Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Jumbo Braun: The Tall Man Looseth

Note: The following is a factual, compendious timeline of one totally average day in the life of a 6’4 foreign English teacher in Japan.

07:32 – You wake up. You’re feet overhang the bottom-end of your futon. Your heels have been resting on the tatami-mat all night. This happens every night. It’s been happening for almost two years, and so by now your heels have all these cross-hatched tatami-mat depressions carved into them. You’re pretty sure the cross-hatched tatami-mat heel-carvings are permanent.

07:37 – You stand up, barely awake, and slam your head into the ceiling light fixture. It hurts, but not that bad. The light fixture swings violently, emitting an ominous click-clack, click-clack.

07:41 – You take a shower. The wall-affixed shower faucet is located at about your neck-level. You have to hunch and contort your upper body just to get some water outflow on your face. You don’t wash your hair because your lower back is starting to cramp-up.

07:47 – You towel off and head back to your room to get dressed. You’re a little late for work, so you speed-walk. You’re thinking about what you’ll wear today. You’re formulating a lesson plan for your first period class and you’re trying to think of some way to get the one especially dumb kid on the basketball team to stop setting illegal screens. You’re contemplating all these things at once. You forget about that horizontal beam at the entry way to your bedroom. It obliterates you. The sound-effect is that of solid becoming liquid in an instant. Like bone going splat. You shriek and maybe pass out for a little bit, maybe not. You’re on your bedroom floor, naked, entangled in a bath towel, moaning. The tatami-mat is making cross-hatch carvings on your ass-cheeks. Your head throbs.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

From Your First Cigarette To Your Last Dying Day: A Psychoanalysis of the JETs

 “Hey Jackson,

Thanks! I forwarded it to Stephen. I have to warn you, though, the description for secretary reports mention the following: ‘Please try to write your report as objectively as possible, referring to all speakers as Mr./Ms.(family name). It is not necessary to take the names of audience members who make comments. Any unacceptable reports will be returned with a request for revision. Unacceptable reports include: uninformative lists of bullet points, outlines, personal opinions or improper English.’ Also, it requests that the report be one A4 page max.

I'm pretty sure that the length of your report along with mentions of cocktails is [sic] going to get you a revision request. It’s not appropriate for a conference proceedings report that will be going out to every attending school in the ken.

All the best.

Leader of Group G”


Like any aspiring writer, I sometimes get delusional. I start envisaging notable future journalistic endeavors and accomplishments. Exclusive interviews and obscure awards and a retinue of unibrowed bookworm-chicks.  I’ve been doing this for so long that I already possess a backlog of recurring, chimerical, literary-success related ignis fatui that I won’t get into here because they’re weird and humiliating1. But my most steadfast self-deception is also my most egregious: I often convince myself that the act of writing is Honorable. I believe what I write is Valuable. I assume that every single semi-literate person in the world not only wants, but needs to see my most trivial thoughts expatiated into 3,000-word, bigheaded self-celebrations. Now, in a dark chamber of my cerebrum, I know this to be a false surmise. I know I’m just some kid and this is just some blog and blogs suck anyway. I know there are millions of writers more talented than I and there are billions of people who have zero interest in ever reading the really stellar writing these writers-more-talented-than-I produce. But none of this matters when I’m locked into fantasy-mode. And the grand paradox is; I need the illusion of my writing as Vital and Good in order to continue generating my soporific, totally inconsequential writing. Fantasy-mode must be my default setting, or else I’ll shrivel up and become a middle-school Spanish teacher. If you think about it, this mania confirms something that should be painfully obvious anyway: writing is a personal/professional ambition that signals profound insecurity and egotism. You write because you are a yellow-bellied dastard and you need the attention.