Catching Up

Dec 24th, 2012 by Nicholas Pell in Personal

It’s been a super busy couple of weeks here in the nerve center. One of my best friends came to visit, as did some family. Oddly, the family visit was more debauched than the friend visit.

The friend, who I am almost certain would rather not be named, is an old friend from college. We were both “nontraditional” (old) college students. One dayhe came up to me before a linguistics lecture and said just about the worst thing a person could say to me: “Hey man, I like your sleeves.”

I was feeling generous that day, so rather than some unnecessarily caustic remark, I gave him an awkward “thanks.” We ended up sitting together and although he denies it, I swear he was wearing an Alkaline Trio shirt. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

At the time I met he who would prefer not to be named (HWWPNTBN) I was really into chaos magick. For those not in the know, chaos magick is an alleged system of supernatural manipulation that relies upon crafting witchy-looking little symbols and then jerking off onto them. I’m kidding, but only sort of.

I’d had some early success with gnosis through Onanism, managing to score a girlfriend for the first time in years only a couple weeks after coating my first self-made hieroglyph in jizz. One night sitting around my apartment in Northampton, MA, a 24-year-old in college with arcane interests, I decided that what I really needed was to follow the dictum that Dr. Leary gave to mutants so many decades ago: Find the others.

Soon I realized that, regardless of whether or not one thought that masturbation had magical properties or not, this guy was what I was looking for; Smart, into all kinds of weird shit and only slightly less handsome than yours truly. In an operational sense — i.e. getting what the fuck you want — the spell had apparently “worked,” whatever that means. Eight years later we’re still good enough friends to kill an entire bottle of Johnny Walker Black together on a Thursday night.


If I always felt slightly alienated from my family, my cousin Ken Melvoin-Berg (born Ken Pell, Jr.) must have felt exiled. He didn’t really know any of us until I was in my mid-to-late-20s, living across the street from a methadone clinic in Portland, OR. At the time, I was always trying to be closer to him; It was amazing to me that there was someone in my family even weirder than I am. Unfortunately, we never met until several years later when I was living in LA.

Ken isn’t actually all that weird as it turns out. He just happens to live, like the rest of us, in an extremely square society. His last 15 minutes of fame came when he demonstrated a device called a “fucksaw” on a woman before a room full of Northwestern University students. He makes his living chasing ghosts, telling the future and giving guided tours of Chicago.

He occasionally blows through Los Angeles like a tornado, and I try and get as much time in with him as I can. This time, that wasn’t much, but it did include a single night hopping from a coffee shop to a Fatburger, as well as a second night out at the world famous Jumbo’s Clown Room in East Hollywood. We sat directly in front of the stage and Ken rolled up with a JWB and soda, dropping a stack of singles about an inch thick in front of me.

It’s fun when Ken comes to town.


It’s Christmas or some other bullshit tomorrow. I don’t celebrate. I don’t like Christianity, I don’t like Jesus, I don’t like crass consumerism, I hate that there are all kinds of people who have zero in the midst of the consumer electronics spending orgy and my closest family lives eight hours away. Santa Claus is pretty cool, as is his demonic helper of your choice. I’ll be celebrating Christmas as I always do, in the manner of the Tribe of Abraham, with Chinese takeaway and a movie.

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