Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stupidity Timeline: Volume 1

It all started at Wendy's. I'm thinking man these chicken nugz are delicious when the screaming of a group of kids tears me away from my honey mustard dunkin. Apparently two kids got different toys. Evidently the piece of plastic with the end that spins is far superior to the piece of plastic with the end that rotates thus all hell has broken loose. So the mom caves and goes to exchange one of them. Meanwhile the kids have lost interest in the toys and are competing over who can get more nostril filling on a fry with one swoop.

First I think, man these kids are stupid. Then I think, hell, all kids are so stupid. And then I thought about something I haven’t thought about in a very very long time…was I this stupid? Now I have a really good memory, and I’m not trying to brag, because the answer soon came to me. Yes. Yes, I was sooooooooooooooooooooo stupid. It’s not simply that I thought stupid things were cool. Every thought, event, decision, fear, interest, creative idea, justification, and dream I had about anything was completely and utterly founded in absolute stupidity.

Work would have to wait. I spent the next two hours sitting in that Wendy’s going through my life year by year. Everything I remembered was marinaded in stupidity. But then I got to high school and the stupidity continued. College, more idiocy. And when I got to a month ago I realized that stupidity wasn’t something you outgrow.

I realized I had to write down a few. So that I could learn from my mistakes. Then I realized I had to post what I wrote on my blog. So that you can laugh at my mistakes. I encourage everyone everywhere to do this. Not only is it a humbling experience, but you gain so much perspective. It’s like we turn thirteen and forget what its like to be a kid. At twenty we’re laughing at teenagers. How a little trip down memory lane really opens the eyes. It even offers perspective on ages we haven’t reached. No wonder parents act the way they do when their kids behave like this. But more important than the infinite insight, of course, is the entertainment value. I could do a similar exercise with a timeline of all my accomplishments to remind myself of my achievements and how I’ve grown over the years. But that’s not funny so who gives a shit. So instead I invite you on this journey:

(note: posts followed by a “present me” dialogue reflect what my present self would say to my actual self during the situation if time travel were possible)


I am born. Despite not having the ability to lift my head I can breathe. It’s a miracle. I’m so pure. So innocent. So cute. So stupid and useless.

Present Me: Boom! Hello world! Datswutimtalkinbout!


One of my first real memories, as in not just a shape or a sound but an actual thought, is of my brother. I remember he was sleeping and I was thinking about how my body was so much larger than his, but our heads were about the same size. I tried putting my head next to his to gain perspective on this insane discovery but I woke up the little bastard. Awww. The days when stupidity is euphemized as cuteness.

Present Me: Punch him in the face now. At some point he'll deserve it.


I have surgery to repair a hernia. My brother will tell kids for the next two decades that I was born with one ball. In 2009 he goes under the knife to repair a tweaked vagina…I mean hernia. Karma’s a bitch. Either way the nurse tells me I can’t leave until I fill a cup with piss. Not having to go I decide to will myself into urination. And by “will” I mean squeeze random muscles throughout my body, hold my breath, and make my face turn red. The stitches I just got are being ripped apart and I almost blow a vessel in my brain until finally my concentration is broken by my dad’s “What the hell are you doing?” Then the doctor suddenly realizes how a four year old can get a hernia. Let’s just say I would use a similar physical process to try to move objects with my mind.

Present Me: Piss in the cup. Pisssssss.


My Pre-K class is giving a Tony worthy performance tonight in the auditorium. The climax entails all twenty six of us lining up and saying one line about our designated letter. I’m at the end. I’m supposed to say “Z is for Zebra in the Zoo.” Yeah. One fucking line and instead this is what happens. As soon as the curtain opens and I see the sea of people I convince myself that all these people are here to both laugh at me and to throw stones at my teeth. So as the curtain is opening past me I stealthy grab onto it and ninja off the stage. I wrap the end of the curtain around me and I have all but disappeared. This part of the covert mission works fantastically. What I neglected to think about was how people actually know that there are 26 letters in the alphabet and that ‘Z’ is the last letter. Had I stayed on the stage maybe 40% of the people there would have looked at me for a total of five seconds.

Instead I have opted for the latter option where every single person in the entire room including the kids on the stage are looking for Mr. Z. On top of that all the cameras are rolling and using amazing zoom technology someone is able to find two little feet sticking out under the curtain at the end of the stage. Soon enough a room full of people hasn’t laughed this hard since a pipe leaked at the nitrous oxide factory. Lucky for me the curtain is red so when I finally make my appearance you can’t really see where my face is. Someone throwing rocks at this point would have little effect now in the grand scale of things.

Present Me: Hey. ‘V’ is for Vagina Face licking Vagina.


The principal of Marie Riviere Elementary School is quite possibly the most comforting human being in the history of the universe. At present I’m seated in front of her and she’s asking me a couple of real tough questions like: what is your name and how old are you? With no curtain to hide behind and having left both my smoke bombs and my dignity at home what ensues is me sitting there and just staring at her like a deer in headlights. My parents assure her that I can speak English and encourage me to say something. Anything. Even dogs can bark on command. And literally a dog would have averted what I just did…end up in ESL.

But Siggi, if you were actually fluent in English surely the teachers there would soon discover that you don’t belong in the class, right? Nope. A year and a half of eating tacos, whacking piƱatas, and staring blankly at anyone that asked me a question followed. Finally I spoke a full English sentence and they put me back with the regular class. One more week of gapping mouth staring on my part and they would have put me in the retard class.

Present Me: They shoulda put you in the retard class.


For the first month of kindergarten I would cry every day when we lined up to go to lunch. And I don’t mean like a baby. I wasn’t crying to get people’s attention and attain something. In fact, it was the opposite. I would tear up and try to hide it. I have something in my eye for the twentieth fucking day in a row. Fuck you. Then one day I stopped and my teacher pulled me out of class to give me a piece of shit plastic toy, which of course I though was the greatest thing in the universe.

Alternately one more week of pathetic whimpering and they would have put me in the retard class. Mom and dad expected nothing but A’s out of me, but the truth was every day for me was one giant struggle to stay out of the retard class.

Present Me: They already have a helmet picked out for you down in SPED, man. Don’t fight it.


Some zero is trying to cop a glance at my math quiz. I’m sorry, I only dish out free answers to ones. I cover my sheet but she literally starts pulling my hand away. So I retract my arm forcefully and tell her to find something else to eat. Of course, Mrs. Martin only turns her head when it looks like I’m about to slap a bitch upside the face and so now I’m in trouble. She gives me this yellow piece of paper with two bears on it. One is crying and the other one is also making a very sad face. Despite my pleas she tells me my mom has to sign this form. I think nothing of this. I got in trouble for no reason. I can tell that to my mom. She’ll sign it, and we’ll move on with our lives.

Instead my mom starts crying. And I mean like end of the world crying. She’s telling me that my life is over. That this will go on my permanent record and that colleges will see this when I apply and I’ll be at a severe disadvantage. Siggi Asztalos mental snapshot: What the fuck is college? She continues to bawl in the bathroom. “So are you gonna sign it or what?” Well that didn't help.

My dad arrives from work and unfortunately has a totally different style of parenting. You know that move E. Honda from Street Fighter does where he hits his opponent so many times so fast that his arms are a blur on the screen? That’s exactly what my dad was doing to my face. Two different approaches but both with the same goal of striking fear in me so that I never “screw up” again. What I learned very quickly, instead, was how to forge a signature.

So at this point you may be thinking why this belongs on here. I didn’t really do anything stupid. But I think it offers great perspective into my psyche(mother crying on the toilet. father tenderizing my face. this is how you end up with Siggi Asztaloses. World scientists take note). And also you’d be wrong in the first place. Remember when I thought “I can tell that to my mom. She’ll sign it, and we’ll move on with our lives.” Well even granted that I was only seven, that still might have been one of the dumbest thoughts that ever crossed my mind. What the hell was I thinking? IT’S MOM.

Present Me: What the hell were you thinking? IT’S MOM!


Everyone in my class is going “Ohhhhhhhhh.” The teacher does an ESPN worthy slow motion dive to reach the pause button on the VCR. We do not get to finish watching "Look Who’s Talking." I have absolutely no idea what the fuck is going on so after school I ask a girl on the bus what the fiasco was. She says that the main guy flipped someone the bird. I’m all like…Oh. Yeah. Totally. Whatever, though, right? I flip people the bird all the time. Siggi Asztalos Mental Snapshot: This must have something to do with talking babies.

Flash forward three months. Summer camp. Classic yo momma battle goin down. I usually win these, but today this happens…

Joey: Oh yeah. Yo momma so fat she use the highway as a slippin slide.

All the kids: Oh snap! Wow she must be fat. That’s crazy!!

Me: Oh yeah. I went over to your house last night and flipped your mom’s bird!

All the kids: ?????????????

Joey: ???????????????

Present Me: ??????????????


Mom and dad take Ivor and me to this nerd trap where they test us to see if we belong in Gifted and Talented classes. The lady puts three cards on the table with pictures on them, and tells me to put them in chronological order and explain my reasoning. Apparently the “correct” answer is 1…Kid digs a hole. 2…Kid plants a tree in the hole. 3…Now that his work is done he grabs his rod and goes fishing. I put the cards down in the only possible way to not have any of them in the right spot. Obviously this kid wants to go fishing but he needs some worms. So he digs a hole, and gets his worms but now he has to put the tree back in the hole. Siggi Asztalos Mental Snapshot: That’s called thinking outside the box, baby. Gifted and Talented here I come. Instead the idea of putting me in the retard class floats its way back to the surface.

Present Me: I also hate it when I’m digging a hole and a tree falls up out of it…


Stupidity worked in my favor that once because instead of Gifted and Talented “GT” should stand for ‘G’od awful waste of ‘T’ime. It gets started on ruining my life right away. Because my parents want Ivor to be in origami the class…I mean GT…we now have to switch schools in the middle of the grade. Fuck Uuuuuuuuu. This is gonna come as a shock, but my BFF in elementary school was a chick (a one obviously). And that day when the teacher announced it would be my last at the wonderful Marie Riviere Elementary School my little friend cried like a pitching machine was hitting her in the face with onions all day. The fems hex me for hours to go give her a hug, talk to her, let her know it will be alright. So I put my chivalry hat on and make my way over to our fair damsel in distress. These are literally the first words that come out of my mouth: “Please stop crying. It makes your face look weird.” Wow.

Present Me: Who dialed zero and asked for the smooooooth operator?

To be continued…

Friday, September 4, 2009

Jogger Types

I have no quarrel with the average Boston jogger. Perhaps running in front of my car as I'm taking a right is the extent to which they disrupt my day. Nor is there any entertainment value derived from them minus the occasional digger I happen to be at the right place and right time to see. But there are a few jogger oddities out there. Some that annoy me. Some that crack me up just thinking about their existence. As impossible as it seems. Some that do both.

1. "Mother always assured me I was special."

Look at me everybody. I’m an eighteen to twenty four year old jogging on the banks of the Charles. You probably already speculate that I am a fine, privileged student at the University of Harvard, but just to set all suspicions aside I’m running fully equipped with a crimson Harvard shirt and white running shorts with a golden Harvard logo glaring in the sun. You should interpret my slight head nod when I pass you pedestrians as not only a sign of superiority, but also masked pity. I’m so much better than you that sometimes it makes me sad. I always run with an ethnically diverse group for just because I’m a filthy rich white boy from Connecticut doesn’t mean I can’t get along with Africans and Indians. I can. They just have to be from equally affluent backgrounds. We’re all going sailing later. When a latino or black man that clearly is not a Harvard student comes toward us on the sidewalk we jump into on coming traffic. I’d rather take my chances with a roaring bus than risk the uncertainty of this black man noticing my nostrils clenching as I pass him. A shrieking car horn tears me away from my daydream of whipping slave hides alongside my great great grandfather. Speaking of black things, when we return to the safety of Harvard Sq. we all purchase espresso’s con panna.

2. "I don't take days off from being a tool."

I tie my shoes and head out the front door. Its 34 degrees and pouring. The trembling thunder claps assure me that it’s a great day for a run. A passing car splashes a mix of grime, piss, and acid rain into my face…refreshing. As I pass a bus stop full of ethnic people huddled into the small covered area I hear one of them say, “Fucking white people.” I smile at them to let them know that I accept their compliment graciously. When I get home and strip my drenched clothing I stop in front the mirror to inspect how skinny I am. I also think about how not having shaved in weeks has finally paid off because I look like Ryan Gosling from that scene in The Notebook. What a great movie. What a great day. If only I had a job or some sort of usefulness to this world. Oh well, maybe my girlfriend will wanna go for a run with me after we eat our vegan shepards pie. I contemplate not drying off to continue to look like Ryan Gosling until her arrival.

3. "You didn't think somebody could be a jogger poser did you?'

I look like a common jogger. A really really really gay one, but I’m not out for a run this is actually just the way I dress. It’s part of my scene you see. I’m one of these people: We can be found throughout the hipper boroughs of Boston. If you’re wondering what’s playing on my ipod, its Paramore. Despite my appearance I have actually never run before seeing as I’m not an athlete and I have nowhere to go being permanently unemployed. Luckily my rent is 23 dollars a month, one of the many benefits of living with 40 people. We only have one shower, but that’s okay cuz I don’t. Right now I’m heading over to American Eagle where I’ll proceed to the preteen girls section immediately. When we leave the store I’ll get jumped by a gang of middle school delinquents at the mall, both guys and girls. I’d fight back, but my inability to do so prevents me from doing it. Luckily all my friends are here to take the beating with me because we all dress the same. But I dress the way I do to be unique. It all makes sense if you really think about it. I know because someone at Hot Topic explained it to me using some shirts there as teaching aids.

4. "If I run two blocks I can eat a double big mac to celebrate right?"

Hi. I'm out for a run, but you give me a confused look because I'm so fat I look like the rear end of a rhinoceros bludgeoning the side walk. It turns out my conscience only manages to trick me into running about once every three years. I won’t reach these speeds again for another thousand days or perhaps next time I hear the captivating sirens of Apollo’s chariot in its summer time disguise, the ice-cream truck. I’m unable to fit on the sidewalk beside other people, and I’ve dreaded grass since the last time I made the mistake of stepping foot onto it when three tow trucks were called to pull me out of that terrible quick sand people call a lawn. Lucky for me when I run my thighs clap together and aided by the natural physics of the Doppler effect the sound omitted when I am approaching has been described to me by someone as, “Imagine if you could hear lightning and see thunder.” This phenomenon aptly clears the sidewalk for miles, however, a young man in Allston wearing an Outkast t-shirt once suggested I stay on the railway tracks. Then he tried swiping his Charlie card between two of my chins.

5. "The tortoise beat the hare if you can remember."

I’m running and you’re walking but we’re going the same speed. After two blocks I notice that you notice this, and I can see through your clothes and skin to realize that all your cells on the inside are laughing at me. I pick up my pace and pull ahead, but suddenly I’m really tired. Before I can even recover you’re walking beside me again, and now you’re talking on your cell phone. Over my panting I can tell that you are telling your friend all about this, and I can hear her laughing on the other end. A guy jogging with his dog passes us. That’s not fair, though, the dog is probably dragging him like a sled. We get to the end of the block and I have a brilliant idea. I’ll detour around the block and make my jog a little longer. When I get back to the street I can see you on the horizon. How the fuck do you people walk so fast? Either way I can finally enjoy my run…until I see a shadow creeping up on me. God I hope it’s a biker. A rollerbladder. At least another jogger. Instead an old Chinese woman with two arms filled with groceries passes by. She is followed by her toddler dragging a doll on the ground. When I collapse on my couch at home it’s fortunate that I’m too exhausted to commit suicide.

6. "Sometimes the birds talk to me. They say help us, man."

After a strenuous quarter mile jog I’m ready to stop at the park and strike ridiculous poses. I assure you that these are stretches. Once I’m limber I like to follow up with some Thai Che. It helps me lower my heart rate as well as look like a complete jack ass simultaneously. I read the Art of Sun Tzu back in college, but then ripped some of the pages out to roll joints with. Fortunately the public library failed to notice. I like to run near the Beacon Hill reservoir because my Native American name is “running stream.” If you’re curious as to how many diverse cultures I can sacrilege the answer is at least three because I also converted to Islam back when Jay-Z made it cool. Also my grandmother is from Mexico so I feel the pain of my latino amigos. When I visit her on Sundays after Christian church(counts at four now) she always looks up from her cooking and calls me “el chilito.” She never lets me eat the food, but I know that’s so I can preserve this spiritually pure and earthly body. In her honor I tattooed those beautiful words to my chest right below the ghandi quote that was there(five).

Wait. The more i think about it I just described every jogger in my city.