All the Hate Mail!

- an elan gale nightmare - a blog - a disease - a problem - a dog without a home

Why I Quit Drinking

I love drinking.

I love the way alcohol tastes and how it feels and how it makes me not feel. Or over-feel.

I love the way it makes people more tolerable or less tolerable and I love how it makes me less tolerable to other people. You find out who your friends are really quickly when you’re drunk. And you find out who you’re attracted to almost instantaneously. You don’t waste a whole lot of time thinking about what things mean in the morning because right now it is night and night is all there is and all there ever will be.

And then after a while it extends into the day. And then the morning. I’ve been drinking almost every single day for about 10 years. When I moved to college, I kept a handle of gin in my desk drawer. When I moved to my first apartment I made sure a dive bar I could afford was within walking distance. I became a whiskey connoisseur and had to try every single malt, every blend, every rye. I joined wine clubs. First one. Now twenty.

About two months ago I met a doctor and he told me that I was marching towards death. Worse, actually. He told me that if I didn’t make some serious changes my liver was going to fail and what I would experience would make me pray for death.

That night I drank an entire bottle of tequila. Because fuck that guy.

And then the craziest thing happened. After more than ten years of relentlessly shoveling alcohol down my throat, my body decided to react. One night, after doing 12 shots of mezcal by myself in an abandoned hut on a remote island, I woke up and my skin was turning yellow.

So I stopped drinking.

And let me tell you something about not drinking. It’s terrible.

The first thing you ask yourself is, if this is what it takes to survive, I mean, do I really want to live? Is this really worth doing? You have to feel everything and you have to listen to people and you have to act rationally and you actually have to be attracted to the people you sleep with. But you no longer have the confidence to walk up to the people you’re attracted to that you’d want to sleep with.

Not drinking is easy, actually. All you have to do is not put alcohol in your mouth. It’s actually not hard. Most people are doing that at this very second.

The hard part is not quitting drinking. It’s learning to do other things sober.

I’ve never not had a drink on a plane. Or with dinner. Or before bed. Or at work.

It’s terrible. It’s a terrible terrible way to live. Your memory comes back. Do you have any idea how awful that is? Suddenly you wake up every morning and you remember every detail from the night before. You wake up every morning and you feel okay! I’m not kidding. This is something I don’t know how to do.

And then you tell some people that you’re quitting drinking and they start telling you how proud they are of you. And they mean well, but it’s so infantalizing. People are congratulating you for not making stupid decisions because for the past ten years they’ve just accepted that you’re the kind of person who makes bad decisions. I’ve finally worked my way up to neutral and I’m being told that people are “impressed” by my newfound ability to do what most people already do. No, thank you. Not for me.

Everything about quitting drinking is bad. And almost everything about drinking is great.

I love drinking.

But I’m not going to do it anymore.

At least not for a while. I’m not quite done living yet, but I’m also not done making mistakes either.

Give a Goat Contest!

Hello Readers!

I’ve been thinking about goats today and about how much they can help others in impoverished nations so we’re going to do a quick little thing together (if you want) and do something nice this evening.

Send my assistant an email at and tell me your favorite goat story, your favorite goat memory, your favorite goat use, or your favorite goat song.

I will pick my three favorite goat entries and I will donate a goat to Oxfam America in each of those names.

Write an email, send a goat.

Write an email, send a goat.

Write an email, send a goat.

What a weird way to spend your evening.

Love, Elan

All Hail Insecurity

Almost all the greatest people I meet are insecure.  I can never believe it. 

With all their charm, their wit, their humor, their charisma, somehow they’re still insecure. 

When I ask them what their biggest flaw is they often reluctantly admit that they are insecure. 

Almost all the worst people I know are very secure. They’re sure of themselves. They’re confident that they can achieve it all. That the world is just a series of obstacles set into motion with the sole purpose of being overcome by them. They’re bold and they’re brash and they’re almost always really terrible. 

The insecure person considers his or her place in the world. The insecure person considers the people around them and realizes they may not be the best and that they may not be the strongest or the fastest or the most beautiful. They take these things into account and sometimes it feels good an sometimes it feels bad but they always take into account the world they live in and they modify their thoughts and actions based on external data, and not just how they “feel” about themselves.

And yet we call this a flaw. Insecurity. A flaw? I think not.

Insecurity is the best thing a person can possess. It is the thing that can make you relate to your other imperfect humans, make you strive to be better, and make you understand when others are flawed like you. And love them for it. And love yourself for being a person and not an idea.

Next time when someone asks you what you like most about yourself you should tell them that you’re insecure. 

And if they don’t get it, they’re probably really secure.

And you should get the hell away from them. 

High School Baseball Coach Loses His Shit, Curses Out Team [UPDATE]


I hesitate to share this, for several reasons - first, my Tumblr’s largely about sharing stuff that slays and is awesome; second, the content is potentially triggering, I shouldn’t have hit “play” on it but I did; third, I’m not sure that the people I want to address most will hear me.

Still, let me briefly summarize my experience with sports as a kid. My dad was a musician and and English teacher who didn’t follow sports. My stepfather was a White Sox fan and an Indiana native; sports were a big deal for him growing up in South Bend. It was my stepfather who signed me up for little league when I was ten, and it was my stepfather who spent time in the back yard with me teaching me how to choke up on the bat and throw overhand; and then, during the regular season, three years in a row, it was my stepfather who, some of you will see this coming, launched into day-long tirades much like the one you’ll hear at the link, eventually hitting me and, if she got in the way, my mom. Did I take a called third strike? That was the end of good times in the house for the better part of a week. Did my throw to Jeff Scruggs miss his mitt by a good six feet? I was lucky; I had good coaches, they always told us we’d done our best and tried to help us improve. But at home it was a different story.

It sucked. It ruined sports for me for years. A lot of people who have experiences like mine go on to conclude that sports are for assholes, but that’s not true. Sports are awesome and assholes are everywhere; there are no asshole-free areas of endeavor. Be that as it may, though, DON’T FUCK UP SPORTS FOR KIDS, YOU EGOMANIAC, SAD-LIFE-LIVING, TRANSPARENT-COMPENSATION-MECHANISM GROWN-UP ASSHOLES. If you want to scream obscenities at a room full of people, try picking on someone your own size.

Of course, many of us know from experience know that you won’t, that that’s the point: that you can’t. But that’s your burden to bear. Don’t coach kids if you can’t control your temper. Nobody cares about your commitment to winning.

There are more important things at stake.


Yesterday I signed into Facebook for the first time in a very long time and it took me no time at all to remember why I hated how people interact on that platform.

At the top of the page, the little prompt said “What’s on your mind?”

So I wrote what was on my mind and then I waited. 

And then all these people, all these friends, acquaintances, and so forth, who had CHOSEN to be a part of a network where they get to see what is on other people’s minds and CHOSEN to have me be one of the people whose minds they could see what was on began responding.

And it was unreal. Some people just wrote pithy little jokes, other people were somehow offended and wanted to teach me a lesson. Other people who were equally offended but didn’t want to incur my wrath just passive-aggressively “liked” the comment by the most outspoken offended person. 

No one actually gave a shit what was on my mind. They were interested in other people knowing what was on their mind ABOUT what was on my mind. 

Imagine sitting in a cafe and having a friend ask you how you’re feeling and then suddenly every single person within a mile tells you how they feel about how you feel. That’s what Facebook is like. What a nightmare. 

And here’s the sad thing. It’s not Facebook’s fault. They just gave us the platform. It’s our fault. 

We’re dreadful, self-loving, immature little animals and I’m pretty damn sick of it. 

What’s on my mind?

None of your damn business

I Like Your Skin

A few weeks ago, I took a trip to San Francisco to visit some friends. On the first night of the trip, we decided to have a late night dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Nopa.

We didn’t have a reservation and it was super crowded, so I punched my way through the crowd by the door until I got up to the hostess. She had frizzy red hair and remarkably fair skin. I had never seen her there before and since the world revolves around me, I decided that she must be new.

"Hi. You must be new."


"Cool," I said. "So there’s four of us. Can we get a table upstairs?"

"It’s going to be about an hour and a half. You can wait at the bar or I can take your number and call you."

I gave her my number and thanked her. 

"I like your hair" she said as I walked away. 

I turned around and said “Thanks. I like your hair too.”

"You don’t have to do that," she said.


"I just told you I like your hair. You don’t have to tell me you like my hair. If you like something about me you can tell me but don’t just say things for no reason."

She was right. I didn’t like her hair. As my friends and I waited next door at a dive bar, I kept trying to think of things I liked about this woman. I didn’t really know her. I liked her abruptness. I liked her fire. I liked where she worked. I liked the way she didn’t take a false compliment and the way she didn’t give a shit what I thought and treated me as she would another person instead of a customer at a restaurant.

When we got back to the restaurant, she wasn’t at the hostess stand anymore. Someone else took us to our table upstairs and I was pretty sure I had lost my chance to make up for my mistake.

But, as luck would have it, moments later, the frizzy redheaded hostess came over to our table with the wine list. 

I’m not sure what came over me, but I just loudly blurted out:

"I like your skin!"

All three of my friends groaned in unison. “We are so sorry about him,” their voices seemed to say.

Without context, I understand their concerns. “I like your skin” sounds a lot like “I would like to wear your skin, stranger!”

I shook my head in despair because what was meant as a genuine compliment (she had great skin!) was now some weird pregnant moment hanging in the air for an eternity. Seeing my friends respond with such resounding negativity must have read to her like “Oh boy here goes Elan again telling strangers he likes their skin.”

She walked away pretty quickly and once she was gone I was able to explain the context of my comment to my friends. They realized that I wasn’t out of line, but it was too late. The weirdness had come and gone and now everyone involved felt terrible.

On the way out of the restaurant, I saw her again. 

"I’m sorry about that," I said.

"You don’t have to say that."

"I was just trying to say that I liked something honestly."

"I know. I like my skin too," she said. "I have good skin. Your skin is dry. You should moisturize." 

Her coworker only caught the very last thing she said and groaned loudly. 

Now, we were even. 

Planes Throwing Debris

As you drive past Princess Julianna International Airport in St. Maarten you immediately realize you’re in the right place. Two beach bars bookend either side of a steep and idyllic white sand beach against pure, clear blue water. People drink Carib beer and order Sex on the Beach and wink at the bartenders as if they’re all the first person to ever order that drink. Bellies stick out over beige shorts and electric blue tank-tops cover brand new two-pieces bought just for this trip.
You hear a rumbling from the sky and a group begins to gather. Professional photographers, 20-somethings with stick-mounted Go-Pros, European tourists in Speedos: no one is immune from the romantic idea of getting your fucking face blown off by a jet engine.

The ocean goes on forever. The sand stretches about 25 feet or so, coming up at a steep angle to the road. The road is two lanes only, 14 feet across at most. Then, there is a barrier, and the barrier just says “No Standing! Danger!” Obviously, everyone gets as close to this barrier as possible. Through the chain link fence and barb-wire you see the famous runway, literally only a stone’s throw away.

I took a boat in from Anguilla, and when the shuttle driver asked me what terminal I was going to, I asked to go to the Sunset Bar. He asked me for a few dollars, which I was happy to give him for this once in a lifetime experience. He told me a JetBlue plane would be landing at around 1:15pm and a KLM 787 would be taking off shortly thereafter. He knew the routine.

We pulled up to the beach at 1:09pm and I saw the Sunset Bar in the distance. People were running wildly towards the ocean. The JetBlue arrival was early. “Get out! Go! Take your picture!” he yelled and I left my bags in the car with him and pulled out my phone and ran through the sand until I hit the spot where the most people were. I figured they knew.

People were yelling and waving, trying to get the attention of the people on the plane, or the pilots, or for no reason at all. It’s hard to tell.

I stood in solidarity with these people. Together, we were going to have an experience. The JetBlue plane was closing in, seeming to just grow in size as it hovered over the blue water.

We all did the exact same thing. We all experienced the moment in the exact same way. Your heart stops for a moment as you realize that even though you came here to have a plane head straight towards you…that right now a plane is heading straight towards you. It’s not a feeling you know.

Most of life is comprised of feelings you know. Mornings feel tired. Working out feels annoying and then great, in that order. Food tastes familiar and nice. Sex feels great, but gets to be more like food over time, familiar and nice. Most things you do for the first time you’ve already done, and most things you do for the first time you will do again. This isn’t like that. There is a plane heading straight towards you.

And in that moment we all lean back, look up, spin around, and watch as, only seconds later, the plane lands safely on the ground.

The jet engines blast us all with sand and debris and we turn our faces away and smile with our eyes closed and listen to the sounds of other people laughing.

It’s kind of nice. We don’t talk to each other, but we all look at each other and our eyes say “How cool was that?”

My shuttle driver was kind enough to wait for me and drive me back to the airport. He giggled as I got in the car and said “Everybody’s gotta do that! I have no idea why!”

As I checked into my flight, the woman behind the counter asked me if I had just come from the beach watching the planes land.

“How did you know?” I asked.

“You’re covered in sand. It’s very dangerous. A lady died.”

I settled into my seat and prepared for take-off. We taxied towards the beach and as we turned I could see the beach through the window. And I saw all the people waving at our plane. I wondered if any of them were the same people that I had been standing with less than an hour prior.

Either way, I looked at them and I thought “What the hell are you people doing? Who are you waving at?”

And then I remembered that they were waving at me. All those people who I was standing with earlier were actually waving at someone, they just didn’t know it. They just had hope. They had hope that there was someone on the other end, someone to tell them that they were alive.

Turns out, there was.

Every Breakup Ever

So, here’s the thing. Oh, man. So I don’t even know what to say right now. It’s like “what can I say?” Do you know what I’m saying? Do you know what I mean? This is, like, so hard, because, you know, I don’t know. You know? See, it’s like this. It’s not that I’m saying… What I’m not trying to say is that… Okay, here’s the thing. I just don’t feel like…you know? I’m just not entirely sure that this is kind of really… I’m not sure how to say it. You know when you’re young and you feel like you’ll grow up and you’ll know what it all is? And everything is so confusing and you wonder when you’ll ever stop being confused and you think when I’m old and I figure it out it’ll be simple and I won’t be confused. You know?
So, here’s the thing. I’m confused. It’s not that I’m not sure. Because I am sure. I am totally sure. I’m just confused, which is different. It’s like, you know, like, not like I thought it would be like, you know?
Why are you looking at me like that? What are you thinking? Just say it. Just say whatever. I want to hear whatever you want to say. Just say it to me. Just say whatever.

No. You’ve totally gotten it all wrong. I don’t think you get what I’m saying, you know? No. No. No. No. That’s not what I meant. Yes I said those words, but not in that way. It’s totally not what I meant. Yes I can see how you could’ve taken it that way but can you understand what I’m saying? Can you see what I mean? Can you try?

This isn’t going anywhere. I should go. I should just go.

Of course I can be confused and sure at the same time, what kind of question is that? It’s like you don’t even know me. It’s like you and I aren’t even speaking the same language. It’s like as if you and me are two different people to each other than we used to be. I’m not even sure we know each other anymore. I’m not even sure we’re breaking up with each other. Maybe our new selves were never even together, you know? And our old selves just drifted apart and are happy with what they had?

Of course it makes sense. Don’t be a jerk.

See? This is what I’m talking about. I should go.

Just kiss me. Just kiss me goodbye. Okay, but less than that. More of like a goodbye kiss that was like an “I love you” kiss and thats for our old selves. Okay, maybe just a hug. Maybe this whole thing was a bad idea.

No. I don’t mean that. I should still go.


Okay, I’ll spend the night but it doesn’t mean we’re not breaking up.

Yes, of course I love you too.

You’re hot when you’re mad.

The Hidden Victim of Argo

The other day I met a man named Simon and he told me a very interesting story.

Back in 1979, on a relatively sunny day, Simon was walking down Gower Boulevard in Hollywood when a car pulled over and a fat man inside asked him is he wanted to be in pictures.

Simon had only moved to Los Angeles four weeks prior and could not believe his luck

Within a week he was getting fitted for an intergalactic sheik shoot and was hobnobbing with some of Hollywood’s finest at a highly publicized table reading.

Argo was the name of the movie. His parents back in Geneva were thrilled at their baby boy’s success. High school friends were sending postcards. Simon even signed up for a frequent flier program, realizing that he would soon be among the elite.

But suddenly the movie was cancelled. He was asked to return his script to the studio and it wasn’t until 2012 when Simon saw the movie, also called Argo, when he realized he had been duped. Fooled.


Anyway, once Simon was done weighing my self-serve yogurt, I told him to have a really good rest of the day.

Panhandling On Cloud 8

When Bob saw those headlights coming right at him, he was really proud of himself.

Sure, he was pretty disappointed that he had swerved into oncoming traffic because he was trying to open a rather difficult ketchup packet while driving, and yeah it was a bummer to be dying, and of course the pain was sure to be immeasurable…


He was proud of how he had left his affairs. A generous life insurance policy and a well kept will would keep his loving wife Susan and his dear children, Loren and Milt, safe and sound for many years to come. After all, you can’t take it with you.

Floating on white air, Bob made his way towards the pearly gates and the polished gold counter that seemed to serve as some kind if check-in.

Patrick, an angel appeared from thin air with a pen and ledger.

"How did you die?"

"I was in a car accident," said Bob.

Patrick chewed his pen. “Mmmm yes I see. And were you good on Earth?”

"I mean, I think so," said Bob. "I tried. I gave to the poor and I loved my wife and kids."

Patrick looked over his notes, only occasionally glancing up at Bob.

"Ok, Bob. Seems like you’re in the right place. I’m just going to need a credit card to secure your resort fee and you should be good to go."


"Upkeep around here is very expensive so on top of homeowner’s association fees, we also charge a resort fee. Helps keep the streets maintained and the parks green. You understand."

"Umm. I see. Well unfortunately I left all my money to my wife and kids."

"What?! You didn’t bring any money? How the hell did you think you were going to live? What are you going to eat?"

"I thought it was free. I thought you couldn’t take it with you," whined Bob.

"Well I’m not sure who told you that but you have been lied to. I haven’t even seen a one-bedroom up here for under $1,700 a month in years. Do you have any idea how nice this place is?"

"But I was a good person!"

"There’s a lot of good people. We ran out of room for those a long time ago. This is for people who were good AND worked hard."

"What am I supposed to do now?" Bob asked, dejected.

Patrick pointed behind Bob and Bob turned around to see a floating sign:


"That’s where people like you go. It’s not too bad. It’s kind of like cloud nine, just less."

Patrick then handed Bob a hat and sent him on his way.

There was no pearly gate around Cloud Eight. He just walked right in.

It was pretty crowded.

Bob turned to the fellow next to him and asked him what to do.

"We mostly just stand here and hold out our hats," said the fellow.

"Why?" asked Bob.

"Sometimes the people on Cloud Nine drop a coin or two and we try to catch them and hope to one day have enough to move up there."

Bob thought about how his daughter was probably buying another pair of expensive jeans right now with money that used to be his.

The fellow poked Bob.

"Also, sometimes they drop cookies and we get to catch them and eat them. That’s my favorite. They don’t don’t cookies here in the cafeteria. Mmm. Cookies!"

Bob didn’t want to hold his hat up, but he did. After all, he was pretty hungry

girl got me all like

girl got me all like

Don’t Forget

It’s the first day of the rest of your life. Your body is aging and as your cells continue to multiply, they become less and less stable, constantly enhancing their ability to mutate and to destroy you.

Don’t forget that your cells will go into competition for needed nutrients. You can do all the CrossFit and 5ks you want but in time you will be taken down by something the size of a mosquito’s thoughts.

Every two lane highway and old railroad crossing, every syringe and unwashed piece of baby spinach, every time a stranger coughs, every time a tree’s roots lose the will to hang on…

Don’t forget that it’s the first day of the rest of your life. It could be the last. Every day brings your closer.

Be thankful.

Don’t forget to be thankful to the world that will kill you. A world literally rife with ways to remove you from it.

The world is like ocean. It’s large and it doesn’t care about you.

Don’t forget to pick a good place to have brunch. That may be the last egg you ever eat.

And then you might get salmonella and die.

Life is funny like that.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Don’t forget.

Here lies you: they never saw it coming

This post starts off annoying but I PROMISE it gets good:

As some of you may have noticed, I just made available the first ever theyearofelan t-shirt.

Why the hell would I do this? Well, let me explain briefly.

Many cool and nice people have asked me to turn my tweets into a book or into a calendar, but it can’t imagine why anyone would pay for things I already like doing for free.

But then I had a fun idea to make shirts. But how do I make this worthwhile?

Well, my friend Jac Vanek has a clothing line and she agreed to make some theyearofelan shirts, starting with one of my favorite tweets… “I Love Hating Things”

Now, here is the cool part for me. 100% of every single dollar I make will be donated to one of my favorite charities: Next Door Solutions. Not 50%. Not 75%. 100% of every dollar will go to help some really great people who are in a really tought spot.

Next Door Solutions ( is a great charity I have worked with for the past few years and their mission is to help bring an end to domestic violence. They help women, children, and men in need as they struggle with some of the most difficult situations anyone can deal with.

I know I have a pretty dark sense of humor and I’m not about to change that. But here’s a great way to channel some of that negativity into something positive. I love hating things. One of the things I hate the most is domestic violence, and together, we can help change a few lives while having a bit of a laugh, hopefully.

Thanks for taking the the time to read this. Hopefully a few people will wear this shirt proudly and help me raise some money for some people who really need our help. I’ve always been able to count on you in the past, and I’m always eternally grateful.

You are so cool.


How To Live

It has recently been brought to my attention that anything could happen.

It has been brought to my attention that we do not know what the future holds.

I accepted this fact. But then I started thinking about something else:

You could die at any moment. You could have an aneurysm. You could fall down an elevator shaft. You could eat undercooked pork.

There are a billion ways that everything could go wrong.

But, there aren’t that many ways that things could all go right. Not having an aneurysm doesn’t vastly improve your life. Taking an elevator normally isn’t particularly gleeful. Having a pork chop is fine, but not life-altering.

What does this mean? 

Well, I guess it means that over the course of a year, every single moment is potentially fatal. But, once in a while, just once in a while. a moment will surface where you actually can make everything better. Where you can change it all. Your job, your health, where you place your love. 

Those moments are really, really important. And when one of those moments walks up to you and slaps you in the face, you better pay attention, because it may be a year before another moment like that shows up.

And between now and then, a million moments will try to destroy you. 

Take your chances when you can. 

And avoid undercooked pork. 

It was May 3rd when Leonard realized that he could not sink.

On his back, staring up at the waxing moon and the few stars that braved the smog, he exhaled.

He closed his eyes and saw her words stuck to the back of his eyelids. They too wouldn’t sink. They floated endlessly, drifting slowly from the back of his mind to the front, and back again, again and again.

Life has a way of telling you what to do and then making you think it’s your idea. 

He let out all of his air and felt the cold water rush over him. Bubbles connected him to his past. 

Taking in water, he prayed to touch the coarse floor below.

As he ran out of breath, he came back up into the world and the world let him know that he was to be quiet. The birds were sleeping.

With deep breaths and wrinkled fingers he told everyone that he would be quiet and he would let the screams stay inside.

The moon looked down, winning again.