I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

July 23, 2002 There has been some concern, given my recent bowling scores, that if my current rate of ascent continues, I may turn into a being of pure light some time in the winter of 2003. All that I can say at the present time is that I have considered the issue and will take appropriate steps as they become necessary.

Yeah, I'm basically the Vin Diesel of post-Marxist response to Edith Wharton.

A guy here in the office got his green card last week and it has gone straight to his head. Quite the cock of the walk now, that guy. I don't know how he gets any work done with all the time he spends strutting up and down the hall, making pronouncements about my haircut and the quality of the cake he got from a conference room downstairs. They really opened the floodgates with that guy.

July 17, 2002 At times, I have been known to tell you sweet lies. A choir of angels descended upon the station wagon in which I was conceived and said, yea, this one shall be blessed with the tongue for sweet lies and strange truths, and he shall, in the course of his travels, cause many to say, simply, "Damn."

I say this to you because I want you to understand that I tell no lies in this entry.

Let me attempt to establish a frame of reference for this shit. In March of this year, one week after shitheads with guns took my wallet, I bowled my career high, 153, in a game entitled "Fear Gets Its Ass Beat". This powerful bowling performance was intended to communicate to shitheads, on behalf of myself and the righteous of the world, that we will not be cowed, that we do not have fear, and that we cannot be deterred from doing what is right.

Last night, then, was my second week in our bowling league. We did not win any games last week and were mired in last place, although our cumulative pin total was way higher than that of many other teams. This lack of winning is no good. And controversy continues to rage over whether our team ace agreed to wear her pajamas to league night. I am willing to concede the point that having fire engines on the pajamas was entirely my invention, but I think that the very fact that the pattern of the pajamas is now the central issue of debate serves as evidence that the initial agreement was made.

Oh. But these things are so small. I cannot even tell you. But I must.

We were matched up against a team of employees of the bowling alley.

I can be silent no longer.


A travel guide, to stone-cold motherfuckerdom. Authored by me. Published last night. Let's Go: Stone Cold Motherfuckerdom. By _MONKEY_, Team #12.

Let me tell you a few things about 193. It is a high number. It is forty pins above my previous high. Several strikes and spares must be rolled in consecutive fashion in order to reach that number.

I rolled those strikes and spares.


Team #12, formerly known as Team Pajama Party, won a game. At last. My six-game average: 150, a full thirty pins above my non-league average.

Come with me to the land. We will drink wine and watch ninja movies dubbed in Spanish, critiquing their shitty ninja technique, because we are authorized to do so. Because, in the land of stone-cold motherfuckerdom, we are kings.
Read more: Sports |

July 16, 2002 I saw an obese woman wearing a t-shirt with the words YOU WISH emblazoned over her pendulous breasts, and I thought, you're right, I do wish, I do strive for things, and I do have dreams. It's easy to forget about dreams in this oppressive economy. Thank you for reminding me.

(news) MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich. (AP) - A boat skippered by rock star Bob Seger won its division in the 78th annual Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island Sailboat Race on Monday. Seger's boat, Lightning of St. Clair Shores, finished at 6:47 a.m. That gave it an adjusted time of 39 hours, 44 minutes, 27 seconds, first by 1:44:44 among the 15 boats in PHRF A/GL 50 class.

Seriously, if Bob Seger is sailing around in a boat, and I am not a pirate who hounds that boat every day and every night, then everything I believe is counterfeit. Please, someone, let me borrow your boat. I will deck it out with all kinds of pirate shit. I will even cut you in on the booty. Given that Bob Seger's boat will be the sole object of my harassment, the booty will probably be limited to Coors Light and some blue jeans with curious stains, but you can have all of it. All I need is the boat, and the ability to sleep at night, knowing that I have done good work.

Tonight is league night at the bowling alley once again, and our bowling team needs to begin winning some games. If we win the championship, which may not be mathematically possible at this point, I will purchase the customized bowling ball I mentioned a few months ago, which will be designed to feature a ninja battling a huge scorpion. We would need the intense aura provided by the bowling ball in order to repeat as league champions, because, based on my research, the second championship is all about the psychological advantage. First, though, we will need to win a game in this season. And assholes need to stop mugging members of our bowling team on their way home. What the shit?

July 15, 2002 I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day the best and the brightest among our youth will be permitted to spend their days, not in perpetual self-abasement for money, but in service of mankind's highest ideals, of truth, of beauty.

I have a dream that I am having a power-lunch with some monkeys, in a fancy restaurant, with deals out on the table, deals involving massive amounts of bananas.

I have a dream that the more studied among the monkeys are wearing glasses. There is a dress code, but no species wears a suit as well as a monkey, and in my dream, these monkeys look fantastic. One of them is even wearing a leather pilot helmet and aviator goggles, as if he were Charles Lindbergh.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that these monkeys want to make a deal, that when these monkeys are tense and sweating over the details, they jump up and down, they hoot and holler, they swing from chandeliers, they get drunk from bottles of wine and fall over.

I have a dream that only a few bananas are separating the monkeys from sealing this deal, but that gulf is wide, because it is the gulf of international finance, and monkeys do not understand the intricacies of international finance.

I have a dream that monkeys are scratching their heads, with an off-kilter grin.

I have a dream that when all appears lost, when it appears that a deal cannot be reached, the snooty French waiter arrives at the next table with an expensive cake for a fat white man who has complained about the monkeys and the noise they make, and, my friends, this waiter slips on a banana peel and the expensive cake goes all over the place, primarily on the snooty waiter and the angry white man, and let me tell you this, my friends, the monkeys are clapping their hands, and they are laughing.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that power is in the hands of the people, that bananas are in the hands of the monkeys, that the shared experience of a perfect moment can transcend all else, that truths, self-evident, can break down the walls of finance and secure the bananas necessary to secure brotherhood, and, my friends, in my dream, there is a monkey, and that monkey is me. I am that monkey.

Power to the people. Bananas to the monkeys.

(news) Wang (Zhi-Zhi) reiterates that he is not defecting from China and will rejoin the Chinese National Team when they play an exhibition game in San Francisco before the World Championships on August 29 in Indianapolis. Wang says he wants to return to Dallas, but he sees himself getting more playing time with the Warriors...and playing time is important. "I would get maybe 10 minutes of playing time [last season]. I want maybe 20 minutes, like [Eduardo] Najera," Wang said. "Nellie [Don Nelson] says [my] defense no good, rebounding no good. I want to be a good rebounder and good at defense. I want to play summer league, practice defense and practice rebound. Maybe next season Nellie will watch and say, 'Good defense, good rebound ... we need Wang.' "

Wang has been the forgotten tall Chinese man in all of the Yao Ming hype, so I wanted to give readers a chance to catch up with him here. It seems like he has a good attitude. We do, indeed, need Wang.

July 10, 2002 I am concerned about all of the mixed signals that our children are receiving about dragons. The film Dragonheart would have us believe that they are misunderstood, persecuted creatures with Scottish brogues. The new Reign of Fire insists that they are post-apocalyptic bastards with a mad-on for clock towers. Puff the Magic Dragon claims they just have a good eye for real estate. And who knows what our childrens' dungeon masters are telling them? The fact is, the cultural consensus on dragons is completely fucked up, and no one other than me seems to be worried about it.

I am still employed, but the early summer crazy is heading toward a mid-summer exercise of martial arts, if you know what I mean.

In order to get my certification as a stone-cold motherfucker, I joined a bowling league. I have talked about doing that for a long time, and now I am a member of Diversey River Bowl's Team #12, which is tentatively called Team Pajama Party, pending the resolution of a dispute over whether or not the cute girl on our team agreed to wear fire-engine pajamas to league night every week in order to gain a psychological advantage over the competition. (If not, I am going to recommend that we be re-named The Carpet Professionals for reasons that are not clear even to me.) Our three-member team is brilliantly assembled: one member supplies talent, another supplies heart, and another supplies confidence which can be modified into raging egomania, as situations dictate. Were league bowling more like Voltron, we would form the ultimate bowler, lacking only a beer gut. Last night was my debut with the team. Let me tell you something about stone-cold motherfuckerdom. It is a place that, last night, I called home. When I was through with Bowler_67, my direct opponent, he was a hippie guy with a bald patch and long hair, which was perhaps essentially what he was prior to the match, but he was without holy hell, because I beat it out of him. Frames 6-8 of the first game were a time of glory wherein my first ever turkey was earned (three strikes in a row). I have an average of about 120, but last night I averaged 140, 20 pins above my average, which is really a stone-cold motherfucker of a thing to do, if you think about it. The league uses handicaps, which I don't entirely understand, so we won't know the exact results until next week. Probably, we lost, because Big B, the other team's ace, also had an understanding of stone-cold motherfuckerdom as applied to league bowling, and our ace hurt her toe before the match. But we competed well, and I received my certificate.

If someone does not send me one of these within fourteen days, I will be forced to conclude that everyone hates me.

July 7, 2002 I want to caution readers that this is going to be a controversial entry. One of the many things that this web page stands for is excellence in the tradition of investigative journalism, even when the truths uncovered are perhaps discomforting, the facts assembled are perhaps hard-hitting, so on and so forth. Therefore, I cannot sugar-coat the following. I must break the story. I will try to give you all sides of it, though, so stay with me, and wait for the shock to subside.

On Saturday, July 6, the Associated Press published an article about accusations of assault made toward basketball star Allen Iverson. A pair of men filed charges against him, claiming that he and another man threatened them in their apartment complex. That, in itself, was not interesting to me. Apartment complexes are tough places, and people know what they're getting into when they step into one of those. Besides, threats are boring without a beat behind them, at the very least, to say nothing of some kung fu movie samples. So, fuck all that. However, one part of the article caught my eye:

(news) Citing unidentified sources, (The Philadelphia Daily News) reported that the two men said Iverson, armed with a gun, and another man went to the apartment looking for Iverson's wife and cousin. Iverson and Tawanna Turner were married Aug. 3 and have two children.

Now, I'm no biology whiz, but that struck me as curious. August 3 was eleven months ago...and pregnancy takes nine months, which gives Iverson and his wife enough time for 1.3 children, not 2. Even if both children were very premature, to the tune of six months or so in the womb, the numbers still don't add up. Do you see where I am going with this?

Allen Iverson and his wife may have had sex...before they were married.

Now, that is just one explanation. I know that many children and many adults in a state of arrested adolescence have a great deal of admiration for Iverson, who lacks the height to play the shooting guard position in the NBA but is a formidable offensive threat when teamed with a tall point guard in the back court and a pair of effective, pass-first rebounders in the front court, and I do not want to sully his character before all the facts are in. So many of our role models have fallen, and we do not need to lose another one. Here, then, are alternative hypotheses to explain the extra child:

1. Tawanna gave birth to twins. This would make the most sense, but reporters like twins, and it would be odd if the reporter did not describe the children as such.
2. The Iversons found the second child, rummaging through their trash or cracking wise while stealing their hubcaps. He was a scruffy orphan, and he won their hearts, so they adopted him. Presumably, the appropriate paperwork was filed.
3. The second child is not human. He is an extremely personable dog, or perhaps a monkey.
4. Tawanna is pregnant with the second child, and the Iversons have decided to count their chickens prior to the chickens' hatching.
5. Muggsy Bogues came in the wrong door, and all hell broke loose.

I know that the initial impulse is to tar and feather Iverson, and to brand Tawanna with a scarlet 'A'. As the man who broke this story, though, I would like to urge calm. Let me propose, Pope John Paul II, that Allen Iverson not be excommunicated just yet. Put him in queue if you must, but let us not be so quick to judge. Perhaps mistakes were made. Who among us, in our own way, has not had a second, illegitimate child, with Tawanna? Let us wait for the whole story to emerge. Let us forgive. Let the truth surprise us...and inspire us.

July 2, 2002 I'm only sleeping. A nap. A nice doze. Dream-land. Lie-down. Stretch. After all I am only asleep. Yawn. I am not looking for trouble. Hibernation. Sleepyhead. I am not one who is awake. Please don't wake me. Glacial waves. After all I am only sleeping.

I have decided to begin drinking two liters of water per day, and I have purchased a two-liter bottle to keep at my desk in order to achieve that goal. If there are any healthy types who read this web page and can alert me to the exciting improvements I can expect in my physical condition, particularly as they relate to fighting prowess, I would be most appreciative.

The rabbi accused me of being passive-aggresive. I nearly went buckwild. I am well aware that most of you bastards are going to take his side on this one, thinking that you know how I behave and that I probably was being passive-aggressive, but I emphatically deny the charges, and I would like to levy the counter argument that I have too much work to do, that much of it lacks coherence and is partially - and, in some cases, fully - insane, and that I am a reasonable man.

On my lunch break, I walked past a kid who threw away a half-eaten ice-cream cone. I almost decked him.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


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Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.