I'm very excited to be part of the second Taboo Tales event in New York City on Monday, October 10th. Taboo Tales is the long-running show from Los Angeles where people tell stories about their fucked-up lives. Come out and see us at The PIT on Monday and I guarantee you'll feel better about yourself.
Now, I'll let Taboo Tales tell you more...
We've learned New Yorkers are pretty fucked up so we're putting on our second show on October 10th. It's Columbus Day so tell all your friends to come out and discover this one of a kind storytelling show where we talk about topics no one wants to discuss in public.
Our BRAVE storytellers for this show will be:
Hosted by Vanessa Golenia and Kejal Macdonald
Happening at the PIT theater (24th and Lex)
7pm. Arrive by 6:30pm.
Save some money and get your tickets in advance!
$10 online tickets // $13 at the door
Want to see how much fun we had at the last one? Say no more. Check our event photos.
SEE YOU THERE!
Of course, it was a phone interview, since I'm not legally allowed to travel to Canada. But at least my voice can travel north of the border, even if my body can't.
A big shout-out, by the way, to the excellent writer Michael Libling, who brought me to the attention not only of Mr. Fisher but also of Peter Anthony Holder, who interviewed me last fall for "The Stuph File Program."
Listen to the CJAD interview below:
We talked, of course, about my memoir The Accidental Terrorist, about how humor and religion mix, and about the relative merits of Mormonism and Canada. Peter is a charming host, and I had a great time doing his show. You can hear my 12-minute interview segment below:
Or you can listen to the full episode on Stitcher.
I've always believed that I have a pretty good memoryin particular, that I can recall formative events and conversations from years or even decades ago in reasonably good detail. When I started work on my memoir The Accidental Terrorist, I made a list of incidents, events, and bits of lore from my mission that I wanted to include. The more of these that I wrote down, the more others I started to remember. My notes ran pages and pages and pages.
I'm now working my way through a revision of the book with notes from my editor, Juliet Ulman. The occasional query scrawled in the margin questions details I seem to recall clearly. I've started wondering how much I can trust those old memories, especially the smaller moments I could easily have misremembered or invented. I've started looking for bits I can actually confirm.
Last night I came to the passage below, which seemed like it should be eminently verifiable. The scene is southern Alberta, October 1986:
On Friday of that week, we were talking heavy metal when I mentioned that the only band I liked of that sort was Rush.
"Ah, so you're one of those," said Fowler. "Same as every other missionary in Canada. You know last winter they had a concert scheduled up in Edmonton?"
"That was the Power Windows tour. What a great show. I saw it in Salt Lake."
"Well, I was serving in Edmonton at the time. I swear half the elders in town must've had tickets."
I gaped. In my civilian life, I had the right to choose to see a rock concert if I wanted, whether or not the Church or my father approved. But for a missionary, ordained and set apart as a representative of Jesus Christ, the rules were different. No music, especially not rock music, and especially not live rock music. That was just handing Satan the keys to your soul's front door.
"Including you?" I asked.
"Naw, Rush ain't my thing. But anyways, the day of the show this massive blizzard hits. No joke. Shuts everything down. No planes in or out. Concert canceled."
"You're telling me. You think God wanted all those missionaries rocking out in clouds of dope smoke? No way. It would have killed the Spirit dead in Edmonton for a month."
I've told this story many times, in many ways. This particular version was written for The First Time: First Crime, an evening of readings at Second City's Up Comedy Club in Chicago on April 17, 2013. I read it again at Tuesday Funk #61 on September 3, 2013, and later posted it as an answer on Quora (to the question "What are you banned from? Why?") and as an essay on Medium (where it became an Editor's Pick). As long as it was available for free in those places, I figured it ought to have a home here too. So here it is. Happy Canada Day.
They caught up with me in the men's room of a bus station in Great Falls, Montana.
Now, the fact that "they" were after me might lead you to presume that I was running from the law, that the cops or other authorities were hot on my trail, but that's not the case. My felony was still two months in the future at that point, though I was on the lam.
I was on the lam from the Mormon Church.
The great folks at Essay Fiesta have posted video of the memoir excerpt I read for them at the Book Cellar on April 19th. This is a segment from The Accidental Terrorist called "Gluttons for Punishment":
(Damn, that was over my time limit. Thank God I didn't exceed the YouTube limit of ten minutes.)
Essay Fiesta is a monthly reading series that benefits the Howard Brown Health Center, hosted by Keith Ecker and Alyson Lyon. Please come out to the Book Cellar in Chicago on the third Monday of every month to support the series.
[get context here]
Gluttons for Punishment
The only significant way in which Snow and I ever got the better of Roper and Steed was with their nicknames. I don't remember which of us thought this up, but if we ever wanted to rile up the sisters, we just called them Doper and Weed and watched their hackles rise. Though they tried and tried, they could never come up with nicknames as good for us.
There were other times when Snow and I thought we'd gotten the upper hand, but inevitably we'd have the rug yanked out from under us. On one memorable occasion, we beat the sisters fair and square and still they had the last laugh, without even planning it that way.