To say that I was a bit of a loner in college is sort of like saying Nicholas Cage is just a little bonkers and George Clooney is sort of a poon hound.

The truth is that Nic drinks goat blood and sleeps in bed of ejaculate-stained first editions of Spider-Man#1, while Clooney has used his dong to take the vaginal temperatures of every broad in the 90210 area code.

Vaginal temperatures. Heh. That made me laugh when I typed it.

For three years I lived alone and for three years I left my cramped 10x10 closet of an apartment long enough to attend classes, occasionally grab a burger from the Wendy’s down the street, and return home.

I didn’t talk to anyone, I didn’t look anyone in the eye, and I certainly didn’t invite anyone over to chat about the scholastic haps.

No one would have come anyway – mostly because I was using phrases like scholastic haps.

Back then I didn’t have cable and I barely had the internet. When I wasn’t working I was staring at the walls in silence, and when I wasn’t staring at the walls in silence I was masturbating while staring at the walls and occasionally grunting.

When I was done masturbating I would usually cry.


With no television and a sore penis from my furious tear-filled jerk sessions I needed something else to distract me from my sad excuse for a life.

I found that distraction in movies.

Literally out the back door of my apartment building and across an alleyway was the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Unlike pretty much everything else in the city of Columbus, the library was a place worth visiting.

Also unlike everything else in downtown Columbus, it didn’t smell like forgotten dreams and hobo creams.

Hobo creams. Heh. I’m on a roll.

The place was massive. It was an absolute wonderland of information spread across three floors and square footage of which I’m too lazy to do the math. A person could get lost in there. Sometimes on the weekends they would pack entire orchestras into the main hall and have them spend the day playing. There were gift shops and coffee bars. These were chandeliers and there were authors coming for visits on the regular.

Not that I bothered to attend any of them.

I was too busy masturbating and crying.  

There were even partitions between the urinals in the men’s room.

That’s hoity-toity upscale livin’ where I come from.

The third floor of the library was dedicated to “new media.” Keep in mind that this was back in the late 1990’s and “new media” in the late 1990’s was basically books on CD, those darn new-fangled confusers everyone was talking about, and of course, VHS tapes.

The collection of VHS movies was, in a word, fanfuckingtastic. Anyone with a library card was allowed to check out three flicks at a time. The day the movies were returned three more could be checked out. It was completely free, there weren’t any limits on how many could be checked out in a week, and while I didn’t have cable, I did have a VHS player.

It was perfect.

I had no friends. I had no cable. I had nowhere else to be. I had all the time in the world on my hands and I had a treasure trove free entertainment at my disposal.

At first things were great. I was seeing movies I’d never seen. I was introduced to Kurosawa getting to know Goddard, and becoming reacquainted with Alfred Hitchcock. I saw The 400 Blows for the first time. I snagged myself a copy of The Pawnbroker and finally got to see Kubrick’s Paths of Glory. I was falling in love with cinema in a whole new way and I was masturbating a heck of a lot less.

Strangely enough I was crying more, but it was a different sort of cry.

After a month of almost daily movie runs things started to get weird.

“Back again? Wow.”

“Weren’t you just here yesterday?”

“You again! You must really love movies.”


“What’s on the plate for today Mr. Movies?”

Damn it.

The employees had become accustomed to my face. There were seeing me every day and they were remembering me with their stupid brains. Suddenly they wanted to chit-chit. I was the weirdo they talked about during their lunch break. I was the creepy guy in the trench coat checking out three creepy movies they’d never heard of almost every day. I was becoming a mascot.

I was Mr. Movies.

I didn’t want to be Mr. Movies.

The moniker didn’t do anything for my already fragile ego and it certainly wasn’t going to do anything for my non-existent love life. I wanted to be Mr. Big Dong, or Mr. Fat Wallet. Even Mr. Nowak. I wouldn’t have even cared that it wasn’t even my name. Why couldn’t they just call me Mr. Nowak?

Mr. Movies was 78th on the list of the 100 Misters I wanted to be known as, right before Mr. Punches babies and right after Mr. Mxyzptlk.

In order to avoid their awkward glances, comments, and the pitied expressions on their faces I took the time to learn the schedules of everyone working in that section. I knew who would be there in the morning, and in the night, and on what day of the week. I planned my trips accordingly.

Three times a week – that was my goal. I didn’t want to run into any of them more than three times a week. Nine artsy, and sometimes not so artsy VHS films a week was still monumentally sad, but it wasn’t nearly as sad as twenty-one.

For a little while it actually worked.

“Haven’t seen you around here lately.”

“Where have you been?”

“What’cha been up to, Mr. Nowak?”

Fug. Well, it was working for the most part.

In any case, I wasn’t Mr. Movies anymore. I’d beaten the system. I’d outsmarted the library employees and I’d tricked them into looking at me exactly the same as they did every other pathetic, no-life sap that strolled into the place looking for the absolute cheapest of cheap entertainment.

With my chest puffed, back straight, chin held high, and three VHS movies tucked under my arm I headed to the local Wendy’s to celebrate victory with my traditional double cheeseburger, medium fries and a coke.

The moment I arrived the woman behind the counter spotted me and screamed from across the room, “Hey, burger baby! I’ll have your order ready by the time you get to the front of the line, honey!”

From Mr. Movies to Burger baby.

I really needed to find new places to hang out.



“Your reign on top was short, like leprechauns. As I crush so-called willies, thugs, and rapper-dons.”

Damn straight, Biggie.

Don’t get me wrong, those lyrics are a wee bit silly, but damn straight, Biggie.

That’s what  I was listening to.

That’s what I was listening to the day I nearly died.

I’m not sure what that says about me. Probably nothing at all.

White dudes in their thirties who enjoy an occasional track from the late Mr. Smalls are the coolest white dudes of all, right?


In any case, it was a night like any other night. The sun had, long since, set and I was enjoying/hating every moment of my nightly jog/run. The rhymes of a rather plump African Ammerican rapper were pumping through my ears, tickling my brain with thier lispy lyrical goodness. My shins were hurting because my shins always hurt when I run/walk.

They’re shitshins.

That’s what shitshins do.

I was in pain, serious pain. My shins were throbbing like the babyhole of a cat in heat. They were hurting more then Will Smith’s ego after Wild Wild West. I needed to take a break. I also needed to catch my breath, but I’m going to blame that on my deficient shins rather than my piss-poor athleticism.

Less than five seconds after stopping, inhaling, and trying to ignore the sound of my lower legs cracking, something flew past me. It was huge. Three thousand pounds of steel and gas, and gears, and hoses, and rubber, and leather and whatever else is used to make a car leapt off of the road behind me and took to the air. It flipped onto the sidewalk, steel screaming, glass flying. It smashed through a tree and a row of bushes, spinning and tossing dirt in every direction. When it finally stopped, it was just ten feet away, headlights shattered, driver side collapsed, smoke seeping from underneath the twisted hood.

Holy shit.

Holy shit. Shit.

Sholy Hit.

I didn’t move, didn’t even blink.

Amazingly, I hadn’t crapped my pants.

Suddenly, I was moving forward. I didn’t particularly want to move forward, but that’s exactly what I was doing. I couldn’t tell if anyone was alive inside the flying deathtrap that nearly transformed me into a racing stripe on the underpants of a poorly wiped backside. I couldn’t image how anyone would be.

Seemed impossible.

I was fully expecting to see something that resembled the crisper tray in Jeffery Dahmer’s refrigerator when I arrived at what was left of the passenger side door – a literal head of lettuce, pinky fingers instead of baby carrots, a scooped out skull being used as a guacamole serving dish.

It was going to be gross. I just knew it was going to be gross. It had to be gross.
Amazingly, the passenger side window was intact. At first glance, I didn’t see any severed limbs.

So that was a good thing.

While the door was a complete mess, the window seemed to be hanging in there. I leaned in close. I could vaguely make out the shadow of a person in the driver’s seat. It was moving. It was a woman. Her head seemed to be exactly where her head was supposed to be. Her arms looked attached, fingers still in place.

“Are you okay?”

She didn’t respond.

“Are you hurt?”

“Went from ten G’s for blow to thirty G’s a show, to orgies with hoes I never seen befo.”
Damn it, I still had my earbuds in. That would have been a really odd response from her.
I popped them out. “Can you move?”

“I’m okay. I don’t…I don’t know…”

She was shaken up. She was babbling, not making much sense. A light near the hood caught my eye, the warm glimmer of fire. Something was on fire under the car.

While I don’t know a hell of a lot about cars – nothing actually - I knew enough to realize that fire probably wasn’t supposed to be there. It probably wasn’t flaming like Bruce Vilanch at Harvey Fierstein’s sixty-thitd birthday bash when they drove it off the assembly line.

“You should probably get out, if you can.” I tried to open the passenger side door. Unfortunatley it looked like Rihanna’s face after a romantic afternoon with her man. It wouldn’t budge.

I had to do something.

“Get back.”

The passenger side window was open just a smidge at the top. I wedged my fingers inside, held tight and pulled toward me. The glass shattered a hell of a lot easier than I thought it would.

Leaning into the window, I wrapped my arms around the girl, pulled her from the car, moved her away from the wreck and sat her down on a rock. By this time, a bunch of cars had stopped and a small crowd had gathered. There were police sirens in the distance, maybe a fire truck. Some guy hopped from his SUV, knelt beside the girl and started asking her questions. Other people were talking on their cell phones. A few were using those very same phones to snap candid shots of the flaming car. Shadowgirl was shaken. Her hair was a mess, eyes glassy. She also seemed a little drunk.


For the first time since her car nearly wiped me from existence, I realized that I had very nearly been wiped from existence. This broad’s car almost transformed me into a Tom Savini make-up effect. If my shitshins hadn’t been performing to their absolute shittiest ability, I’d have been a goner.

That’s it.


The end.

Nothing left but a mashed up smudge of powdered bones and half digested pizza.
It would have been all she wrote.

The fat lady would have sung and the fat man would have died of complications due to his early-onset diabetes.

Some poor bastard would have been scraping the mushed remains of my brain off the sidewalk and picking it out of the grass for days.

I didn’t want to be there, anymore.

I wanted to go home.

I returned the earbuds to my ears, tossed the hood over my head and took off like a goof ball. I think someone said something to me. I ignored them. A jog turned into a run rather quickly and a run became a full-on sprint shortly afterward. The flaming car, and the crowd of people, and the tipsy dope who nearly reduced me into me a barely-there memory in the minds of a few, disappeared into the night.

When I got home I headed straight to the bedroom. My wife was on the phone. I told her to get off.

“Face to face, out in the heat. Hangin’ tough, stayin’ hugry.”

Fucking earbuds.

And so what if I listen to Eye of the Tiger when I run?

When she didn’t get off the phone, I yelled at her. “Just get off the phone!”
I spent the next ten minutes telling her what happened while pacing back and forth, unable to believe it myself. She sat silently, twiddling her fingers, never blinking and barely breathing. When I was done, she said I was like a superhero, that I might have saved that girl’s life.

Yep, that’s me, Shitshins McGee, shattering windows and rescuing half-drunk morons from flaming cars.

She also mentioned that I probably should have stayed there to answer any questions the police might have.

That part wasn’t very superhero like.

In fact, running away like it was the end of a Benny Hill sketch was so un-superhero like that I probably shouldn’t have included it in this story.

That part doesn’t make me look too cool.

Oh well, why change things now?



I really do love drawing. It relaxes me, it takes my mind off of things, and it can make me feel like I’ve accomplished something on those days when I accomplish almost nothing at all.

I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember and I can’t imagine that I’ll stop anytime soon.

Drawing has gotten me into trouble on more than a few occasions though.

It’s gotten me kicked out of class. It’s angered family members and drawn my attention away from important things like school, loved ones, and bettering myself as a person.

Drawing is like booze for me. It’s easy to get caught up in and it’s even easier to get lost in.

Granted, I’ve never woken up in a naked puddle of pencil shavings and no memory of what I did the night before, but still, you get the point I’m trying to make, right?

For example, in one of my grade school science classes my teacher asked the students to bring in something from home for an experiment we would be conducting the following week. He suggested that a baseball might work, or a basketball, or even an apple – basically something roundish - something that could be easily rolled.

I honestly don't recall the specifics of the experiment or what we were testing and more than likely this is because I didn't care.

I was a terrible student.

I was a worse student than Dr. Phil is a therapist.

I was a worse student than Casey Anthony was a mother.

I was a worse student than Dom Deluise was a sex machine.

The following week most everyone in the class managed to bring in something roundish, and something capable of rolling - most everyone, except my friend, Mark.

To put it bluntly, Mark was a bit of a dunderhead (yep, I typed the word dunderhead) and Mark forgot to bring something in at all. With nothing available my dunderheaded pal opted to try and roll his pen.

He failed miserably.

And I mocked him mercilessly for it.

The pen flipped and plopped and occasionally slid, but it never really came close to something anyone might consider a roll. It was a pathetic display. It was a pathetic display put on by a pathetic young lad and he deserved everything I tossed his way.

Just when he thought I was done making fun of him, I decided to make him the lead character in a comic book called Pen Man.

In no time at all, my little seven-page joke was making its way around the class. My friends liked Pen Man. The class liked Pen Man. They liked the drawings and they appreciated that it was poking fun at Mark.

A few of them wanted a copy, so I made some photocopies and sold them for a buck each.

Not long after that, they were clamoring for a second issue.

The character of Pen Man had become so well known that people started referring to Mark as Pen Man. Like nicknames tend to do, Pen Man stuck.

In fact, people were referring to, Mark as Pen Man more than they were Mark, which of course annoyed him to no end.

When I moved away a few years later, I kept on drawing Pen Man.

I don't really know why I did it. Mark was no longer a part of my life and I was at that age where selling homemade comics to people at school would have succeeded only in getting me beaten up.

“You like drawing comics, nerd? Then you’re going to love drinking toilet water.”

Characters from Pen Man spun off into their own titles, new characters were created, and soon enough my little brother (who came up with a few characters of his own) and I had created, Novak Comics.

I know, it’s a pretty creative name, right?

Well into High School, I was still drawing Pen Man. I drew him home. I drew him on the bus. I drew him in the library. I drew him at lunch, and I drew him in class - continuing my legacy of truly awful studentry.

I know “studentry” isn’t technically a word. Shut up. No one asked you. Keep your damn mouth shut.

Now, you might think I would have eventually stopped scribbling on typing paper in my free time and stapling the pages along the edge, but I didn't.

When I should have been soaked in booze and buried to the hilt in lady parts in college, I was still drawing Pen Man.

When should have been going on dates, and meeting women, and applying for jobs, and planning my future, I was still drawing Pen Man.

When I graduated, moved to California and got married?

Yep, I was still doing it then - at least for a little while.

Eventually I wised up and put the kibosh on the adventures of Pen Man and the whole Novak Comics thing as a whole. It was hard to do, but it had to be done. By that time I'd probably drawn well over five hundred issues - which is sad, terrifying, and just a tiny bit impressive – in a sad and terrifying sort of way.

For years since, the Pen Man books have been gathering dust in my office. The paper is crinkling. It's turning yellow and its getting brittle. Even the staples are beginning to rust. These things weren't made to last, and because of that I spent the better part of a year scanning and categorizing every single page of every issue. I even started to put them online.

I couldn’t just let Pen Man rust away.

Too many things go away in life.

Pen Man didn’t need to be one of them.

There’s a part of me that hopes Mark is still out there somewhere and he'll somehow stumble onto them during a break in his regularly scheduled internet porn routine.

Maybe, for the briefest of moments he'll remember how much he hated it when everyone called him Pen Man and he’ll cruse my name through clenched teeth.

That’s the kind of stuff that brings a smile to my face.



I won't be having any kids—ever.

You see, some years ago, I had my balls chopped.

I think it was a wise choice.

In fact, I’d argue that there should be a parade thrown in my honor for having the sense not to unleash another smaller, louder version of myself on the world.

I'm serious. Start organizing this thing right now.

I’d like confetti. I definitely want a band. A stripper might be nice too, but it’s not a deal breaker. I also want a giant Snoopy balloon, and I want a half-drunk Kathy Lee Gifford covering the whole thing with Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark handling the cutaways.

That’s right, dig that guy out of the mothballs!

Hop to it!

In order to prevent an accident that might have ushered in the end of days  and unleashed what I can only imagine would be the Anti-Christ into the world, I decided at the tender age of twenty-four to get a vasectomy.

A vasectomy is supposed to be a simple procedure—and for the most part, they are. They’re fairly quick and painless, and the recovery time is no big deal at all.

"If you have it on a Friday, you can be back to work on Monday." That's what they say, and for the most part, they aren't lying.

While there isn’t really any pain involved, the actual operation stands to this very day as one of the most bizarre situations I’ve ever elected to put myself into.

The wife made the journey to the doctor with me early on a Friday morning. She wouldn’t be allowed in the actual operating room, but she wanted to be there—you know, for emotional support and all that jazz. She’s sweet like that.

I think she half-expected me to feel like I was losing a part of my manhood or something—like I’d be more Chastity Bono than Chaz Bono when it was over. Personally, I never understood that line of thinking.

Sperm proves I’m a man? Really? The ability to create little idiot versions of myself is the single defining asset of manhood? Without it, I might as well slide into a pair of panties and shove some dude’s wiener into my mouth?

Now you’re just being silly.

We arrived at the doctor’s office, I signed in, and no less than forty-five minutes later he called for me.

The penis slicing service is impeccable.

The first thing I noticed was that my nurse looked a hell of a lot like a young Diana Ross—though I’m not sure if this put me more at ease or less at ease. Diana handed me a couple of pills—which started taking effect shortly thereafter. When I was sufficiently lightheaded, she gave me a gown and pointed me in the direction of a changing room. Once I was changed, it was off to the operating room.

I kept expecting her to break into a rousing rendition of “Ain't No Mountain High Enough.”

She didn’t.

"Go ahead and lay down on your back, baby."

Baby? That was a little informal.

I did exactly as sassy Diana asked.

I was down, and I was comfortable, the pills were doing their job, and before I knew it she was sliding a pillow underneath my head, which in turn made me even more comfortable.

This was going great.

A few minutes later, the doctor strolled in. He was a young guy—mid-to-late thirties with a very big, very round, and very red face. He had cheeks like Santa Claus.


My doctor was Santa Claus, and my nurse was Diana Ross. That’s a double-win in my book. This was going to be a breeze.

Diana rolled my gown up and exposed my most special of areas to the chilly, air-conditioned air. As expected, this caused it to shrink just a smidge. It wasn’t exactly the first impression I wanted to make, but there wasn’t much I could do about.

Why do they always run from the cold, anyway?

Does an Eskimo's dong do the same thing? Is all of Alaska filled with tiny-junked Eskimos and unsatisfied Eskimo women?

I need to find an Eskimo and ask.

To the right of me, Santa was fumbling around with something metal. I could hear some clanking. The sound disappeared when Diana clicked on a radio somewhere behind my head and some ultra-relaxing elevator music began to play.

Just as I was settling into the sweet sounds of a Kenny G cover band, the seventies funk diva wrapped her hand around my pee-hose and tugged.


She quickly unrolled some tape and began taping it my belly. I'd say she was taping him to my chest, but I'd just be bragging—and lying.

My eyes moved to the ceiling. Maybe this wasn’t going to be so much fun after all. Maybe I jumped to conclusions. Maybe I was a little quick to judge. Maybe I let Santa and his chop-happy helper lull me into a false sense of security.

A pair of hands was rubbing something wet onto my sack.

Okay, then.

Now I was getting nervous. I needed to focus on something else—something other than the fact that two people were preparing to slice into the most delicate patch of flesh on my body. The anticipation of the knife on my man marbles was rapidly working its way into my brain. I could visualize the knife cutting—and the blood—and the goop inside.

I desperately needed to focus on something else—on anything else.

I started counting holes in the ceiling panels. I needed to do something and there wasn’t much else available.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8…what the hell was that?

Suddenly, there was a breeze where there shouldn’t have been a breeze.
Did someone just slice open my coin purse?

I needed to relax. I needed to ignore what was happening and relax. This wasn’t fun at all. Why did I ever think it was going to be fun? I tried to focus on the music. That’s what it was there for, right? It sounded like an elevator version of "The Wind Beneath My Wings."

I hate that song.

Unable to suffer through any more faux Bette Midler, I went back to counting. I couldn’t figure out where I stopped. 25? 28?

Screw it.

16. 17. 18…what the hell?

Suddenly, I could very literally feel something being pulled out of my marble casing. It didn’t hurt—not one bit. I could still feel it, though.

Something was cut.

Then something was burning.

What's that smell?

It smelled like a fish being poked with a soldering iron.

Holy crap. It was me! It’s me I was smelling! The stringy insides of my hanger pouch was the fish and those sick bastards were frying me up!

A few minutes and a couple more snips, stuffs, and sews later, it was nearly over. The voice of Santa Claus rose up from my crotch. "Okay, Mr. Novak. We're almost done."

I tried to focus my attention on the ceiling and the terrible music—I really did. The sensations and the smells and the weirdness of it all was simply too much to handle.

I started laughing.

I started laughing out loud.

"Everything okay, Mr. Novak?"

I told Santa that everything was hunky-dory and tried my damnedest to stop from giggling, but I couldn’t. What kind of question was that anyway? He was in the middle of stuffing something that felt a little like spaghetti into a slit cut into my baby housing. Everything wasn’t okay. Everything was goofy.

I mean, I was voluntarily paying this man to hack up my freshly shaven testicles and poke at the stuff inside. When I stopped to think about it, it was pretty damn bizarre.

It deserved a laugh.

I spent the next three days walking like a bow-legged pregnant woman moments from giving birth, changing bloody bandages every few hours, and wearing a piss-soaked jockstrap. The entire time my balls were the same color as a rotting prune.

Despite the claims to the contrary, I wasn't completely healed by Monday.

I'm also still waiting on my parade.

Oh, and don't worry about the Snoopy balloon. I've changed my mind.

I want Mr. Peabody now.

Sherman too.