Posted by Elliot Steingart
I have no idea how to behave on my birthday. I spend so much time writing jokes, tweeting and blogging about myself, the one day I’m supposed to celebrate my life I’m shy and extra weird.
While I love attention, I’m unsettled by the notion of a premeditated event dedicated to my existence, except for a funeral which I definitely want. Really, my story is no different than yours except I was born into this world tush first.
I think it’s the idea of inviting people to celebrate my birthday that’s weird to me. It seems more like a cry for help. “Eat with me! Drink with me! Buy me gift cards! Love me!”
I’d rather count all the “Happy Bdays” I get on Facebook and internalize why someone wished me a “Happy Bday” and I didn’t return the favor.
Ever since college I’ve been very aware of how many people write happy birthday on my wall. Taylor Skillin, the most popular kid in our freshman class was the benchmark for success. 114 Happy Birthdays to my 22. Since then I’d wish some people a happy birthday just to get one back. It helped inflate my numbers and make me feel better about being born an asshole.
And I know those “friends” who snubbed me or forgot. I’m not that strong, but man can I hold a grudge! Don’t wish me a happy birthday, and I’ll remember not to remember your birthday. Same goes for engagement, marriage or birth of a child. Test me!
I knew going into the day if I didn’t get at least 30 well wishes my life would be for nothing. The tone was set early when Anthony caught me listening to “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” on Spotify at 9am.
“Celebrate that birthday by listening to some Rod Stewart! Is this a birthday routine?” He asked.
“It ought to be,” I replied. “Rod is a sex machine and doesn’t have to watch Youtube to tie a tie.”
I was surprised to hear from my office rival, Elliott S, the Steeler fan. “Hey, I saw it’s your birthday today.”
“Yea, what’s it to ya?”
“You’re not going to believe this but it’s mine too.”
“Of course it is!”
Fortunately, everyone wants to make sure you will have a great day. “So, what are you doing for your birthday? Any big plans?”
I spent the weekend in San Diego running around with family, and figured that was good enough. I was fine having a low key birthday, especially on a Monday, but the questions kept pouring in. “What’s in store for the big night??”
On the spot, I scrambled to think of something and somehow blurted out “Karaoke at the Big Foot Lodge.”
Of course, none of my friends knew about this plan. I hadn’t mentioned my birthday to anyone nor did I realize this was my plan. I texted friends and others I might not otherwise have invited. What if none of my friends showed, but the acquaintances did? They would think I have no friends on my birthday, or worse, they’d think they are my only friends.
My parents gave me money to take myself out to a nice dinner. “Go someplace nice,” they insisted.
I walked to a dimly lit Sushi joint, peered inside, looked at the menu, and man, did I chicken out. I just couldn’t do it. I retreated to the Coffee Bean next door where my head spun, tweets flew and began thinking about the possibility of someone catching me at the Coffee Bean alone on my 27th birthday.
“Hey, isn’t it your birthday?”
“I’m singing Rod Stewart at Karaoke tonight if you’d like to come, or you can just write on my wall, if it’s easier!”
I still hadn’t learned the words to “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” nor had I rehearsed any of my cool new moves. I didn’t want to go, but I had to because I told my co-workers, friends and family that I was singing karaoke for my birthday. I needed to complete the narrative.
So I went to karaoke by myself on my birthday. The Bigfoot Lodge was pretty empty but I figured I’d sit at the bar and order a drink. It took a few moments for the bartender to notice me and even longer for her to pour me a Murphy’s. I didn’t want to drink alone. Why would I? I wanted to check my Facebook to see the latest string of birthday wishes. Before she could pour my beer I said, “Sorry, but I’m good, thanks” and left the bar.
I planned on driving home but kept driving, until I parked the car and popped in to Public House on Vermont for comedy night. I even ordered a beer that I drank. I ran into Jason Nash, a comedian friend who performed a solid set that made laugh.
The night ended with 66 “Happy Birthdays” and the belated wishes are still coming in. I’ll be accepting them until tomorrow. Thanks for checking.
5.17.13 at 2:11 pm | Bee Sting, Projectile Vomit, Stanley Cup and more!
4.22.13 at 11:10 am | An unforgettable trip to a romantic destination
4.12.13 at 11:23 am | Making an unlikely new friend
3.25.13 at 1:39 pm | Learning about the Man I will become
3.8.13 at 4:59 pm | Moving on up
3.1.13 at 3:25 pm | No brainer
5.17.13 at 2:11 pm | Bee Sting, Projectile Vomit, Stanley Cup and more! (52)
2.22.13 at 4:36 pm | Deciding upon a mantra (7)
11.14.12 at 12:10 pm | No longer like Restaurants (6)
January 25, 2012 | 12:33 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
I was asked to sit on a panel about being single. I’m like an expert at not having a girlfriend. I’m honored and look forward to sharing personal stories about my sex life in front of strangers, like when I perform comedy.
I have nothing to hide, and try to always be honest. I would say I’m honest except if I’m uncomfortable telling the truth. At the end of the work day on Friday our CEO’s daughter and her Girl Scout troop infiltrated my cube.
“Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”
“Sorry girls, I don’t have any money on me.”
“Oh! That’s okay. You can pay when you get the cookies!”
I was caught in a lie, so I told the truth. “Thanks, but I’m trying to lose weight.”
The girls ran off to Matt’s cubicle where I overhead them giggle and shout “He’s not buying cookies! He wants to lose weight!”
I was the only one in the office to reject these cute little girls right to their face. I felt bad, and as I was leaving I overheard one of the scout’s mothers announce the proceeds of the cookie sales will be sent to the troops. I left for the weekend rather quickly!
I appreciate being honest because it gives an indication of just how weird you are. I’m fine being vulnerable if it leads to sex. There are so many girls in their 20’s around town who’ve gotten to know me. They didn’t sleep with me, but at least they know how I felt after my grandma died.
On a second date with Lori, we saw a play at the Skylight theatre in Los Feliz then sat in a romantic outdoor space between two heat lamps. Lori and I had a connection rather instantly. Both of us couldn’t stop smiling when we met for coffee a few days earlier. Lori, unlike many of my previous dates, asked wonderful open ended questions that kept me guessing.
“What do you like to eat?” she asked.
Not an easy question to answer, but I answered the best I could.
“Now that I live on my own I eat a lot of weird food because no one is there to judge me. I’ve been eating a lot of green beans and Kashi. My move is eating handfuls of Kashi crumbs over the sink so whatever doesn’t land in my mouth falls in to the sink. What kinds of foods do you like?”
“I like all sorts of food.”
“Do you like Thai food?” I asked.
“I’ve actually never had Thai food.”
“Wow!” I exclaimed.
If I had more time to think I wouldn’t have described Thai food as a “Cousin of Chinese.”
“You’ll love Thai food,” I assured her.
I barely knew her, so I really had no idea if she would. I just knew I loved Thai food.
We talked about work, and she asked me another riveting question to which I had never before answered. “What is the worst job you ever had?”
“Hmm.” I thought. “Probably working as a waiter at a country club. I would wait on a member named Dr. Gross. I didn’t know his name for the first couple months so I called him Mr. Davis.”
“Why didn’t you know his name?”
“I don’t know, but he never corrected me. The first time he ordered chicken he told me he wanted it rare. ‘Can you make sure it’s a little pink?’ he asked.”
“Wait. What?” She interrupted.
“Yea, I know. So I said, ‘you sure you don’t mean beef?’ He insisted he wanted chicken. It’s a country club so if he wants raw chicken, we’ll give him raw chicken.
“That’s how you know you’re not at a top tier country club. When you’re members eat raw chicken and don’t even know their own name.”
She laughed, and I did too.
We walked to another of my favorite spots in Los Feliz, “The Drawing Room.” I offered her a sip of my Pabst since she never tried one before.
“It’s great. Isn’t it?”
“Yea, it is.” She remarked.
“Do you like to walk?” I asked.
“I love to walk. How about you?”
“Me too. I especially like walking away from my problems. ‘You need to talk to me about something important? Actually i’m just going to walk over here for a moment.”
“You’re funny” she said.
Lori’s questions lead me to think that she is in fact interested in getting to know me. I too am interested in getting to know her, but will take things slowly for fear that if things do work out then I may not have much more to write about for this blog. Just being honest.
January 18, 2012 | 12:50 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Life is hard sometimes, especially when you have irritabile bowel syndrome. As a long-time survivor, I’ve learned to cope. Though this past week my irritibilty went straight from my bowels to my head.
It started at 9am when my co-worker Greg popped into my neighbor Matt’s cubicle to analyze the play “Clybourne Park,” which I was hoping to see at the Mark Taper Theater.
“I really appreciated the metaphors about gentrification,” Greg began.
“Yea, it’s one of those plays that really makes you think.”
“I like how the play shifts from the 50’s to present day.”
“Yea, you realize not much changes in terms of class struggle.”
“Do you mind not giving away the ending?” I interjected.
“Wo! Elliot, the grouch.”
“Sorry, I want to see the play and you are giving a scene by scene synoposis. At least give me a spoiler alert!”
Then my company hired another Elliot without consulting me first. A slap in the face if there ever was one. He’s a sports writer and also a Steeler fan and to his credit, seems like a really nice guy, but every time I heard my name I turned around and found the team shaking Elliot’s hand and patting him on the back. What did he do? He’s only been here a day.
“How are we going to tell the Elliots apart?”
“It’s kind of obvious. He’s the black Elliot.”
That isn’t p.c. so he’s Elliot S, the Steeler fan. That’s also me!
For our company meeting we ordered chinese food – Mongolian Beef, Orange Chicken, Shrimp with Walnuts, lo mein, string beens. There were three giant trays left over. My plan was to eat the leftovers for lunch. Since my cubicle is closest to the kitchen I know the shelves. I know who the Almond milk belongs to, I see Kimi’s Pomegrenate juice. There is an unmarked chicken pot pie in the freezer. If that was mine I wouldn’t put my name on it either. For all intents and purposes the company’s chinese food was mine, that is until Tracey noticed the Chinese food in the refrigerator. On her way back to her cubicle she announced, “I’m going to eat leftover Chinese for lunch. There is a lot left!”
Way to steal my idea! “Jesus! If you tell the whole office, there will be nothing left over.”
I calmed down until the morning of “Bagel Thursday.” The office rushes into the kitchen spreading their flavored cream cheese and sharing their plans for the weekend. I’m trying to cut down on carbs so I pretend I’m not temped by the nearby sesames. It’s hard to to focus and harder making a phone call when co-workers are yelling, laughing, and singing during bagel mania and then leaving one of the poppies to burn in the toaster.
“Jesus, Christopher! Who left the toaster on?”
“Elliot the grouch is back.”
“Yea, I’m the bad guy!”
My buddy Richard came over to pound me up. “How are you, sir?”
“Yo, not great. I know I’m supposed to be in a great mood because I work in an office, but I’m a human being. Sometimes I’m not in a good mood. ”
“Like today?” Matt yelled.
Fortunately, I had a date that night. I picked up Jessica en route to an indie rock show at the Echo. I drove a block past the Echo, the biggest mistake of my life.
“Wo!! Is that a space??” She yelled. “How about that?? How far are you driving?? You can park on a side street you know!”
“Yea, you may need to relax.”
Jessica complained about walking three blocks, the weather, waiting in line, the crowded bar and being tired. Was she also suffering from Irritible Week Syndrome? Worse, was this how I sounded all week? She downed the $13 “Old Fashioned” I paid for in three gulps.
“I’m tired. Do you mind taking me home?”
“It’s safe to walk.It’s not like Echo Park is a sketchy part of town.”
I went home, did a few pull ups, and checked my Facebook and saw a status update from Richard.
“Two years ago my life was taken advantage of in the worst possible way,” It read. “Since then, although life has thrown some curve balls my way, I can’t be happier at the fact that no matter what happened in the past has only made me a stronger, more resilient person.”
Thanks to Richard for putting my own struggles in perspective. Next time I will plug my ears when co-workers reveal important plot points, and accept that other people in the office are entitled to the same Chinese food that was not even mine to begin with. I appreciate that there is now another Elliot in the office and the fact that he is black is awesome. And any female who would complain as much as Jessica will make it easier for me to ask Jdate for a full refund.
I’m happy to share the irritability has returned back to my bowels. It’s nice to be back to normal.
January 11, 2012 | 12:34 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Dating artists is a way for me to support the arts and get great deals on paintings.
I emailed an artist I know named Amy to paint a picture for my apartment for $100. I gave her a two week deadline and offered to take her out for drinks. She replied that her paintings normally go for upwards of $4,000. In my next email I told her that her talent warrants that kind of money. I just don’t have it.
“I may have something in my studio I can sell you.”
She sold me a painting for $150 and agreed to go out with me. After picking her up, I said “I’m new to Los Feliz so I figured you could show me around.”
“No, I’m not good at that.”
“Not to worry. We’ll drop my car off and have a drink. You can see your painting and then we can go out.”
I opened my most expensive bottle of wine, a $12 Bordeaux. “Pretty good, yea?”
“It’s sour and it needs to breathe.”
“Of course,” I pretended.
“I know that your art work deals with the relationship between architectural spaces and the psyche. What were your intentions behind this painting?”
“If I wanted to paint an elephant I would have painted an elephant.”
“Of course.” I decided to delve further. “So what’s it like being an artist?”
“I party at night, and sleep until 10am or sometimes 1pm. All depends how I feel. Why? Do you have a job or something?” She finished smoking a cigarette on my balcony. “Where are we going?”
“We’ll take a little walk to get a drink.”
“You didn’t tell me we would be walking. These shoes aren’t for walking.”
“Sorry, I thought shoes were for walking.”
We secured a booth on a crowded night at my new favorite bar “Ye Rustic Inn.” I ordered vodka sodas and chicken wings. “So what kind of guys do you normally go out with?”
“I like older men and bad boys. You’re too nice. I like guys who treat me like sh*t. I have to go to the bathroom. Where is it?”
She came back from the bathroom and ordered another drink. “So you know, I’m not going to sleep with you.”
My phone vibrated. I looked and saw that Amy who was sitting right next to me had sent me a nude photo of herself.
“What do you think?”
“I like it.”
“I have lots of photos like these. That’s all I’m going to show you.”
“Will these be on exhibit any time soon?”
Over the weekend I went out with another artist, Jill, a 30 year old grad student who drove an hour to meet me at The Dresden, the classy 1950’s era night-club where “Swingers” was filmed. I ordered a Vodka Collins and she ordered a Whiskey Sour and fried zuchinni. The Jazz band played so loud I couldn’t hear what she was saying. I could hear a few key words and responded back the best I could I while eating her zuchinni.
“Near Wilshire and La Cienega.”
“Of course,” I nodded in agreement.
The Jazz flute softened to the point I could almost hear her mention that I look like Seinfeld. “Did you use to wear braces?”
“Yes, but I’d rather talk about you. Do you have a favorite painting you can show me?”
She scrolled through her Iphone showing me a neon painting of a guy and a girl kissing in front of a volume equalizer.
“This painting would look great in my apartment.” I complimented her earrings before asking the price of the painting.
“This one is going for $1,050. I think I price my art too cheaply.”
“Yea, for sure,” I pretended.
We ordered another drink before walking over to “Ye Rustic Inn” where we sat in the same booth I sat with Amy. After showing her pictures of my week-old niece, Dylan, she said she was tired and that she should go. “I’ll buy this round,” she insisted.
A girl sitting at the bar shot me an evil look and then interjected. “No, you should pay.”
“You should go back to eating your quesadilla,” I mumbled under my breath.
Later that night I looked at Jill’s website where I discovered her series of nude self-portraits. They were colorful, to say the least.
Getting to know both artists made me realize I am less of an art enthusiast and more of a naked enthusiast. For the female body is the greatest piece of art. And I’ve been to LACMA with an Art History major so I’ve seen my share of art. After noticing many phallic paintings I said, “I didn’t realize this was Los Angeles County Museum of Penises?”
“No, this is art.” she shot back.
Receiving a text of a naked female is art. Sending a text of a naked male is harassment.
Who knew such insight could come over fried zuchinni and chicken wings? I’m just supporting the arts.
January 4, 2012 | 1:01 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
At 5am I awoke to the news that my sister, Ariel gave birth to a healthy baby girl. It was an easy birth. I slept right through it. There was a rumor that the baby’s name was Blake. I like the name Blake, but Blake Silver is the kind of girl who thinks she is always right and never returns texts. Much like Ariel.
I started a rumor that the baby’s name was Blair. It spread like wildfire to my mom and then my dad, but was dispelled by my sister. Fortunately I can name my own daughter Blair. I just know she will excel at winter sports. Her brother, Bart Steingart will be the comedian I never was. His blog for the Jewish Journal will get so many hits and even an occasional share on Facebook.
My niece’s name is Dylan Silver, a great name. It serves her right. She was a wonderful fetus.
At 5am Ariel is describing the feeling of giving birth. Before hearing about the opening of my sister’s cervix, I asked to speak to my brother-in-law, whom I call Billy. He calls me William. Not sure how this started it just kind of caught on and has continued since the first time I called him Billy Boy. This time he addressed me differently.
“Mazels, Billy! How’s it feel? Did you cry?”
“Yes, I did. It feels great. We’re just tired, but it’s awesome. You have no idea. It’s just crazy.”
“What was it like seeing your wife give birth?”
“We took a video of the birth. I’ll send it to you.”
“You can send me the edited version. Waist-up, please.”
My parents flew to Chicago earlier in the day and were at the hospital for Dylan’s birth. We decided I could be more helpful to Ariel and Brian once the baby is a couple months old. I would have liked to have been there for the birth. Years later it will help me when Dylan becomes a teenage truant journeying around Chicago in a red Ferrari with a hipster and his hypochondriac friend. Uncle Elliot could say “Dylan, this isn’t like you. I’ve known you since the day you were born.”
Now I’ll just have to lie.
“What’s breast feeding like?” I ask my sister.
“It feels like someone sucking on your boob. Are you going to include that in your blog.”
My sister is a breast feeder and my parents are now grand parents. I’m good with “uncle,” a title I share with Billy’s two brothers, Scott and Robby. I call Robby “Cousin Rob” since we are buddies and it’s kind of hard to define how we’re related. I’m excited that Robby and I will go halfsies on birthday and Hannukah gifts. I’m thinking it’s best if we start off small. Gap Kids, then work our way up to Lululemon and later a whistle she can wear for her teenage years.
In most of the pictures I’ve seen of Dylan she is wearing a pink “Metallica” beanie. I never thought my sister whose bedroom wall consisted of Vogue Magazine Covers would have a baby with the same fashion sense as “Beavis.”
Dylan pulls it off. I’m sure later in life she’ll day be swept off her feet by a nice young man in Pre-Kindergarten, or some six year old punk with temporary tattoos who can’t even tie his shoes.
It’s an exciting time for our family and for everyone who knows Ariel and Brian. I’ve received more congratulations on Dylans’ birth than any other time in my life. I’ve appreciated all the well wishes, but I really had no part in making the baby. Thankfully.
“Ariel is very relaxed, and very happy. She is already a great mother” according to my mom.
I can’t imagine Brian is relaxed since he is the most hyper person I know, but I know he will be a great father.
Over the four years I visited Ariel and Brian when they lived in Palm Desert, they did a pretty good job of feeding me, and giving me clean towels. I know they will provide a good home for Dylan who I will meet for the first time in March.
I’m excited to be Uncle Elliot, and look forward to making funny faces and giving Dylan weird nick-names. I can’t wait to teach her how to crawl.
I already love this little girl who I haven’t even met. Till that day comes, Uncle Elliot is just a phone call away.
December 28, 2011 | 1:07 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Hanging out with baby boomers is always an adjustment since it’s not something I normally do for 36 hours straight. My parents arrived in LA over Christmas weekend to help decorate my new apartment and teach me the right way to hang pants on a hanger.
My mom, a vegetarian of sorts for the last 30 years, decided to give up chicken and fish for good, she informed me. She read a book by a doctor who claims that by not eating anything with a face and also giving up oils, you can prevent heart disease. This is the same woman who a day earlier sent me a youtube video of a man in the wild being fondled by gorillas. She would be in charge of hanging my collection of eight square mirrors I bought at Ikea above my bed.
My dad was in the bathroom hammering a shower rod over the shower doors. My job was to let my mom know if the first mirror was straight. Without measuring tape it was hard to gauge if the first mirror was centered, and even harder to tell if the mirror was straight.
After the mirror was glued to the wall my dad came out of the bathroom. “It’s crooked!”
There was no way to remove the mirror, but at least the shower rod was in tact. We managed to hang all of the mirrors on the wall thanks to my dad saying either “crooked” or “good” even though the difference between “crooked” and “good” was hardly good.
My dad interrupted our wall mounting by taking out a deck of cards and asking me to pick a card and then re-insert the card back into the deck. He made me cut the deck, haphazardly shuffled the cards and asked “Is this your card?”
Followed by, “Okay—is this your card?”
Next he placed a quarter in each hand and asked me to point to where I thought the quarters were.
“In both hands.”
He opened his fists and both quarters were under his right hand.
“Pretty good!” he exclaimed.
“Yea, cool trick.”
“He does this trick at the farmers market” my mom interjected. “He says, ‘if you can tell me which hand the quarters are in I don’t get a free sample. If you can’t, I get a free sample.”
My father is the kind of person who learns magic to get extra apple slices at the farmers market.
While at happy hour in Los Feliz I was reminded of a conversation that my co-workers were having about if they ever saw their parents drunk. Someone said that they remember their mom once drinking too much when they were a little kid.
“The last time my dad drank too much was the last time I saw him.”
It’s Christmas Eve and my dad is the only patron at this near empty bar on Vermont performing amateur magic for the female bartender to get an extra sample of Delirium Tremens.
In the middle of the night we awoke startled by the crashing sound of the mirror falling from just above my mom’s head on to the floor. The one night my mom stays over in my apartment she is mere inches from receiving a permanent facial scar. Was this my dad’s latest illusion?
In the morning, freshly recovered from her near death experience, my mom insisted we take a walk to Albertsons to buy almond milk. The cashier handed me a dozen “Win Big” instant savings coupons. I also bought a Bingo Lottery scratcher which I handed to my dad to scratch off with my house key. While my mom and I finished unpacking groceries my dad exclaimed, “You just won $500!”
“A Christms Miracle!” I exclaimed.
My mom verified the matching numbers and we headed back to Albertsons to redeem the winnings. After shutting the door I checked my pockets like I always do.
“I left my keys inside.”
“What are we going to do?”
“Who needs keys when you have $500?!”
High from winning the lottery I texted a girl I met two nights ago telling her I just won $500 and that I’d like to take her out the next night. We handed the winning ticket to the cashier who inserted the ticket into the machine, input the lotto # into the system and pressed a few other buttons.
The machine spat out the ticket.
“Not a winner.”
Clearly we had all the matching numbers. My mom, dad and the cashier all saw proof. The cashier tried again and achieved the same result. We decided to drive to the next closest Albertsons. My dad handed me the card back. I looked at the numbers just to make sure.
“B7…I28….N36… G50….” I paused then took a deep breath. “Where do you see G50?”
“What do you mean?”
“There is no G50. It’s G60! I didn’t win anything!”
Twenty minutes earlier I texted Tammy that I won the lottery and that I would take her out. Now I would have to spend money I didn’t have and tell her the only lottery I won involved instant savings on Pepperidge Farm.
As we drive up the hill to the Griffith Obersvatory my mom is emotional that my sister is mad at her and makes my dad call her. We are all upset we are locked out of my apartment. I haven’t showered since Friday and I’m wearing a hot dog tee shirt.
My apartment manager was celebrating Christmas with her family until 8pm leaving us most of the day left to explore Los Angeles on the one day nothing is open. We couldn’t agree on a movie and my mom vetoed Chinese. The magician who could not distinguish a 5 from a 6, suggested we go to the Hollywood Cemetery to see some of the famous people buried there.
“You know in LA we can see famous people who aren’t dead?”
Families were mourning their loved ones and my dad is asking for a map.
“Can you tell me how to get to Charlie Chaplin’s plot?”
From there, we took a scenic driving tour through Hancock park, discovered a German sports bar in Koreatown, my mom and sister made up, and we laughed recalling our misadventures over Pad See Ew in Thai Town.
Falling asleep to Christmas Vacation was a fitting end to an exhilarating Steingart Family Christmas weekend. After my parents left the shower rod fell down, and the next day at work I received a little Christmas bonus in the amount of… $500.
December 21, 2011 | 12:36 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
“Elliot Steingart prepares for his biggest challenge yet,” begins HBO 24/7: ‘Steingart vs Himself.’
“I trained for my move to Los Feliz like Marquez trained against Pacquio, minus drinking my own urine. I prepared mentally, and physically to live on my own. I did crunches and asked the guy from Time Warner for decorating tips.”
The dawn breaks and we see an excitable Elliot Steingart waking up from his first night in his new apartment to the sound of church bells. “Ding, dong. Ding, dong. Ding, dong.” Probably, a one time occurrence, he thinks. One hour later churchbells sound again. “Ding, dong. Ding, Dong.”
“Thank you, father, but I’m trying to sleep,” he cries.
Now awake, Steingart returns to the familiar routine of watching a Netflix under the covers on his laptop. He watches “The Fighter” a film about “Irish” Mickey Ward. It’s a story similar to Steingart’s own upbringing as the youngest of nine children living in the shadow of older brother, Dicky his trainer, who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard, but has since fallen to the depths of crack addiction. Mickey’s girlfriend, Charlene is the brash redhead Steingart dreams of. Though he would not want Charlene yelling at his mom about how he doesn’t need throw pillows from CB2.
Channeling Mickey Ward, Steingart does two sets of 12 push ups. After which Steingart finds a note that is left under his door:
Are you going to church today? I’m at Danielle and John’s, need a ride to church. If you’re going please call me.
After hearing the church bells and receiving a hand written invitation to attend services, Steingart waits for a phone call from Pope Benedict to formally introduce himself to Catholicism. The good Catholics of Los Feliz are unaware that days earlier Steingart declined to participate in his office Secret Santa. Out of 15 co-workers, Steingart was the only onlooker. Co-workers viewed him as Scrooge. He viewed himself as Jew.
Steingart re-reads the note, and wonders why Rose would need a ride to church since church is two blocks away.
Meanwhile the fight begins, the inner struggle of how someone lives by oneself. Every fighter has those standing in his corner training him for the challenge ahead. For Steingart, his camp is as important to his success as Dickey is to Mickey Ward.
Ryan, his roommate the last three years, had left for Pittsburgh for a month when he received a text from Steingart notifiying him he would be moving out of the house.
“Do what you gotta do, bro.”
Steingart tried calling, but received no answer. It was not the way he hoped to break the news to his friend and roommate. When Ryan returned, his hair grew longer.
“You shouldn’t cut it. It looks good.”
“Your face isn’t as fat.”
“Thanks! I lost 9 ½ pounds on Weight Watchers for Men.” A humble brag, indeed.
It was Ryan who helped Steingart carry his queen bed up three flights of stairs, and move the rest of his belongings into the new apartment.
Ben, Steingart’s friend and second roommate the last two years, continued to serve as audio/visual consultant, unplugging plugs for Steingart, and teaching Steingart the basics of plugging speaker wire into a receiver, and fielded calls once Steingart could not do so on his own, and promised to come over and to set it all up.
Richard, the office manager at his company, welcomed hourly interruptions from Steingart.
“Should I buy the couch from Jennifer Convertibles?”
“Would you get Netflix or Cable?”
“How does this tape measure work?”
Over the last couple of months Steingart has relied on Richard to build a basketball hoop, retrieve his Blackberry contacts, check his car engine, hide a Slim Jim at his desk so he won’t eat it and take bets on college and professional football. Steingart was amazed by Richard’s skill set and ability to take his money. Steingart was the only person in the office approaching Richard at his desk at 9am by saying “Want some action on UCLA?”
When the two made a $5 wager on the Cotto/Margertio rematch it was Richard who bet on Margertio, a fighter with only one good eye. Steingart, a victor for the first time, was grateful for his friend Richard who drove all the way from Wittier to mount Steingart’s new television on the wall, and then hang pictures and configure his wireless internet network.
And his parents, the two people in Steingart’s camp who’ve stuck by him the longest, visited the apartment and persuaded him to sign the lease. It was they who called from Target in suburban San Diego.
“How big of garbage can do you need for the kitchen? Make a list of stuff you need an we’ll get it here since these stores won’t be open on Christmas when we come up to help you decorate.”
“Thanks to the people I depend on I am able to live better independently. There will be struggles. It will be boring at times, and sometimes lonely, but it’s nice to have strong people supporting me. Plus I can always go to Church.”
In the next installment of 24/7 “Steingart Vs. Himself,” Steingart wonders how the Jewish Journal will respond to his upcoming conversion to Catholicm.
December 14, 2011 | 12:55 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
I’m like the Brett Favre of OkCupid, a grizzled veteran hoping for one last shot of glory. I thought I could reclaim some of the magic from my earlier days of internet dating. This time I think I’m calling it quits. As I prepare for retirement, and meet women the natural way (at bars), I’ve stumbled upon some gems in my OkCupid inbox.
Below are my favorite emails that I sent that never received a response. This is a tribute to the dates that were not meant to be, and to the women who were spared hearing about my search for futons.
*These emails have not been edited from their original form. Viewer discretion advised.
Spanglish is a great movie
Feb. 15, 2010 – 6:13pm
I actually do a pretty good Sandler imitation from spanglish. i don’t do it much bc no one i know has seen spanglish.
I would love to travel to japan some day. what brought you to LA? do you go back to Japan at all?
Mar. 12, 2010 – 4:49pm
are dream worthy.
what’s lined up for this weekend? anything besides dinner?
Sep. 17, 2010 – 3:14pm
Hope you have a great fast. If you don’t fast, hope you eat lots of great tasting food tonight at sundown until tomorrow at sundown.
Any exciting plans lined up?
Sep. 18th 2010
Hey, how’s your weekend been? any exciting non yom kippur related adventures? I broke the fast with jamba juice. I also didn’t fast. Are you a rebel like me?
Turns out I also perform comedy (stand up) and have a dog, Pippin (enjoys being pet and eating tortilla chips when i give them to her).
How’s your day going?
May 25, 2010 – 4:17pm
Hope you’re having a great day.
I’m also socially liberal and good looking.
lets talk soon.
What we have in common
Feb. 11, 2010 – 2:57pm
i also love vietnamese food. pho is my favorite. love how you can’t find a pho restaurant without a pun. do you have a favorite place to get pho? 9021pho perhaps?
Feb. 11, 2010 – 11:48am
funny spotting the birthright bus in your okcupid profile. how was your trip? what was the highlight?
recently saw pictures of my tour guide with another trip. felt like he cheated on us with another group of young adults.
hope you are having a good thursday.
Feb. 11, 2010 – 12:12pm
always nice to meet someone who is also not too serious about judaism. been there, done that.
hope you are having a great thursday. any big weekend plans?
None of these ladies were interested in meeting Mr. San Diego, but at least they know that I’m a non-observant Jew named Elliot who likes ethnic foods, lives with a dog named Pippin and had a rather lonely February 11th 2010.
The best I can do is learn from every email I send to unsuspecting women like the exchange below from this past week between myself and a young art school grad whose work I admire.
Interested in Art Work
December 8th 2011 3:22pm
Not sure if you got my facebook, but I’m moving into a new place and am in need of art work. i really like your paintings. do you have anything for purchase, and or could i commision something?
Dec 9th 2011 4:29pm
“Hey great to hear from you! I’m sure we could figure something out. What is your budget/ how large of a piece were you looking for?”
Dec 9 2011 5:19pm
My budget would be around $75—$100. I would need a horizontal piece something that is a decent size. I’m moving into a studio that isn’t huge and would love something nice to hang over my bed. I really like painting 4 and something that would reflect my new life living in the hills of Los Feliz. I love the idea of a glass house on some sort of hill overlooking the city at dusk and love the colors and feel of the painting I attached. Best case scenario is that I could have the piece in hand by Xmas. Do you think this is doable? I’d also love to take you out for drinks as part of the deal.
Dec. 12th 2011 11:16am
Do you think this is possible? I’m trying to map out how I’m going to decorate the place.
Dec 12th 201112:16am
“Hey Elliot, the problem is that I have pretty much sold out of everything I have made—my paintings usually sell for 2-4 grand.”
It appears I low-balled Amy by $4,000, demanded the painting by Christmas and then asked her out. So, sometimes the best response is no response. That is unless you write a response to not receiving responses in which case I’m fine if you respond. Just don’t write to Mr. San Diego because you’re not going to get a response.