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Dave Introduces Himself to his College Roomate


Hey Greg,

As you’ve probably seen in the letter from the freshmen’s dean office, it looks like we’ll be roommates this year. I’m excited to meet you on campus next week. In the meantime, I thought we might want to coordinate our communal furniture. Here’s some stuff we’ll probably want for the room:

-A futon
-A mini fridge
– A TV/ TV stand
– A DVD player

Am I forgetting anything?



toilet paper.


Good to hear from you. And yeah, we’ll obviously get toilet paper as we need it. I was thinking more along the lines of furniture. Any ideas?


Naw. Just plenty of toilet paper. I’m talking that real soft, triple quilted kind that feels like an angel is breathing her soft, angel breath on your ass, evaporating all that’s ever been bad in this world. So none of that cheap rough stuff. My girlfriend hates that shit (pun intended lol!)

Also, can I get the top bunk?

I don’t go by Greg. All my buddies from home call me Dump Truck.


Hey Dump Truck…

Duly noted on the toilet paper. And yeah, you can take the top bunk. I actually prefer the bottom anyway.


Awesome, man. When I was a kid at summer camp no one EVER let me take the top bunk, so I really appreciate it. I just hope the mattress is big enough to fit a 370 pounder! (500 lbs when you include my girlfriend!)

That reminds me. We should probably figure out a way to indicate when one of us needs some “privacy” with the ladies. I mean, you’re welcome to sleep in your bed when my GF visits, but you may want to hang somewhere else at that time. She’s into some weird stuff.

Oh yeah, I thought of something to add to the list of things to get for the room: a video camera.


Tell me a little bit more about your girlfriend. How often do you expect her to visit? I only ask because I have a girlfriend, too, so maybe we can work out a rotation on the visits.


Man, my girlfriend is awesome –you’ll love her. We met this summer standing in line for the port-a-potties at a concert for The Infernal Hell Monkeys. I let her cut me in line, and the rest was history.

She won’t be visiting that often. She has a commitment every other night, so she’ll be visiting Monday-Wednesday-Friday. (Probably a good thing…I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with her every day! Dump Truck would run out of gas).

Can’t wait for you to meet her…just don’t ever touch her. I can get violently jealous (just ask my parole officer). Also, her prescription skin cream hasn’t arrived yet. So seriously, don’t touch her.


She sounds like quite a girl. Actually, her schedule works out perfectly, since my girlfriend volunteers at Darren Hospital every other night and can only visit me Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday.

You’ll barely notice her when she’s here…she’s really quiet and reserved, so don’t be offended if she’s shy around you. I’ve been dating her for three years and she’s still not totally comfortable opening up to me, so I imagine she’ll be extra timid around you.


Whoa! Dude! MY girlfriend volunteers at Darren Hospital TOO! Ask your girl if she knows Kayla. She’s tall, blonde hair, super hot and loves peanut butter, snorkeling, and webcams. Also, she’s totally exhausted every Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday morning. LOL! And she’s a real talker –always complaining about her pansy ex boyfriend. Glad I’m not that kid.


Weird…my girlfriend’s name is Kayla, too. Kayla Mealey. I’ll ask Kayla is she knows Kayla.


Dude, go to the pharmacy right now and get “Lotrimin Ultra Anti-Fungal Skin Cream.” Trust me.

After that, do me a favor and jump off a bridge.


eKester on eReaders

It’s important for me, as a writer, to read a lot. I read books by the world’s best authors so I can pick up new techniques for my craft, and to make sure people like Stephenie Meyer aren’t plagiarizing me. Mostly, though, I read because I need to keep track of my competition and stay up to date on market trends. Recently, my empirical research has shown that, if I want to obtain unimaginable wealth, I should be writing a bestselling book about wizards, or vampires, or wizards who are also vampires. This is a cause for concern, considering my strategy the last few years has been to write a free blog about nothing in particular. But what can I say? I can only listen to my inner muse, and my inner muse happens to be lazy.

I’ve been encouraged by a lot of people lately to make the switch to an eReader, the lovechild of my two favorite things, books and technology. I’ve put a lot of thought into the matter, but I just can’t bring myself to abandon old-fashioned books in favor of a Kindle or an iPad.

I must admit, there are times when I’m tempted to buy an eReader. I’m attracted to its slender size, which makes it far more portable than some books. I’m currently reading Mark Twain’s autobiography, which is exactly a bajllion pages long. The meteor that killed the dinosaurs was smaller than this titanic hardcover. This causes a serious problem when travelling, because in order to cram the cement block into my suitcase, I usually have to jettison one of my sneakers. Do I want my trip marked by wit or level footing? I’ll usually choose the shoe over the book, which explains why I’ve read the latest edition of SkyMall 29 times.

So yes, thick books can be annoying for travel, but eReaders have their own problems. Take the iPad, which has an iBooks application among its myriad other iFeatures. I have one, but I can’t read books on it. There are just too many distractions on the iPad, and it’s hard to make progress on a book when I constantly receive notifications that Grammie has emailed me another YouTube video. Sorry, Mr. Salinger, Holden Caulfield may be a compelling character, but he ain’t no kitten getting stuck in a pickle jar. The iPad also has problems with glare, and the reflection on the screen can be really irritating while reading. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to look myself in the eye as I read Snooki’s book.

Call it pretentious if you will, but I like filling my shelves with the books I’ve read. It’s kind of like a hunter putting stuffed animal heads up on his wall. Sure, books don’t put up as much of a fight as a moose, and sure, most of my conquests take place on the toilet instead of the wilderness, but still I’m proud of each book I’ve completed. I want you to walk into my apartment and notice the amount of books I’ve vanquished, and not the smell. I want you to marvel at how culturally refined I am, and wonder how I possibly had the time to read all 22 volumes of the Peanuts Anthology.

My Daily Torture

Like most people, I think about the gruesome legend of Prometheus several dozen times a year. But in case you don’t have the mindset of a demented adolescent boy, I’ll give you a quick recap:

According to legend, Prometheus was a Titan back in the era of Ancient Greece (after dinosaurs, before Twitter). All Titans were freaking jacked because, let’s be honest, the League of Immortals didn’t test for steroids yet. But Prometheus had some brains to go with his brawn, and one day he deceived Zeus and stole fire from him. He then gave it to the mortals, because shit was getting cold down there and Snuggies simply weren’t getting the job done.

Zeus, as I’m sure you’re aware, was the Father of the Gods. But I bet you didn’t know he was also the Uncle of Overreaction, and he punished Prometheus for his little prank by chaining him to a rock so an eagle could eat out his liver. The liver would magically grow back every day and the eagle would return, his appetite for foie gras never satiated. The daily torture was excruciating, and Zeus gave this punishment a time limit of eternity, just to be a dick.

By now you’ve surely realized that this article is about how much I hate shaving. This daily torture is easily the worst part of my day, and this is coming from a guy who lives on the 5th floor of a walk-up apartment building. I probably would never shave if it weren’t for my parents, who like to subtly hint that they prefer me cleanly shaven by saying they love me a lot less when I have a beard. Sometimes I’m tempted to say “screw it” and live my life as an orphan, but usually I do what I’m told and dutifully shave off my beard. This is what happens when a 25-year-old still wants an allowance.

Women simply don’t understand how annoying it is to shave your face. They’ll complain about your beard, saying stuff like, “Your stubble hurts my face when we kiss” and, “Shouldn’t you shave? I’ve been telling my friends that you’re a banker and not a writer.” So you shave, and then they complain again, because “why is your face all red and irritated like that?” Oh I don’t know, maybe it’s because on your orders I just spent ten minutes scraping my previously adorable face with RAZOR SHARP BLADES.

Despite dropping a figurative napalm strike over your entire face, you always miss a spot or two. This usually means that you positioned your razor at the wrong angle, since your insolent stubble goes in all different directions, kind of like this blog post. You go back in the bathroom to fix it, but you don’t put on more shaving cream, because screw that. Next thing you know you’ve got a microscopic cut that doesn’t stop bleeding for three and a half hours.

The back of the razor box tells you that, in order to avoid cuts like this, you need to always use a fresh, sharp razor. It makes literally no sense, but since I have no sense myself, I follow their directions and pick up more razors. Too bad the typical pack of razors costs more than the street value of meth. Only bankers can afford it, and as we’ve already established, I’m only a writer who specializes in entrails and ranting.

By the time I’ve gotten over the torture and horrors of shaving, it’s time for bed. Then, like the liver of Prometheus, my facial hair magically grows back overnight. What have I done to deserve an endless punishment like this? I’ve never stolen fire, or any element for that matter. In fact, the only thing I’ve ever stolen in my entire life was a pack of razor blades.

Oh Baby, We’ve Got a Problem

(Originally published 11/23/10)

I’ve done some embarrassing things in my life, put myself in some horribly awkward situations, but at least I could always say I never got in trouble for placing my crotch near a baby’s face. After last week, I can no longer say that.

As with 75% of stories involving babies and crotches, this tale takes place in a Dunkin’ Donuts. It was a weekday morning, and I headed over to D-Squared for my usual large hazelnut coffee with milk (skim, because I care about my health) and extra sugar (because I don’t really care about my health). As a writer, my morning coffee is absolutely essential because the caffeine injection really helps me stay alert and focused as I stare intensely at a blank computer screen for hours on end.

This particular Dunkin’ Donuts was totally packed today. Fortunately most of the customers inside had already ordered and were crammed off to the side as they waited impatiently for their breakfast sandwiches to heat up in nuclear-grade microwaves. The actual line to order, which was partitioned off by rope dividers to form a narrow alley to the register, was practically empty. I couldn’t believe my luck –apparently I just missed the big rush.

I had barely stepped through the front door when an available cashier looked my way and shouted, “May I serve the next customer please!” A knot of anxious anticipation formed in my stomach -it was my turn, my time to shine. I swiftly approached the partitioned lane, that Golden Brick Road to Java Jubilation, but then stopped suddenly in my tracks. There in front of me, blocking my path to the register, was a goddam baby.

Now, this baby wasn’t just chilling out on the floor playing with a rattle or Twitter or whatever babies do these days –if he was, I probably would’ve accidently stepped on him and this blog post would have an entirely different tone. He wasn’t waiting in line to order, as far as I could tell. He just sort of sat there in silence, wedged in a stroller like a watermelon in a shopping cart.

The problem, you see, was that this stroller had the approximate size and durability of an army tank –there was no way I could walk around it, especially with the horde of customers waiting on either side of my lane. Even worse, the baby’s mother was about 20 feet ahead, placing an order at one of the registers and totally unaware that this dude (me) was looking at her child with growing irrational anger.

May I serve the next customer please!” The free cashier waved at me again, desperation growing in her voice as a crowd of new customers were now standing behind me, waiting for me to proceed ahead.

It’s a question that’s been debated for centuries, and I was faced with it now. Are you allowed to move someone else’s baby? I could’ve grabbed the stroller and given it a little push –just the slightest nudge –out of the way and released this distressing bottleneck of caffeine-deprived customers. After thinking about it for a moment (I even went as far as looking for the release lever for the stroller’s wheel-lock), I decided I couldn’t risk moving that baby. If it started crying, and I was seen pushing the stroller, I would have a mess on my hands that could involve the authorities. Even worse, I probably would have to leave without my coffee.

MAY I PLEASE SERVE THE NEXT CUSTOMER!!” The cashier was about ten seconds away from losing her shit. I was left with no other choice, so I proceeded to swing one leg over the stroller, trying to climb over it the way you might get over a waist-high fence. I was midway through the action when the baby alarm system blasted the room with a piercing shriek.


I should’ve kept going, but I froze mid-climb. The mother spun around to see me, an unshaven twenty-something with a multiple ketchup stains on his sweatshirt, straddling her crying baby’s stroller.

Suddenly, coffee wasn’t so important –to me or the mother. She ran to the stroller to accost me, but by the time she got there, I was back out the door, running for my life down the street, headed toward the next closest Dunkin’ Donuts, half a block away.

A Mexican Odyssey

(Originally published 11/11/10)

People told me not to go to Mexico for vacation. “Don’t go to Mexico for vacation,” they said. “The country has seen a huge spike in violence over drug cartels. Now even Americans have been targeted and killed, and if that’s not bad enough, the water tastes funny.”

My friends and family seemed adamant, but I still wasn’t sure what to think, so I turned to the source I trusted most: the Internet. It explained that Mexico was crazy dangerous right now, riddled with gangsters and crooked cops, and a report told me that if I went to Mexico, I likely would come back without a head. I agreed that this was probably the case, but there was a $100 trip cancellation fee, so off I went.

When I arrived at the Cancun Airport, I was on high alert for suspicious characters, and oh boy, were there a lot of them. It seemed like every person I walked past looked at me and said, “Buenos dias!” which translates, roughly, to “I have a weapon!” I made sure to avoid eye contact and completely ignore them, because it’s never safe to assume that people from other countries are as tolerant and accepting as Americans like me.

My hotel arranged a ride from the airport. The driver was the quiet, suspicious type who smiles and asks how your flight went. He took me to my resort, and I was so relieved that he didn’t rob me that I tipped him with all the cash in my wallet.

The hotel was actually quite nice –it was right on the beach and boasted many of the luxuries I’ve come to expect from fancy American hotels, like mini shampoos. I wanted to hit the beach right away, so I slapped on SPF 50 sun block (I had read that after people, UV-rays is Mexico’s most dangerous killer) and sprawled out on the sand for some much-needed R&R. It’s kind of tough to have a vacation, though, where your primary goals are to relax and not get murdered.

Luckily, I soon discovered that reports of Mexico being hazardous and inhospitable are exaggerated and inaccurate. The hotel staff, for instance, was incredibly welcoming and friendly. One day at the beach, the hotel bartender approached and gave me a drink in a hollowed out coconut. At first I was wary. What was this mysterious coconut concoction? Was it dangerous? The wooden tip on the stem of that novelty mini-umbrella looked awfully sharp. I took a hesitant sip, only because I thought if I didn’t the man might attack me, and my only protection was a pair of trendy sunglasses. You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that this drink was A) delicious and B) rum-based. I proceeded to suckle it down with alarming focus and efficiency.

Everyone bent over backwards to make me feel comfortable, which I appreciated. The hotel staff, bless their hearts, would make an effort to speak English to me. In return, I would speak Spanish to them. I didn’t have to, but I’m a college-educated American and felt responsible to lead by example and be a good ambassador for my country.

“Mr. Kester, we have a policy at the hotel that you must wear a shirt and shoes in our restaurant. Also, we tend to recommend a three drink limit, so perhaps you should put down that coconut.”

“No problemo!”

An Open Letter to the Woman Standing in Front of Me in Line at the Grocery Store

Dear Madam,

My name is Eric Kester, and I had the great misfortune of standing behind you in line at the supermarket. It may come as a surprise to you that I exist, as your leisurely pace and blatant disregard for those in line suggests you believe you are the only person living in this world. I was very much present, however, and I would be remiss to not point out several of your actions that provoked a range of unpleasant emotions from those behind you, from twinges of impatience to thoughts of suicide.

There were several factors that contributed to your unbearably slow checkout process, but perhaps the most influential was the sheer number of items in your cart. You purchased enough groceries to feed a small army*, though I assure you there are precious few instances in life that require 54 packs of string cheese. Maybe you have many children to feed, as suggested by your tired, sunken eyes and the industrial-sized packs of diapers in your cart. But I’ve noticed your preference for discounted frozen burritos, and I have to wonder if those receptacles aren’t actually for you. Regardless of your personal situation, it would have been nice if you recognized that I had only 11 items to your 262 and allowed me to step ahead of you –a common courtesy for a lowly bachelor who’s just trying to get by in a cruel world governed by 10 items or less.

*If you are, in fact, an army general acquiring rations for her troops, please accept my apology and disregard this letter.

The most egregious moment of your checkout process occurred just as the clerk was scanning your last remaining items. In an apparent epiphany, you suddenly realized that you neglected to pick up a third box of Teddy Grahams. You declared that you had to go back and procure this item, implying with the urgency of your voice that failure to do so would yield cataclysmic consequences. You then forced the entire line to wait as you waddled back into the aisles to pick up another box –a move that was, to be perfectly frank, complete bullshit. One would think that since you already acquired two boxes of crackers you would know exactly where to go for a third, but your journey took so long that some of us in line would have started to worry about your safety, had we not hated you.

My final complaint about your checkout behavior regards your actions after all your items were finally scanned. While most people would have utilized the time they stood in line to take out their wallets and prepare a method of payment, you seemed caught off guard when the clerk announced your total, as if it never occurred to you that this mountain of food might actually cost something. You stood agape a moment before opening your purse, digging through that dark chasm like an amateur archaeologist hunting for ancient treasure. You found many things –lipstick, a tampon, another box of Teddy Grahams –but you couldn’t seem to recover any form of American currency. It was a transcendent moment when you finally discovered your credit card –a miracle I would have been happier about, if I wasn’t busy suppressing murderous intentions.

I wasn’t altogether surprised when you couldn’t figure out how to use the self-swipe credit card machine. Typically I would be astounded at anyone who had difficulty operating such a simple and increasingly prevalent piece of technology, but during our extended time together I had concluded that you had the approximate I.Q of a beach ball. After the credit card machine humbled your intelligence, you pulled out your checkbook, but of course you did not have a pen.

Maybe at this point you’ll remember me –I was the guy who offered you a pen. In fact I gave you the very pen I used to write this letter, which I composed, edited, and redrafted while waiting in line behind you.

It’s Like, The Most Important Word Ever

The cluster of freckles lightly powdering her cheeks made me hyper-aware of the gaggle of zits spattered across mine. So, subscribing to the theory that Amanda couldn’t see my face if I couldn’t see hers, I spent the majority of our conversation speaking to my shoelaces. Dirty and frayed and Nike, they were as loosely tied as the awkward connection of sentences spilling from my mouth. I knew what I wanted to say to my 12-year-old crush, but actually getting there was a major pain in the ass.

I knew that Amanda liked me; that much I surmised after my super stealth mission on AOL the week before. Employing a trick I had used on girls in the past, I IM’d Amanda using my alternative screen name. She THOUGHT she was talking to Kevin, a mysterious new boy who just moved to town from Idaho, but she was REALLY talking to Eric A. Kester, that sneaky genius! Read more