The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Ask Damon: I’m ready to unpack your mess

(Martha Rial/for The Washington Post; Washington Post illustration; iStock)
3 min

“I want you to notice when I’m not around,” is my favorite line from Radiohead’s “Creep.” I love the song so much that when I did karaoke for the first time, in the fall of 2018, it was an easy choice for me to sing. Unfortunately, the message of that line seems to have gone over my head, because I am not giving The Post’s readership an opportunity to ever even consider missing me.

In January, I launched a weekly column for The Post’s magazine, where I muse on such things as “hoochie daddy shorts,” airplane seating etiquette, book ban FOMO and the disorientation of mourning the end of a friendship. I liken my column to a box of chocolates. And not just because you never know what you’re going to get, but because some people love me and I give other people hives.

Part of what makes my work exist on the loved/hives continuum is that I enjoy exploring, deconstructing and even laughing at the most uncomfortable thoughts and feelings swirling in my head. The weirdest of compulsions and the most chaotic of contradictions — and the tensions generated when these neuroses clash with anticipated decorum — are where I’m most comfortable. Now I plan to bring this sensibility to my new advice column, which will launch, um, whenever they get around to launching it. (I’ve enjoyed working at The Post, but man do things move slooooooow here.)

I realize that most people don’t share this desire to unpack mess, so my advice column will do it for you. Sex, money, etiquette, silverware, basketball, parenting, race, armed robbery, whatever. If you have a strange question about a thing, I’ll have a strange (and rigorous!) answer — filtered, of course, through the lens of a 43-year-old Pittsburgh dad who hopes his tattoos and his anxiety-induced acid reflux give him character.

Have a question for Damon? Submit it here or email

It’s an edict that’s followed me, from VerySmartBrothas (the blog I co-founded in 2008) to the places I’ve written between then and now — including the New York Times, GQ, Esquire, the Atlantic, Slate, and the Root (where I was a senior editor from 2017 to 2020). It even shows up in my memoir, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker,” a “tragicomic exploration of the angsts, anxieties, and absurdities of existing while black in America” that was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and won the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

If you already read my magazine column (and my book) and this is just too much of me for you, I regret to inform you that in the coming weeks, I’ll also be launching an astrology column, a blog about ketchups, and a true-crime podcast about racist true-crime podcasts called “Guess Who’s Coming to Kill Me Before Dinner?” You will never, ever, ever notice when I’m not around, because I live here now.

Read Damon’s first column on Aug. 19.