Wednesday, August 29, 2007


What the hell is smitage? And how do I go about supplementing my lack of it?

“Seventh Draft” does sound like a nerdy video game—nerdy in the sense that the video game nerd themselves would look down upon it with scorn and pity, probably making fun of its lack of violence and/or dungeons and warlords.

I hear the great, violent game these days is Halo 3. Perhaps this blog is more Dr. Mario or Tetris. That's fine: I'm a dominant Dr. Mario player.

I’m not sure why the prospect of an audience stymied us. I’m more sure though that we probably don’t need to worry about too much of an audience. I have one, two stalkers at most and they seem to be satisfied stalking my Myspace profile. But come to think of it, there is danger. I have about ten or twelve on-line identities. My wife thinks I'm building a map for potential stalkers, leading them right to my doorstep, dropping clues here and there on my various profiles. Here, on this blog, I might not tell you I live in an apartment in Ambler. I will not tell you this elsewhere. But elsewhere, if you're attentive, I’ll tell you where I stash my jewel encrusted iPod.

We really don’t have an iPod. My wife wants to divert a portion of our income to the “Karen iPod fund.” I want to use the same money to somehow market myself as a Robust Soul. As a Robust Soul I will offer my service: Helping others become Robust Souls via super digestion and frequent outbursts of self-esteem!

But back to Dr. Mario: I swear on my wife's life that in my prime I was one of the top ten or so best Dr. Mario players in America. I was a senior in high school, I was utterly unbeatable, and I was so non-chalant about my primacy that my brother and father, avid Dr. Mario players themselves, probably considered plotting my murder.

At the time my brother had just graduated law school, my father had just retired from his job, and as far as I could tell they had both decided to take a year off to play Dr. Mario. And play they did, incessantly, all day and all night, in my room, on the weekends as I tried to court my future wife, and late into the weekday nights as I tried to rest up for school.

I never played but when I did I crushed them easily. I was so good I mystified them. To tell the truth I mystified myself too. How was I so good? I don't know. It might have been the drugs.

Anyway, that year I met my Dr. Mario match: Mr. Malozzi. Mr. Malozzi was the special education teacher at my school. In the second half of my senior year I devoted a portion of my time to hanging out with the special ed. kids. I went down into the bowels of the school once a day and hung out with the most lively, fun-loving, and chaotic group of kids I had ever met in my life. Most of the kids had Down's Syndrome, a few had severe Autism.

Mr. Malozzi was their task-master. He was also the center of their world and I entered his realm like an outsider, arousing suspicion and giggles. One day I merely mentioned Dr. Mario and Malozzi went off.

He pronounced: I am the greatest Dr. Mario player alive.

I have to admit, his gusto impressed me.

Still, I said: No way.

And so the stage was set. It must have been a Thursday because Malozzi set up a Grand Match for Friday afternoon. I skipped it as I skipped every Friday.

When I came back, Monday, the kids actually hissed and booed. I looked on the chalkboard. In bold letters it said: Malozzi winner--Seth Loser.

The kids thought I had wimped out. I was pissed. I loudly proclaimed a challenge, on the spot. Malozzi agreed with all the smitage he could muster. (Did I use "smitage" right?)

Long story short: I kicked Malozzi's motherfucking ass.

I have never, ever so fully dominated as I did that afternoon. Next day, I walked in and Ms. H, Malozzi's assitant teacher, handed me a bouquet of roses. The entire class cheered and hailed me, "The Winner."And of course, the chalkboard was amended. It said: Malozzi loser--Seth winner.

Wow, that's the first time I've wrote about Malozzi. I had no intention too, but it seemed necessary after mentioning Dr. Mario. I suppose I've accrued thirty years worth of shit like that, little experiences that still give me little moments of joy and pain. And I suppose that's how I deal with my inability to write in a flash. I consider all the times I've thought to myself: Holy Fuck, I have to write about that!

Only thing, Mr. Malozzi usually never comes out as Mr. Malozzi. Likely he shows up as a symptom, or a strong handshake, or a rose, or whatever. The thing is I pay service to him, and life, by writing.

Only thing, life will happen to you no matter what you do. But one thing I learned that won't just happen, like life, is teaching myself to write well, so, any time I spend doing that, can stand to spend—all that time that seems wasted and those rare moments that seem volcanic—is time I need to spend, or else I'll never become the writer I want to become. And there's two funny things about that, one is that I'll never become the writer I want to become because it's impossible to know exactly what kind of writer one wants to become, and two, I'll never be satisfied, never really know if I'm any good.

My own sense of my writing has always been what have I done lately? To me, it's the writing now-ness of it, and in this I think all writers are equals in the fog, each of us with a single flashlight with the batteries only lasting so long.

So really it seems to me that you just need to jump off the bridge.

Sooner or later you have to forget the sag.

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