When I was like, 13, I was obsessed with Ja Rule. I played my Pain is Love CD until it broke apart. And “Always on Time” was the song I loved the most. I just liked Ja’s voice and Ashanti is the best, so that song was #1. Then I heard “Put It On Me” and had my world rocked. That song had good lyrics, sad lyrics, but oh, so good.
For the last year or so, I’ve been pretty into Kendrick Lamar’s “i” (the single version). When I heard it for the first time, I was at a point in my life when I needed to sing along to a song that had a chorus that said “I love myself” over and over. That whole final verse, but specifically “I went to war last night/ I’ve been dealing with depression/ ever since an adolescent/ ducking every other blessing/ I can never see the message…” I was diagnosed bi-polar and it’s a collection of words that make you feel crazy alone, so to have K Dot letting me know that not only are there successful people also dealing with depression, but that you can still get to a point where you are cool, where you love yourself, meant just so damn much to me.
I’d be remised, though, if I didn’t also mention the song “We Laugh at Danger and Break All the Rules.” I have the title tattooed on my arm. It’s a pretty intense song about dealing with where you are and putting your head down and keeping moving. My wife and I get into the part that says “I’ll work morning and you can work through the night” because that’s our schedule now. I’ve loved that song for the last 11 years.
Link us to a favorite online story/a story you read and couldn’t stop thinking about.
So I was going to link to “The Ceiling” by Kevin Brockmeier, which is one of my all-time favorite stories ever, but apparently Random House has taken it down.
SO INSTEAD, I’m gonna link to this story about two strippers going to Florida. It’s not like, a published story, but a bunch of tweets. This girl isn’t a capital-W Writer, which makes it so much better. Seriously, I read it at work and was jumping around and had to walk away a few times and holy cow. Plus it’s non-fiction? DAMN.
Tell us about your connection to the Chicago Cubs.
So, right now I’m in a coffee shop about three blocks from Wrigley Field. Tonight, I’ve got to work in a bar where you can see the field as soon as you step out the door. My house is a two minute walk from the bar. And this is the neighborhood I’ve lived in the longest. From 92-00, 09-11, 13-present. My first bar (legally) was the Cubby Bear, kitty corner from the historic marquee. When I was a real young kid, I used to open the windows of our apartment during the seventh inning stretch and listen to the stadium sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. The Cubs are more than a baseball team to me. The Cubs are home.
I remember Sammy Sosa hitting home runs onto Waveland with the same starry-eyed nostalgia that I remember going on dates with my wife to the cheap seats in the 4th inning in a losing season, getting in for $5 total. We sang “Go Cubs Go” on our wedding day (made better because they had just beaten St. Louis in a NLDS game). We had broken up for a while, and before we started dating, we walked around Wrigley to talk. Not because it was a place we wanted to visit, but because it was next to the McDonalds and we wanted milkshakes.
I could go on like this forever. The Cubs are always in the background in everything I do. I used to have a bedroom window that looked out over the stadium. It was the last thing I saw every night and the first thing I saw every morning. While I dealt with heartache or depression, with mania and love, with boring tedium of work or the excitement of historical victories, the Cubs and Wrigley were steadfast behind me.
What is (one of) your favorite word(s)? Tell us why.
All of my favorite words are swear words. I was just thinking about how amazing the word “Fuck” is while I was driving back from lunch. A lot of power in that word. And when people say it and they are angry and a little bit of spit flies off their lip on the F, that’s when you know the word has taken on a whole life. A one syllable word that just charges through people’s faces. Good. Good word. Lot of uses for that word. Happy uses, sad, angry, excited, scared. Like, every emotion just becomes heightened. I love you, I hate you. I fucking love you, I fucking hate you. Good word, fuck.
What is your favorite candy?
It certainly used to be peanut butter Twix, but ever since Chex started making pre-made puppy chow, er, Muddy Buddies, it’s that. Yes yes yes, it’s that.
Tell us about your favorite article of clothing. Tell us why.
I AM REALLY IN LOVE WITH MY WEDDING RING. For many reasons. Number one is because I love my wife and every time I look down at my hand I’m reminded that I get to hang out with her FOREVER. She’s waaaaaaayyyyy too attractive and cool and caring and awesome for me, but somehow I tricked her into spending forever with me and now I have a piece of metal to prove it (and a piece of paper, but the rings are better). I have two rings, one for everyday use and one for SUPER SPECIAL OCCASIONS. The regular one is black titanium, so it’ll survive shifts at the bar without scratching or denting. I wear a lot of black, too, so it matches everything. The other one is yellow gold. Both have brushed finishes, but the black one is also beveled and I like that a lot too.
Wait, do rings count as clothing? I literally could light all of my other clothes on fire and not care.
What is your favorite animal?
I like birds a lot. A lot of different kinds of birds. I have a hawk and a pigeon and a painted bunting tattooed on me and I plan on getting a crow and a raven’s talon and a robin tattooed soon. Birds are pretty cool. I wish I could fly.
You can read Wyl’s WP story here & you can buy his WP chapbook BOTTOM OF THE NINTH here.