Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Vampire-Based Entertainment

Walt FruttingerFrom time to time, particularly when it is taking off for the rest of the day, The Awl offers its space to normal, everyday people with a perspective on national issues. Today, we're pleased to once again present you with Walt Fruttinger, an Applebee's franchisee who at this time has some thoughts about the kids today.

If you lick your index finger and hold it up to the winds of pop culture at the moment, you're going to find a strong current of vampire blowing your way. Fanged creatures are all over the place right now, and most of them are "teenaged" creatures who are "hot" aimed at hordes of teenagers who are not. So, what do they have in common? Both groups are sullen and brooding. Only the thing is, the vampire ones are what every teenager wants to be: dangerous. And, as previously stated, the vampire ones are also much more attractive than, uh, the real thing.

My question is this: is being a normal teenager right now so goddamn tough that you need to rely on delving into a world of some fictional, fantastical, blood-drinking powers to assuage or come to terms with the shitpile that your real life is? I hope not. Now, I understand that puberty is a multi-tentacled typhoon, sprinkling a hail of zits on your face, while leaving behind a wake of stray, unwarranted boners in your shorts, and awkward social situations that make you want to vomit and kill someone(s). You have some responsibility, no power and very little money. If you're a girl, you want to be feminine, but you don't want every mouthbreathing clod to glom onto you, giving indelicate squeezes to your emerging boobs and asking if you're turned on. And if you're a boy, you spend 14 hours a day trying to get a gym sock pregnant. School sucks. No one understands anything about you, and your parents are either drunks or squares.


When I was a teenager, there weren't vampires (unless you count Lost Boys and that was a Corey-laden bag of crap), and there wasn't texting, and there were not blogs and digital armies of friends ready to champion or bully your feeble ideas and jokes. If we wanted to revert to a fantasy world, there was a hill we climbed, a bonfire we lit, blackberry brandy we drank, and lots of ditchweed to smoke. There's nothing like the isolated bubbling of water emanating from a three-foot bong, as smoke collects in its chamber, with your thumb on the carb and your other hand ready to yank the stem, knowing that very soon every single problem in your life will disappear, and your only care in the universe will be pursuing a still-warm bag of caramel corn from the stand at the mall. Now that's magic! And no one needed to be bitten. All the of the answers to life's mysteries resided in the Faces of Death video series and also in Black Sabbath records. Even some of the lyrics of Dennis DeYoung of STYX.

Here's another thing. I was called "ButtFrutt" for most of my tenure in high school. So I know something about being an ostracized loser. I wrestled in the heavyweight class and someone soiled my uniform with a melted Zagnut candy bar in the crotch on a road trip. They put the chocolate bar right in the taint of the suit, and then put my gymbag on one of the bus's heaters.

"Here, Walt. Your tights will be warm for the match."

"Thanks, friend."

So, upon its discovery, I was given Gregg Curtis's 144-lb-class unitard, after he had hexed it, by losing his match (he was fond of holding up both of his hands and wincing in the direction of his opponent once the ref got things under way), and it was dripping with sweat, and me being 175-lb, and a bit too big for it, I promptly split the "ass" of the suit wide open when I went for a Greco hammerlock on my opponent. The scorekeeper was drinking a Rondo pop at the time and all I remember was seeing it shoot in long arcs from his nostrils. It was a terrible bus ride back to Bozeman, and not because I had to forfeit my match. Thank God there were no digital cameras or Facebook photo journals to capture the humiliation, although I was not 18 and so whomever posted an image like that could have been subject to child porn laws and I might have made a killing in a lawsuit. Fruttinger v. Board of Ed or something.

My point is, did I get home, cry, and then race out and see a vampire movie? Or bury myself in some book about some fangy fuckers exacting some revenge for the existential pain experienced by getting hair on their privates? No. I took a giant pinch of Skoal chewing tobacco, pleasured myself, did four swatters of some ganja that a friend's older brother had procured in Boulder, and then rode my ten speed over the arcade and put my quarters up on the Dig Dug machine and waited for someone to tell me where the keg party was.

It was along wait, because I didn't have many friends, and the ones I did spread the ButtFrutt story like wildfire. And social gatherings consisted of people mooning me, or re-enacting my wrestling match, and kids from other schools drawing obscene pictures on bed sheets and holding them up at future wrestling matches. But still. I didn't need a really intense vampire story. Kids were more into dragons then, I guess. And since there weren't real fire-breathing dragons, of course, I quietly took it upon myself to capture a little bit of their power, when I later burned down a dozen horse barns in the area. And also a grocery store. And a florist's shop. But a lot of that is 'cause I was on drugs and listening to heavy metal. But I felt better. Don't you see my point? I wasn't some moody little fucker.

Previously: Health Care for Everyone

51 Comments / Post A Comment

HiredGoons (#603)

Is this seriously the last post of the day CUZ I WILL CUT A BITCH!!!

Tuna Surprise (#573)

I would stay and keep you company but I've got a plane to catch. To Amsterdam, bitches! Have fun in snooze York. Enjoy your parade and bone dry turkey!

beingiseasy (#1,735)

Amsterdam! Check out Siberie Coffeeshop on Brouwersgracht between Singel and Herengracht. Fantastic place for a spliff on a rainy day.

HiredGoons (#603)

Spliff? Is that some sort of flavored coffee?

beingiseasy (#1,735)

it's cafe au lait with a fine hint of depravity

Asswipe. (<–joking!)

I am here for another 90 minutes. :(

belltolls (#184)

"All of the answers to life’s mysteries resided in the Faces of Death video series and also in Black Sabbath records. Even some of the lyrics of Dennis DeYoung of STYX."

Well, in Mr. Roboto, yes.

mathnet (#27)

Read my middle finger. VERY SLOWLY.

mathnet (#27)

Ha ha I am kidding! I give thanks, this weekend, for the LAWLS.

BrendanM (#2,350)

Nice touch with the photo. Added a healthy creepiness to the whole thing.

I am glad to see him using it again. The last time Walt posted someone got all up in his grill about the provenance of his photo. Something about Walt being a sicko or some such thing.

roboloki (#1,724)

who cropped this mug shot?

mathnet (#27)

Anybody have a worse Thanksgiving dinner planned?

Chestnut stuffing (gluten-free for the Celiac-diseased mutant)

Frozen succotash instead of homemade spinach casserole (lactose-free for the intolerant)

Gluten-free, low-sodium gravy from a jar (for the mutant, the heart-weak and the vegetarian)

Benecol instead of butter (for the cholesterol-repentant)

Caesar salad with fat-free dressing (for the weight-loss-delusional)

Wine in shot-glass-sized "goblets"

Peeled-naked, boiled, unsalted, un-in-any-way-seasoned, Benecol-ed, fat-free-milk-ed, electric-mixer-ed potatoes (for those who hate happiness)

Sugar-free popsicles in a cup THIS IS MAKING ME SO SO SAD

All my friends are out of town and my family is 2,000 – 5,000 miles away. I might cook lobster for myself tomorrow or maybe a fucking steak (maybe both!), catch up on some DVDs that have been sitting in their shrink wrap since for ever. So, on other words, no.

mathnet (#27)

I will be being you in my brain.

Ok but sometime during the day I am going hiking. So be prepared to be relaxed in a good kind of tired way.

sox (#652)

No, but the desert person tried to say jell-o was worthy. So…guess I'm making some pies?

sox (#652)


belltolls (#184)

Are you cooking in a hospital?

mathnet (#27)

A mental one! Called My Family!

garge (#736)

I will be having:
Mimosas, stuffing, onion jam, and Mad Men Season 3
But! I am lonely and depressed, so I think we are tied.

mathnet (#27)

[knowing look]

garge (#736)

Also, what's up with the alcohol rationing? Calorie counters or vaguely-alcoholics?

HiredGoons (#603)

^ good name for a shoe-gaze band.

mathnet (#27)

Neither! My mother swears they're NORMAL-SIZED WINE GLASSES from 1966. I mean, I'm exaggerating, but only slightly! And not only are the dimensions midget-y, but the glass that the glass is made of is really thick, so in volume? You get a drop. Maybe they're supposed to be for sherry or some kind of liquer or something?

Mathnet, 1966 was before wine was popular in the US and people did not know who to drink it. Buy mom a new set of wine glasses for whatever winter holiday you celebrate.

hockeymom (#143)

I wish I could have you all over to our place.
It will be EXACTLY like a Norman Rockwell painting except for one tiny addition.
My cousin is a vampire.
(which is how I can tie this post the above column).

I am not kidding.
She's also an ex/or maybe current-heroin addict, but mainly, she's a vampire.
She's filed her teeth down, dyed her hair black, she sleeps in a coffin and her ex-boyfriend was a "phlebotomist". She's published vampire related poetry, been the topic of a few vampire related articles in magazines and reached the apex of her fame in USA Today when she crashed Willie Brown's inaguaration party one year. I think she crashed it as a stripper, not a vampire…though she may have been a combination of both at the time. This is all true.

She is also my daughter's favorite relative, because she reads the kids tarot cards and tells them stories about their futures. She's smart and funny and every year she shows up, is kind of a miracle because it means she's still alive.

Anyway, if she shows up this year, we will no doubt talk about the "Thanksgiving Bunny". When we were all kids, our family went to visit her family for the holiday. She had a pet Bunny, who had many baby bunnies. Bunny had fleas, which was NOT OK with my mother. So my mother bought Bunny a flea collar. Which Bunny ate, which prompted Bunny to go insane and eat her own children. Which my cousin witnessed and not shockingly, made her extremely angry at my mother. So when Thanksgiving dinner rolled around that day, my cousin (who was about eight at the time) picked up a lamp at threw it at my mother. It beaned mom straight on the head, she fell over (not dead) and that was the end of dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

HiredGoons (#603)

I want to hang out with YOUR family!

I think that beats out ALL Thanksgiving stories I have ever heard in my entire life. Loves it!

garge (#736)

Thanks for the story, Mom, and I hope you and Vamp have a lovely TG. Tell her I would totally trade for a copy of her dental x-rays!


Maevemealone (#968)

I have never read of a worse, less appetizing menu ever. It gives my stomach the lurches just reading it. All my condolences as I eat my artichoke spinach Parmesan dip. I was not invited to make pies this year…

HiredGoons (#603)

He who besmirches 'The Lost Boys' knoweth not of what he speaketh.

beingiseasy (#1,735)

just watched "let the right one in". it assuaged my inner 12 year old angst and was deliciously grotesque. oh, and it's Swedish involving only Swedes as actors: heyyy

Hey, this is certifiably incredible.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Christ Walt. You're only 41? Montana will fuck up a guy's skin, eh?

zidaane (#373)


hunterw (#2,353)

walt looks an awful lot like the BTK killer

PandaEyes (#772)

Best one yet. I thank you.

Now that's magic!

petejayhawk (#1,249)

I call bullshit. 175 lb. isn't heavyweight.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

(Heavyweight is 275, in case you were wondering. Typo?)

lbf (#2,343)

I think teenage vampires are leotarded too, but if I wanted to hear some dude's high school sob story I'd subscribe to "Ira Glass After Hours – Too Hot For TAL!" or something.

roboloki (#1,724)

reading this makes me want to burn down an applebees

BoHan (#29)

Walt is growing on me. Fuck him. Now I'm off to Applebee's for a Family Thanksgiving.

missdelite (#625)

Hey, Buttfrutt!

Mar (#2,357)

@mathnet: Jesus Christ. But-

*just because the stuffing is gluten-free doesn't mean you can't pour fatty turkey drippings all over it, correct? And bake it until it's crispy and delicious?

*Why does the succotash have to be frozen? Why can't fresh squash be coated in olive oil and rosemary and garlic and then roasted? It would still be vegan. Hell, you could toss the vegetables with bacon and it would still be dairy-free.

*Jarred gravy is gross. Why can't there be regular homemade gravy for the regulars and interesting sauces for the gluten-free, dairy-free, and the heart weak? What about mint sauce? Or parsley puree? Or chutney? Hell, chestnut pesto? All of these are fairly vegan/gluten-free/heart-smart, but they have the advantage of not tasting like shit.

*Why can't you have Benecol and butter on the table? Or regular dressing and Caesar dressing? Also, p.s., but lots of kinds of fat are good for you. Using olive oil to make dressing or enrich the potatoes is perfectly okay.

*Don't know about the potatoes, but if there is salt and pepper on the table, plus maybe some butter you can smuggle in, they could be doctored.

*Sugar-free popsicles–why not high-quality fruit and cheese instead (cheese in tiny portions.) Apples and pears are good right now, as are satsumas and some other citrus. Plus you can cut them up in sweet patterns to make a platter that looks appetizing instead of depressing. Add some Brie and goat cheese and you're good to go.

Mindpowered (#948)

What? No post on Black Friday?

Are you all sleeping off the vodka, tryptophan, and cigarettes?

roboloki (#1,724)

walt is sooo team edward.

Faces of

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