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This is Blahsmopolitan, a column about one sophomore’s misfortune as he navigates his New Adult Life in Chicago. This week, our columnist turns twenty, thinks about his place in the universe, and learns how to type the long dash in hopes you can learn from his mistakes.

last week i had a panic attack on the treadmill at the gym because the belts were moving too fast and creating too much friction so it started to smell like burning rubber and i read this article that said people who have strokes say they smell burnt toast right before they have the stroke but i felt like maybe i could’ve misread the article so i sat on the floor of planet fitness and said “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” out loud to myself ten times because when my grandma had a stroke she said she couldn’t form sentences and i wanted to make sure i could still use every letter in the alphabet and when i finally calmed down i still felt fat so i switched machines and stayed for another 30 minutes

i’m 20 years old tomorrow and i texted my mom and asked if my birthday dinner could be popeye’s which makes me feel maladjusted

none of the “wonders” that humans made off the backs of slaves are really even that cool to me- the only things i’ve ever found quote-unquote beautiful are things that would’ve existed with or without us which makes me unbelieve and believe in God, respectively

if i was born on accident then why am i the one being punished

i never use long dashes when i write, i’m too lazy to learn the keyboard shortcut so i just use hyphens. only one of my teachers has ever cared and he wasn’t even the real teacher he was just a TA and he kept me after class to give me a list of old school erotic movies on an index card on the day the semester ended so i guess we all make mistakes

i saw him on a train and he told me he was going to a conference and i was like, “that’s cool, thanks for the porn btw”

i go to a school where it’s kind of edgy to dye your hair and that has given me the most undeserved power complex of all time

i used to take all the free condoms from the basket in the campus health center when i wasn’t f*cking and now i actually am f*cking and the basket is always empty and i realize now that i behaved like a child

what the f*ck guys lol seriously what the f*ck

i read this book about people who have near-death experiences and almost all of them said they felt themselves take the shape of an energy cloud and felt at ease and at one with the world around them, which is eerily similar to the way some people talk about smoking weed and i hate weed so hopefully i just die in my sleep

since God’s original plan was for us to be naked and shameless before Eve ate the apple and all that, are all angels in heaven just flying around with their gray, decrepit titties out all the time? because if so count me out

on second thought

when you die and go to heaven do you just get a more translucent version of the body you had when you were twenty because if that’s the case definitely count me out

when people say they don’t “agree” with homosexuality like we’re talking about whether or not the movie fight club deserves the reputation it has, it just makes me want to hate fight club more and also s*ck more d*ck

i have never had a black male friend in my entire life and that feels like it’s gotta be my fault dot com

i feel confident in my ability to write in several different fonts but i do not feel confident in knowing whether “font” is the appropriate term for “style of handwriting”

i lied to my new boyfriend today and said i read fifty pages of my new book in the twenty minutes between my two classes when really i only read thirty-three like he f*cking cares, it was just too late to correct it and i know it doesn’t matter that much but if you have 33 dollars you don’t get to say “i have close to 50 dollars”

sometimes i lament the fact that i can’t call an uber while i’m already in an uber to minimize the amount of time i have to stand in the cold when i inevitably decide to leave the party to have a panic attack before i even walk inside

sleep paralysis, but like, mysterious and sexy

i could literally buy a sealed bottle of advil and take the appropriate dosage and guard the remainder of the bottle with my life and you could look at me and say “nick you just took six klonopin” and i would believe you and freak out

i feel bad for christina agularia. agulara. aguilaria. i don’t feel bad because i can’t spell her name but it doesn’t help.

my boyfriend’s mom got him a bath bomb and he was really excited about it but it turned out to be a lotion bar and he was covered in glitter like a twilight vampire. i picked him up to get mcdonald’s and f*ck anyway and now i have glitter on my d*ck

when i hit puberty my dad told me that i should shave my d*ck because if i didn’t then girls wouldn’t like it and i think it might have been a trap for me to say something Disney Channel-ish like “i don’t really care what girls think” but i digress

my brother turned fifteen last week which is the year i lost my virginity and did drugs the first time so needless to say it’s been a weird period for me

my brother asked me to explain to him what the difference between dabs and “cannabis” was and i got very worried for him considering he only knew what dabs were because he got invited to a party where a kid had an actual dab pen

i kind of feel like dabs got invented like, a couple years ago

one of the Cute Little Kid things i used to do was say “dot com” after everything i ever said which now feels a little too on-the-nose for my taste

no one ever believes me but i feel like i remember Y2K and i feel like i definitely don’t remember 9/11. seriously i was on the red staircase in my PJs at my house and my aunt was over for new year’s eve and it turned the year 2000 and i was three years old and my mom and my aunt were like, “ooooh Y2K!”

punch me in da d*ck dot com, f*ckin stomp on my back and kick me in da spine dot com

every time i hit the snooze button on my phone in the morning i feel like i’m pressing the morphine button in a hospital bed

“sesame chicken rice box? that’ll be $7.10” activates my fight or flight response

i bought a fake ID thinking i was gonna be a cool bar-hoppin’ college kid but it turned out that i just wanted to buy four lokos and binge eat in basketball shorts

can you become dependent on Tums? asking for a friend

i just deleted my youtube channel from when i was fifteen and my most watched video was titled “Female Street Performer Made My Day” and it was this fifty year old woman performing a karaoke cover of “Proud Mary” in a fringy Rockette’s dress and it had more views than all of my homemade music videos for songs i wrote about my parents getting divorced combined

if i could give my younger self a single piece of advice it would be to grow a pair

lowkey i feel like it’s unsurprising for people who are 30 or older to live alone for the same reason you need to be under thirty to have your body found in your home and still make the news

i like to think that i’m pretty cognizant of my goals but when i go fishing in animal crossing i can literally feel my blood pressure rising

sometimes i hang out with people every weekend for a great deal of time and then can slowly feel our interactions slipping back into small talk territory and it makes me want to do something BIG that will bring me NEGATIVE ATTENTION

when i was in middle school i had a friend who pronounced “guacamole” like it rhymed with “whack-a-mole” and now we aren’t friends and i honestly don’t care

dot com

my mom tells me that her biggest parenting regret was pushing me down the waterslide at the pool when i was five because i was screaming and being a p*ssy but i think her worst choice was uhhhh ever listening to me

my dad’s worst parenting choice was asking if me and my friend weren’t dating because we “needed a pitcher”

straight boys out there, you know that feeling you get when someone shoots a bottle into a garbage can on the other side of a big room or intercepts a pass and runs across the whole field into the endzone? i have never ever in my entire life had that feeling before and you need to understand that that is the number one difference between you and me

at the wise old age of twenty, i talk to some sixteen year olds and realize that i was 10000% a victim of pedophilia

even guys who statutory raped me asked me if i got home okay dot com

every time i scramble eggs i feel like i’m on Chopped

people at chipotle love to tell me that double steak is extra like i GIVE A SH*T dot com

my boyfriend says he is sick of having to see so much “p*ssy art” and he doesn’t mean “weak art” and that makes me very happy i didn’t go to art school

are you there God? it’s me and i deleted Grindr

what if one day i have everything i ever wanted and still feel like sh*t

rich with potential experience and possibilities for character building, Genuine Human Connection has all the allure of an unpaid internship

if God was real i feel like i wouldn’t have to wipe my ass

today a woman on the radio asked listeners to call in and talk about whether or not they’d feel some type of way if they found out their ex had been cheating on them three years after the relationship ended and when the calls started to come in i realized that i was not alone in being a psychopath

if you’ve got one foot in the past and one in the future you’re pissin on the present

every time i go eat mexican food with a hispanic friend they tell me “this isn’t real mexican food” and i tell them to take me to get “real mexican” and they do so i bring other hispanic friends to the “real” mexican spot because, y’know, cred, and they say the same thing about it not being “real” and the cycle continues so is everyone f*ckin with me, or

i used to work at a library and one time a ten year old girl in pink sandals and a shirt with the paul frank monkey on it walked up to my desk, looked me up and down and said “weird” and then walked away

i know a girl who pretends to be pregnant whenever she wants a seat on the bus and it works

does anyone on god’s green earth need to hear bohemian rhapsody again? same for wonderwall, the whip/nae nae song, any song that compares love to a drug, most beatles songs, the Friends theme, etc

something about having christmas lights up in your apartment year-round says “i don’t have a fitted sheet on my mattress, i’m a liberal arts major and i give good head”

i eat more in the ten minutes between putting frozen chicken in the oven and taking it out than i do the entire rest of the day

i went through my iphone notes recently and i came across one from my five minutes before my birthday last year and it said “last teenage sleep” but i was turning nineteen which is definitely still teen and i feel kind of robbed of my moment— but i

—just googled how to make the long dash

i am like Apple in the sense that i wait so long to make the push forward that everyone else around me has already made, that by the time i make it, people have forgotten and are excited for me again

it’s my birthday tomorrow and i won’t feel like an adult but i’m gonna tear that popeye’s the f*ck up. go shawty

Nick Malone is the anxiety goblin, a silly bridge troll living and writing in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @VLRTUALBOY or on campus at University of Illinois at Chicago where he studies Creative Writing and Political Science.

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