No Name Today

The long-touted, much-promised, eagerly anticipated story of my name could not be here today, due to recent tragic events. Ok, not tragic really – just busy. Just busy doing my 10 jobs, like a Jamaican (does anyone get this reference to the long-deceased sketch comedy show, that I’ve heard several times in the last week?).

But it’s good news: I’ve been published, several times in fact. As a part of my new reporting internship at Manhattan Media, publisher of several quality local weekly newspapers such as Our Town, The West Side Spirit, The Westsider, and The Chelsea-Clinton News.

I love reporting. Totally love it. Yesterday I was on the phone with a Lieutenant Colonel, and made him get very defensive. That was cool. The day before, I pushed through the crowd to get an interview at a retail-store opening – ahh the power. And I get to write – which is the coolest. If you live, work, or love in either the Upper West or Upper East Side – look out for Our Town (east) or the West Side Spirit (west) in boxes and dusty corners in your local coffee shop. I’ll also have a clips site put together sometime when I have 5 minutes to spare.

My 7th job is teaching tennis to an adorable group of 12 year old girls in Bed-Sty, They are naturals I swear it. At first I admit, I was a little worried. Worried that all of us had no idea what we were doing, and this would be a very long two hours. By the end of the first hour, they were really hittin’ the balls around though. I was impressed. Meanwhile, I am really getting into the role of dorky tennis coach. I must have said “Ready position – who’s in ready position?” like a hundred times. That was cool.

Also I’m taking a class at NYU: Interviewing. Which is ok, except that I haven’t a smidgeon of time to do the homework. I bring it up because, fellas, continuing ed classes are a goldmine of cute girls. There are 2 men out of the 20-person class, and I’m pretty sure half of them are gay. The rest is 20 – 30 something girls who are a little confused about their future, and for some reason, maybe just in my class – are all really cute. It kind of intimidates me to be honest. Anyway – tip from the inside. I hope you were paying attention.

Otherwise I better get going cause my to-do list is getting the better of me, as it has been for the last 2 weeks.

Dear Neille

I got this e-mail several days ago and I, as you’ll be soon, was riveted. I think my new friend has inspired me to once and for all write the definitive Story of My Name, which honestly has been about 26 years in the works. Thanks Iain

Dear Neille,

I was hospitalized in London about 7 or so years ago. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and I sure as Hell wasn’t going to tell them, (even though I knew exactly what was causing all this vomiting and thrashing about.)

I was put in the “we haven‚t figured this case out yet so we’ll leave him here till something develops ward” with a whole crowd of dieing, wheezing, very untalkative men. Once I was all rigged up to monitors and machines and I.V. drips a nurse pulled a board from beneath my bed and hung it up over my bed like the sign the Roman’s put above Jesus on his cross, it read, “Nil By Mouth”.

This meant that nothing, absolutely nothing whatsoever was to enter my body via my mouth, “nil” in fact.

When you are being fed and watered by fluids dripping directly from a bag into your veins your poor old mouth soon dries up and shuts down. This was a very unpleasant sensation and though the conversation level in my ward was practically non-existent I still longed for my mouth back for future projects. I needed fluid; I had to have it, but how?

One extremely ill old man across from me had a huge jug of orange juice, with gorgeous big clinking cubes ice in it, placed next to his bed and refreshed several times a day. He hadn’t moved an inch since I’d been there and he certainly had never sat up and started glugging back the delectable looking juice. I determined to end this dusty drought in my mouth and experience the eye watering joy of refreshing myself with a long drink of his icy, sweet, tasty, fluidy O.J.

That night when the night nurse in her sensible work shoes had clop-clop-clopped down the corridor to go and shove a suppository up some poor bastards ass or something I struggled from my bed, sore from the sandpaper-like sheets and gathered the two I.V. drip stands (which, conveniently were on casters) and embarked upon my shuffling, inch by inch odyssey across the ward. The goal of my quest loomed nearer and nearer and at last was in my hands. Trembling with anticipation I picked up the jug and without bothering to use the glass raised it to my parched lips and began to pour the nectar greedily down my throat. It spilled out the sides of my mouth and streaked across my cheeks onto my flimsy, tie-up-at-the-back-thus-exposing-your-ass-to-the-world hospital gown.

I drank and drank until I could drink no more. The old man whose juice I was stealing moaned and turned on his side. I froze and almost began to whisper an explanation, an apology anything to placate and silence the poor old sod. However, his eyes remained shut. The wrinkled old lids tight, discolored, indicative of whatever unknown condition was advancing on his ailing body. He would’t miss what I had taken from his bedside.

I replaced the much lighter jug, scooped out an ice cube and popped it in my mouth and began the return shuffle back to my bed. Clambering back under the sheets I somehow snagged one of the I.V. tubes, the saline line I think, and the needle was tugged out of my arm.

“Ow!” that was surprising painful and there was no way in Hell I’d ever get it back in so the fluid began emptying itself not into my arm but onto my mattress, eventually soaking a suprisingly large area.When I heard the night nurse returning to her desk at the head of our ward I feigned sleep. After about two minutes I felt a rumbling from deep within my stomach, then a pain, then a gush and then I vomited the entirety of the illegally consumed juice all over my bed and myself. A mix of pure green bile and pure orange accompanied with a loud, uncontrollable retching sound.

The night nurse came scurrying to my bedside. “Mr. Potts!” she cried, “My Goodness?! Who gave you a drink?! What happened to you drip?!” etc etc.

“Err, I don’t know, I err…I…umm.” I mumbled guiltily.

She summoned assistance and I was stripped and washed down and repackaged into my bed. A doctor appeared and began conferring with the very displeased looking night nurse. He put his hand to his chin and nodded occasionally then signed something on a clipboard. A porter arrived and unhooked the breaks on the bed and wheeled me off to a new ward. “Psychiatry” the sign said at the entrance.


7 or so years later, being this Monday morning, I stumbled into my midtown office of the newspaper in New York where I now work.

Last night my when I had completed my ritual Sunday night reconstruction of my Saturday night damaged apt. I collapsed onto the couch and watched the Gary Oldman movie “Nil By Mouth”. As is my bent these days, when I came into work I looked the movie up on the internet to see what people had to say about it and compare and contrast my opinions on what was I perceived as an excellent piece of film making. In the process of this casual research I came across you and your web site. I wasn’t quite ready to take off my weekend head and screw on the work head, so as a final gesture, a parting wave to the weekend gone I wrote this to you and will now send it.

“Nil By Mouth” the sign above my bed all those years ago, the 1998 Gary Oldman movie and your web site today. Three dots in the universe linked this morning for a moment and now we move on.

I wish you as bright and sunny a day and life ahead as you seem to have thus far,

With very best wishes, I am


Iain P