Screams and Grumbles

“An Open Letter to the Marlboro Gold Pack in my Left Front Pocket”

by Geoff Watkinson


Dear Marlboro Gold Pack:

Hi.  Did you know we’ve been together for about a decade now?  That’s a long time.  We’ve experienced a lot, and, although we’ve had a couple of short breakups, you’ve stayed by my side: through drinking binges in college (and maybe a few since); during breaks at work when I pretend to get something from my car; and throughout the caffeinated frustrations of trying to write.  Don’t get me wrong—I do appreciate it; I’m just not sure, though, if it’s healthy for me to continue on this volatile path.

At this point, you may want to tell me to “fuck off,” and maybe, “just try to find a better brand.”  It’s not like that.  I like you.  God, I love you—I really do.  And I think I proved that when I hung in there during your identity crisis—you know, when you legally changed your name from “Light” to “Gold.”  I still love the way you make me feel in the morning, when I sit outside and watch the sun rise while sipping on a hot cup of coffee.  I love the way you can calm me down in rush hour traffic.  And after sex, you’re there for me like an orgasm after the orgasm.  I know I’m forgetting a lot of other times that you make me ecstatic about life, but I think you get the point.

The thing is this: there are other times—lots of times—when you make me feel like shit.  Like this morning during that three mile run.  Or, last week when I hiked sixty miles on the Appalachian Trail.  And then there are those mornings, in the shower, when I cough because I had a few too many of you with beers the night before.  Oh, and my bank account wanted to me to tell you that you’re an asshole.

Sure, I’ve met lots of friends because of you.  You even helped me learn to blow smoke rings.  But, what else have you really done for me?

I’ve shown you the world.  You’ve gone to hundreds of parties, seen mountain tops, and travelled to Europe.  And, in the end, you’re planning to repay me with some degenerative disease?  You’re manipulative and controlling, and I’ve had enough of it.  I’ve been monogamous almost this entire time, and you go around fucking, and fucking over, millions of people.  That’s not fair, and I won’t be part of it anymore

It’s been real.



“An Open Letter to Those Who Think I’m Mysterious, or an Asshole (or a Mysterious Asshole) For Not Being an Avid Facebook User”

by Geoff Watkinson


Dear Current and Former Facebook Friends:

I know that because I’m twenty-five years old Facebook should be my social epicenter, but it’s not.  Nicole, I don’t care about your daily horoscope.  Christine, I don’t care that you “have a case of the Mondays.”  Carrie, you should probably reconsider your album entitled “Bikini”—you know, the one where you posed in three different bikinis in sexually explicit positions.  Consider this, Bikini Girl: men all over the internet are masturbating in front of their computer screens.  Is this what you want?  If it is, proceed.

I have 325 Facebook friends.  I know that this makes me a loser.  But, I will also confess that I’ve probably only spoken to 30 or 40 of you in the past six months.  Shocking.  Again, I know.  Sometimes, I even go through and remove some of my “friends” whom I no longer have an interest in speaking to.  Scandalous, you say?  I know.  And I’m not sorry for doing it.  So, if you go to check out my profile, and you find that you’ve been de-friended, don’t send me another request.  I’ll let it sit in friend purgatory.  I’ll fucking do it.

Here’s the thing: I don’t want people I was introduced to once to know anything about my life.  My life is mine.  And to know what’s going on in it, shouldn’t you “friends” of mine have to make some type of effort beyond liking a post or writing “Happy Birthday dude” on my wall?  Shouldn’t you actually have to be my friend?

Facebook is good for keeping in touch with some of you living far away; those of you who are married already (although I think you’re crazy); and those of you I simply don’t get to see very often.  We can share information—articles, books, good Indie flicks—and we can organize future gatherings.  I like this part of Facebook.  I like it a lot.  But most of you are using it to water your virtual crops.  I mean you, Patricia, especially.  If you spent as much time working on your real garden as you did the virtual one, you’d have the most beautiful garden in the state of Pennsylvania.  Please stop it.

Please, also, stop posting drunken pictures.  Getting drunk is fine.  We’re still young, and going out and getting shitfaced is socially acceptable.  But Lauren, please don’t upload another photo album called “Gettin’ Crunked in the Citaaaay!”  Many of you don’t know this, but following the first the Cinco de Mayo after college, I stopped drinking for about eighteen months.  That Jose Cuervo is a mother fucker, isn’t he?  I’m really sorry that I didn’t give you a status update about it.

I do “Like” some things from time to time, though, as some of you have probably noticed.  Sometimes, I give a sarcastic “Like” to a status update such as yours, Anne: “Going to bed with my favorite person in the world J.”  Stop it, Anne.  For the love of God.  You post about your goddamn boyfriend every fucking day.  No one gives a shit.  Some of you may have realized that I do sarcastically like things, and you may have de-friended me because of it.  I want you to know that this was heartbreaking.

And speaking of hearts breaking: My relationship status has been left vacant for the past five years or so.  I know you’re all wondering if I’m asexual (which would be pretty cool), but I’m not.  I pose this question to all of you: Do I really want over three hundred people to know when I start and stop dating someone?  Isn’t that personal?  Shouldn’t I tell who I want to tell?  To those who have been wondering: I have had a handful of relatively short-lived relationships over these past few years, after I dated Lauren when I was 21.  I’m sorry I’ve kept you in the dark.  But next time you’re wondering, give me a call and maybe we can meet up for a cup of coffee or a drink.  I know it would be difficult—with your schedule and everything.



PS: I know that I’ve only changed my profile picture twice since the end of college—and that these photos have been of bodies of water—but the purpose of this is to make me a bit more difficult to find.  After all, if you’re a real friend, you’ll find me.

2 thoughts on “Screams and Grumbles”

  1. Bravo.
    In the early days of the net (which I refer to as B.I.- Before Insanity; 95-98 ) it was unthinkable to expose your personal life on the ‘internet’. Most of the people online then were smart enough to know that amongst the denizens there lurked a hard core sampling of psychopaths.
    It was seen as the height of noobishness or stupidity to reveal anything personal about yourself, friends or family.
    It is good to see someone as young as you with this level of awareness.

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