Category Archives: Think Pieces/ List Shit

Lack of Purpose (Makes A Girl Nervous)

It was with devastating clarity that I realized there is no way I’m getting my job back.

It happened yesterday. I was talking to D—, this guy at my old job I really respected, who was asking me if I was applying anywhere. He asked me what I’d like to do, what field I wanted to work in. I wanted to cry. There. I wanted to work there, with the refugees. But it was then and there that I knew that wasn’t going to be.

After I was laid-off, I was replaced by a series of interns and volunteers. All those territorial thoughts I had about them usurping my role and me being a merely notch below unpaid labor turned out to be true. My position had become redundant.

Knowing that solidified another heartbreaking fact—that despite all the love I had for the refugee center and everyone there—it wasn’t enough. Compassion and care is nice when it’s backed up with resources and skills and I had neither: I can’t speak another language (todavìa). I’m not qualified to be a case worker, grant writer or resettlement agent. I’m not even a foreigner. I’m simply just another dumb, monolingual American.

Going home after volunteering all day and feeling like I could be a part of the RC, I skid right back into grieving. Only instead of going through to anger or acceptance, my despair exacerbated my depression (big shocker right? A depressed, unemployed writer) and last night I came the closest I’ve ever been to attempting suicide.

A lot of people might find it stupid and short-sighted to try and kill yourself over a job you only had for 11 months but the pain wasn’t caused by unemployment or financial stress. Relationships mean a lot to me. Every job I’ve ever had I’ve gotten extremely close to at least one person. This was different. I got ridiculously close to a lot of people. To me, I didn’t lose a job. I lost an entire extended family.

And on the day you’re supposed to feel the most loved, I felt way too much. So much that it overstepped the love and affection that I was supposed to be showering the actual love of my life, my boyfriend of 4 years who did his absolute best to support me through this loss. It wasn’t enough though. After 12 days of alternating from sobbing to sleeping to smoking, I decided on Valentine’s Day my heart couldn’t bare it anymore.

I asked my boyfriend to make me some tea. When he left I locked the bedroom door, wrote what I wanted to ne my suicide note, I went to my window opened it up and got my desk.

I lived on the second floor, which even in my dumbass distress knew wouldn’t kill me, so I decided blunt force trauma was going to do. I was going to fall head first and either crack my skull or break my neck.

I was bent over my window sill when the cold air made me want to pee. Seeing I didn’t want to die pissing myself, I got off my desk and went to the bathroom.

That short walk to the bathroom changed everything.

I stayed.

The rest of the night I went to crying and complaining and to going back to crying, though I did end up showing Sal how good empanadas are (what’s not to love about essentially a deep-fried taco?).

It was easily our least romantic (but probably more historically accurate) Valentine’s Day. (St. Valentine was beheaded for his beliefs in noble love).

I really don’t have a point to this story. I’m still lost and jobless. I’m volunteering back at the center, which I know sounds a lot like getting dumped and going back to your ex just to be your booty call, but I still believe in the cause.

I’m applying for jobs and I’m writing.

I’m still not all the way better but I didn’t cry today so that’s already better than yesterday. Hopefully I’ll find a new purpose in life. Until then, I’m just going to stay put and keep my window closed.

This is what UTICA looks like

Beloved strangers and spambots,

Just in case any of you are wondering how Utica is reacting to the Muslim Ban/ Trump’s executive orders against refugee resettlement:

(I’d add more but I didn’t actually take any pictures. These one and the one above were taken by my sister’s friend Josselyn A’s snapchat which i stole but she hasn’t called me out for it so we should be good.)

I won’t say much about my experience. I just want to say two things: 1) not only did my boyfriend and two of my closest friends attend the rally with me but so did my mother, my sister and my 13-old-brother who stood with me in the freezing cold for two hours without complaining. Even more proud to say he was talking shit about the people driving by who didn’t honk or wave at the rallyers in a celebratory manner (his joke: “you can tell they voted for Trump. They’re looking away.”)

2) The fact remains that I am not always proud to be an American, but I am ALWAYS proud to be a Utican.

–“El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido”!!!

 

Utica: The City That Needs Refugees (A Part of a “Fuck Trump” Series)

Yesterday, we had an all-staff meeting and the director was straight-forward: Trump, who is currently executive-ordering his cheddary balls off, wants to effectively shut down the refugee program in America. If he gets his way, there will be a 120-day blackout barring any and all refugees and immigrants from coming into the country. There will also be a slash at the number of those who will be allowed to come into the United States (from 110,000 to a jarring 50,000, which, if you put into perspective the fact we’ve already resettled 36,000 is heart-stopping). Refugees from countries such as Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Somalia (basically anywhere with a Muslim majority or a big-enough Muslim populous) will be banned from entering. AND, to top off the Islamophobia-Wet-Dream-Cum-Splooge, WHEN refugees ARE allowed to be resettled there will be given preferential treatment to those of a religious minority (GUESS WHO’S A RELIGIOUS MINORITY NOW? YEP. CHRISTIANS).

If President Shit-Cock gets his infantile way, refugee centers across the nation will succumb to drastic budget cuts and lay-offs. People’s lives who couldn’t get any shittier will be jeopardized EXPONENTIALLY. Those who’ve been desperate to breathe freely might as well get a scuba suit or some shit because guess what? Our President and his Death-Eater staff have no love for your situation. No love.

Which is ridiculous in the sense of if Trump was HALF the savvy business man he tricked millions of people into thinking he is, he’d see the economic gain there is to letting refugees into the country. After spending 5+ years living in plastic tents eating the same bag of rice and shit, alternating from extreme distress and extreme boredom all day, you know who’s eager as a motherfucker to work? REFUGEES.

The city I’m from, when I was growing up, was poor as fuck because during the 80’s all the factories left and a lot of jobs were gone. A lot of people left for bigger cities and the ones who stayed behind were either the poverty-stricken, the stubborn or some immigrants (there was a joke bumper sticker that you’d see everywhere: Last One To Leave, Turn Off The Lights. It’s not that funny honestly but neither is the economic decline of an entire city).

Then, the refugees came. The Bosnians came and all those houses that were once boarded up and dilapidated were converted and rebuilt into Slavic-inspired PENTHOUSES. Vietnamese came and suddenly there’s restaurants everywhere again and THEY’VE GOT EGGROLLS THAT I’D SHOOT MY MOTHER FOR (sorry mom). Then the Cambodian and the Russian and all the other Slavs and Puerto-Ricans and Dominicans and soon this city, that was once only known for our beer, our Halfmoons and our drugs, we’re known for something much more profound: our diversity.

It took a while, but a city that was once made fun of for being the armpit of Central New York, and suddenly we’re famous for our compassion. We’re literally known as “the City Who Loves Refugees” “The Second Chance City”. But honestly, we’re not the city who loves refugees. We’re the city that NEEDS refugees. Without them we would have been on our way to just being another Sin City; another wasteland of good food and a lot of drugs. (We have a huuuuuge drug problem in Utica. I’m not even saying that to be funny. I’m saying that because it’s an issue that needs to be addressed: In the 90’s it was crack, in 2012-2013 there was an international drug prevention seminar held in Utica because of our Bath Salts Dilemma, and now we’re just like everyone else in the nation and have a heroin problem. But you know, you brag about the good you gotta own up to the bad)

It’s fair to say that America is way past due having this unnatural hatred towards refugees and immigrants. But then again, when you have a leader with orange skin, Thumbelina hands and enough neck fat to yank down and make a poncho out of, everything’s just the wrong amount of backwards right now.

The Way She Goes: Diatribe of An Upset White Girl

 

I’m not going to lie to you: I’ve been writing since I was 7 or 8. I’ve written 13 full length novels, 5 or 6 novellas, hundreds of short stories, and possibly thousands of poems/ diary entries. This doesn’t even count all the half-drafts (incompletes) that I’ve either tossed or abandoned over the years and let me tell you– I really fucking hate being a writer. I’d honestly rather aspire to be anything else in this world, ANYTHING ELSE, than be a writer. I’d rather set myself on fire. I’d rather develop a harrowing drug addiction. I’d rather shoot myself in the goddamn face and live forever being shunned from society as a scary Hole-Face Monster–then be a goddamn writer.

It fucking sucks having a deep sense of self-loathing towards anything creative you try to do. It’s fucking DREADFUL having your self-worth be so intrinsically intertwined with something that is SO heavily based upon other people’s approval. Do you even know how many days I’ve had that were in all other facets absolutely perfect but the fact that I didn’t write more than 50 words made it “miserable”? Last Wednesday I got my car back after getting into a car accident from three weeks prior, I got paid thanks to accounting error at work 2 days earlier than expected, I had Subway for lunch thanks to an intern, AND my mechanic knocked 500 bucks off of my deductible for me. ALL ON THE SAME DAY. But did that matter? Nope. Because I didn’t write that day, it automatically made it an “average” day.

What kind of brooding, moody, spoiled-white-girl-living-in-a-first-world-country kind of bullshit IS THAT?

My most memorable, fantastical, euphoric days are usually the days that either: a) the day I finished writing a novel or b) the day I spent writing with the adage of other external greatness happening as well (“wow today was so great! It was Halloween, I got to meet the queen, oh AND I didn’t delete 500 words after painstakingly typing out 15,000 words beforehand.”) Which, in itself, is a whole other level of utter CRAP because my writing should give me ADDED joy not be contingent on ALL my happiness in life.

Sadly, this is how it is. As Ray from “Trailer Park Boys” says, “That’s the way she goes. That’s the way she fucking goes.”

Well I’m over “She” and How “She Fucking Goes” because I’m over having my emotional well-being be twisted and mangled just because the book I spent 9 months writing my ass off on (current book is titled “Lack of Purpose Makes A Girl Nervous” if anybody cares D:) get rejected for the 40th time. I’m sick of . I’m tired of seeing every quote upon quote upon quote from famous writers telling me that unless I write every day and unless I just deal with the crippling self-doubt and just write and write and write hard enough, eventually somebody will validate me. My soul is exhausted from all this self-doubt and external antipathy but that’s just an average day in the life of a writer, which can I also add is just zenith level donkey excrement.

Because that’s all writing is: Wanting others to see what you have done and say to you, “Yes. This is good. This is worth all the time and crying and self-castigation. This is good and so is you.”

I guess what I’m saying is: All of this is just a long, unnecessary diatribe and I’ll probably go back to my self-destructive habits tomorrow. But for now, I’m just letting others out there know: Writing is hard but, hey, that’s the way she goes.

S/O To Things That Made Me Cry: This Week Ahmed Danny Ramadan

Shout Out To Things That Made Me Cry is a brand new segment that I want to do where I basically talk about articles, essays and editorial pieces that made me cry.

This week, the thing that made me cry was Ahmed Danny Ramadan’s essay titled “Searching For A Home: One Man’s Story of Survival in the Syrian Civil War” (linked here for any of y’all who likes to hurting your own feelings).

How can you not feel for Ahmed, a dude whose homeland is furrowed beneath the weight of the Arab Spring, who not only has to deal with the theatres of war and military infiltration but has to lead this double life as a gay man in a thoroughly anti-gay environment? See in Syria people don’t judge you for being gay. They don’t make snide comments about your sex life or get uncomfortable around you; they take your job, they take your house, shit they’ll arrest your ass and nobody’s going to come to your defense because being gay is just another societal deviance that only prison can cure.

But he does a much better job of explaining all that in the essay.

I have nothing new to add. For I am probably the exact opposite of this guy: I’m not gay, I’m not a refugee (can’t say though that the looming prospect of Trump Rule doesn’t me wonder if I’ll be able to say that in years to come) and I’m not Arabic. But you don’t have to be for your heart to break for him and wonder if how many lifetimes is Ahmed and his fellow LGBTQ community away from the love and acceptance that is still hard to come by even in progressive countries such as mine.

But like all written works of tragedy and human suffering, this essay has an element of hope at the end. “As a former refugee, I feel responsible to be a successful citizen here [in Canada]; not just for me but also for all other Syrian refugees, and all the LGBT refugees will come after me. I want to show Canadians and westerners that LGBT refugees, with the right support, can and will embrace their new home. I want to show that LGBT refugees can give back to the community that opens its arms for them. To do this, I need to be resilient. I need to be strong.”

 

 

Rasputin: A Review and Reflection

Rasputin: A Review and Reflection of Douglas Smith’s “Rasputin: Faith, Power and the Twilight of the Romanovs”

I come from a long line of obsessers: ranging from sports and work fanatics to actual addicts. I myself am a fangirl. I’ve always obsessed with something: From 4th grade me who was obsessed with knowing everything there is to know about the Sinking of the Titanic to Adult Me who recently got a Screamapillar tattooed on her leg to solidify my 20 yearlong love affair with the Simpsons. The list ranges on: From the IRA, Alan Rickman, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Biggie Smalls, Emilie Autumn, the Columbian telenovela Las Mucheñas de la Mafia, the Hunchback of Norte Dame soundtrack (played all day every day the entire summer of 2015) and, my earliest and deadliest fixation, writing.

Of course none of those compare to my most bewildering preoccupation which is, my boy, notorious mad monk extraordinaire, Grigory Yefimovich Ra-Ra-Rasputin.

I honestly can’t give you one solid explanation for this fixation like I could with the others (even fourth grade me got a huge kick out of éclat of Irony that is the “Unsinkable Ship” Sinking). I can’t even remember when it all started but for whatever reason my nerd idiosyncrasies has always held a soft spot for both Russian History so when, at whatever age, I found out about Rasputin I was hooked.

And why wouldn’t I be? Douglas Smith, author of Rasputin: Faith, Power and the Twilight of the Romanov Dynasty, said it best: “The Life of Rasputin is one of the most remarkable in modern history. It reads like a dark fairy tale.” Out of all the biographies, documentaries, historical narratives and that one movie Rasputin: the Dark Servant of Destiny that I watched half of (not gonna lie I lost respect for the movie’s historical credibility once Snape started dicking the Tsarist) pertaining to Rasputin, this is the only one that felt like it was giving him a fair and balanced rendering of his life. Personally speaking, almost everything I’ve ever read of the guy gave off two clear and present biases: Either he was a pussy-obsessed peasant or a dirty-ass villain. That’s it.

Smith, on the other hand, does something most Rasputin historians haven’t bother to do and that was make him human. It’s easy to forget that at one point Rasputin Mad Monk began as Rasputin, Family Man but Smith does. In fact his approach is both shocking and charming: He went to archives and pulled out unrefuted documents about the guy. He brings up letters, diaries, correspondences, police reports. Hell, he even uses some of Rasputin’s own writings, something I have never seen in a biography about him before since everyone loves to dismiss him as an illiterate. One of the recurring themes I was damn-well shocked to discover from his writings was the overall message of love:

“Love does not allow you to see people’s weaknesses.” “Love is great suffering, it won’t let you eat, it doesn’t let you sleep. It is mixed with sin. Still is better to love.”

Who would’ve thought? Not me. I only knew what I read about him from Wikipedia or that one documentary that tried telling me he was going around sexing up prostitutes in his home village at the age of 9 (linked here if you wanna watch historian say with a straight face “Rasputin was promiscuous by the age of 10”).

That is not to say his life isn’t shrouded in mystery or that his actions were always scrupulous. The biography delves in his straight forward lechery. He used his influence to his advantages. He drank a lot, partied too much and made a fool out of himself. He loved other women even with his wife, Praskovia, back home taking care of his many female followers that wouldn’t leave his home. He loved prostitutes too. He even loved his Tsarist and her family, who returned his affections but of course in an un-fleshly manner. What really intrigued me about the book was how Smith described Rasputin and Tsarist Alexandra’s bond, something history liked to blur or fabricate with raunchy tales of adultery, sex-slavery, mind-control and/ or religious manipulation.

It turns out he, lowly Serbian generational farmer, and she, classy maiden of English and German royalty, had some things in common. Religious, family-orientated, stricken repeatedly with tragedy and surrounded by enemies, they were, as it seemed at times, of like mind: “She [Alexandra] viewed the world much as he did and one can see how Rasputin’s worlds would have been welcomed by her and how they helped create a bond between them.”

I won’t spoil the ending for you (that was a joke. Seriously if you don’t know what happens to Rasputin and the Romanovs, go Google it or forever be ignorant). I’m just going to end with Smith’s choice of proem a poem written by random German Heinrich Heine:

“It is also said that these fools/ Upon reaching the ocean-shore/ And having seen how the sky/ Was reflected in the blue tide below/ Believed that the sea/ Must be Heaven, and in they plunged/ With Faith in God/ And all were drowned.”

The book is 600+ pages long, it’s got way too many names to remember and there’s a lot of parts where you’re going to have to decide for yourself what to believe but that’s the best part about history: In the end, it’s all just about story-telling.

Tales from the Refugee Center~2016

Today was my last day at the Refugee Center for 2016. Here are some of my favorite moments (names have been changed):

–Iraqi dude asks me if I had any eyeliner so he could fill in his beard. Is completely stunned when I tell him he can easily buy some from the dollar store.

–Being confused for months and months why the refugees keep calling you ‘teacher’ (even though I’m clearly NOT their teacher) just to find out they mean they respect you.

–One of the refugees hands me a pamphlet from Planned Parenthood with a picture of a pregnant woman on front. He has drawn a circle on pregnant woman’s stomach and written the word ‘like’ on it in crayon. He hands it to me, laughs hysterically then walks away without any explanation. I still have that pamphlet.

–Russian dude dramatically announces, “Without the jokes, I would DIE.”

–I ask same Russian dude how to say ‘sunshine’ in Russian. Replies, “I don’t know. We don’t have that in Russia.”

–Middle-aged Bosnian dude asks me something & when i reply ‘wasn’t me’, he looks me dead in the eye and asks me, “What are you, Shaggy?” (Please refer to Shaggy’s ‘Wasn’t Me’ song if you don’t get the reference)

–When me and different middle-aged Bosnian dude bonded over our love of Borat. Calls me Azamat now whenever I see him.

–Accidentally offered a Muslim woman some pepperoni slices. She smiles at me and says “It is forbidden” before popping 3 of them into her mouth.

–Refugee: “So, what other languages do you speak?” Me: “….Uh, slang?”

–Me: “Yo i think (Bosnian Dude) thinks I’m dumb. He just came up to me and asked me to point to Italy on a map.” Coworker: “Well, Meag, in his defense when I came out here I saw you playing with a pink balloon.” Me: “IT’S CALLED WHIMSY.”

–Bosnian lady: “Why do you call it macaroni salad? There’s nothing green in it.” Me: *face turns into ‘hit the blunt’ meme*

–Spanish speaking refugee finds out I can speak limited amount of Spanish. Goes to friend, grabs her by the elbow, points to me and says in Spanish, “She can understand us.”

–I’m looking for one Bosnian dude. Goes to his employer and jokingly asks, “Where’s your best friend?” BD: “HE’S NOT MY BEST FRIEND.” (later I’m talking to BD#2) “So, where’s your best friend?” (BD#2 points to BD#1’S office) BD#1: “YOU ARE NOT MY BEST FRIEND”

–Day after Trump was elected, I’m at work crying my eyes out and Russian guy is trying to comfort me: “It’s okay. It’s okay. I survived Stalin. Trump is nothing.”

–When the refugees came out and sang us Christmas Carols and my fucking heart exploded like movie Voldemort

–Bosnian dude and I bonding over hand deformities. BD reveals gun wound: “I got this from the war” Me reveals crooked finger: “I got this from playing keep-away.” BD: “Nice.”

–Me and Bosnian dude getting into argument about how there’s no way I can get AIDS from a vacuum.

–Me: “(Karen guy), I like your shirt.” Karen guy explains to me how he got this shirt going back to Burma to see his dying father whom he only met once and how he journeyed back home for the first time in years just to speak to him on his deathbed and how literally three hours after he sees him, his father dies. Me: “Wow KG that’s amazing.” KG: “Yeah…It’s alright.”

–One of my favorite refugees always gives me a round of applause whenever she hears me using Arabic (all i know is thank you and peace be with you)

–Karen Guy#2 tells me how he lived in a refugee camp and how he had to eat cobras and shit to survive. Karen Guy: “Wanna know how to eat a snake?” Me: “How?” KG: “You go behind them, catch them by and tail and (swings arm) WHAM WHAM WHAM. Against the rock.” Me: “KG, you’re so hardcore.” KG: “(laughs) Yeah…”

–Trying to tell Russian Dude at work a joke: “Hey RD, what do you call cheese that someone has stolen from me?” RD: “Give-it-back-cheese?” Me: “No, nacho cheese.” RD: “….Give-it-back-cheese is better.”

–When some Syrian girls your own age are bored waiting for Immigration Lady so they silently come over and start braiding your hair

–When one of my favorite refugee children comes up to me, randomly hugs me and says, “She’s my friend.” And every previous good feeling you’ve ever had doesn’t compare to that exact moment.

–Bosnian lady: ( to me) “You struggle to say ‘good morning’ and ‘chair’ but I teach you how to say ‘shitty’ and suddenly you’re fluent. What the fuck, girl?”

You Know You’re An American When…

…your car insurance is better than your health insurance (and you’d rather get into an accident than take a $1,000 ride in an ambulance)

…you had to learn about how politics really works from the Simpsons

…you are beyond grateful to have at least 3 teachers you actually learned from

…you are appalled and bewildered by the fact that there are people who spend anywhere from $6,000-$20,000 to become an American

…you knew how white privilege and racial inequality worked long before you knew there were terms for it

….the idea of actually standing there and waiting for food to be cooked actively pisses you off

…you went to bed knowing you were going to wake up weeping on November 7th regardless

…you can barely recite 1/4 of the amendments but are fluent in Spongebob, Simpsons and Family Guy quotes

…you learned everything you needed to know about religion from people different than you and memes

…you trust a meme to give you well-researched information on current events than you do your own newspaper or any of the Big 5 new media conglomerates

…you know or have personally lost someone to heroin/ opioid addiction at least 3 times this year alone

…you know well-versed in your local jail’s arbitrary visiting rules and regulations

…you don’t have a God but you have at least one celebrity you would fervently sell your soul just to meet

…(this is for the American ladies) you can’t trust any man twice your age and even the guys your own age you still gotta have make an escape-your-own-rape plan (just in case)

…you have to be in the mood for fruit but you’ll sit there and eat stale potato chip shards for breakfast

…you had to learn about the female orgasm from porn, how to jump start your car from YouTube and how to boil an egg from almost burning your house down

 

Comment below your own ‘You Know You’re American When…’!!!

Perverted Edgar Allan Poe Lines Taken Out Of Context

Who knew Edgar Allan Poe, the sad-alcoholic/ every Goth kid’s spiritual guru, could be so unintentionally dirty?

 

“Jupiter…rushed in leaped upon my shoulders, and loaded me with caresses; for I had shown him much attention during previous visits.” (The Gold-Bug)

 

“Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly—very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening…” (The Tell-Tale Heart)

 

“I felt that I lay upon my back, unbound. I reached out my hand, and it fell heavily upon something damp and hard.” (The Pit and the Pendulum)

 

“‘Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!—Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!—Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!—Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!—Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!’”

“My poor friend found it impossible to reply for many minutes.” (The Cask of Amomtillado)

The Only Book That Matters Review

Perfume: the Story of a Murderer written by German playwright/ author Patrick Süskind is without a doubt the greatest, sickest book to ever come out of Germany since the rough draft of the Guttenberg Bible with alternate ending (spoiler alert: THERE IS NO GOD).

WHAT? You’re telling me up until this point you never heard of Süskind nor of his apotheosis-level masterpiece? Are you trying to say you were one of those basic motherfuckers who assumed Nietzsche or that punk-ass Kafka were the pinnacle of German literature?

WHAT ARE YOU, A LOSER?

Name one other novel that starts off with the author telling the reader that the main character, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, is quite literally one of the most abominable persons to ever crawl out of an evil-infested vagina. He even states that he’s up there with the likes of Napoleon or Marqueis de Sade (That’s right. The guy so twisted and cruel we had to invent the word ‘sadist’ just aptly describe his fucked-uppery doesn’t have SHIT on my boy, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille). In fact, he’s so bad that on page two his mom tries killing his infant ass right after birth but Grenouille wasn’t about that life. He screamed his ass off until somebody finds him and gets his own mom executed for it. Yep, already two minutes old and he’s already got enemies AND a body count.

But that’s not even all. Grenouille just won’t die and not without a lack of effort on other characters’ part: The orphans at his orphanage try killing him, the harsh environment of peasant life in 18th century France try killing him, EVEN SMALL POX AND ANCIENT FATAL VIRAL DISEASE CALLED ANTHRAX TRIED KILLING HIM. But Grenouille ain’t shook. Suskind lovingly refers to his main character as a tick but it’s honestly the only way you can describe this motherfucker. He’s so subhuman that he don’t even have a human scent which is the entire premise of the book. Grenouille, whose name is French for frog, is the antithesis of everything human: He doesn’t know love, he doesn’t know how to die, hell he doesn’t even have his own stench. But check it. That don’t stop him from having the superhuman ability to identify every single stench that ever stunk and figuratively collect, bottle and store any and all smells into his imaginative castle of odors.

So what does he do with this remarkable ability?

He kills two dozen virgins in order to cultivate their scent, bottle up their essences, turns that shit into a wearable fragrance and sprinkles it onto himself so he can hypnotize people AND RULE THE FUCKING FRENCH.

That’s not even the half of the plot right there. This book has everything sick and terrifying you can imagine: It’s got infanticide, freaked out midwives, demon-seeing priests, long highly detailed passages of the 18th century process for distilling perfumes, murder, fraud, paragraphs dedicated to esoteric historical information, genius, hard-to-pronounce French locations, exploitation of genius, a mad scientist, pseudoscientific theories on how human feces is affected at different altitudes (I swear to god I’m not making this up), false imprisonment, mass hysteria, prejudice against gypsies and Italians, an almost public execution scene, a public orgy AND lastly, suicide—by cannibalism.

Hell there’s a part where Grenouille is so fed up with smelling humans that he goes off the grid for seven years, lives in a cave and survives by sucking water off of moss and feasting on frozen crows. BECAUSE WHY THE FUCK NOT?

Of course all of this is just background information to the real plot of the story and that is, spoiler alert, the fleeting realm of smell. Page after glorious page of the most beautifully written pieces on the basic yet profoundly indescribable trait of the human scent.

Now look me in the screen and name another novel that’s plot is FOCUSED ON THE 18TH CENTURY PERFUMING INDUSTRY AND THE VARIOUS SYSTEMS THAT THE GUILDS USED IN CREATING PERFUME.

Yeah that’s what I thought.

NOW GO HOME, ORDER THIS SHIT ON AMAZON AND ACCEPT PATRICK SÜSKIND AS YOUR NEW LITERARY GOD.