Hold on to Your Nerves


I think it’s good to be nervous sometimes. Not the kind of nervousness and anxiety that comes with going to work every day, but rather the sense of nervousness that can be interpreted as exhilaration. If everything in life is blah, but you can still get some weak-kneed excitement, I think you should hold on to that.

I had a first date with this girl. Girl might be the wrong word, she was practically a generation older than me. A hearty Midwestern gal, she loved her job and seemed really interesting. I sat in the office and jotted some topics down on a crib sheet so I would always have a direction to take our conversation that night, should it ever go quiet. An elderly customer decided to steal a few minutes of my life and strongly suggest we get a cash only express lane, so he doesn’t have to wait behind immigrants and impoverished minorities using free money his tax dollars pay for and they don’t speak English, but as I nodded along I kept glancing down into my hand.

Hometown in Michigan… Guitar lessons… travel to Europe… exciting job she loves…

“Yes sir I’ll pass along your suggestion to the owner himself. I understand your concern. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.”

Could have been worse, he could have made my cashier cry again over expired coupons. The hardest part of customer service in a supermarket is remembering rule number one, you can’t tell someone to go fuck themselves.

I sat in the car across from the pub I was going to meet her at, listening to the radio recount details of a suicide bomber attack somewhere, or a car bombing, or both. I think they said Iraq. And as I edited the crib sheet in my hand I realized I was writing terrorist attacks and stopped myself. My mother called and I sent it to voicemail, and I cinched my necktie back up and combed my hair and dug a few shards of Viagra out of my pocket before heading in.

We had a perfectly nice time talking and drinking, and just like a midwestern girl, she was ready to drink me under the table. After a few drinks, the crib sheet itself became the topic of conversation and she was incredibly flattered for the effort I was making, and told me I didn’t need to be nervous. After dinner we went to another bar before she took me back to her place to make out and she had me roll us a joint. I held it in my mouth while she unbuttoned and unzipped me. I pulled my whole package over top of my boxers as she got down off the couch. She straddled my leg and put her hair back.

“When did you first think about sucking my cock?” I asked She paused. “About five minutes into our date.” “I was afraid I was boring you,” I said. “You weren’t.” “I’m always worried I’m boring,” I said, sighing and leaning my head back to stare at the ceiling. She wrapped her fingers around the base of my shaft. “Haven’t you fucked enough women to know you’re not?” she asked, right before kissing my balls. She was slow and sweet, pampering me but still enjoying it herself. And as she had my cock stuffed in her mouth I said: “No. I am perpetually insecure. Infinitely doubtful. I’m doomed to be totally lacking in confidence. No matter how many first dates end in bed, every morning I wake as a scrub.” It sounded rehearsed but it came to me at that moment, drawn out with sexual groans and grunts.

She took me to bed and halfway through a good pounding she started wheezing so bad I thought she was going to die from an asthma attack. The panic came over me and I was in my ex-girlfriend’s bed, holding her in my arms in the predawn darkness as she had a seizure, certain that the gurgling was her choking to death, certain that this was my last moment with her, the woman I loved with no look in her eyes, her face illuminated only by the sign of the 24 hour diner across the street. I had never dealt with this before and the 911 operator asked if I needed an ambulance and I thought of course I need a fucking ambulance and she begged me not to have paramedics take her away and kept asking me if I had the cookies, baby get the cookies, and she made with her hand like she was using a key and I asked the paramedics if this was normal and the guy stood there, with some smartphone or something in his hand and he’s just like, “you mean after a neurological episode?” and it was like DUH, and I pushed an empty wheelchair down the street behind a stretcher, and in the ER all I could focus on were these doctors discussing how they could possibly remove a half-inch thick steel cock ring from around this guy’s shaft and balls which weren’t quite turning black yet, and the young female doctor with a very sexy voice asked why they couldn’t just use a bunch of lube and the young nurse touched my arm and said my girlfriend would be ok and I thought, you’re way too cute don’t touch me please, and I called out from work that day and my girlfriend was consumed with embarrassment, and that was understandable but ultimately pointless.

But that was a year ago. She was fine now as long as she could afford her meds. And my date was ok too.  After I lay next to her she asked if I used a condom and I said yes and she said thank you and I wondered what she would’ve said if I hadn’t used a condom and I thought about terrorism in the middle east and I thought about her client’s client who was just sentenced to twenty-two years for murder in a domestic violence case, and it was probably self-defense, and I thought about how I never called my mother back, and I thought about the old racist bigots at work, and I thought about work, and after leftover nachos alone at home I found out Alan Rickman had died, and I sat there naked, fully erect, and no longer nervous, smelling like sex and queso, and saying to myself long live the new flesh.


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