I set a world record for most consecutive hours drawing stussies and it melted my brain
Plus say hello to the AWKSD Guest List—your ticket to seeing concerts for free
Hi it’s my birthday tomorrow (Oct. 14). If you want to give me something, please consider buying a subscription to AWKSD or telling your friends to. Thank you! <3
What’s it feel like to lose your mind? In Lovecraft, Poe, and other old gothic horror stories, characters sometimes witness a sight so frightening, profound, or sublime that it instantly drives them mad. These characters seem cognizant enough to recognize their slipping sanity, but I suspect that in real life, the sensation is a little less defined. I imagine it’s a little like tripping too hard on mushrooms. However, even under the influence, there’s a little normal you who occasionally pops in like Jiminy Cricket to remind—with singsongy cheer—that you’re on drugs.
This is all to say, I can’t pinpoint when my brain melted during my attempt to break the record for “Most Consecutive Hours Drawing Stussies”. Was it when I drew the 1,000th stussy? The 1500th? Did my reality collapse when I drew the 1,799th with a shaking, obliterated hand? Or perhaps it was earlier, when I initially dreamed up the stupid idea.
On October 1st, 2021, I drew the famous and mysterious S for 12 hours. I made a grand total of 1,799 stussies. If you have to ask why I did it, then you wouldn’t understand the meaning of valor, pride or glory. For all intents and purposes, I declare this a world record. Guinness, you have my number if you want to dispute it.
But the road to glory was not without obstacles. It’s true what they say: you can’t make an omelette without drawing some stussies, and my life will now be measured in terms of “pre-stussy and post-stussy.”
The following is a true account of how I succumbed to stussy madness.
6 p.m.: I’m feeling good. I’ve spent the prior week practicing stussies, but not too many because I don’t want to come off as cocky. In fact, I believe any hubris is a one-way ticket to failure. I must treat this as a learning opportunity; a method of bettering myself. Conquest is not the goal. If I approach this challenge with my figurative hat in my hands, then I will understand the stussy. I will become stussy. I will be stussy.
But then I draw my first stussy and it’s fucking amazing. So much for humility. I spend the next two hours drawing, filling a page with 464 of them. I probably could stop here and claim the world record, but no. I’ve made a promise to a bunch of strangers online, and I have to keep it.
8 p.m.: Every hour I plan a “Piña Colada Break” where I play “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes. I figure this will give my stussy-hand a break. By the second hour, I’m already sick of the song.
I switch from Crayola markers to Sharpies. The soft, scratchy sound of a Sharpie against paper is like ASMR. I inhale the caustic fumes and just let the good vibes wash over me.
10 p.m.: Pages of stussies pile up behind me. There’s a page labeled “Bad Stussies” where some lines run perpendicular, not diagonal, thereby denying the infinity flow of the beloved S. These guys also wear all types of headwear—fedoras, Santa hats, and glasses. It looks psychotic, obsessive. This is John-Doe-from-Seven-type shit. If police suddenly knock on my door, they’re going to take one look at papers and be like, “Stuss Suit Riot? Okay, come with us.”
12 a.m.: I’ve only had one alcoholic beverage this whole night, but I’m about three energy Perriers deep and my skin feels too tight for my face. The Twitch chat is humming and I’m doing speed runs where I try to draw as many stussies as I can during a song. I hit 30 stussies during Cake’s “The Distance,” and 32 during Mötorhead’s “Ace of Spades.” Both feats feel monumental. I’m even back to liking “The Piña Colada Song.” No, I fucking love this song. Feeling this good, it seems like the perfect time to eat a weed gummy.
2 a.m.: Have you ever, like, seen God? I have. I’m staring at His sublime majesty, and He’s staring back in the form of 12 lines shaped like an S. It’s so beautiful, I could weep. Most of the Twitch crowd has gone to bed, so maybe it’s okay if I cry. Just a little. My hand is cramping up, but this color scheme I’m working with—pink and gray—is giving me life. Has anyone put these two colors together in all of history?
3 a.m.: I want it all to be over. I’m at the height of the gummy and time moves at a glacial pace. I fill up a sheet with spooky Halloween stussies, and surely that must have killed at least two hours, but I look at my watch and only 15 minutes have passed. People in the chat tell me I put the markers in my mouth to draw a stussy, and I do it without hesitation, obedient like a dog. I’m a connoisseur of debasement, trading dignity for stussies.
I turn on the TV and look for a movie to help kill these final hours. At some point during the night, I’ve decided that there must be a movie about stussies, and I’m desperately searching for anything that could resemble one. Imagine it: Stussy, The Movie, where the main character is a stussy, played by Andy Serkis and brought to life through the magic of computer animation. My scrambled brain has determined that this is a real movie, and I experience extreme sadness when I can’t find it. Instead, I put on Adam Sandler’s Halloween movie Hubie Halloween, but the plot is too difficult to follow.
4 a.m.: This is what will come to be known as “the sad hour.” The act of drawing stussies has lost all meaning, and my thoughts dwell to past failures, rejections and missed opportunities. My Twitch audience is down to one viewer—some mysterious stranger witnessing my mental collapse in real time. Or maybe they’ve gone to bed and just left their computer on, and I’m—and will be—forever alone. I’m not sure which situation is more sad.
But then it hits 4:45 and I realize I’m only 75 minutes away from hitting an arbitrary goal that, nonetheless, means a lot to me. This accomplishment isn’t about the stussies, not really. It’s about sticking to your guns, believing in your vision when people ask things like “why are you doing this?” It’s about deliverance. Perseverance. The human fucking spirit.
I treat myself to a shot of whiskey. A shot and also a glass of it. The final time I play the “The Piña Colada Song,” it’s like the siren’s song, bringing me home.
6 a.m: People have set alarms to watch me cross the finish line. My small but loyal Twitch audience cheers me on. During the final five minutes, I tell Alexa to play Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire” and I’ve never heard a song more triumphant. I’m burning through stussies. My hand is now a useless, fleshy claw. I don’t care. I don’t even have to think as the page fills with stussies. 200, 201, 202 stussies. They’re awful, lacking form, and rendered by a broken man, but they’re also spectacular. I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world.
When the Twitch stream hits 12 hours, I collapse. There’s a pulse in my fingers that’s never been there before. My back aches from hunching. Honestly, it feels like I’ve just run a marathon. The sky outside is brightening. It’s a new day for me, for art, for humanity.
Thank you to everyone who watched, donated to the fundraiser, and supported this endeavor.
INTRODUCING THE AWKSD GUEST LIST
Live music is good for us. Remember when we didn’t have live music for more than a year and we just became terrible morlocks—living in filth, eating rats and watching Tiger King? What an awful, awful time.
That’s why I’m stoked to partner with Soda Bar, The Casbah, and Bridges to provide you some chances to see live music...for free.
I’m calling it the AWKSD Guest List. There are few phrases in the English language as satisfying to say as “I’m on the list,” and now you’re going to have the chance to do so.
Each week, I’ll have a list of upcoming concert tickets to give away, and all you’ll have to do is hit “reply” to the AWKSD emails, and let me know which tickets you want. Winners will be determined by a weekly criterion—some weeks will be “first come, first serve” while others could be chosen via, say, a winning caption or something along those lines. I want to make it as fair as possible, but I swear it will always be easy.
Here’s the important part: Only paying subscribers to AwkwardSD will be eligible for Guest List spots. Sorry, free subscribers, but I still love you.
THIS WEEK’S GUEST LIST SHOWS
Reply to this email for a pair of tickets to the following shows. Winners this week will be determined on a first come, first served basis.
Friday, Oct. 15
The Dwarves @ Soda Bar: Apart from GG Allin, it’s hard to think of another punk act that’s more infamous than The Dwarves. The band no longer self-mutilates or performs live sex acts on stage, but their music—an eccentric mix of hardcore and pop punk—will still fuck you up emotionally, mentally, and physically (also, their iconic/disturbing album covers featuring naked women were seductive contraband to me as an 14-year-old emerging punk).
Friday, Oct. 15
Love Revisited @ The Casbah: Love was one of the best bands to come out of the ‘60s, full stop. Similar to The Doors, Love’s music was drenched in psychedelica, but they were more urgent, more severe, more fierce than Mr. Mojo Rising’s band (check out “Seven and Seven Is”). Featuring original guitarist Johnny Echols, Love Revisited will bust out hits from the band’s subversive and innovative catalog.
Wednesday, Oct. 20
Nation of Language @ The Casbah: See below for my description of Nation of Language, which was my favorite musical discovery of 2020.
THE WEEKLY GOODS
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It’s pretty crazy that I have a Best of 2020 music playlist, considering how awful that year was in general. While my playlist is chock full of artists I had already admired, Nation of Language was my favorite discovery of 2020, and they’ve since become my go-to for chill nights that need just a touch of dark moodiness. Kind of a poppier version of Preoccupations, Nation of Language makes poppy, stark, electro-tinged anthems that make you want to drive for miles on darkened highways. It’s simultaneously comforting and alienating, which really hit me in the uncertain feels during the height of the pandemic. Nation of Language plays Wednesday, October 20 at The Casbah. Don’t miss out.
It’s my birthday so you have to do everything I say, including reading a lot of the scary stories I’ve written over the past, uh, lifetime. First off, I have a thread of scary stuff running over on Twitter, which I suggest following! Many of them were originally published on the lit site Paper Darts, which is no longer around (RIP), but I’m forever thankful that they gave me so many opportunities to share my weirdo stories.
If getting scared through your ear holes is more your style, go back and relisten to the audioplay of “It Came From The Backyard”—a horror story I wrote/illustrated when I was nine. Very scary stuff, my dudes.