Issue #53 – “Life of Brian” – September 27th, 2004

-My apartment is somewhat small and awkwardly designed. As such, the distance from the couch to the television in the common room is about three feet. And in that tiny chasm lies the epicenter of twentysomething life: the coffee table. If you think about it, your coffee table is where you sit hunched over to eat take-out for dinner, it’s what you gather around while pre-gaming with friends, it’s where you rest your feet after a long day and what you clean puke off of after a long night. You probably utilize your coffee table no differently than my roommate Brian and I do. Except ours is less than twelve inches wide. And you know what they say about guys with small coffee tables – HUGE bookshelves!

-Living with Brian and his girlfriend, a frequent visitor, is like living with an old married couple. She makes his lunch every day and they go to bed at about 9:30pm. I think the only thing that keeps him going is watching rerun after rerun of “King of Queens.” When I question him about it, Brian says, “Karo, leave me alone. I live my life in syndication.”

-You know when you get off a long flight, you’re kind of jetlagged for a while and sometimes you can’t fall asleep? Brian is immune. The kid is tired 24 hours a day and can sleep at will. He once told me, “You know, I’d to go to bed at 7pm if it was socially acceptable.”

-While Brian will soon move in with his girlfriend, sometimes I wonder if, in his mind, he’s already married and living in the suburbs. The other day, I borrowed his keys and noticed that on his keychain were rows and rows of those little, plastic barcodes that you can swipe at the drugstore, the supermarket, Price Club, etc. People are always telling me that I’m turning into my dad. But I never realized that Brian was turning into my mom.

-One thing that Brian’s quasi-married life has not diminished is the friendly yet intense competition between us. But in any argument or disagreement with me (or any of our friends for that matter), Brian has a distinct advantage. Some prodigies excel in chess or in their ability to recall the great texts of English literature. But Brian’s power is far stronger – he knows all of our GPAs and test scores going back to seventh grade. Lame as it may sound, it’s pretty difficult to argue about the check with someone who knows which calculus exam you botched when you were fifteen years old.

-Thankfully, Brian has long since left investment banking to work for a company I’ve never heard of doing a job I only vaguely understand. He does seem a lot happier, though, so that’s good. But I can’t help wonder if this was destined to happen since Brian majored in something I’ve never even heard of: biometry. That’s right, biometry – a strange mix of math and biology that I guess Cornell invented for confused high school kids who couldn’t make up their minds. Have you ever met a biometrist? I didn’t think so. So maybe this new job is perfect for him after all.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-The other day I noticed a new sign in my gym locker room that I think, in not so many words, says that having sex in the steam room is against club policy. I was totally shocked. I didn’t even know there was a steam room!

-My friend’s father recently had a mild heart attack. I told my mom and she was like, “Wow, it’s an epidemic.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “Well,” she said, “Your friend’s father, this woman in my office, and Clinton all have heart problems!” I’m like, Mom, I’m pretty sure that two people that don’t know each other and the former President of the United States doesn’t qualify as an epidemic.

-You have to love New York. Where else can a beer cost eleven dollars in a bar, a turkey sandwich cost nine bucks in a deli, and then a guy on the street tries to sell you a package of 36 AA batteries for a dollar. When I asked him how they could be so cheap, he was like, “It’s wholesale.” Sure it is, buddy.

-Well, like clockwork, the city is swarming with them. Overdressers. Why is it that when the weather drops five degrees all of a sudden everyone freaks out and whips out their sweaters and winter coats? I plan on wearing shorts for at least another month. Oh, and ladies, I don’t care how cold it gets, please keep those Uggs in the closet…forever.

-How come I have to tip the handyman in my apartment building to make even the most minor of repairs? That’s not very handy.

-I walked into the lobby of Girlfriend’s high-rise apartment building the other day and saw an old friend of mine who I never knew lived in the same building. When I told him I was there to see my girlfriend, who he doesn’t know, he said, “Oh really? What apartment is she in?” Why ask me this? How could this knowledge benefit you in any way? You’re not going to visit her. Unless you sometimes roam the hallways at night aimlessly looking for a door you recognize, you’ll probably never even step foot on her floor. People ask too many stupid questions these days. Now that’s an epidemic.

-The other night I was out partying when I saw something I’d never seen before: a guy so drunk that he tried to start a tab – at an open bar. I was like, dude, if you keep drinking like that, next time I see you you’ll be selling me batteries in the street.

-And, finally, this is the true story of how my VCR broke and, as a result, I had to buy Brian a new DVD player. Here goes. The VCR in my room broke and to replace it my parents gave me an extra DVD player they had in their house. So far, so good. But Brian objected to this because, although his VCR was working fine, his DVD player was in the common room for us both to use. Thinking this arrangement was no longer equitable, he insisted I put my DVD player in the common room instead. I objected, since then I would have nothing in my room at all, while he would have both a DVD player and a VCR in his. The only way to solve the impasse was for us to split a third DVD player and put that in Brian’s room. When I asked Brian how he’d managed to convince me to buy him a new DVD player just because my VCR broke, he said, “It was easy, I knew you took a class in negotiations freshman year and only got a B-.” Fuck me!