My friends Nikki and Carla describe a ‘Markle Moment’ as the moment when you reach your highest high…only to implode in the blink of a catastrophic eye to your lowest low.

It’s something that apparently I created.

Nikki, Carla, and my best friends from college were playing ‘Gin & Gin’ in 2009 with me at Carla’s apartment in Chicago. Originally, it was supposed to be a book club, but it quickly devolved into us just playing Gin Rummy and drinking a lot of gin. I was being a real asshole during this particular game: snarky, gloating, and clearly relishing my impending victory. At the moment I achieved Gin Rummy, I slammed my cards on the table and announced, “Gin Motherfuckers!” at which point the rocking chair I was on burst into a thousand pieces, and I fell straight down on my ass. The timing was impossibly good. We were laughing so hard it wasn’t healthy, especially with that much gin in our bellies. I later learned that Carla had known the chair was rickety but hadn’t told anyone. My hubris broke it.

Two years later, I was writing a song in my basement in Chicago with the same folks. We finally nailed the perfect take! To celebrate, I did a glissandoon the keys, turned and shouted, “We did it!” and launched my arms outwards like I was doing “The Wave.” Boom! In one motion, I swiped all my Tylenol pills from my nearby dresser onto the floor, shattered a bottle of cheap red wine, and knocked over my hot lava lamp onto the floor. Yes, I owned a lava lamp in 2011. Disaster!

But the worst ‘Markle Moment’ no one saw except me and some Germans. The Germans were my Airbnb guests. I was hosting them at my apartment in Brooklyn. It was 2015 and I was turning the big 30. I had the time of my life that night and got drunker than I have ever been. My friend Annie says I tried to kiss her in the cab ride home. This is unbelievable; I am a ‘Golden Gay’ (meaning I’ve never touched a vagina outside of the moment I was born. I am only superseded by ‘Platinum Gays’ who were born by Caesarean section). But, I was inebriated and out of my mind, so who knows, and we do have to believe our female friends when they say you tried to kiss them.

I got home and decided I wanted food. It was 4 AM. My Airbnb guests were asleep in their room. I had recently become a Blue Apron subscriber, so I pulled out my leftover catfish and cheese grits meal that I had made earlier that day. I threw it in the microwave and set it to five minutes. I think I wanted it ‘piping hot,’ but I also maybe didn’t understand time at that point. I shambled around the apartment while I waited, making too much noise and singing to my dog.

Bing! The timer goes off and without thinking I throw open the microwave door and reach inside. But my hands miss the tupperware and instead I grab the glass plate underneath. It is a thousand degrees and my fingers burn and weld to it. I scream and reflexively throw the dish into the air. The catfish, cheese grits, and glass plate smash into my Airbnb guest’s door. They wake up screaming. I scurry onto the floor, trying to clean up the mess with my bare hands, and I cut myself on the shards of glass. I’m bleeding all over the food when my dog Star bounds over and starts gorging herself on the cheese grits mixed with my blood. “Now, she has a taste for my blood,” I think, as I vomit into catfish-blood-grits-glass-dog drool mess. My Airbnb guests open the door to this perfect image of a ‘Markle Moment.’

They were very understanding about the mess and kindly opted not to leave a review of their stay.

I don’t apologize for being a hot mess. I grateful to be a disaster and lead an interesting life, and I love a good story most of all. I live for moments of tragic glory, where I act the fool and embarrass the crap out of myself! Because even the most painful moments are usually pretty funny in hindsight.

I do make sure to clean up. I bought those poor German Airbnb guests breakfast the next morning and Carla a new rocking chair for her birthday. It seemed only fair for them putting up with ‘Markle.’

Written by

Performer, storyteller, teacher - living in NYC and traveling worldwide (www.philipmarkle.com). Artistic Director of The Brooklyn Comedy Collective.

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