Wednesday, April 23, 2008

(04.23.08) Recommends:

Having Friends and People To Look Up To.

So, from Thursday evening to roughly the time we got into our office on Tuesday, we felt certain that we were on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We like to exaggerate our frailties on this blog, mostly because self-depreciation is hard-wired into the DNA of everyone born in the Midwest.

But this was something different. This was the capital r real capital d deal. Periods of hot fever immediately giving way to the cold shakes. Periods of our body literally, uncontrollably, shaking. Periods of walking around with our eyes inexplicably welling up in tears. And our head having that fuzzy feeling that signifies it is soon to pass out. And this would just be while we were, like, walking down the aisle at the market. We had been through an intense few weeks at work and had other outside stressors (all of, and under which, culminated in us perhaps ruining one of the dearest friendships we'd developed in our time in Los Angeles) so we objectively realized that we were just a little stressed out and depressed about things, but still, the way we felt scared the holy hell out of us. And, honest to Christ, it was the closest we've ever come to worrying whether we were actually dying (though, truth be told, it wasn't the first time since we've been in LA that we've been concerned that we might be dying).

We say all of this crazy stuff happened from late Thursday 'till the time we got into the office on Tuesday. What happened to bring about the change you wonder? There were three steps.

The first step. Like most days, we got into the office and went to Fred Wilson's blog. We're not sure when we first started reading his blog, but here's the first time we blogged about it. We've never met Fred Wilson, and even though we live in Hollywood we don't have an ounce of star-fuckery in us, but we're pretty sure it would be a blast grabbing a beer with him. Homeboy is brilliant (and has good taste in music). And not brilliant in some sort of theoretical way, like many brilliant people we hear about, or professors we know. Brilliant in a way where we'll read a completely innocuous sounding post of his, then we'll find ourselves, nine weeks later, out at a restaurant with someone, talking about the internet (note: we, like all bloggers, are totally nerds who actually do sit around restaurants, even in places like Hollywood, talking about the internet, and how it's totally gonna change everything, man.) and we'll find ourselves repeating his at-the-time-innocuous-seeming-but-nine-weeks-on-completely-brilliant thesis. Or we'll find ourselves at the same dinner making some point, and then internally congratulating oursevles on making such a good point and then we'll start wondering how we actually came up with the idea. Oh wait, we'll next think, we didn't -- it was from Fred Wilson's blog.

The point of the background is that we got into the office and he had this post titled Hitting the Reset Button, in which he talks about going through mental health issues of his own over the last several days, and pining for a reset button to hit to get him going again. So we figured, if a Blogging Hero, and All Around Brilliant Dude, and a Guy Who Clearly Has His Shit Together, was feeling a little down and out, we felt permission to have our own recent struggles.

The second step. He also asked his readers to contribute some of their own remedies for the blahs and the blues. And some of the comments killed us including, but not limited to, the following suggestions:

***find a cute little kid with big cheeks and tug on them (we literally LOL'd at this one)
***I play Queens "Bohemian Rhapsody" really loud, just once (we actually tried this one and holy moly, we had a hard time stopping at just once)
***The only prescription is more cowbell (true, dat)
***i usually just do a boatload of cocaine (we, like you, were surprised to learn that George W. Bush reads blogs. Whaaaaat? You're surprised he knows how to read at all? Or is it Jenna with the powdered nose problem? Whatever it is, quit your hissing back there, yo)

The third step. Under the guise of Earth Day (and there was no actual connection with Earth Day, so don't go trying to draw connections, John Forbes Nash style), we started sending our old College Roommate emails recounting some of the crazy characters and encounters therewith from the Old College Days. This turned into a half-day, Battle Royale-style challenge of who could top whom with either the most obscure, over-the-top, or absurd, person, place, or thing from the Old College Days. And while we think we ended every email we sent yesterday with the same closing line, i.e., jesus! we wish we had started a blog back then! -- there is probably only one story we feel comfortable recounting here. It is also a story about which we had completely forgotten until yesterday. That: the power of the internet. The story: as follows.

One night, as is the tradition of wayward College Students, we went with friends to an Apartment Party. And as the night went on, the original group of friends started separating, and, um, certain new friendships were struck. And so, we ended up crashing at the site of Apartment Party. Which meant, the next morning, we had to find a Ride Home. So we wake up, and, err, survey the damage, and find somebody first willing/able to drive, and second who also happens to be driving in the same general direction as our apartment. We finally found that person. She will be called Hamster Girl. An important note so as not to besmirch her name anymore than this story already might: she was neither a reason we went to the party nor why we crashed there. She was just a person driving home in our general vicinity (it actually turned out she lived in our apartment complex; more on that later) and willing to let us tag along; all in all, we should have been very grateful. However.






We opened her car door and got inside and thought we smelled something a little funky. As we strapped ourselves in, almost immediately our stomach began turning on itself. We instantly went into gag reflex mood. Seeing us nearly on the verge of vomiting, she nonchalantly started driving while turning to inform us that -- and we swear on all that is holy that the following is verbatim -- "I should have warned you about the smell, but there's a dead hamster somewhere in my car but I can't figure out where it's at so I've just left it."

At this point in our young lives we had only known "Where It's At" to be a Beck song, and not the Jeopardy!-style answer-in-the-form-of-a-question to: "Things I Don't Know About The Dead Hamster In My Car." From that day forward, we knew, at the least, to ask a few basic questions before entering into a stranger's car. As a side-note, the country's of the world send their best and brightest to American Universities. We hope they, too, become aware of these basic questions to ask.

We, while normally reserved and polite, demanded! to be taken to the nearest Burger King, and ordered this raging sociopath to buy us a Sprite to quiet our stomachs. It was probably no longer than a quarter mile [1] from Apartment Party apartment to our apartment, but we were certain there was no question we would have vomited without the Sprite.

Once we finally get back to our apartment -- the whole ride home with us pinching our nose with two fingers while leaving the remaining three fingers flailing, elbow arched beyond it's normal extension in a dramatic attempt to make Hamster Girl feel horrible, while deep down hoping for real for real that we didn't upchuck -- it turned out the Hamster Girl lived the building across from us. And she told us we "seemed cool" and that we "should all hang out and stuff." And stuff? We had no idea what other kind of dead, but location unknown, rodent chicanery could possibly be hidden in that and stuff but being so stunned at what had just transpired, and desperately seeking a warm shower and/or a Hazmat suit, we forked over our number and got the hell out of that car.

These were the days before Caller ID. Now that we think about it, Caller ID probably existed, but we were poor college saps, so any extra scratch lying around the apartment was inevitably invested in pizza and 32 oz. bottles of the Champagne of Beer (i.e., text books and stuff). So, after regaling our roommate with this tale, we proceeded with an abundance of caution anytime the phone rang for the next two months.


As you can see, after those three steps, it was pretty inevitable that we had no choice but to be over the 72+ hour Depression Bug.

[1] If it was merely a quarter-mile, you're surely asking, why did you stay in the car? A) It was cold out and the sidewalks of the city were filled with snow and ice; B) It was early and we were, how does one say, pretty spent from the previous evening; and C) We were still in such shock that there was an undiscovered hampster corpse somewhere in the car that our neural transmitters were probably going a little haywire.

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