November, 2014:

A Man on Fire, Pringles, and Liquor: My First Memory

According to a poll conducted by Scientific American, 25% of people recall a troubling event as their first memory, just barely beating out “childhood antics” and “war.” And just as an aside, clearly the Scientific American poll-takers are sadistic fuckers, as they don’t find war to be a “troubling event.” Like, oh your first memory was your brother coming home from Iraq with his legs torn to shreds by a roadside bomb? That’s hilarious, let’s mark that under “light-hearted family capers.”

Nevertheless, I am part of the 25% of troubling first memory havers. When I was around 3 years old, the gas station two doors down from my house exploded. I guess that happens sometimes? So we all run outside to watch the carnage unfold, and everyone on the block is just standing around, like, yup. That bad boy’s on fire all right, flames are gettin’ real hot. But it was probably the sight of the gas station owner on fire, rolling around on the ground, screaming, attempting to pull his melting flesh back onto himself like some kind of skin cardigan that made me think, hmm here’s an image I’m wildly unprepared for. Oh, it’s just the nice gas station man pleading OH GOD HELP ME as the flames spread to his giant flammable beard, his face seconds away from pooling into a chunky puddle in front of some barely concerned neighborhood onlookers. The fire department showed up, and there was nothing on TV, so we all watched them put him out instead. I shook uncontrollably as the grand marshal of the block party from hell was extinguished.

To this day, certain experiences trigger my first memory. Getting gas – there’s the man on fire checking my tire pressure. Going to Burning Man – there’s the man on fire, wearing steampunk goggles and tripping his fiery balls off. Netflix recommends that I watch Backdraft, Heat, and Man on Fire – there’s the man on fire, who somehow guessed my Netflix password and is filling my queue with the hottest films cinema has to offer.

That night, after all the fire trucks and ambulances left, we went over to our neighbor’s house. The adults were all trading stories; undoubtedly my father was calling everyone and everything involved in the evening’s events an asshole – the guy on fire, the firefighters that put him out, the cop that asked everyone to take a step back, the gas station, fire itself. All of them ASSHOLES. I sat quietly on the sofa, staring at nothing, my very small brain processing how to categorize this first memory for a Scientific American poll-taker in the future.

But what’s the old saying? Every story about a man nearly burning to death has a silver lining? At some point my kindly old neighbor Mr. Girardi sat down next to me and handed me two things:  a shot of booze and a can of Pringles. “Here, drink this, it will calm you down. Here, eat these, they come in a weird can.” Because this was the roaring 80’s, when an adult could offer a 3-year-old a stiff drink and some chips and it was fine as long as their parents were present. Back when things made goddamn sense. So, thank you Mr. Girardi for teaching me that when it comes to processing a troubling event, alcohol is top notch. It’s second only to burying the event deep down inside and screaming yourself to sleep every night.

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An excerpt from Telekinesis for Beginners

I’ve been working on a secret project for a while now, and I’m finally ready to share it with the world. Below is an excerpt from my new book, I hope you love it.

Telekinesis for Beginners: An Introductory Guide to the Ancient Art of Picking Stuff Up with your Brain.


How many times has this happened to you? A prowler is snooping about in your begonias. You can see him out there because it’s broad daylight and he’s wearing a comically conspicuous black and white striped prowler outfit. You’re excited because now would be the perfect time to test out that new pistol you got for Christmas a few years ago. That was the best work-mandated Secret Santa party ever because you got a brand new glock and all you brought was a $20 gift certificate to the video store that burned down 10 years ago. But UGH it’s all the way over there in the closet in a safe and the bullets are hidden in the hollowed out bible you keep on your hope chest and that prowler is looking real mad and real ethnic. This looks like a job for telekinesis. With just the power of your brain waves you can unlock the safe, flip open the bible, load the gun and end the prowler’s life before he can say “Trick-or-Treat for Unicef.”

This book will teach you the basics of telekinesis through brain exercises, timed exams, poems and prayer. But hold on there, Carrie. This isn’t prom night, John Travolta didn’t dump a bucket of pig’s blood on you just yet, you have to learn the basics first. It’s like that old famous telekinesisman saying, “You have to learn how to throw a grape in the air and catch it in your mouth before you can level a city block with your thoughts.” Oh also, that reminds me, you should only use your new-found powers for good, so please only level city blocks riddled with crime. Let’s get started!

Chapter 1 – Just Picking Stuff Up With Your Hands

Fig. 1 - Fingerkinesis training exercise: Lift a small box while wearing small shorts.

Fig. 1 – Fingerkinesis training exercise: Lift a small box while wearing small shorts.

What if I told you that by physically picking up this book you’re already on your way to becoming a master brain mover? You’re performing fingerkinesis, the ancient art of picking stuff up with your hands. That’s probably a thing, right? I mean, it’s right here in this book you’re reading. Practice fingerkinesis every day for at least 6 hours. Pick things up around your house, or at a friend’s house, and put them back down, or put your friends down. You’re doing it. You’re really doing it.


Question 1 – Fingerkinesis is the ancient art of picking stuff up with your –

a) brain

b) hands

c) complicated pulley system

If you answered b, you’re correct, and you’re ready to unlock your full telekinetic potential. Imagine the thrill of walking through the grocery store, tossing cans into your cart without exerting yourself, or standing at the bus stop, tossing cans at a bus without exerting yourself.

(And then I just kind of trail off on the whole tossing cans with your brain thing for like 30 more pages, not really sure what happened there. I hope you’ll check out Telekinesis for Beginners wherever fine books are sold, like on your computer or at a dead nerd’s estate sale.)

You can watch me scream and yell all of my recent posts on AwesomeTalk! It airs every other Tuesday on our YouTube channel, where you can also find past episodes and other psychotic vlog vids.