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John Mulaney

By Nick Riccardo

sometimes i wonder what was in the water in the town i grew up in, because most of us turned out real fucking weird, and you might say that “grew up” is a strong phrase to call, well, whatever it is that i did, & yes i know this is pseudo-science, but i may as well look into it because speaking of life, i am currently digging to find the body of who I once was, & i’m getting closer every day, but the nature of digging is such that the closer you get — that is, the more you’ve dug — the dirtier you become, but you can’t clean a house without getting your hands a little dirty; you can’t shut off its pipes without expecting some sediment you’d rather not run your hands under in return, which is to say, i am in the ‘brown water’ phase of self-correction, and to say, i wrote a poem (or something) about the sputtering of newly closed pipes in a house, dry & vacated, and it wound up being both my most laughable & most personal work, so i am treading on questionable terrain with this metaphor, but american poet john mulaney once wrote, “i always thought that quicksand was going to be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be,” and it is only logical to believe he intended this as an extended metaphor to say, “it’s okay, you can trust the ground” (or something) — which reminds me, by the way, that at the end of last year, as i was leaving a bookstore, a stranger among a crowd of strangers looked at me and — unprovoked & so casually — chose to say, “it’s going to be okay,” and all that ominous shit did was make me wonder for weeks what was going to go wrong, so on christmas, american scholar john mulaney presented a special intended for children that wound up hitting me harder than most things i had seen that year, and i don’t want to spoil it for you, so i will just tell you that it was about home invasions & pasta, but if you’re cool with another conversation about mental health, and you don’t mind your eyes rolling to the back of your head, i will tell you that it was a special about anxiety, and it exists because american thinker john mulaney has anxiety, and so i am surprised that he once said that he has never encountered quicksand, because i’m pretty sure the human brain in people like us is quicksand.

Nick Riccardo is a writer whose work has appeared in Maudlin House, Bullshit Lit, and the New York Times' Metropolitan Diary.

Photo by Nick Riccardo.


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