Sunday, November 24, 2019

An Open Letter to My Student Riding an Electric Skateboard Across Campus While Puffing a Vape Pen and Watching Netflix on a 15” MacBook


Riding an electric skateboard is a cry for help. Riding an electric skateboard while vaping is the telltale sign of an untreatable personality disorder. Riding an electric skateboard while vaping and watching the Dynasty reboot is a crime against your own humanity. You are gluttonous. You are shameless. You are a pepperoni pizza with cheese-stuffed crust dipped in garlic aioli sauce. You’re an endless line of cocaine on a 24karat gold tray snorted through a scrimshaw straw.
I tried to crash you with my mind. I imagined it as an adjunct to my ardent technophobia. Apparently, my telepathy lacks the sufficient broadband because you skated on by, bingeing on the stupefaction of consumer capitalism. I’m sorry for sounding hateful, but I’m your rhetoric professor. I must teach you an impractical and overpriced lesson. My remaining Nelnet balance decrees it.
I hope you stop short and go flying. I hope your MacBook shatters on impact. I hope your vape pen disintegrates into the asphalt. I hope you suffer a slight, mendable fracture to your clavicle. The rest of us (faculty, staff, and students) are content scuffling about campus, diddling handheld devices, swiping and scrolling for artificial validation on everyday social media apps. That’s not enough for you. You’ve got to George Jetson above the quad on your Daedalean high horse. You want the latest and greatest. You want macro interconnectedness. You want the richest pixels. You want every last gigahertz for yourself. You need fifteen fucking inches! You crave it in the flavor of Hannibal Nectar! There are poor kids at this very university who bravely trudge to class confronting the mundane reality of sun-kissed palm fronds and purple mountain sunrises. They do so without the high of e-narcotics. Then there is you, a twenty-first century digital douche, a cybernated Jeff Spicoli. Well, young man, I’m your Mr. Hand. I’m here to trip and unplug your defective circuitry.
You’re setting your people back. Adults already lump your cohort with the Millennials. Most professors accuse Generation Z of being entitled and illiterate with shit taste in music. I can’t defend listening to Lil Pump, but I’ve been sticking up for you otherwise. I’ve been telling my colleagues that you’re far superior to Millennials. I’ve been praising your people’s sincerity and athleisure fashion. I also dig your gender-neutral outfits. We dabbled with that in the ‘80s, but the preppy jocks beat it out of the aspiring Boy Georges. Yours might be the kindest generation yet, but you’re not helping the cause. You’re empowering the stereotype and emboldening ageist Generation Xers. For every Malala, Greta Thunberg, and David Hogg there is you. It goes without saying that you’re white and a dude.
Gen X sucked hard, but at least we smoked real cigarettes and kickflipped real skateboards. I bet my autographed Surfer Rosa cassette tape cover that you can’t even ollie. I could power-slide my Powell Peralta a good ten feet. I didn’t skateboard to look cool or enhance the analog of my Walkman. I rode a skateboard to get the fuck away from society, not plug myself into it at every orifice. Binge-watching wasn’t an option. We had to wait an entire week for the next episode of The Master, an American action-adventure series about an aging ninja master (Lee Van Cleef) and his young pupil (Timothy Van Patten). The show couldn’t even be made today. Lots of whitewashing, but you’re getting my point. We couldn’t have it all when I was a teen. We didn’t want it all. We just wanted handjobs and Pop-Tarts, in that order. We weren’t hellbent on being electrified. The closest we came to you was a kid named Joey Buttafini who’d masturbated to late-night Cinemax movies under an electric blanket with a dip in his mouth, which reminds me, I once overheard my parents having intercourse over the original Dynasty theme song. Does that make me better than you? Yes, a wicked lot.
Decades later, Joey Buttafini overdosed on Oxy, but it’s not too late for you. Technophilia isn’t a disease. It’s a symptom of being a loser. Stop trying to succeed electronically. Stop trying to compensate with gadgetry. Stop self-medicating. Dismount that gift horse and stare it in the fucking mouth. Shoot it in the head. Put the beast out of its misery. You’ve been riding it across a desert of human interaction. Cowboy up and face the overwhelming splendor of this southern California landscape with your brethren. Smoke real cigarettes and get real cancer, not this alien lung infection taking down vapers. Go jock yourself doing a sick rail slide on an actual skateboard. Binge in the privacy of your own dorm room, staring at your chiaroscuro reflection on the screen. Be a regular old fool like the rest of us white dudes.
Godspeed,
Professor Volpe

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

La Cosa Nostra

My newest story La Cosa Nostra is up at The Hunger, a new and exciting literary journal that publishes daring work. Check them out! I think you'll be hearing great things about them in the future. 


Thursday, August 9, 2018

To Live and Die in L.A.

New essay published today in Entropy wherein I go night surfing in Los Angeles with Joan Didion, Richard Diebenkorn, and Lee Morgan. Thanks to close friend Thomas Deininger for the artwork!

https://entropymag.org/literacy-narrative-dead-of-the-night/


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thursday, February 25, 2016

El Nino, the Gift that Keeps Giving

LA has been maxing for months. This morning was mighty pretty.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday, July 27, 2015

Thin Skin

My newest essay. Topics including foreskin, my mom's sex list, chicken coops, and Nantucket.
BULL MAGAZINE: Thin Skin