Thank you! Thank you. My name is Ezekiel Dunlap. This is my first time at open mike night, so I’m a little nervous. I hope you’ll bear with me.
So I had a weird childhood. Anybody else have a weird childhood? Me and my family are fundamentalist Christians, and we live in a compound on 30 acres of wilderness. You know how it is: lots of prayin’, singin’ hymns, carryin’ picket signs at gay people’s funerals, all that.
Anybody else grow up on 30 acres of wilderness with fundamentalist Christians? No? Nobody?
OK. Uh, school was rough for me. I had trouble fittin’ in. I had thirteen brothers and sisters, and there wasn’t room for us all in the barn where our parents taught us. You know what I mean? You gotta stand in the doorway and crane your neck — and then you get in trouble for that, because craning your neck while standing up is a form of dancing! You can’t win, am I right? Don’t get me started!
Science class was hardest for me because of the textbook. I know it’s blasphemous, but I just don’t enjoy reading Genesis.
Sorry if I seem a little tired. Last night I did that thing where you stay up way too late and make things hard for yourself the next morning. You know what I mean? You tell yourself, “I’m going to be good! I’ll be in bed at 9 o’clock sharp!” But then you get wrapped up in a whittling project, and next thing you know it’s 10:30 and you’re like, “Oh, dang, 5 a.m. is gonna come early tomorrow!” And sure enough, when the rooster crowed this morning, I felt like Peter at the end of Luke chapter 22 — even more than usual!
I got lucky, though. My mother was busy with breakfast, and my father was already out on the perimeter of our land, fortifying the walls against the upcoming United Nations takeover. So the only person who saw that I’d slept in was my little sister, and she’s only seven. Don’t you love it when you get lucky like that? The only one who knows you did something wrong is the one who’s guaranteed not to tell anyone, because the Bible says she ain’t allowed to speak until she’s twelve?
You ever notice how when your father is beatin’ you with a strap, and he’s shoutin’ Bible verses at the same time, it’s always something from First Corinthians — but never Second Corinthians? You know what I mean?
This guy knows what I’m talkin’ about.
You know, it’s good to be here in the big city. I love my family and our compound and our giant marble statues of Jesus and Glenn Beck, but it’s nice to take a break now and then, you know? But what’s the deal with this phone number you’re supposed to call if you see something suspicious? I keep seein’ signs tellin’ me to be on the lookout. First of all, why do we even need that? What, the government’s cameras and wiretaps aren’t enough to keep them in the loop on what everybody’s doin’? Most folks here in the city don’t even wear their aluminum hats to keep out the electromagnetic mind-reading waves! So what do they need us for? Hey, if somebody at the Pentagon goes for a bathroom break and misses something big on one of the surveillance monitors, that’s your problem, Obama, not mine.
And anyway, calling that phone number when you see something suspicious doesn’t do any good. You ever notice that? I called up and told them I saw a woman driving a car, and they didn’t even care.
And what’s the deal with air travel? Seriously. I don’t understand how it works. I was taught that man cannot fly without the power of the devil, but apparently that is not the case.
Anybody here single? I’m single. I’m not very good at dating. It’s tough out there! Seems like every time I meet a nice girl from good breeding stock, turns out there’s something wrong with her, like she celebrated Halloween once, or she’s Jewish, or she went to college. And don’t get me started on girls with pierced ears!
And I go to social gatherings to meet women, but that’s nerve-racking. Like you know when you go to a book burning, and there’s that big stack of books that everybody takes one of to throw onto the fire? And supposedly you’re just taking them at random, but really you’re trying to grab a book that will impress everybody with what you chose? Like you’re making a statement? Like, “Oh, he’s burning ‘The Exorcist’! Nobody burns ‘The Exorcist’ anymore! That’s so cool and retro!” Or like, “Oh, what a hipster, he’s burning ‘Catcher in the Rye.'” You know what I mean? Everybody does it! Don’t pretend you don’t!
And it goes both ways. If I see a pretty girl at a book burning, and the book in her hand is Harry Potter, I’m like, oh, brother, just jump on the bandwagon, why don’t you? That’s a safe choice. That’s very safe and trendy. That girl’s not for me. But if she’s burning the Yellow Pages, then I think, “Well, now you’ve got my attention!” I want to meet a girl who brought a phone book to a book burning.
It’s funny how men and women are so different. You know what I mean? Like how men will do all the talking and make all the decisions and rule the household with a stern command, while women sit silently unless they are spoken to and defer to their husbands on everything. You know? It’s like, hey, ladies — really sucks to be you, doesn’t it? Really too bad your mother Eve ate the fruit and sentenced her gender to an eternity of subservience, am I right?
My time is up. You’ve been a great audience! I hope that many of you do not burn in hell! Good night!
A Year of Snide Remarks was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. This week’s column was sponsored by an anonymous donor on behalf of ASPCA. Sponsor had no editorial control over the column, and the author alone is responsible for its content.