Coming into my 27th birthday this year, I had the same long overdue realization that many lucky people are susceptible to having at some point in their lives, which is that I’m a very lucky person. So I did some research, and in lieu of gifts, I asked friends and family to donate money to people in this world without clean water. I set the campaign goal at $350 thinking that might be around the accumulative amount of money spent on my birthday otherwise. I was just hoping I’d get close to that number.
The campaign raised over $1,000, and I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel. It’s probably the best gift I’ve ever received, if for no other reason than because it’s confirmation that I have people in my life who are so willing to do something selfless knowing that they have absolutely no pressure to do so.
In return, I promised I would write at least 400 words about anything for whoever donated to the cause. Below is a batch of requests. They are a weird mix of funny and sincere and stupid-in-the-best-way -possible. Peruse at your leisure. Read one. Read all of them. Do whatever feels right. If you donated and would still like to request something, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll publish more of these depending on the number of requests or I’ll just write out something and email it to you personally so that you can frame it and give it to your first born son when you think he’s ready.
More importantly, there’s still 10 days left to donate to an incredible cause where every single one of your dollars will go to helping people get clean water that would otherwise die. Please help.
Subject: Why the Orioles are better than the Rangers.
Requested by: Eric Wetsch
As a Rangers fan, I get the sense that this request borders on trolling. Also, spelling the word “Orioles” numerous times is a nightmare scenario. Seriously, I hope Baltimore newspapers provide awesome benefits for their sports copy editors because there should definitely be another ‘e’ in that word somewhere. But Eric requested this; so let’s talk about it.
A lot of novices would look at the standings (as I write this the Rangers have five more wins than the Orieles Poorly Spelled Baltimore Baseball Team) and say, “What are you talking about, Jonny? How are the Orioles better than the Rangers?” But wins and losses are just numbers, and baseball isn’t about numbers, despite what every baseball expert might tell you. It’s actually about pain and heartbreak and forcing your grief onto everyone around you.
The Rangers are a more balanced team than the Orioles. But Baltimore hits all the home runs. If someone asks you how many home runs have been hit in the MLB this season just ask how many Baltimore has hit, and say, “a little more than that” because, if my analytics are correct, that’s the most accurate answer.
They are the perfect candidates to be an exciting fringe playoff team that turns it on in the post season and all of a sudden looks unstoppable. It sort of reminds me of the 2010 Texas Rangers who made their first ever World Series before losing to the San Francisco Giants. Or the redemption-seeking 2011 Rangers who came within a perfectly reasonable outfield catch of winning the World Series only to lose to St. Louis, the city where I was living at the time.
After the Rangers lost Game 7 to the Cardinals, I sat in my then-girlfriend’s bathroom with my back against the wall screaming that she just didn’t understand. There must have been a lot of perfume in that bathroom because my eyes wouldn’t stop watering.
I’m going to be honest with you, I hate baseball now. It makes me angry, and I pretend I don’t care, but I still kind of do. So let’s all agree the Orioles are better than the Rangers. They’re primed for an exciting run. Soak it in, Eric. Enjoy randomly losing to the Washington Nationals in the World Series. Good luck trying to find meaning in one of the 162 regular season games next year once you’ve discovered that nothing matters and life is bleak and what is hope but the rickety ride up on a rollercoaster you know is taking you down at full speed?
Subject: A first-person account of an interaction between my cat, CC, and myself. From the perspective of CC.
Requested by Jessica Overton
…The best thing about The One With The Beard is that his bedroom door is broken and doesn’t latch shut. He doesn’t give me as many treats as The One Without A Beard, but if there’s no food in my bowl in the morning I can wake him up to tell him. It takes a little effort pushing the door with the crown of my head, but once it gets loose, I’m in. Then it’s just a matter of jumping on his bed and pawing at his face or nibbling on his elbow until he wakes up. He’s always super grumpy. He’s probably just mad because I’m the only girl that ever gets in his bed. There’s a cruder joke to make there, but I’m not going to make it. I’m just a cat, a classy one at that.
It took some time getting used to living in the apartment after coming in from the streets. I’ve gained a lot of weight since then, but it’s not like I don’t earn all that food. There are pros and cons. The One Without A Beard constantly takes pictures of me and it’s creepy as shit. Sometimes The One With The Beard stays home all day and types on his computer and bangs his head against the table every few minutes. A lot of humans sing in the shower, but he sings for the five minutes before he gets into the shower so there’s no way he doesn’t realize how awful it sounds. It’s pretty pathetic.
One day about 8 months ago, something went horribly wrong with a big project that The One With The Beard was working on. Some random publication really screwed him over and reneged on publishing something that had taken hours of work. It looked like a real tipping point. He was a mess. He sat in the dark and talked to himself about his career and how all of his peers were approaching financial security while he chased the least lucrative dream imaginable. Anyway, my food bowl was empty so I walked up and nuzzled him and purred and gently pawed at him. You know, typical “give me some food” protocol. He just smiled, composed himself, shook off his ridiculous pessimism and moved on. It seems like things have been going well with him since then. He forgot to fill up my bowl. The One With The Beard is an idiot…
Requested by Bob Jameson
It’s probably fair to say that I’m an uncommonly lucky person in that I have a lot of great friends. They’re great friends in both the sense that they are great, totally independent of their relationships with me, and they are great at being friends.
The degree to which I value those friendships is difficult to articulate, but I suppose I’ll try.
In a moment of honest confession let me tell you that I have pretty severe anxiety. I imagine there are people more deeply afflicted with the same problem, and there are worse mental afflictions to be had than what I go through; I’m not depressed, I’m not a victim of traumatic stress, and I’m a genuinely happy person. That said, the average amount of anxiety a typical person experiences in normal conditions is less than the amount I’m susceptible to experience under the same conditions. When I can’t stay ahead of it, I’m not a fun person to be or to be around.
I’m not against the notion of taking medicine for such issues. It can be a total game changer for people just trying to live the life that best reflects who they actually are. I don’t take medicine for my own reasons—one of which being a slight paranoia about how it might affect my writing/creativity. So I have my own routine of things I do specifically to keep my anxiety in check. I exercise every day. I write something every day. I meditate every day.
Lastly, I make sure to text or call someone that lives in a different state as me every day. There are people in California, New York, all over the Midwest and Texas and elsewhere who aren’t totally annoyed by hearing from me. That’s an extremely gratifying feeling. Nothing feels more like a safety net than keeping up with people you care about. Space and circumstance don’t have to turn good friendships into causal ones. They don’t have to turn casual friendships into former acquaintances.
I could definitely do better. I could make a better effort with high school friends I’ve slowly lost touch of. In fact, I could stop referring to it as “effort” because it doesn’t even take that. It’s a rewarding thing.
The best thing about having a lot of people who would do you a favor when asked is less about potentially cashing in those favors and more about how good it feels to know those people are in your life. And that’s not to say you need a plethora of friends to experience that. One or two people who are there for you no-questions-asked makes an enormous difference if you soak it in as a conceptual experience and then realize it’s your reality. I know it’s true, because every now and then I forget, and that’s when the anxiety really kicks in.
Requested by Linda Kovac
If you’ve been reading this site since Day One then you might remember that I used to write a column called #TuesdaysWith2Chainz because #content is king and 2 Chainz is a prince. It was funny in a stupid way and stupid in a ‘I’m-still-glad-this-is-how-I’ve-chosen-to-spend-my-time way.’ It was supposed to capture the whole 2 Chainz vibe, and if I came anywhere close to that goal then I’m a proud man. In fact, next month I’ll be published in one of those fancy pants publications that people talk about at dinner parties that cost more than my car, and I’m really tempted to request that my bio read “Jonny Auping writes a recurring column called #TuesdaysWith2Chainz.”
But ultimately that column represents a different time in my career. If this is the last #TuesdaysWith2Chainz where do I even begin to attempt such a daunting task? I suppose the same way I always did: by Googling “2 Chainz” and seeing what kind of crazy shit he’s been up to. This always seems to provide an eclectic potpourri of 2 Chainz information, and if I’m going to worry about anything right now it’s certainly not structure. So here’s a bunch of stuff about a funny rapper:
-In a short profile by the Daily Beast, 2 Chainz said the following in regard to his decision to go to college out of state:
“I could’ve stayed in Georgia, sold dope, and went to school, but I decided to sell dope and go to school somewhere else.”
This is one of the best sentences anyone has ever spoken. It evokes the following qualities: honesty, humor, inspiration, pragmatism, and entrepreneurship. It’s an analogy that applies to so many levels of life. Does your young son want to stay at the school with the great baseball team even though the other school also has a band where he can expand his love of saxophone? Well, buy him some cool black sunglasses and send his little saxophone playing-ass to the new school and pack a baseball glove in his bag too, because that new school’s short stop is about to have to sit his ass on the bench. If he’s nervous just remind him that 2 Chainz could have just stayed in Georgia and given up his drug dealing, but he went out of his comfort zone and sold drugs there.
*Note: 2 Chainz attended Alabama State on a scholarship. He had a 3.2 GPA in high school, which is basically the same GPA I had despite not being distracted by responsibilities like selling drugs or getting laid.
-In Chance the Rapper’s excellent new mixtape “Coloring Book” 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne are featured in the song “No Problem.” At one point 2 Chainz raps the following line:
Aye, Aye Captain
I’m high, Captain,
I’m so high,
Me and God dappin.’
Incredible. Let’s first establish, that “Coloring Book” is full to the brim with Chance’s declarations of Christianity. The majority of the songs contain uplifting gospel-oriented lyrics as a way to provide some sort of context to the happiness that radiates out of his music.
Enter 2 Chainz. His contribution to this theme is to compare how high on marijuana he is to literally being so high up in the air that he is in heaven. At which point, he sticks his fist out to God for acknowledgment and God does the same out of respect. 2 Chainz actually bumped knuckles with God, and your son is too fucking scared to switch schools?
-Linda requested I write this. Linda is a proud Kansas City resident. This is a photo of 2 Chainz on Father’s Day that is captioned to have taken place in the Kansas City airport:
Here are 10 points of note:
- This doesn’t look like an airport.
- You’re not allowed to smoke weed in an airport, and he’s definitely smoking weed.
- He is wearing a Johnny Cash t-shirt.
- His Johnny Cash t-shirt is tucked in to his pants.
- 2 Chainz has three children named Heaven, Harmony, and Halo. That’s real. And awesome.
- Would Johnny Cash ever wear a 2 Chainz t-shirt if her were still alive?
- Is the following a Johnny Cash lyric or a 2 Chainz lyric:
“I ain’t never done nothin’ to nobody
I ain’t never got nothin’ from nobody, no time,
And until I get somethin’ from somebody, sometime,
I don’t intend to do nothin’ for nobody, no time.”
- The answer to question 7 is Johnny Cash. It is from the 2000 song “Nobody.”
- Did 2 Chainz ghostwrite the lyrics to “Nobody” for Johnny Cash?
- The answer to questions 6 and 9 is “probably.”