Sept. 11 anniversary irreverent

    What I did for the anniversary of Sept. 11 (an essay for the first day of high school):

    I woke up late and watched my roommates play “”Buffy the Vampire Slayer”” on Xbox. After a little while, it dawned on me what had to be done.

    “”We need the 9/11 rope!”” I declared.

    While my roommates were trying to figure out what the hell I was talking about, I dug in the garage for it, carried it to the living room, draped it around the TV and plugged it in. The 9/11 rope is a Neon Patriotic Light Rope that one of my roommates and I found at Home Depot while looking for house supplies. A quick debate on its necessity lead to an immediate impulse buy, and until recently, it had been sitting in the garage. It glows with pride as the single tackiest thing Americans have ever made — Osama bin Laden toilet paper coming in a close second.

    The next couple of hours consisted of me playing video games on the sofa, watching other people play video games on the sofa, watching “”The Simpsons”” on the sofa and talking to people on the sofa. Almost everything I did included the activity of sitting on the sofa. Multitasking, if you will.

    Around 7 p.m., I started to get hungry. Regretfully, I got off the sofa and headed for the kitchen. Apparently, my last grocery shopping trip had netted a lot of Coke and two pints of Haagen-Dazs (coffee and pineapple-coconut flavors). I shrugged, washed a spoon, brought the pineapple-coconut pint over to the sofa and watched my roommate play a car racing game while simultaneously satisfying 40 percent of my daily value of fat.

    Thirty minutes later, I started to feel sick, and determined that I needed some real food. I convinced my girlfriend, Laura, to go with me to The Old Spaghetti Factory, to which she immediately agreed, and we proceeded to downtown San Diego.

    The thing with The Old Spaghetti Factory is that although the spaghetti with browned butter and Mizithra cheese is a “”toothsome treat,”” you’re forced to wait extensive periods of time to get seated, most of which are spent with small children crying and screaming. True to form, they quoted me a 45-minute wait and handed me a vibrating coaster.

    First, we walked across the street, where there was a 9/11 exhibit with photographs and patriotic/waiting-to-be-seated-at-The-Old-Spaghetti-Factory people. All in all, the experience was rather nauseating, though less so from the photographs and more so from the quarter-pint of ice cream I had eaten; we left pretty soon. After determining that the stores around us were worthless, I decided that we would walk to Urban Outfitters.

    If you’re familiar with 5th Street, on which Urban Outfitters is located, you’d know that Urban Outfitters is on the ass-end other side in relation to The Old Spaghetti Factory. But, after finding two San Diego Reader dispensers empty, I was determined to make it there. As we were walking toward it, I noticed a tall, black man in a black dress walking toward us. A little while later, he must have turned around, because he passed us again. Then he muttered, “”What if I were to kill you all, right in downtown San Diego,”” turned around and started walking backward, while looking at us.

    Laura grabbed my hand, made a sharp right into an empty parking lot, and then turned around and started walking back to the Old Spaghetti Factory.

    I exclaimed, “”I can’t believe you made us turn around. We were almost there.””

    She stormed off, and an hour later we were sitting down eating salad with bleu cheese dressing and she’s refusing to talk to me until I “”apologize for yelling at her.”” The following conversation ensued, which I like to call “”the stupidest argument I’ve ever had in my life””:

    “”I’m not talking to you until you apologize for yelling at me,”” she said.

    “”I wasn’t yelling at you,”” I said.

    “”Yes, you were,”” she said. “”I don’t think you should yell at someone just because they’re scared. You’re supposed to console them.””

    Suddenly, I’m in an episode of “”Gilmore Girls.””

    “”So, let’s say I had an irrational fear of midgets,”” I said. “”Would you console me?””

    “”That’s completely different! This wasn’t irrational; there was a guy who was clearly schizophrenic saying that he was going to kill us. You think it’s irrational to walk away from someone who just said he was going to kill you?””

    “”Couldn’t we have just passed him and walked away, yet at the same time walked toward Urban Outfitters instead of sitting in The Old Spaghetti Factory for half an hour while I’m bored out of my mind?””


    “”And he didn’t say he was going to kill you. He said ‘you all,’ meaning everybody in San Diego.””

    “”He asked us what if he were to kill us!””

    “”It was clearly a rhetorical question. He was expressing his distaste for 9/11 by wearing all black and muttering about what would happen if it were in San Diego.””

    “”Do you know how many people die from schizophrenics because they thought they were being followed? If he had pulled out a knife ….””

    “”There was nowhere to put a knife in that dress.””

    “”Well, I didn’t really want to sit there and determine whether or not he had a knife, I just wanted to get the hell out of there.””

    “”All I’m saying is that we could have gotten the hell out of there by passing him and still walked toward Urban Outfitters.””

    “”You are a jackass.””

    At this point I started laughing.

    “”I don’t think it’s funny,”” she said. “”You really upset me. You really hurt my feelings by yelling at me while I was scared.””

    “”You win the typical girl award for today.””

    “”Fuck you.””

    “”Anyway, the reason I’m laughing is — you know when you were sitting in The Old Spaghetti Factory and I went outside?””


    “”I was looking for the guy so I could invite him to have dinner with us,”” I said.

    “”You are the stupidest person alive.””

    “”I just wanted to show you that he’s probably a good guy, just run of the mill crazy and not murderous crazy.””

    “”I can just see the Darwin award.””

    The waiter came by, saw us yelling at each other, and slowly backed away.

    “”Look at this, now the waiter is afraid of us. Can you imagine if I pulled him over and I was like, ‘Hey, man. I’m sorry, but this is what we’re fighting about. Yes, I know this is the stupidest argument in the world.’ Now I’m not going to get a refill on my Coke.””

    “”Serves you right.””

    “”Look, can you just drop it.””

    “”You have the power to drop it; all you have to do is apologize.””

    “”But really, you’re the one who can drop it, because you’re making the ultimatum that I apologize in order for it to be dropped.””

    “”I never said that I couldn’t drop it.””

    “”Then drop it!””

    “”Fine, but just know that it’s in the back of my head.””

    “”All right, I’m sorry.””

    “”You’re not really sorry.””

    “”Of course I’m not really sorry — I didn’t do anything.””


    “”But how the hell would you ever know I was being sincere? Would I have to sit here silently for a few minutes and then say, ‘Actually, Laura, you’re right. I’m sorry.'””

    “”You’re right, I won’t believe you.””

    “”So what the hell do you want me to do? I’m never sincere about anything. There’s nothing I can do.””

    “”Well, it’s your fault. If you had apologized earlier, I would have believed you. If I were in your shoes, I would have lied and said that I was sorry earlier, even if I didn’t believe I was sorry.””

    Later, in my car, I came up with an excellent point.

    “”This is ridiculous. We hung out with Wesley Willis, and he’s black and schizophrenic, and you weren’t scared!””

    “”There were lots of people there. This was a dark alley.””

    “”It’s 5th Street!””

    “”It was dark. It doesn’t matter to crazy people where they are when they kill people.””

    “”But it matters how many people are around them.””


    “”You’re so pulling this out of your ass.””

    “”The point is not whether or not I should have been scared, it’s that you yelled at me and won’t apologize.””

    This argument is still unresolved, but Laura is still the recipient of the typical girl award for today.

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