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‘Culture Shock’ at the Moth

May 14th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon


“Culture Shock” was the theme for last night’s Moth, and man, was I ever ready. I’d written, edited, rewritten, and I felt like I had a fairly solid story — unless someone else had also worked as a kangaroo shooter in Western Australia, I had the topic pretty well locked up. So yeah, I was psyched, that combination of anxiety and jittery and *pow* that usually makes something happen.

I was pretty tough to be around, I’d imagine, especially to a good friend who came out to support me. I couldn’t help myself, I was a rubber band ball made out of thrashing fire ants — couldn’t focus on sentences, couldn’t relax into his jokes or anything.

I’ve cut myself off of alcohol for the next little while, so no drinks to dull it, just the high sound of a blade pulling out of a sheath and singing in the air, reverbing through my head like a King Tubby loop for two hours.

And as fate would have it, I didn’t get picked. Last night’s attendance was a record-breaker for the Moth: 42 people put their names in the hat. That’s roughly a one in 4 chance of getting picked, but it wasn’t in the cards for me.

It felt like passing an iron I-beam through my colon, for real. It was like being stuck behind a slow tourist on the subway steps when I’m already late to work, this anxious, bulging feeling that just made me want to start slinging elbows. But that’s how the comet crashes: at The Moth, there are no guarantees.

I felt like a lobster too big for its shell for hours afterwards, too much meat inside my own brittle skin. Me and my friend just hit the streets and I didn’t know WHAT the fuck to do — visions of nearly every vice flickered past like spastic porno cinema, every exhausting sin I could think of, but instead we just got on the subway and rode home.

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