I’m Sorry I Disappoint You

I could tell as soon as I arrived that they were afraid. There I was, a Jew from Brooklyn. In Japan, I may as well of been Michael Jordan. Everyone stared at me with eager anticipation as I warmed up. A lot of people came up to ask me where I was from. I told them I was from New York City. Yes, the world Mecca of basketball New York fucking City bitch, what? Oh yeah, I was the fucking man. I finished my stretches, laced up my shoes, took a basketball, and walked out on the court. I hadn’t been on a court for a long time. It felt good. I walked towards the basket. I stop, set my feet, adjust my grip, and take my first shot. A collective gasp fills the room. An air ball. The basket is higher than I remember. I shoot again. I shoot too hard and it bounces off the top of the backboard and back into my hands. I then sloppily go in for a layup. I let go of the ball and it flows through the air, right over the basket. A guy realizes the truth and comes over to give me some pointers. Yes, I suck at basketball.

This is a sad story. Probably not for you, the reader, but for me, as a person. In Japan, as a foreign American guy, there are many preconceptions about you. For example, I’m supposed to speak none of the native tongue, only eat hamburgers, be fat, not be able to use chopsticks, love coffee to death, and mostly just be loud and obnoxious. These are things that a lot of Japanese not only think about of Americans, but most white non-Japanese in general. I have learned to accept these things, and politely (and sometimes not so politely) inform the person gawking at my use of chopsticks, that I have used them since I was twelve, and I learned how to in Brooklyn, NY from countless nights of Chinese takeout. But recently, there has been one thing thought of me that really hit me in the heart, because I wish it to be true. It also blew out in the open one of my misperceptions of Japanese people. It’s basketball. They think all Americans (even the white ones) are really good at basketball. And I thought (key word THOUGHT), that Japanese people were pretty lame at it (since they are all short or something).

Yeah, I was wrong. Most everyone I have played with so far is amazing. I am totally jealous. And most of them are just as tall, or taller than me. Most of the time. I end up massively disappointing every single person I play with. But there’s something deep inside the people I play with, even after seeing how terrible I am, that think I should have some sort of genetic disposition for playing. So despite them knowing fully well that I am atrocious, they play extra hard against me. The most talented, and scariest players defend me, and my fat ass has to run all over to defend them. They’ll be like, “MAXIM, YOU’RE MINE!” right before we start. All I can do is sigh and get my ass kicked.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake this notion that I should be good at basketball. It’s a sad reality. All I can do is show them quick that I suck, sit down, and take the beating that my white ass deserves.

-Maxim

The Four Year Old Artist

When I was very young I took art classes. My mom would invite all my friends to my house, and paid someone to come and teach us art. I don’t know how old I was but it was probably around kindergarten. My mom recently told me that I created some sort of clay sculpture that the art teacher said was absolutely ingenious. She also said I was better than anyone in the class and I should continue to pursue art to nurture my “gift”. I have no recollection of this and my mom said that this sculpture was broken shortly after I made it, though, I can imagine how it probably looked. Judging from other pieces of art I created from this time, it was probably a formless blob. Yes, my formless clay blob was a work of frickin’ genius.

Warping back to today, I can only wonder where all my artistic talent has gone. Today at work I was urged by some kindergarteners to draw something for them. I drew an awesome stick-figure, sticking his tongue out, giving the thumbs up sign. I was ridiculed by the group of girls for the next hour (I get ridiculed a lot, by the way). They showed me all the awesome art that they’ve drawn, and it was incredible… well, for kindergartners. But these six year olds girls were light years ahead of me. They then took my drawing and ran all over showing it to as many people as they could. Everyone laughed at me. Then for the rest of recess they continuously snook up behind me and slapped me hard in the back for my indiscretion. That shit hurt.

So anyway, this 4 year old australian girl is getting a lot of attention in the art community. She has an exhibition of her work showing in New York, and she is getting offers up to 30,000 dollars for one piece. I got to say the amount of hoola-hoops people are going through to peg this girl as an art prodigy are absolutely staggering.

First, lets take a look at two of her featured works:

Get it? No? Here are some explanations the artist gave while showing off her work. I took the liberty to mark the parts of the paintings she is talking about.

"That's corral, and that is a corralSSS, and that is the dolphin waving to the rock".

"That is the river, and that is the boat with allllll of the rrrainbow...uhh. b-b-birdies going to their mommy. And thats the...errr. baby bird coming to the same mommy".

So what genre of art would you put these paintings in? If the first thing that came to your head was “abstract expressionism with a dash of surrealism”, you’re right! That’s what the art community is calling her work. Now take a moment and think back to my clay blob… or any kids art for that matter. Expressing themselves? Check. Abstract? Check. Why? Because usually kids can’t draw for shit. You know it’s true. How many times does a kid come up to their parents and say “Look what I drew in class today!” and the parents goes “Ohhh… what a cute puppy!” and the child replies “It’s not a puppy, it’s a horseshoe crab…asshole!” and runs away crying. I challenge this girl to paint anything that isn’t blobs of paint with glued on dolphins. Seriously.

A big reason why they’re claiming that she’s a real artist, and not just some kid throwing paint around, is because she’s consistent. The gallery director, Angela di Bello, explains that her children were painters as well. But her children’s painting didn’t look the same each time, they weren’t consistant. That’s why they weren’t real artists. Remember those girls who made fun of me today for my stick figure drawing? Yeah, they were pretty awesome at drawing but, the one thing is, all their drawings looked exactly the fucking same. They just draw the same things over and over again. Thats what  kids do. They like princesses? They’re gonna draw a hundred princesses. Princess needs a pony? Yeah, those hundred princesses are each getting their pony.

You may be saying to yourself, “Yeah, that all may be true, but these paintings look a lot better than my kids paintings.” Wanna know why? If your child showed an interest in painting, most parents would give their kids some water colors and a sheet of paper. This girls parents are artists. They’ve been giving their daughter unlimited professional paints and canvases literally since she was in diapers. They basically put her in a room with a canvas, paint, and toys and tell her to go at it. Tell me, what kid couldn’t do that?

So, one’s gotta ask… Who’s getting the money from all these paintings? Certainly not the little kid. Yeah, it’s the parents. Fucking assholes.

Anyway, if you still don’t understand what I’m talking about, watch this video. And pay extra attention to the little girl. She’s, well…special.