It happens every time I take a few "me days" away from Defamer around the holidays: After a week spent emptying a duffel bag full of five-dollar bills at the finest Tijuana donkey show I can find with the help of the first street urchin I catch trying to pick my pocket, reality sets in, and existential questions nibble at the edges of my rapidly smoothing brain. Is this really any more fulfilling than my day job? What would my parents say if they knew that the "business trip" that made me miss Christmas involved twenty-five cent margaritas and gawking at the obscene deployment of ping pong balls? How much longer can I convince the concerned waitress that the blood stains caked into my Santa suit are from harmless nosebleeds, and not from a face-first collapse onto the unforgiving surface of a trash-strewn alley each morning? Eventually, the answer to each question becomes clear, and the realization that I could be having an analogous amount of head-clearing fun at any number of trendy nightclubs on Hollywood Boulevard (albeit with a larger duffel bag jammed with a higher denomination of currency) finally gives me the inner strength to begin the punishing walk back to Los Angeles, back to this computer.
Happy New Year. Time to get back to work. —Mark