a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke

< by Zack Mast >

When I joined theater in tenth grade, Andy — a junior — was the preeminent thespian, the unrivaled king of high school’s most unpopular social circle. I liked Andy. I admired his talent and envied his caustic wit. He wrote hysterical record reviews for the school paper, and I told him once or twice that he should pursue music journalism, they were so good. I can’t remember if he thanked me for that, because he was too busy hating my guts.

My junior year, the fall play was Much Ado About Nothing, and I landed the part of Benedick, the lead. Andy — alas — had to play Claudio, the supporting lead, which wasn’t really my fault; I think I was just kind of a better actor, or at least I had had a better audition. Behind the scenes, Andy fumed, more like Don John than Claudio, and I ended up feeling guilty rather than happy, like I had somehow done wrong by achieving something he wanted, even if I did deserve it.

I didn’t realize this until years later, but while all this drama-club drama was going on, I had even bigger blood on my hands. Over the summer, I had met a girl (at another Shakespeare audition, incidentally) that Andy happened to be in love with, and eventually I was the one to win her heart — which, again, wasn’t really my fault; I think I was just kind of a better kisser, or at least I had had better pick-up lines. We didn’t date for very long, but the damage was done. I would suffer Andy’s wrath for eternity.

During the musical that year, Andy made fun of my bacne as we changed and teased me when I couldn’t sing. Like everyone in high-school theater, Andy and I kept LiveJournals, and his entire info page read simply, “Hating Zack Mast since 1986.”

He eventually went off to school for acting while I stewarded the Thespian Throne, and I mostly forgot about him until I ran into him at a party after I’d graduated college. I’d just gotten hired to write for Groupon, and I was excited to move to Chicago in a few weeks. Andy, of course, had gotten his own job writing.

“For what?” I asked. Music journalism, I hoped.

“TV! I write scripts for commercials,” he boasted.

“Oh yeah? What commercials?” I asked, prepared to wince at my misfortune. The latest gig, he proudly announced, was for a spot for the local ambulance chasers. I could only laugh. While I was off to work for the fastest-growing company in the world, Andy was hocking shysters back home — which, in the end, wasn’t really my fault; I think I was just kind of a better writer, or at least I had had a better application.

3 Comments»

  Jorie wrote @

Does your LiveJournal still exist today? URL please.

  Zack Mast (@ZackMast) wrote @

In a fit of personal reinvention, I deleted it my sophomore year of college. One of my greatest regrets in life.

  Larry Who wrote @

A better kisser, huh? Aren’t we all?


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