@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
It’s hard not to feel like a loser at the Laundromat. Though I’m not saying you are a loser if you go to the Laundromat, I’m just saying as you stand there, listening to music, watching the suds cycle in a machine, you’re not exactly thinking, “I’m a winner.”
Because you could come from a weekend of telling jokes, getting laughs, surfing waves, being high on life, getting higher with drugs, knowing that none of this goes anywhere, but it doesn’t matter when it’s fun because you think, “hey, if you’re not happy at this level you won’t be at the next level so enjoy it from time to time,” and that logic makes perfect sense, because it might not ever get better, so have another drink, swim like a fucking mermaid, and jest like life is ridiculous because it certainly is.
Back at the Laundromat, the “take no prisoners” pirate is no where to be found. You’re the prisoner now. Everyone else has the same disposition at the Laundromat too. If the East River weren’t a petri-dish for bacteria, I’d sooner get a washboard and scrub my clothes on the rocks than come here. I might just do that because it would be funny as hell for spectators walking by trying to enjoy the Manhattan skyline view and suddenly see a person wash their clothes in the river like it’s 1842. If only I knew how to play the Banjo.
“You’re a loser,” the thought intrudes, and once it’s there, it’s going to throw shit around up there. “You used to have potential, but now you’re a loser.”
“When did I lose potential?”
“Good point. You never really had any. It was a farce you made up in your head.”
“I could have sworn I had more than potential, a chance — even if it was a small one.”
“Baby turtles have a chance to make it to the ocean, but most of them die.”
“Why are you always bringing sea turtles into this. This has nothing to do with the turtles.”
“Maybe if you weren’t such a loser, you’d stop thinking about what a loser you are and go write something that’s good enough to sell.”
“I have been writing. I’m always writing.”
“And it still sucks, so what does that say?”
“That I’m a loser?”
“Yes! You’re getting it now! Loooosssseerrrrrr.”
“I’m not a complete loser… not yet, anyway.”
“According to whom?”
“People. I dunno. Other comics. I’m still good at this.”
“You could be good at something and also be a loser, make no mistake. Lots of artists are good at their craft and are losers. Also, comics are crazy. You shouldn’t trust them. Especially if they irrevocably deny what you in fact are: a loser.”
“And I’m supposed to trust you, the voice in my head that holds a gun to my mind and calls me a loser.”
“Look, you’re the one with a metaphorical gun in your hand, I’m just the one telling you to pull the trigger. You can always trust the voice in your head that preys on your insecurities and brings your negative attributes to the surface.”
“I’m a piece of shit.”
“Jesus, don’t be so hard on yourself. Just because you’re a loser doesn’t automatically mean you’re a piece of shit. You are. But I’m not the one who brought it up. Is it worse to be a loser or a piece of shit?”
The wash is done, and I transfer my clothes and sheets into the dryers. Knowing that after work, I’ll nestle into bed with clean sheets is a thought held in such esteem, because it never lets you down, it makes the trip of going to the laundromat and putting up with psychotic inner dialogue worth it. It’s always great coming home to clean sheets. Every. Time. Ah, sometimes the simple things are more than enough.
“Do we have to go into this ‘what a loser’ I am spiral? I feel like it’s a bit played out at this point.”
“Still hurts though every time?”
“Hurts cause it’s true.”
[Unlike protons, each with an electric charge of +1, and electrons, with a charge of -1, quarks have fractional charges that come in thirds. And you’ll never catch a quark all by itself; it will always be clutching other quarks nearby. In fact, the force that keeps two (or more) of them together actually grows stronger the more you separate them– as if they were attached by some sort of subnuclear rubber band.]*
“What are you doing? I don’t understand what you’re doing.”
“I’m reading about quarks, okay?! I’m reading about quarks and the origins of the universe because I don’t want to listen to you telling me what a depressed, ungrateful loser I am.”
“I never said you were ungrateful. You just added that part.”
[Separate the quarks enough, the rubber band snaps and the stored energy summon E=mc2 to create a new quark at each end, leaving you back where you started.]*
“A book on elementary astrophysics? Not only are you a loser but you’re a dork.”
“I just want you to leave me alone.”
“But we’re quarks! We can’t be separated! The rubberband brings us back together. Just a daft loser with no future and an antagonistic psychological demon to remind you that you’re a burden and disease to everyone who loves you because you’re such a loser.”
“You’re driving me crazy,” only this time I said it out loud in a low toned mumble, and a little girl, a toddler, not even three is looking up at me, and she smiles. She continues to watch me unload the dryers as if I’m doing something fascinating. I smile at her, and she offers her mothers laundry cart as a gesture to help me. It’s the sweetest thing. Kids never feel like losers at the laundromat.
Funny comic and all around great human, Michael Somerville texts me to congratulate me an upcoming gigs opening for Gary Gulman (who’s comedy is some next level brilliance).
“Congrats rock star!” He says.
I then lament how my calendar drops off soon after, and write, “10% rockstar, 90% loser.”
To which he replies, “=100% comedian.”
*[From “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry” by Neil DeGrasse Tyson]