Greg Erskine (@cat_beltane) on Following Up on Tweets and Being Described as ‘Mildly Irritating’

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Greg Erskine was born and raised in New Hampshire, but currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife and cats. He makes puppet videos which are viewable here. One series of these videos is short dumb riffs on the TV show Hannibal, and the other is an office-comedy about a newly-dead person adjusting to her afterlife in hell. A third series of short educational videos is in the making. His eponymous cocktail - the “Gregory” - is made with one part Everclear to five parts milk. This week I spoke with Erskine, who tweets under the handle @cat_beltane, about three of his favorite tweets.

How does hearing that your tweet annoyed someone compare to receiving feedback that’s maybe a more straightforward compliment?

Both are equally exciting to me! “Mildly irritating” is one of my favorite things to aim for. A friend of mine once mentioned that I was maybe the most annoying person she knew except for her own father. And then about a year ago, I got to spend a week with her and her father in Clearwater Florida. For me, it was like one of those fantasy-camps where 50 year old amateur musicians get to play in a band with Slash and Steven Tyler. The whole week I got to hear him repeat fish names in various intonations. “Mackerel. Spanish Mackerel. (long pause) Mmmmackerel.” That kind of thing. He was a Grandmaster at being annoying. That was an important week for my personal development.

Are there topics you tweet about that you’ve noticed always perform better than others?

Sometimes I’ll tweet something vaguely political, and I think a lot of people favorite or retweet it as a sort of “right on!” kind of delight in us having similar ideological outlooks. Those seem to do way better than when I make puns about Greek food or Star Trek. So that’s too bad.

What’s your favorite interaction you’ve had on Twitter?

Any time someone on twitter ends up becoming an off-internet friend, I suppose. There are several friendships of mine that started with me and a person tweeting back and forth, and led to us playing board games or making meals together or caring for each other’s cats or something. I guess my favorite on-twitter interaction would be after I met @arealliveghost for the first time, and she tweeted “I met greg erskine in real life and remain unconvinced that he is not some kind of complicated hoax”

Do you have a favorite format you like tweeting in?

Some of my favorite tweets—both from myself and other people—are when someone has a memory suddenly pop into their head from like ten years ago, and tweets the memory without any additional commentaries or explanation or jokes, just a little otherwise-lost historical moment that burbled up to the surface of their brain. It’s like coming across a very small simple perfect doodle on a bar napkin.

How often do you, like you did here, reply to one of your own past tweets and build off of it?

I don’t think very often. Though this is a case where I tweeted what could have been read as a joke, and then the follow-up clarified that I was serious. That also happened when I talked about a weekly trivia night we used to go to all the time. You could submit category suggestions for the following week, on little pieces of paper dropped into a bucket. So I tweeted that each week I was repeatedly submitting the category “Horrifying Birds”, but that the trivia guy kept refusing to use the category. I think a lot of people assumed I was joking until the trivia guy finally gave in one week.

Did you keep this plank after you made it??

Yeah, someone said they wanted to buy it from me, but then they didn’t follow up on that, so I still have it. It might be in our car trunk right now? My wife requested that please could I never spend another vacation trying to whittle an app out of old wood.

Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny Or Die.