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Twisting all the bad things into good

Feb 26, 2013

BOOK of TANGENTS: That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore

        A tangent I went off on a long time ago. 
        I guess a little over a year isn't a long time ago.
        Seems like it though. 

"I wonder what Piglet is doing," thought Pooh.
"I wish I were there to be doing it, too."

- Winnie the Pooh”

         I used to laugh at them.

         When I woke up in South County, I was afraid I was one of them.
         I was afraid that I was broken.
         I was only bent.
         All those psychological conditions that I had only used as a joke ran through my mind along with the images of the people who those conditions would be ascribed to when there is nothing funny intended. Is this schizophrenia? Am I going to be that  guy walking through New York City talking to himself and cursing at nobody. Is this insanity? Am I insane? Like legally? Like the guy in a strait jacket in a white padded room. This is crazy. I am a crazy person? Not a "cool crazy" as in "yo, that dude's crazy as fuck". A broken kind of crazy, as in a woman staring out the window in some hospital rec room, who insists on wearing the same seventeen year old dress everyday because she wants to look her best for her husband and two daughters who never visit because she killed them fifteen years ago, but she only remembers the good times.

        This was psychosis. I was psychotic. I was that guy in Florida walking around his neighborhood, having conversations with nobody and telling strangers that his father died.

         I was humiliated by what I'd said and done.
         I'm the joker who became the joke.
         A storyteller who became his own story.

         Somewhere, in another rec room, there's a woman who can't forget, who has been forgotten.
         She was once happy. She was pretty. She was a wife and a mother.

         A man who walks the city streets of his own reality.
         We laugh with friends as he talks to people as real to him as he is to us.
         He used to have real friends. He used to love to make them laugh.
         He came from a real family. He was once somebody's little boy.

         None of them would have chosen this.
         None of them will wake up one morning and be sane again.
         I suffered a psychotic episode, but I made it back.

         They don't make me laugh anymore. It's not funny. It's sad.
         Their movie is a tragedy, not a comedy.
         Let them talk to friends who are not there.
         They can wait for their family until their last day.
         The friends and family they don't have may be all that they have left of a live they once had.
         They don't have to be the joke.
         I can be a joke because I can still be a joker.
         It's okay to laugh at me because I can laugh at me.

         You can laugh at me because I'll laugh with you.

Feb 24, 2013

BOOK of TANGENTS: It's A Simile About A Simian, Not A Metaphor About A Monkey, Ya Big Dumb Ape

One of my greatest pleasures in writing has come from the thought that perhaps my work might annoy someone of comfortably pretentious position. Then comes the saddening realization that such people rarely read. 
 John Kenneth Galbraith


       Early this Sunday morning, around 5am, or as I call it, "magic hour", I realized I had just went off on what is by far the worst tangent I have ever gone off on.  

     I'll even go so far as to say it's probably, no, definitely, the most moronic and absurd thing I have ever written. But, if I told you a monkey had written it, you'd say that monkey was genius.

      I was trying to finish up a story about a stormy night in Philly last month, a story that I still haven't finished.

     Then, what I thought was impossible happened. I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. I could see the sky getting darker and I could hear the rain falling harder on the canopy above me.

     I reminded myself that "This sucks, dude."

     There was no reason to jot that down in my notebook.

     I have a good memory when it comes to bad things better left forgotten. If I didn't, I'd have nothing to obsessively write about. If I couldn't write, whether obsessively or like a well balanced person who has self control enough to not take things to absurd extremes, well, I don't know what I'd do. Probably kill myself, or just start watching tv again, maybe play video games online, something to pass the time until I inevitably killed myself.

       Just kidding. 

       If I was ever going to kill myself, it would've been circa  Summer 2010, probably end of July, mid August maybe.. I don't know, I didn't really give it as much consideration as I probably should have. Glad I didn't though. Those were the worst days of my life, and until the last week or so, I was confident that the 2 books I had written about those miserable days and the hell of drug addiction and clinical depression might be hilarious enough to rope me an agent and a publisher fiending for something as novel as a memoir about a nobody.  
         At the time, it felt like I was writing the Great American Memoir, but when I recently read the early chapters of the book I finished 1 year and 1 day earlier, I told myself that, just like that dark and stormy night I was hiding from, it sucked, dude.

      Sure, a few people liked it and were very complimentary in the beginning, but they soon lost interest when the novelty wore off, which I can totally understand. People have wives, husbands, kids, live-in stepmothers, mortgages.

      I have a blog, even though I'm still not sure whatever this is constitutes a "blog". "Blog". What a dumb word. Not so much when you see it written, but go ahead and say it out loud. "Blog". See? Phonetically, it sounds like a noise you'd hear echoing off your American Standard while you dry heave in it.

     When my dad asked me if I was still getting a lot of positive feedback on my blaaaahhhggg, I told him not like in the beginning, when I never bothered editing bad grammar, spell checking, or structuring the story so it was not one long paragraph.

      He asked why I thought people were not reading, or at least, not commenting, as much anymore, especially if what I assured him was true, that my writing had improved significantly.

     Pretty straightforward so far. 
     But, then, right about here, my shit went bananas. 
     This my shit.
     This my shit.

     So, I said, "The way I see it, I'm like some monkey with a typewriter."

      Even without a question posed, it was clear by my dad's silence that he was not seeing how his son and a simian fit into the same simile.
     I explained myself: "I think most people who read the first few chapters were probably just surprised that some stoner from their Honors English Class could actually write complete sentences. Like, if I saw a monkey who was able to write or type "c0c0 sADD", I'd be pretty damn impressed. But after about 2 weeks of this monkey typing business, Monkey would gain a little confidence, start believing no cage could hold him, getting all poetic and shit, trying to be profound, going off on philosophical tangents like, "I have found the innerworkings of monkey and man not to be mirror images per se, but their resemblance of resolve is considerably closer than even Darwin had hypothesized. It is my conclusion that men of conscience, just like monkeys,will find that if they can sit down to write in reflection of themselves as if they were seeing from the outside, a monkey they've never met before, at their worst, and they may momentarily  forget they are the same monkey, but by the time they stand up, their minds will be free from confusion of identity, and held in their paws, the documentation that if it were to be shared, would allow other monkeys to see one of their own at their best, and at their worst, at the same time. So to man and monkey alike, I say, 'Write your wrongs, right your wrongs. Write your life, right your life'."

     I'd be like, "Whatever. If it makes you happy, keep it up, my main monkey. I'm just not as interested in your sins and yourself as you are yourself. But if you ever get published, send me a free autographed copy. I'm not gonna read it, I've got better things to do than read a mad monkey's memoir, but I hope my request for a free copy feigns my interest about your 500 page epic of a book about your 5 whole days in the South County Zoo. If nothing else, I'll lend it to a friend after I tell them "I never met this monkey in person, but here's a book he wrote that you can borrow and keep, or maybe put it under that short leg on your off kilter kitchen table so it stops wobbling. Or you can read it if you don't have enough of your own problems that you wanna read about some monkey dick's depression, addiction, and psychosis. Yeah, the only thing remotely funny about it is that Monkey is still delusional enough to see his tragedy as a comedy, or a melodramedy or whatever he came up with as a name for his very own personal genre. But who knows? You're a reader, and a psycho, and an animal lover, maybe you'll like it. You know me, I love my reality tv and my porn."

     Damn, Monkey just went off on an orangutangent.
     Monkey is so clever, he just makes up words sometimes.
     But that's more entertaining than when he used to throw shit against the wall, and whatever stuck, he called "art".


     Yeah. "WTF?" is exactly what I asked myself when I read what I had written on autopilot. I figured after 14 hours of writing, and however many minutes of the last"magic hour" had been wasted on this monkey business, it was probably a good time to give my monkey mind a rest, so I took my monkey ass to bed.

Feb 22, 2013

BOOK OF TANGENTS: On Sundays, Purgatory


       A tangent I went off on about a year ago.

       It is easy to go down into Hell; night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide; but to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air - there's the rub, the task.


       When I was a kid, there was a place called Heaven.
       By the time I was old enough to fake my way inside, it wasn't Heaven anymore. I don't know when or why they shut it down. I only know that one day it was there, and then one day, it wasn't.
       There was definitely a Purgatory.

       I used to go every Sunday, for the music, for the crowd, for the drugs, and for some reason, sometimes, regretfully, I even danced.

       Wall to wall ecstasy.

       Purgatory was where I met Mitch.
       Like the Virgil to my Dante, Mitch showed me around the place that his Roman poet equivalent would have called "Purgatorio". We quickly became good friends. A jealous friend of mine called him "Jim's bitch, Mitch."

       It wasn't always like this.
       It wasn't always Purgatory.
       That was just what they called it on Sundays, the Alternative Night at Club Boca.
       There were other nights, when the music was not as dark, where you'd find a different crowd

        I've heard voices.
        I've had visions.
        I don't believe in a place like Purgatory.
        But I've been there.
        It felt like Hell.
        And it looked like my bedroom.
        Wall to wall agony.

        It got worse when Mitch died.

       If this reads like fiction, well, I don't write fiction.
       Believe it or not, I've never written anything else except this.
       So forgive me, I know not what the hell I'm doing.
       If this sounds like melodrama, it's because you've never been there.
       I wouldn't recommend it.
       You wouldn't like it.
       You'd fucking hate it.
       That makes me a modern day prophet.
       So you better believe me when I tell you that if you don't share this with your friends on FaceBook, well, then you can go to Hell. 
       Or you can go do whatever.
       I don't care.
       I can take it.
       So can you.

       You can take from this what you want and leave the rest, like you're at Sweet Tomatoes. You know, because you've been there.

        It's a herbivore's Brazillian Steakhouse. If you haven't been to a Brazilian Steakhouse, and you're not vegetarian, I highly recommend it, not because I'm high, but because I've been there and I loved it. Take my word for it, there's nothing more mouth watering than watching the guy with the Ginsu knife slice the flesh from the skewer, Rodizio Style, like I've heard they do to sinners at Dante's Infernal Steakhouse (it's somewhere South of Heaven).

        Speaking of flesh from the bone, that is exactly what Heaven became. Same location, but instead of serving rounds of shots to under-agers, they served ribs to senior citizens. I used to joke with Jeff about how they should just call old people "cold people" because they were always complaining about how cold it was inside the gates of the place once known as Heaven.
        How Jeff and I know so much about how cold people can be, even in the humid South Florida Summer is because we parked their white Cadillacs while they gnawed flesh from ribs, Chicago style. The only thing that blew harder than these freezing folks fucking AC was their tips. A lot of those dollars were spent in Purgatory. Must not have been enough though, because like Heaven before it, Purgatory would close it's doors and Boca Bob and the other dudes playing god at the door would have to grow up and get an afterlife.

       And as for the cold people whose cars I'd look after and occasionally steal quarters from, well, whether they chose the Carson's Cobb Salad or a full rack of babybacks, they're all dead, nothing but a chewed down to the bone rack of ribs in a to go box.

       I don't know where their leftovers went, if anywhere, I just know that I'll be having a salad for dinner tonight, if not all week.
       That was back when we were in college.
       Thursday nights were College Night at Club Boca.

       Like those dead and gone shit tippers, I've often never wondered about most of the peeps I met at Purgatory, I know only that Boca Bob has grown colder, and that Jeff and I will always be younger than anyone with the birthdates on our fake ID's. Bob recognized us as false prophets, but as long as the ATF was not roaming the promised land, he showed mercy on "The Fake ID Crew", a name he bestowed on us before he stamped the back of our hands with a glow in the dark "PURGATORY".

       When I wasn't taking stimulants in the men's room with my bitch or by myself, I could always be found in the dark, with a glow that you did not see on the faces of the others, not even those of my best bitches, Jeff and Mitch. I couldn't help but outshine those around me. It was just a natural thing for my nose to get itchy when I ingested chemicals, so I'd unconsciously rub the back of my glow in the dark stamped wrist on my nose, and I'd walk around like some raving Rudolph until someone finally told me. But most of the time, I found out for myself, after I'd notice something in the corner of my eye, fucking with me until I'd stand there with my eyes crossed for a few minutes, trying to figure out if my nose was neon or if I was just really high.
        It was usually both.
        Sometimes, I didn't glow in the dark, sometimes it was just my fucked up mind fucking with my head, so after a few months, I'd request Bob stamp my left hand instead. That way I could enjoy myself while I rolled around somewhere between Heaven and Hell, pondering only over pleasant thoughts about college kid stuff like my most-of-the-time girlfriend, and why the hell she's rubbing some guy's shoulders while he chugs water and inhales Vicks Vapor Rub, and if that bitch, or my bitch, Mitch, or Jeff or any of the other bitches in our fake ID crew would have chosen to stay behind for me if their parents and little sister and baby brother were weeks away from going far away to avoid punishment for the sins of their father. I decided to stay, and pay for those sins here, alone, with my girlfriend and all our friends. Alone, with all the other lost souls in Purgatory.

       Tuesday was 80's night.

       They called it DV8.

Feb 18, 2013

THE BOOK of TANGENTS: Dude, Not Every Personality Quirk Is A Disorder

        I was writing about personality disorders, and this happened....

       Sometimes a personality disorder is just a personality quirk.
       An attention deficit might be a lack of interest in things you have no interest in.
       Maybe one person's histrionic, is another's eccentric.

       Don't tell me I'm a narcissist.
       Tell me something I haven't heard before.
       I feel empathy.
       Narcissists can not empathize.

       I'm pretty sure they can fake it though.

       Same with psychopaths.
       Watch out for those guys.
       Might want to avoid sociopaths too.
       People not fascinated by antisocial personality disorders use these terms interchangeably, but unlike the psychopath, with a sociopath, what you see is what you get bludgeoned with.
       Best advice, if you're curious which path the drifter with a hammer at your door is on, open your door, but keep your screen door closed. Engage him in a little friendly conversation, and if he's able to pull off a little of that old Ted Bundy type charm, then you know you have a a psychopath at your door, and then immediately close that door.
       If the man with the hammer at your door shortcuts the chitchat and immediately demands you to "OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR, LADY!", then that man is a sociopath, so don't open the fucking door, lady.

       You're welcome.

       It's not always as easy as my "man with the hammer at the door test".
       Sometimes the man with the hammer is only a carpenter.
       That "psychopath" across the street?
       Maybe he's just an asshole.

       As for your new crazy girlfriend and your suspicions about her having some personality/mood disorder(s), give her about 5 days before you request she pack up her stuff she hasn't even had time to unpack yet. If she snaps out of it before she snaps, it was probably just because she was on the rag.
       If you can't talk her into getting on the pill because she says it "makes her (even more) crazy" than normal, just pull out and aim at her belly button ring. She definitely won't mind and you definitely won't be the first dude whose done it to her. Speaking of the dozens of other dudes who defiled this months love of your life, if she has any piercings below her belly button, or if you're a premature ejaculater, you're gonna wanna hit up Costco or Sam's Club and purchase a year supply of condoms every 2 weeks.

       Actually, save your money. 
       You'll need it to support her coke habit, and you would just be blowing hard earned blow money on a suitcase sized box of rubbers because she's just gonna tell you she hates condoms even more than you do. 2 minutes later, you're washing your dirty dick in the sink trying to ignore her remark "I've always hated condoms, I like it raw" until you feel the need to douse yourself in the only alcohol in the house she hasn't consumed. If behind that bottle of rubbing alcohol you find a prescription bottle reading "SEROQUEL" give her the benefit of the doubt, maybe it's just to help her sleep.

       Even if she is a moody bitch for 30 days out of every month excluding February, she lets you do whatever you want to her and she takes it like a former pro, so there's no need to let her unpredictable outbursts cause you to jump to conclusions or from a moving car. Maybe you're lucky. Maybe she's not "the one", but maybe she's the 1 out of every 16 women in the U.S. undeserving of a "bipolar" diagnosis.

       Congrats, dude.
       You found a "normal" girl.
       Keep that lunatic away from your tools just in case though.
       And best log out of your FaceBook every time you walk away from the computer. 

       You're welcome.

       Good luck.

       Rest in peace.