#9. Dog Show Losers, Dry January, and You
Sorry, the Counting Crows. December isn't the only long month.
Hey everyone! I think we’ve officially gone over the threshold where saying “Happy New Year!” feels a little behind the times. (Larry David would argue that we crossed that rubicon a week ago.)
After a very fun week of early dinners and early bedtimes on the west coast with my in-laws, I am excited to be back on the road this weekend (January 12-14) at Comedy Bar in Toronto! One thing I love about performing in Toronto is how many killer comics I get to work with! I’m always blown away by the lineups on my shows there! Come see a show if you’re around!
Lately (okay, always) I’ve been pretty keenly attuned to how many cool and talented people are making art, and what a joy it is to get to appreciate it whether in person or from afar. Would people be interested in an occasional roundup of stuff I’ve been reading/listening to/enjoying lately? Let me know!
Okay let’s go. Ain’t no half peppin’.
PEP TALK FOR THE LOSING DOGS AT THE DOG SHOW I SAW LAST WEEKEND
Last weekend I went to an open-air dog show in Indio, California. It was full of dogs whose grooming regimens cost more than my rent, and people wearing what look like magician outfits to walk their fancy pets in circles. It was a very good day.
Sadly, though, most of the dogs went home losers, which is not fair. It seems mean to me to teach dogs about competition just to set them up for disappointment. They didn’t need to be brought into our human bullshit. They were so happy pooping wherever they want and occasionally sneaking a snack from the garbage. Then we went and taught them the concept of failure? For shame! Why not also make dogs do taxes or pressure them to go to medical school when they’d rather study dance???
Dogs, even though you are all very good boys/girls/etc., you are not all winners. But that’s an unfair way to frame your lives! You do not have to submit to the Best In Show paradigm. The show itself is a construct, (man)! Do not let us (humans) tell you (dogs) how to assign value. We’re so bad at it! We’ve spent the past week obsessing over Prince Harry, a guy who is most famous for having rich parents and then moving out of their house. You are worthwhile simply because you ARE, dogs. It’s not that you’re all winners; it’s that winning and losing should be of no concern to you!
One more thing: Thank you for letting me pet you. Please keep doing that.
PEP TALK FOR ANYONE PARTICIPATING IN DRY JANUARY
I am not an expert in physiology or addiction or even how to mix a decent cocktail. However, I do admire when people take time to reflect and reset their relationships to their consumption habits and general tendencies. My attitude towards me, on the other hand, is: It’s none of my business what I’m like. That’s for other people to deal with. So any attempt at self-improvement or general self-knowledge that someone else undertakes is exotic and impressive to me.
Whether this January’s break becomes a lasting change, or just a chance to save yourself a few literal and metaphorical headaches in the new year, you’re doing something kind for your human body and brain, which is never a bad thing. You are, at the publishing of this newsletter, roughly 1/3 of the way through January, a month that somehow lasts approximately 40% of the year. You can make it another 3 weeks! Then you get to celebrate with champagne OR another Diet Coke.
Also, January is not the only time to do good things for yourself or make changes. You could attempt a dry March if that suits you better. Drarch, you might call it, but shouldn’t. Terrible name. Not every two words should be combined into one word. Whatever your reasoning or timing for dryness, I am raising a glass of seltzer to you!
PEP TALKS FOR READERS
These messages have not been edited for clarity or any other reasons!
I finally asked my work crush out for drinks! It was great! We drank a fun amount of whiskey then kissed! The next day he sent a text that, while more politely worded, amounted to OOPS AND ALSO DON'T TELL. (This doesn't count as telling right??) The oops part has me in dire need of some pep.
Oh nooooo! “Oops” is such a rough thing to hear! Especially when you don’t also feel “oops” about the situation in question. When you’re both on the oops train (or as we call it in New York City, “the G train” BOOM GOTCHA G TRAIN (this joke works for basically any train in any American city)) it can be kind of a relief to have the other person articulate their “oops” first. But not when you’re still feeling, for lack of a better term, BOOYA about the whole situation.
There are may reasons someone might feel oops after kissing a co-worker. Here are a few of them:
- Self-consciousness about the specificity of their mouth’s shape/dryness/strength/texture/odor.
- Whiskey makes things weird sometimes.
- Taking an extreme long view and spiraling over the ethics of bringing a child into the world as we (humans) continue to do so little to combat climate change.
- Still in love with the sea, even though the sea assures them that they are OVER FOR GOOD this time.
- Had a fun time, not interested in more similar fun times.
- Anxiety that you are actually a mermaid and his kiss let you keep your legs and live on land which is a hell of a commitment for a first kiss.
- What if it goes wrong while you’re still working together?!?!?!?!
- Secretly a ghost.
Some of these reasons may be good. Some may be bad. Regardless, none of these reasons (or myriad others) mean that YOU are bad or that you did anything wrong! How could he even know if you are bad after this one encounter? Even if you were secretly SUCH A HORROR, he couldn’t know that from one lightly tipsy kiss. I feel like you could probably kiss a cursed doll that has come to life and not really be the wiser until several dates later.
All that is to say, this guy is doing his own thing. And even if he is great, that does not mean you aren’t also great. But it does seem like you may go back to being great independently of one another, romantically speaking. And that stinks, but you don’t.
Josh! I’m gonna need a major pep talk when I start chemo next month for my bone marrow transplant! Just keep it in mind, lol. I’ll remind you when it’s sooner.
I have type 1 diabetes like your wife and something tells me you’re an awesome T1D partner. Keep up the good work; diabetes is a bear and we need all the help we can get!
Let’s do this one now!!! I imagine you’ll be thinking about your upcoming treatment a lot in the intervening weeks, so why hold back on the pep talk? The good news is: You’ve got a plan, which means you know how and when things can start improving. That is a big deal!!!
The harder news is that these things (as you know) can be really physically grueling. This will be exhausting. It’s such garbage that the things that are good for us don’t always feel good, but having three martinis feels (briefly) amazing.
Back to the positive: The bedrock, unspoken good news is that you have people in your life who love you and care for you and want to be helpful. Even though you are (probably, if I had go guess) an expert at quietly managing your own health stuff. It’s okay to be loud about your needs. And to ask other people to do what you can’t or don’t feel up to.
You are on the road to feeling better. And the people close to you will undoubtedly offer you a ride. You don’t have to feel bad for accepting it!!!
PICK-ME-UP SONG: Jeff Rosenstock - “…While You’re Alive”
On Saturday night, I snuck away from my trip with my in-laws to Long Beach to watch Jeff Rosenstock and PUP and Joyce Manor put on a rock and roll concert. To rip off the structure of a perfect Sarah Silverman joke: As I was driving 250 miles round trip to see a couple of bands I’ve already seen play a show I thought, “Oh my god, I’m becoming my father.” Hearing “…While You’re Alive” played…uhhh…live made me feel a lot of intense feelings of loss but also a rededication to appreciating the people in my life.
As you may have guessed by the above anecdote, much like many of my picks for this slot in the newsletter, this song is actually very sad. But it is about telling people you love that you love them, which to me is possibly the most heartwarming idea. (It is NOT related to the above pep talk.) Also, “Love is worry!” is a crucial facet of spending time with my parents and/or parents-in-law.
A bonus song: Oceanator’s cover of “A Long December.”
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
I’m back on the road this week! Philadelphia date to be announced soon!
1/12-1/14 - Comedy Bar Toronto (three shows)
1/20-1/20 - Wiseguys in West Jordan, Utah
More info and dates available at joshgondelman.com/schedule!
Okay! That’s all for now! Thanks for reading! And as always, if you enjoyed the newsletter, please subscribe and/or share it with a pal!