Interview With Myself #8: Nudity, Irresponsibility and Brushing Teeth.

When this interview begins I am again sitting at my round kitchen table. It is 10:05am. Before the interview begins I already know that the interviewer is not going to be happy with me for two reasons. One is that he wanted to meet in a different place, such as the living room. The fact of the matter is that I feel most comfortable being interviewed at my kitchen table. It just feels right here, so I stood him up and am now waiting for him to arrive in the kitchen. The second reason why I know the interviewer is not going to be happy with me is because I am naked.

Interviewer: (silent)

Randall: Good morning?

Interviewer: (still silent)

Randall: Are you just going to show up to interview me and not say a word?

Interviewer: Look I don’t know what the fuck is going on with you this morning but this is just not acceptable.

Randall: What is not acceptable?

Interviewer: First of all we agreed to meet in the living room for this interview. I was waiting there for you for the past ten minutes and when I assumed you had forgotten and came into the kitchen to see if you were here I find you sitting at the kitchen table naked! What the fuck is going on?

Randall: Nothing is going on.

Interviewer: What do you mean nothing is going on?  Why are you not wearing any clothes?

Randall: I just felt like being naked. It is a warm and sunny October morning, my house is warm and I just did not want to wear any clothes.

Interviewer: You just did not want to wear any clothes?

Randall: That is what I said.

Interviewer: Do you feel like it is professional and responsible of you to show up to a serious interview naked?

Randall: I don’t see the problem with it.

Interviewer: You don’t?

Randall: No.

Interviewer: Can you understand how it could make me a little uncomfortable?

Randall: I don’t see why. I mean after all we are the same person.

Interviewer: (taking a deep breath) Look you are the last person I would expect to show up to an interview naked. You barley ever even take off all of your clothes when you are making love to your wife so I am surprised to find you comfortably sitting here in the nude. It is not like you at all.

Randall: Look, I thought that I would do something a bit different for our interview.

Interviewer: Well please spare me. I don’t need you to do anything different. I just need you to show up dressed and ready to talk about yourself.

Randall: (taking a deep breath) Fine, fine, fine. Have it your way. You always need to have things your way, so fine (Randall gets up, goes into his bedroom and puts on a black t-shirt and black sweat pants).

Randall: Is this better?

Interviewer: Much. Thank you.

Randall: (silent).

Interviewer: I thought we agreed to meet in the livingroom for this interview? Why were you sitting in the kitchen?

Randall: I just felt more comfortable having the interview here.

Interviewer: That is fine and all but do you think you could have gotten up and come and let me know?

Randall: Look. You and me are the same person- I thought you would know.

Interviewer: Well I did not, ok? I was waiting there like a shmuck for ten minutes.

Randall: There is an old Zen saying I like which you should try: “If you can learn how to enjoy waiting you do not have to wait to enjoy.”

Interviewer: Look Randall, do not try to tell me how to be. I really don’t need your cryptic Zen sayings. I am fine with waiting when I need to but I don’t appreciate being strung along. I find it very disrespectful that you would leave me sitting around waiting for you on the couch while you sit in the kitchen vegging out in your birthday suit.

Randall: I was not vegging out. I was preparing myself for our interview.

Interviewer: Preparing yourself? Common, you do about as much preparation for these interviews as I do for brushing my teeth.

Randall: Yeah and you barley ever brush your teeth so you’re not one to talk.

Interviewer: I brush my teeth everyday thank you.

Randall: Once a day at the most.

Interviewer: Some times twice.

Randall: Almost always once and that my friend is disgusting because you eat all day long and then you walk around talking and smiling at people with all that food stuck in your teeth. Disgusting.

Interviewer: I would like to remind you Mr Wonderful that you and I share the same set of disgusting teeth and if I am walking around all day with food stuck in my teeth, so then are you.

Randall: Yeah but at least I try to brush my teeth more often than you.

Interviewer: I really don’t think so pal.

Randall: You don’t think so?

Interviewer: Hardly

[Randall gets up and storms out of the kitchen. He goes into the bathroom and grabs a toothbrush and toothpaste. He comes back into the kitchen, goes to the kitchen sink. He covers his toothbrush and fingers with toothpaste and then starts ravenously brushing his teeth. He is making a mess and getting toothpaste all over his black shirt and on the floor. He keeps brushing and brushing while looking at the interviewer with a kind of smirk on his face.]

Randall: (while brushing his teeth) Ha, ha, ha- you don’t think I brush my teeth? What does it look like I am doing now? Ha, ha, ha????

Interviewer: (looking very uncomfortable) Ok obviously you have lost your mind. You are not on the safe side of sanity and I declare this interview finished.

Randall: (still brushing his teeth) What does it look like I am doing now? Ha, ha ha??? Brushing my teeth!!!

[Interviewer gets up from the kitchen table, politely pushes the chair in and walks out of the kitchen while Randall is still madly brushing his teeth.]

Don’t Fit Me Inside That Box!

It seems like there are boxes all around. They are not your average cardboard box. No these boxes are tall, large and can fit thousands of people in them. These boxes can not be seen from the outside. They can only be felt and identified when having a conversation with a person who is in one. The older I get the more that I realize that America is a country made out of boxes. But the thing about American boxes is that everyone is in denial that they are there. The majority are squeezed into one box or another and when confronted about these they demand that you come into the box with them or else you are derided, scorned and pushed outside. Americans love their boxes. They feel safe, purposeful and important inside. Greed and profit build these boxes. Anderson Cooper, Fox News and every other corporate entity builds these boxes. Fear builds these boxes. They build these boxes out of an intellectual rational, a logic and/or a philosophy that really means nothing outside of the box. Like prisoners who learn to love their jailers, Americans love their narrow-minded boxes.

I have been trying for so long to stay out of these boxes but man has got to eat and in America it is difficult to make money without choosing a box to squeeze within. In my effort to find an honest professions I have tried to comfortably fit myself into several different kinds of boxes but I have not been able to remain in them long. I start to have difficulty breathing and feel as if my soul is being diminished. So I make my way out of the box (which is not often a pleasurable experience because those who remain in the boxes are envious of your escape and will do what they can to block the doorway) and once I am out in fresh air my breathing is able to return to some semblance of normalcy. My soul begins to regrow and I feel relieved of all the angst that I felt when I was trapped inside the box. But then after a few days of living outside of the box a worry begins to grow in my mind. “What am I going to do with my life?” “How am I going to make money?” “How will I be able to have some kind of cultural legitimacy without a box to fit in?” All these questions and more get stronger day after day of living outside of the box and eventually I find myself checking out new boxes and investigating if there is room for me to move inside. The cycle is like that mythological snake that seems to continually be eating its own tail- such is American life.

A year ago I found my way into an academic box. I returned to graduate school (for the third time) in order to become a psychotherapist. What I did not take into consideration was that while in the academic box I was going to have to make a very tight squeeze into an even smaller, more rigidified box, which is the professional box. With all of my physical and mental muscle I am trying to keep one foot in the box and one outside of the box but this can be exhausting when existing halfway in a box that feels as if it demands total conformity. Currently I want to burn the box down but this is the genius aspect of institutionalized and organizational boxes. You can burn down these boxes but what happens in the end is that new boxes are immediately erected, the majority of people step back inside of them even more loyal to their boxes than before and you (the one who burned the box down) are no longer allowed inside and are left with a huge debt to pay. American boxes are self perpetuating systems that have mastered the art of abolishing authentic dissent.

When I go outside of my home all I see are boxes. I see people traveling in cars (which are a kind of box) from one box into another. American life is lived inside of boxes. Some boxes are certainly nicer and more spacious than others but still it is just a box. Now that I am 40 years of age and not wanting to live the rest of my life impoverished and outside in the cold I am finding that my instinctual will to remain outside of any box is weakening. I am tolerating more criticism and negative energy from those who live in boxes when I remind them of the box they are in. I am beginning to put up with having less room to breathe in. As much as I am moving deeper and deeper into the box I refuse to stop pointing out the box that we are all standing in. I refuse to be quiet while blind obedience actually believes that its shit does not stink. This may make my life more difficult. It may land me on a sidewalk or in some blind alley living under an actual cardboard box. But I tell myself that the good thing about these cardboard boxes that homeless individuals live in is that people can actually see and acknowledge that they are there. These cardboard boxes are some of the last authentic objects left in America.