25 Apr

Q: How do I teach myself to enjoy eating seaweed? I feel like I’m missing out.


That’s quite the question you’ve got there, Jennifer. The first order of business is to explore my fear that you’re tricking me into discussing some kind of pervy water-soluble chia-pube arrangement on a family-friendly blog. I advise my patient and thirsty readers to fix yourselves a dumb cocktail while I look into this.

OK, I just checked Urban Dictionary, and it appears Jennifer may indeed be referring to matters either genital or marijuanal. But just as WebMD’s goal is to convince us every hangnail is cancer, Urban Dictionary will not rest until we believe every noun doubles as frathole slang for a degrading and fictional sex act. We don’t have time for that nonsense here, so let’s just assume Jennifer wants to lead a richer culinary life.

I suggest going with the old carrot and stick approach (that’s when you do six shots of Jager and stick a carrot—wait, no, it’s when you beat a mule until it eats a carrot or some damn thing). I believe Jennifer to be a southern woman, which means she likely has a dedicated sex-and-whiskey hammock. She might try keeping a stash of edible seaweed on her dedicated-sex-and-whiskey-hammock-side table and throwing some down the ol’ whiskey chute after each pleasurable, respectful, and consensual hammock ride. This would associate seaweed with fruitful leisure (note: a hammock is no place for aggressive sex or drinking), and after enough training and positive reinforcement, Jennifer will find herself making happily inappropriate noises and faces on half-price nori night at her local sushi-and-whiskey canteen.

Now that we’ve definitively settled how to make oneself like seaweed, I think it’s time to wind things back to before the beginning and ask why one would bother self-assigning such a task in the first place. As Jennifer herself noted, it’s not as if she’s averse to beer or cheese or some other pillar of our edible civilization. Why not just let the seaweed go, then?

My very reasonable and accommodating wife hates dogs and mushrooms. The dog thing makes sense—she was partially eaten by one in her younger youth—but the mushroom matter seems to have no rational basis, since she likes most other foods and all other vegetables. I’m not some kind of dirt-foraging, shit-combing weirdo, but I don’t mind a judicious scattering of mushrooms on the occasional pizza or in the browner soups. But I’ve never once tried to convince my wife to eat a mushroom, because who cares? They’re mushrooms. It’s seaweed. You’ve got to live a little, but don’t stress yourself out by dishonoring your harmless aversions in an attempt to live too much.





All excuses great and small

23 Apr

Q: Where you been, man? 

—hypothetical throngs of people wondering how to live their lives and choose their socks w/o my guidance. 

I realize I’ve been criminally negligent in updating this site for the past couple weeks. I can’t get into the specific nature of the crimes leading up to the negligence (other than to say that DUI in an elevator is a completely bullshit charge that I intend to fight to the very top of the American justice system and/or condo board) , but I will confess to just being plain old occupied with all manner of good, bad, and beautiful diversions that have prevented me from our common goal of better living through unqualified advice-puking.

I was going to finally address Jennifer’s very important seaweed question this afternoon, but then check this out: My wife doesn’t need leftovers for lunch tomorrow, because there’s a catered Something Appreciation Day event at her hospital–possibly related to the shot-cop recovering there; it seems that Boston responds to terrorism with boundless generosity concerning the face-stuffing needs of health care and law enforcement personnel. This means tonight’s dinner isn’t governed by conventional standards of decency regarding next-day workplace microwaving. What I’m saying is that I gotta go buy some fish. So we’ll be back to real action tomorrow. Thanks for your endurance, and don’t hesitate to contribute to the backlog of questions that will definitely be answered someday probably.


Who’s Tilly?

5 Apr

Q: My wife and I are having twin girls. Their names are going to be Tilly and Camille. How do I decide which kid gets which name? —@tallbaby21 (Jamie)

Oh, that’s a good one. I love to name things; I realize Jamie isn’t letting me pick his kids’ names from scratch, but that’s OK, since I don’t expect any ground-floor say in baby-naming until the magical day when my wife and I get a hold of either a second bedroom or a bad batch of sleep-late-on-Sunday pills. I hope to have acquired a couple of thoughtfully named boats and racehorses by then, but I will nonetheless treat Jamie’s babies as my official trial run.

Jamie’s original question made it clear the names had been picked out and it was my job to assign them, but he didn’t reveal the actual names for a couple of days, so my initial ruminatin’ was of a very general nature. It started where all men’s daughter-thoughts do: How to avoid giving your kid a stripper name. I’m a little bit ashamed of this, because why do I regard stripping as the absolute worst possible fate for my soon-to-be honorary nieces? How something-something-normative and narrow-minded! And scummy!

Of course stripperdom would suggest an otherwise difficult life, but I think our (my?) fears are based on more than just the superficially benevolent wish for our girls to live better than the average sex dancer. Legitimate concerns aside, my stripper-name thoughts meant that I was sexually objectifying a couple of fetuses I’ll never meet. Cool new blog, Will.

I consider myself a feminist, because I’m not an asshole or an idiot, but I still find myself doing maddening things like assigning names to stranger-babies based on how birth order is most likely to affect their odds of being professionally naked. That’s ridiculous and here’s why:

Strippers give themselves those trashy names. In real life they’re all Jens and Lizes and Tinas. Sure, if your parents give you a nontraditional name you might be more likely to lead an unconventional childhood which might result in so on and so forth; I will concede that there are relatively more strippers real-named Halcyon than there are Erin. But not many more. One thing you know for sure about a stripper’s identity is that the name she gives you is not the one her mom gave her.

Another strip-joint naming truism is that the younger the dancer, the lamer the name, because the good ones have been snapped up by the veterans, just like cool sports uniform numbers. The fresh-faced young ladies prancing around on the primo weekend shifts are more likely to be named Taurus and Coriander, since all the sexier cars and spices have been claimed by the more established staffers who have been reduced to the midweek lunch grind on their way out to pasture. Porsche and Cinnamon work days now, and their feet are killing them.

Which brings us back around to Tilly and Camille, two lovely names befitting the happiest and best-adjusted of future astronauts and electricians and hey even the post-gender-normed world I hope they inherit will still need ballerinas. They can do anything they want, and I advise that the older one do so as Tilly.

Even though they’re going to be twins, one will have to be a couple minutes older, which means she’ll have .01 percent of an easier life, because Jamie and every other filthy liar parent may claim otherwise, but how can he avoid forming an ever-so-slightly stronger bond with the first kid out of the gate? I mean, Tilly’s hatching will be the best and craziest shit he’s ever seen, right? Then when Camille does the same trick five minutes later, that’ll be cool—just like it’s cool to rewatch an episode of Bar Rescue. Still great, but not the same. The younger twin needs a chubby little baby leg up in the name department.

I don’t prefer the name Camille to the name Tilly, but it’s more versatile. Once her personality emerges, she and her parents can figure out if she’s a Camille or a Cam or a Cammy (please not a Cami; I know what I said about names not being strongly correlative to stripping, but let’s not push it). If she becomes devoted to shitty American muscle cars and gets a giant firebird tattoo on her back, she can go by Trans-Cam. If she turns into a college radio DJ with a dirty-blond-dreadlocked boyfriend, she can call herself Cam-E-Soul or some shit. If she becomes a food blogger (and she will), she can go by CaMeal. And I think mille means thousand or million or something in French, so she can play around with the back end too.

So it’s Tilly first, then Camille. Good luck to them and their parents. Jamie, please report back to this space in 2030 when it’s time for me to decide where they go to college.

Next question in the queue: Jen wonders if she can force herself to like eating seaweed. I’ll tell her Monday.

I Have No Opinion on Cool Ranch Tacos

4 Apr

Hi guys. My goal for today was simply to get this site registered, so I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself by actually posting anything of consequence. I mean, 90 percent of my shtick is regular ol’ Every Dirtbag populism, so if I overachieve on the first day then I’ve violated our bond, and also left myself dangerously short of goals for tomorrow. So far, Friday’s whiteboard looks like this: “Fucking laundry fucking again how on earth does a man who gets dressed three days a week max go through so much laundry oh yeah because of my all-the-world-is-my-napkin policy” and “First real post.”

Tomorrow’s post won’t be about fast food or cheap liquor; I used to write about those things for Serious Eats, but now I don’t. Now that I’m writing for less than free ($18 in the hole to register the site) rather than merely less than I wanted, I can drop the pretense that I ever gave a shit what flavor of mayo Burger King had decided to squirt on the new Zesty Whopper Salad Smoothie.

My dream is that this turns into a quasi-advice blog, wherein you guys ask questions about life’s bigger and smaller matters and then I give them half-assed answers on the way to telling a story about the amusement park I worked at in high school. That’s right: You, dear reader, are my new flavored vodka.

I solicited Q’s on Twitter the other day and got a few good ones to get the ball rolling. First up tomorrow: My man @tallbaby21 has twin girls due Saturday and needs to know which name to give to which kid. I’ll drink on it tonight and sort him out in the morning.

In the meantime, please do holler if you’ve got a question. I don’t know if you should leave a comment here or email Bottomshelfwill@gmail or tweet @willgordonagain or corner me in the laundry room–whatever works for you.



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