Category Archives: Milestones

The Compassion Crisis

 

I made my first YouTube video! Wow I’m only like, 10 years behind the trend. In this video, I talk about the “empathy void” we seem to have found ourselves in lately, and what we can do about it in the future. Please take a look, and let me know what you think. The transcript of the video is below the jump. Continue reading The Compassion Crisis

On the Pulse of Mourning

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Instagram

You wake up the next morning, Wednesday morning, and you hope it has been a nightmare. The rain falls outside in the black Oregon morning like tears and you realize it was not a dream. You log into social media and see the grief, the fear, and occasional glib comments, the jokes about moving to Canada. There is little uglier than the gloating of uneducated white people when their side wins.

How did we get here? you think to yourself. I thought this was locked down. But that’s it, isn’t it? You had been living in an insulated bubble for so long with like-minded friends whose values were the same. You lived in Los Angeles for 12 years before Portland, and now having been in Portland for 3 1/2 years; it has been easy to think that the rest of the country could see through the charlatan peddling snake oil. Hell, it appeared sometimes like even he was incredulous about his odds, that he was there just to symbolically show everyone how ridiculous the system was. On election day, you went to work with confidence bordering on hubris. That evening, as you headed to a bar to meet friends to watch the results, you stared at your phone with a creeping dread and disbelief. Continue reading On the Pulse of Mourning

My Brother’s Keeper, My Brother’s Killer, Part 5: The End of Everything

I put this here to break your heart

A post shared by Michael James Schneider (@blcksmth) on

 

Part 5 of 5. To read previous parts, click here for Part 1.

It’s the holiday season in 1991, and I’m a freshman in college. I’m coming back home to Albuquerque from spending time in Los Alamos, New Mexico, with my first boyfriend Max. I met Max’s family there, saw Star Trek 6 with him in an empty movie theater while I whispered the complicated galactic politics to him. We secretly made out whenever possible: to this day, I have a soft, nostalgic spot for the Drakkar Noir cologne he wore. We get back to our dorms on the UNM campus, and I get the call from my sister: something is wrong, come to the house right away.

I open the front door to my parents’ house, and my life is never the same after that. I see my sister’s tear-stained face, she’s in the living room with her husband Bob. My Dad is stoic but barely keeping it together while my grandmother shuffles around in her slippers, not understanding exactly what happened. My mom is wandering from room to room in the old Victorian house, incoherent, apoplectic, wailing with grief. I know then that my big brother John is dead. This is what it looks like when a family explodes from the inside out. Continue reading My Brother’s Keeper, My Brother’s Killer, Part 5: The End of Everything

Life, the Universe, and Everything

 

Do this, exactly: Wake up on your forty-first birthday in 2014 on Thanksgiving, and finally feel happy, feel ready for what’s next. Realize that although there’s a lot you have in common, break up with a very sweet man who you’ve been seeing for a few months. Hunker down and make some fun art, take some silly pictures, spend Christmas in a snowless Portland winter. Spend time with friends, miss your family who you can’t see very often around the holidays because of your day job. Continue reading Life, the Universe, and Everything

Swoon

 

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Instagram

I was invited to give a 10 minute talk on the evolution of courtship rituals, both traditional and modern, for the JAKETalks in Seattle, on February 21st of this year. The following is a rough transcript of the talk, and the video is also below.

(Looks around at crowd) You are all less than 250 feet away from me. Haha, Scruff jokes.

I’m Michael James Schneider. I’m a writer for PQ Monthly and I write for my own wildly unpopular and awkwardly named blog. I write about a few topics, but lately I’ve been writing a lot about dating apps. In fact, so much so that people have started calling me The Scruff Whisperer. “Pause for laugh.”

In the fall of 2012, I found myself single and almost 40. I downloaded the Scruff app at the insistence of my ex. Now, I’ve been single for almost three years, I think I’ve become a professional spinster. I’ve taken the Buzzfeed “Which classic Dickens character are you?” quiz many times, change the answers I give, but I get Ms Havisham every time. Jokes.

To give you a little bit of background, what is this Scruff thing? A Scruff is a guy thinks he’s fly, also know as a buster. Wait no, it’s a dating app for bearded guys who want more Instagram followers. Wait no, it’s a location based mobile phone application that shows you a grid of available men who tend to skew to the hirsute end of the spectrum. Notice I said “available”, not necessarily “single”. I’m looking for something monogamous and long term. Not everyone is. Some guys are on there looking for friends and “workout buddies.” Me? I’m Alanis Morrisette looking for her next Dave Coulier. Continue reading Swoon

1973

I turned 41 on Thanksgiving and all I got was this busted up cake.

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This is how it happens: you turn 40, in the fall of 2013. You write a cute post about turning 40, about hitting parked cars and falling down for no reason. It’s funny, but inside you’re actually still a little sad. You realize the earth is spinning through the same space it was a year earlier and it’s the exact time of year he told you no. You still think about him sometimes, but then you realize that he probably doesn’t think about you since the three manifesto-length texts you sent him probably forever sealed in his mind that you’re a creeper. You thought your 40th birthday would be a blowout, but it’s the opposite: friends can’t travel around Thanksgiving except to their families, the timing is off. You have a quiet drink with a friend at a bar you now don’t even remember. You realize you’re in for a long winter, or what you later call “Olive Garden’s Endless Heartbreak.” Continue reading 1973