Howie Mandel Can Drink Bleach And Die (although, I’m not going to be the one that serves it to him)

I usually don’t cuss, I usually don’t come upright and forward with an opinion that seems very stark and one sided, but quote me on this, “Fuck you, Howie Mandel and your stupid show with the people with talent.” His statement this evening (that I accidentally overhead because my dad loves the show) of “You make bulimia more entertaining” was inappropriate. I mean, seriously, this coming from the knucklehead that doesn’t shake peoples hands, that has an obsessive compulsive disorder, that ADD? Really, you’re going to pick on those that have bulimia, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Sigh. Fine, I understand, I’ve used up my quota of “f” words this evening, but hey, I’m madder than, well, whatever gets mad and shows out. I’m so upset I don’t even have words to explain. That’s pretty serious, I don’t remember the last time I’ve been so angry, and it’s not because I hate Howie, I don’t even know the guy, but at the same time, he’s making a mockery of something that so many people battle and deal with every single day/hour/minute/second of their life. You don’t have to tell me, you don’t have to give me statistics, I’m a living breathing proof that you can have “it” and deal with “it” every single moment of the day but I promise you, it’ll never be “entertaining”.

I’ll provide ten facts and rebutt them as to how “non-entertaining” they are, and why the actual statement of even trying to make bulimia entertaining in the first place is absurd. I mean think about it, are eating disorders really supposed to be entertaining? Does throwing yourself on a toilet entertain anyone? Does the thought of purging your body with laxatives really seem entertaining? No. The simple answer is no…and that’s why I’m irate. The ignorance of the disorder in his eyes is blatant, and the temper in my eyes is true. Then again, I have not a mean bone in my body, I wish nobody “real” harm, I just want to provide the facts of the situation. I want some sort of resolution to this issue. (thank you http://www.healthline.com for the easy to reference guide to the top 10 facts of bulimia)

Fact #1: “It consists of a rollercoaster of compulsive habits.”

Okay, Howie, let’s think about this. You’re, what, ADD and OCD. You don’t shake peoples hands, you have a problem with strangers and you’re quirky. Some people might find that “cute” but at the same time you’re actually sort of worse than the bulimic on their worst day. Sure you have the need to steer away from germs, but whats the difference from germs and calories. Let’s face it, you can actually kinda “see” calories in a donut, you can’t “see” germs on a hand. Really, you want to make bulimia more interesting, maybe we can start licking hands and trying to throw up the germs to make you satisfied and “entertain” you”.

Fact #2: “Bulimia is a mental disorder.”

Yes…as a matter of fact it is…so is Schizophrenia, hysteria, attention deficit disorder, and well, hell, necrophilia. Is it really something that we have to be entertained by? Is it comical, or entertaining to sit there and watch somebody pound a dead body because they have a mental disorder that causes them to have the urge to do such a thing? Is it entertaining to watch a grown man fail to shake hands with somebody? Is it really a case that we have to group it with some sort of perverse mental disorder that people should point and stare with fear? No, we don’t hurt anybody, we’re just hurt by everybody.

Fact #3: “Culture clash” can be a cause.”

Yes, it’s true. There is a modern day stigmata on people (both male and female) that exemplifies thinness. We’re supposed to be leaves in the wind as opposed to the mighty oaks that stand the tests of time and weather. The world as we know it has become skewed to a certain vantage point of thin and pretty. At the same time, “thin and pretty” doesn’t always mean “happy and healthy”. For those that look upon culture to believe that everybody should fit into a certain mold…there are an equivalent amount of people to cry at night and torture themselves because they don’t fit this “mold”. We’re different, and as an individual I can personally say that “I fit no mold”. Culture tells me I’m supposed to look like the models in the magazines, the people on TV and the random people you see in the check out at Target. I can also promise you this, that’s not inner happiness, that’s making the rest of the world happy and you subjecting yourself to misery. (Typically involving a toilet, a garbage disposal, a waste basket with a plastic sack, or hell, the side of the road if you’re in a pinch).

Fact #4: “It’s not exclusive to women.”

Nope, nope, and nope. You have to think about it, when stating that “You make bulimia more interesting”, you thought only of one aspect of the disease. There are so many other facets of how that particular mental disorder manifests itself you have no idea what you’re talking about. Take for instance the gym rat that spends their entire day counting calories, weighing themselves, and then punishing themselves unhealthily on the equipment at the gym. They push their body beyond it’s limitations, that’s also called bulimia. Also, look at the person that decides that they want to purge themselves but with a pint of Milk of Magnesia a day. You can innocently say “well, they want to be regular”, but the fact of the matter is that they aren’t brave enough to actually do the “deed”, and get rid of it before it hits the lower GI. Really, men can do it just as easy as women. I know, I’ve seen, I’ve wept.

Fact #5: “Bulimics can have normal body weights.”

Well, sure, we can be “normal” but the torture that we go through to be “normal” is ridiculous. At the same time the rest of the world looks at those suffering as “normal”, we as suffering bulimics see ourselves as worthless slobs that don’t deserve the breath of air we take or the gravity beneath us. We’d probably rather get sucked into some sort of black abyss hole and never be seen again as opposed to stepping on a scale in public and being announced as “normal”. We might be normal from a text book standpoint, but deep down, we’re far from it. We’re bleeding, we need stiches, but very few people know how to heal the wounds.

Fact #6: “Bulimia affects more than just your weight.”

Yeah, lets think about that for a second, what’s so entertaining about somebody ailing from a disease? Wait, what? I need an explanation please? Anything, something? As a person that has dealt with this condition for well over 10 years, I can honestly say I’d probably be better off if I was doing cocaine at this juncture. The damage that has occurred to my GI tract, my teeth, and most importantly, my mind, is something that I will never get back. Beyond my ailments, there area multitude of other nonsense that can go wrong. Take for instance the twenty something woman trying to have a child, but is suffering from bulimia. As a pregnant woman trying to overcome not only the hormones of childbearing, but also the urges of bulimia…what do you suppose happens? I can tell you from a first hand stand point, you lose the child. You get devastated, you recoil into your deepest nightmares. Is that entertaining? Really?

Fact #7: “Bulimia can be genetic.”

It’s an addiction sort of mental disorder, and hell, why is that our fault. If there is some sort of truth behind the fact of this getting passed down from genetics, why is it the bulimics fault? What exactly says that the struggles they deal with every single minutes of the day have to be entertaining? Let’s take for instance the alcoholic, whom learned their traits from their fathers/mothers. Is it entertaining to sit and watch them drink themselves into a jaundiced state of living and give them an excuse of “well, it’s hereditary”? Hell no, we should get the same treatment and let’s be brutally honest, We’re actually better than the alcoholics and the OCD people.

Fact #8: “Bulimia can inhibit healthy reproduction.”

I’d love for an explanation as to how unhealthy reproduction is entertaining. You claim that bulimia is supposed to be entertaining? Really? Let’s talk to some of the people that have lost so much because they were consumed by an evil that you want to be entertained by. How is that fair, and why the hell should we as suffering people with eating disorders be on this planet to entertain you? It’s almost like going to the zoo and shooting a lion only to sit there and watch it die.

Fact #9: “Antidepressants may help.”

Without getting into my twenty minutes long pharmaceutical rant, I’ll just put it this way “the drugs don’t work”

—last but not least, at least not for now…—

Fact #10: “It’s a life-long battle.”

I can bow down and attest to that, and actually I can say that I’m a better person because of it. Look towards the future, what do you want tomorrow, what do you want in three days, what do you want in a year? Typically people have some sort of financial idea as to where they want to be, what they want to own, and what they want in the bank. The world of a tortured bulimic is nothing of the sort…we’re just trying to make it to tomorrow. It’s a nonstop Russian roulette where you take chances every single time you put something down your throat. It’s not entertaining, it’s terrifying. It’s one of those situations  that you look at someone and wonder “how did you get this way.” It’s easy enough to say that for anyone though “why do you like the color red?”, “why do you wear womens underware?”, “why the hell are you afraid to shake hands?”

Valid points, but none of them explain the amount of disrespect was given to the eating disordered community this evening. Fuck you, Howie Mandel.

Ghosts, Witches, Sisters, Brother, and History

“When I look out my window
Many sights to see
And when I look in my window
So many different people to be
That it’s strange
So strange”

Season of the Witch Donovan

And whatever reason my laptop decides that it wants to post a damn article before I get done with it is besides me…but that’s not exactly the point….the point is that after about four nights straight of insomnia and racing thoughts, I had the straw that broke the camels back this morning. After having a discussion about not being up at three am typing madly away at my laptop in the office listening to weird music…guess where I found myself…in the office at 3:30 listening to weird music and typing frantically away. I was escaping the thoughts in my head, but mostly I was escaping that damn song that was stuck there…an obscure song that most nobody my age knows, most people older don’t know it, and it might as well be ragtime music to some, but it was there.

Infecting my brain like a parasite. Gnawing, but why? that song was reminding me of something, but what? Does psychedelic music and sleep deprivation make you reach some sort of higher learning potential? Was I onto the meaning of life? Was I finally figuring out where I put that damn hairbrush that I can’t find?

Nope. Not even close, I listened to the song in my head, then pursued it on YouTube and listened to the damn thing, it was right there, I just wasn’t getting it. Then, of course to be more obscure, it dawned on me, that song, the way it flows, the demeanor, the everything was like listening to the song “Story of the Ghost” by Phish. Yeah, nothing about it is the “same”, but to me it might as well be the same damn song. I frowned, and went back to typing, working on my next book, and wondering why the hell my mind retains some of the crap that it does. Why do obscure songs stick in my head, why do I analyze peoples actions, why the hell do I like bourbon so damn much?

It’s easy, it’s who I am, and just like in the song Season of the Witch, the more I look out of that window, the more I realize that there is an entire world full of people that I could imitate, but I would never actually be “me”. I could dress up different, I could have a different attitude around different people, I just could never be “me” upon imitation of another. It’s impossible, and although the comparison I made to the song Story of the Ghost was a stretch, it sort of made sense.

“I feel I’ve never told you
the story of the ghost
that I once knew and talked to
of whom I’d never boast”

Story of the Ghost Phish

They paralleled in a weird way, the former song depicting the inability to become a stranger and the latter depicting that confiding in a total stranger (a ghost have you) to get advice on who to be was easier than confiding in oneself. The rest of the song is sort of, well, redundant, but the point gets across that eventually he gave up talking to his ghost, he knew it was still there, he knew it would talk back if he wanted it to, but he never sought it out. He left it alone and became ghost-free. It’s getting muddy, I’ll explain in bullet points…

-season of the witch, trippy tune about observing other people

-story of the ghost, redundant, although jamming tune about finding your own person

-season of the witch, doesn’t really make much sense

-story of the ghost, makes sense, but usually only after having a long psychological session

-season/story – seasons are temporary, stories are told time and time again but can change over time

Season/story – seasons have similar fluctuations and expected outcomes, stories are fabricated my the teller to be whatever the hell the story teller wants it to be

Huh, maybe this is only making sense to me, seeing as how I’m probably one of the only people out there that would take two such obscure songs and draw a philosophical paradigm between them…perhaps I’ll use somebody more, well, understandable for further explanation.

“That’s too far out there, I’m not even sure they play banjos where you go in your head sometimes.” -My Dad

In regards to deep thoughts on where life is going and what the hell I’ve been doing with it for the past few years. Then there was a flash of emotion and his hands flew up in the air, almost as if he was being held up at gun point. “What the fuck am I saying. I’ve spent 20 years wrapped up in bad break ups, between the women in my life and wrapping my head around shit, I’ve wasted more time being stupid than I have actually left alive.” It was true, I saw it, I saw a hell of a lot of it. There was a moment of silence, and all I could do was nod. There were some really ugly times in there, times that absolutely nobody else should have had to gone through (he and I), but at the same time we were always there for each other. I’d watch him go on his warpath, not knowing how long it was going to last for. Sometimes it’d get a hell of a lot worse before it got better. Sometimes it would persist as a slow sting for years.

We hit a mutual understanding, neither of us are very good with break ups, and neither of us are very good drunks. The paths that I saw him take, I saw me going down too. The decisions that he had made, I learned from, my “ghost” was my dads past, my “season” was a season that we perennial found ourselves in with no other decision but to wait until the next one rolls around. Seasons can be shitty harsh and kill people, human seasons are no different. Sitting last night, in total sobriety and honesty, my Dad proclaimed “I’ve given up, I don’t need a woman to temporarily make me happy, I need me to stay happy forever. Women make me go insane.”

I thought about it, and it was true, but at the same time without some of those women some incredible people wouldn’t be on this earth. There wouldn’t be the little sister, big sister, and big brother who have all loved and been supportive. Without my mom, perhaps my little sister wouldn’t have gotten to know the Reetz family who have raised her when my Dad wasn’t there. Without my big brother, perhaps I’d never know how awesome old stick shift trucks are and that song about a squeezebox. Who knows, without my big sister I’d never really understand that it IS okay to be a strong willed female. So yeah, through the 20 some odd years of pain, greatness came from it.

I’m looking, I’m doing math, I’m up to about three and a half years of “break up hell”. The first one is always the worst, and as we spoke last night, we realized there was a pattern….

“After the first guy, that fucker that knocked down my building, what’d you do?”

My response – drive to Iowa because I felt like I needed to get away.

“And, what about after you took him back, because you were being stupid, and he did it again?”

My response – I drove to South Carolina and moved as far away as I could go.

“And that weird one you were married to?”

My response – I moved to Tennessee

“And when you took that one back?”

My response – I see a pattern…

“And the red head?”

My response – I moved to Anderson

“And when you took THAT one back?”

My response – well, that wasn’t so bad.

“And where are you now?”

My response – back in Anderson.

“History repeats itself.”

I shook my head in disbelief, how could I have overlooked that all the time? I pouted for a moment, then thought long and hard about it. There was a simple solution to an overall confusing situation.

My response – “Maybe I should stop taking people back?”

His hands flew up in the air again. “History repeats itself, you can only move on if you don’t look back.”

Damn. And to think the whole conversation started with banjo music in my head – and although it wasn’t ACTUALLY banjo music, it was weird acid trip sort of music, it made sense.

2012-08-20 21.35.50

Plato was an asshole.

“According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”
― Plato, The Symposium

I don’t do movies with a bunch of kissing or a love story to it. Hell, I can barely make it through some of these commercials for Viagra without covering my eyes in a sort of prude splendor. I’ve always been that way, when we were little kids growing up watching Disney princesses kiss their prince charming I was out making mud pies. There wasn’t anything about that nonsense that I wanted any part of. Holding hands on the playground in third grade was okay, I guess, but then again I think at that young age I realized “what the heck am I holding his hand for, I really like THAT guy”. Whatever like was in third grade, I think I kept that mentality.

I think a very large reason for that misconception as to what “love” really was, and how it pertained to people was that I never actually “learned” what the heck it was. To me it was just stuff you saw on tv. I don’t remember much loving going on in my house growing up, of course everyone loved each other, but there wasn’t any of that 50’s sitcom shit going on. Looking back at my childhood, it was actually pretty awesome. I made my own rules, and I suppose I still do, but never did I realize that making my own rules actually effects others, for the good and the bad. Without any sort of understanding of what “love” really was, I decided to dig into the philosophy of, well, life, and instead of burying my head in some sort of existential carrying on, I went way back.

Prepare the way back machine.

Plato, The Symposium, I read it way back in 2002 on a road trip somewhere in Ohio and Tennessee. It was sort of confusing, seeing as how I was about as naive as they come. What, there are bad guys out there? You mean people can actually REALLY break your heart? You mean that there are feeling that dwell inside of our hearts that don’t include shower shit and shaving? What the fuck, why was I just then learning of the whole “two make a complete one” business. Why didn’t they teach this shit in health class instead of showing us diagrams of private parts? Why didn’t they teach us to follow our hearts but always lead with your brain.

“Evil is the vulgar lover who loves the body rather than the soul, inasmuch as he is not even stable, because he loves a thing which is in itself unstable, and therefore when the bloom of youth which he was desiring is over, he takes wing and flies away, in spite of all his words and promises; whereas the love of the noble disposition is life-long, for it becomes one with the everlasting.”
― Plato, Symposium

I remember reading that, while sitting in one of those unstable folding camp chairs and just about throwing that book in the campfire. What the hell, is this true, are there really people out there that will smile and you accept it with an invisible gun to your head waiting to go off. That explosive event when you realize it’s done, you’ve aged, you’ve moved apart, what once bound you to another is about as stable as a three legged dining room table. Yeah, eat Thanksgiving dinner around one of those a few times. You’ll get what I mean. The bloom of youth, time passes, we grow as individuals, but we also shrink in confidence. It’s going to hurt you, it’s going tear you apart, it’s going to make you cry.

Why the fuck is the point? I crossed my arms across my chest and didn’t quite know if I wanted to read on. It was a book that I thought would expand my ever curious mind but all of a sudden I felt hollow. I felt like the air had been let out of my tires and all the hope for the future of living happily ever after was just a ruse. I was bitter, of course, but I was also young. Crap, really young now that I think about it. I was lost, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about this weird feeling, so I just swallowed it like the acidic pill it was. I went on with life, always crossing my arms thinking back to that book. Still wishing I would have thrown it in the fire.

The problem with said book was that I only picked out the things I wanted to see and ignored all the beautiful prose that was sprinkled in those pages. I’d see the word evil and immediately disengage from any hopes and thoughts of a bright future. I got married, it was okay, I suppose, but I can’t say that was what I thought it was going to be like, only because I was focusing on the lines of hatred and sadness and not looking at the lines of happiness and fulfillment you can get from another person. I got divorced, and still, I crossed my arms and said, “that Plato, he was one smart dude.”

It’s like having a piano only only playing the black keys, you’re always going to be sharp and you’re never going to be in tune with anybody else trying to duet with you. You’re stuck on the black keys, you refuse to accept the possibilities that there is a world of white keys out there that aren’t going to hurt, or sound bad, or hell, even pay attention to you. White keys isn’t really the best metaphor, but hey, we’ll run with it. I’m not exactly happy with the fact that I played the black keys for so long, it was a learning experience, I do not, however, accept the fact that now that the jaded glasses are off, what is this world that I’m seeing?

“For, observe that open loves are held to be more honorable than secret ones, and that the love of the noblest and highest, even if their persons are less beautiful than others, is especially honorable.”
― Plato, The Symposium

Reading back over that book, it’s actually hard for me to even see the black keys anymore. It’s amazing what can happen when you open your eyes and start looking at what’s been in front of you all along (or at least for a good amount of time.

I’m going to go back to listening to depressing country and western music until the sun comes back out….

Sometimes fire isn't really that hot, sometimes the night isn't really that dark, and sometimes the songs that you don't hear are the most beautiful songs you'll ever want to hear.

Sometimes fire isn’t really that hot, sometimes the night isn’t really that dark, and sometimes the songs that you don’t hear are the most beautiful songs you’ll ever want to hear.

I. Am. Happy.

“Some people turn sad awfully young. No special reason, it seems, but they seem almost to be born that way. They bruise easier, tire faster, cry quicker, remember longer and, as I say, get sadder younger than anyone else in the world. I know, for I’m one of them.”

Ray Bradbury

And as I sit here and look out the window at a big ass tree and grass that needs to be cut I find myself sad. Although I’m not awfully young, as Ray Bradbury put it, I still feel like I’m in my prime (whatever the hell that means), and still doing the whole song and dance of getting up in the morning and being a productive member of society. We’re born sad, we’re born happy, we’re born, we’ll just put it that way. When in the great adventure of life do we actually regain control over our emotions, never? Are we cursed to be sad for the rest of our lives just because we were “born” sad?

I used to think so, I used to think that “sad” was just another emotion such as happy, hungry and horny. I used to think that sad was just one of those things that everyone deals with, day in and out, you get sad because you burn your toast, you get sad because your tank of gas didn’t last as long as you’d like it to, you get sad because you have to crawl your ass into a job that you hate and make money that you don’t really even care about. You get sad because you’re alive, you get sad because there are people alive around you, you get sad because, well, nobody taught you how to be happy.

Let’s take a moment and think about it, as a baby, you knew to cry when you were happy, when you had shit yourself, and especially when you needed attention. These basic instincts were just born to all of us, we cried as babies because we didn’t have language skills enough to express what we really wanted. I need my ass wiped, I want some food, fuck, I want to be played with. These basic things that we needed, but weren’t getting was what made us cry, and crying usually coincides with sadness. I’m sad, give me attention, make me feel better, life will go on. At what point did we decide that crying wasn’t working for us? At what point did we find ourselves using words to express our feelings instead of crying? The moment we used language for the first time was when we lost our touch on reality. Our ability to be sad went away and all of a sudden we were trying to use words to express our emotions.

Honestly, there aren’t enough words in enough languages to really depict emotions, good and bad. When you’re pissed off what the hell are you supposed to do to release that negative energy that dwells inside of you? Swear? Hit something? Does any of that really satisfy your anger? Worst case scenario you’ll end up like me and either hit a wall, hit a tree, or hit the hay. I’m pretty good at putting my anger at ease without using words, but at the same time nothing ever gets resolved. I’m still mad at something, I’m still in limbo as to what has hurt me, and I sure as hell don’t know how to fix things.

Coming from somebody that has been perennially “sad” for 30 years, it’s been a blessing and a curse to see what it takes to really set me off. I can be “sad” in a way that I would be after hearing a sad song, but I can also be “sad” in a way that makes me want to hide from the world and wish it all away. Sad, as Ray Bradbury put it, is a permanent condition, one that all of us know about, but only few of us actually deal with on a day to day basis. I can look at all of the amazing things in my life and still have this dark nugget of sadness curled up in my brain.

Well, I did have that nugget, but somehow, in someway that nugget dissolved into a mysterious feeling called happiness.

Whoa, hold on, did the little blonde girl actually say “happiness”?

Yes, and no. It’s sort of a double edged sword, follow closely because this might get a little deep.

“What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction.”

Chuck Palahniuk

The nature of the human beast, set in a couple of sentences, summarized everything that I am sad about. Ever since being a little kid playing with my brother and sister I had this evil feeling of being disposable. It wasn’t my parents fault, it wasn’t societies fault, it was solely my own fault. Even from diaper age I felt like the world didn’t need me. I did bad things, I continued to act out, and finally, around the age of 13 I gave up. I realized that I was indeed disposable, nobody really cared, or so I thought, and I went about my teenage angst believing that I didn’t matter. My life didn’t matter, my actions didn’t matter, and in fact, sad was the only thing I really believed in. I didn’t believe in myself, my future, or even my own potential. I was just breathing air that somebody else should have been breathing. I was alive, but I was dead on the inside.

I never felt indispensable to anybody, I sort of assimilated myself to a paper plate, plastic forks, hell, a paper towel. Use it, toss it, get a new one. That was what I felt in life, that was the “sad” that encompassed me, that was reality to me. It wasn’t anyone elses fault but my own. That was who I was, that’s who I chose to be, and carried on that way until this morning. This very morning, I realized that I am needed, I am indispensable, and all of my free time is taken. Although it’s not easy to describe, it’s easy to feel. I’m floating along feeling hated and lost, I’m also floating along feeling loved and desired. It’s not something that anyone else can offer, you have to find it inside of yourself.

Let’s think about this for a minute, a simple example. You have a car, it needs gas, you give it gas, it goes. You rely on that car to get you to where you have to go but at the same time you have to take care of it, in the form of gas, oil changes, and maintenance. You give the car attention because it gives you what you need. Looking inwards, we’re born sad, or at least that’s what we allow ourselves to believe. It’s like having a car with a leaky gas tank, a blown motor, or hell, a flat tire. We accept the fact that there are things wrong with the car, but we continue to drive it….we don’t get very far though. Same happens with our brains and how we take our outlook on life. We have a sadness that doesn’t get up anywhere, just like a flat tire, but we allow it it to be a hindrance. We don’t take time to look at the problem and fix it, we just accept it and go on with our lives. If you had a flat tire on your car, you’d pull your ass over and put on the spare, because you have to get to where you’re going. Why is it, however, that we allow sad to become our flat tire?

I’ve dealt with my flat tire enough to realize that it’s not going to get me anywhere. I’ve found happy, it’s in the same toolbox as sad, but it gets me much farther than sad ever did. If sad was a tire it’d be the worst quality rubber compound on the market and would flatten if you looked at it wrong. Happy, however, is the tire on the car that will never go flat, it’ll get you to where you have to go, and it won’t let you down. Although our brains are trained on so many levels to accept different emotions, the only one that really matters is happiness. It’s the only tire that rolls to where you want to go.

I. Am. Happy.

You can’t miss what you never had

“You can have it, I don’t ever use it.”

“No, I can’t just take something that doesn’t rightfully belong to me.”

“Okay then, buy it from me.”

“Five bucks, I’ll give you five bucks.”

“Deal, now don’t bother me about it anymore. It’s yours, for good or worse.”

And that goes down into the history books as the best wheeling and dealing I’ve ever done in my life…well, besides getting a free car from some cool dude out in California. The five bucks was the best investment I’ve ever made, hell, I’ve paid more than five bucks for a shitty beer at some fancy tap room before. Five bucks, think about it, you could get like two gallons of premium gasoline, you can get two hot dogs at a gas station, you might even be able to get a 40 of Olde English 500, no scratch that, you’ll probably be able to get three of those damn things.

But the question is, who would actually want three of those? Who would want two gas station hot dogs? Who in their right mind would spend more than five bucks on 16 oz of a beer in a joint that probably inflates the price of your beverage five times just to be able to charge you for ambiance….I’m pointing at a few places….but that’s not the point. Think about it, five bucks, how long do you have to work for five bucks? Is that 20 minutes of your day, do make that much as you sit on the toilet and shit at work? Do you have to sweat and bleed for it as you dig holes for a living. Five bucks, think about it, five….just five. Hold up your hand, count your fingers (unless you’ve had some sort of freak accident), five, there are five there.

Charles Bukowski once said “dull days and night and no meaning, no chance, now 60 years worth: a dollar and 20 cents.” It was a statement of despair, it was a statement of pain, but it was also a statement that very cleverly illustrated the life that he chose. Wine and poetry, the romance of various women, roach infested apartments, working in mail rooms, that was his life, and then he found himself at 60 years old on a side walk and realized he had one dollar and 20 cents to his name. I’m not sure where he went from there, but I do believe it involved hustling and perhaps some horse racing. Later in his life he developed a new motto “mostly not wanting to wade in shit forever, and although shit was a good teacher, there were only so many lessons and then it could drown you and kill you forever.”. Drowning in shit, how awful.

What does this have to do with a five dollar purchase? Everything and nothing. Perhaps with inflation if Bukowski were alive right now that one dollar and 20 cents would be equal to five dollars…and he could make the investment that I did. Buy a second hand, very well used laptop, and use the shit out of it. I had means to go out and get whatever the fuck laptop I wanted at the time, the world was my oyster, I was spoiled rotten and I had dreams of becoming a writer of sorts. Like any other writer, however, I felt there had to be some sort of drama placed at the start of my career as a writer. The drama for me was buying this laptop, which has served me well for four years now, and served well four years prior to my acquisition of it. I have no complaints about it, it has character, it has memories, but most importantly it’s mine.

Mine. I don’t share.

This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but boy howdy, it sure is. This laptop not only carried me through my darkest hour and helped me write a book, but it also followed me across country being bounced from hotel to house to hotel to house, and then hotel again. Three weeks of being hauled in and out of a big old red car and thrown on random floors. It stood the test of time, it was always there for me, and it still is. I can complain that it doesn’t have a fancy new operating system, it doesn’t have a touch screen, it doesn’t fold four ways, hell, you can’t even run the thing unless it has direct current to the wall. Some people would say keeping something like this think is pointless, this machine is a dinosaur. Yes, it is, but it’s my dinosaur, and nobody else can have it.

Dim lights, draw curtains, expose the scene of a naked person sitting grasping their legs to their chest cold, naked, afraid, trembling. That’s what the writer feels, or at least the good ones, when they sit down to compose some prose. Naked, exposed, their underbelly showing, their feelings out in the open and shamelessly sharing the deepest thoughts, whether they’re fact or fiction for the world to interpret. There will be fans, there will be nay-sayer, there will be people oblivious to the fact that the writer even exists, but the writer knows. Ever key stroke, every word, every page, paragraph, poem is all exposing a true emotion. My true emotion comes out on this dinosaur of a machine, I’ve tried others, I’ve cheated on this machine, but I always come back to it. It’s faithful, it’s true, most importantly it’s mine.

“they’ll trap you and they’ll use you before you even know, but love is blind and you’re far too kind, don’t ever let it show” Words pouring from The Faces in an oddly compiled song that depicts that foreshadowing is only foresight and knowing where life is going to take you is a waste of time. One day you can be on the top of the dung heap, the next day you’re the one building the dung heap, then you’re the one making the dung. Life can be yanked out from under you, when you least know it, life can be smooth sailing, fancy car and house, dog and children, corporate office – bam – you’re hit by a mother fucking train going 70 mph. What then? Did you have a good life, did you leave anything behind before you became a grease spot on the tracks? Probably not, your house will be sold, your kids will grow up with a new step parent and your dog will die. Time passes on without you. You have no control.

You do, however, have control over what happens in this exact moment, take this for example…Riders on the Storm is playing on my Pandora station and I fucking HATE that song. It makes me think of a dead ex boyfriend, a scene from the movie The Doors, and its one o’clock in the morning and I haven’t gotten a good lick of sleep since somebody left by bed a couple of days ago. Do I change the song, no. Do I forget the dead ex, no. Do I wish that body was here right now, hell yes….but look at it, what do I have control of, all the nos. I CAN change the song, I CAN forget the dead ex, but I cannot magically make a person appear. So five dollars…I could spend it on gas, hot dogs, or Olde English, but I invested it into a used laptop. See the parallels yet?

Let’s review. Five dollars for the laptop, 2500 miles across country with it never giving out, still giving faithful service, why would we get rid of it?

Curtain close….the thunder of the song Riders on the Storm comes on….Curtains open and silicone injected breasty women, men sculpted from clay, action figures and barbie dolls come marching out. The newest, latest thing, the think you’re supposed to be, have, want. The temptation is there, you want to try to sculpt yourself into a David like statue, you want a body like on the cover of Cosmo, and hell, we all want to be trendy. Curtain close, scene goes dark…no music. Curtains open.

Nothing. You see nothing. You’re used to being entertained, but all of a sudden there is nothing, you’re left with yourself, your thoughts, your imagination. What outlet are you going to use, your breast implants, your six pack abs, your trophy wife? A blank slate, make it what you want, and that’s what this laptop is for me. A stage that has been set up for me, with all sorts of files that I have no idea what they are and programs that I have no idea how to use, but I keep them, because it gives me a backdrop, a stage, a scene to work from. Go out and get a brand new laptop, see how much inspiration you get out of it…I’ll tell you right now, none. It’s like a chalk board with white chalk, you can write all you want but it will never explode and make an impact. You need some color in that shit.

I will admit to changing the song Melissa, and to my pleasant surprise that groovy song about being groovy came on by Simon and Garfunkel and magically I was taken back to the first time I ever s…..never mind….The point is, change is good, but only when you’re absolutely in pain over something. I haven’t been pained by my laptop, it has never let me down, it has never just broken, it has never even given me the blue screen of death. Melissa however…that’s another story, I can hear it being sung poorly by several cover bands and I might as well jam toothpicks into my eardrums. I have a tolerance for things that sort of work, I have no tolerance for things that are just down right dysfunctional.

This doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t “work” in the conventional sense. For me “work” doesn’t happen during business hours, what I do to make money is a career, my “work” is to write. Without it, I’m a birthday cake without a candle, no flame, no excitement. I make money to support my ability to write in my spare time, in my spare time I write to keep from going mad (most of the time). So for five dollars, I would say I got an excellent investment. This old laptop and I, we’re tight, and if it dies tomorrow a little piece of me will die with it. I’ll never know what those weird engineering programs do, I’ll never know what the “Foster Files” are, and I’ll damn sure never understand what this eBahn software update is, but I’ll miss them all. They’re all a piece of me, and as for moving forward, I’m content with this. Painters still use paint to make masterpieces, musicians still use instruments to make beautiful music, and I could very easily pick up a pen and start pouring my thoughts into a piece of paper.

But….

I have poor penmanship.

When I first started writing, maybe in 2003 or so, I started a journal of quotes, excerpts, topics of interest, and just random thoughts that I thought I could write about. The very first one was:

“Today’s pig is tomorrows bacon”

But it’s already tomorrow. And I’m ready to compound on the next excerpt, but my five dollar machine is tired, I’ve been typing for an hour, and well, I guess sleep is something that the common human needs. Running on caffeine and chocolate milk only works for a little while. I’ll turn in, with the Rolling Stones telling me that their coat is torn and frayed……much like I feel.

But in dismissal, remember, you can’t miss what you never had.

wheeloffset

Magnets, Worms, oh, and some groovy tunes

In Parting Not how one soul comes close to another but how it moves away shows me their kinship and how much they belong together”

-Nietzsche from 75 aphorisms

Whenever I glance through the pages of any philosophical book, a line will jump out at me and grab me by the eyeballs and make me look, not just read, not just understand the words, but actually understand the depth in which the text is trying to relay to my brittle mind. I try to fake it and pretend that I’m the all knowing when it comes down to certain things, but when it comes to knowledge of ones self and how ones behavior affects others, that’s when the words really sink in. When you can actually relate to a text, when the words soak into your sponge of a brain and leave you wondering to yourself, what is next, what now?

Or my favorite lately, “holy shit, Nikki, is this really happening?” I’m comfortable with the fact that I make mistakes, and people may agree that the mistakes that we make in life shape who we are in the future, but are they really mistakes, is parting with something, someone, or someplace really indicative of a mistake somewhere along the line of your past. Are you really just plowing through the fields trying to find your way out of the corn maze that we call life or is there a logic to the patterns?

As the Nietz got loonier in his older age, his almost seemed to make a little bit more sense to the common folk like me that didn’t necessarily understand why that old dude was trying to climb to the top of the mountain in the first place, (Zarathustra reference there…stay with me if you can). In the earlier works, it reminds me of me when I was full of doubt and angst, what I was doubting was myself, what I was angst ridden about what everything else in the world. I just seemed to be spiraling out of control with no rhyme or reason. When I crashed the shark I felt my world was coming to an end. In a terrified pile of flesh and feelings I crumbled to the floor in the house that I called home and felt my world come out from under me. It was sort of like one of those stupid rides at the amusement parks when you are slowly raised to the top of a large tower and then suddenly you plummet to the ground at what seems like a million miles a second. You never actually crash, but the illusion is there, you mind tells you everything is going to be okay, this is an amusement ride that people ride daily, and none of them ever died or got hurt, right?

Of course not, because that perception of safety is there. You will hit bottom, the ride will be over, and you can get on with your tourist adventure. If you’re wise, you’ll try it again, just to see if you get the same result. If you’re really wise, you’ll observe other people before throwing yourself at the mercy of some minimum wage paid amusement ride worker. What do they have to lose? They could care less if you plummet to the ground and have both of your legs broken off and are paralyzed for life. Once you realize the outcome of a certain event, emotion, or situation, that’s when your brain is supposed to move away and heal or stay put and see if anything changes. The struggle is real, especially when it’s more than just a carnival ride. Think of it as you’re favorite toy as a child, but it breaks. You’re still attached to it, but it no longer works…actually….it never really worked right in the first place, but it was all you had so you grew attached. The bond was strong, but the relationship with the broken toy wasn’t healthy. You saw other kids with better toys than you, but something made you stick, something made you hold onto that toy hoping that someday it would magically repair itself and you could be whole again.

Connectivity isn’t just a word that relates to hooking your laptop up to a wireless network, it’s an inner soul searching magnet that is always at work, but only if you let it. The catch is to trick yourself into believing that your connectivity magnet can actually attract good. I for one have had a hell of a time with my magnet, recently it had me hit bottom, but what I thought was bottom was only a false bottom, kinda like that amusement park ride we were referencing earlier. Instead of stopping at the bottom of the tower, somehow, someway, the ground gives way and you plunge deeper into a dark abyss – but only because that’s what you’re allowing your magnet to draw you to. (examples are great, aren’t they, take the alcoholic that refuses to admit to having a problem, although they know they do, they allow the magnet of connectivity to draw them to what hurts, not what would heal them.)

Yes, I am now sitting at my computer at well after midnight with a Farmhouse Red Ale beside me and a couple of houseplants that look like they should have been put out of their misery a long time ago, but this is where I’m drawn. This is where I need to be, but it’s only where I have to be now because I know where I’m going in the future. Before sitting down to this desk, in my new office, with my new furniture, with my framed artwork of an E24, E82, and a poorly painted picture that was supposed to be my mom (please note, I cannot paint) I was sort of in a wanderlust mindset. I’ve lost everything that I *thought* was important in life, only to realize that the happiness that I was feeling wasn’t really happiness, it was just fear of unhappiness. It was a clever mind trick.

“If I can’t be beautiful, I want to be invisible.”
Chuck Palahniuk

And that simple sentence rang out to me like one of those annoying clocks with the little birds that pop out and make ridiculous noises. I realized my life was just a struggle of being seen but being invisible when I felt I wasn’t at my best. It was a no win situation, and if you’ve ever delved into the whole “body stereotype” bullshit you’ll understand that you cannot have it both ways. For me I found myself in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV, again, staring at the ceiling, again, and wondering why I couldn’t just be beautiful so life would be easier for me. There was really no difference from the first time I was in the hospital and the last time I was in the hospital, they both came from self destruct modes, granted they manifested themselves in different forms. The end result was the same though, it never worked. I’d get discharged, and I’d reevaluate my life and how the heck I got to where I was.

This time it took me crashing into several trees with my brand new car. I can’t explain the wreck, I can’t explain exactly what happened, all I know is I was being carried out of my house by my dad and a friend of his and going to the hospital. I didn’t know what was going on, much like the first time I went into that hospital, I didn’t know what was going on, but that was only because I was about brain dead from starvation. Think back to our first quote about moving away. I thought I had moved away from that destructive habit, but I didn’t. my soul was wrapped around its self. I was wrapped up in my own selfish world of wanting to be a beauty queen and desired. It wasn’t going to happen, I realized it, and then it manifested itself into something else. A different roller coaster ride developed and I found myself just stuck at the top of a hill without the power to keep going. I was stuck. I couldn’t move forward, I had no motivation, nobody pushed me, I felt that my soul was invisible and that it was going to remain that way.

“I’ve been set free and I’ve been bound
Let me tell you people
What I found
I saw my head laughing
Rolling on the ground”

-Lou Reed with The Velvet Underground

Aftermath of wreckage is always hard to wrap your head around, and clarity always seems to come in phases. For me it was as simple as laying on my bed, listening to old records thinking about how things could be, how things were, and finally, the fact that I was master of my own destiny. I curled into a happy ball next to a warm body and for once in in my life I felt peace, my pain seemed to be set free. Lou Reed rang in my ears and my heart sung happier songs than any birds in trees could ever sing. In the face of total destruction, concussions, and discussions, I found myself set free. I never wanted to move from that position, I was safe, I felt whole, I felt like all of the static from my past had been forgiven and I was finally able to move forward with life. Without realizing it, I was in a daze. My feet were swept out from out from under me and for once I didn’t care if I was beautiful or invisible. I was set free, and all it took was one person to believe in me, to make me realize that there isn’t a “perfect”, there isn’t a template for which all “good” people are formed, it’s your connectivity magnet that draws you. I will never be able to thank that person enough for keeping me from giving totally up, I was pulled from the plummeting amusement park ride and boosted up to a higher pedestal I could ever imagine.

And I sit here, in my office, it’s now after one o’clock, the music plays on and I glance over at the E82 on the wall. I look at it and think back to the adventures we had, but will never have again. I killed that car, I also killed a little piece of myself. I look over to that poorly painted canvas and realize that the subject matter is really quite grave and I should probably just throw the damn thing away. It’s actually kind of creepy.

But then I look over my shoulder and see that amazing print of an E24 and realize that all things are perspective. I crashed both of those cars (and another one, but I’m not bringing that one into the equation because I was never actually attached to it). The 128 and I spent lots of time driving fast around corners, although I knew I probably shouldn’t, and that’s where it died, on a tight right hander. I look at the painting that is supposed to be my mom, it looks nothing like her, but she never gave up, especially when I was a dick head of a teenager.

The E24, however is different. Today was the first day I got to take him back out on the road and get that sensation of connectivity. That car and I have been to hell and back, and we both have the battle scars to prove it. So on a hot day in South Carolina in August, I let go. Windows down, hair blowing around, I realized everything is going to be okay. If anything it’s just going to keep getting better. I don’t need shiny new cars, I don’t need big screen tvs, I don’t even really need a roof over my head, the simple fact that I feel loved is enough.

“If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on.”
Immanuel Kant

Save the worms for fishing and the birds, I’m going to be a butterfly.

You have been loved.

“There is not enough love and goodness in the world to permit giving any of it away to imaginary beings.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

And with that our minds are open to a plethora of oddities that don’t necessarily make sense. Take the context of what our good friend the Nietzch was trying to convey with the entire text of “Human, all too human”, what are we but living beings? We contemplate how life could be different, how life coud be better, life could be, well….to be honest, somebody elses. How many times to we sit in envy of somebody elses live, family, love, job, car, security, blah blah, you get what i’m saying. Although envy is one of those cardinal type sins, we can’t help but feel inferior at times in the face of superiority. This is what the world is about, the divining rod between water and drought, rich and poor, hopeful and helpless.

This omnipotent presence that we all attain through our years of living tends to start dying down once we realize that the race was run a long time ago and there isn’t any way to re-run that race. Take for instance middle school, we were all uncomfortable, we were all awkward, we were all lost. We lack all the things that make life whole. To look back at the Nietche and his concept of imaginary beings, did we not all fight those imaginary beings in middle school. Did we not all suffer at the end of the day because we felt like there was somebody better, smarter, faster, prettier…you get the idea.

But the problem with the middle school mentality, that the Nietch understood, was that those demons we were fighting were all imaginary. The person that claimed to be “smarter”, well, taking it out of context isn’t there something you might know more about? The prettier girl/more handsome guy, yeah, he’s there, he intimidates the crap out of you, but then it ends up they’re knocked up and the rest of their life is ruined. You look at your perceived “ugliness” and embrace it, you’re actually doing pretty well, you advanced beyond the teenage mentality, you. can. move. forward. The scary thing is that many people still face those imaginary spooks well into their high school, college, careers, you name it. There is this scary being that chases them throughout adulthood. There is a haunting spirit, a paranoia have you, that will always be a stigma on some peoples conscience. Take for instance the girl that was picked on cause she had a skin condition or the boy that got picked on that had facial hair in fourth grade, that imaginary pain follows them throughout their life and the shame, although it was decades before, still follows them into adulthood. This pain, is in fact imaginary.  Our perception is our reality, and in these cases the reality of current events are solely based on events that happened years before.

The paradox in the whole Human, All too Human text was that the people that suffered were those that didn’t realize the love that resounded around them and the goodness that total strangers might have. With pain and angst being your shield, there is no way for you to allow a true love to penetrate that blockade that you’ve put around yourself.

“Love, that’s what’s make life worth….” (Earl, on My Name Is Earl)

Although they are two very different philosophical parallels, the fact is that  Earl, although he was a fictitious character in a sitcom had a point, ” Love, that’s what makes life worth…” everything really. What is life when you’re walking around with a shield keeping people from getting close to you because you’re fighting these long gone imaginary wars that perhaps never existed in the first place. We can totally flip this love thing around and take the Trojan Horse for example, it was an offering of a peace, but, the peace was imaginary. Nothing good came from that in genuine emotion. Nothing good came from a false offering. Again, this is where Human, All to Human gets a little blurry. We’re supposed to acknowledge the goodness and love in people, but when do we know when it’s a pure love? When do we know that it’s true and not a trojan horse coming to destroy us?

“If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on.”

Immanuel Kant

This is where the story of love and imaginary fears turns into reality. The problem with our pasts is that we allow it to consume us and take hold of what we allow ourselves to be. Take for instance that terrible first marriage that you had that scarred you for life and made you feel like everyone in the world was evil and that there isn’t anyone in the world that will look you in the face and say they love you (and really mean it). The point is that if you allow all of those previous experiences form who you are now, you deserve what you get.

The precipice of Kant’s worm example was that you can be a terrible person, an you know you’re a terrible person, but if you pretend that you’re a saint you’ll probably be worshiped like a saint. Without plausable reason to doubt your sainthood, why should anyone call you out? In all aspects of the word, you might as well be in holy scripture somewhere, but deep down inside you know you’re terrible, you know you steal from the Salvation Army at Christmas and you know you’re mean to the Jehovahs Witnesses when they come by. You’re a terrible person, you cut in line, you lie on your taxes, you skip out of work early and still get paid, but you’re still a saint in the eyes of the world, as long as you’re not called out on it.

The worm man, however, is honest with his wrongdoings. The worm man knows that, well, the decisions that he made were probably not the best, BUT, at the same time, he deserves to be trodden upon. those that have an actual conscience will accept the fact that being a worm is one of the lowest forms of life there are. You emerge to the surface when it rains to keep from drowning, but stay buried in the soil to keep from letting the world see you for the slime you are. You still have purpose in life, you feed birds, you enrich the soil, you even help old guys catch big fish on the lakes. You’re a worm, but who decided that you have to be a worm.

It circles around to the Nietch talking about that imaginary being that resides in all of us. The being that decides whether we’re a saint or a worm. Are we going to allow our imaginary battles struggle us down to make us worms or are we going to ignore those things that don’t exist and become the superheroes that we should be.

With love, even if it’s just self love, life goes on. Embrace the fact that you’ve been loved….by someone….someone good.

On a razors edge

“The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct”
William of Ockham

So lets assume that I feel like I’ve made a huge mistake, and let’s assume that the repercussions are irreversible and that the mistake was unintentional. Let us also wrap our minds around the concept that in my heart I felt I did the right thing, but have sense learned to allow my mistake to consume me. My mind is reeling with guilt, denial, doubt of self, and most importantly, fear. The fear of making another mistake, the fear of making an even bigger mistake, the fear of letting my fear take hold of my life and prevent me from living a basic, normal life, in which I have become accustomed to.

Let me remind you, this is all in theory. I haven’t really done anything that consumes me, but in the past I have allowed myself to become consumed with guilt and loathing, usually for the most ridiculous reasons. I’d dwell on stupid things that nobody else cared about, and let it lead me by the hand into a self destructive path towards death. It was a dark spot in life, it was a scary spot in life, it was not so long ago actually. The rational mind wraps itself around a concept and restricts it like a snake, extracting every bit of information out of it so that the creative mind can whirl it around into a tornado of ridiculous concepts and scenarios that are usually absolutely bunk. Picture a thought of guilt, okay, you feel bad that you cut that person off on the way to work this morning, the rational mind says:

  • I cut that guy off
  • I could have crashed
  • I knew there wasn’t really room but I had to get over
  • I hope nobody saw me
  • The driver flipped me the bird
  • I needed gas really bad
  • I was late to work

After snake like mind coils itself around the situation, it squeezes every last fact out of the situation, and then the creative mind kicks in and has a field day. The creative mind says:

  • That guy could have been a criminal and he could have pulled a gun on me and chased me in some sort of fantastic road rage type situation where I find myself ran off the road and shot in the head, not to be found for three days when a homeless man wanders by, steals my purse, then informs the police that there is a wicked ugly corpse half way hanging out a car window with a bullet in her head.
  • That lady I just cut off could have had a car full of kids and was taking them to daycare and the situation scared her so much she was afraid to drive more than a little under the speed limit, always in the right lane, just to make sure she wasn’t in the way of anyone. This slow driving then caused her to be late to drop the kiddos off, and then it caused her to be late to her job, in which she lost her job, had to collect her kids from daycare, and then move in with her parents because she was a single mother with no other income.
  • Maybe that other person was taking on their cell phone (over bluetooth) and not paying attention to what they were doing in the first place and by me cutting them off it caused them to become hyper aware of the situation and consider changing their driving style was to a more road focused, distraction free driver. This mentality caused them to become proactive in the community, helping teen drivers to not drive distracted.
  • That old man that just flipped me off could have been on his way to the hospital because he felt he was having some constriction in his chest. He popped a nitro, but the pain didn’t subside, he was afraid he was having a heart attack. The excitement of the almost collision caused his heart to race even more, which it wasn’t prepared to do causing an embolism which caused him to die of a stroke.

See? It’s a simple action, but the creative mind can take it to and fro and make a mountain out of a mole hill. Occam’s Razor – a philosophical view point from William of Ockham explains to us that although theories can be expressed, the simplest answer is usually the right answer. The principal of the whole “razor” is that things should not be multiplied unnecessarily, in this case, ideas or theories of what might have happened were replicated by the creative brain causing a blockage of actual perception of what reality is really like. The concept is really just Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” In the cut off example, the simple conclusion is:

  • I cut somebody off this morning

And that’s it, no more static, take the fact for what it is and don’t extract the juices of ridiculousness. It’s done, nobody got hurt, somebody might have been a little peeved, but certainly it didn’t ruin his day – – and if it did, by gum, he needs to start practicing the action of not taking the action of extracting extra information out of a situation. It’s like that line in the Electric Koolaid Acid Test citing that “it’s just a table, man, it’s just there to like, receive your food. It’s got legs, man, it’s a table.” I paraphrase and those aren’t the exact words, but the concept is there, it’s simple, it’s a table. You can go on about where it came from, what wood it’s made from, how much you paid for it and then go into the fact that the deliverymen had to, and the men that built it, and the tree that was cut down for it….see where it leads, a never ending abyss of confusion.

In the end, everything is just a table, man.

“If you label it this, then it can’t be that.”
― Tom Wolfe

So, instead of labeling things as “good” and “bad”, why not just label things as, well, just things, or thoughts or actions. They are just part of who you are and the life you decide to live. Actually, the simplicity of the lifestyle in the Electric Koolaid Acid Test is very congruent with Occam’s Razor. The concept that people lived to be who they are, like the ass kicker that didn’t apologize for kicking ass, because that’s what he was, an ass kicker. Also the bullshitter, he never took back his words, because that’s who he was, full of bullshit. Those fantastic people on that fantastic bus might have been higher than kites most of the time, but they really dug into the fact that perception is actually reality and life is what you make it. Granted their lifestyle was a little, ahem, risque, but hell, don’t we all do things that we wouldn’t tell our parents or pastors about?

“I had three pieces of limestone on my desk, but I was terrified to find that they required to be dusted daily, when the furniture of my mind was all undusted still, and threw them out the window in disgust.”
Henry David Thoreau

If that isn’t simplicity at it’s finest, I don’t know what is. In our case with Occam’s Razor, the limestone and dust accumulates in our minds and we often forget that we can extract those troublesome things by letting them go. Release the boa constrictor like grasp on that idea and just like it float out to sea to trouble some other poor sap.

Besides, you’ve got a lot of living to do, so I do for that matter. Although I admit I’ve made some seriously fucked up mistakes, I no longer hold onto them and channel them into deep regions of my brain. I let them float out to sea…

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What I’ve learned about totaling my car. the Philosophy on life after loss

“What’s done cannot be undone.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

(please note, Macbeth is probably my favorite non pop culture read out there)

I’ll preface this with the fact that it was not my fault that I totaled my car…but then again I say very few things are my fault. I sort of shrug stuff off and point my finger at everybody else. You’re to blame that I crashed, you stupid guard rail. You’re the fact that I crashed stupid song stuck in my head. You’re the reason I crashed Zips, all buckled in in the back seat, almost as if he was anticipating death. Verily we might have died on that stretch of road going up through Mountain Rest, but we didn’t. My dad, Zips and I return home, without major injuries, but with one really fucked up car. We were lucky enough to be able to limp it back to Anderson to more closely examine the damage.

I’ll pat myself on the back when I say that I didn’t break down in an emotional fit….well…not until nobody else was around. That car was my everything, that car was my buddy, that car was my only slice of privacy in this world and it’s wrecked, totaled, no more. Vaya con dios. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about ready to learn a very important lesson in life, one that I hadn’t ever learned before. I can be independent.

Forever and ever I have always felt that I needed a crutch to prop myself up on, somebody to catch me when I fall and to bail my ass out when I’m in trouble. After our separation, my crutch is no longer there, so I’ve been propping myself up on sticks that wouldn’t hold me. I constantly stumbled over stupid things and tried my hardest to realize that I have the strength to actually make my own decisions. I don’t have to approve my life actions because, what I do, I do because I *think* it’s a good idea.

That’s exactly where this loss business comes in. I wrecked the car, I wrecked my last relationship, I wrecked another car, I wrecked myself several times, I wrecked my bank account, I mean, I’m a human wrecking ball….but only because I’m not taking control of the gears.

“Confusion now hath made his masterpiece.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

But how, with all of my philosophical learning, with all my common sense, with all of the life experiences I had, why was this so difficult. Why could I not just take the reins and ride that wild horse wherever I wanted to go? What was holding me back? In a word, confusion. I was confused at how to live a life that nurtured me, that catered to me, that allowed me to open up and actually share my feelings with people. I was confused how to begin, almost like being brought back from death and looking at the ceiling of the hospital room and wondering “I wonder why that light fixture is there.” I now wander around confused about what I’ve done with my life, where I’m going in life, and what the hell just happened the past ten years of my life.

South Carolina happened, that’s whats been going on for the past ten years of my life. And as much as I love it here, it hurts me too. Something about it hurts, and I think it’s my heart. My tenure here has been full of bad decisions, a few good ones, and then one really bad one. It’s done though, and I cannot go back, the wheels must roll forward…and exactly that happened. I went out and bought a brand new car (which I never thought I’d be able to do in my entire life) and got what I wanted that was practical. I didn’t ask anyone for advice, I didn’t let anyone manipulate me into getting something that I didn’t want (cough, that fucking maxima), and I sure as hell didn’t care what other people thought of my new ride. I needed out of South Carolina, I needed fresh road and thinking time.

“Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Hitting the open road was my medicine, and although I feel awful that I left loved ones high and dry without really telling them where I was going, truth be told I didn’t know where I was going either. I was going somewhere. New places, new roads, a new lease on life. Perhaps in these rolling back hills of north Georgia and Tennessee I would find a sign, a purpose, some sort of epiphany as to why I belong on this earth. I drove, and then drove some more. Deep inside of me I had always wanted to see Rock City. So I went, of course being me I had no brains (no brains, no headache) and was wearing spike heels. For once in my life I said “fuck it, if they look at me funny, so be it, this is my dream, this is my life, this is what I want to do.” And I did, although it didn’t bode well, instead of wrecking the car that day, I wrecked my knee. A tumble would be a mild way to express my fall, but I didn’t care. I made a decisions, a risky one at that, and paid the consequences.

I was on a path of self destruction, I was hell bent, I wasn’t to do all the things that I’d always wanted to do and then just call it a day. Jump off the rock or something, but something inside me cried, “stop the madness.” I drove the stretch of road between Rock City and Chattanoga balling my eyes out. This trip was supposed to be my adventure, my spirit journey, my trip to heal the ripped open wounds of loosing the things that I love. Things that I will never have back. I sobbed, which didn’t really help anything, but I realized the only reason I lost the things that I loved the most was because I didn’t take time to really appreciate the love exuded. I was too busy in self destruct mode to see the reality, and I was also too consumed with making up what I thought other people thought of me.

“I cannot fly,But bear-like I must fight the course”

A motto that I’ve had ever since first reading that book in high school. The torment that Macbeth suffered was comparable to the hell that I was putting myself through every single fucking day. For what reason, however? What did I do to deserve such malicious and hateful self treatment. It didn’t make sense. I arrived in Chattttaannoooggaaaa, with all intentions on going to see the Choo Choo and other touristy places, but the only place I found myself was bellied up to a bar, a fantastic bar where they actually seemed to “get” me. Of course talking to random bartenders is a past time of mine, but in this circumstance I needed someone to talk to, someone that didn’t know me from Adam.

“I totaled my car”

“Oh shit, that sucks! It’s just a car though. Be thankful you weren’t hurt.”

“You don’t understand, that car was my baby.”

“I don’t think you understand that that car is JUST a car, it has no feelings, it can’t love you back. It might make you smile, but it doesn’t love you.”

“So what you’re saying is it’s a good thing I totaled my car and got a new one?”

“Yeah, I guess so. Don’t fall in love though, remember, it can’t love you back.”

“My plenteous joys,
Wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves
In drops of sorrow.”
― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

I left, and got on the long road to Johnson City, Tennessee, a place that I have some bittersweet memories of being very sick. Those words were resonating in my head, “it can’t love you back.” All that time that I was so proud of my car, taking pictures of it, treating it like a member of the family, all of that shit….and it never loved me back, it was just a car. It wasn’t even possessed. It was just a car….but then it dawned on me, it wasn’t that I loved the car so much, it was the attention that the car got. It turned heads in a way that I was always jealous of. People were always complimenting me on my car, but I would rarely get compliments on me. I’d show it off, channeling that attention people were giving to the car into myself. It never loved me, but I loved it for the attention it got me.

Sick to my stomach at the realization, I pulling into a rest area and curled up in a ball in the back seat. The emotional roller coster of the day was too much for me to bear. Not thinking, I didn’t crack windows, I didn’t turn on the ac, and it was 92 degrees out. I fell sound asleep, I mean REALLY sound asleep. The lack of sleep from the night before plus hundreds of miles down and many more to go had me exhaused….mind you in the 92 degree heat…in the sun…with the windows up.

The only reason I woke up was a semi passed and used it’s air breaks and pretty much rattled my car to the bone. I woke up, sopping wet with sweat and feeling dizzy. I was scared, but I felt renewed. That was twice in a week I escaped death. My nerves were shot, my heart was healing, and I was on the road again, trying to pick up the mental pieces where I left off. I filled myself with music that made me sing, one song came on that made me cry like a baby…and actually right now, it makes me well up. It’s not really even my type of music but it fills my heart with sorrow for all the things that I’ve loved and lost.

I suppose these next 30 years are going to be full of the love and loss too, which makes it really hard to love something or someone, because you never actually know if they love you back. Like a car….it will not love you back.

audi

“Remember, always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.”
Richard M. Nixon

People may shake their head at me, but I’ll be honest with you, I admire Richard Nixon. Sure, there was the whole “crook” thing, there was the whole impeachment thing, there was the whole Watergate business…but so what? He was human, he had a job to do and, well, no matter what your political vantage point is at this juncture, he was just a guy doing a job. Granted there were some shady things going on, but really, isn’t that everywhere? Aren’t people artificially coloring our produce to make it look fresher, aren’t bartenders watering down our overpriced drinks, aren’t we as writers often apt to stretch the truth a little bit.

None of that mattered though, nobody thought back to see where this man came from, they just focused on the bad, never the good. Honestly, that’s what I see in many people nowadays, and it hurts. There was no going back to a normal life for Nixon, and actually, while my dad was in the marine corps his primary job was to guard the house where Nixon resided in San Clemente. There was still turmoil over the scandal, but what people didn’t remember were the positive aspects of his career as a politician. The most important one, at this very scary time in America, was the civil rights movement. Nixon was front and center to see the south decide to embrace the fact that every living human being had equal rights, no matter who the fuck they were born from.

The cool thing about him was that although he was pretty well spoon fed by funders, he was still honest about where he truly stood. Where is he now? What can he do for this nonsense going on in the State of South Carolina?

I’m not a political person, and I never try to take one side or another without investigating every single aspect of the issue. I don’t usually write on current events, and very VERY rarely do I drag some sort of earth moving spin on any of my writings, but this shit is ridiculous. What the fuck is wrong with people, and why is it such a big deal all of a sudden? Did I miss something, are minorities suddenly an enemy. If so, somebody please explain to me what it is?

I grew up in an amazing place, although it was severely lacking diversity. I think we had two mexican kids and maybe MAYBE one black kid in the entire school (k-8). We were in Wisconsin, were were the epitome of a melting pot with last names with too many “z” and “y”, not enough vowels, and usually a pain in the ass to pronounce. All of our heritage was from other places. Nobody (aside from the Native Americans) were really from there, and nobody really touted any sort of banner of history in regards to where we lived. We just lived there, we called it home, it wasn’t something to get wild about. Except, of course, that one time in 1967 riots broke out in the booming tourist town of Lake Geneva. The problem with this, however, was that nobody really knew what they were fighting about. They were a bunch of young kids, mostly up at summer homes, that would typically reside in Chicago. Lake Geneva didn’t have a huge police presence so when a race riot broke out in the quite little lake community the police did what they felt they should do…put those naughty white kids from Chicago in a barn and call their parents.

It wasn’t something that was fueled by racial hatred or even anti-war, as one rioter admitted decades later “We didn’t know what we were rioting about. It was fueled by beer.”

Huh. Beer. The police chalked it up to young people letting off pent off steam. Those were the days, when all we had to worry about were some angst ridden teenagers throwing beer bottles, sobering up the next day, and then saying to themselves “oh shit, that was NOT good.” I’m a fan of beer, and honestly, if anything in the world would make me NOT want to riot, that would be it.

The point is, the civil unrest is ridiculous here in South Carolina. What ever happened to that whole “give peace a chance” business, and the whole “all men are created equal”. It turns into an Animal Farm mentaility here for some people and they decide that “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” What exactly is the hierarchy? What determines it? If I were to lay in a tanning bed and get as dark as possible, would that cause me to be “less equal?” If my name was something with an ethnic tinge to it, would that make me more likely to get shot? How do I fit into the whole scheme of things.

South Carolina, to me at least, has become a manifestation of Animal Farm, Walden, and some sort of horror film with rednecks and chainsaws (the name eludes me). The problem is that not EVERYONE here is like that, there are decent human being that love people no matter what. To use a bit of Animal Farm again: “Several of them would have protested if they could have found the right arguments.” What is the argument these people have, exactly? Where does this hate stem from? Is it something genetic, if so, why aren’t there awful race riots in states like, I dunno, Nebraska. In order to protest, you have to have two things, a spine and a valid argument. It seems this state is full of spines and nothing to back it up (ha pun intended).

I’m not promoting the burning of the Confederate flag. I understand it is a part of history. Hell, we proudly hung the secession flag on our home for years. People would scoff, but at the same time, it symbolized individuality. For us it was a beacon of the ability to overcome oppression. It was actually my idea, and I’m not even from here. The fact that I’m in South Carolina right now is just a luck of the draw, but I can’t deal with some of the hate that people here can harness. I’ve never met so many people that will smile to your face and stab you in the back at the same time. It’s not everyone, there are some awesome people, but from what I’ve encountered, especially in the media lately, there is so much hate in this state I just don’t get it.

I once made the statement that I don’t see anything more attractive than a black man in a suit. Immediately I was told that was wrong and I shouldn’t think that way. Why the fuck not? A good person is not derived from their skin, it comes from their heart. A white man in a suit can screw you just as easy and the black man. There are fringe populations, of course, but there are those fringes in every race, every culture, every nation (except maybe Monaco). Those that are stuck in the lower level of living lifestyle usually have no choice but to keep on living life the best they know how. Their power to survive, even in tough conditions, is admirable. Those people deserve to live life and be happy. People who judge should, well, I can’t stand it. People who judge should stay the fuck away from me.

Stop the hate, stop the killing, stop the madness. We’re all one.

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Walden.

Leave your hate alone.

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