new video! yay!
Never stop shutting up, a mike falzone book report
THIS IS SO PERFECT! This lovely man did a 3rd grade style book report on my book “Never Stop Shutting Up”
I wish I could go back to 1993 and tell young Mike Falzone that, “In 2012 you’ll be sending a book that you wrote to David Copperfield.”
You have almost completely funded my book in less than 10 hours…YOU ARE ALL INSANE AND I LOVE YOU!
Once in a while I get asked to talk about certain aspects of romantic, interpersonal relationships. I was recently approached to talk about my opinions on long-distance relationships, for example. One of my favorite things about giving people advice about their love life is that I can say pretty much anything I want with the understanding that, regardless of what I tell them, they are going to do whatever the fuck they feel like doing. Love is a deeply personal thing, and most people really only want to hear advice that coincides with whatever their gut feeling may be at the time. Most of the time, the person seeking advice already has their mind made up– they just may not know it yet. And after you understand that aspect of human nature, it becomes much more entertaining to intervene in people’s lives. If it works out, you can be the guy who takes credit for your friend’s happiness.
I’m going to start this off with a fairly bold, blanket statement: long-distance relationships suck. You do, of course, from time to time hear those grandiose fairy-tales of how two people locked eyes in the hospital nursery where they were born, thus igniting a flame no distance could extinguish until they overcame all odds in a sixty-year marriage and were buried, side by side, behind a house they built with their bare hands in Savannah, Georgia. Yes, true love does exist and distance cannot deter it.
But it is my own belief that if you should find yourself contemplating a long-distance relationship, it is definitely beneficial to do so later in life. That is to say, if you are in your teens to mid-twenties, adding distance to the already baffling world of pre-love is usually a bad idea. There are always exceptions to the rule, and I realize that. If you fall into the aforementioned demographic (babies in love, just waiting to be buried while holding hands in the south) you probably identify yourself as just that…the exception. I respect that and wish you the best of luck. If you are happy, you are doing something right. Although, for the sake of my sanity and yours, I will continue this essay without doubling back to include The Exceptions. This essay would be at least five times longer, and I don’t think either of us needs that in our lives right now.
Time is the most valuable thing you have. Some of you girls have bags by Coach, some of you boys have Beats by Dre headphones, but it’s all fluff. Expensive fluff. Time is priceless and beautiful. Time is the key to the most powerful aspects of life such as our memories, experience, and regret. Memories are the things that fuel the bullshit stories that you are going to tell for the rest of your lives. Experiences are the overly dramatized things that actually happened in those stories, and regret is what you feel when you hear other people tell stories and wish that you had your own.
Your teens and twenties are a busy time. You have no idea who you are. You may think you do, but you are only beginning to scratch the surface. You are scratching yourself and it is socially acceptable. During this time you are going to meet a ton of people. School friends, teachers, coaches, parents of friends, extended family, crossing guards, whoever runs the Japanese food place in the mall, and all of these people are going to play some part in the story of your life. Sometimes you meet a person you can see yourself falling in love with (even though, at the time, you are only starting to figure out what you think that means). You then start to spend more time with that person and thus, limiting your time with others around you (the Japanese lady has forgotten your face). You have entered into a natural and often blissful series of events. Sometimes your blossoming love moves away. Maybe his or her gender-ambiguous parent finds a better job across the country across the country in Blout County Alabama, working in covered bridge restoration or your small town suddenly becomes war-torn, whatever the case may be, distance has been created between you and your new mouth-kissing partner. Summer nights spent gallivanting around the neighborhood have become summer nights laying on your stomach and kicking your feet behind you on the telephone. Even worse, you could be spending even more of your time on the computer instead of learning about what warm nighttime air tastes like (It’s delicious. It’s like hot chocolate mixed with the smell of freshly cut grass).
Sacrificing your time and experiences earlier in your life often lead to an assload of regret as you get older. You start putting yourself in a position to miss out on new things. Nighttime air aside, you could be frenching the entire block if the mood strikes you. As you get older, you could be discovering how awesome it is to be good at sex by using the very motto your parents taught you during your tee ball years: “practice makes perfect.” These are your formative years, you should be making mistakes and molding yourself into a person who knows right from wrong like the back of your hand because you have been to the top of the mountain and rolled, violently, down the other side. You’ve made mistakes, you’ve made girls cry, you’ve broken boy’s hearts and you want to be better for it. You have been thrown out of a high school football game for fondling your girlfriend under the bleachers. You have been thrown out of a bar for making out with a beautiful Dominican girl in a public bathroom (Related: you now know how fucking disgusting it is to fool around with someone in a public bathroom). Youth is a big, dumb, stupid, loud, party, where everyone inside is screaming at the top of their lungs and tripping all over themselves on their way to exit. Everyone is in a rush to leave and no one knows why. Long-distance relationship people are the ones upstairs online with their significant other, hoping the party will just quiet down for a few minutes.
But alas– there is no one piece of advice I could dispense that would be right for everyone on the cusp of a long-distance relationship. I’m happy about that. After all, who the fuck am I to tell you what to do? My opinions have been shaped by my life experience and choices that I have made while in the same situation. There are people, unlike me, who are not as interested in making the same kind of mistakes and taking unnecessary risks in order to shape who they will become. Some people mold themselves like clay rather than hack themselves into shape like a sculptor chiseling away are a slab of stone. There are people who were born to meet one person and fall in love. They hear the metaphorical party raging downstairs, turn, smile, shut their door silently, and are mesmerized by the soft blue light of their laptop screens. On the other end of their communication device of choice is another like-minded person doing the exact same thing (I hope). The world needs people like that. The metaphorical party needs those kids to make sure we don’t throw up in our sleep when we pass out on the lawn after crying about how the flavor of the week just broke us in two. Distance sucks even when you’re doing it right. Even if you are in it for the long run, invested and steadfast, it sucks to be far away from the one you love. It works for the people who embrace the world in their arms. There is a certain level of self-consciousness you need to acquire before you can recognize whether or not you’re finding yourself. It’s hard to look in the mirror and ask if you’re getting what you deserve out of life. Being so in-tune with how you feel will help you determine if you are doing it right. That doesn’t just pertain to long-distance relationships either. Get your everyday philosophy-type-bullshit game up.