Welcome to My Apartment – Casually Lethal, Apparently


Here is a bookshelf. It is full of books, as well as postcards, birthday cards, receipts, a couple dragons, some boxes, candles and vases. Yellow once guessed the contents of my bookshelf, and was correct in his first three guesses, though I can only remember two of them now. To this day I’m not sure if I’m more impressed or embarrassed that she could be so accurate, but I guess something about me declares very plainly that I am the kind of person who would own The Daily Show’s America: The Book and have it sitting right next to a Calvin and Hobbes collection. Those books are not far away, but they’re not on this bookshelf. Actually, the Calvin collection has doubled as a writing surface for the past school year, so it’s on no shelf at all.

Here on the top of the bookcase I keep all the books that I need to read. My favorite mainstay in this group is Infinite Jest, a 1000+ page test of patience that is really fun to read, but also really hard. I’ve been working on this for over a year, and I know the title is just there to mock me, but dammit I will finish it. I’ve already put too much time into the damn thing to just walk away. Plus, I think that dragon will probably bite my hand off if I don’t ever try to put that book away unfinished.

There is nothing that remarkable about this shelf, that’s what makes it so deadly lethal. It’s like old episodes of the 60s Batman show, who ever would have thought that a bust of Shakespeare would actually provide the entrance to the famed Batcave? Here, a white cardboard box sits like a wallflower, calling very little attention to itself among its more colorful surroundings.

However that logo, so perfectly hidden by the two candles, looks familiar…

That’s right, I have batarangs. Like ninjas, they hide in the open. Unlike ninjas, they come in a handy pouch that attaches to your belt.

In America I imagine it’s fairly common for a father to give his son a lethal weapon at some point or another. I imagine in a lot of places this is considered a rite of passage, perhaps to signify the passing into late adolescence or adulthood. Also I imagine these lethal weapons are guns, big-ass rifles or something else equally manly.

But last Christmas I didn’t get a gun. I got batarangs. And I was 27, a little past the prime “rite of passage” years. Or perhaps not. Perhaps it was right on time.

Anyway, these ‘rangs are effing sharp.


And they’re new to the apartment. Home, but homeless. Were they guns perhaps I’d have a nice gun rack to display them, or at least a bad-ass safe, something all blocky and heavy and radiating authority from its corner of the closet.

How do you display batarangs anyway?

A digression: Dad has already corrected me several times for calling them batarangs. “They can’t be batarangs,” he says, “because if you throw them they don’t come back.” I feel like I could develop a metaphor about father/son relationships with a statement like that, but I think I’m gonna let it sit, because the question remains: how, oh how, do you display prized batarangs?

I swear if it wasn’t an apartment I would like just throw them into the wall somewhere and let them stick out, the evidence of an epic battle long past, but alas. Perhaps I could have them mounted in a frame, maybe get Dad to write some inscription for plaque. Something “presented to the honorable Charles Hoppe for not being the hero this city deserves, but the hero it needs.”

Of course no one needs batarangs, but I have to say it’s just what I’ve always wanted.

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