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ABOUT THE BOOK: Remember the weird kid with the greasy hair
and the odd smell you went to school with? You know, the one who never talked
to anyone? That creepy little jerk who sat alone at lunch? The oddball who
never took a shower in gym class? The one you imagined might one day go on a
Believe it or not, that kid grew up.
He grew up, he got married, he never shot a single person,
he wrote a book, and he even started taking showers after his workouts – most
of the time.
Goats Eat Cans is his story.
Follow along as Steven Novak recounts the sometimes
hilarious, sometimes hilariously painful, and sometimes painfully hilarious
moments that have made his life so wonderfully frustrating. You’ll laugh,
you’ll cry, and you might even vomit. No matter what, you won't be able to stop
Goats Eat Cans features 55 stories, 55 illustrations, 99
luftballons and enough nonsense to keep you chuckling and giggling for days on
end – or hours – or at the very least a few minutes.
AUTHOR BLOG POST:
When Patti asked me to write up a little
something about “Making Your Dreams Come
True in 2012” I had absolutely no idea where to go with it. This is mostly
because I think dreams are silly.
That’s right, I said it.
Dreams are silly.
Before you shake your head and close your
browser window in anger, let me explain.
When I was ten my only dream in life was to end
up lounging around on a beach, spread out on a massive, entirely nonsensical,
amorphous mountain of boobs. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. When I was
eleven I wanted to play in the NBA. When I was twelve I wanted to be the lead
singer in a band. When I was thirteen I thought there was a decent chance I
could become Spider-Man. When I was thirteen and a half I switched to The
Punisher. When I was sixteen I dreamt of becoming famous for my art, making a
million bucks, and ending up lounging on a beach atop a massive, entirely
nonsensical, amorphous mountain of boobs.
again, that didn’t quite work out for me.
By the time I got to college I was just hoping
for a steady paycheck and for someone with a single pair boobs to notice me.
When I illustrated my first children’s book in my early twenties a teensy tiny
part of me actually believed everything was going to be smooth sailing from
that point on. I was mostly over the
whole mountain of boobs thing, but
the million dollars part of it seemed
somewhat plausible – sort of – kind of – maybe?
When I sold the rights to my first novel years later I thought, at the very
least, that there was a chance I could make enough money to pay a year’s worth
of mortgage payments.
What I failed to
realize though all of my boob pile dreams
and million dollar eyes was that the
dreams that really mattered had already come true. I wasn’t wading through a
sea of nipples with a pair of kid floaties on, but I was making art and I was
mostly making a living at making art.
So what exactly is
my advice on “Making Your Dreams Come
True in 2012?”
Enjoy the moment,
try your best to best to appreciate the good things that happen and try your
double best to find the humor in the bad. Do that and you’ll be fine.
Oh, you should also
consider reading my book, Goats Eat Cans
Besides, even when
your dreams come true, they never really work out exactly as you thought they
would. If you want proof, just ask the splattered brains of Curt Cobain, the
drug-addled corpse of Whitney Houston, or Mel Gibson’s Jew-hating telephone
You also shouldn’t
be taking any advice from me.
probably should have mentioned that part up front.
AUTHOR BIO: Born in Chicago Illinois, Steven Novak has spent
the whole of his life creating. After attending The Columbus College of Art and
Design for four years he moved to California where he married his wife. The
pair have been together for nearly a decade. He likes pizza. He’s sort of a
nerd. He has terrible luck and worse personal hygiene. He also hates having to
write bios about himself. He thinks bios are stupid. His work can be found online
me just preface this story by saying that when you get right down to it, I'm
barely more than a ten-year-old boy sporting a man-sized penis. I am. I’m not
ashamed to admit it.
also using the term man-sized quite
top of that, I’ll also admit that this is a combination more dangerous than Pop
Rocks and a can of Coke, or Beyonce and a microphone, or the parents of Beyonce
and a condom with a hole in it.
I really don’t like Beyonce.
in a marriage, there are words and moments that simply cannot be taken back.
More often than not, these words are said out of anger or frustration, and once
they’ve escaped your mouth and entered through the holes in your significant
other’s ears, they're stuck there—forever.
such a thing happens, you’ll likely never look at each other the same way
again. The touch of your fingers won’t produce the same closeness, and the kiss
of your lips won’t exact the same spark.
paying full price to see a Will Ferrell movie that isn’t Anchorman, these are the moments you can’t come back from.
a moment has occurred in my own marriage.
was me—screaming "jinx" with every ounce of breath in my lungs moments
after my wife and I muttered the exact same word at the exact same time.
heard of the game of Jinx, right? Of course you have.
simple. If two people happen to say the exact same thing at the exact same time
and one of those people yells the word jinx,
it forces the other person to remain silent until the curse of jinx has been released.
on, you’ve heard of that before, right? Everyone has heard of Jinx— even an idiot like you.
Oops. Wait. I didn’t mean to say that.
I wasn’t talking about you.
I was, um. I was talking about the guy
right behind you. Yep, that guy right there—that guy in the hat.
He’s an idiot.
my wife presented me with the opportunity to scream out "jinx," I
took it. I devoured it! I ravaged it! I took it harder and faster and deeper
than one of those scary looking sex machines. And I did it in impressive
fashion, I might add.
was pretty proud of myself—snagging the moment and making it mine like that.
It was an impressive thing.
was a big moment for me. Selling my soul to the devil years ago for a single
moment of glory finally paid off. In that moment, I was a man among men. I was
a young Steve McQueen, riding around on my motorcycle, batting the ladies away
was a superstar, and I was on cloud nine.
was on cloud fucking nine with a totally nude Salma Hayek and a DVD copy of the
seventh season of Star Trek: The Next
Generation—until my stupid wife had to go and ruin it.
did you just say jinx?"
the hell do you think you’re doing? You know you can’t talk, right? I jinxed you!"
I'm not playing Jinx."
Son of a bitch.
was how she was going to handle the situation?
The balls on this woman.
you have to. You've been jinxed. You
can’t talk until I tell you that you can talk. Sorry to tell you this, but you
don’t really have a choice in the matter.”
That's not even how it's played. I thought I had to buy you a coke or
Oh, dear God.
she really just have the nerve to bring up the moronic “buy you a Coke”
The nuts on this broad!
how girls played it. I don't acknowledge that version of Jinx. No one should.
People with penises play the old school version, and in the old school version
you can't talk until I tell you that you can talk…so shut up."
was looking at me like I was an idiot—like I was an eight-year-old dancing
around the room in a pair of He-Man underoos with a racing stripe down the
the flipside of that coin, I was looking at her like she was from another
planet—like she’d just dropped her pants, took an alien dump in her hands, and
smeared it seductively onto her set of sixteen alien nipples.
was she even talking? She wasn’t supposed to be talking! The woman had been
completely and thoroughly jinxed.
There was no question as to what occurred, no question about the legitimacy of
the jinx. She was spitting in the
face of everything the game stood for. She was trouncing on a gentlemanly pact
spanning three generations. She was committing a crime against the very laws of
was a slap in the face of what whatever God you happen to believe in. She was
backhanding Buddha. She was kicking Jesus right in the scones. She was throwing
handfuls of peanuts at Ganesha and using the robe of Zeus to blow her nose. She
was standing backstage at a Journey concert in 1982, telling Steve Perry his
mullet looked stupid.
She was just asking for trouble.
I'm not playing Jinx."
should have slapped her right then and there. I should have slapped her so hard
that my hand left a print she’d have to wear like a scarlet letter.
I don’t know. Maybe because I'm a grown up?"
she was being sarcastic?
I checked, there wasn't a Get Out of Jinx
card that came with the dropping of balls or a first period. Age wasn’t an
excuse, and I wasn’t buying it. She knew better than to tamper with the very
fabric that held the universe together and yet that’s exactly what she was
doing. She knew better than to mess with Jinx.
you're just going to keep talking then?"
going to shut up?”
she reached for the phone to call someone from work, I intercepted it. I then
wedged the receiver between my butt cheeks and let one rip. It was a good one—a
good stinky one and a good, loud stinky one. It was the sort of rip that
rattled the windows and registered on the Richter scale.
don't want to play Jinx, fine.” I handed her the phone. “Go ahead and call
someone on your poo phone, then."
I think I went easy on her.
MY CAT SMASHING MOJO
have a mortal enemy. His name is Jabar.
is a cat.
that lame—to have a cat as a mortal enemy? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. If I
were you though, I wouldn’t rush to judgment. You don't know this cat. This cat
is evil. He's cunning, he's focused and nasty and vile and just plain mean.
so smart he’ll write your midterm, and he’ll get a better grade than you ever
my Lex Luthor.
course, if he's Lex Luthor, that would make me Superman, and I can’t be
Superman. I hate that goody two-shoes jerk. Plus, I look terrible in red
this cat is my Joker. Which makes me Batman.
I can deal with being Batman. Not the corny seventies Batman, but cool,
pissed-off Frank-Miller-Dark-Knight-Returns Batman. I’ll be the Batman who
chews steel, spits iron, and calls Robin a fruitcake.
That Batman’s awesome.
see, not long after purchasing and moving into our first home, the wife and I
had a cat door installed in the door leading into our garage. We then had
another installed in the side door leading from the garage to the back yard.
This was so our two cats could come and go as they pleased. It was simple. It was
cheap, and at the time, it seemed to make perfect sense.
thing we never counted on was that, while the doors gave our cats the ability
to get out, they also presented other cats in the neighborhood with a way to
really should have been obvious from the start, but it wasn’t.
so maybe I'm not exactly Batman.
mean, besides being a hell of a hand-to-hand fighter, a billionaire playboy,
and a heck of a detective, Batman was also a scientist. A scientist would have
figured out the intricacies of the cat door situation long before installation
first spotted him on a Tuesday morning. I was late to work. I hustled down the
stairs and into the kitchen where I planned to snag my keys and head for the
was right there, waiting for me.
was a very fat cat with a big black spot over his right eye sitting on my
kitchen counter. The chubby, eye-patched little bastard was squatting on my
tiled countertops without a care in the world—like he owned the place.
eyes met and I swear to you, I saw him grin.
I could react, he leapt from the counter, shot through the cat door leading
into the garage, zoomed through the one leading into the yard, and was gone.
only was he smart, he was fast—especially
for a dude carrying a couple extra pounds.
jump ahead to Wednesday night. I was awoken by the sound of two cats fighting
downstairs. I figured it's just our two cats—because they’re jerks and they
fight all the time—so I tried to go back to sleep. Plus, I was in the middle
of a fairly fantastic dream involving
me, the Enterprise, and an invading horde of hypersexual Orion slave girls.
fighting didn’t stop.
wouldn’t stop, and it sounded a heck of a lot more vicious than usual.
dragged myself from bed, wobbled downstairs half-awake, and clicked on the
lights. It was Jabar. He was in my house, and he was beating the snot out of my
cats. The black-eyed devil spotted me and escaped in a blink.
next night, the exact same thing happened.
night after that, he did it again.
He was toying with me.
wife and I decided to temporarily close up the cat doors and bring a litter box
into the equation. After a few weeks, we tried the cat doors again.
very next night, Jabar was back.
had enough. If Jabar’s intention was to start something, he should considered
it started. It was on! I was done fooling around. I was done playing the
straight man, and I was through playing nice. No more games. No more second
chances. No more lollygagging, no more pigeonholing, and no more lollypigeons!
he wanted some of me, he was going to get some of me. He was going to get all
of me he could handle, and them some!
coiled my hands into fists and slammed my knuckles together. I lifted my head
to the stars and proclaimed to the heavens above, "Bring it on, bitch!”
wife heard me from the other room. "Bring what on? Who are you talking
was a Monday night—around 11 p.m. I was in the garage, and I was standing to
the side of the door leading into the backyard. My eyes were trained on the
flapping plastic covering the cat door just below my knees. Hoisted above my
head was a brick.
plan was simple: Cat comes into garage. Cat gets smashed.
Almost elegant in its simplicity, no?
of like a Peanuts comic strip—with
bricks and squashed cats.
are you in he—" The wife stepped into the garage and immediately spotted
me with a brick over my head, a wild expression on my face, and sweat pouring
from my brow.
stared at me for a moment, an indescribable look of confusion on her face.
"Steven, what are you doing?"
eyes moved from me, to my smashing brick, and back to me. She wasn’t buying my nothing excuse. "No, seriously,
what are you doing?"
going to crush Jabar with this brick."
cat that keeps coming in here at night."
do you know his name is Jabar?"
heard the little girls across the street calling him that when they were
playing with him in their yard."
expression changed. Suddenly, she was looking at me like I’d just taken a dump
on the floor—like I dropped my pants and started humping the punch bowl at her
company Christmas party.
wait. You're going to stand here in the garage all night so you can smash the
cat of the little girls across the street with a brick when he tries to come in
she said it aloud like that, I have to admit, it sounded just a little idiotic.
couldn’t let that deter me. The plan was the plan, and the plan was set in
motion. There was no coming back and no backing down. I had no intention of
allowing her to steal my need for vengeance! Under no circumstances whatsoever
was I going to let her ruin my cat-smashing mojo. Not today! Not ever again!