Read An Excerpt From Aaron Karo’s Novel, “Lexapros and Cons”
April is a big month for comedian, ruminator, and author Aaron Karo as he’ll bookend the month with two releases. First on April 10th Karo will release his latest book, Lexapros and Cons. Karo has written books in the past but this will be his first foray into a novel with a fictionalized story about Chuck Taylor, a high school outcast.
At the end of the month on April 30th, Karo will then release his third stand-up comedy album, I Need To Tell You Something which he recorded in NYC’s Grammercy Theatre.
Want to get a taste of Karo’s novel? Here’s an excerpt from it.
In the past year, I masturbated exactly 468 times. That’s an average of 9 times a week and 1.28 per day. I’m not sure what impresses me more, though—the fact that I jerk off so much, or the fact that I actually kept a running tally for an entire year. But I did. On a growing stack of Post-its in the drawer of my nightstand. Jerk off, make a note of it, go to sleep, routine.
The thing is, routines make up a huge part of my life. Okay, well, maybe “routines” isn’t the right word. I know the right word now, but for a while I didn’t. Basically what happened was that on January 1st of last year, I jerked off. For some unknown, unexplainable reason, I thought to myself, I wonder how many times I do this in a year? Of course, the proper thought process for a typical, red-blooded teenager would be, I should get a girlfriend, that way I won’t have to jerk off so much. But for whatever reason that’s not the first thought that popped into my head.
My problem wasn’t January 1st, though, it was January 2nd, when I jerked off again, and then made a note of it. Once I start doing something, no matter how idiotic, I can’t stop. It’s all I can think about. I tried to halt the tally in mid-March but then I couldn’t sleep in that post-wank, pre-checkmark state, thinking, Why not just keep the list going? You’ve made it so far! Then I would make the tally, feel better, and then get up to pee. I also pee a lot.
The weird thing about all my “routines” is that I’m acutely aware of how crazy they are. It’s not normal to get up to pee fifteen times before going to bed. I know I just peed, there could not possibly be any more urine in my bladder. I’m not gonna piss the bed; everything will be fine. But then I start to think about it until I can’t help jumping out of bed and going to the bathroom. It’s like if you start thinking about swallowing or breathing or blinking. Then that becomes the only thing you can think about. But eventually you forget. That’s like me and peeing, except I never forget and it happens every single night. So I pee a lot.
I’ve got a few other bad “habits.” The stove—well, the stove is a fucking nightmare. If I don’t check the burner thingies, I’m convinced the house is gonna burn down with me, my sister, and my parents inside. When the stove is on, a little light goes on to alert you. But what if the light breaks? There are four burner thingies; you could theoretically walk past the stove and not realize that one of the knobs wasn’t set to Off. Then, let’s say a dish towel fell off the refrigerator handle (which is all the way across the kitchen, but let’s just say), it landed on the burner, caught fire, and the entire Taylor family died in a horrible burner-thingy accident. I’m consumed by this thought. So I check the burners and the knobs by hand. Over and over. Several times a day. My parents barely even use the stove. I masturbate more than they cook.
The thing that really got me, though, was the hand washing. That’s when I started to think, Man, maybe you have a problem. If my hands are dirty, I absolutely have to wash them. But my definition of dirty and your definition of dirty are probably very different. You probably wash your hands after you eat chicken wings or take a shit. I must wash my hands after touching animals, small children, public mailboxes, elevator buttons, money (especially coins), other people’s hands, all food (plus salt, pepper, and condiments), and anything I consider “natural” (grass, dirt, wood, etc.). I wash my hands a lot. Sometimes it’s the only thing I can think about.
Like I said, the hand washing is what first got me. If you Google “I keep track of how often I masturbate,” you’re not gonna get a lot of hits. Well, you’ll get a boatload of hits—just not anything relevant or appropriate to be displayed in a high school computer lab. But if you Google “I can’t stop washing my hands,” it’s a whole different story. Most of the results will point to one thing. What I do are not “routines.” They’re compulsions. You know when you read something and you’re just like, Fuck, that’s me! Well once I read this thing, I knew I had it.
My name is Chuck. I’m seventeen years old. And according to Wikipedia, I have OCD.