Friday, August 22, 2014

Two Tears in a Bucket

“Forget how big the universe is. Forget the cosmos and your size relative to the size of a planet. Forget about the spaces between stars being so large that we have to measure them by time instead of distance.

“There’s nothing like the ending of a relationship to make you realize how incredibly small, insignificant and pointless your existence is. Why? Well, all that universe shit is far too abstract for most of us to wrap our stupid monkey brains around anyway. Let those things keep Neil DeGrasse* Tyson’s genius ass up at night. Love and breakups on the other hand, they have far more power in making us evaluate our place in the world.

“Pain is one of the few things in the world that people are not stingy about sharing. Hell, misery loves to watch Three’s Company, as that famous saying goes. And when relationships end, we try our best to spread that misery around. Unfortunately, nobody’s buying. First of all, it’s depressing. People who have just gotten out of relationships are depressing to be around. Not to mention monotonous. Everything reminds them of something. Secondly, no matter how important that relationship was to a person, no matter how life-encompassing, it doesn’t matter to anybody else (except for offspring and maybe the next person in line to get up in dem guts). Every aspect of your love life, from how you met, to your pet names for each other, to your inevitable breakup, has been seen, felt, (and dealt), heard of and experienced so many times that your own personal experience is just another drop in the ocean.

“Think about it. Why are we all here on this planet?** What is our purpose? Our raison-d’ĂȘtre? Many people would say that it’s to find a mate, reproduce and carry on our genes and innate love of cheesesteaks. So, people go out, find other people, date, marry, go on American Ninja Warrior, divorce, and so on. And each part of that process weaves itself into the warp and weft of that individual’s life. It makes up who they are and becomes a footnote in the definition of their very being.

“And it doesn’t mean dick to anybody outside of that relationship.

“Instead, we save our caring for the great, idealized (and most importantly) fictional loves throughout history. That’s why Romeo & Juliet represent the archetype of love and relationships (including the requisite tragic ending, because even on the subconscious, idealized level, we all realize that if LOVE is involved, then things can’t end well). And if you’re not a fan of those two, there’s Carrie and Mr. Big, Tristan & Isolde, Bridget Jones and her diary, Mr. Grey and ties, Martin and Riggs, etc. Don’t even get me started on Edward and Bella. (Because I have absolutely no clue what any of that junk is about.)

“Your story? Probably heard it before. Nothing new. It’s really one of those ‘you had to be there’ kind of deals for it to mean something more to people. Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes it when relationships end. You’ll get a sympathy pat on the back, a ‘buck-up-there-are-other-fish-in-the-sea’ smile and maybe even share a remorseful tear or two with your more empathetic friend. But don’t get it twisted. This pain is your own personal ride and others won’t join you on it. So while your world may be falling apart, and tissues pile up in your garbage can and your television shoots itself rather than play Dirty Dancing again, the rest of the world will move on, same as it always did, regardless of your own anguish and struggles. Uncaring, unmoved and unfazed.

“Which can result in making you feel small, short-lived and pointless.”

“So you’re saying I should go ahead and get a third scoop of ice cream?”


*Insert non-Drake related joke here about bad Canadian television show, when you can think of one. It’ll be a hilarious wink for the one person who gets it, therefore validating your creativity and humor.

** 42

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We Will Get Through This

It’s rare that I feel the need to comment on current events, I like my entries to be timeless (except for the first three years of this blog, which were unfortunately very MySpace-centric). But sometimes things occur and I just have to give my two cents.

Situations take place that demand a strong, brave soul to step up, grab the mic/bullhorn/conveniently-located breast, and lead the masses with powerful words and inspirational language that comforts, soothes and placates the people across the land.

This is one of those times.

I am that person.

This summer sucked dead, yeasty, rotted hobo balls.

It’s true that things happened across this tiny blue marble in the past three months to give us pause and make us send our hearts and thoughts* out to others in times of despair. There have been storms and hurricanes, floods and fires. Wars in several countries, landscapes littered with the dead husbands, wives, parents and children of the unenviable survivors of these violent acts committed by man against man. There is Malaysia Airlines, which can’t catch a goddamn break. The death of celebrities, either by natural causes or their own hands. The use of deadly force by those we entrust with public safety against an innocent man. The really, really shitty movies released in theaters for our “pleasure” at seizure-inducing prices. People randomly posting videos of themselves dumping buckets of water on their heads for reasons that are now lost to time, forgotten and meaningless. The lime shortage that effected my enjoyment of summer cocktails. Sharknado 2.

But most importantly, the summer did not live up to its contractual obligation of being oppressively hot and sweaty in the DMV. I don’t know about things where you live,** but here in the Nation’s Capital, this summer has been a big old moist let down. August alone was just a month-long cloudfest. The temperatures were warm and comfortable, the humidity wasn’t a problem and we had plenty of rain to make sure plants grew and lawns were watered. And I say boo to all of this.

Where were the mosquitoes? What happened to the requisite weight-loss through sweating? Or the hours spent in icky bliss, peeling off sunburnt skin? And the Ice Cream Man, dammit! Where was he?!

All of the things that make summer simultaneously the most fun and most frustrating time of year were not evident in 2014. I mean, for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, school started in August! That offends me to my core. Do children no longer have a voice to speak out for themselves? Let the kids be kids. Don’t force them into classes so soon. And don’t give me that crap about how kids need to be in school more to stop their brains from atrophying during the summer (both the purpose of summer in the first place, and the name of my next album: Atrophying Brains) and make us more competitive in the global arena. Americans lost that battle years ago, as exemplified by the fact that there’s a television reality show about Amish criminals.

Sure we can blame any number of things. It’s the fault of Climate Change. God is punishing us for worshiping the Kardashinans. Maybe we need to all get our shit together and throw a couple virgins into a volcano. Perhaps evil aliens are slowly transforming our planet into an environment more suitable for them (I call credit if that ends up being the real reason). But it doesn’t matter. The summer is over now, and with it, joy. Now we get on with our lives, spend the rest of the year plodding through our pointless and wasted existences. Doing our best to pretend that it’s all for the best. That we enjoy waking up and it’s dark out. Getting off of work and it’s dark out. Bundling up in layers of clothes. Dealing with increased traffic and gridlock.

But still, somewhere deep in our minds, always there, always waiting, like a beacon of purpose and fulfillment: the image of a palm tree on an empty beach at gloaming.

And those damn mosquitoes.

*Absolutely no idea what this phrase means and you don’t either. Don’t even pretend like you do. It’s a mindless thing that people repeat because others say it. Like “please” and “thank you”.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Where Do I Begin?

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Monday, August 04, 2014

For Better Or For Worse

Let me tell you the story of a little boy, much like yourself. A special little boy.  Not special as in learning disabled (although a case could certainly be made that he was). Not even special like he could run faster than anybody else or jump higher than anybody else, or even that he was smarter (though again, a case could be made). No, this boy… let’s call him Chester, I always liked the name Chester, was special because he was different. Where other people did, Chester observed.

It all started when he was a child. On the first day of kindergarten, Chester left the security and familiarity of his home and for the first time met other children. It was a day of firsts for him. First time being away from his parents, first time having a teacher, first time having to learn things (even if all he learned was how to color inside the lines and trace around his hand with a crayon to make retarded, mutant turkeys with more humps on their backs than a camel) and it was his first time having recess, meaning his first time having social interaction.

It went wrong from the start. As soon as the kids were ushered outside, they began to gather in groups of two or three or more. They flocked to the sandbox, the jungle gym, or the swings. They climbed trees, threw around balls, or just ran around in circles like idiots. Some of them played in the dirt, hell, some of them were eating dirt.

Chester just stood there, mystified. What were these kids doing? How did they know what to do? Why were they automatically, instinctively, able to socially interact with each other? What were these unspoken rules that governed their behavior?

Curious, Chester tried to awkwardly join in with the others. But none of it made sense to him. Instead of throwing the ball to somebody, he threw it at them. Instead of eating dirt, he was shoving dirt in other kids’ faces. The more he tried to fit in, the more he got things wrong and the worse he made the situation.

He got in trouble. He was labeled a bully and separated from the others. Which only confused him more. He didn’t understand why he was unable to easily grasp the “normal” things that other kids took for granted. Frustrated, Chester decided to turn his back, (Figuratively, of course. Literally would have been extremely difficult, those kids were spread out and moved pretty damn quickly.) he found people too difficult to comprehend, so he decided not to even try.

Effectively cutting himself off from other people his own age, Chester needed to find other ways to occupy his time. So he turned to the written word. Books made more sense to him. They followed rules and logic and the behavior of the individuals was fairly predictable. Fiction (his favorites were by an author simply known as Mr. Brooks), biographies how-to manuals, romance (yuck!) Chester read them all. And in doing so, he believed that he was understanding human behavior a little bit better with every sentence. Every chapter helped to unlock the mystery that was the people around him.

Every so often, thinking he had things figured out, Chester would try stuff, like making friends, or small talk, or even dating. But much like the proverbial dancer with two left feet, he just couldn’t make things work, everything was always slightly askew.
With every failure, Chester would run back to the world he knew, where things made sense and his questions were answered. He decided that the real world was nothing but a confusing place full of unanswerable questions. And the worst part was that people just did, they never wondered why. To them things were the way they were and they thought no further about it. Meanwhile, Chester had nothing but questions. Why were some clothes appropriate for certain situations, but not others? Same with words. The same thing went for behavior: why was it alright to call somebody an insulting name when it was a friend, but not when it was a stranger? And what about driving? That was an entire world of befuddlement in itself! But every time he posed these questions, he was told to shut up, mind his business, let it go.

As time passed, Chester grew older and his separation from the rest of humanity grew deeper. To some he was considered aloof, to others heartless, to almost everybody else, incomprehensible. They would give him drugs or therapy, but to Chester they never seemed to understand that the problem, the defect, was with them, not him. So his life continued; an island of one.

Then one day, Chester met a woman named Roseus. Roseus seemed different than most people. While not as inquisitive as he was, she did have many questions about how things worked. But unlike Chester, she found pleasure and happiness in wondering how and why things worked. That was most attracted him to her, she was able to question, but strong enough (stronger than he was, in his opinion) to not let the lack of answers or logic make her jaded or alienated. With her, Chester had found a balance to his own personality and he was happy to discover that when he was with her he started to care less about the answers. He was, in spite of himself, becoming “normal.”

But just as Roseus’ personality rubbed off on Chester, so was his rubbing off on her, until the morning came when she woke up, rolled over in bed and could only look at Chester in disgust. To her, he didn’t understand that what he had with her should have been more than enough. Instead, he was unrelenting with his questions, his quest to rid himself of his confusion and everything that kept him from being normal. Didn’t he understand that he was special? Much better than “normal.” Why did he insist on ceaselessly asking questions? If he wasn’t satisfied with her alone, then what was the point of being together?

And so, while he still slept, Roseus slipped out of bed and removed herself from his life.

It was the first time Chester had ever felt sadness. He wasn’t quite sure what to do with it or how to behave. He just knew that he was again alone. Possibly for good.

So he quit. He gave up on observing, he gave up on questioning, he gave up on understanding and being normal. He gave up on caring. He finally understood that he’d never get answers or a normal life. He was who he was, for better or for worse.

With that realization, he locked himself away. He felt that it was best for him, for Roseus and for humanity in general. He just existed. Alone. As an island of one, he was finally normal.

Until the Blue Fairy came and turned him into a real boy.

I dunno, the story seemed to bum you out. I just wanted to cheer you up. Merry Christmas kid, here’s your coupon for a free chiropractic exam.