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Posted: November 7, 2014 in Self-Deprecation
Tags: , ,

People, over time, have noticed that although I’m fairly animated– very little affects me beneath the surface.  Then again, this shouldn’t be surprising when you take into account the zany shit circus of WTF-moments that tie together the most recent half of my life.  What, you want examples?

  • Let’s see, I attended the funeral of the first girl I ever kissed/dated before I turned 28.
  • I’ve stared down the barrel of a 9mm, and had someone threaten to shoot me.  By the way, those were on entirely separate occasions (process that one for a minute).
  • Oh, there’s also the time I was a fucking groomsman in my ex-girlfriend’s wedding party.
  • How about the fact that, by the numbers, I should probably be dead at least twice?
  • There was that bleary morning where I had the national head of TKE, in New Orleans the week before Katrina hit, introduce me by name to his mother as “the guy with freon in his veins”– you know, after having had a beer with Mick Foley not 10 hours earlier.
  • I could tell the tale of the time I repo-ed a laptop in the middle of a public library.
  • There was the 4 months I spent coming to terms with a misdiagnosis of Lupus.
  • How about when I had to slip the lock at work because my dumb ass accidentally locked my keys in the office– which technically means I solo B&E’d a federal facility.
  • I should also mention that I have had the unsettling experience of calling someone a child-toucher while playing beer pong– only to find out that I was right about five years later.

Then again, these are only a few things that I can mention in public.  Is it any wonder why my lack of fucks to give was foretold in tapestry and lore?

.... what the fuck do you mean "AGAIN"?

It just never stops being funny.

Well I have yet another one to dump into the mix… because on the 5th of November, I swore off a 302 and helped have someone involuntarily sent to in-patient psychiatric care.  That’s right, we had one of our friends committed.  There’s another one I never though I’d add to the mix, and believe you me– it’s a lot less entertaining than the aforementioned examples of fuck and circumstance.

Did I want to drive an hour after working all day to meet up with two other mutual friends just to do the paperwork to summon the ethereal men with white jackets?  Fuck no, I’d rather slam my dick in a car door.   Did I want to feel like I’d violated my personal standards of conduct?  Please, I’d rather that cock-jacking car speed off first.  Seriously, I’m loyal to a fault– and I despise deception and duplicity.

Yet… I had to emulate those very characteristics while talking to this friend frequently for almost three full days.  Such bastardly levels of subterfuge and misdirection are probably a bad sign for me, but I’m going to justify it because all signs pointed towards a life-or-death situation.  That said, I can’t help but appreciate the irony of the situation.

ADMIT IT.

We all assumed that I’D be the one to end up hugging myself.

At least today my phone wasn’t incessantly ringing while at work.  Seriously, all day yesterday, I was cringing at the caller ID.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to partially hide behind a “no cell phone” policy.  I also don’t think I’ve ever been so unnerved by the sound of my own ringtone.

Oh well, back to finishing off that mortgage paperwork.
Come to think of it, the brain-melting fuckery of buying a house just might land me in that canvas embrace after all.

Unplug.

Nothing like laying down for what should be six hours worth of sleep and waking up halfway through awake as if I’d been main-lining espresso.  I woke up out of a dead sleep (something I’m unaccustomed to in the first place) in full overdrive, and if it weren’t for the fact that the medieval front door to this apartment squeaks like a banshee dragging nails on a chalkboard that also screams, I’d have gone for a very enthusiastic wander through Rome.  Oh yeah, it’s like 3am here.

Must be lonely.

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Anyway.  I’m stuck at an impasse, and I’m not happy about it.  I can’t reconcile the way that I love damn near everything about Rome– and soon I have to return to the ever blase southwestern New York/northeast Pennsylvania.  This city is vibrant, alive, and still very rooted in its rich history.  My neck of the woods?  I’m lucky if I find people that can tell the difference between you’re/your.  This is a level of infatuation that I’ve never felt for a locale, and I’ve been wrestling with the desire to move here.

For realsies, I could not get tired of this!

Seriously!  How could I not?!

Then it hit me– besides the money (which my great grandparents didn’t have when they all decided to up and head for the US in the first place), the only reasons I am not making preparations now are my friends and family.  Yeah, sure, it’s the Digital Age and I can Skype them for free– I get it– and a 6 hour time difference really isn’t that big a deal.  However, it’s the distance that is.  For 34 years, I think the farthest I’ve lived from the people that I know and love has been 3 hours…  and even then, I had a couple people I knew even if I didn’t hang out with them.

That’s one Hell of a habit to break.  Gone would be the family holidays that I’ve looked forward to with a mixed bag of anticipation and anxiety.  Gone would be the trainwreck homecomings with the boys.  Gone would be the ability to jump in the car and go hang out.  Sure, that’s superfluous on many levels– but also gone would be the ability to be there for weddings/funerals/emergencies.

Am I happy with how things are in the States?  Nope.  Hell, I’m working on buying a house (which is a headache that’s 10x worse than planning a wedding), so it’s not like I’m up shit creek without a paddle either.

And that's putting it nicely.

That awful moment when you’ve reached an impasse between what you want and what you have.

Now here’s the “but wait, there’s more” moment– to reconcile this euphoric sense of belonging that have had since I got here (in spite of being sick as a fucking dog the first 3 days) and my “issues” with leaving my family/friends behind, I’d need something that everyone needs…  a fat stack of cash.  When I say a fat stack of cash, I’m talking stupid money.   I’m talking the kind of cash that if you don’t have it by the time you’re in you’re 20′s, you’re statistically never going to get it.

Yup.  Insomnia sucks, especially when that never-say-die side of you (overdeveloped, in my case) is still trying to figure out a way to make Rome my home.

Oh well, may as well do something with the time on my hands instead of pondering an effective impossibility.

*reaches for the pile of unfinished .doc files*

Unplug.

Andiamo!!

Posted: September 23, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right?  Well I worked on a road construction crew for four summers during college (so I’m no stranger to professionally playing in traffic), and these people are fucking nuts.  Traffic patterns here are not unlike the bastard child of a Zerg rush and Lemmings, and pedestrians give positively zero fucks about the trusty dead-weight-tonnage-rule…  chaos and balls are the name and spirit of the game if you wanna get anywhere.

I could get used to it here.  Actually, who do I think I’m kidding?  A living, breathing city that is deeply in touch with thousands of years of heritage is the perfect place to live.  The food, the architecture, the art, the culture, the everything is the reason I could totally expat here and get used to it…. but the madness associated with driving?  Screw that noise, I’d rather navigate the winding alleys and blocks on foot.

The land where no SUV may go....  seriously.

Oh yeah, and everyone drives micromachines. To the point where riding a scooter isn’t something you’d ever be made fun of for riding.

That’s right, the name of the game here is go.  If you were there first, you have the right of way, and other people stop for you.  Traffic signals are a nice suggestion, but ultimately feckless.  Oddly enough, everyone seems pretty calm and accepting of what would otherwise be a road-rager’s worst-case scenario.  It might also have to do with the fact that the only places you can do better than 10 mph are on the main thoroughfares– and those are clusterfucks of Biblical proportion.

Speaking of Biblical– we spent most of the day today at the Vatican Museum…  or Musei Vaticani as the locals call it.  I’ve seen pictures of St. Peter’s Basilica, and many of the works of art in the museum proper…  I’ve seen pictures of the Sistine Chapel…  In no way did I once feel like this was going to be like a Lucy/Desi rerun– just on a bigger screen.  In fact, I was pretty much awestruck by the whole thing, finally seeing with my own eyes the works of masters like Michelangelo and Raphael.

Here, let's do the time warp...

Or how about Raphael throwing Dante Alighieri into one of the Vatican murals.  Dude’s wearing red, and rocking some serious olive branch action.

I would write more….

… but I’ve got a ticket to an audience with Il Papa Francesco in the morning.  Not to mention, I’d have to somehow cover the territory spanning the 500 pictures I took today alone.  The Italian word of the day today, children, is andiamo–  GO!

Unplug.

Me and my big goddamn mouth.  Cortana was sick as Hell last week so I quarantined myself to the couch to prevent getting whatever bastard plague that’s getting passed around her office like a bad case of crabs at Caligula’s place.  No such luck, I’m afraid, because once we hit the highway for our departing flight in Toronto– I started to sniffle.  I told myself, sure, my immune system is going to go full-on Duke Nukem on this thing because I will it so.

Then we got on a nine hour flight…  that felt like it was being piloted by the Marquis De Sade.  Apparently I’m one of those people whose illnesses decide to do a fat Sheenpile of blow the second they hit 40,000 feet.  I tried to sleep, and yeah, that was as futile as resisting the Borg (when they first came out and actually were damn near unstoppable).

My immune system can kiss my ass.  My darling wife claims to have licked my keyboard the day I went into quarantine, so there’s that not-serious-but-still-happening blame game.  However, 9 hours of sniffling agony later where the only part of me that didn’t hurt was the tip of my elbow (a la Indiana Jones), I was treated to this:

I LOVE THIS SHOT.

Anyone wanna venture what mountains these are?

Now, I don’t coddle the weak– and that most assuredly includes myself– so I informed my family that I wanted all the drugs.  I wasn’t going to deal with some pansy-ass plague while I’m in Rome.  Fuck that shit right in the face.  So I doped up and shrugged 85% of that shit off like a boss.  The other 15% was due to a combination of adrenaline, sudoephedrine, ibuprofen, afrin, and no fucks given.  I’ve already snapped over 200 pictures (been here roughly 5 functional hours), and I’ve come to notice something–

– Italian drivers are the most bizarre combination of courteous, calm, and fucking insane.  Now, mi scuzi, uomini et donne….  morto famme.

I may post later.

In the meantime—

I have the most explainable boner right now.

I TOUCHED THE FORUM DOORS.

Unplug.

I may have known about this trip since, oh, 2013ish– but when you stop at AAA to pick up your Euros, shit gets real.  When you make the phone calls to make sure your plastic will work on a different continent, it starts to really set in.  Holy shit.  I’m going to Rome.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Julius Caesar.  Love this guy.

The look on his face! That’s the “aw fuck!” look!

That’s right, I’m actually going to set foot on another goddamn continent for the first time.  Let me relish this; don’t judge me because this shit’s business as usual for you.  Yeah, I’ve been on a plane before– but this?  I guess I’ve suppressed nearly a year’s worth of excitement, and I finally had it set in yesterday after leaving the office.  Now it’s here.  It’s real.  I’m officially on vacation.  I suddenly have a lot of excitement.

I’m not talking “I’m gonna go party with the old guard” excitement.
I’m not talking “Holy shit, I’m going to graduate college!” excitement.  (Some of you really get that one.)
I’m not talking “CANOE TRIP!” excitement.
I’m not talking “dick in a box” excitement.
I’m not talking “I got published” excitement.
I’m not even talking “I’m getting married” excitement.  (Guys, take note of what I just did there.)

This is a level that hasn’t hit me in…  I don’t know, too long if not ever.  As if a week in Rome wasn’t already a sticky spot in my pants, my parents went ahead and landed us a Papal audience.

Although he'd probably take me as his apprentice....

No, not that one. The good one.

I don’t give a rat’s ass what your religion is or is not– you can’t tell me that you can’t appreciate the sum of architecture, art, and splendor all around the Vatican.  All if which I will record here.  That’s right, kids, I’m taking this motherfucker on the road!  … or would that be air?

Oh… and fuck my fitness goals.  I’m coming back at least 20lbs heavier from this Roman holiday.

Because Italy.

Now ‘scuse me, I need to get back to packing to head back to the motherland.

Unplug.

Bigotry: The New Profanity

Posted: August 26, 2014 in Rant
Tags: , , ,

“What I’m saying might be profane, but it’s also profound.”
Richard Pryor

I am no stranger to cursing.  In fact, my command of the colloquial stops just short of iconic.  Sure, I can fuckin’ censor myself on the fly– but when it comes down to brass tacks…  Even I have a line.  There’s a line where my words will inevitably stop being weapons of psychological terrorism (like the time someone foolishly invited me to be on the dais for a roast) and become a means of social suicide.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to fucking figure out the point where the magnificent bastard would become the muttonfucking bigot.

… and no, fuck you, this isn’t going to be a plea to drop a gratuitous n-bomb.  Pay attention, I’m about to blow your fucking mind to the back of the auditorium without so much as a whisper.

Bob Dobbs didn't brace himself properly.

Oh yeah. Breaking out the Subgenius reference.

Back when our grandparents were kids, people were seriously up tight.  Trust me, that’s part of why their slang was so goddamn eclectically creative.   Sure, you could make like Prodigy and smack your bitch up (and still be considered an upstanding citizen), but the kinds of words termed “vulgar” by modern standards would turn you into a social pariah.  Yeah, back in the day, being able to swear like a sailor wasn’t a matter of vernacular nor comedy– it was a quick way to get everyone you know to disown you.

Wanna get some strange looks?  Don’t yell “fuck!” in a crowded store.  Try quoting SLC Punk! and yell “Union Jack is a fag!”  See how fast people start getting that uneasy look.  Actually, try that, I want to know how many people high-five you for the reference.  Anyway.

The very definitions of profanity and obscenity include the fact that such language will reflect poorly upon the user. Now tell me… which individual is going to be looked at in a harsher light: the guy in the middle of a crowded mall screaming, “Fuck off and die, you shit-eating cock waffle,” or the same guy dropping an n-bomb with the same imagined animation?

You see where I’m going with this.

Fuck yeah.

That’s right, I just 720 cockslapped it like a linguistics major would…. Take THAT, Eng 502!

“Classic” profanity has wormed its way into the common lexicon as pervasively and effectively as steroids in sports.  The acronym WTF is common on the news, and don’t try to claim that we all don’t know what it means.  I can say “fuck” pretty much anywhere, and nobody will bat a goddamn eye.  I can say “shit” with even more gusto.  Damn and ass?  Bitch, don’t make me laugh.  Sure, the language still serves the purpose of lalochesia—but if that’s it, does it still fit the classification?

I maintain not.

However, there’s a kind of language that is ill-defined and constantly growing—and that’s the vulgar tongue of the bigot.  I’m not going to skip around dropping N-bombs just to retain my shock factor, nor am I going to toss about any other slew of slurs—because fuck you, I have class.  Right here, ladies and gentlemen, is the very illustration of what I’ve been going for.  Am I going to argue about times where this type of language is appropriate?  Fuck no, I’m not completely retarded—that’s a pile of shit for someone else to shovel.

Not to mention, this nebulous stretch of vernacular varies from region to region—culture to culture—and is starting to include homophobic slurs as well.  If you think I’m wrong, ask fucking Jonah Hill—whose tirade (though pretty tame compared to the shit people say during fits of road rage) got him lit up like Times Square.  Not to mention, what language is most used behind the semi-anonymous veil of online gaming?  If you answered basic vulgarity, you’ve clearly not had the joy of hearing a tween rattle off ill-formulated barrages of bigotry.  I chose the term joy not entirely out of sarcasm—because it’s pretty fucking hilarious to hear.

Take note—the language, she’s a-changing.

And I still want to be the first seated President to say “fuck” on the Senate & House floors.

Unplug.

“I was me, but now he’s gone…” – Metallica, “Fade to Black”

 

In the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide, there’s been a lot flying around Facebook—and the ‘net at large. Talk of how suicide is/isn’t selfish, and how depression is a disease and not a character flaw. More irksome is the self-righteous standpoint most people take when addressing the issue, as if their opinion is the only one that’s right. When it comes to issues that involve psychological disorders, especially those caused/exacerbated by chemical imbalances, there’s more than one answer to every situation.

Unfortunately, when someone decides to invoke the mercy kill rule on themselves before the game is over—there’s nothing else that can be said or done.  It’s kinda final like that.  No respawn.  No save point.  That’s pretty much it.

Come on, how can I not be glib?

Smile or not, that’s pretty much what it is.

One thing I’ve noticed is how some people rail about how debilitating depression can be. This is true. Not many people realize this, but I’ve been so far down that road before—I actually quit college and moved home with my parents for a semester. I had reached a point of malaise where I could hardly take care of myself—and I even had zero interest in my vice of choice: booze. Let that sink in for a whiskey soaked second. Lucky for me, I happen to have a failsafe built into my psyche that keeps me from totally destroying my life—so I at least kept going to work. I’m not sure if it was the call of the almighty dollar, or just the promise of things getting 1000x worse if I stopped going to work, but my job was the only part of my life that I didn’t completely abandon. To say that part of my life sucked would be an understatement of Biblical proportion. I had completely given up.

Now if that wasn’t a dark enough window into a part of me few are aware of, let’s get downright morbid. I’ve danced the masochistic tango with depression on and off since I was a teenager. I’ve been put on at least a dozen different medications, with varying degrees of success. Pills aren’t the complete answer—but I’ll get there soon enough. For the longest time, I freely admitted that I had an “armchair death wish.” There are two translations for this. One—I didn’t give a rat’s ass whether or not I was alive or dead. Two—I didn’t have the stones to be actively suicidal. Both are partially true, the former more than the latter. It was just how I found terms to explain the consuming emptiness inside.

It’s not just down. It’s not blue. It’s not sad. It’s a fucking void that consumes joy, sadness, anger, and everything else on the emotional smorgasbord. I eventually learned to use that ravenous maw to consume my fears and perceived inadequacies, because I was a total chickenshit when I was a teen. I’m lucky it didn’t devour me…

On second thought… Maybe it did, and I am merely what clawed back out of the pit.

Boba Fett ain't got shit on me.

Speaking of pits.

You’re probably wondering why I never tried to take a dirt nap on my own terms. Cue the record scratch, because that’s not entirely true. I deliberately tried to drink myself to death once or twice, but my liver wasn’t about to put up with any of my bullshit. Thanks buddy. Mathematically, both times I would have blown over a .4– so I should theoretically be dead twice over on those occasions.

This is the first I’ve spoken/written of it, because it’s stupid. However, therein lies the rub—I can see the stupidity now because my liver went full Johnny Badass in my moment of despair. In the moment?   That’s a different story, and it’s nigh impossible to comprehend unless you’ve made the effort to call ol’ Thanatos for a free ride across the Styx. This experience is probably why I’ve been able to stop two people from making a terminal mistake.

Suicide is selfish, but not in the connotation. People are constantly coming up with trite things to say to depressed people, what not to say, et cetera ad nauseum. When it comes down to brass tacks, you can have the most wonderful family and friends in the world—but once you’ve reached that nebulous line where pulling the plug seems like a good way to stop feeling like complete shit—you don’t see them as a safety net. They’re people that you don’t want to burden. They’re the good things in your life that you don’t want to drag down with you. Depression doesn’t mean you can’t see good when it’s there. It keeps you from reaching out to touch that good, because you don’t want to tarnish it—or change how those people treat you (and yes, you do get treated differently.)

You’re not selfish as in thinking only for yourself—you hoard the suffering because that’s just what happens. It’s cyclical and self-sabotaging, and is one of the reasons real depression is so awful (none of that Google-diagnosed attention-seeking fuckery). If you’re depressed, you don’t want attention, you don’t want pity, you just want the whole shit and shebang to stop—and paradoxically you stop caring about pretty much everything in the process. It goes far beyond not giving a fuck. This is the bad kind of not giving a fuck. There’s a distinct difference.

And no.

Wait, we got to 50%? That’s shooting high.

Now let’s roll back to the whole concept of medication—let’s face it, depression is a condition as opposed to a disease. It’s not communicable; it’s not caused by a fungus/bacterium/virus. The meds can help to correct the chemical imbalance inside your brain box, but unless you ardently try to break out of it—you’re fucked. End of story. Game over. At the end of the day, all the medication and therapy in the world cannot fix someone who cannot be open to fixing themselves.

Confused yet? Good, you should be—because depression doesn’t make sense. Medication and therapy is a tool, not a fix. Once the tools are in your hands, only you can fix you, and if you can muster the drive—these tools are valuable to solving the problem. When people ineloquently regurgitate, “you just have to deal with it,” this is what they’re trying to nail home. Of course depressed people want to get better, but turning that want into ability and motivation is where the medication/therapy/friends/family come in to play.

I had to find a use for the picture, come on!

Yeahhhhhhhh not quite.

My motivation and savior was my anger. I despised who I had become. I loathed what I had become. I tried being positive and that inevitably felt like a trite pair of rosy sunglasses, and I inevitably backslid into another malaise. Medication gave me weird side effects, and that roller-coaster often made the chemical component of my condition worse.

So I fed that void every ounce of my hate. I served that emptiness my indomitable wrath. I force-fed that void until it burned, and then dumped everything else I didn’t want on it—just to watch the blackness burn. My unusual skill for compartmentalizing my personality built a wall around it while it gagged on the overflow. I funneled everything I loathed into that maw, and then sealed that dismal oubliette shut. … and yes, I can still hear it howling somewhere in the recesses of the mind where I don’t like to tread.

even got a big sign in neon lights....

That’s how it goes. Burn that shit and don’t look back.

I can already hear someone muttering, “that’s not dealing, that’s repression.” Maybe you’re right, and maybe that’s why I feel those empty tendrils working their way back into my head from time to time. However, it’s what worked for me—and this ties back what I said in very first paragraph: When it comes to issues that involve psychological disorders, especially those caused/exacerbated by chemical imbalances, there’s more than one answer to every situation.

No matter what answer is chosen… there’s only one answer that you can’t take back.
Always pick a choice that you can reflect on later– because you never know what might emerge from the wreckage.

Unplug.