lol omg he is so 1337

Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.


Fri 15

My Life as a Prick (or: Forgive Me, Elke)

Max Apparently some people go through life without regret. They make mistakes, but chalk these up to experience and move on. I would like to meet one of those people and shake them hard.

I’m the other type: one of those people who breaks into a cold sweat at one a.m. because I just remembered the time in 1989 when I asked this girl out and she thought I was joking, so I tried to play along. In fact, now I think about it, that happened a couple of times. I probably needed to rework my approach.

But the thing that really haunts me is that one particular person has been present at nearly all of my greatest humiliations. This is Elke, who I lived next door to when we were both babies. There are lots of photos of us playing naked in the splash pool; our parents joked that one day we’d get married; you know the deal. Well, Elke grew up to be beautiful, smart, generous, and kind to animals. And I’m quite sure she thinks I’m the biggest asshole on the planet, because every time she’s seen me in the last twenty years, I’ve been rude, drunk, committing a crime, insulting her brother, or some combination of the above.

It’s eerie. I don’t think she’s inspiring me to these depths. She just always happens to be there, staring at me in shock. I swear, if I took off my pants, walked down the street, beat up a nun, and mugged a homeless person, I would turn around and there would be Elke. It’s like my life is a sitcom and she’s my running gag. Only since I’m in it, it’s not that funny.

I understand that we all do dumb things now and again. What I don’t get is why all of mine happen in front of this one person, whom I otherwise never see. It’s a little disturbing to know there’s someone out there with a perfectly rational basis for thinking I’m a scumbag.

I haven’t seen Elke for many years, which at least means that I haven’t done anything seriously embarrassing since then. But one day I hope to run into her again, so I can say, “Look, I know what you must think about me. And I won’t try to change your mind. I just want to say I’m really sorry.” Then I would probably barf on her dog.


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Robert (#2152)

Location: Berlin, Germany
Posted: 4689 days ago

poor u....

Machine Man subscriber Myke (#2316)

Posted: 4689 days ago

Sounds like you and Elke are part of one of a karass, a Vonnegut-ism. What your mission from God is is anybody's guess.

kitty (#1326)

Location: Upstate NY
Quote: "sweet"
Posted: 4689 days ago

Look on the bright side, Max. If you don't see her then you must be doing something right!

Kalle (#1278)

Quote: "Sex is herital. If your parents never had it, chanses are you'll never have it either."
Posted: 4689 days ago

kitty has a good point. However, I still can't shake the feeling maybe Elke is just in your head, your very own Tyler Durden(or Mikkelsen for the Swedes) That would probably explain a lot of things.

Narain (#824)

Location: Los Angeles, right between civilization and a desert
Quote: "NI!"
Posted: 4689 days ago

This is like one of those blog entries where the author is trying to be really cryptic and where the real story is infinitely more interesting. Of course, the real story probably involves some deep dark secret thought which Max isn't ready to bare his soul for.

This is why we buy his books.

Andrew (#1279)

Location: Texas
Posted: 4689 days ago

Maybe she is a sign of what could have been...Not married wise, but like you could have been

Tony Quin (#1310)

Location: Plymouth -urgh
Quote: "Yoga is NAILS"
Posted: 4689 days ago

So was she the one who thought you were joking then?

shabooty (#637)

Location: D.C./V.A/M.D.
Quote: "I will shake your foundation. I will shake the f**cking rafters. Nobody'll be the same -Danny Bonaduce ....& go visit my blog @:"
Posted: 4689 days ago

sounds like Elke is your pixie...

Monkeywright (#1732)

Location: Los Angeles, Californi-YARGH!
Quote: ""China is Here?" I don't even know what the hell that means! - PS - visit scenic"
Posted: 4689 days ago

I'm wondering what Max did that made him think of her. Blogging with a guilty conscience. You know... maybe he did punch a nun. Then he turned around and saw nothing and nobody and said, "I'll be damned..."

Yubi Shines (#1664)

Location: Canada
Posted: 4689 days ago

Maybe he punched and mugged a nun-hobo.

austin (#2462)

Location: rhode island
Quote: "hmmm...bleh..."
Posted: 4688 days ago

Haha. Yubi. Nice.

Queen Eve (#460)

Location: Dimensions at
Quote: "Sanity is a gift; given at birth, lessened by maturity, and gone from us by the age of reason. --Kestral Lei"
Posted: 4688 days ago

Or perhaps he just ran across an old photo with her in it that made him remember her and how shes been there every time he has had one of those 'Most Embarassing' moments. Or maybe he saw someone with a similar name and it reminded him. Or maybe he had a dream about corn. Who knows how or why he decided to write this?

Memory is a funny thing, how it can trigger the most unlikely connections between two completely random and different things.

Either way Max, I sympathise. But you should find comfort in the fact she isnt popping up, because that seems to be the karmic joke that you are having another scumbag moment. But be careful. The very fact you just bared your soul about this could mean she will be popping up very soon.

Lets hope the next encounter isnt quite so memorable.

Kit (#850)

Location: UK
Posted: 4688 days ago

Don't worry about it man, life is just one embaressing moment after another... I'm not sure if that's any comfort to you, but it certainly makes me feel better about all the dumb things I've done.

Amina (#2094)

Location: Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia, USA
Quote: ""Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea." – Sidney Smith"
Posted: 4687 days ago

I am so glad to learn that I am not the only person in the world who remembers random, minor yet horribly embarassing things that happened WAY too long ago for anyone else to remember. They keep me up at night, too.

Mike Reason (#2743)

Location: Rhode Island, USA
Quote: ""Carpe Diem!""
Posted: 4686 days ago

Life's to short to worry about everytime you ever screwed up in front of someone. What's important is that you swear them to secrecy.

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