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I was a pre-teen monster

Jessica Suarez
Jessica Suarez
4 min read
I was a pre-teen monster

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I’m going down to the Bell House tomorrow to help prep for the Rarities From The State show, where cast members David Wain, Michael Showalter, and Michael Ian Black will show old show clips. Thing is, The State had a huge effect on my formative years. Without the State I would have never learned about Girls Against Boys or Shudder To Think, who co-wrote the theme song. I would have never started listening to Kerri Kenney’s band Cake Like, which led to discovering experimental music (they were signed to John Zorn’s label).

So to celebrate I thought I’d post half of my State zine along with some transcribed quotes. This zine contains my first “interview” ever, a Q&A conducted over AOL mail with Michael Ian Black when I was 13. I then interviewed him again when I was 23, then again for Paper Thin Walls about a year ago. I believe my interview technique has remained stable, and remains still better than 60% of the Q&A’s I read from grown men and women.

Click on the pictures for full-sized pages.

Page 1 notes:

  • My zine was called “Squiky Clean,” because my principal’s one stipulation for distributing a zine on campus was that it be “squeaky clean.” The misspelling was intentional, as I was intentionally lazy when I did the layout in Quark.
  • I describe Michael Ian Black as “amazingly talented, amazingly attractive.” He looks pretty much the same now, so I stand by that.
  • I wrote a sidebar about how how protecting the environment, and charity in general, was stupid. This was during a brief objectivist stage that I got over quickly. In 8th grade I joined the young socialists.

Page 2 notes:

  • This is a continuation of the Michael Ian Black interview. I have inserted things like “Good answer” and “I agree” after his answers, to make it seem less “over email Q&A”-like.


Page 3 notes:

  • This page includes quotes from Shakespeare and Francis Bacon, which I think I got from searching a quotes database for phrases like “revenge.” Revenge was, for me, like many nerds in middle school, a big daily concern.
  • The second part of this page is called “Let’s play a game,” basically a list of fantasies like becoming an intern at MTV, front tickets to REM, shopping on Southstreet in Philadelphia, and getting “smashed on Yeagermeisters [sic] while hanging out backstage with Tim and the rest of the guys in Rancid after their show at CBGB’s.” I have still never had a Jagermeister. Or ever went to CBGB’s. Or hung out with Rancid.


Page 4 notes:

  • “New York is unconditionally, undeniably, the coolest city in the world.” Reasons I list were: invention of moshing, Greenwich Village and Soho, and the Hard Rock Cafe and House Of Blues. The latter two must have symbolized some sort of famous-cool to me, otherwise I can’t believe I held them in the same regard as CBGB’s. But, I did predict that they would be one in the same some day.
  • “Take this from a future New Yorker.”
  • I also explain what six degrees of separation is, because I had just seen the movie “Six Degrees of Separation.”


Page 5 notes:

  • I review Cake Like, mentioning that the CD was $22 dollars on import, which is like $30 after inflation and like $2,455 to a kid in middle school.
  • “Their sound is raw, edgy, unique and powerful.”
  • I also talk about their “chunky guitars, sporadic bass and lyrics about crushes.” This is, still, mostly what I’m looking for.


Check some things off the middle school wish list: As a 13-year-old comedy nerd in Yorktown, Virginia, I thought endlessly about moving to New York, writing for magazines, and going to shows. So for the most part I’ve done alright.


young adulthood


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