frequently asked questions

photo by mo
You have questions! Some of them are asked frequently. In order that everyone may be served at once, rather than in the order they’ve queued, I’ve prepared this valuable document to provide you with the information you need, the security you desire, the intimacy you have always longed for with your distant father.

If you do not find the answers you seek here, perhaps Googling will turn up some kind of result. I suggest googling “adorable kittens” or “tiny baby bunnies.” That always leads me good places I don’t ever want to leave.

How tall are you?

My legs reach the ground! Oh ho ho.

How funny are you?

See above.

How much do you weigh now?

Anywhere from 150 to 160, I think? I prefer not to know because things get less fraught that way.

What type of weight loss surgery did you get?

The duodenal switch. See here for all the information your heart could possibly desire. Please avoid looking at the before-and-after photos until you’ve thoroughly absorbed all the information provided, up to and including the parts where they’re pulling your intestines apart and then stitching them back together.

Further investigation will reveal that there are many types of weight loss surgery available, but I know little about them.

Should I get the duodenal switch?

I don’t know! I rushed into the decision because I thought it was going to solve all my problems. If weight loss surgery sounds like something you want to do or something you need to do, do me a favor and don’t just go sign up for it. Research it, talk to you doctor, and get counseling to make sure you’re ready for that kind of major operation. It changes your whole life–you need to switch up how you eat and how you take care of yourself and you need to exercise and you need to not be dumb.

Don’t, in other words, do what I did.

Should I do what you did?


So are you a model for weight loss surgery patients everywhere?

Yes, clearly. My book is a how-to manual. On opposite day. (See what I did there? Oh ho ho.)

Should I get weight loss surgery?

Talk to your doctor and do the research and if you do, eat right and exercise and take your vitamins.

Are you a hypocrite?


Would you get weight loss surgery again?

Yes. It is easier to be thin than to be fat. Science shows us that diets don’t work. Genetics means I would never diet my way to skinniness. If I went back in time and decided I wanted to be thin, I would choose weight loss surgery as my method of getting there. I would just be less stupid going about it.

Are you happy?

I am really goddamn happy. I love my life and my friends and my house and my dog and some days I even love myself but that’s always a work in progress, frankly.

How did you become happy and will it work for me?

I wish it would work for you. I want everyone to be happy and then we’ll all have picnics! With party cake and pink lemonade and dancing bears and never work again.

Except I don’t have the answer. It took me seven years of stupid decisions to finally come to terms with the fact that I make stupid decisions. And that it’s okay to make stupid decisions because the mistakes you make are the things that help you figure out what you really want and how you really want to get there. I started running, and that’s helped me believe that my body is worth more than how it looks–it’s strong and it can get me places and do awesome things.

If you’ll excuse me for being sappy for a second–you know how much I hate sappy–everyone’s body is amazing and awesome. I am not even joking. And figuring that out, I think, is one of the keys to happiness. Or heroin. I hear that works too.

How old are you?

Oh dude, I don’t know. I’m not forty yet, and I’m okay with that. I suspect I’ll be okay when I turn forty though too, if only because here I am still alive on this earth. Here is hoping I am still alive here on this earth. Ooh, won’t this be morbid if I die?

Why were you in northern Utah?

Remember Ben? Ben is from northern Utah.

What happened to Ben?

We fell in love. I moved to Utah, instead of him moving to San Francisco, because I could afford to live off my freelance income and that was way rad. We were together a little over 4 years.

Are you still together?

We are not, but he is one of my favorite people in the world.

Will you be my girlfriend/come kiss me with tongue/let me gently relieve you of your anal virginity?


What happened to Andy?

He was eaten by a bear. By which I mean he still lives happily in San Francisco, and remains awesome. He is also one of my best friends.

Is he gay?


Are you gay?

I’m bisexual.

Where are you now?

I’m writing full time, living in Minneapolis with my girlfriend and a selection of animals.

Does Carrie [your brother’s wife] know you portrayed her as such a raging bitch?

Carrie knows I portrayed her as someone who was so secure and happy in her relationship and her self that she was comfortable enough to express her real feelings, to share her anxiety, and be herself with her husband-to-be. Carrie and Ken were the model of a healthy relationship with healthy communication–even arguing!–that did not immediately cause their relationship to crumble. Etcetera.

How do your friends put up with you?

One leg at a time.

What are you writing now?

An FAQ. Oh ho ho ho. I have a young adult novel about identity and inner strength and rad stuff like that coming out on October 6, 2015 from Harper Teen.

Are you available for bar mitzvahs?

Is there a buffet?

Can I ask more questions?

You sure can. I try to answer all the emails I get.

6 Replies to “frequently asked questions”

  1. My favorite kind of secrets are Secret secrets, but I am still glad that these secrets are no longer secret.

    So happy that your book lead me to you and the rest of your writing.

  2. Let’s not be too hasty on the whole me not being gay thing. Sure, I’d prefer a sugar mama, but these good looks are only gonna last so long.

  3. You made me laugh; you made me cry. You’re a great writer! I love your book — what a tale.

  4. I absolutely LOVE Stranger Here. Even more so, I love Jen Larsen! Thank you for keeping it real. This has to be the best book I have ever read! I will be talking about this book for a very long time!

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