Archive for the ‘Self-Deprecation’ Category

302

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.

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.

“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.

Sweet Anonymity

Posted: August 20, 2014 in Self-Deprecation
Tags: , , , ,

Saturday, I was gifted a ticket to see Young Frankenstein down at the Erie Playhouse.  First things first, the stage adaptation was a skull-popping homage to the Mel Brooks classic.  There was one part of the show that was completely out of place.  It wasn’t the song, nor the dance, nor the fact that it wasn’t the cast from the movie…  no…  it was in fucking color.  Otherwise, fantastic highlight to a fulfilling evening– but you’re right, I started my entry with a tangent.

I lamented recently how I have become a forced hermit due to both location and recognition.  Conditions since that post have not changed, in fact– I’ve actually leveraged my small-town “hey, that’s the mail man” flavor of notoriety (it’s as palatable as a bowl of chalk) to get out of a traffic ticket.  To clarify, when the cop asked me if I knew that my inspection was up two weeks ago, I nearly shit a brick and explained that I drive my car maybe once a week.  I didn’t even get a written warning– yet we’re on tangent/win number two.

You’ll have that shit when you write a post over the course of a couple days.

I know, people, I know, you wanna know what the fuck I'm on about...

As everyone has already said: GET ON WITH IT!

So, I’m not sure how much of a faux pas this is– but my friends and I are the kind of people who pregame a stage performance.  Some people bring booze to the movies, some pre-game sporting events, and some others pre-game the bar–  oh wait, I’m all of those.  Anyway, I also happen to be one of those who will also pregame an off Broadway show.  I’m not talking dropping a few shots before stepping out the door– TeeJ and I got old-school shitty shitty tanked tanked.  That’s been our modus operandii since forever, but I digress a third time.

Yes, he drove, because I was– as I vaguely remember telling him– “incompetent at life.”  So what does he do?  He takes me to fucking Erie Days— a place crawling with body-armored bacon and the vulgar masses.  Mind you, when I lived in Erie– I avoided this spectacle of fail like a fat kid avoids celery.  Yet here I was, smack in the middle of a rather large clusterfuck of people.  I had not previously realized that he was taking me straight out of retirement– and throwing me back into the way we used to roll when it came time to go out.  He is still in practice, whereas I am not (which only added to my level of intoxication).  However, that was where it happened.  I rediscovered what it felt like to vanish into a crowd– a complete unknown.

Believe you me, there’s a certain joy that can be felt when you can be completely obliterated– and nobody has a fucking clue, because nobody cares to pay any damn attention to you.  It’s a beautiful thing to be able to effectively disappear.

Or... is this a metaphor?

Yeah, I had an idea for an image break…

I didn’t have to give a rat’s ass about who I stumbled into, literally or otherwise.  There wasn’t going to be some random neighborhood kid striking up a conversation– oh yeah, that shit happens sorta regularly since I walk to work.  There was no chance of some silver hair asking me work-related questions when it’s clearly inappropriate.  By the way: office hours, people, learn to fucking respect them.

Most importantly, there was no way some douche canoe was going to start the gossip chain because I wasn’t acting like me.  News flash, me at work is most definitely not me.  It’s in my best interest to maintain that inflexible distinction, and for one blessed evening– there was no chance of that facade being in danger because I decided to enjoy being unconscionably blitzed.

… and then the motherfucker took me to the theater– where it turns out he’s one of those theater-famous people.  Getting in the joint, grabbing the tickets, and getting to our seats took almost twenty minutes.  I made it thankfully to my chair, buzz solidly intact– still just another smirking face in the crowd waiting to laugh his ass off at Young Frankenstein.

I seriously need to get out of the public sector.

Unplug.

I’m sitting here, minding my own damn business, and my brain decides to take a little walk down Random Thought Boulevard.  I know, this is fucked up territory, so check it out.  My brain knows full well that this street’s poorly paved, overrun with seriously weird shit, and ultimately tees off on an Escher kind of level.  If that whole train of thought derailed on you, welcome to how my randomized brain works.  Now, throw being a little loaded on top of that.

This isn't half as weird as my day.  I saw a legit MCI phone bill today in the mail.

About to load your mind with fuck in three. two. one.

Back to being loaded, I’m sitting on my ass like a lazy pile of waste and surfing the same stupid pages I do every night.  I hop onto LinkedIn because I wasn’t kidding about that waste bit– and I hit this article.  I breezed through it until I happened to hit the last paragraph.  For those of you who aren’t going to waste your time on the unimportant sections of the article, here’s the part that blew my mind into the back of the fucking auditorium.

Remember that partitioning our lives and identities is a trap. When we segment and partition our lives into work life, home life, sporting life, community-service life, etc., we deny a truth that often our greatest strength comes from integrating all the different and diverse network interactions, and ideas into a unified and integrated whole. After all, the etymology of Integrity is from the Latin integer, meaning wholeness, or the unit of one.

Ready for the record scratch?  I deliberately taught myself to be very good at partitioning my life and personality, as well as tailoring the experience to the people I’m around.  It’s goddamn automatic for me.  If this assjack is right, I must be some kind of fucking sociopath.  Right?

I am either too wasted for this.... or not wasted enough.

Some of you shit your pants. Now see why I shat mine.

Let’s see, do I slip from situation to situation pretty seamlessly?  Yup.  Do I tend to curb parts of my personality depending on whose company I’m in?  That’s a big yup.  Is this precisely the kind of segmentation that Mr. Probably-not-PhD’d-in-This says is contrary to being a unified and integrated whole?  Damn skippy.  Does it change the fact that I have more integrity than most people?  Nope.  Guess that classifies me as more of a high-functioning sociopath… but still, I have to look at the facts.

Very little affects me.  I’m a shameless narcissist.  I have about as many “segments” to my personality as most chicks have shoes.  See where I started thinking too much?  I tend to relate to strangers more on a causality level than an empathetic one.  For example, I don’t punch stupid people because I’m too pretty for jail.  If something does somehow get to me, it’s like getting hit in the soul with a C-4 wrapped baseball bat.  I’m easily bored, yet easily obsessed.

Then I realized something else–
— I have no reason to trust a goddamn word that this goofy-looking motivational speaker has written.  It’s perfectly alright to compartmentalize, especially if you’re good at it.  Bottom line?  Always be yourself, but don’t fucking show your hand to everyone at the goddamn table.

… or I could just be a sociopath trying to justify himself.  (Which would actually defeat the clinical diagnosis, since justification is irrelevant to a true case.  Flawless victory for the powers of sarcasm!)

Unplug.