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Autoportrait III 🪞 Josh Sherman

I had a happy childhood, in a lot of ways.

Invariably, I fall for lesbians.

Almost every meal I eat is takeout.

After I read a book of haiku, I start thinking in haiku for an indeterminate period of time.

I’m more easily able to put topspin on my backhand than my forehand. 

Give me a hill (any hill!), and I’ll die on it.

When she had scattered diatomaceous earth all over her apartment to kill the bugs that she

claimed were infesting it, I should’ve realized she was schizophrenic.

On my last day at work as a civil servant for the province of Ontario, I was summarily fired for

things I had posted to Twitter the previous weekend. Namely, I had been critical of the vice-

president of human resources or, as upper management called the department, “People &


I never had a Bar Mitzvah.

Mikhail Tal’s chess strategy taught me something important about opponents — they’re likely

just as nervous as you are.

I found out a few years ago that my dad, who I’ve never met, works for the same

telecommunications company as my uncle.

My weight fluctuates between 131 pounds and 182 pounds.

I haven’t ridiculed astrology as much as I’d like to. Doing so would limit my success with

women too much.

I was enthusiastic about calling my high school punk band Boxcutter Takeover, a reference to the

9/11 terrorist attacks, but our drummer wouldn’t play under the name so I relented. (The name

had been my then-best friend Marc’s idea.)

After I was toilet trained, I still refused to wipe my own ass. When the time came, I would yell

“Wipe my bum!” to anyone within earshot.

I chew with my mouth open and yet cover my mouth when I laugh or yawn.

I could be wrong.

I had a therapist a couple years ago. His name was Mitch, which was a problem. We lasted three

sessions, and it ended with the feeling wheel.

Sometimes, I toy with the idea of getting ironically muscular. 

Overtly political art bores me — unless it’s the work of Erich Maria Remarque or Guillaume


I told a gay man “no homo” after we made out at a bar in Parkdale.

I doubt I ever knew how to do long division.

What I don’t know absolutely does hurt me.

I’d take Gary Numan’s first four albums over David Bowie’s entire discography.

I’m reluctant to wear black leather shoes with black pants. I prefer brown leather, which also

complements blue jeans better.

I stopped believing in god when I was 16.

I get stage fright and can’t piss if somebody is waiting behind me to use the urinal next, so I

usually just wait for a stall to free up.

On a beach in Cuba in late-2022, I met an acquaintance of David Homel, translator of Dany

Laferrière, one of the only Canadian writers I admire (the others are Steve Anwyll, Sky Gilbert,

Sheila Heti, and Brad Phillips).

Using her hair scrunchies, my aunt would hogtie me when I was little.

Sharing a spoon of ice cream or soup with a date viscerally disgusts me; it’s impossible to gauge

or estimate the ratio of saliva to food that’s being shared. 

I attended three different elementary schools and one high school.

The plot of one of my most memorable dreams: I come home to discover a random, non-verbal

Samoan family has moved into my basement apartment. That is the dream.

Another dream: I wake up in a hospital bed. I’m 70 and haven’t done anything I set out to do. 

Unemployed and in my early 20s, I lived with my mom, who wouldn’t let me have girls stay

overnight. Around this time, I got a handjob in an alleyway. “I’m not going to fuck you in an

alleyway,” Ariel told me matter-of-factly before undoing my fly.

I used to pretend to be a car every time my mom would push me around in the shopping cart at

the grocery store. My eyes were the turn signals. I’d blink my left eye when she turned the cart

left, and I’d blink my right eye when she turned the cart right. A customer noticed and asked my

mom if I was “OK,” which is how she found out. 

I didn’t develop any taste in music until Grade 7. For whatever reason, music didn’t interest me

before that point.

Not once have I purchased an avocado. 

Despite my stinginess, I didn’t mind sharing my drugs. Doing drugs with another person meant I

could offer them the first line to snort. That way, if the drugs were laced with anything, I’d find

out before trying myself. 

Most of my opinions are fundamentally moral and correct, I just express them immorally and


I’m not allowed to operate heavy machinery.

I’ve had a celebrity crush on Alexis Bledel for literally 20 years.

My first crush grew up to become a professional wrestler. She fights professionally under the

name Xandra Bale. She may or may not be a lesbian.

Bathrooms with the light switch located outside of the bathroom frighten me. If you were taking

a shower in such a bathroom, and an assailant broke into your apartment, they could turn out the

light before attacking, and you’d be left naked in the dark, perfectly defenseless. 

A dude I thought was cool in high school had a facial tick. For a week, I maintained a facial tick.

The pro-Palestine phrase “from the river to the sea,” which is considered hate speech in

Germany, sounds like the title of a Hemingway novel to me. 

I’m indifferent to empanadas.

Fat women love me, possibly because they think they have a chance — they think I’m cute, but

not too cute for them — which makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me.

There is something wrong with me.

🥡Josh Sherman is the author of one viral tweet. Follow him on Twitter (he will always call it Twitter) at @charmreduction, and find more of his fiction and poetry at


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