Meanest thing I’ve ever done

During one of my travels a few years ago I was feeling lonely on the road, and called a dear old friend, Brian Walsh, to have a nice chat and catch up. Brian wasted no time in informing me that he was entirely uninterested in any of my successes, insights, or news that could at all be construed as positive towards my life.

He added that while I was traveling I was only to call him in order to share stories of failure, injury, and overall misery. While Brian is of course a dick for having said this, it doesn’t change the fact that he stumbled upon a profound truth in story telling. Failure is always more entertaining than success.

So with that in mind, I’d like to share this story with you and in doing so state clearly – FUCK YOU BRIAN WALSH. Hahahaha! This time I win you punk!

My Girl photo 2

Check out the story below that I performed at a Moth StorySLAM in LA. Of the 10 performers telling true stories from their lives on the subject of “Jokers” your very own JBreezyBaby was voted the winner! This was in fact a bucket list item of mine, and I now advance and compete in a GrandSLAM event where 10 LA StorySLAM winners compete.

Brian, you are not invited to attend.

Below is the video of the audio (what?) which I may or may not have the legal rights to share. So if the 17 people who see this post just keep their mouths shut then I’ll probably be fine.

Wait… I think this blog post is a story about a story I told about a thing I did. The thing I did is super mean, and not a success, but in telling the story I won a competition which was successful. I think…

Not sure what I intended from this post anymore… somewhere something good happened to me I think.

SHUT UP. Just listen to the damn story if you want a laugh.

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The Blog of James – chapter 28 – verse 1

BEHOLD – the illiterate Phoenix rises from his modestly adventurous ashes! What monumentous, life changing, death defying event could have awakened his blogging hibernation while simultaneously compelling him towards 3rd person prose? How about our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Big enough reason for you heathens? Now that you are not at all squirming uncomfortably with the direction of this blog – let us bow our heads and begin.

Bla bla bla, a string of events occurred a little more bla took place and for the last 2 years I’ve been living in Los Angeles – the urban equivalent of a slutty 36 year old. Still attractive, you’ve got a chance at a wild time, but if you linger inside too long you’re going to catch something. That something, LA’s metaphoric herpes so to speak, is a completely vapid set of ideals, and a moron’s vocabulary. Also… literal herpes. People get around in this town.

But me, I’m immune of course. Only the gays are transformed by LA right? A straight white male with good old Virginia morals can’t contract this town’s sickness. How naïve I was.

2 months into my tour here I described a movie screener as ‘dope’ and a kale salad as ‘my jam’. The first 2 red bumps. You tell yourself it’s just a rug burn, or some irritation after that bike ride… but you’re still Usain Bolting to the clinic to get your junk examined. Praying to hear those blessed words “Mr. Calabrese, your dick is fine”.

I needed to do something about the metaphoric L.A. herpes I was showing early signs of (to be clear for those with James-esk reading comprehension – herpes is serving as a metaphor. I do not have herpes). More bla bla bla I decide that attending vespers at a Catholic church is the shot of penicillin I need to clear up the self absorbed infection I’m exposed to in L.A. By the way, ‘Vespers’ is Latin for “why the fuck are you going to church on a Tuesday night you dweeb?”

Turns out there are barrels of dweebs here. Sunday mornings alone are not enough to instill the soul crushing/saving guilt the young Catholics of Santa Monica apparently need to soldier on through their sun-kissed lives. I guess you lose sight of the righteous path when you’re perpetually long boarding past jaw dropping sunsets in designer beanies.

Asides:

  1.  What the freak is with the year round floppy beany? Did everyone but me suddenly decide they wanted to be as douchey and overheated as possible?
  2.  If something amazing is “jaw dropping” then something absolutely unbelievable should be called “pants dropping”. Imagine it – a sunset so spectacular that you immediately drop trou embracing an animalistic instinct to put the fewest possible barriers between it and your genitalia.
  3. If my blog posts became an album then my ‘asides’ would be the ‘b-sides’.

Anyways, it’s 7:30 on a Tuesday night and I’m sitting in a polite circle with 60 other twenty somethings. Quietly wondering if it was a lifetime of good decisions or a quick flurry of bad ones that brought me to this moment. Instead of actually challenging myself with this existential crisis I land on an eye roll and muttering ‘whatever’ as a suitable answer. Like a community theater student at my second improv class I’ve learned that I just have to go with whatever scene unfolds. I know full well that the scene is going to suck, but hell, the alternative to this ‘tear it down’ creative exercise would have been another night alone on the internet with my roommate’s obese asthmatic cat Rose by my side. 

B-sides:

  1. A Rose by any other name would be just as fat
  2. I sadly no longer live with Rose. I actually wrote this story 1.5 years ago, so a lot has changed. Actually, little has changed seeing that I wrote this 18 months ago so that means I’m still lazy as fuck, I’m still not doing anything on a Saturday night, and have my new neighbors obese husky at my feet right now to replace Rose.

Vespers get’s under way and I’m primed for some young adult discussion with steady streams of spirituality I can comfortably ignore when they get too dogmatic. But I forgot… this is a Catholic church. An institution not exactly famous for it’s open dialog, but one that leans more heavily towards a “shut the fuck up and memorize this shit – get them while their young – by ‘get’ we mean brainwash – by ‘get’ we mean sodomize – don’t talk unless you are telling us your secrets – push the stylistic boundaries of hats – are you guilty yet – love each other – hate gays – minimize women – god is love – god reserves the right to burn you forever – no it’s not magic – no it’s not science – sit – kneel – stand – sit – sit – sit longer – our new Pope is refreshingly not a dick – spare any change?” mentality.

So no – I obviously did not get the young adult discussion and potential friendships I was looking for. What I did get was trinity of hilariously Catholic experiences.

Firstly, the Vespers was 1.5 hours of getting talked at by a priest. That’s bold even by Catholic standards. We’re all young people volunteering to come to Church on Tuesday, and you have the balls to just jabber at us. How fucking un-creative too. Who’s the marketing genius that came up with this one? The dialog must have been something like this:

Concerned Parishioner : “Father, our Church is losing young people. It feels like we are lagging behind global social shifts, and our lazy assertions that God exists because there are forces we can’t explain has led to an ever diminishing view of His presence since that blasted ‘science’ is endless in its expansion of man’s knowledge of the universe”

Marketing Wiz Father : “Just have the kids do the same shit we do on Sunday, but on Tuesday… and in a circle”

Everyone : “Brilliant!”

Secondly, is this gem : the father is hitting his stride around minute 38. He’s explaining how he was a 14 year old kid who absolutely hated the church for numerous legitimate reasons. He’s really done well to humanize himself thus far, and in this moment I’m intrigued to hear about how he transitioned from this point in his life back towards faith. You know how he did? How he made the shift from literally punching holes through car windows when his mom made him go to church to being an ordained father? Here’s how – he saw the Pope from 15 yards away… once. I’m not making this shit up. At that moment he was, and I quote, “so overwhelmed with the presence of God” that he “broke down crying”. How spectacularly Catholic is that?!? The answer to all of our most profound and deep questions is the Pope. No more questions. Pope says everything is A-Okay!

There are 59 kids in a circle leaning in further than Sheryl Sandberg soaking this into their marrow. While 1 underground Episcopalian sits dressed to impress and desperately fighting back laughter.

Thirdly, everyone goes to a bar after Vespers. That pretty Catholic and pretty cool. +1 for Catholics there.

Amen.

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A breezy baby holiday: blow jobs, bros, and quantum mechanics

Happy holidays dorks. I give you the gift of video!

Back on July 31st I published the post Can a bro get a bro? A brave piece of blogging teaching the youth of the world how to pick up dudes. Despite the universally appealing subject matter of bro seduction the the post suffered from a serious case of ‘written words’.

Please enjoy the reading free adaptation of that forgotten post:

This was told with SpeakeasyDC on November 12th. I’ll be telling a new story on January 14th. Information can be found here.

-James

I’m so sorry

Wow! I have been getting flooded with hate mail after my last post. Lots of upset readers out there. And you know what… you’re right.

I’d like to formally apologize for my last post. You are all 100% correct. I was way way out of line. Through trying to take my stories in a new creative direction, I crossed the line.

By not including one single Star Wars reference, not even one Star Wars youtube link, I betrayed your trust. For this I humbly and sincerely apologize. I pray I can earn your trust back in time.

How about this for starters…

Check out this video of my October 8th Speakeasy DC performance. The story, titled “Fuck Pokemon”, is non-stop, wall-to-wall, ballz-out Star Wars!

Side note and promotion: SpeakeasyDC stories are all true stories told live without notes. My “Fuck Pokemon” story was picked up for their short film contest where I performed the story again last Friday and was randomly paired with a film team who had about 5 days to turn it into a short film. Those films are being shown this Saturday! Check out all the details and get tickets here.

Here is the original version of the story from October:

Here is the description of the movie that was made from this story:

“POKE WARS
In an attempt to shoot a film about Pokemon vs. Star Wars, a team chronicles what happens when everything goes wrong.
Based on the true story “Suck It, Pokemon” by James Pasquale Calabrese
Film created by Heisenberg; Jose Carceres, Director”

Sounds like it is a film, about the film, about the story. Some real meta shit right there. Also did you notice how they changed my title from “Fuck Pokemon” to “Suck It, Pokemon”? You may or may not be surprised by how angry and upset I was when I saw the “Suck It” version printed in the hand out for Friday’s show.  Story diva!

STAR WARS FOR LIFE!

-Kit Fisto

A patience for limited accommodations: Part 1

Everyone who reads this blog is one of two things:

1) a terrific human being who deserves a pat on the bum

  You know, the friendly sorta football coach pat on the bum. Not the Sandusky kind, just like… the normal jock homo erotic kind.

2) aware of my “patience for limited accommodations”

  See: Home Sweet Home, Punching Girls, Nothing beats the hobo life.

Those of you have seen my room in DC (bow chica wow wow, or really a bit more like this) know this fact even more intimately (seeing is believing). Those unfamiliar: for starters my room was formerly a large hallway.

So, obviously I have a “patience for limited accommodations”. Since being described as having this patience, is the nicest thing anyone has ever written about me I’ll indulge you (read: indulge myself) in the 24 hours surrounding this quote.

The quote was taken from a large excerpt posted on my couchsurfing.com profile. For those of you unfamiliar with couchsurfing, it’s like LinkedIn for unemployed people. We jobless network together, enabling us to sleep on each other’s couches and use one another’s showers.

Essentially, the website creates a social safety net so we can live like carefree butterflies going from flower to flower, slurping down all the sweet nectar we can handle in our greedy, self-indulgent, and gorgeous lives. We forego the song and dance routine of you worker bees slaving away to provide a few specks of pollen for your hive; eagerly signing away your free will, mindlessly taking orders from the queen bee; comfortably buzzing through life waiting for the sweet, sweet honey payoff… only to find on your deathbed that the beekeeper (The Man) was taking it for himself all along!

You never got around to that novel. You’ve made it to only 11 of the 30 ballparks you and your dad promised each other you’d go to. And you remain a novice salsa dancer. You were given a stinger, but you once heard that you’d die if you ever actually used it. So you lay on your deathbed with an unused stinger, another fucking bill, and the nagging feeling that you should’ve stung the bee keeper on his grubby hands and sorted out the rest from there. I mean, back in your younger days you could freaking fly!

Okay, what was this post about again? Right: another post about me sleeping in a weird place. Super original, James. I write one post every 2 months, and somehow manage to make 50% of them the same fucking story only with a different set of retarded YouTube links, and a new relative for me to apologize to.

Back to the quote which falls unfairly short of describing my full “patience”…

The day I earned this praise was to be my last full day on the road, and started similarly to many days in my life. I awoke in Chicago at 8am on a couch belonging to a friend from high school, who up until the night prior, I hadn’t really spoken to for 5 years. I snagged some free wifi (the lifeblood of a couchsurfer), and looked at the drive from Chicago to DC. I didn’t feel like driving 14 hours, so I selected the proud city of Pittsburgh as my home for that evening. I’d return to DC the next day. I hit up a celebrated doughnut shop in Chicago where I was pleased to be given several free doughnuts after tipping the cashier (pay it forward people, didn’t HJO teach you anything? Ignoring the part where he gets stabbed in the end that movie had a compelling message).

Celebrated doughnut aside: why do I go out of my way for shit like a great doughnut? I’ve never eaten a doughnut and thought “hmmm, I wish they combined butter and sugar in a more local, thoughtful way”. Who’s ever eaten a doughnut and thought how it could have been better or different in any way? The only thought after a doughnut is “that was a mistake”.

I ate the treats outside and had a lovely chat with the two architects dining next to me. They give me their business cards and tell me to get in touch with them. Turns out their names are the same names of the architectural firm. Back to the hive and Civil Engineering for James? I’d think on that later. Right then, I needed to find a bed in Pittsburgh.

I hop on couchsufing and fire off a generic message to the first 6 people that pop up in Pittsburgh. I don’t care who they are. I just need a couch, and I’m confident they’ll be more scared of me than I am of them (I’ve been on the road for 4 months at this point. And that extended duration has certain… side effects on one’s appearance).

I stop off for Thai food in Toledo, Ohio. A decision that resulted in the digestive issues one would expect from Midwestern panang curry. Ohio was slow going thanks to frequent pit stops, and INFINITY tolls! Everyone always asks “what was the best place you visited?” This can be tough to answer. You know what is not tough to answer? “What was the worst place you visited?” Because it is goddamn Ohio. I hate Ohio. A visit to Ohio is the tourist equivalent of paying a hooker for zero of the sex, and all of the STDs. Like when Angelina Jolie asked Billy Bob Thorton for a vial of his blood. (Went there! CELEBRITY B-U-R-N, BURN!)

So I crawl out of the Buckeye state in what was one of the lowest moments of my life. Holding back diarrhea and begging a toll booth attendant to let me through despite coming up short on my $11.50 toll. I scraped up all the change I had in the car, and they probably felt that my life must be worse than theirs and let me pass out of pity, and this is coming from an Ohio toll booth attendant.

More Ohio hatred asides: Ohio, you are pathetic. You’re the 13th most obese state in the US. If you rule out all of the South, thus leaving only the 40-odd states that people respect, then you come in about 3rd. Maybe it has something to do for your obsession with Ohio State football and their laughable buckeye mascot. You are literally rooting for a ball of peanut butter coated in chocolate. And when football pauses for one moment, then that band comes on and becomes your new god for the next 4 minutes.  NOBODY GIVES A SHIT.  It is a f**king marching band for Christ sake.  Is your  kid in the band? No? Then you shouldn’t care about a marching band. And don’t even start about some tuba player dotting the “i”.  Eat a salad and do something productive with your time like write a blog nobody cares about.

While on the road I get a couchsurfing hit. A pedicab driver will let me crash with him after he gets off work at midnight. Huzzah! That last sentence, while bone chillingly scary and pathetic to most, represents a moment of great joy and success for yours truly. I finally arrive in Pittsburgh at 8 pm, park in a garage and need to kill the next 4 hours until my pedicab prince can rescue me.

I end up at a stand-up comedy open mic because I wanted to make the day even more depressing than it was. I’d batted around a few new jokes I was thinking of on the drive that day and gave it a shot. I went about as well as expected… which is not as good as “bad”, but not as bad as Mike Birbiglia’s “human beings don’t like me”. All things being relative, 2 lines did land strong, and I’ll give them to you delightfully out of context:

1) Yo girl, you ever made love on the beach before? It’s about to smell like it.

2) I was watching a lot of Star Wars and getting pretty good at being a virgin

On top of the misery of my set I then need to kill more time and hang out with the other “comedians”. You completely understand why I use quotes there if you’ve seen me do stand up. It is hard to find a more depressing group of people then a group of open mic comics. You can be sure that nobody has business cards let alone cards where their name matches the company name.  Now thoroughly miserable I head out to the pedicab garage to meet Levi…

… to be continued

-James

PS: Sorry about the bee rant. I think I’ve drunk a little too much of the open- road-Alexander-Supertramp Kool-Aid. Sadly, I’m writing this while drinking even more of the punch, which tonight is in the form of a small pot of “Moroccan Mint” tea at my local fair trade coffee shop. Its 7:30pm, and I’m here alone. I need to get back to the hive and fast. At least bees have someone to dance with.

PPS: a guy next me right now is frantically working on his MacBook in order to pay off some taxes he owes tonight which he forgot about. A window into my future? Is this life outside of the sweet honeycomb? Give me the blue pill!!!

4 of the dozens of Lucy look alike pieces of street badger art. Like all public art the artist describes it's purpose as "to make the viewer more aware of their space".  I swear to god, every piece of large public art has this as the sole explanation of it's purpose. This is the greatest cop-out of all time. What about "this shit is fun to look at isn't it? Having it hear sure makes this park more interesting and huh?" That is a perfectly acceptable explanation for it.

4 of the dozens of Lucy look alike pieces of street badger art in Millennium Park, Chicago. Like all public art the artist describes it’s purpose as “to make the viewer more aware of their space”. I swear to god, every piece of large public art has this as the sole explanation of it’s purpose. This is the greatest cop-out of all time. What about “this shit is fun to look at. Having it hear sure makes this park more interesting huh?” That is a perfectly acceptable explanation for it.

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The Bean in Millennium Park is an amazing tribute to an under-appreciated Orson Scott Card character. On a sunny day though, it should be renamed to “Holly Shit don’t look dirrectly at that god aweful migraine machine!” as its curves serve to blast the awesome power of the sun directly at your face no matter where you are

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Chicago at Sunset #travelblog #barf

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Sneak peak at part 2 of this post: The view from the pad I ended up crashing at in Pittsburgh

Them’s birds a-roost’n

My muse, James Calabrese, once wrote “These 48 hours will require a separate and detailed blog post in order to fully mention the bisque. It will undoubtedly come in an untimely manner.” How about over 3 months later? Untimely enough for you? Well estimated former James.

Looking back on those 48 hours through the rose colored lenses of nostalgia make me feel that those 2 days were in fact…. still really fucking miserable. Nothing changes. I’d like to elaborate on one portion of those 48 hours. A one hour span that wasn’t so much miserable as it was way to reminiscent to the opening scenes of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

It’s about 10pm, I’m camping somewhere outside of ___ Texas (overlap #1 of many with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and I’m driving away from camp with two bikini clad blond ladies (high five! Who saw that coming after my last bro-blog post. A brog post? also, overlap #2). We are heading out to purchase some firewood to bring back to camp. After a spell, we happen upon what looks like it could be a back-country general store of some sort. Blond #1 and I walk in, and immediately regret that decision (#3).

It was not a creepy general store, but was in fact a creepy trailer park bar. Blondie and I are greeted by a who’s who of trailer park trash (#4). A transgender going through a low budget male to female gender transformation. Or perhaps just a really big ugly women (think Briene of Tarth from GoT). Two guys who I think were brothers, or father & son, or father & brother, sporting a trailer-classic look. An IT specialist down on his luck. And a few more rounding out a crowd of about 7. All were well lubricated and staring at the bikini clad blond, and the tank top clad “fresh meat”.

Blondie somehow breaks through the silence and starts chatting with the bartender about where we can drive to buy wood. I stand there feeling useless and rapeable.

“Need wood for cook’n or for heat’n?” is posed to me unexpectedly from one of the particularly well seasoned alcoholics at the bar (although through the magic of alcohol and chain smoking he may not be 73, but could be 31 for all I know).

Not knowing there was a difference in wood types, I shakily answer “heating.”

“Would cedar do the trick?” he asked. Who is this guy? Some sort of arbor savant?

“Yeah Cedar would do just fine.” I answer trying to act like I actually put rational thought into it.

“Alright hold on.” He says as he pulls out his phone and begins dialing. He quickly gets someone else on the other end of the line and begins coordinating what I assume to be my kidnap and murder. God I hope it is only kidnap and murder.

“Sir, that’s okay. We are just gona go to a store and buy the wood”

“Nonsense, my brother Skipper lives right around the corner. He’ll sort you out”

At this the bartender considers his advice superseded and stops instructing Blondie on how to get to a real, presumably torture-free, store. We awkwardly listen to the directions to Skipper’s trailer and then shuffle outside. Back in the car we all agree/question that we guess we are going to Skipper’s. It was like a Ouija board at a middle school sleep over – nobody knew who was moving it, but we all held on as something terrifying was spelled out before our eyes. (just try to imagine how far off I was from correctly spelling the word ‘ouija’)

The directions were surprisingly good, and we arrive at Skipper’s trailer in no time. Skipper greats us in the headlights of our car with the beat red face of a life long alcoholic, and a 2 pack a day voice to boot.

“You need wood for heat’n or cook’n”. Damn these guys knew their wood.

“Heating”

“Would cedar do?”

“Cedar’s perfect” I answer with the confidence of repetition.

Skipper leads us around to the back of his trailer where what can best be described as a drug deal went down. “How much you got?” “How much do you need?” “How much does it cost?” “Is it dry?” “I’m not paying that for some damp ass Cedar!” “I’ll throw in some kindling”, etc etc etc. It even concludes with Skipper pulling out the largest wad of cash I’ve ever seen. He either is a drug dealer, or mistrusts banks. I’d believe either.

By the time we’re done we’re actually all quite chummy and I’m enjoying Skipper’s company. Skipper worked in a coal mine for many years, and all the noise isn’t from cicadas as I thought but in fact “them’s birds a-roost’n”. Skipper offers to help us out with any other camping needs that may crop up tonight or in the years ahead. During this offer he goes on one of my favorite monologues of all time:
“Now if yous come on back here, and that there truck is gone. Now that’s my wife’s truck. That means she’s gone… probalby at the bar. If that there golf cart’s a-gone. That’s my cart. That means I’m gone… probably at the bar.”

What a guy. God I want to party with him.

We return to the camp site in high spirits having completed our primary task of wood acquisition and our secondary task of not getting Texas Chain Saw Massacred, Delivered, Sling Bled (especially the Dwight Yoakum parts… mmhh), Roadhoused, Earnest Scared Stupdided, Southern Comforted, Motel Helled, or Taken (not a scary southern themed movie at all, but still that would suck to get your ass kicked by Qui-Gon Jinn or taken and sold into sex slavery).

Sadly I didn’t stay to enjoy the fire because if you recall I hated those 48 hours. So I promptly went into my tent alone and listened to Game of Thrones on tape (suck it reading!). Oh Daenerys, fetch me a dream.

-James

Bonus Q&A:

“James, you hit the obscure movie links extra hard this post, but somehow failed to add one Star Wars link. All we got was a lazy Liam Neeson Qui-Gon Jinn reference. What gives?”

“Great observation friend.  The lack of Star Wars was no accident.  I want you begging for Star Wars so I can shamelessly promote my upcoming performance at Speakeasy DC on Tuesday October 8th.  I’m telling a story all about Star Wars! I know, finally.  You’re welcome. Check out the details here if you want to come watch and be terrified by the role Star Wars has played in my life.”

Spooky Camping #1

Spooky Camping #1

Spooky Camping #2

Spooky Camping #2

Can a bro get a bro?

Long time no write ya nerds. I’m not sorry for the blogging hiatus because I’ve been too busy picking up dudes. Yes you read that correctly, and I implore you to continue reading so I can add some heterosexual context.

Your first question for me is likely “what?”. An unimaginative, but non the less fair inquiry so I’ll be your huckleberry and answer before dying of tuberculosis. While traveling I’ve found I have an ample allotment of “James Time”. Typically this is my most favorite of times used predominantly to freestyle rap and play make believe. Much like midnight all you can eat red beans and rice or 3am $1 tacos (6 bowls and 13 tacos respectively), too much of a delicious thing can actually become sorta boring and leave you rubbing your distended belly on the couch for the next 12 hours while coming to terms with coronary artery disease. As convoluted as that last sentence was the point is sometimes I don’t want to be alone. And when I get that feeling, it’s not Marvin Gaye’s timeless cure-all that I need, it’s a bro.

Someone with whom to slam beers, hike, swap tall tales, and silently stare into a sunset wrapped in the comfort of our communal brodem. For these needs, a women just won’t do.

How does one pick up a bro though? Sadly there is no manual out there. No The Game to equip me with a pre-packaged conversation starter or closing ‘neg’ strategy. A google search of “how to make dudes like you” leads to a plethora of advice centered around delayed fellatio. This advice was not exactly applicable to my predicatment. Having been abandoned by google, I had to ford the raging river of Brotown USA all alone. There wasn’t even an Indian guide I could trade some of my thrift store clothing to in order to help me and my $1600 of ammunition across. (if you didn’t go to school as personal computers were becoming popular then you will not get the Oregon Trail references, and your life is sadder for it).  It turns out that in this river, however, I’m a god damn 2008 Michael Felps (remember how awesome that was? And that?  Sucks to be Italian at the 4:40 mark).

That’s right, I’m currently batting 1000 in the ball park of bros. And I’m out in the wild bromosphere in totally uncharted bro-ographies. This isn’t Dispatch’s last concert or something. These are real wild bros. Back story: In 2004 I had my first ever bro pick up while traveling to Boston for Dispatch’s last concert. Some friends and I beat a pack of college bros in a pick up game of ultimate frisbee at Harvard square the day before the concert. We then had said bros buy us alcohol and save us seats in the second row. Stellar bro pick up across all the major categories of setting, event, and favors garnished.

So that’s when I first dipped my toes into the brocean with some buddies at 17. Now I’m on my own at 26 and while my flick might be a little rusty I can still sure as hell hook a bro. (Did you notice the guys name in the last link? What a superb bro)

I have 2 primary tactics:

1) The move that never fails – Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits

For years I’ve been extolling the merits of fruit and yogurt parfaits to anyone who will listen. There is no better way to start your day, and no better way to pick up a bro (or a chick. This one is a unisex move because EVERYONE loves fruit and yogurt parfaits). I used this tactic in Nashville TN with clinical precision going through all of the standard steps of brocation, broproach, brodvance, and brocure. It went like this:

After an evening of revelry I went to bed late at the hostel in my 4 person shared room. I noticed one bed still unoccupied despite the late hour. I woke up early to find it inhabited by a man fully clothed in the fetal position with the hostel linens still folded up neatly at the foot of his bed where the staff placed them prior to arrival [brocated – bro located]. I saw him again around 11am sitting in the sun outside the hostel smoking a cig (might as well have been flying a bro-flag). My bropening line was a textbook “big night last night?” [broproach – bro approached. Also known as the ‘bropener’ in some circles]. After swapping tales I went for it (better to strike early when hunting serious bros). “Hey, I was just about to walk to Walgreen’s and grab some Greek yogurt to complete my fruit and yogurt parfait. Do you want one?” [brodvance – advance the bro situation]. Of course he did. Everyone does.

Wrapping up breakfast at 12:30 he asked “do you want to start drinking” (wow, the brogame equivalent of an UNO reverse draw two). At this point of if you are not saying “oh most definitely” then you had no place trying to pick up a bro to begin with. Over a cooler of beer and a Nalgene of gin and tonic we discuss literature, philosophy, travel, and throwing knives (true bros are well read and well rounded).

12 hours later David (because at this point he deserves a name) and I were 25% of the occupants at a bar on the outskirts of town. We found ourselves in an arm wrestling match with a hulking man called “D”. The more impressive the man the fewer letters he requires. That is why I include my middle name on Facebook. This arm wrestling move is a more advanced blue-collar brogame tactic that shouldn’t be used lightly, and doesn’t quite deserve a full break down like the parfait does. Anyways… D and I roll up our sleeves, I turn my hat around backwards, and get my ass kicked. Beyond the obvious Over The Top implication of the hat turn, I also make plenty of Ash Ketchum references in case there were any bro-nerds at the bar. The brokemon shout outs didn’t win me any bros (couldn’t hurt to try, and it entertained me at least) but the arm wresting did the trick for D and his girlfriend. We proceeded to drink drinks and laugh laughs together for the night.

David and I toured Nashville the next day, and he is planing to meet me with his boat when I get to South Dakota [brocured – bro secured]. Doesn’t this feel like the final freeze frame caption on David and my coming of age movie? A truly great brogame win.

Related Side Note: In Calgary I received the best John Bender fist pump of my life.  Hamza and I were walking down the street and a homeless guy asked if we could spare any change.  Without breaking stride I grabbed all the change from my pocket and dumped it in his hands.  Because Canadian money is silly, they have $1 and $2 coins.  So I could have given him anything from 75 cents to 14 dollars.  It must have been a lot because as we walked off he took stock of the coins then shouted “where are you from?” I shouted back “Washington DC” and after a brief pause he simply gave me a huge fist pump and held it strong in the air for a few seconds.  I pumped back, and walked on.

Double Side Note: What is it like for strippers in Canada?  Do they just get pelted with coins when they are on stage?  That’s not sexy.  Maybe there is some sort of ticket system like at an amusement park? Wow, now there is a business idea. A Gentlemen’s Carnival!

2)  Still bros run deep

A bro slamming beers is a dime a dozen. Don’t get me wrong, though shallow, this is still a solid bro.  Star Wars parodies are a dime a dozen as well and that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t fucking rule.  But this bro is more of a drinking buddy, not a bro to share your broul with (broul = bro soul).  That requires a bro of some depth… that is what I advertise, and it couldn’t be easier.  Here is how to do it in a few easy steps:

a) Timing: Show up to a bar at the start of happy hour.

You do this because you want the atmosphere to be lively, but not crowded.  You need to guarantee yourself a stool at the bar.

b) Dress: Like you don’t give a fuck.

This doesn’t mean you dress like a GDI, but that you dress your way.  It lets everyone know you are from out of town, and that you don’t care about them.  I personally go with a lot of thrift store garb which in any combination guarantees a certainly level of weirdness. Weird = Intriguing.  Some might call this peacocking, but that implies that this isn’t your normal attire.  Wear what you’d normally wear, but make it the outfit you’d wear to a lake house labor day weekend.

c) $$$: Show your wealth

Everyone is attracted to money.  Men just as much as women.  Even more so perhaps.  And bros above all.  Remember, $$$ = rounds.   So when you sit at the bar don’t act like a peasant sophomoric frat bro and order a miller light, and don’t try to be some sorta hipster and sip on a PBR.  Order an IPA, or better yet something with bourbon.  Better yet, order a bourbon neat.  Also order some food.  Raw seafood if you can swing it, but any food will do.

d) Mindset: Block out the world

Remove your conscious self from the bar.  My preferred method is by writing.  Get out a little notebook and start scribbling and your first bro encounter is less than 5 minutes away.  You can also read a book, but this necessitates a very specific bromosphere.  If it is too rowdy you are just a weirdo for reading.  I pulled off a literary pick up once on this trip, but conditions were perfect.  I was also reading “Old Man and the Sea” which is a high on Broprah’s Book Club list.  Hemingway is one of histories top bros.

It’s that simple.  Follow those steps and bros will come to you.

Timely Testimonial:  I’m currently writing about tactic #2 at a restaurant in Missoula Montana.  I’m supposed to meet up with a friend from elementary school here, but this ancient connection is proving to be unsurprisingly fruitless at the moment.  I can’t exactly blame Nickie for ignoring my recent facebook messages since my adult life as a dork was proceeded by an equally dorky and even more sweatpants heavy adolescence when we knew each other. So I’m here quietly getting drunk with no place to sleep tonight.  Until my waiter checks my ID on my 4th beer and sees that I’m from DC. Blah, blah, blah I’m crashing at his place tonight.

God I’m good.  God I wish I was good at other stuff… anything else…

-James

One of my most bizarre thrift store arrangements.

One of my most bizarre thrift store arrangements. This goes a bit beyond what should be worn to a happy hour, but you can see what sort of weird articles I’m working with.

Athletic bro. Look at the tool limits I'm pushing in this shot. I'm actually holding the bike over my shoulder to show off how strong I am.  A bit much even for me... and it is me.

Athletic bro. Look at the tool limits I’m pushing in this shot. I’m actually holding the bike over my shoulder to show off how strong I am. A bit much even for me… and it is me.

Who doesn't like flowers? Is that related to my desire to pick up bros?

Who doesn’t like flowers? Is that related to my desire to pick up bros?

I'm a sucker for a good wild flower

I’m a sucker for a good wild flower

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Oh My God, everything is flowers!  Bro, take a picture of me and the flowers!

Oh My God, everything is flowers! Bro, take a picture of me and the flowers!

Picked up this bro while camping. He built a fire and had incredible movie knowledge.  Solid pick up.

Picked up this bro while camping. He built a fire and had incredible movie knowledge. Solid pick up.