.
Four days later I was packing to head back to New York. I barely had enough room in my bag for my new telescope that I didn’t even WANT by the way. The dumb zipper was stuck. I felt mad at Louis Vuitton. With all my might I pulled it and it closed so fast my finger got zipped up too! Blood spouted onto the Louis Vuitton leather. Horrifying. I looked around for something, anything. I spotted the What Happened? Bandages, pulled one out, put it on, grabbed my bloody luggage and ran out of the house into Mom’s Bentley.
At the airport I sat alone feeling so sad. Sure, it was a great Christmas. Mom knocked it out of the park with those crystal-encrusted headphones. But Mom was my only friend. I was going back to New York where I had no friends. Why did no one want to be friends?
Then I heard someone say, “Did you at least win the dance off?”
I turned my head to the right and saw a guy. “Pardon?” I asked.
He pointed at my finger. I looked at it. It said DANCE OFF.
“Oh,” I said. “Ha,” I said. “Ha ha. Um. No.”
“Bummer,” said the guy.
The guy said he was named Burt and he asked me if I was going to New York and I said yeah and he said him too and he asked what I did there and I said I dunno I just live there and he said he was an astronomer. I said I have a telescope.
“What kind of telescope?”
“Dunno. It won ‘telescope of the year’ at the Telescope of the Year Awards.”
“The Celestron Nexstar?”
“Shut up! I hate you,” he said, but then explained he was just jealous of my telescope. He didn’t hate me. Far from it! In fact, Burt said we should hang out sometime! I had made a friend like the bandage box said I would.
And where was that box? Oh dear. I’d left it in Michigan. I texted mom SEND ME THOSE BANDAGES, I LUV THEM. She texted OK HONEY LUV U and I texted LUV U TOO. Mom doesn’t know how to turn caps lock off on her phone so I always text her in all caps so she won’t feel weird.
The bandages arrived. I re-read the box: GREAT WAY TO PICK UP CHICKS OR MAKE FRIENDS. Pick up chicks? I’d never done that. Could bandages do that? I had JOUSTING, SHARK BITE and NINJA FIGHT to choose from. I chose JOUSTING. So silly! No one had jousted for hundreds of years in any serious way. Crazy. And yet it was the most mature and gentlemanly of the bandages. I thought a chick would like it.
I went to Central Park and sat on a bench and a chick in rollerblades glided over and sat down and guzzled some water. I just stared straight ahead. I made sure JOUSTING was clearly displayed on my finger. Then…
“Jousting, huh? Ouch.”
I turned my head and said, “You should see the other guy,” just as I’d rehearsed.
“Ha ha,” she said. “You won?”
“Ha ha yes.”
Long story short, her name’s Jill and we’re getting married this spring. I told Burt he’s my best man. I told Jill Mom would be her maid of honor if she didn’t have friends, but she did have friends, so I demoted Burt to groomsman and made Mom my best man because I love Mom so much.
So, if you’re having trouble making friends, I cannot recommend Urban Outfitters™ What Happened? Bandages enough. Last week I cut my forehead on my telescope that Burt’s still trying to teach me to use and I applied a SHARK BITE bandage, and even more friends rolled in. “Wow, what a nice tame shark,” they’d say, “That would bite your forehead ever so gently so as to only leave a tiny scrape” and I’d say “Ha ha ha yes I know, what is your name?”
Honestly, the bandages have made me so popular in New York that I’m now having to turn friends away. Someone says “Ninja fight, huh? How did-” and I have to stop them and say, “Sorry, a little full on friends right now!”
That’s why I wrote this. So many people need friends and I have so many, and I want you to have some. Please buy yourself some Urban Outfitters™ What Happened? Bandages. If you can’t find any, you can borrow one of mine! And you can borrow some money, sure. And you can definitely borrow one of my friends. Just not Mom, Burt, or Jill.