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  LIFE AS A LOSER #113: "A Grand Experiment in Crazed Time-Wasting and Frightening Self-Indulgence."  
   
   
 

 Whatís heaven like? I know what I want heaven to be. I want heaven to be The Truman Show of my life. Somehow, some way, God had little invisible cameramen following every moment of my life, from birth, and he sat down with his little angel Ralph Rosenblums and edited the thing together into a real-time, neatly packaged narrative.

Thatís what I want. I want to relive my life, except as an observer. I want to see it all like a movie: the great moments, the humiliating ones, the banal day-to-day drudgery. I want to laugh at how silly my friend Tim looked at 14, how scared my cat was at four weeks old, what exactly that first kiss was like. I want to relive it all. It would be like having a permanent mirror on my bedroom ceiling. (Though I think I may ask God to edit out the sleeping and masturbation. I think Heíd do that for me. He is, after all, God, and He is wise and kind.)

It just all seems so important. I want to make certain I donít forget any of it.

Oh, and the lessons I would learn! What did I learn from this point to the next one? Did this tragedy make me a wiser person? Did I really tell her I was gonna call her that night, or was she right to be mad? Just who was that giving me bunny ears in the third-grade class photo anyway? Did my family do anything traumatic to me as a child that Iíve repressed? Just where in the world did I get that haircut? Did I ever improve after my initial, clumsy attempts at cunnilingus? And, at last, I can find out: Do these pants make my ass look big?

Unfortunately, I have no idea if the afterlife is like this. As far as I know, itís utter blackness, or, even worse, a television that only plays CNBC. But my general principle stands: I want to remember it all. I want to see a snapshot of a friend of mine from six years ago, remark on how theyíve changed, how theyíre the same putz they were when they peed their pants watching Friday the 13th, Part IV at our junior-high slumber party.

So I take pictures. Oh, do I take a lot of pictures. You know that guy who, when youíre out drinking some night, suddenly pops up out of nowhere and flashes a camera in your face? Iím that guy. I go through film like cigarettes. Iím perpetually buying film, waiting for it to be developed, taking pictures, add add add, more more more. I want it all chronicled. I must remember.

I started putting together my first photo album the day after I graduated from college, with my father and I driving from Champaign, Illinois, to Los Angeles. Since then, I have filled nine huge, fat ones. Itís all there. This is as close to the Jehovah-directed video Iím waiting for as Iím going to get.

It is only special pictures that are included in my albums. They have to remind me of a moment, a night, an experience, something. I have to be able to legitimately describe the circumstances behind a photo in four-to-five sentences; otherwise, itís in the discard pile.

Well, the other evening, I sat around, lonely, depressed, forlorn (after all, it was a Tuesday). It was a total country-music day; my girl left me, my boss on my case, my dog done died. I was alone in my room, trying to find the right song to fit my mood, when I looked in the corner, and saw my stack of photo albums. I started flipping through the first one, with the posed, ďprofessionallyĒ-taken shots of my ex-fiancťe and me. And the thought occurred to me Ö what if I counted every single photo of every single person in my albums, and tallied them? Would I learn anything? Would I come to any kind of realization about my life, how I got here, where Iím going, why I fail?

And so I made a list. Everyone who appears in my album Ö theyíre all here. This list is my life in outline form. It was an irresistible project.

So, maniacally, I put it together over five glasses of Dewarís and the new Eminem record. Did I learn anything? No. But I did get drunk, and it was endless fun. I highly suggest you try it.

I even set up some ground rules.

First and last names. A requirement. If I couldnít remember both names of a person in a photo within a pre-determined 15-minute period, they werenít included. I was not allowed to call a friend and ask. So my apologies in advance to Melanie Somethingorother, that one guy who lived down the hall freshman year, and that one chick, you know, the one with the big teeth, total, horse face, dated Jeff, you remember her, right? Those folks are in the pictures, but not on the list.

Famous people. Totally included, as long as I was in the room with the celebrity when the pictures were taken. It amuses me immensely that I have more pictures of Bill Bradley than the girl whom I took to prom.

Maiden names: If I met the person when they were married, her maiden name is used, even if the majority of pictures are from after the name was changed. Essentially, I'm just using the name I know them as. (And for the record, ladies, keep your name. Guys suck. Your name is probably better anyway, unless it's something ridiculous, like Pitzer or Grierson.)

The fickle laws of chance and opportunity. This is hardly a ranking of how important people have been to me, in order. Circumstances dictate my photo output. In Los Angeles, I took more photos that I do in New York. And remember, my first album didnít begin until after college graduation. College friends get short-shifted. On the other hand, if I went to your wedding, odds are good that your number is pumped up, even though I might not actually even like you all that much.

Prominence. You need not be the center of a shot to have a photo counted. Even if youíre in the side of the frame, picking your nose, itís a point for you. But we need to see your face; a foot that looks kind of like yours, except with less mold, doesnít show up on the scorecard. Also, this list is not indicative of anything, and you wonít receive descriptions of anyone on here. Itís just the names. Their relevance in my life is something Iíll keep to myself. To protect their privacy, you see.

Cleavage. Any shot with of a woman showing cleavage was counted twice. OK, thatís not true Ö but how awesome is it that I have cleavage shots in my photo albums? I should make a special album just of those and keep it at my bedside.

This works on two levels. First, it allows me to see just how prominent some people have been in my album and let them know just how many photos of them are currently in my closet. Secondly, it allows them to search their names on Google, realize Iíve included them, and then hunt me down and kill me.

So, without any further adieu Ö the list.

THE LIST

Mandie DeVincentis 142

Denny Dooley 101

Tim Grierson 100

Matt Pitzer 92

Jessica Seilheimer 81

Marisa Laudadio 80

Eric Gillin 76

Andy Kuhns 76

Mike Cetera 74

Lynda Twardowski 67

Bryan Leitch 60

Jill Leitch 56

Kyla Sampson 48

Michael David Smith 46

Joan Mocek 42

Jen Philion 40

Aimee Crawford 38

Brian Doolittle 37

Jessica Simmon 36

Sally Leitch 35

Amanda Muchnick 33

Chris Jenkins 32

Ali Gerakaris 29

Brian Styers 26

Andy Wang 24

Chris Bergeron 23

Angela Stallings 22

Benson Taylor 22

Heather Benz 21

Vinnie Iyer 21

James Morrow 21

Liz House 20

Mark Pesavento 20

Bryan Bishop 19

Ursula Yamamoto 19

Carrie Alden 18

Aileen Gallagher 18

Frances Huffman 18

Theresa OíRourke 18

Chris Philion 18

David W. Klepper 17

Greg Lindsay 17

Wu-Tang 17

Becky Dubin 15

Mark Gutmann 15

Hillery Borton 14

Mike Bruno 14

Laura Harvath 14

Hannah Knapp 14

K. Kal Lwanga 14

Barry Reeves 14

Russell Brown 13

Clare Bundy 13

James McKenzie 13

Mary Dooley 12

Matt Dorfman 12

Brian Barker 11

Laura Trujillo 11

Sarah Archambault 10

Graham Boain 10

Donnie Shepard 10

Keith Ames 9

Michelle Collins 9

A.J. Daulerio 9

Ron Dooley 9

Erin Franzman 9

Geoff Van Dyke 9

Kyle Veltrop 9

David Buttrick 8

Brian Desmet 8

Jared Hoffman 8

Nikola Taylor 8

Meredith Artley 7

Jami Attenberg 7

Cindy Boren 7

Erika Croxton 7

Kate Daly 7

Mike Dooley 7

Rahul Gupta 7

Nick Kuhns 7

Danielle Peabody 7

David Plotkin 7

Chris Reckker 7

Amy Blair 6

John Lalande 6

Dave Oaks 6

Lindsay Robertson 6

Thomas Seilheimer 6

Jade Walker 6

Jeff Carter 5

Amy Grissinger 5

Shad Huddleston 5

Chris Martino 5

Amanda Poffinbarger 5

Tom Rosinski 5

Ryan E. Smith 5

Sarah Smith 5

Ryan Smithson 5

Jamie Taylor 5

Jeremiah Terry 5

Brian Wasag 5

Jon Ashbrook 4

Marc Baizman 4

Mark Bonavita 4

Daisy the Family Dog 4

Amy DeVincentis 4

Larry Getlen 4

Kimberly Keniley 4

Kris Kudenholdt 4

Halisi Lester 4

Suzanne Markert 4

Gretchen May 4

Naka Nathaniel 4

Jamie Paquette 4

Samantha Struble 4

Lorraine Ali 3

Rafat Ali 3

Woody Allen 3

Jeff Brown 3

Kim DeVincentis 3

Todd Fitzpatrick 3

Thomas Forget 3

Kathie Fries 3

Michelle Gladden 3

Tom Hoban 3

Barbara Icenogle 3

Myra Jesse 3

Rian Johnson 3

Sharon Kuhns 3

Aimee Rinehart 3

Angela Sampson 3

Jeremy Seilheimer 3

Sean Stewart 3

George Winkler 3

Chris Bahr 2

Jonathan Berlin 2

Bill Bradley 2

Emmy Castlen 2

Nickie Dalton 2

Sean Dooley 2

David Gaffen 2

Christopher Kelly 2

Scott Kirchofer 2

Gary Kuhns 2

Riley Leitch 2

Jen Nedbalsky 2

Melanie Price 2

Brendan Roberts 2

Laura Ropiequet 2

Kristin Roth 2

Dan Safarik 2

Marianne Seilheimer 2

Joan Sender 2

Harry Simmon 2

Jaymie Simmon 2

Ray Slover 2

Fiona Spruill 2

Ryan Stewart 2

Hunter S. Thompson 2

Judith Van Hoose 2

Otis Whightsel 2

Rosemary Whightsel 2

Sarah Williams 2

Niki Ziegler 2

Rob Ames 1

Tina Bartels 1

Marisa Bowe 1

Emily Bozeman 1

Michelle Brutlag 1

Christine Craig 1

Michael Dizon 1

Judy Dooley 1

Wilma Doughtery 1

Eric Edholm 1

Marie Eilermann 1

Celia Farber 1

David Gallagher 1

Julie Goodman 1

Lisa Grierson 1

Charlie Hanger 1

Jennifer Hortenstine 1

Jessica Huntley 1

C.J. Hughes 1

Rachel Hughes 1

Phil Jackson 1

Beth Jatcko 1

Robbie Jean 1

Svetlana Juster 1

Roland Kelts 1

Dahlia Kheryadar 1

Ken Kurson 1

Chrissy Leitch 1

Dorothy Leitch 1

Jimmy Leitch 1

Sarah Levy 1

Chris Lund 1

Laura Magnotta 1

Chris Mann 1

Mark McGwire 1

Kelly Mercein 1

Jody Montrey 1

Debbie Mora 1

Lindsay Morris 1

Krystal Nottemeyer 1

Lori Nottemeyer 1

Doug Overmeyer 1

Jesse Oxfeld 1

Kim Quigley 1

Willis Reed 1

Nathan Richey 1

Jane Roh 1

Jeff Rutledge 1

Jeremy Ryan 1

Jason Sheftell 1

Grant Simmon 1

Bill Stark 1

Gary Swearingen 1

Will Tacy 1

Cornell West 1

Chipp Winston 1

Andrew Wright 1

Sarah Wright 1

Liz Zack 1

Lizz Zittron 1

Thank you for letting me do this.

 

*BT*

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