PLACES AND CIRCUMSTANCES I HAVE FELT MARLON BRANDO LEVELS OF COOL

  1. At a Jewish Hillel retreat
    I was, improbably, the cool bad boy (relative to the crew) and everyone wanted me for sports teams. It was awesome and surreal. Felt like a sitcom lead.
  2. Bringing beautiful girls into comic book shops to buy magic cards
    I have seen dudes freeze up when I come in (usually with a platonic friend who's coincidentally beautiful) and ill show off how nerdy I can be and still (implied) kiss girls. I like to give 'em hope.
  3. Being utterly in the zone when rapping
    Big risk and big reward for how cool I'll feel. Anything less than greatness is vaguely humiliating. I have, on occasion, entered a prophetic state of rhyme spitting and it's like catching the Holy Ghost. It's what I imagine being truly good at sports feels like.
  4. Once I was recognized by a group of beautiful girls in New York...
    Because of my twitter. We were standing outside a bar and while talking (already cool!) they asked if, wait, Lev Novak? One asked me out on the spot and I cooly rebuffed. Especially important? I was with two newer friends who had just moved to New York from Cleveland and I was showing them brooklyn. I felt like a god.
  5. Teaching at my school
    Kids treat me with adoration, parents with grateful awe, colleagues with bemused pride and confidence in my skills. It feels good to be good at your job
  6. Getting fan mail
    This happens every now and then, usually for pieces I write about depression or anxiety. They're always so sincerely appreciative. It helps me be less cynical about my writing and makes me appreciate having any voice at all.