Break something on purpose. Drop an old lamp onto the floor. Smash an old television, etc. Film the event and then post it to Youtube.
»» Greg Eggebeen

How to tell a story about an action without a purpose?

I suppose I could try to put meaning behind Greg’s assignment (one of a dozen he proposed, others including: join a mud wrestling league; watch 24 straight hours of MTV, &, my favorite, “Complete a 1000 piece puzzle. Or 5000. Just, like, a really big puzzle”), but when your assignment is to videotape yourself smashing something, then put that video on Youtube, searching for a ‘deeper meaning’ might be a lost cause. So, because I make everything harder than it needs to be, I made a project…of the project.

A good friend of mine once told me that life would be a lot simpler if we weren’t so anxious about friends – if you think some one is interesting, then tell them so. Approach them. Be their friend. If they prove to be a rotten friend, then alright. They’ve lost you. But you? You tried. It’s so easy when you’re three years old, approaching kids on a playground, inviting them to play. We may be older, but we can still play.

So I got in touch with Anna, Anna whom I knew in exceptionally limited contexts, namely as Anna, taker of pretty pictures; Anna, traveler of far away places; Anna, she of highly awkward personal situations involving foiled relationships. I was riding out to Champaign on a Get-The-Hell-Out-Of-Chicago vacation anyway, so I dropped her a line & proposed we arrange possibly the most awkward encounter ever. She agreed. HOW FUN/EMOTIONALLY DESTRUCTIVE FOR US BOTH!!

We plotted before meeting, deciding that Greg’s assignment would be the perfect thing to do on the first day of our trial-by-fire friendship, providing an ample amount of distraction (&, in case we wound up hating each other, a good way to get out some of that pent up frustration). On August 2nd I arrived at Anna’s door, sweating in a way that would make a Belushi proud and bearing two bottles of wine, & bravely, boldly, knocked. Then waited. Then knocked again. & waited some more. Then thought, oh, how cute, she’s bent the little plastic ring from her milk bottle into a heart & nailed it to her door then knocked again then waited some more then thought how I really should have taken Larry up on that boiling pot of water he’d had sitting on the stove that morning to compensate for the lack of hot water in their house then checked my phone to see the time & nope, no one had called, jesus, no one ever calls me I am the loneliest fucking person on earth & here I am being stood up on a blind-friend-date at the friend-date’s own apartment I mean COME ON GIRL I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE or do I? could this all be a cruel, cruel ruse meant to mock me & expose me for the insecure needy friend hoarding brat that I – HOLY SHIT WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT BUG at which point I, in all my passive-aggressive glory, texted Anna.

me: apartment 12?

anna: yes.

anna: are you outside my door?

me: yes.

& the door opened, & so we met.

After a night of much wine & cheese & the finest plastic tub of chocolate $0.99 could buy, we slept, woke, breakfasted & set out on the town for a thrilling day of…dumpster diving.

“Dumpster Diving” is something of a misleading term, as at no time did either of us plunge head first into a rusty black hole of frat house refuse, prolonged exposure to which would strike you with syphilis, same as how you’ll go blind staring at the sun. Instead, we took advantage of a mess heap left alongside the sorority house next to Anna’s apartment, helping ourselves to some FABULOUS pieces of art & two large panel mirrors, parading the goods around town like classy, sweaty broads.

Taking into consideration the shattered glass & the fact that Anna would have to face passers-by who might watch our idiocy, we decided to perform the smashing in the side yard of a local student house. Mere words cannot describe the sticky, stale beer smothered paraphernalia carpeting the lawn, high pitched cries emanating from myself & the wildlife I flung from the area in order to clear a space for action. Resting the mirrors on the salvaged canvas, we adorned them with some additional glassware before positioning ourselves in the kitchen window, hoisting a large cinder block onto the ledge.

We readied.

We rocked.

We rolled.

It seems like maybe it was a lot of effort for 18 seconds of product. BUT WHAT A GLORIOUS 18 SECONDS THEY WERE. Shattering! Spinning bottles! Splintered glass! Destruction & decimation & absolutely senseless ruination! But also reclamation of disposed goods. Exploration of a new town. & investment in a new friendship. Things broken. Things made new.

Lacking the proper equipment to post the video immediately, we resigned ourselves to waiting until now to showcase our glory, parting on no less awkward but significantly closer grounds. Having fueled our minds & souls, my riding companion Josh & I stopped off to fuel our bellies:

Ram Jam. Rock & roll. 12×2.

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