Category Archives: Ruminations

Issue #209 – “The End” – September 17th, 2012

-In 2002, a high-level executive entered the elevator in the investment bank where I toiled. He squinted in recognition and then said to me, “Aren’t you the guy who sends those emails? Great work!” I was thrilled a big shot like him was a fan of Ruminations. Then I returned to my cubicle and my task for the day: generating a weekly financial report and sending it to a swath of managing directors across the firm. But when I hit Send, I realized something: those tedious reports were the emails the big shot was referring to. He didn’t know Ruminations from a hole in the wall and just considered me another hapless chump in a blue button-down. As I wrote today’s column – the final issue of Ruminations I will ever publish – I thought back to that encounter in the elevator. This column has been an integral part of my identity since I was eighteen years old, so much so that I get confused when people recognize me for anything else. And so as I say goodbye after all this time, I am eternally grateful for the opportunities Ruminations has reaped, as well as truly hopeful that dickhead in the elevator got laid off.

-Fifteen years ago today, unable to sleep in my freshman dorm room at the University of Pennsylvania, I sent an email filled with observations on college life to twenty friends, many from my hometown of Plainview, New York. It concluded with the exclamation “Fuck me!” That email spawned this column, which has since been forwarded around the globe, each issue ending with that familiar phrase: “Fuck me.” After today, I will continue to ruminate via Twitter and Facebook, though I will always regard email as the medium ideally suited to share my profanity-laced commentary. Indeed, longtime subscribers who want to read back issues need merely search for the term “fuck” in their email archive. Invariably, my name will sit proudly atop your search results.

-In the ‘90s, FedEx ran a commercial touting the “golden package” – an invaluable package that had to be delivered no matter what – but since no one knows which package is the golden one, each package must be treated as if it were. I adapted that concept into something I call the “golden email.” I never know when an email from a reader will result in something great – a friend, a job, a date – so for the past fifteen years I have replied to every single one. In fact, my mom often chastises me for spending so much time on email. But until that golden email arrives, it’s something I have to do. I just know that gorgeous doctor with a British accent who loves comedians is out there somewhere.

-While I love fan mail that has led to me getting paid, traveling somewhere exotic, or getting laid (or some combination thereof), what I truly savor is hearing my readers’ stories. Some of my favorites include those inspired to try their hand at writing or stand-up, military personnel reaching out from Afghanistan and naval submarines, and people who’ve used Ruminations to cope with personal tragedy or stretches of unemployment. That said, my primary role in your life is most likely as a source of procrastination. This was certainly the case with the governor of Pennsylvania, who referenced me during an interminable conference call in 2002, as well as the lawyer who spent so many billable hours reading Ruminations at work that she debated creating a new client code: “Karo.”

-If I could sum up in one word what Ruminations is about, it would be relationships. When people tell me something I’ve written has hit incredibly close to home, it’s usually about sex, dating, or marriage. One of my fans even gave his psychiatrist copies of all my books and simply said, “Here’s what’s wrong with me.” And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about relationships, it’s that when like-minded people meet each other, they end up fucking. I’ve lost count of all the couples who’ve met at my stand-up shows or via my website and subsequently started dating and even gotten married. Suffice it to say that when I first began ruminating I never thought it would spawn a trend known as “rumidating.” Though I do want to offer a reminder to all my friends and fans who are so giddy to have tied the knot: If you get divorced before I even get married in the first place, I win.

-When I’m faced with a difficult challenge and someone asks me, “Can you handle this?” my response is always the same: “Of course, I’m a comedian.” The truth is that once you’ve been on stage in front of thousands of shitfaced twentysomethings – something Ruminations has made possible – everything else just seems really easy. I’ll never forget the time when a wasted girl in the crowd in Charlotte would not stop talking during my show. Exasperated, a guy stood up and shouted, “Karo, tell this chick to shut the fuck up!” At which point the girl stood up and screamed, “That dude just needs a blow job.” To which I calmly replied, “Well, that would kill two birds.”

-I have given a talk at Harvard Business School about the economics of comedy and even been cited in a feminist textbook about menstruation (for describing how chicks claim they have their period to get out of sex), but I probably spend most of my time educating people on just what the fuck the word “ruminations” means and how to pronounce it. For the record, it’s pronounced ROO-minations, and to ruminate means to contemplate or ponder. So ruminations is basically a fancy term for reflections that I have co-opted to write a column about drinking until you puke. I actually have a trademark on the word Ruminations – so if you’ve done any reflecting or puking lately you owe me a nickel.

-Of the many things I’m proud to have written over the years, a few stand out: popularizing the terms “gourmet” (to mean awesome) and “wideclops” (a person whose eyes are too far apart), as well as floating the idea back in 2005 of a beer label that tells you how cold the beer is (two years later Coors Light introduced cold-activated bottles). Perhaps my biggest accomplishment, however, is the one I refused to take credit for. I typically get defensive when people call Ruminations a blog. After all, it’s not a blog, it’s an “email column.” The thing is, though, the first blog is not credited with going online until December 1997 – three months after I started ruminating. I could have been a pioneer! Long story short: if anyone asks, I invented cold-activated bottles and the blog.

-The only person who reads Ruminations before it’s published is my sister and Editor-in-Chief Caryn. (Yes, our parents actually named their children Aaron and Caryn.) Quite simply, this column (or blog, as the case may be) would not exist without Caryn. For years she has donated time she could have otherwise spent drinking or napping to proofread and polish my incoherent drivel into the trademark (literally) brand of relatively coherent drivel you receive in your inbox. Much like a referee, Caryn only draws notice when an error slips through (you may recall in 2010 when I meant to write “such a cock tease” but accidentally wrote “suck a cock tease”), but on balance she has been invaluable as an editor, sister, confidante, and best friend. I cannot find the words to express my appreciation for all that she has done for me, but I’m sure she’ll have a suggestion or two.

-From the very beginning, my friends have served as unwilling muses for my comedy. My only rule is that I won’t write about someone if it will get them fired, maimed, arrested, or divorced, but everything else is fair game. I’m proud to say I’m retiring with a perfect record. I’m often asked about my buddies who have appeared most frequently in Ruminations, so here’s a quick update. Brian, my old roommate, is now married with a newborn. Shermdog, my lecherous fraternity brother, is married, too. Triplet #1 and Triplet #3 are both married as well, rendering Triplet #2, who is still single, the fifth wheel in his own family. And then there’s my old girlfriend from back in New York, who was known as simply “Girlfriend” in Ruminations. She’s also married now, but in 2005 when we were dating and fighting, I wrote her a personalized (“Circulation: one”) edition of Ruminations devoted strictly to our relationship – the only time I’ve ever done anything like that. We broke up two weeks later. Apparently I did not know my audience.

-When I announced that I would be ending this column, a lot of people wrote to wish me luck and ask what I would be doing instead. But the fact is that since I moved to Los Angeles seven years ago, writing Ruminations has really been my fourth job, after publishing books, doing stand-up, and writing scripts. There has been some overlap of course, such as when I wrote a sitcom pilot titled Ruminations and sold it to The CW. It didn’t get picked up, but rest assured I will continue attempting to impose my will on Hollywood. And although Ruminations as a column is concluding, its spirit will live on via my Twitter and Facebook. And don’t be surprised if you still get an email from me every now and again. All that being said, my success has always and will always hinge on your support. Please don’t stop forwarding me, retweeting me, switching my books with The Hunger Games at Barnes & Noble, and telling chicks on airplanes that you know me personally even though we’ve never met. That shit always gets back to me, always gets me exposure, and may even get you laid. Thank you for being the most dedicated and oftentimes the drunkest fans in the world. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

-And, finally, we’ve come to the end. In 2007, I was on tour in Minneapolis when I spotted an ad in the airport for a local MBA program. It read: “Your BS will only get you so far.” I’m assuming the ad was saying that your Bachelor of Science degree will only get you so far, but at the time I interpreted it to mean: “Your bullshit will only get you so far.” I took that message to heart. And now I know for sure: my bullshit has gotten me exactly fifteen years. A decade and a half after I sent that insomnia-fueled email from my freshman dorm room, and ten years after I was a Wall Street drone, I can safely say I’m now living a life I never thought possible. Throughout that time, Ruminations has been a constant source of both opportunity and humility. For example, this summer I was at a Cinco de Mayo party in Malibu: gorgeous house, beautiful women, and free-flowing booze. As I was getting a drink, a familiar scenario unfolded. A guy tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Aren’t you the dude who sends those emails?” I paused, recalling the days when “those emails” could have meant regurgitated financial bullshit. Then he added, “I love Ruminations!” and I smiled. We proceeded to talk and drink. I gave him my card. It felt great knowing that, at some point, I had injected some humor into this guy’s life. As he was about to take off for another party, he came and found me, and shook my hand. And then he turned and left – but not before stopping to remark: “You know what, Karo? You’re much less of a douchebag than I thought you’d be.” Fuck me!


Issue #208 – “Sober Size Me” – August 20th, 2012

-Longtime readers know that I love to drink. When you need a buzz, booze is the potable, portable, and practical solution. My drug of choice has been alcohol ever since my best friend Claudio and I broke into my parents’ liquor cabinet in ninth grade and sampled my dad’s Sambuca. However, when I turned thirty-three earlier this summer, I realized that my tolerance was higher, my hangovers were longer, and my beer belly was bigger than ever before. And so I decided to subject myself to an absolutely insane physical and sociological experiment. The challenge: go 90 days without imbibing a drop of alcohol. As we speak, I’m on day 53. If a camera crew had been following my exploits throughout this experience, the documentary would be called “Sober Size Me.”

-The most immediate effect of sobriety is not being hungover. Waking up refreshed on Saturday and Sunday is like being given an extra day of the weekend. I believe this bonus time is called “the morning.” People do all kinds of crazy shit in the morning, like eat breakfast. This is a foreign concept to me as usually my food goes in the other direction.

-The second most immediate effect was that I dropped twenty pounds. And I’m not that big a dude so we’re talking more than 10% of my body weight. My beer gut has receded in confusion. I’m trying to turn it into a six-pack but it’s still used to ingesting six-packs.

-The lesson I figured I would learn at the end of 90 days was that I don’t need to drink to have a good time. However, I was only halfway through when I concluded this was not true. I absolutely do need to drink to have a good time. It’s not necessarily because I require an altered state of mind to enjoy myself, but rather because no matter where I go, everyone around me is getting fucked up. Concerts, the beach, breakfast. It’s really, really boring being the sober guy. Sure the designated driver is beloved – but only for the length of the car ride. Then it’s sayonara while everyone flocks to the fruit soaked in Everclear.

-Not surprisingly, the biggest advocate of my teetotaling is my mom, who in Ruminations #17 famously rationalized all of my setbacks with the explanation “You drink too much.” But now that I’m sober and life remains imperfect, her logic seems flawed. I mean, Mom, there are times when life gives you lemons that you just need a Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

-Also not surprisingly, I haven’t gotten laid in 53 days. This one I predicted would be a problem. Again, not because I need to be wasted to kick game, but because most of the girls I meet in flirt-worthy scenarios are themselves drinking. I’m good but I’m not a fucking ninja. Penetrating the mind and, er, other parts of a drunk chick requires irrational thinking and no fear – the very mentalities for which alcohol was created.

-As you can imagine, I’m notorious among my friends for my bluntness. I will observe something about you and a millisecond later I will say it out loud. Most of the time it’s funny (at least to me), and much of the time it’s inappropriate. I used to think my candor was only exacerbated by alcohol and that sobriety would engender discretion. This could not be further from the truth. Now I’m clear-headed as fuck and still manage to insult half the people I meet. In a way, it’s heartening: I am who I am no matter what. On the other hand, I have no idea what kind of beast will be unleashed when my 90 days are up. Though I am certain it will be skinny, horny, and first in line for a goddamn cocktail.

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

-I always do a double take when I’m told a newborn’s “length.”

-Figuring out last week how to get the water in my toilet to turn blue ranks as one of the greatest accomplishments of my thirties.

-I was at some hipster bar recently and all of a sudden they put on a burlesque show. Let me tell you: nothing is less of a turn-on than burlesque. First of all, we’re in LA. The civilian chicks are wearing less than the burlesque dancers. Second of all, don’t half-ass it. If you’re gonna be a mediocre dancer, at least be a stripper. Otherwise get off the bar. You are ruining everyone’s night. For the love of God, your main prop is a wicker chair.

-A few people have asked me if an audiobook version of my new novel will be coming out, remarking that they’d love to hear me tell the story. And I’ve been replying that since the protagonist is a seventeen-year-old boy, it wouldn’t be me doing the reading anyway, it would be some child actor. I’m an idiot. I thought the story gets acted out with different voices for each part. Then I bought the second Hunger Games on audiobook and it’s just one woman reading the whole thing. Turns out I had no idea how an audiobook works. I also have no idea how the book ends because listening to this chick drone on as Katniss for eleven hours is as painful as an arrow to the eye.

-My buddy Dan is a foodie. He started to go on and on about this new organic olive oil he found. He said, “I use it for everything…” and my eyes started to glaze over. Then he continued: “You know, aftershave, moisturizer, shaving cream…” Yes, he actually uses olive oil as moisturizer. I believe he also jerks off with a balsamic reduction.

-Since I was gonna go three months without drinking anyway, I decided to use that opportunity to get in really great shape. So I joined CrossFit. Everyone says that CrossFit is very cult-ish, but I don’t know. I’ve been going six days a week for two months and no one has recruited me to be in any cults. I’m actually a little insulted. I’m like the one guy who signs up for Scientology and is told, “You know what, we’re gonna pass.”

-You’re not much of an entrepreneur if you can’t spell entrepreneur.

-And, finally, I chose the duration of my sobriety very strategically. It’s long enough to be super challenging but it ends on a very important date: Claudio’s wedding. Nearly twenty years after we raided my parents’ liquor cabinet, I will have the honor of making the Best Man toast at his reception. And that will be the first drink I’ve had in 90 days. Now I know you’re probably thinking this is literally the worst idea I’ve ever had (I know Claudio’s fiancee is). But I am who I am. What I lack in charm, subtlety, and ab definition I more than make up for in discipline. That is what has kept me sober for 53 days, self-employed for ten years, and writing this column for a decade and a half. I have no doubt I will deliver Claudio an appropriate and memorable toast. I better; that will be the last part of the wedding I remember. Fuck me!


Issue #207 – “Greatest Hits, Volume II” – July 30th, 2012

-In the five years since I published my first Greatest Hits issue, social networking has blossomed. Which means much of what I’ve written since then has circled the Internet many times over, often without any credit. You didn’t really think your friends wrote those clever status updates themselves did you? In any event, since I announced last month that I would be retiring from Ruminations in September, I have begun to think about the legacy I’ll leave behind. So I’ve compiled a second volume of Greatest Hits – my best ponderings of the past half-decade – and I hope you’ll repost your favorites far and wide. This time, though, please tag me – @AaronKaro on Twitter and Aaron Karo on Facebook – so that if I ever have kids they’ll one day know their dad told a beer pong joke with the best of them. For kicks, I’ve also included the issue and year in which the entry originally appeared. Enjoy!

-What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other? [#147, 2009]

-Mixed drinks are like masturbation: only you know exactly how you like it. [#135, 2008]

-Instead of writing a post about how you’ve been too busy to update your blog, just delete your fucking blog. [#174, 2010]

-Why can’t the plugs for all of my electronics just have surge protectors built right in? [#189, 2011]

-Success means being the last one connected to the conference call. [#152, 2009]

-I love being a bachelor. My fridge has a drawer labeled “fresh produce.” That’s where I keep the beer. [#118, 2007]

-If you’re really “very passionate” about the fundraiser you’re organizing, perhaps the email inviting me should have come from you instead of your assistant. [#203, 2012]

-A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it. [#147, 2009]

-I was out to dinner with three of my friends recently and realized that one was big and fat, one was tall and skinny, and one was medium-sized. They looked like a team from the original Nintendo ice hockey game. [#141, 2008]

-Shrubs that smell like weed and shit are curiously popular in the landscaping community. [#168, 2010]

-I don’t know if this says more about how spoiled children are these days or how uninformed they are. My friend, a teacher, asked one of her kindergartners how he spent winter break. He responded, “I went to Aspen. It’s in Avocado.” [#198, 2012]

-Dear Future Wife: the most important job you will ever have is to kill spiders for me. [#134, 2008]

-It boggles my mind that more vagrants don’t just steal luggage from the baggage claim. There’s no security down there and hundreds of free life-starter kits are just circling around, ripe for the taking. It’s a hobo’s wet dream. [#159, 2009]

-The only times I ever use the very respectful terms “sir” or “ma’am” are when I’m trying to be as derogatory as possible. [#179, 2010]

-Whenever someone at a wedding remarks, “Wow, this ceremony is going quickly,” rest assured it will last at least half an hour longer. [#152, 2009]

-The most awkward aspect of social networking is when people who aren’t public figures are forced to describe themselves in a little Twitter bio. I cringe when I read something like: “I’m 24. I work in marketing. I like cheese and the Dallas Mavericks.” Really? That’s how you sum yourself up? Cheese made the list!? [#192, 2011]

-There’s nothing that people who get off work at 5pm hate more than being at work at 5:01. [#143, 2009]

-The “signature cocktails” page of the drinks menu should just be titled “women’s section.” [#185, 2011]

-I support and admire our troops, but I have no idea how their ranking system works. Oh, you’re a corporal? So…does that mean you shine boots with a toothbrush, or you’re in charge of the entire army? [#160, 2009]

-I put my friends’ wedding invitations on my fridge, just like people hang their kids’ awful drawings. The sentiment is really the same: I love you but you’re a fucking moron. [#185, 2011]

-Attempting to rotate your mattress by yourself is possibly one of the most depressing – and dangerous – parts of being single. [#157, 2009]

-I’m attracted to successful, ambitious women, but I never know when to call to ask them out. Too early and she’s annoyed I blew up her cell at work. Too late and she’s already in bed, exhausted from a long day. Listen, I’m all for women wearing the pants, but how am I supposed to get in them? [#172, 2010]

-If you work as in-house counsel for a law firm, do you hate your job twice as much? [#153, 2009]

-Stop sending mass emails apologizing that your email account was “hacked into.” You’re a fucking nobody. No one hacked into your account. You have a virus. Probably caught it from stupidity. [#172, 2010]

-What’s worse? The fact that my buddy in med school just called me bragging because he hooked up with an undergrad and woke up in a sorority house? Or the fact that my first question was, “Which house?” [#161, 2009]

-More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me. [#136, 2008]

-I think it’s safe to take the fax number off your email signature. [#161, 2009]

-No one at school is more stressed than the kid with the 4.0. [#174, 2010]

-When a reality show contestant becomes a reality show judge, isn’t that kind of like a Ponzi scheme for talentless people? [#152, 2009]

-I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how easy identity theft must have been in the 1800s. [#161, 2009]

-Every Super PAC sounds like a fake charity George Costanza would make up. [#199, 2012]

-I was reading about this new diet where you’re not allowed to drink alcohol. Well, I read the first sentence at least. [#143, 2009]

-There are very, very few locations in this country where it’s acceptable for your Facebook to list Hometown and Current City as the same place. [#170, 2010]

-The other day I noticed the chick running on the treadmill in front of me was wearing not one but two sports bras. Intrigued, I ran eight minutes longer than usual just so I could be there when she turned around. I literally went the extra mile to see her tits. [#155, 2009]

-And, finally, I leave you with my favorite mom story of all time. At the beginning of the year, my mom was at the mall and decided to buy a new wall calendar. Like a typical mom, she chose one with a different pretty flower each month. She happily hung the calendar in her office and went about her business. Several uneventful months went by. Then, about six weeks ago, a co-worker was standing in my mom’s office and said to her, “That’s quite an interesting calendar you have there.” My mom thanked him, flattered that someone else liked the pretty flower calendar she had picked out. And that’s when her co-worker informed her that these weren’t just any pretty flowers. For the past four months, my mom had unintentionally been displaying a calendar full of marijuana plants. My mom had absolutely no idea and no one else noticed (or admitted they noticed) until that moment. She had a laugh and then called to tell me the story. She also told me she had decided to leave the calendar on the wall. After all, they were still pretty flowers. Fuck me! [#130, 2008]


Issue #206 – “The Glossary, Volume II” – July 9th, 2012

-In 2007, I published a glossary of terms referenced, coined, or popularized during my first decade of writing Ruminations. This September I will celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Ruminations and write my final column ever, so I thought it would be fitting to look back at the past five years and add some new entries to the glossary. I figure the world needs an updated lexicon to describe our debaucherous behavior. As before, the issue and year in which the term first appeared follows each definition. Enjoy!

-“Acapulco Flu”
When you go on a hard-partying, booze-for-breakfast, no-sleep vacation, then get home and feel totally fine – until all of your hangovers catch up to you approximately one week later and you end up with pneumonia. [#127, 2008]

-“Banana bag”
An IV drip full of fluids and multivitamins given to hospitalized alcoholics, and also a hangover remedy that doctors administer to themselves. I’ve been begging my doctor friends to hook me up with one for years. Possible cure for the Acapulco Flu. [#135, 2008]

When two buddies enter into a serious business arrangment cemented by a high five instead of a contract. [#125, 2008]

In the summer of 2009, my friend Chi became obsessed with getting hammered at brunch to the point that he refused to go out partying unless the sun was out. Luckily we staged a brunchervention and convinced him that his inability to drink at night was affecting us all. [#153, 2009]

-“Elmo money”
In the mid-‘90s, during the height of the toy’s popularity, my dad worked for the company that made Tickle Me Elmo. I joke that some people have oil money; my family had Elmo money. In fact, we still have some of the original Elmos in our attic. That’s my inheritance. [#141, 2008]

Combination of “epic” and “ridiculous” I coined to describe the ten-day whitewater rafting trip I took in the Grand Canyon in 2010. [#167, 2010]

Combination of “exuberant” and “exhilarating” that some moronic wasted chick I met in a bar used to describe her job. Technically it’s a real word but there’s no fucking way she used it on purpose. [#175, 2010]

-“First class virginity”
What you lose when you fly first class for the first time and realize what you’ve been missing out on your entire life. [#128, 2008]

A beer bong in the shape of a flamingo created to making binge drinking less intimidating for chicks. I consider the genius who created it to be Steve Jobs’ true successor. [#191, 2011]

-“The Fortune Cookie defense”
When a girl texts “in bed” as an excuse not to meet up. She doesn’t want you to join her in bed, she just wants you to leave her alone. [#202, 2012]

-“The Four Sins of Tion” (Tion pronounced Shin)
When I worked on Wall Street, HR sent around a memo specifically outlining the topics that were inappropriate for work email. I called these taboos – intoxication, fornication, masturbation, and defecation – the Four Sins of Tion. [#150, 2009]

-“Generation LOL”
Since the terms Generation X and Generation Y are vague, corporate, and lame, I coined Generation LOL as a more much apt description for the age group that grew up with the Internet. [#137, 2008]

-“Groomsmen Rebellion”
After surviving his brunchervention, Chi got engaged and told the dudes in his wedding party that he wanted us to wear tan suits for the ceremony. Of course, no one has a fucking tan suit or wants to buy one, so a flurry of hateful reply-to-alls ensued. Chi soon capitulated – a victory thereafter known as the Groomsmen Rebellion. [#173, 2010]

Annoying people who don’t shut the fuck up, yet have no idea how annoying they are or how much you hate them. I call them HCIs – head cock inducers – because while they’re blabbing on and on, I subconsciously cock my head to one side and think to myself: “Is she seriously still talking right now?” [#118, 2007]

-“Herman Miller ass”
An unfortunate consequence of being a high-powered, ambitious woman in New York City: they spend so much in their fancy chairs that eventually their asses just mold to that shape. [#182, 2011]

-“The Karo Rule”
Established when my friend Eric served beer and wine but not hard liquor at his rehearsal dinner to ensure I didn’t get too fucked up and ruin everything. [#191, 2011]

-“Male booty call”
When one of my buddies disappears for a month and then calls me out of the blue in the middle of the afternoon to help him move. [#202, 2012]

Combination of “married” and “happy” that represents the mood of most married people: permanently on the spectrum above unhappy but below happy. [#194, 2011]

-“The Moron Vote”
Term I coined during the 2008 presidential election to describe “undecided” voters to whom candidates have to pander. Seriously, if you don’t have enough information to decide who to vote for yet, you’re not undecided, you’re a fucking moron. [#138, 2008]

Too much information in your out-of-office reply. I don’t give a shit when your baby was born or how your uncle died. Just let me know when you’ll be back so I can get on with my life. [#159, 2009]

Sleeping with as many women as possible when you’re single in order to get it out of your system so you don’t cheat when you’re in a relationship. [#194, 2011]

A very serious condition that affects 100% of the male population: restless dick syndrome. Symptoms include morning wood, mid-afternoon wood, and a general desire to have sex with more than one woman for the rest of your life. [#194, 2011]

-“Relationship public domain”
The unflattering stories about himself that your buddy has voluntarily told his girlfriend. It’s his responsibility to tell you what’s in the relationship public domain before you start reminiscing about your fraternity days in front of her, and accidentally reveal just how much he used to pre-cheat. [#198, 2012]

-“Sylvia Oklahoma Karo”
A chick my buddy Shermdog drunkenly put in his phone in 2006. Her name is Sylvia, she’s from Oklahoma, and they met at my birthday party. Six years later they’re married and he hasn’t changed her contact entry. [#198, 2012]

-“Third-life crisis”
The phenomenom that occurs in your early thirties, roughly halfway between your quarter-life crisis and your mid-life crisis. For the oldest members of Generation LOL, such as myself, this moment is about to occur or already has. It can start in any number of ways: you begin receiving invitations to friends’ baby showers, you discover you’re mappy instead of happy, or you realize your paycheck is just not worth the Herman Miller ass. In a way, the third-life crisis is most devastating because it occurs when you’re still young enough to do whatever the hell you want, but just old enough that people look down on you for it. No one responds to this crisis in the same way: some of us pre-cheat, others regular cheat, and still others retire the email column they’ve been writing for fifteen years. What’s important to remember is that you’re not alone. People dumber than us have navigated their thirties and so shall we. The peaks and valleys along the way are what make life grand – or as undecided voters might call it: “exuberating.” Fuck me. [#175, 2010]


Issue #205 – “Tres Tres” – June 18th, 2012

-Wide receiver Chad Johnson was ridiculed in 2008 when he legally changed his name to Chad Ochocinco in order to match his jersey number 85. Besides just being a stupid idea, anyone who has taken high school Spanish knows that “ocho cinco” doesn’t even mean eighty-five – that would be ochenta y cinco. Today is my thirty-third birthday. It is a seminal event – I’m nearly a third of the way to a hundred and only two years away from being eligible to run for president. But while I have zero inclination to change my last name to mark the occasion, I wouldn’t be opposed to changing my middle name from Paul to something a certain wide receiver would love and all of my high school Spanish teachers would hate. Aaron Tres Tres Karo does have a certain ring to it. Disagree? Hey, it’s my birthday and I can have terrible ideas if I want to.

-One thing I had to do as my birthday approached was renew my driver’s license. I filled out the form, paid online, and was then prompted to “add to cart.” Wait, what? Sorry, are there other things I’m supposed to be shopping for at the California DMV website?

-There is something that is preventing me from feeling bummed as I turn yet another year older: my buddy Jeff. He’s thirty-six, which makes him my closest friend not in my immediate age cohort. I’ll be out at the bars, fucked up, and catch a glimpse of Jeff, rapidly graying beard and all, equally fucked up, and I know that I’ve got at least three more years for this to be considered acceptable behavior.

-I’ve always wished that one of my teachers growing up had assigned that exercise where you write a letter to yourself and then he or she delivers it to you twenty years later. I wonder what my thirteen-year-old self would have written in 1992. Probably that I hoped the Yankees would win a championship in my lifetime, and that my mom would finally let me install one of those AOL CDs.

-I like to think that I’m fairly introspective, and turning thirty-three has definitely motivated me to look back at my life since college. I’m pretty sure I only became a fully functional human being about two years ago. One of the consequences of being 1) male, and 2) fairly successful, is that, for the most part, no one ever tells you what to do. I think I could have used a little guidance in my twenties. Maturity was not one of my strong suits. Quite frankly, sometimes I’m surprised I even survived into my thirties.

-One disheartening aspect about your thirty-third birthday is the realization that the next milestone anyone will really care about is your fortieth birthday. Everything between thirty and forty is just a series of indistinguishably ordinary celebrations. Plus, forty is old. Like, really old. By that time, Jeff will be forty-three. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that qualifies him for AARP and social security.

-In the end, I’m content with my station in life at thirty-three. As you get older, you begin to realize what is truly important: good friends, close family, strong health, and the occasional retweet. If I could write a letter to my future self twenty years from now, all I would say is that I hope the Knicks win a championship in my lifetime, and that the hologram that replaces the California DMV website actually starts making sense.

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

-I swear I pass more cars on the right than I do on the left. Once they make it to the left lane, drivers think they’ve got it made and are oblivious to me coming up behind them. So I’ve gotta take them on the right. It must be embarrassing to get passed like that. It’s like saying, “You’re so slow I just pulled some illegal shit just to get away from you.”

-My dad and I were both relieved that Father’s Day and my birthday did not fall on the same day this year. This is because we are both attention hogs and neither of us wants to share the spotlight with the other. In truth, though, my dad deserves his own day, and the barbecue he received as a gift. I look forward to watching him make me food on it for years to come.

-The number of bedrooms in your apartment does not impress me unless you have an equivalent number of bathrooms. A three-bedroom apartment with one bathroom is the same as a studio in my book. It doesn’t matter how many guests you can accommodate if their dopp kits are on your sink and their asses are on your toilet.

-I just noticed that the little bottle of crushed red pepper I have in my cupboard has a recipe for chicken quesadillas on the back. That’s a bit of stretch, don’t you think? No one is struggling to find a recipe for dinner and is serendipitously coming across this tiny little font. Stop trying to be something you’re not, bottle of crushed red pepper. Your entire purpose is to serve as backup in case you forget to put it on at the pizza place.

-And, finally, I leave you today with a bittersweet announcement. This fall I will celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of Ruminations – and publish my final column ever. I began writing Ruminations in September of 1997 when I was an eighteen-year-old college freshman. Now I’m thirty-three, and I’m ready to move on. What this does not mean is that I will no longer write or ruminate. It just means I will be doing so via Twitter and Facebook instead of the Monday morning email blasts you’ve come to (hopefully) enjoy. I will still use this mailing list to occasionally communicate with you directly, but after I write my final issue in a few months, Ruminations the column will end for good. I cannot begin to express what an unmitigated joy it has been to write Ruminations for all of you. I look at my bookshelf and well up with pride – both at the sight of my own books, and the thought that none of this would have been possible had I not sent a bleary-eyed email to twenty friends fifteen years ago. When I started touring the country doing stand-up, and got to meet so many of my amazing readers in person, I knew I had found my calling. You helped me land a Comedy Central special and inspired me to move to Hollywood to write sitcoms. All this for a kid who, in 1997, was less concerned with launching an entertainment career and more concerned with removing embarrassing cookies from my first computer. Alone, I deleted Internet history. Together, we created Internet history. And that is what made the decision to walk away from Ruminations so difficult. It is the only thing I have known my entire adult life. But all good things must come to an end. I hope you will continue to support me when I sign off this fall. And I thank you for helping me forever alter the meaning of the phrase “Fuck me!”


Issue #204 – “Mom” – May 14th, 2012

-I’m a bad son. For the seventh year in a row, I didn’t see my mom on Mother’s Day. Granted, she lives 3,000 miles away in New York, but good sons really only have three responsibilities to their moms: 1) Don’t curse in front of her (she’s seen my stand-up act, so that’s out), 2) Provide reasonable hope that grandchildren are forthcoming (um, no), and 3) Show up on Mother’s Day. But while I haven’t exactly been a model son in those respects, I hope I’ve at least been an entertaining one – when I call too late and wake her up, it could be for any number of reasons: I have exciting career news, I’m really drunk, or I just forgot about the time difference. But no matter where life has taken me, I’m fortunate to have had an incredible relationship with my mom: I keep her on her toes and she keeps my feet on the ground. In fact, she’d be the first to reject the notion that I’m a bad son. She’d say that I’m a good son – with enormous potential for improvement.

-Over the years, I have given my mom ample fodder to brag about me to her friends, and for that I know she’s grateful. What I don’t think she gets is that I don’t care about what her friends’ kids are doing. She calls me up like, “So-and-so’s daughter got into Cornell. So-and-so’s son got a promotion.” Mom, I don’t give a shit about so-and-so and her offspring. Bragging is a one-way street. I do something awesome, you tell your friends, and that’s it. Any incoming brags are automatically filtered to my internal junk mail.

-My mom used to be a teacher, and her loyalties never waned. When I was growing up and got into trouble in school, Mom would always side with my teacher. That pissed me off to no end. I was an incorrigible brat, and Mom suspected that defending me would only encourage my incorrigibleness. Or is it incorrigibility? I wouldn’t know because I was probably in detention instead of English that day. Thanks, Mom.

-What I admire most about my mom is her even keel. My dad, my sister, and I are all varying degrees of curmudgeonly – prone to bitch and moan when things aren’t exactly as we want them. My mom, on the other hand, oozes with patience. In heated moments she lies in wait, calmly assesses the situation, and then takes care of business without expecting any recognition in return. She’s like the fucking SEAL Team 6 of parents.

-Lately I’ve been talking to my mom about her plans for when she eventually retires. I would love to travel to Europe with her, but she doesn’t think it’ll work because she likes to see museums and historical trees and shit, whereas I (in her words) “just want to drink.” I don’t think that assessment is fair. I’m more than happy to sightsee as long as I know what I’m getting into ahead of time. And it’s not like I’ll go out partying in Paris and leave her at the hotel. I’m gonna need a wingman if she wants some half-French grandchildren.

-One of the oldest tropes in the book is that men marry their mothers. I can see how that could be accurate – guys’ first and most prominent female influence is their mom, and so it’s only natural they marry a woman just like her. I mean, if my future wife doesn’t have an even keel like my mom, we’ll be divorced by our honeymoon. My mom is tender, sophisticated, witty, well read, and gregarious. Which, come to think of it, are all things I look for in a woman. I guess if I do marry my mother (so to speak), it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Though I’m telling you the first time my kid gets into trouble at school, I’m definitely taking his side – as long as he swears never to tell his grandmother what happened.

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

-A girl should not be allowed to refer to someone as her “best friend” unless they’ve known each other at least 10% of their lives. If you’re thirty, someone you met less than three years ago is not your best friend; that’s just some chick from your yoga class.

-For people like me who’ve never had a pet, I can understand the urge to give your kids a weird name. That’s the first time we really get to name a living thing and some people go overboard. I like to think that if I ever have kids I’ll be prudent in the naming process. But if I was gonna go outside the box, I think I’d just choose Saturday. Yes – Saturday Karo. It’s got a nice to ring to it. Plus, everyone loves Saturday. It’s the best day of the week. No one has ever said, “I can’t stand Saturday.” Therefore, there’s no way little Saturday Karo won’t be well adjusted and beloved by his peers.

-If a girl says she just started seeing someone, but he lives in another city that’s a plane ride away, that relationship is doomed. It’s one thing to be in a stable relationship, have one person move away, and then try to make it work long distance. It’s another thing when you start off long distance in the first place. Of course it’s “going great so far” – dating is easy when you’re just flying in for sex three days a month.

-I was at a bachelor party last year and was teasing the groom about committing to a life of never getting head again. To which he responded defiantly, “That’s bullshit, Karo. Before I left for Vegas, Lucy gave me the best blow job of my life.” What a moron. That’s the oldest trick in the book! Every girl gives her fiance the best blow job of his life before he goes to his bachelor party. That’s a tradition passed down by women for thousands of years. But that BJ should come with a warning – “past performance is not indicative of future results” – like some sort of oral sex mutual fund.

-For a while, I was convinced my friend Jen was working for the CIA. She told people she was a “consultant” for the “government” but no one knew what her actual job was. She was always traveling to far-flung places for work. And whenever I called her cell phone there were weird clicks in the background like we were being taped. Finally I just asked her point blank: do you work for the CIA? And she said no. But that’s what someone in the CIA would say! Though if she’s lying I totally just Valerie Plamed her.

-And, finally, I’ve always been fascinated by how my mom’s brain operates. As the matriarch of the family, she is subject to an enormous amount of input: the whims of her husband and two children, the demands of her career, and the responsibility of running a household. As a result, her memory is somewhat inconsistent. She forgets the names of friends I’ve mentioned thousands of times, yet she remembers the obscure details about a business plan I worked on twelve years ago in college. She’ll tell you there’s a method to the madness, but I suspect otherwise. Nevertheless, as I’ve reached and passed the age at which my mom gave birth to me, I’ve gained newfound respect for her never-ending wisdom and support. So I just want to say: Happy (belated) Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you. I miss you. And I’m sorry I curse so much. Fuck me.


Issue #203 – “I Need to Tell You Something” – April 30th, 2012

-In 2009, I was hooking up with a girl when she stopped me and said, “I need to tell you something.” Ten minutes later I was on the ground with a dislocated shoulder. A year later I was on the operating table while Tom Brady’s orthopedic surgeon attempted to repair my mangled rotator cuff. That story – including what the girl actually said to me – makes up the title track of my new stand-up album, I Need to Tell You Something, which comes out today. Pillow talk is a ritual with many manifestations and consequences. In my experience it can draw two lovers closer together – or send one to the hospital.

-I used to sleep with a girl who, although attractive, frequently mentioned that she had gained ten pounds over the course of the previous year. Why tell me that? I was like, I didn’t even know that you minus ten was as an option! Now I want that. She’d add, “Yeah if I just like watch what I eat and go to the gym regularly, I can lose that weight in a second.” I was like, are you bragging or taunting me? Less talky, more pilate.

-After I injured my shoulder but before I had surgery, it would just pop out of its socket in the middle of sex and I’d have to pop it back in. That made for some interesting pillow talk. When I told a friend about it, he said, “Wow, Karo, you pop your own shoulder back into place? You’re like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon!” Yup, just like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon. Except I’m naked, crying, and crushing a poor girl with my lifeless body.

-When you start dating someone, pillow talk is a great mechanism for getting to know each other. One effective technique is the Facebook Game. While in bed, you exchange phones, scroll through the other person’s friends list, pick someone at random, and ask about him or her. It’s a great conversation starter. There are some caveats, though. For instance, if I pick a hot guy from her list and she says, “Oh that’s no one,” that means she fucked him. If she picks a hot girl from my list and I say, “Oh that’s no one,” that means I haven’t fucked her, barely know her, and only keep her around for decorative purposes.

-The advanced version of this game is “Ask me anything.” Pretty self-explanatory, though girls and guys often use this approach for different purposes. Questions I have been asked include, “Are you close with your mom?” and “Do you want to have kids?” Questions I have asked include, “Would you ever consider getting a boob job?”

-Pillow talk is of course closely related to and often intertwined with dirty talk. Occasionally, though, dirty talk crosses the line and just becomes strange. Like the girl I slept with who would respond to all of my descriptions of her arousal by whispering, “You did that.” Finally I was just like, “I know I did that! I’m the only one here.”

-Although my stand-up album climaxes (pun intended) with a tale of pillow talk gone horribly wrong, the stories in I Need to Tell You Something run the gamut of the contemporary twentysomething and thirtysomething experience. From online dating to officiating friends’ weddings, and from tweeting sexual conquests to telling girls their bangs look terrible, I have tried to tap into the zeitgeist of a generation with short attention spans, big dreams, and very little clue what the word “zeitgeist” means. I truly hope you’ll buy the album, find it hilarious, and share your favorite bits with someone you love – or, at the very least, with the total rando lying next to you.

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

-After I have a meeting, I write down as much information as I can about the participants and what we discussed. In order to help me remember who’s who, I often note which celebrity a person looks like. It’s very helpful to go back into my calendar and see that “Guy who looks like Jason Sudeikis liked the project. Woman who looks like that forty-year-old Olympic swimmer was lukewarm. Asian Jon Hamm loved it.”

-If you’re really “very passionate” about the fundraiser you’re organizing, perhaps the email inviting me should have come from you instead of your assistant.

-It’s weird that politicians are addressed by their highest title no matter how long ago it was – like calling Newt Gingrich “Mr. Speaker.” Using that logic, I should be known as “Captain Karo” because of my leadership of the junior varsity soccer team in 1994.

-Dear only couple dancing at the bar: everyone fucking hates you.

-My buddy Shermdog was supposed to get married last October, but the wedding was postponed when Hurricane Rina threatened Playa del Carmen. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the rescheduled ceremony months later, but I had already prepared a speech, so I had Triplet #2 deliver it on my behalf. It killed, of course, and the bride and groom were touched, but honestly I’m pissed that I’ll never get full credit for it. I did all the legwork and Trip 2 got to swoop in for the glory. I just hope Shermdog and his wife know I wrote that speech not to honor their everlasting love, but to impress the single bridesmaids, none of whom I ever got to meet. It should have been called Hurricane Cockblock.

-And while we’re on this topic, the wedding was at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. When I booked a room for the original wedding date, the price included all food, gourmet and otherwise, and all liquor, including top shelf, for the entire weekend. Which begs the question: if your wedding is at an all-inclusive resort, and I pay for the all-inclusiveness…aren’t I just paying for your wedding?

-When you take a girl out for the first time, you need to have a plan. You can’t just pick her up and say, “So, what do you wanna do?” Chicks hate that! In her head she’s thinking, “How is he gonna pick out a pre-school for our kids?” She expects you to know her likes and dislikes even though your only interactions have been drunken and hazy at the bar, awkward and sweaty on the phone, and totally not getting laid right now.

-And, finally, in I Need to Tell You Something I discuss some pitfalls of dating online. Admittedly I haven’t done it myself in many years, but one thing I don’t mention on the album is that when I was active, I rocked the best username ever: MyMomMadeMeJoin. It’s perfect for a dating site because it’s kinda cute and it says, “I don’t actually need to be on this site with the rest of you losers, but my mom – whom I respect and love – wants me to.” In other words, the kind of username a girl looks for in a guy she can date, sleep with, and then discover during a game of “Ask me anything” is totally full of shit. Fuck me!


Issue #202 – “Lexapros and Cons” – April 9th, 2012

-When I was in ninth grade, I kept a list of how often I jerked off for an entire year. I have no idea why I did it (nor do I remember what the final tally was, but let’s just say it was impressive). It was not until later in life, though, when I became cognizant of some of my other bizarre rituals and habits, that I surmised my masturbatory bookkeeping might have been an early symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder. That realization was the inspiration for my new novel, which comes out tomorrow and focuses on the plight of OCD-addled teenager Chuck Taylor who, as is revealed in the book’s soon-to-be infamous first sentence, also keeps detailed records of his self-gratification. Luckily for me, things have changed a lot since high school: I’ve gone from counting how often I masturbate to counting how many girls I’ve slept with to today barely tracking my sexual exploits at all. Or as any psychology textbook would call it: a full recovery.

-Because he happens to share the name of the icon behind Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars, Chuck becomes fixated on the sneakers, buys high-tops in every single color available, and uses them to create an intricate method for expressing himself. When he’s excited he’ll wear his blue “Cons,” when he’s frustrated he’ll wear his white “Cons,” and so forth. This system is something that Chuck and I do not share. If my mood matched my sneakers, I’d have one pair that signified “annoyed” and wear them every single day.

-In 2008, my doctor prescribed me the antidepressant Lexapro in order to combat OCD and anxiety. I took it for six months and felt no effect. Sadly, as with cold medicine and sleeping pills, I am for some reason immune to medication unless it comes in a glass bottle with “Amstel” written on the side. In my book, Chuck’s shrink also prescribes him Lexapro, though he experiences markedly different results. This gave rise to the title of the novel, Lexapros and Cons, which I’m proud to say pulls off a rare triple entendre.

-The novel, which I would describe as a comedic coming-of-age tale, follows Chuck through the second half of his senior year of high school. But while my idiosyncrasies informed Chuck’s character and the setting is a not-so-thinly veiled version of my hometown, the story itself is very much fiction; Chuck’s love interest and best friend are both wholly constructs of my imagination. It was an enlightening exercise for someone whose stand-up act and three previous books are all nonfiction. I never realized what writing a novel was like. It turns out that there’s a trick novelists use when they don’t know what should happen next: they fucking make that shit up. What a capital idea!

-Perhaps the biggest departure for me is that Lexapros and Cons is classified as young adult (or, as it’s known in the publishing industry “YA,” which stands for “fuck ton of money”). Theoretically, the book is meant for teenagers, but quite frankly I don’t really think there’s much difference between it and an “adult” book. In fact, there are exactly 74 instances of the word “fuck” in the novel, 29 more than in my Comedy Central special, which got bleeped so many times you can barely understand me and now replays at two o’clock in the morning. Side note: wow, I really need to stop counting everything.

-Ultimately, I would be thrilled if you picked up Lexapros and Cons tomorrow, read it, and then passed it on to a younger friend or relative. I am confident that the plight of Chuck – like my own plight – will make you smile. My friend Cat was one of the first people to read an early version of the manuscript. She finished the whole thing in a day while crushing Bloody Marys by the pool. She laughed, she cried, and then blacked out. I highly recommend that technique, if only because it means you’ll have to read it twice.

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

-Exotic, multi-ethnic women are always hotter if the foods from the countries that she’s from taste good together. I know a girl who is half-Swiss, half-French. Put that together and you get cheese fries. Delicious and gorgeous.

-If the only domain, email address, or Twitter handle available is one with your middle initial in it, either change your name or get off the fucking Internet.

-One thing that amazes me about women is their ability to completely shut me down with a single text message. We’ll be texting and flirting, and I think it’s going well, and finally I write: “u wanna meet up?” And she’ll demur: “in bed.” There’s just no way for me to respond to that. It could be 11pm on a Saturday night, but if she wants to end the conversation, all she has to do is write “in bed.” I call it the Fortune Cookie defense.

-My buddy will disappear for weeks and then call me out of the blue and ask for a favor. Like he ran out of gas and he asked me to pick him up because he didn’t want his girlfriend to know how poor he is. I was like, bro, you can’t just call me at two in the afternoon and expect me to come over. That’s a male booty call.

-When you’ve been dating as long as I have, you’d think you’d seen it all. But the biggest red flag I ever encountered happened a few weeks ago. I was using a girl’s bathroom and noticed that, discarded in the little garbage can next to the toilet was…half-eaten sushi. No joke. I mean, even if you were eating sushi in the bathroom, do not throw it out in the bathroom! What the fuck is in your kitchen garbage can? Tampons?

-I have seen three psychologists in my life, and none of them were able to figure me out. The problem is, there’s a very hazy line between being a neurotic, hyper-organized, impatient New Yorker, and being clinically OCD. I’m pretty sure I have one foot on one side of the line and one foot on the other. Though I’m using both hands to flip the bird.

-And, finally, because Lexapros and Cons contains explicit language, addresses the hot button issues of mental illness and bullying, and, well, revolves around a character who counts how often he wanks it, there was some concern that the book might be banned by conservative organizations. And so, I would like to conclude this edition of Ruminations by addressing those organizations directly. Dear Crazy People: I have one simple request. Please, pretty please with sugar on top, please ban my book. Seriously, I am asking you to do it. Ban the shit out of Lexapros and Cons. I couldn’t pay for that kind of press. Besides the fact that it’s 2012 and you’re still banning books, which is just adorable, perhaps you don’t realize that kids have Kindles and iPads now. They’ll see you’ve banned my book and download it right out of the sky like a fucking boss. That’s Oprah-level exposure right there. So stop shooting dirty looks and start banning dirty books. I appreciate your consideration. Warm Regards, Aaron Karo. (PS: Fuck me.)


Issue #201 – “Solo” – March 26th, 2012

-A raft of recent studies and books has revealed a startling statistic: more people live alone today than at any point in American history. In fact, there are now more people rolling solo than there are people with roommates, or families with children. Alone is the new status quo, and I have particular insight into this trend. I never lived with anyone in college (I paid my one prospective roommate in the frat house to switch rooms), and I’ve spent the majority of my post-college years, including the past seven, sans cohabitant. It’s been a great run. There is just something liberating about living alone, coming and going as I please, and not having to leave a proverbial sock on the bedroom door. I mean, hell, my bedroom doesn’t even have a fucking door. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

-Many people equate living alone with being lonely. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Those of us who live alone enjoy being able to control when we have to be social or not. Personally, I enjoy being antisocial from Monday through Friday. But that doesn’t make me lonely. It just means there is no conceivable contribution to my rent that would be worth a roommate engaging me in meaningless conversation on a daily basis.

-I’ve never lived with a girlfriend, and I imagine that could be a stumbling block to one day getting married. A lot of couples get engaged before or right as they move in together. That will not work for me. I figure I need at least a solid year of living together before I can be sure a woman is the one. Moving in is an irrevocable step in my book. Either we’ll get along and I’ll propose, or she’ll leave dishes in the sink and I’ll kill her and go to jail. In both instances I end up with a roommate for the rest of my life.

-Another important aspect of my preference to live alone is the fact that I work from home. If someone moves in, they are essentially sleeping in my office. And I can’t have that because my office is where I conduct business, earn a living, and masturbate.

-I have to admit, though, the relationship you have with your roommate is unlike any other friendship. I lived with my buddy Brian in New York right after we graduated, and I wrote about him in Ruminations so much that I dedicated my second book to him. And so it’s hard to believe that he’ll celebrate his sixth fucking wedding anniversary this year. Because, for about three years, we were essentially married to each other. I’ll just say this: you never truly know someone until you’ve shaved his back.

-Despite my efforts to downplay it, having someone defray your costs is an enormous advantage to living with a roommate. Cable bills just don’t make any sense unless they’re divided by at least two. I literally look at the totals and cannot understand them. One person can’t watch this much money’s worth of television. Getting married might almost be worth the savings.

-One hypothesis put forth about the rise of going solo is that social media has made the notion of living with or near someone in order to be close with them a relic of the past. After all, are you really living alone when you spend most of your time in your apartment liking and tweeting your friends? It’s an interesting theory, but one I have not been able to test with Brian, who is perhaps the last remaining Facebook holdout among my friends. Instead, he calls me once a week on his way home from work to chat on the phone and catch up. In essence, I enjoy all the camaraderie of being roommates – with twice the cable bill but half the back hair.

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

-It seems to me that jostling into position and shouting at just the right moment are skills that are equally valuable for getting your order taken at a bar and getting your question taken at a press conference. I think I would make an excellent reporter.

-If the opening credits of a movie feature long, gratuitous shots of your city’s skyline and I still have no clue where the fuck it’s taking place, your city sucks.

-I went to a bar in Vegas last year where, if you chug a beer in seven seconds or less, it’s free. So, basically, if you can chug a beer, it’s free. Because it’s not really chugging if it takes more than seven seconds. That’s just, like, sipping.

-When something is wrong with my car, a little exclamation point glows on the dashboard. But it doesn’t tell you – or at least I haven’t figured how to find out – what exactly the problem is. All I know is that something is wrong and I have to guess what it is. In other words, my car is a woman.

-One of my friends has been trying to get me to switch to almond milk. I just don’t see that ever becoming a priority in my life. How short does your To Do list have to be for “try milk made from nuts” to make it to the top? I’m still trying to wrap my head around goat cheese.

-Sometimes babies are so fucking cute that I can only express myself through extremely violent imagery. My friends post pictures of their babies on Facebook and I start to write, “Holy shit I want to rip her head off and eat it,” but there is just no way to properly clarify that I mean that as a compliment.

-The light on my router changes from green to blinking orange even though I’m still connected and everything is working properly. I couldn’t stand seeing that blinking out of the corner of my eye, so I kept resetting the thing. Then that seemed like a waste of time, so I covered the light with a piece of black tape. Now I can just sense that it’s blinking underneath the tape and it’s driving me crazy. It’s like “The Tell-Tale Heart” of wireless Internet.

-And, finally, the fact that there are now more people living alone than ever before dovetails nicely with the trend I discussed in Ruminations #177 – that for the first time in more than a century, single people outnumber married people in the 25-34 demographic. Taken together, one can conclude that being young, unattached, and independent is now the most popular lifestyle in America. As I wrote in that column: “We won.” And to the victor go the spoils. Never again shall we survey a married couple’s house in the suburbs and feign envy. Never again shall we place a gluttonous order of takeout and pretend it’s for two people. Never again shall a status update announcing the end of a relationship be greeted with commiseration instead of a chorus of thumbs up. Yes, my friends, the single and sexually active now rule the world. We saw, we came, we conquered. Fuck me!


Issue #200 – “200” – March 5th, 2012

-Occasionally I’ll write something in Ruminations that triggers a flood of responses from readers. Usually it’s a somewhat controversial statement like that I’m an atheist or that I don’t really like dogs. In my last column, though, I said something I thought was totally harmless and ended up getting pilloried for it: I revealed I have a landline. The emails and tweets calling me old came fast and furious. So let me clarify: I only have a landline because the intercom in my building in LA needs to be connected to a local number, and I refuse on principle to give up my NYC cell number. Hence, I need the local landline to buzz people in. Satisfied? Anyway, now on to business: drum roll please… this is the 200th issue of Ruminations (holy shit)! It has been quite the journey. In honor of the occasion and in light of my not-so-proud landline ownership, I’ve decided to take a stroll down memory lane. For kicks, I took a look at all the columns I’ve written in March of previous years. As it turns out, there have been quite a few embarrassing references to outdated technology…

-In March of 1999, I was upset that I wasn’t allowed to use my Discman while on a flight to Acapulco for spring break. I still remember that Discman. It had “forty-second shock protection.” Which I never understood because who hits a bump that lasts forty seconds?

-In 2003, my first friend got engaged. It was such a big deal that I proudly made a note of it – in my Palm Pilot. I was totally fluent in “Graffiti,” the scribble language you used to write stuff with the stylus. In hindsight that time might have been better spent learning Mandarin or…just about anything else.

-In 2004, I admitted that when I was home visiting my parents, I’d sometimes log in to my old America Online account. For shits and giggles, today I decided to log in for the first time in eight years. Not only does it still work, but I have 10,000 unread messages.

-By March of 2006 I had an iPod, but part of me was still surprised that when shuffled, the songs didn’t play in the same order as the last CD I burned years earlier. On a side note: if you know what “burn a CD” means but have never made a mix tape, you’re probably just about the right age for us to date.

-In 2008, I was knee-deep building a new web site when I had an epiphany: I should open a computer-themed bar called Scrollbar. I never really got any further than the clever name, but I think it would have been the perfect post-dot-com-bubble watering hole. Web designers could come from across the city to get together and not talk to girls.

-In 2009, I copped to still using Instant Messenger (I believe it was under a second AOL account I had created). To be honest, I still kinda like Instant Messenger. That’s because almost no one is on IM, while everyone is on Facebook Chat or G-Chat. And as has already been well established in the past 199 issues, I hate everyone.

-In March of 2010, I made what may turn out to be my most regrettable proclamation yet: I called iPhone owners “chumps,” and claimed that the only way I’d give up my BlackBerry is if it was pried out of my cold, dead hand. But before you judge me, keep in mind that at the time, BlackBerrys were still cool and not the repugnant devices that people now sneer at when you pull them out of your pocket. Still, I think I may just wait to trade up until I see what comes out after the iPhone. I don’t know, it might be nice to be ahead of the curve just once.

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

-My bathroom sink wasn’t working for some reason so the other night I had to get washed up using the kitchen sink. I don’t know what felt more bizarre: brushing my teeth with no mirror, or spitting toothpaste into the garbage disposal.

-I understand people who want to keep their Facebook profile private. But don’t make your only public photo a picture of your child. Sure, you’re anonymous, but now your poor kid is out there for the world to see. Plus I’d much rather see a generic sunset that your snot-nosed offspring.

-A few weekends ago I overheard a guy ask for a “taste” of beer at a bar. It’s not frozen yogurt, douchebag.

-I rarely get parking tickets, but sometimes those bastards just trick you. The other day I parked, I studied the sign, I double-checked the time, made sure I was within the lines, and then walked away. Only problem? I thought it was Sunday when it was actually Saturday.

-I’ve been taking a Centrum multivitamin every morning for maybe the past decade. The other day I ran out and, instead of buying more, just decided to stop taking them. At first I was worried that I would collapse or get mono or something. But nothing happened. I actually feel better now. Though that might be the placebo effect from not having to constantly swallow bright orange horse pills.

-St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, which means I have to start mapping out a laundry strategy to ensure my one green shirt is clean that day.

-I have never actually seen a bride throw the bouquet at a wedding. I think the whole thing is just a myth. Single women have a hard enough time enjoying weddings as it is without getting floral arrangements heaved at them.

-And, finally, there was one other portion of my last Ruminations column that readers took issue with. I stated that I work from home and therefore dress like a slob. When a light fixture fell off my ceiling and cracked me in the head, the blow was softened by the hoodie I was wearing. Ergo, working from home saved my life. Many (many, many) people pointed out the flaw in that logic: if I hadn’t been working from home, I wouldn’t have even been there to get hit in the head in the first place. And you know what? They’re right. I screwed that one up. I guess I just figured I’d get the benefit of the doubt after 200 issues. But to tell you the truth, I’m glad I don’t. As a matter of fact, a dose of humility every day keeps me on my toes – unlike those vitamins. Fuck me.