Required Listening: The Other Side by Bruno Mars feat. Cee-Lo & B.O.B


So far, I have spent a lot of time talking about what I’m not good at on this blog: first dates, first days of school, sports, putting on pants, etc. For a change of pace (don’t worry, it’s only temporary), I’ve decided to share a story that showcases some of my best qualities.

For starters, I am incredibly loyal (often to a fault) – my university roommate would totally back this up. That is, if we were still on speaking terms. Things kind of soured for us during out first year, after I happened across what I believed to be the beginnings of a suicide note.

Now, before I continue, I will admit it: I have a kind of, how do I put it delicately?-– I have a certain, flare for um, the dramatic. It’s not my fault — it’s genetic, and it stems mostly from my mother’s side of the family. Don’t get me wrong, it comes from a place of love—we always have the best of intentions, but sometimes we just fail a little bit on the execution, that’s all.

My favourite example of this is when; during Thanksgiving dinner my mother took it upon herself to address a question that had been on HER mind for quite some time. The dinner had ended, and the post-holiday meal small talk had begun.

“…now there’s somebody I could really get behind.” I contributed.

“Dan, you’re like our family’s own Tobias.” My stepsister quipped, making an Arrested Development reference.

It was of course an innocent joke (that I confidently took in stride), but my mother was not laughing. In fact, looking at her face form the corner of my eye, I could see something within her was bubbling to the surface. She was mentally percolating, in the same way a kettle does, just before it’s about to release…

“What’s happening here? Are you coming out of the closet, or what!?” She not so subtly demanded to know from across the dinner table. Silence swept over the crowd. Like a melodramatic western, we engaged in an immediate showdown of silent stern looks and fierce squinting. Until, finally…

“So, who wants a slice of Lemon Poppy Seed Cake?” She asked, backing down and changing the subject. Victory was mine, in a matter of speaking.

I’m not sure what gave her this impression. Maybe it’s because I live alone with an overly affectionate cat named Mama? Perhaps it’s my flamboyant personality, or the fact that, this past fall I successfully crossed “become a bridesmaid” off my bucket list? Whatever the reason, we’ve gotten severely off track here…

My point is, through no fault of my own (again I blame genetics) I have a tendency to let my emotions get the best of me, which means more often than not, I act without considering the long-term ramifications of my actions.

So, after coming to the conclusion that my roommate’s days were numbered, I took it upon myself to assemble a motley crew of his closest friends, and our Resident Adviser for an impromptu intervention. We waited patiently for his arrival in our cramped economy double suite. When he finally walked through the door, I sprung into action without pause.

“Marc, we’re here because we care about you…”

“What’s going on? Who are these people?” He inquired.

“We all have bad days– but killing yourself is not the answer.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You don’t have to feel ashamed. We’re all friends here,” I lied. Truth was we weren’t really friends, more like acquaintances.

“What’s wrong with you?” He asked.

We had successfully arrived at stage two: transference.

I handed him a now thread-bare photocopy of his suicide note. Simultaneously and by memory I began to recite it back to him– adding strategic pauses for maximum dramatic impact.

“Goodbye…cruel world…
I’m leaving you today…
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye…
Goodbye all you people…
There’s nothing you can say…
To make me change my mind…”

I noticed our RA had begun to tap her feet, others looked perplexed, and some were even mouthing the words alongside me.

Marc interrupted…

“You thought I wanted to kill myself? Have you never heard of Pink Floyd? This isn’t a suicide note you idiot; these are song lyrics…from The Wall!

Oh Boy. Was my face red. So we (okay, I) was wrong about the whole suicide thing. That was the good news. The bad news? Well, that came next, when after some personal reflection he asked this question:

“Dan. Why did you think I wanted to kill myself?”

I went through my mental Rolodex of possible reasons. Not sure exactly which one to lead with, I decided to respond in the only way I knew how:

“Who wants to try a piece of my mother’s Lemon Poppy Seed Cake?”