by Jeff O’Brien
Back in 2002 I was something of a scenester. The term “hipster” wasn’t really being thrown around back then but “scenester” certainly was. Looking back, I suppose it was the same thing. It was a term applied to someone who spent the majority of their nights either playing at rock clubs or just hanging out at them with all the other bands and fellow scenesters.
The term was always taken as an insult; no one would ever admit to being a scenester – just like the hipsters of today. I was also an “emo-boy” since I played in a band called Starla, and was skinny with a mop of emo hair on my head. That moniker, I wore like a badge of honor. Still do.
It was a different time. You could still smoke indoors at most public places. My Nokia brick phone was considered fancy. The majority of my porn was still watched via VHS. If you wanted random hook-ups but didn’t want to be social you had either Craigslist or Friendster. Maybe even MySpace if my memory of the time serves me right.
Certain derogatory terms now almost universally frowned upon and deemed as hate-speech were thrown around freely in most circles. Now, before you go getting the wrong idea, I’m not including that last bit with even the slightest hint of nostalgia. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that some words ever even came out of my mouth. I’m just painting a picture of the setting, and for good reason. Unfortunately, some of the ignorant, privileged male mentality hadn’t been fully shed and outgrown by the time BigBoobenstein came into print.
Anyhow, the point of this exposition is to bring you to the place where BigBoobenstein was unknowingly born. Well, maybe not born. In 2002 I’d at least been impregnated with the seed, and it would take eleven years for the monster to come to term.
I was friendly with a group of metal musicians who formed a comedy-gimmick band called Foam n’ Mesh. They dressed as redneck truckers and sang filthy songs. One in particular was a song called “Big Boobens Time” (sp). I misheard the title of the song as “BigBoobenstein” and felt like quite a fool when I told the band – in front of a large crowd of people – that I thought the song title was the greatest song title ever.
This sounds like a minor faux pas, but in such a shallow crowd where everyone is young and superficial and trying to be cooler than the next person, you get your balls busted something fierce when you misspeak like that. It feels almost like wearing a Misfits shirt you got at Hot Topic and being asked by a real punk to name three Misfits song and you can’t do it. I mean, I know every Misfits song, so I don’t know what that’s like. I’m just a shitty writer trying to get a point across, okay? I know how outdated that analogy was. Anyways, the point is that the ball busting in this case lasted many months.
Roughly eleven years after all that, a good friend from back then named John Davidian – whom the book is dedicated to – messaged me one day and said something to the extent of: “Hey, dipshit. Remember that time you said BigBoobenstein instead of Big Boobens Time in front of all those people? That shit was hilarious. You should use that as a book title.” In 99.999 out of 100 cases in which people suggest things like that to me, I ignore them. About two months later I was uploading the book file of BigBoobenstein to Createspace and anxiously awaiting my proof copy.
Strangely enough, in the time between me sending that file and the book making it to print, I found myself sitting before a psychic with my now ex-wife – at her behest. I had zero interest in such an affair, nor would I ever pay to experience it. But there I was.
The psychic told me that my next book would be “the one”. She didn’t specify what she meant by “the one”. She didn’t say it would bring me great fame and riches. She didn’t say it would sell 100,000 copies either. So I guess for once a psychic was spot on with their predictions. But she was also accurate about my next book being “the one”. I’ve written over twenty books, and BigBoobenstein is the only one to crack a hundred ratings on Goodreads. So I guess it’s the one.
It was also a book that spawned two sequels and what I had hoped would be a fourth, which instead turned into four short stories that are now all compiled along with all three books in BigBoobenstein: The Complete Saga, also know as BigBoobenstein: OmniBUST Edition. It’s also the only book of mine to spawn a puppet. But more on all that in a bit.
So…what is BigBoobenstein? Well, for those of you who haven’t read it – and I know there are many of you – BigBoobenstein is the tale of Adelaide De Carlo. Adelaide was 19. She was one of those kids who graduated high school and did not have college in her future. In fact, it didn’t seem there was much future in her future either. She had friends, but that was about all she had going for her. She was broke. Lived at home. Had an abusive, scumbag boyfriend. Hated the way she looked. Hated herself. Had zero self-esteem and overcompensated. Smoked and drank fiendishly.
So, in answer to the question “What is BigBoobenstein?”, the answer is that it is my most truly autobiographical book to date. To elaborate on that any further would be purely solipsistic. There’s a bunch more meta symbolism in the book too that I think is super fascinating, but I guess if David Lynch doesn’t explain that shit then why should I? I’m supposed to be writing this as a means of convincing you to buy the damn thing and read it. Not to summarize it. Maybe if I shut the fuck up there will be hundreds of YouTubers making 5-hour-long videos about the meaning behind BigBoobenstein twenty-five years from now. Why am I even flapping my big fat gums?
Anyhow, without getting too specific and telling you the whole story, BigBoobenstein is a tale of beauty. Yeah, I just called my own work beautiful. FIGHT ME! It’s a tale of hitting rock bottom, fucking yourself up to the point that your very vessel is broken beyond repair, giving up entirely, and somehow rising up when you shouldn’t ever have been able to do so.
But it’s not that simple, you see. And anyone who has lived this tale knows it. Rock bottom is a scary, desolate, and dangerous place. And while it is possible—though very unlikely—to rise back up from it, should you succeed in doing so, you aren’t the same person on the trip back up that you were before the crash. Without explaining my art and demanding that you appreciate and comprehend the sheer and utter brilliance that it is, what I mean to say here is that BigBoobenstein is an inspirational tale.
And now, the sequels…that no one really liked. I know…they are not deep and poetic and meaningful like their predecessor. Thing is, I was 100 percent committed to writing them that way. And why the fuck would I write them any other way?
Have you ever hit rock bottom and successfully turned your life around and succeeded in rebuilding yourself far beyond your own or anyone else’s expectations? And if so, did you then make the conscious decision to fuck your life up again and do it all over just for the sake of adventure and experience? Of course you didn’t, ya’ big dingus. You appreciated the beauty of the world and the people around you. You savored and cherished those things. You enjoyed your new freedom of being able to be lighthearted and fun and overly sexy. Just like the sequels.
And sure, there is some tragedy in both Groom of BigBoobenstein and Daughters of BigBoobenstein. Such is life. But after rising back up from unfathomable depths you take those tragedies and you take those close to you and hold them closer and you go forth understanding the importance of love better than you did before. For fuck’s sake I wrote the most beautiful saga to ever feature a talking, shit-drooling, anthropomorphic hernia and porn-obsessed bridge trolls and horny Martians and undead strippers and all you people care about is… wait…I don’t know what it is you people care about.
As I write this I realize I’ve let my ego completely take over. What lies have I been living all these years? I’m so lost in my own asshole that I can’t see the world around me. When Silent Motorist Media asked me to write this I thought I was some kind of interesting wordsmith as deep and dark as the chasms of Moria. I now realize I am merely another mediocre white man with a computer who can’t even come up with a decent Tolkien reference on the fly. Fuck. Hold on, I’ll be right back.
Hi. I’m back. I just had my wife do that thing with the paddle board and the hot sauce and I’m feeling much better. Now I will discuss the dumpster fire of an ending the original printing of BigBoobenstein had, and why I took it out.
In 2013, when I started writing the book, I was far from the same person I am now. In short, I was the kind of person who thought that ending a book with a man getting raped by a group of trans women is funny and/or shocking. At that point in my life I hadn’t actually met or spoken to a trans person, and had given very little thought to the idea of rape culture beyond simply believing that rape is wrong and hating it very much. I was plain ignorant. But in the following years, with all the brilliant and amazing writers and artists and poets of all cultures and walks of life I’ve come to meet, that ending I once thought was so funny and clever began to seem less and less so, to the point where I took all the BigBoobenstein books out of print until I could figure out what to do. I had to decide how I was going to be able to promote work that I’d poured my heart and soul into only to realize it was tragically/thoughtlessly flawed.
Do I just keep them out of print and pretend they never existed? Disavow them forever? Rewrite them? Add a disclaimer at the beginning of the book? Add a disclaimer at the end of the book? Well, obviously you know the answer already since it’s in the title of this post. I took the damn thing out and put a little note to the reader in its place.
The very reasons I was advised against doing this were the very reasons I finally did it.
“No real artist changes their work to please other people.”
“No real artist is true to themselves if they worry about offending so and so.”
“Political correctness is killing comedy!”
Yeah, I heard all that shit. And the kind of people who say those things are the kind of people that brought Adelaide De Carlo to the point of jumping off a bridge (Not really a spoiler – just sayin’). Adelaide wasn’t allowed to grow because of people who feared her growth. They wanted her simple and basic, kept on a low enough level that they could appreciate her and hold power over her in their limited capacity to do so.
The art of comedy is suffering the same fate from the same “PC CULTURE IS KILLING COMEDY” morons. Actually, no. I take that back. Comedy is doing just fine and evolving and growing as it should. Just because some basic dudes created a fake war around it doesn’t mean I have to buy into that shit.
If altering my work turns those people off and away from it, then holy shit! What was I waiting for!?
BigBoobenstein is about finding utopia in a world full of alt-right fascist scum and toxic masculinity. It’s a book about fighting all the things I hate. BigBoobenstein is my utopia. Just because I fucked it up the first time doesn’t mean I can’t rebuild it, alter it, and make it better and more welcoming with fresh, new life. After all, that was literally the whole fucking point of the book to begin with.