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.

1 comment:

  1. What? Dividers between the urinals? Well, that sounds pretty snooty to me, Mr Movies!