Monday, March 11, 2013

How Skelly are Skells?

Skells fascinate me and I will often write about them. For those of you that don't know, a skell -- as defined by Urban Dictionary -- is "any lowlife drug addict on welfare. Can usually be found in shit neighborhoods drinking beer all [f-ing] day. Identified by missing teeth, bad skin, being crack-thin (like a skeleton, hence the word: skell), and stinking of booze."

Since I'll probably refer to skells frequently in this space, I figured I'd outline exactly what they are. I think there are five classes in the Skell Kingdom, and I will give a rundown of each one.

Before I lay out the classes, a few ground rules about being a skell:
1. Alcohol must be involved. Since skells usually congregate near run-down taverns and liquor stores, booze is their lifeblood. In other words, a toothless old man that's been beaten down by life, but doesn't drink, doesn't quite make the cut.
2. Even though Wikipedia includes homeless people in its definition of skell, the homeless don't qualify here. Most skells at least remain a minor part of society. Skells tend to live in family members' basements, welfare hotels, and other free/subsidized arrangements.
3. Membership in the Skell Kingdom is fluid. In other words, you can be a full-blown skell and still occasionally clean up and act like a "normal" person. Also, a person can be a member of more than one class of skells, simultaneously or at different times.

Now, let's take a look at the Five Classes of Skells:

1. Weekend Skells
Weekend Skells are the most functional of all skells. They usually have jobs -- often of the civil-service variety -- and love to get boozed up on their off days. They also tend to make horrible decisions and don't sleep much in between bouts of alcohol consumption.

The Weekend Skell is analogous to the Vacation Skell. I have been a Vacation Skell, as have many of us that want to cut loose and shirk responsibility for a little while. I also dabble in Weekend Skelldom.

2. Barfly Skells
These are my favorite skells. I first heard the word skell in Rockaway Beach, which unsurprisingly also boasts a wonderfully diverse skell population. By far the most common skells there are Barfly Skells.

Unlike Weekend Skells, Barfly Skells prefer weekday afternoons for their benders. Charles Bukowski, one of history's most famous skells, wrote that he hated bars on the weekends. It wasn't that he hated people, but that he just felt better when they weren't around. I guess it's no wonder that Bukowski wrote the screenplay for the movie Barfly.

Bukowski, the archetypical Barfly Skell.
 3. Skellderly Skells
Like dogs, skells age faster than normal humans. I'd say one human year is equivalent to about two skell years. Skellderly Skells, more than most people, exhibit life's wear and tear as they age.

"I'm only 32 years old."
 4. Skells by Association (SBAs)
Sometimes, people that would otherwise be normal choose to fraternize with skells or frequent skell locales. SBAs might hang out with skells because they find them entertaining. Or, because skells simply make them feel better about their own dull lives.

5. "Recovering" Skells
The last stage of Skell Existence. "Recovering" skells are usually found in nursing homes, mental asylums, and hospitals. These skells no longer drink so they technically break Rule #1, but they have already taken their lumps. You have to admire their entire body of work -- decades and decades of abusing their bodies and degrading themselves. "Recovering" Skells -- who, sadly, almost never recover -- have earned Lifetime Skelldom Awards.

Note: Recovering Skells are usually also Skellderly Skells.

So there you have it. Do you fit into any of the Skell Classes? If so, congratulations! You may have a shorter life expectancy than the rest of us, but you pack a lot of living into your short time among us.


  1. i think i fit the mold of weekend skell

  2. It's extremely refreshing to see a Notre Dame alum start up their own blog

  3. Also you should blog about Shrek and the ND connection. It has all the ingredients of a great blog

  4. Back to this blog, on average how many skells hang out at fiddlers each weekend?

    1. By far the skelliest South Bend bar I've been to is The View Tavern. Loved that place!

  5. Is there such thing as a Lake Skell? Or is that a subset of the Weekend Skell? That also begs the question can skell-dom be geo-specific, or if you are any of the 5, you're a skell no matter where your skell travels take you?