Santa Fe Shooting, a Turning Point in America

Another school shooting.  Let the usual fluff and bullshit begin.  The conservatives yelling about how the insane ease of access to firearms in this country has nothing to do with anything and “don’t take our guns!” becoming another bullshit mantra.  There will be the conservative retards screaming about how we need to arm teachers, because in their delusional world everyone is Dirty Harry.  We can have the left and right maligning video games again, because that’s always fun.  Nobody will ever see that all of this is diversionary tactics to get it so that nobody will talk about actually doing anything.  Because if that precious NRA money doesn’t flow into Congress, how can the corrupt leaders of this nation keep hoodwinking the stupid-ass public?

In the end, nothing will happen.  Because by the time people mobilize to take action and those who actually give a shit about the loss of human life are able to get into action, people will have moved on to the next stupid thing.  Royal wedding coming up.  I’m sure that’s important to talk about.  Right?  Or maybe we can move on to the next mass shooting.  They happen with such regularity in this country that it starts to almost look like a pattern.

I’ve come to realize something about this country.  It breaks my fucking heart, but it’s true.  We don’t care about this shit anymore.  Not even a little.  We’ve gotten to the point that mass shootings and tons of people getting killed doesn’t phase us anymore.  It doesn’t matter how many people die, how many schools and streets and places that people should feel safe are splattered in blood.  We, as a society, have decided to stop caring about the violence that we see every day.  Because now it’s just become the flavor of the week.  It’s become the thing that we all just live with.

That breaks my fucking heart.  It really does.  To think that a land that used to be seen as a place of peace and prosperity now gets to be known for the killings, with nothing being done, and the sides of the political spectrum doing everything they can to make it about their bullshit topic.  You have the conservatives who go through the motions of saying “look at how violent this other country is!  Violence is going down!  All of this gun violence stuff is so overblown!”  Then you have the left where people are like “why can’t you talk more about brown people?!  This is diverting people’s attention from cops killing black people!”  With both sides calling the other snowflakes (a term that neither side has ANY right to use).

Oh, and let’s not forget how we need more Jesus!  Yeah, because his almighty ass sure is doing a lot of save people in this country that supposedly he fucking loves.  “But Lucien, he’s not allowed in schools anymore!”  Fuck you, you retard!  He can’t be mandated in public schools.  Teachers aren’t allowed to lead schools in prayer.  If students want to pray, they can do that all they want.  They can even start religious clubs.  There was one at my high school.  There is nothing stopping any kids from being as religious as they want.  So where the fuck is he?!  Where the fuck is your bullshit “all-loving” God now?!  No-fucking-where, that’s where.  Because he isn’t real.  He’s a myth that people cloak themselves in because death is scary and the idea that things happen that are awful for no reason hurts to think about.  So fucking sick of all the religious retards I see having to sing the blues about how they are so oppressed and Jesus is so hurting in a nation that is 80% Christian.  Yeah, you all are so under-represented.  How many of those morons call the other side “snowflakes?”

The song and dance never changes.  Nothing gets better.  Nothing ever well.  We’ve stopped caring as a country.  Everybody will just say stupid shit like “nothing you can do to stop it anyway.”  Yeah, that’s said in a nation where this shit happens all the time.  But maybe those people do have a point.  After all, any efforts to do anything of merit would have the NRA dropping millions of dollars to lobby against it.  And since they are an immensely powerful lobby, money talks.  Money is all the talk.

It’s the reason why the drug war keeps going even though there is no measurable amount of success it has ever had.  It’s why this country is slavishly dependent on oil (I live in a big oil state that is seeing the oil dry up, so I am seeing the end result of this first-hand) when green energy is getting bigger and bigger everywhere else.  China is leaving us in the dust in terms of being environmentally friendly.  Granted, it’s because they have no choice.  Pollution there is out of control.  But hey, at least they fucking learn from their mistakes!  When the fuck does America do that?!

There are so many days where I get so fucking tired of reading the news.  In my home state it’s story after story of violence.  My state is the second most violent state to live in, from a study I found the other day.  There are so many shootings in my city that I don’t count them as a weekly thing.  I see something in the papers almost daily.  But nobody cares.  It’s just the flavor of the week.  Parents weep for dead children.  Spouses week for lost teachers and people just trying to help save lives.  Siblings weep for family they will never talk to again.  But what the fuck does this nation that cares do?!  NOTHING!  Fucking Nothing!

While Trump can spew all of his bullshit about “Make America Great Again,” I am watching this nation bleed to death.  I knew all of that shit was a con from the start, but can the people who supported the orange monkey finally admit it too?  Can they admit that the fucker is a corporate tool?  We all know he won’t do shit. Last time he actually said he sent thoughts and prayers to them.  Well thanks for that, you useless lump of shit!  I’m sure the families there are so comforted.  Fuck!

Does this have a bottom to it?  Is there a point where it ever ends?  I don’t fucking know.  I wish I did.  Truly, I wish I knew where all of this bullshit ended.  Because I’m getting tired of a friend who is becoming a teacher being afraid that she is going to have a gun in the room with little children and be expected to use it when she is a naturally very fearful person who doesn’t like conflict.

You don’t fucking care, America.  I just want you fuckers to admit it.

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s not the violence of the few that scares me.  It’s the silence of the many.” – Rev. Martin Luther King Jr

Peace out,

Maverick

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A Sad Dream

I had a dream the other night.

It’s late, and I’m in my old house.  The one I grew up in, for the bulk of my life when I was young.  A three story house that my old man built almost entirely by himself.  No joke, he actually did.  Took a few years, but he got it done.  Wicked impressive.  Sucks to see what’s become of the joint now.
Growing up, I always was up early.  Made the old man happy.  I greeted each day with him.  In the morning, in the summer, I remember the damp air.  Birds calling, waking up.  Mosquitoes at my screen over my window.  I remember all of that.
In the dream, I’m waking up in that house.  But I’m not little kid me.  I’m the older version.  To grown up one.  During the summer up here, the sun never really sets.  It can get super dim, but it never becomes truly night.  There is a sound.  It’s the phone ringing.  The old phone with the cord on the wall.  But it was still me as a grown-up in that place, even though that was an eternity ago.  My room was just across from the kitchen in that place.  The phone was on the wall adjoining the kitchen and dining room.
I stumble out of my room and pick it up.
“Hello?”
“Hey, you idiot.”
“C?  Babe, it’s early.”
There’s this pause.  “I know.  I’m sorry.  Just wanted to hear your voice, you know?  I don’t know if I’ll get another chance.”
I’m confused. “Another chance for what?”
“To ask you a question.”
“What question?”
The pause hangs in the air so hard, so long.
“Are you happy?”
Pain grips my heart.  I try to hide it from my voice.  “I get by.”
“That’s not an answer.”
She always had a gift at cutting through my bullshit.  “I know.  Sorry.”
“Just tell me.  I won’t be mad.  Are you happy?”
Now it’s my turn for a pregnant pause.  “No, C.  I’m not.  It’s been so hard.  I miss you every day.”
Can almost feel her sadness.  “I know.  I’m so sorry, Lu.”
Shake my head.  “Why?  It’s my fault.  If we hadn’t been fighting, you wouldn’t have left that night.”
“I don’t blame you.”
“I started that fight.”
“Yeah, but it ain’t I didn’t have it coming.  I fucked up.”
The two of us sat there, not saying anything for a while.
“Wish I could be where you are.  Apologize to you in person.”
“I know.  But you can’t.  Not now, anyway.  You gotta keep going.”
“Why?  Life sucks, C.  I’m not going anywhere.  I’m all alone here.  Everyone has ditched me.  Went off to their own fucking lives or don’t like me anymore.  Or I drove them away because I didn’t learn anything and fucked up their lives.”
“She doesn’t feel that way.  Hell, she was enabling you just as much as you were making her life more difficult.  She’s a grown-up too, and has to take responsibility for her own bad decisions.  So do I, I guess.”
“Yeah, but you won’t.  You’re not here anymore.”
“Sure.  But you don’t actually know that there’s nothing after this.”
“No reason to think there is.”
“Maybe it’s on another worldline.  Like us, right now.”
“Is that what this is?”
“Why not?  It could be.  There’s no way to know for sure.”
I smile to myself.  Takes me back to some of our old arguments.  Hours spent arguing about the nature of existence.  It’s good stuff.
“Is apologizing a waste of time?”
The pain grips me again.  “No.  I don’t think so.”
“Okay.  I’m sorry, Lucien.  I fucked up.  I drove you away.  Forgive me?”
Had to think about that.  “Sure.  I’m tired of being mad, C.”
“I know you are.  I love you.”
“Love you too.”
“Bye.”
“Wait!  C, don’t go!  Don’t hang up.”
“I have to, Lu.  You’re gonna wake up, in your worldline.”
“I don’t want to wake up there anymore.  I don’t want to go back to that dead-end job and my dead-end life.  Please don’t make me hang up.  Stay.  Please.”
“Wish I could.  I really do.  Get a chance to fix what went wrong.  What I fucked up.  Bye, Lucien.”
“C, don’t go!”
That was when I wake up.

She used to tell me about how reality is countless universes running parallel to one-another.  That each universe exists on different worldlines.  She genuinely believed that in dreams, we can occasionally see onto those worldlines.  Part of me always thought that was just silly pseudo-science.  But nights like that, I wonder.  I miss her all the time.

Until next time, a quote,

“Why are you crying, sweetheart?”
“Because you’re not real.” – Chloe Price, Life is Strange: Before the Storm

Peace out,

Maverick

My Views on Assisted Suicide, Part Deux

I’ve said in the past that I think that those who are suffering from terminal illnesses should be allowed to seek assisted suicide.  My views on this were sharpened by an episode of FRONTLINE called “The Suicide Tourist” (linked here).  The story of Craig Ewert is heart-breaking stuff.  To go from a very vibrant man to a shell of a human being, watching your body slowly decay and losing control of your faculties, I can’t imagine what that’s like.  Well, to an extent.  When I was 14 I smashed my skull open.  I died for a little bit there, when my heart stopped.  I was in a coma for a month.  Coming out of that, I could barely move, couldn’t do anything for myself.  It was the most emasculating and humiliating experience of my life.  To be 14 years old, and unable to do basic bodily functions by yourself.  It was so utterly dehumanizing to not even be able to wipe my own ass without my mother’s help.  It was there or a nurse, and my pride couldn’t take someone else doing that.  It was awful.  Granted, I did get stronger as I went along, but I can at least understand some of what Ewert was feeling.

There was a story a few years back of a woman who was dying of cancer, in constant pain, who also wanted to end her life.  I wrote a post in support of that.  One of my best friends, I got to watch her mother die of lung cancer.  It happened because she smoked like a chimney, and didn’t really think too hard about the consequences.  What it did to my girly-mate and I to see that was just awful.  Had she pursued that course of action, I would have totally understood.

However, there was a story in the news recently that also got my attention.  It is also very harrowing stuff, as it is about a person who is a very smart mind, forced to confront a different kind of dying and his choices about that.  The story was about an Australian scientists named David Goodall (linked here).  He’s 104 and he wants to die.  The man isn’t terminally ill.  His belief is that his quality of life has reached a point where it will never improve, which is true, and he wants to end his life.  He has flown to Switzerland, much as Ewert did, to end his life.

This got me to thinking about the idea of those who are not terminally ill, but very old and their right to die.  Got me to thinking about my grandmother on my mother’s side.  See, she also was slowly deteriorating.  More and more, she couldn’t take care of herself.  It was coming to the point that my parents were wondering if they should take her in to take care of her.  A lot like me, she couldn’t do basic functions without help.  And a lot like me, she had my mother sometimes helping her with that.  I think about what it must be like, to have your child helping you go to the bathroom.  It must be so humiliating and degrading.  All of your pride just dies away as you watch that.

I thought about if my parents ever did take her in, and if she were ever to ask me to help her end her life.  Would I have done it?  Honestly, yeah.  I’m pretty sure I would have.  Seeing how she was at the end and her quality of life, I probably would have helped her.  The truly tragic irony is that what killed her was a blind, stupid accident.  It was an ugly way to go.  Her head get stuck between the bars at the head of her special medical bed at the old folk’s home she was living at.  She was trying to get in bed.  Something happened, and her head was stuck in there.  Essentially, she was strangled to death by the bars.  Ugly way to die.  Unfortunate.

Looking at stories like David Goodall, I think about how those who reach a certain age and quality of life should be allowed to seek assisted suicide legally.  There’s no good reason why they can’t.  Now, I can hear people already saying that it would be exploited by greedy children looking to get inheritance.  I do see that potential for abuse.  Convincing people who are elderly and mentally compromised to end their lives.  But just like what is done in Switzerland, there should be a process where you verify that a person is of sound mind.  That their reasoning is solid.

I have a special relationship with death.  Having been physically dead once, I don’t view it as something to be afraid of.  It’s a constant companion.  As the telomeres decay at the end of each linear chromosome, you are aging.  Only cancer cells are immortal.  It will come for all of us, sooner or later.  If you are one of the people who is stuck in that position that your ability to live is so miserable that each day holds nothing for you, there’s no rational reason to force you to continue existing.  We allow pets whose quality of life has decayed to nothing the opportunity to die.  People should be given it too.

Every single day I take walks.  Each of my 15 minute breaks at work are spent walking.  I want to be able to have an active life.  Obesity runs in my family.  I’m overweight, but I love pizza too much to ever truly be skinny.  But I want to be active enough to have people in my life want to do something sometime (a man can dream) and to be like “sure, that sounds like fun.”  Granted, because of my nerve damage in my feet, I’m not gonna be hiking a mountain or spending all day on my feet, but I’d like to be able to go on adventures for a few hours and be able to make the most of my life.

People seem to believe that life is a sacred thing.  It must be cherished and fought for.  Some truth to that.  If life is worth nothing, why would anyone keep living?  I view my life as worth very little, but it does at least have some value.  I can watch movies, read books, play games, search for great stories.  Narratives that move my heart, make my soul take flight.  Given how little personal interaction or stimulation I have with actual human beings, fiction is about the best I’ve got.  It’s sad that I feel more kinship with fictional characters than I do real people.  These days, anyway.

That went on a tangent.  The point is – if a person’s quality of life is such that waking up each day is no longer an experience that is tolerable, filled with pain or weakness, there’s no logical reason to force that person to continue to live.  None.  I wish David Goodall a peaceful hereafter.  I wished Craig Ewert peace.  I don’t believe in God, but if there is something after all of this, hopefully their next phase isn’t as painful as the one here.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’m not tired of living.  I’m tired of the disease, but I’m not tired of living.  I’d like to keep living, but I can’t.” – Craig Ewert

Peace out,

Maverick

In Memory of Justin

What do you do, when you wake up day and find out that someone who was far too young passed on?  When it was someone that you had known and even been talking to a week or two before they had passed?  When it’s so sudden that it doesn’t feel real?  That’s what I’ve been wrestling with for the last couple weeks.  It’s a hard thing to think about.  I’ve had a dear companion die very recently, and on the 19th, I found out that a friend of mine who I am horrifically ashamed to admit I hadn’t kept as close to as I should have also died.  It’s an ugly world.  Where lights can get snuffed out in an instant.  It’s a reality I have been aware of for far too long.

Normally with these I have done things going through the lives of the people I am remembering.  Thing is, I didn’t know Justin in his early years.  The two of us met in high school, through another friend who I haven’t been keeping up with the way I should.  So, I figured I would just reminisce on the memories I did share with Justin, and the thoughts about the impact that he left on me, along with what I believe has and will stick with me.

Been trying for days to think of how I first met Justin.  Wanna know the crazy thing?  It was my sophomore year in high school.  You know how long ago that was?  That was in 2004.  That was 14 years ago.  Holy fuck!  That feels like two lifetimes ago.  I feel like I’ve been in my 20’s for forever.  No joke, it feel like I have been doing this for fucking eternity.  High school is this vague conception from some other eternity long passed.  It was such a blink in the vast ocean of time after my head injury.  Before then is all pretty vague.  I don’t remember things the way normal people do.  I don’t remember the past like some movie that I can put on.  To me it’s like conceptual thoughts.  There are sensory experiences, bits and pieces that play like a movie, and other things that are a shadowy extrapolation.  It’s hard to understand, I know, but that’s the best I can describe it.

One thing about Justin is that just like our mutual friend, but nowhere close to myself, he was a pretty big guy.  A pretty tall guy.  You know, for all you normal sized midget people.  To me he was average.  Right where I’m at.  Because I’m not really tall.  I’m normal.  The rest of you all are short.  It’s a conspiracy and everyone is in on it to have me thinking I’m tall.  But he was a pretty tall guy for all you normal people.  So is our mutual friend, Bryce.  Him and I go back much further, but that’s a story for another day.

I do remember that I met Justin through Bryce because of his father.  His father was the teacher who led the ELP group at my school.  He also became one of my favorite teachers years later, when I had him for Drama.  Guy was the best example of a fun teacher.  He had fun lectures, did fun projects, and had everyone get involved.  Including something that I hear had disappeared from the school and for which I gained a TON of notoriety for – lip synchs.  Those productions were some of the most fun I ever had during my boredom at high school.

Because Justin’s father was the head of ELP, and Bryce was in that program, I spent many a lunch period chilling with him in the room that his father was cornered up in.  That was where I met Justin.  Tall, braggadocious, and he had a lazy eye.  To my credit, as much of asshole as I was in high school, I never made light of that.  I’m proud of myself for that fact.

So let me run through some memories that stick out in my mind from our time together.  There was this tiny little kid named Jake.  I know his last name, but I’ll keep that to myself, but it sticks out for how odd it was.  Thing about Jake, he was a tiny kid with some physical disorders that contributed to his absolutely tiny size.  It also led to some health problems for him down the road which are also quite tragic.  But Justin had a rather fun idea – why not put Jake in a backpack and carry him around?  So he did.  That’s exactly what he did.  Put that tiny young man into a large backpack and carried him around.  If we had had camera phones, I’d be attaching that video here, mark my words.  Yeah, this was before the days where everyone had a phone to record video.  The horror!  All of these memories get to be in my heart.

Then there was the time that Justin had a video camera and decided to record me.  Now, in high school I was something of an edgy asshole.  As such, I tended to let my mouth wander away with me.  On this day, he recorded me saying that if I was going to cripple America in a substantial way, it would be by blowing up Congress during the State of the Union address.  Strategically it is a valuable time to strike.  It would cripple this country in a very profound way.  It was made known to me by his father at the time Justin was recording and egging on my response that one could consider that video a terrorist recording.  That did admittedly give me pause.  I wasn’t the insane idiot that I am today who fears no consequences.  At least I wasn’t as aware of it then.  I found out something about that later.

Over the last couple years, I’ve been fighting depression in a very big way.  It’s been getting harder and harder.  The winter is always the worst.  I live in an icebox where it’s dark all the fucking time during the winter.  I feel so trapped when that happens.  I’m stuck and I have nowhere to go.  My social network has fallen apart in recent years, and my attempts to salvage whatever I can have resulted in abject failure.  This hits me especially hard considering that one night, I was very dour on my social media, and Justin reached out to me.  He was genuinely shocked at how unhappy I had become.  He told me that he had always looked up to me in high school.  That my anti-authority and debonair attitude had struck him as something worth looking up to me.  I didn’t have anything nice to say back.  I said that I’m an asshole with a bad attitude and that nobody should look up to me.  Given where we are now, I genuinely wish I hadn’t said that to him.  Thank Groj that that wasn’t the last conversation we had.

Another memory popped into my mind.  I was part of a play that was being put on.  I forgot what it was, but my role was to be the backup lighting and sound guy for Justin if he couldn’t be there for whatever reason.  So I ended up attending the performances for this show.  There were a couple.  The one that sticks out is where Justin and I was being dutiful, but there was an older acquaintance of the two of us named Donnie who came and sat with us in the back.  Now, Donnie must have been high, because he was absolutely out of control and would not shut the fuck up.  It came down to my compatriot and I thinking up a very depressing solution to the problem.  The fact that it took this to make who was now a grown man keep quiet is just depressing.  We gave him some paper and a pencil to draw on.  What he came up with was equal parts amusing and utterly immature.  The two of us recalled later with some amusement how we got a grown man to be quiet by treating him like he was five.  The irony isn’t lost on me.

There are lots of little pieces of abstract memories that pop in and out of my head.  Sitting in that tiny corner room chatting about whatever nerdom or geekery that we were into at that time.  I can’t think of specifics.  Hanging out with the girl who would eventually come to be my ex.  There are so many memories from back then that pop into my mind, but they don’t have shape or form.  I can’t hear the words I said and the picture is like the broken up worlds of the pictures in Life is Strange. I wish I could think of more.  Been wracking my brain for days.  Over a week now.  So surreal.

As I said early on, I had talked with Justin not long before he died.  A few weeks ago, I posted this article about how a woman chopped a guy’s dick off for not looking her in the eye during sex.  But she had such a lazy eye that I joked “which eye was he supposed to make eye contact with?”  Was dying of laughter.  Still funny thinking about it now.  Fate being what it is, Justin saw my post, and decided to comment on it.  At first he played all butthurt because of how he also had a lazy eye.  But I could see right through it.  He found it as funny as I did.  Led to some pretty good conversation.

A couple weeks later, I open my Facebook to see that my friend had died.  On the 16th.  Apparently it had been in his sleep.  The cause of death has not been determined as of yet.  I found out about it on the 19th.  I don’t think it feels real yet.  Like it’s one of his absolutely terrible jokes.  Justin was not good at humor.  So many dead baby jokes.  I laugh now, but that’s just because of hindsight and the some warm nostalgia.  Edgy teenagers trying to be edgy.  Still feels like I could get a message from Bryce like “gotcha!  Dumbass!  You should have seen the look on your face.”

Been postponing this post for a couple reasons.  First it was to get my information straight in my head.  Try and remember what I could.  But also because I didn’t want to rush this out the door and put even more hurt on his family.  His father was one of my favorite teachers, and I feel for him so much.  There was some other family that I never really got to know on a very personal level.  A sister and mother, both of whom I was told are pretty cool people.  My heart goes out to his father so much.  I cannot begin to imagine how awful it is to lose a child.  Was told that in June, on when would be his birthday there is going to be a memorial service, of a sort.  I told them I will be there, and I meant it.  Going there will be the hardest thing I have ever done.  Not a family member passing, but a friend.  Someone whose connection is something that is unique to him, myself, and the friends we had in common.  But I wouldn’t miss that for anything.

I guess that’s all I have to say.  Will be sending this to his family, and I encourage anyone who remembered his and feels comfortable sharing their own memories to post in the Comments.  If you haven’t commented before, I have to approve all newcomers, so if it doesn’t appear right away don’t sweat it.  But I always do, so don’t worry.

Now comes to hardest part.  How do I close it.  What is the quote that I want to say to close this out.  Don’t have many of them.  We didn’t keep up much in person, and the memories from back then are muddled.  Was looking through what I have in text that has stuck with me all this time.  Will post the one I like best.

Until next time, a quote,

A human life is something hard to play “god” with
Not that there is one.” – Justin Joehnk

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien Maverick’s “Desire”

I’ve been replaying Persona 5, with the goal of getting every single confidant up to par, making the ultimate fusion, so I can command the ultimate persona.  This is how sad and boring and awful my life is.  One of the side-missions is Yusuke having his slump as an artist.  He goes to Mementos and paints what he sees there and calls it “Desire.”  The painting is very elegant in craftsmanship, but he admits its shortcomings in theme.  He wants to capture the essence of desire, so you get to go around with him and help him find out what the meaning is to him.

I did a post years ago called “Lucien Maverick’s ‘No Apologies’“, where I outlined what I would have done if I had visual art talent to demonstrate what my vision of living without apology means.  My unapologetic self.  As I am the type of person who gets random bits of odd inspiration, then has to run with them, I thought about what I would want to visually represent what I see as desire.  And I am sharing it all with you.  Let’s get down to it.

When I think of desire, I think of something…passionate.  I keep thinking violent, but that can read really weird to people.  I’m not some psycho.  The violence and passion I think of is much akin to the monologue Gomez has in Tim Burton’s Addams Family film, when he is watching Morticia sleep.

For too long, I’ve lived a life where I feel trapped, unable to be the person I want to be.  When I was with someone who changed my life, there was such freedom.  Such unbridled need to break free.  She showed me what it meant to be who I want to be.  But then she was gone.  And ever since, I’ve been desperately wanting to find that freedom again.  That escape from the confines of my poverty-stricken life to live the way I want to live.

So when I say that desire is passionate, violent, burning, consuming, don’t mistake it for me wanting violent things.  I just want to experience and be allowed to let who I am loose.  Everywhere I go, all day, every day, it seems like I am having to be who I am for someone else.  I hate it from the bottom of my little black heart.  But then I let some of my true self out and everyone is totally mad!  It’s infuriating!  Let me be who I am!  Let the weird, nerdy, perverted, loyal to his friends man free!

But more than that.  This desire as I see it is darkness.  I am drawn to it.  The knowledge contained within.  The danger.  I walk in dangerous parts of town alone, daring Lady Luck to finally come at me.  To give me a chance to finally cut loose and see if it’s her will to have me dead or if I can rise above it.  For years, I was hip deep in that.  Now I’m not.  I ache for it, long for it, would kill or die for it every day.  Got a girly-mate who gets to be hip-deep in that world eventually.  Every day I feel this crippling sense of jealousy.  I got out for logical, rational reasons.  However, that’s not desire!  This is about what I desire, not what I logically choose to do.  I long for that darkness.  I long for the danger.  The feeling of knowing that I can die at the drop of a hat, and there being no fear of that.  Lately, the urge is stronger than it has ever been.  My oldest companion was taken away from me.  Just like the woman I loved, this one was taken away by a selfish person who didn’t stop to think about who would be left behind.  What this would do to me.  I’m fundamentally broken inside.  More days than not, I feel dead.

I don’t fear death.  I’ve been dead before.  When I smashed my skull open, my heart stopped.  I was dead, until I was shocked back to life.  Death is something that has been on my mind for so long.  Part of me longs for it.  A by-product of the brain damage-fueled depression that will never leave me for as long as I live.  I see death as a companion that most of you probably fear, but I stare into their eyes, almost like a lover.

Now the question is – how to represent that?  What visual elements could bring this concept to life?  What ways could I express that.  My dark, strange, passionate, needing desire?  My never-ending search for Death?  My desire to roll the dice with Lady Luck and see if this is the day that she finally comes for me?  How could I express that?  Always saw Lady Luck as a masked woman.  A mark that shows no emotion.  She’s a trickster, after all.  Maybe have it be her face, from above.  A large cloak, to which one can see inside.  In there is darkness.  The darkness I seek.  Fire is all around the edges.  Her hands are seen above, throwing the dice.

There I am in the darkness of her cloak.  The flames around the edges, burning away at who I am, and who I want to be.  From behind, there is another form.  Feminine, in a way, but then not.  It’s arms are around me.  It’s face is a skeleton.  It’s Death.  The spirit that is with me.  Loving, giving, yet always taking away.  I can’t go with her, where she is.  To do so means that I would have to die, and I keep being told by everyone that being dead is bad.  That I shouldn’t do that.  My hand clutches its bony fingers, but I know that I cannot escape.

Fire is all around us, as the world burns away.  But it doesn’t burn like an inferno.  A cold, blue color.  My fire is contemplative, almost playful.  It wants to feel and grow.  It is free to come and go.  And in the distance, on a hill overlooking us, a tree that is alight with that flame.  My innocence.  What’s left of the part of me that is still a normal person, like all of you.  That’s what burns.  The flame wants to tear it down so that it can leave my life forever.  My eyes gazing upwards, to the cold mask that is Lady Luck’s face, wondering what the dice that almost seem to glow a fiery red will come up as.  The numbered faces seem to drip like blood.

Man, that got kinda crazy.  But yeah, that is what I see when I picture desire.  My own personal version of it.  Do with that what you will.

Until next time, a quote,

“Trust is for old married’s, Buffy.  Great love is wild and passionate and dangerous.  It burns, and consumes.” – Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Peace out,

Maverick

In Memory of Lizzy

If you would have asked me today if I would be doing this post right now, I’d have told you fuck no.  No way.  Because I know that I wouldn’t be here when this would be happening.  I’d be out with her and I would know that it was coming.  But an unbelievably selfish individual decided to take it upon themselves to make this decision for me, and now I am here, writing a post that I have been thinking about for weeks.  And I can finally get something out of my head that has been nipping away at me for weeks.  I don’t think I’ll ever forgive the person who decided to make that decision for me.  Ever.  My best and most loyal friend died tonight.  She was kind, sweet, lovable, had four legs and was covered in fur.  It was my cat.  Her name is Lizzy.

19 years ago, I was there when we went to the pet store and picked her out.  They had kittens for sale, and I went with my mother to pick one out.  My parents had a policy about not getting boy cats.  They tended to have bad bathroom habits and are little shits.  The last cat we owned had the moniker “shitty kitty” for the fact that it shit all over the place.  Thank Groj it wasn’t an indoor cat.  It lived in my old man’s garage.  Before you say that’s cruel, he kept it warm in there for the vehicles.  We had a large property, so kitty had never known an indoor life.  Peanut Butter was his name, even though he was orange and white.  Never did ask where the rationale for that name came from.  It was my sister’s cat, in name alone.

When we got to the pet store, there was a cage with all the little kittens inside, and they were all cute as fuck.  But there was one that stuck out above all the rest.  See, it was climbing the cage wall, with a look on its face of – get me out of here!  From that very moment, I knew that this kitty and I were going to be best friends.  As luck would have it, that kitty was a girl.  So we picked her out and headed home.  My kitty has NEVER liked confined spaces, so on the car ride home she was miserable.  But I was eating chicken strips, and gave her some of the chicken.  That made for a happy kitten.  Every time she has been in a vehicle since, she has been a VERY unhappy camper.

From there began a relationship that was the most loyal and true that I have ever had.  See, while she was around everyone, there was no denying that Lizzy was MY cat.  Everywhere I went, she followed.  If she was outside and I tried to go places, back in the first house I lived at in memory, she would try and follow me.  So I’d have to put her inside.  I named her Lizzy, after my grandmother on my old man’s side.  Her first name was Mary, but her middle name was Elizabeth.  So I shortened that down to Lizzy.  But over the years that wasn’t what I would call call her.  Lizzy got shortened to Liz.  Then to Wiz.  Then to Wiz-Biz. Or Wiz Cat.  Or sometimes “you’re being annoying.”  Silly kitty.

After leaving the first house we lived in with her, we moved into my grandparent’s on my mum’s side’s old house.  It was a home that they homesteaded in, ages ago.  There is so much history in this house.  Part of me is glad that it’s still in the family.  At this new house, Lizzy had so much more area to explore.  A huge property, a lakefront, and all the voles a kitty can eat.  Oh yeah, there was a serious vole problem when we first moved in.  Lizzy took it upon herself to help deal with that problem.  Using kitty violence.

During the summer, Lizzy hated to spend time inside.  She would spend hours upon hours on end outside.  Sometimes we would let her out late in the evening, only for her to be out all night and come in the next morning.  Part of me wonders how she was never attacked by an owl.  But she did have the right fur color to blend in with the undergrowth.  So many funny memories.  Like, seeing her shimmy up a wall.  See, my parents had a balcony into their bedroom from the third floor.  On nights where she would be out and want in at 4 in the morning, she would shimmy up the wall and then go onto their balcony and whine until someone let her in.  Or she’d whine outside my window.

But the thing that I loved most was how she would spend her evenings and winters with me.  Since she hates the snow, kitty would spend all of her time in the winter cooped up indoors with me.  I had this amazing blue chair.  It had these really tall arms, and my kitty’s favorite place to rest was there.  See, I moved around too much for her to be comfy on me.  I’m not one of these people who says that if the cat is comfortable I can’t get up.  Pussy can move.  But she knew I gave her tons of love, so she would rest on the arm of my chair, watching movies with me and watching me play games, then judging when I made mistakes harshly.

So many little memories that I can chain together.  Like on Christmas, where she would attack the wrapping paper and get all wrapped up in it.  Or when we put garland on her and had her indignant face.  I would give my last 10 years to be able to go back and get a picture of that.  Alas, when I was a teenager we didn’t have camera phones that took really sweet pictures.  Think that was before my head injury.  She would always watch us set up decorations and judge us harshly, but she loved getting attention.  Wish I had been better about getting her Christmas gifts.

Thing is, she didn’t want lots of toys.  She got to go outside and wander around and have fun.  Plus, something I did that nobody else did – fight with her.  See, sometimes she would want to get into a fight.  I ever had a special glove for it.  It was a work glove with a leather exterior.  She’s wrap around that and claw the living shit out of it for a few minutes when I’d go at her belly when she is in a fighting mood.  My cousin would fight with her too, except he was an idiot who did not wear a glove, and she would fuck up his hand.  He would joke that she loved it, and part of me does wonder if there is some validity to that.

Another adorable thing about her is the fact that she had both of the dogs my parents owned scared to death of her, even though both of them were big enough to bite her in half.  The first was Zoey, then her puppy, Riley.  In both cases, it’s because she was so mean to them as puppies.  Like any puppy, they went over to her and wanted to be best fwiends.  But she wasn’t having that.  They would know who the top dog in the house was, so to speak.  After slashing their puppy faces up, both of them knew that love from her came at her pace, not theirs.  It is so cute having both of these dogs being so much bigger than her yet scared to death of her.  Poor Riley.  As the much more friendly of the two, he kept on trying to get love out of her, but she was always a bitch to him.  But eventually the dogs and her found a happy equilibrium and all was well in the world.

Moving in to the last house I have lived in, my parent’s sunset home, things changed.  See, Lizzy has been getting old.  The years don’t show on her because of how small she is, but for a while she was fine.  But then things started to happen.  See, her hearing was getting worse and worse.  Eventually, she went totally deaf.  It was a bummer.  And for her, I genuinely believe it made her scared to death, all the time.  I also contend that her vision was going too.  At night, she would make this really ugly noise that sounded like she was in pain, but I think it was her being scared and not being able to hear or see where she was or where she was going.  This led the parents to believe that she was losing her mind, and while I joked it off, part of me wondered.

Months went by, and she was sleeping more and more.  Eventually it got to the point where she was sleeping almost every second of the day, only to wake up and cry.  The parents were not enjoying it.  As I was living in a place that didn’t allow pets, I tried to make excuses for it.  Then one day, I get told the my parents are wanting to take her to the vet.  The idea is that we need to get an answer on this, and if there is no cure, and her quality of life is just going to get worse, to put her down.  I made very clear that I was going to be there for that.  We went to the vet and they said that her kidneys are indeed shutting down.  But it can be prolonged.  With some diet change, she can get many more months of life.  Maybe it should have ended there.  I don’t know.  But it didn’t.  Which leads me to the last four days.

I went out last weekend because the parents said that her problems are getting worse, it’s clear that her mental state is not well, and it’s time to say our goodbyes and be done.  I was going out more to tell them I had damn well better be there when it ends.  I was there when we picked her out.  I was owed that.  It ties in to that thing I haven’t been able to get out of my mind.  We’ll get there.  However, the mum was unable to bring herself to say that we’re going that far.  So I went home thinking that I this could go on for much longer.

And that brings us to tonight.  I got a call from the mum saying that my kitty had “died in her sleep.”  She could have let it stay there, but she decided complete honesty was a good policy and told me that that was a euphemism for she had indeed been fast asleep, and my old man had put her down himself.  Believe it or not, I do buy that she was asleep.  My girl couldn’t hear.  Sneaking up on her was very easy.  I’d seen first-hand how she can sleep if you are right in front of her.  I don’t doubt that she never woke up before he ended it.  With one bullet.

Before you go saying how disgusting and horrible that is, I’ll head you off.  I don’t hate the method.  It’s quick, and if she’s asleep and doesn’t know what’s coming then it’s painless.  Here’s where I take insane levels of umbrage.  I was there when we picked her out.  I was there when we brought her home.  I was there from the very beginning, and I fucking deserved to be there at the end!  Though, I would have asked to do the more typical euthanizing, because I don’t want to think about the mess.  That’s kind of horrible.  My girl died alone.  She died without me there.  It hurts me more than you can know.  The old man decided that since the mum and I couldn’t bring ourselves to do the deed, he’d do it for us.  I had a right to be there with her at the end, and that selfish person took that right away from me.  When I was rightly upset by this, it is then me who is turned into the villain, as is always the case.  My family has never valued my opinion and is quick to throw any transgressions I have ever committed squarely in my face the moment I am upset with the parental authority figures.  I got a clear lesson in how little they respect me.

My companion, my confidant, my dearest friend.  Someone who stood with me during all the worst parts of my life.  When I lost friendship after friendship because the significant others of those people didn’t like me.  When other “friends” turned their back on me because I’m weird or I have feelings they don’t like.  When my cousin/brother I never had stabbed me in the back.  When I lost relationships, one in a bummer way and one in a way that did irreparable damage to me because of how it ended.  She was there for all of that.  And I wasn’t there with her to say goodbye.  It hurts me more than you can possibly know.  Someone took it upon themselves to do that and I am quite upset with them right now.  Given what happened between us afterwards, I don’t know if our relationship will be able to mend.  We’ll see what happens.

I normally try and close these things out with something that the person I am doing this post for told me, but since this particular friend was a cat, I decided I would close this out another way.  See, I’ve had this song rattling around inside my head for the last few weeks.  At every funeral I’ve been to, there is a hymn that has been sung.  It holds a lot of resonance with me because of how much I have grown up with it.  I’m not a spiritual person.  I think people who believe in the magic sky wizard are childish beyond the capacity for rational thought.  But since there will never be a funeral for my kitty, I thought I’d close out with this lyric.  Those of you who know what the melody to this is without looking it up are pretty alright in my book.

Until next time, a quote,

“I was there to hear your borning cry,
I’ll be there when you are old.
I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
to see your life unfold.”

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien Maverick’s Ikigai

I was just opened up to an idea that comes from Japan.  It’s called Ikigai, and the concept can most broadly be defined as “a reason for being.”  It has a very charming ven diagram that takes a look at the four categories.  See, the idea is that instead of just seeking happiness (which is something that due to my head injury I don’t feel anyway), we should be seeking a life that has purpose.  I like the concept.  This diagram allows you to really take a look at this issue and decide for yourself where you want to focus, letting you know what the perks, but also drawbacks are.  I want to tackle each thing one by one and see if we can find my ikigai.  This shouldn’t be too hard.  But first, a visual aid.  Let’s take a look at this.

Got the gist of it?  Let’s break this down, bit by bit.

What do you love?

This is pretty easy.  I love to write.  It’s something I’m damn good at.  This website is living testament to my writing prowess.  I’ve had it up for nine years.  That’s right, nine years of this.  Ever since I started this site with the news story I did interviewing people at the anti-Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin rally when the two were up here in my home state.  It was so raw, but it was the beginning of my work here.  Writing is what I have loved for so long, but it isn’t the only thing.

I love to cook too.  Just like writing, damn good at it.  I have years of experience doing it.  It’s weird that every task I have ever set my mind to and enjoyed doing, I’m good at.  Like really, really good.  I love to cook so much, and more than that, I love an audience for it.  When I can get people in my life who like to eat what I have to make it fills me with a great sense of accomplishment.  Because I can eat my creations and marvel at the flavors all day, but it’s something else when someone who is dear to me can too.  Alas, the way things are now is just a reminder to me of how my people are long ago and far away now.  It sucks.

So that part was pretty easy.  On to the next one.

What are you good at?

This part is also pretty easy.  Aside from the points I mentioned, I also have a lot of other tasks.  In addition to being good at everything I set my mind to, I learn things fast.  Really, really fast.  It’s kind of freakish how I can pick things up by getting into the nit and grit of them and do it.  There has yet to be something that does not fall into that category.

I also have a gift at making connections with people.  Everywhere I go, without a single exception, I become the talk of the area.  I my most recent job, I built up a reputation in two respects.  First, I was the best.  It goes without contest that in the customer service section of my employer, I was the best at what I did.  At least when I left there to go into the document processing section.  Best day ever.  But I did that task with such skill and became known as the guy that everyone could come to do things.  My head supervisor at the time saw me as something of an attitude problem, but to those I worked with directly, I was seen as sharp, witty, and a consummate professional on the phone.  I have a habit of getting under the skin of those who like to follow rules for the sake of them being rules, while making a ton of friends with those I work with for my desire to help them when they have problems, being the best at what I do, and having NO qualms about cutting corners wherever possible.  I’m an American, after all.  It’s what we do best.

These skills are a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, for bosses who see me as a person who also like to bend rules wherever they see them as detrimental, I am something of a hero.  For those who don’t like that, I am something of an attitude problem.  But make no mistake, the moment I enter into a new environment I find the fastest way to learn everything I need, and then become perfect at it.  Could give the samurai a run for their money.  Anyone who knows about the mentality of perfecting your art in their culture, you’ll know what I mean.

What does the world need from you?

Now that is a very, very good question.  I honestly don’t think anything.  My talents are asked for by no one and nobody really would care if I disappeared tomorrow.  It would be an inconvenience for those I work with, but not too much of one.  I am expendable because I’m still low on the totem pole.  I genuinely can’t think of anything that the world needs from me.

I’ve always hoped that my loyalty to my people and to my sense of personal ethics would carry some weight.  But that never stopped the countless people who have up and ditched me over the course of my life.  So then what about me as a human being does this world feel that I would provide a benefit for.  I genuinely couldn’t say.  Let me know if you have any ideas.

What can you get paid for?

Now there is the rub.  I can get paid for all sorts of things.  My traits mean that I am something of a jack of all trades.  It may be that the thing holding me back the most is my lack of stability.  I haven’t set down roots anywhere.  I want to.  The big idea is to get out of this icebox and down south to finally have a community I can live in without having to worry about leaving for the next five to ten years.

My writing skills are almost certainly never going to make me any real money.  I’m working on a novel right now, but I know that the chances of me hitting it big are astronomically small.  So that’s out.  Cooking?  I don’t want something that is a passion to become something I do to get paid.  Then it stops being fun and becomes work.  With what I listed above, the things I can get paid for are plentiful.  The things I can get paid a lot of money for or at least enough to live comfortably on, that’s another story.

So where does all this leave me?  The Ven diagram I shared above has it that I am somewhere between Vocation, Mission, and Profession.  It’s not a place I want to be, but the simple reality is that my Mission is clear – get south.  I want to get to the ocean.  To live on it.  That’s the last stop on my life’s journey.  I don’t actually think I’ll ever get there, but assuming I do, I have some decisions to make about where my life goes after that, if anywhere at all.  I wouldn’t mind adding some passion into my life, but that’s not going to happen.  At least not now.  Now in a job market as shitty as the one in my state now that the recession has FINALLY caught up with us.  A full ten years later.

I don’t know what the future holds, but this exercise has been interesting.  Let me know where you fall into things.  I actually do enjoy the discourse with my audience.

Until next time, a quote,

“Long ago and far away, I dreamed a dream one day.  And now, that dream is here beside me.  Long the skies were overcast, but now the clouds have passed.  You’re here, at last.” – Lyric, Long Ago and Far Away

Peace out,

Maverick