My friend Michele is super impressive. She has a job that requires her to sit at a desk and take business trips, she writes for the music magazine Under The Radar, and she actually cooks herself food. Like, not from a box or a can or a drive-thru. And, for some reason I will never understand and yet will never question, she wanted to start a writing venture with me. We had an “editor’s meeting” at a cafe, settled on a witty blog name and some post topics, and were committed to the genius of this idea. Our blog was going to be a place for us to collect all the bizarre research we did and interesting music we listened to and books we read and experiences we had and things we hated. We were so ready…and then we proceeded to spend the last six months not writing much of anything at all.
I am tired of this. The goal of our collaboration, at least for me, was for me to ride Michele’s coattails into success. (If you’re a follower who has read anything I’ve posted here in the last week, you’ll know that riding other people’s waves is kinda my life plan.) I’m done with the not posting. Therefore, I’ve decided to do what I have always done motivate myself as an adult with social media accounts: I am going to publicly own our project and therefore invite shame if I don’t follow through. It’s a pretty healthy way to cope, I think.
So, I’m reposting here something I just published at our joint blog, The Post Curious. Please go check it out. It’s in its infancy and isn’t supremely exciting at the moment, but Michele does things like spend several days going to shows at SXSW, so it’ll get thrilling soon. Especially now that I’ve let you all know about it. There is no turning back. In addition, my post “Election Smear” is perhaps my favorite piece of all time. Unfortunately, it is really past its prime now and will make sense to no one. You should read it anyway.
Let me know what you think, yes?
Originally published as “Horror Show” at The Post Curious (how official is that???):
Today, as I walking to my car with some coworkers, I utilized my Masters in forensic anthropology, which has heretofore been close to a complete and utter waste of two years of my life. As we strolled by some nearby construction, I was able to say, unequivocally, that it smelled like human decomposition and I may have even said, “And when it comes to sniffing out decomp, you can trust me.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is something only a total freakshow would say. And I said it. I was the freakshow.
In my past life, the one before I went back to teaching, the life in which I was an intern at a Coroner’s office and taught courses like Human Osteology, I had many experiences I could file under “American Psycho.” I have macerated (read: made into a skeleton) an owl, I have walked miles through chaparral looking for a missing mandible, I have deemed a trophy skull found in a backyard shed “of forensic value” (or, recent enough to investigate) because it had a gold filling in an upper canine.
I have also been told a lot of horror stories. A lot. The most horrifying of all was the rumor that the filthy used water of the LA Coroner’s office is allowed to drain unfiltered and unprocessed into Los Angeles County reservoirs. That is obviously not true, but I still think about it every time I fill a glass at the tap (which I still do, because I have no fear) and that’s a gross cross to bear.
I can’t even imagine what special horror the guests of the Cecil Hotel in downtown felt when they discovered that for them, the urban legend of the body in the drinking water was actually true. Last month, the body of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam was discovered at the bottom of a cistern only after guests began complaining of low water pressure in their sinks, which they’d continued to drink from and use to brush their teeth.
Everything about this story is the worst. Even the history of the Cecil:
The Cecil Hotel was built in the 1920s and refurbished several years ago. The hotel is on Main Street in a part of downtown where efforts at gentrification often conflicts with homelessness and crime. It had once been the occasional home of infamous serial killers such as Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, and Austrian prison author Jack Unterweger, who was convicted of murdering nine prostitutes in Europe and the U.S., the Los Angeles Times reported.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that things are not looking up for downtown gentrification.