Scorpio Discovers Dial Up

It was 20 years ago… one of the days this year.

I was six or seven years old and it was way past my bedtime. I had been shown how to connect to the internet on a laptop by an older cousin. This is where #90sKids must remember really, really hard and try to think of the first thing you typed into a search engine after “play games” and subsequently “play free games.” Can you recall?

I remember mine. It was so benign that it doesn’t exist on the Wayback Machine. That’s because it was “spice girls.” I was vaguely attracted to the Spice Girls. I had seen their pictures. I probably hadn’t heard their music. According to Wikipedia they hadn’t even released an album.

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I was “aware” of them though. An odd sort of foreshadowing word that in retrospect defines the collective mood since the internet connected our lives: “awareness.”

Of what was I aware? Attractive British women existed and it made me feel funny? Maybe.

I typed “spice girls” into Yahoo! (I think) and watched as the text loaded beneath. Unclicked links, an entire page of them. I didn’t know what that meant either. But I scrolled, and one thing caught my eye, “nude-naked spice girls!”

I had no idea what nude meant. But naked? That’s what I got when I got in the bath. And they were that on the web? What? Click.

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The text loaded quickly and I didn’t read it until I realized that the photos were creeping down the page at a rate of a quarter-inch every minute. And there were five separate photos. And they were on the beach. And I expanded my vocabulary that night to include nude because there was nothing else to confuse that word within the pictures.

I wasn’t even bummed out that someone had deemed themselves censor and dropped stars on the Spice Girls’ nipples and respective mons pubis (how to pluralize that?). I had no frame of reference to be bummed out about this. As far as I was concerned, getting nude-naked was the single greatest thing I had ever discovered. I had just been sexually awakened by the Spice Girls on the information superhighway.

When I told my friends at school what I had found, I made certain to let them in on the new word I discovered too. “You can search naked girls and nude girls.” I said and then in the sophist tradition leant a little more classiness to nude.

I never found that page nor saw those pictures again, but it changed my life.

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I’d love to hear about your first experience with the world wide web or internet. Whatever they called it when you discovered it.

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Asides:

-Last year I watched part of Spiceworld at McCarren Park after smoking something to “knock the edge off” and was truly not ready for it. However, I think it’s worth revisiting as an accidental stoner movie. Thoughts?

-This was an innocent search. To me it’s the quintessential internet search. A variation of Godwin’s Law except with nipples instead of Nazis. And instead of trying to make you think about hyperbole, I used my young self as a comparison. A jumping off point for your memories.

-I can remember emailing my older brother when he was in Kuwait and asking if he heard that the “Spice Girls got booed off stage” somewhere. I was something of a pussy.

-I didn’t use the word “porn” until at least the sixth grade. I was unaware of that word. I think that “Playboy” was the substitute word of choice.

-I may be misremembering the year, it may have been ’96. File that under self-mythology.

Hospital Jewels

I woke up in an ambulance just outside of McCarren Park. Or I regained consciousness. I didn’t know how long I’d been out. I didn’t know what had happened.

Then I felt the familiar dullness inside of my own head. The bland pain that ensconced my joints and my muscles all over my body. My body was the place for tonic-clonic spasms and amnesias that seems to heal sufferers of severe depression when purposefully induced in modern electroshock therapy. But doesn’t do the same for those who aren’t expecting a jolt of electricity in their brains.

An EMT said, “You had a seizure.”

This time I heard him. I am told that post-seizure, I have to be reminded of this fact a lot. It’s a thing that I don’t want to hear. But I have to hear it over and over while I am still in the grips of the amnesia.

If I am with someone who doesn’t know or remember what to do when I seize, they will inevitably call 911. Though, I have been slapped in the face on occasion.

Every time, I have to take an ambulance ride for which I will never, ever pay. A ride that, to my mind, takes away from someone who might actually need it. One that I am compelled to take over my protestations of being an epileptic who needs sleep. I never needed a fluorescent, hellhole, emergency room overstuffed with poor people screaming for painkillers or screaming against the K2-induced hellhole in their own minds.

They aren’t imagining it.

This is hell and the drugs are not coming.

I am never given so much as a Motrin after I’ve told the fifth scrub-donned person that I am in pain because I had a seizure. There is no spring in the step to get you out of there either. You just lie there and you die really slowly in a dress that no one will tie up in the back for you.

The protestors I understand. One of them is shouting, “I want to kill myself!” in a bid for opiates or benzos. One is asking every nurse for their nurse and then asking that nurse to become their new nurse because, “that bitch left and won’t come back.” Our suicidal friend is also announcing that he is “here of my own volition!”

Next to me a kid is getting water for his grandmother. He is a man in every sense of the word except for in this place where his worry and his eyes render him childlike. Talking to nurses quietly and reasonably on her behalf and she starts moaning.

Then the lady on my other side starts to moan too. Moans that sound as though they crawled from the bottom of the ocean to break on a shore in uncontrollable waves.

I look around and see sleeping people. I want to sleep. I want to leave. I want to sleep. I want to leave.

I tell my nurse, “Look, I have epilepsy. I deal with this all the time. I just need to sleep. I want to leave.”

And he says he’ll get me out of there, and then he disappears for a while. A while so long that I begin to consider shouting. But he appears and he’s flirting with a white girl who also wants to get out of there. She eventually leaves before me and I watched her arrive from my bed.

So I shout to a nurse who makes eye contact, “I don’t know where my nurse keeps going but every time I see him he’s working awful hard on getting that white chick out of here.”

And my bedmates start to notice. This one is roosting in every cuckoo’s nest on the floor. And before it becomes awful for everyone, they get me out of there.

I walk out of the emergency entrance and see a fucked up man in a gown who has been seeking out painkillers. The nurses and doctors have been looking for him.

I slip out the exit onto the street. No metrocard to get home. Weak. I will have to jump a turnstile somewhere. Fortunately, it’s Flushing and Broadway at midnight. It’s too hot to sleep in August anyway.

This was a month ago and I am still wearing my hospital bracelet so that when people ask me what festival I was at, I can respond: “The ‘Don’t call 911’ festival.”

Actually I say, “Thank you for asking. I have epilepsy so if I have a seizure around you please don’t call 911 unless it literally lasts for more than five minutes. Otherwise, just try to keep me from hitting my head on things and talk to me when it’s over.”

Just talk to me when it’s over.

Upstate

I’m curating, in the family and friends tradition, a section or maybe all of this selection of works in Vilaykorn’s current body of work. The opening of Family and Friends, to my mother will be July 25th, 6-8PM at John Davis Gallery.

This gallery resides at 362 and 1/2 Warren Street in Hudson, New York.

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Continue reading “Upstate”

The Hospital Bed or, Baby Steps

The man was completely immobilized from his right shoulder to his right set of toes. He could barely talk except for his multi-toned yeses and no’s that spoke volumes. There were also the curses that fired out with or without any provocation.

“Fuck you.” he said to a young doctor whom he’d tired of talking to.

“That’s great.” the doctor said. “The part of the brain that cuss words come from is separate from the speech center. So, this tells me that you weren’t affected there. That’s great.”

He left shortly after finishing his examination.

The boy looked at the man, “Well I’m sorry. You can obviously say ‘fuck’ as much as you want.”

Calvin-and-hobbes-life-death Continue reading “The Hospital Bed or, Baby Steps”

#FallDOWNFriday

Five years ago on the day after Christmas the Northeast was crippled by the Snowpocalypse. Myself and a filmmaker were trapped in a Brooklyn loft building for fifteen hours… until we woke up and had coffee and bacon and eggs. Then we put our dishes in the sink.

We grimly suited up to face the hoarfrost that would soon cling to our beard whiskers. I hated that I had to evacuate my colon after I was fully suited up in vest, jacket, two pairs of pants and scarf. When I exited the bathroom, my friend had also taken off the bulk of his lower half’s bulky clothing and deposited it on the floor.

“Watch out! I gotta shit!” he cried and bum-rushed the tiny shit hole in this large loft.

When he emerged I asked how he could do that with his jacket on?

“In Canada, you learn to shit fully-clothed.”

“What? Do Canadians pass this down from generation to generation? Do they learn from their grandfathers?”

“Did your grandfather teach you how to shit?”

“No.”

“Yeah. You just learn.”

“Well, someone is around for most of your early years of shitting…er…toilet training.”

“You don’t need to be trained to shit in your clothes.”

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Videos “Watch Your Step” and “Story Genesis” by Zachariah Scott (2011)

The Midnight Run

First, the dials on the instrument panel went nuts. They flung their individual arms from extreme to respective extreme. Then either steam or smoke began rising from under the hood.

“Damn.” the man said.

“What’s going on?” the boy asked.

“This damn…” he searched for the words that he meant. “Truck.”

He aimed the F250 at the only visible structure along the dark highway. It was an abandoned gas station with tufts of grass poking out in the concrete. When he cut the truck off it was really steaming.
Continue reading “The Midnight Run”