new writing in long forma proper archive for this site
 

A LEGACY OF MISPLACED MODIFIERS.
Go ahead: read them all. I for one have noticed a rich and interesting evolution over the last few years. At first I thought it was a stylistic transformation but then, upon a more scrutinous inspection, I realized that the change was completely personal. In just three short years I've gone from naive hopeful to world-wise hack. Enjoy.


bagmen.

"exchanging money for Chapstick or some batteries for a transistor radio is a reminder that they're in touch with people, with the world."

talking dogs.
"No, I didn't pick this sweater out myself."

rock fans.
"Yay for Mister Smoke -- a real american classic."

lost bird.
"there is very little repetition here; change is like oxygen. makes you appreciate your neighbors -- even the schizophrenic ones who pee in your elevator."

ghost troubles.
"I just figured, since I don't have a corporeal body, I really shouldn't be paying quite as much for heat and hot water. I hope you'll understand. By the way, I made profiterole -- help yourself!"

wedding.
"They say planning a wedding is the hardest thing you'll ever have to do, next to assuming power of attorney over your parents and forcing them into separate, but equally disreputable nursing homes against their will."

rush hour.
"'Biggest fucking rat I ever saw.'"

copywriter.
"(A rhesus monkey with a pile of his own feces in one hand and your product in the other, not sure which one he wants to throw more.)"

water fountains.
"People truly lived like savages before the advent of stainless steel water fountains."

hemp.
"Hemp fights cancer and hemp powered the Jarvic artificial heart and hemp breathes an extraordinary life into even the most flaccid and uninspired laser light shows."

vacation plans.
"The year before it was the Grand Canyon and some unpleasant words exchanged with a Sioux Indian death squad in the parking lot of a roadside T.J. Cinnabon's."

quickwits.
"As I approached the laundromat, my mind wandered. I was thinking about the repairs I needed to make on my cigarette boat if I were to take it out safely this weekend."

mom's birthday.
"There was always an air of 'that's it?' in her response. Or maybe it was the way she'd actually say, 'that's it?' that created that particular air. Either way, there was an air."

dreaming of disney.
"You look sad. Why don't I bring you a copy of 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.' It's an excellent book and a can-do appetizer!"

jewish christmas.
"Together, we were the paragon of our Jewish ethnic culture. The two of them argued incessantly, while I remained on Tickets and Junior Mints duty."

the racetrack.
"I was adorable, and I always went home with a dollar and delight in the knowledge that I was a risk-shy fattie."

rejection letters.
"'The Lighter Side of Spinal Menengitis?' For shame, Mr. Levin. For shame."

birthday card.
"And, harder to explain, even to a licensed professional, you are afraid you check your reflection because you think you stopped existing approximately four years ago."

back from the burn.
"With a new leader in charge of Burning Man activities this year, expectations were high. Did he deliver? Well, in the words of Silkk The Shocker, 'Yeah, we bring it like two tons of dick meat.'"

brief treatises on three separate subjects about which i know very little.
"After meat, dinner guests are presented with course number three – root vegetables. Usually, a photograph of carrots or beets will suffice. When presented with the photograph the guest may proclaim, 'lovely', as is customary, then douse the image in kerosene, ignite it on a clean dinner plate and, once its ashes are removed from the table, doughnuts are served."

entertainment review.
"Not sure where to look, and unable to see a single person before him for reference, Levin did the next best thing: he trained his head directly at the floor, looking up only occasionally, whenever he was low on oxygen. The microphone itself presented unresolved problems for the reader."

my racist aunt.
"The lenses of her glasses were so thick the average person could slip them on and see atoms smashing on the surface of objects..."

obsessive for 2002.
" It's probably a misplaced feeling, but I became very sentimental when someone would say 'Oh! I saw this documentary on pinheads and thought of you!'"

obscure at 30.
"On Saturday I sat down to make a list. Making a list is kind of like shorthand for having a nervous breakdown."

dogs: past, present and future.
"Then one day the Dobermans disappeared."

i hate bricky.
"She had just moved here a few weeks before being struck in the head with a brick by a shrieking homeless man and, when asked about her feelings toward New York, she replied, 'I still love this city and I never want to leave!' Then she lapsed into a violent seizure, and a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty was shoved in her mouth to prevent her from swallowing her tongue."

postcards from brooklyn.
"Sure, this memory is entirely false, and if you closed your eyes even harder concentrated for a moment you would remember the real smells of your home kitchen - burned Pam no-stick spray and frostbitten Eggos - but that is neither here nor there. "

the 'real' real.
"So the proprietors are happy enough, even if it means having to hear Patsy Cline's "crazy" about 40 times a night. "

marco polo.
"Since natto has so many medicinal and health advantages, one might wonder why it isn't more popular. Why, in fact, isn't natto eaten with every meal, regardless of national borders? Simple: natto tastes like dog shit. "

the masque of white death.
"Pool balls cracked, co-workers pressed each other into nooks for their first inappropriately timed kiss. "

the u.s. of r.a.
"Recently, as an experiment, I placed a map of the United States of America in front of my racist aunt, and asked her to tell me what she made of it. "

 
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2001 todd levin
{ exhaustive credits }