The Herps, Part 2: Judaism, Therapy

The last two months have been spent wandering aimlessly in a thick daze of compressed air and wanking to oblivion for momentary clarity. Professionally, I have goals. In fact, I have repurposed my parts to robot! But I am not a well-oiled machine. Creaky and on my last leg, I got bad medical news. I am softening the blow with generic, nondescript words like “bad.” My spinal surgeon’s handsomeness, charm, and deft manner hardly made the word “degenerative” any more tolerable. That’s right, my spine is degenerating. I’m a degenerate. Which you already knew. Medical records now confirm.

It’s a new Jewish low when you spend all your time panicking, wanking, (applying to med school, kvetching about your aches and pains), and reading Jonathan Ames’ books about panicking and wanking. But, fear not, never have I ever wanked to his book—so it is not meta. Unlike in high school when I totally cut myself to NIN’s Hurt (blissfully unaware that it was originally Johnny Cash’s Hurt), and was both meta and trendy. Before we met, Andrew inadvertently recommended that I read and revel in Jonathan Ames, lovechild of Philip Roth and Woody Allen. And I am shocked and appalled that none of my friends has ever suggested this GINGER JEW previously. You are bad, bad friends, you hear? It has been an educational experience. I’ve learned that compulsive masturbation is a Jewish phenomenon, synonymous with staving off existential fear. And that Jewish mothers are constantly walking in on you and banging on the bathroom door, nagging, “Have you eaten enough vegetables, today?! Have you moved your bowels, yet? Other people need to use the facilities!” I found have my peephole. Err, my people! When you suffer from insomnia, all words start to sound the same.

"inspecting the troops"--Jonathan Ames

“inspecting the troops”–Jonathan Ames

To think of all the monies my parents wasted on Hebrew School. For top-tier education, I did not even need to leave my body. I could have been given a vibrator and that skin disease manual that Jessica Biel’s character consults in The Rules of Attraction—an very real encyclopedia that exists in the flesh in a student lounge at Bennington College, a.k.a, Camden University. Rumination is synonymous with depression/anxiety—is synonymous with therapy—is synonymous with Judaism. (Hey, if you say that really fast, it becomes “Jism.”) Which brings us to my extreme ambivalence about getting fucked. By ambivalence, I mean indifference—and ambivalence about my indifference.

I’m so fucking sick of fucking the fickle men of NYC. I’m ready for retirement! To throw in the proverbial cum towel. As I was getting my nails done for my cousin’s wedding, earnestly I wondered, “Should I pay Asian women to touch my feet and rub my back? Because human contact!”

Is. This. Rock. Bottom? Please tell me it is!

During the day I have nitemares about SWAT teams busting into my apartment, surrounding me, shoving me against a wall—like I wish Andrew would. Except instead of machine guns, ALL THE PENISES ARE POINTED AT ME. Oh. My. God. Is there a detox program for sluts? A cock cleanse?

How do I put this gently: the thought of new peen makes me wanna vom. Is that even possible, that someone can be like, “Peen overload, does not compute, eject, eject, abort function.” If only I could projectile vom—release!

When I arrive in this headspace, I puff through my cheeks life David Byrne and break out the green screen. And wish some disembodied hands would reach out, grab and shake my head—because physical contact!

 And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

—Talking Heads

Because I am buying time before my inevitable doom, I have begun physical therapy. After my first session, triumphantly I thought, “Well great, now I can swear off sex! Physical therapy is sooo sexual. Sooo much better than the fickle men of NYC and gross porn. Who are being replaced by Frank the Physical Therapist manipulating my body parts. I like using the word ‘manipulating.’ Makes it sound both more clinical and sinister. Electrodes. Robolube. Fuck, I should have gotten off before I came here. When I get home, I’m going to undo whatever he did to me. Pelvic tilts: sorta like how I get off in bed when I’m being slovenly. Wonder if he can smell me…I feel looose.”

“Scoot forward,” he instructed. I dangled my legs off the table, then drew my knees back toward my ears.

Felt just like I was at a gyno’s office. Only sexier. And that’s what you call foreshadowing…


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