Two Meta-Cynical Guys From Orlando Talk On The Phone Circa 1998

Context From Carl: I don’t remember when or why I wrote this. It’s based on many conversations that Will Maier and I had. Through the years we had this ongoing competition regarding who is “more mentally stable and well-adjusted now, not crazy anymore like you are” yet it often led to being more frustrated and less creative. Check out that paralyzing, self-conscious metanoia… both guys scared to admit they’re special and trying to cope with society’s mediocrity. Unable to decide whether they should blame themselves or blame everyone else.

It never ends.

• • •

Chris and Matt are two guys in their twenties who had bad high school experiences. This led them to hate everything (because everything is so predictable), but now they are trying to get past that, since they realize that’s pretty predictable, too.

C: Hello?
M: Yeah.
C: What?
M: Nothing.
C: Cool.
M: So I was watching MTV.
C: Oh, boy.
M: I was watching it, and realizing that a lot of the stuff on there is kinda OK.
C: Yeah, I like that new “Livin La Vida Loca” thing.
M: [silence.]
C: It’s got a good chord progression.
M: Oh yeah? Is it Lydian?
C: Oh, I dunno. I try not to think about it too much. I just try to enjoy it.
M: Yeah, sometimes it’s good to do that. I even enjoyed a sandwich I had a few minutes ago. Even though everyone else eats sandwiches, they’re not half bad if you just try to enjoy the flavor and not think about all the stupid people in the world.
C: Fuck, that Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time” thing is on.
M: Oh, I like that song. The dancing is good.
C: It’s a total fetish video! How can you like that shit!?
M: It just sounds good.
C: Well it sucks. But that Third Eye Blind song is pretty good. I can totally stand listening to that. It actually makes a good point, “Cut ties with all the lies that you’ve been living in.”
M: Yeah, but do you think they really meant it? They were probably told by some asshole producer to put that line in there.
C: Who cares? Just because someone from outside the band wrote the song doesn’t mean it’s bad.
M: Oh, I know. That’s like when Metallica does cover songs.
C: Metallica sucks. They completely sold out. Everything they’ve done since Ride The Lightning is complete crap.
M: Well, it’s OK sometimes. I try to ignore that “aaahhhhhhh” thing that James Hetfield does after every song. [Does annoying impression.] Did you know that Jason Newsted saves his deli-tray every night, even though he’s a millionaire? What a greedy asshole. And Nomeansno drives around in a fucking van, man.
C: Yeah, but Nomeansno owns all the rights to their music.
M: Just like Ani.
C: Oh, I love Ani.
M: Yeah, it’s nice sometimes to just listen to a girl play an acoustic guitar.
C: No it isn’t, her lyrics are meaningful.
M: Oh, I know, but she’s happy, too.
C: Well you’d be happy if you were a millionaire.
M: Sherry shouldn’t have fucked my best friend, then I’d be happy. She read the same books as me, I don’t understand.
C: Get over it, people have sex. People get drunk and have sex. Everyone does.
M: Whatever. I need to go.
M: You’re getting bad.
C: How?
M: I don’t need to hear all this crap again. I’ve heard it so many times. I’m completely over it. I go to the beach sometimes, too.
C: Yeah, I miss going to the beach. I haven’t been to the beach in probably 15 years. Ever since that time some girl and beer and a book, etc. I really need a milkshake. Do you want to just go and sit somewhere for a while and talk?
M: No, I think I’m just going to go and watch VH1. The Vanilla Ice Story is on tonight.
C: Cool, you should memorize every line of it and recite little known facts at me all the time. I care so much about Vanilla Ice.
M: You’re an asshole. You’re just mad because I’m happy and you’re not.
C: Fuck you, I’m the one who does more productive things than you.
M: How can you say you’re happier than me? I threw a Coke can in the garbage today and didn’t care if it got recycled or not.
C: Oh, yeah? I listened to a Christian radio program, and I liked it.
M: I saw a girl today with nice tits. I didn’t even care if she had a brain, I was just looking at her body, and ENJOYING IT.
C: I’m so ahead of you! I watched THE NEWS instead of Beavis & Butthead, and did SITUPS instead of checking my email, then I walked to the grocery store, bought some vegetables, came home, and made myself A SALAD. I listened to Backstreet Boys and Lard back to back and I liked them both the same…then I had a conversation with MY MOM about the weather. I’m waaaaaay healthier than you. Maybe you should consider some medication. I am trying to enroll in college so my insurance will pay for some pills so I can be happy and productive. You’re going to have to be able to hang around people who do drugs and just accept it. You know, people do cocaine. So what? People aren’t supposed to think about as many things and be as disfunctional as we are. Have you heard from Stacy Mathis / Gabe Galvin / Travis Niolet / lately? What are they up to? What about that girl with the big teeth that we met at Denny’s, you said she was going to Eckerd College… what was her name again? What about that girl we talked to in the parking lot of Barnes & Noble? Where is she now?
M: [Click.]