Thursday, January 25, 2018


"I suppose you know why you are here" she asked with just enough sarcasm in her voice to trigger what was probably the wrong reply. "I figured you were going to tell me which of the myriad of reasons is the cause of my presence in front of you."  That did not please them, because as I looked further into the corners of the proverbial "corner office/throne room" I saw that quite a gathering had been assembled to give me the latest "dressing down" in a lifetime full of them.

One of the non-throne occupants sighed and said, "I told you not to be a jackass, why wouldn't you listen to me?"  No reply that I could think of would much help that comment, so I decided to keep my mouth shut, for once. Keeping one's mouth shut is an art and a science, and can be very hard to do for someone with a willful disposition.  "Well?" the throne asked, "Care to tell us why you are here?"

I shrugged and replied carefully "again, I figured you would tell me, after all your spies, and we all know you have them, and who they are by the way, would have briefed you on whatever reason you needed to frog march me in here." A small, but still hard to notice unless you were paying attention, and my life is built upon paying attention so I noticed, hint of surprise flickered in the throne's eyes at my statement about her spies and people knowing their identity. "If you're going to create spies, or turn people against each other it is best to be a bit more subtle. I understand the iron fist in the velvet glove approach, but that is about ruling, not about being a spymaster."

While undeniable true, that statement did not win me any friends among the group assembled. The good news, if there was any good news, is that I already knew that I didn't have any friends in that group, so I hadn't really lost anything. "I mean other than dressing them up in leather trench coats, giving them a fedora, a sneer, and maybe a scar or two, could you have been more obvious in your choice(s) of spies?" You are not, I hate to break the news to you, Felix Dzerzhinsky (my favorite Bolshevik, by the way), and this little group of yours isn't the Cheka, and your power is not as limitless as you'd like to think." I figured since I had been unceremoniously dragged into this "meeting" I had might as well get my money's worth. Once you're in enough trouble, you reach a point of diminishing returns as to the punishment you can receive, I had reached that point.  

However, that little speech, while sounding quite pretty to me, was not particularly well received by my audience. Did I mention keeping one's mouth shut being an art and a science? I can't draw a stick figure properly, and most of the science I know is that the atomic number of Carbon is 6.  Perhaps my classical education wasn't as classical as I had previously thought.  "Well since you don't care to articulate the actual reason you are here, let's just talk in generalities shall we?"  

"It's your party boss, I am just the guest of honour."  That, at least produced a laugh from somewhere behind me, had more of my fan club filed in while I was ruining my career with my smart mouth? "Some honour" I heard someone say with a chuckle, and recognized the voice as another one of "them".  Jesus they had brought out the entire line up of bigwigs for this dressing down. Like the British using the entire Royal Navy to "show the flag" to some banana republic that needed a little show of might to be brought to heel. It seemed a bit of overkill to me, but it wasn't my party, it was more like my funeral, and I didn't even get to pick the music.  

The throne began to speak, and I realized it wasn't going to be pleasant, and since no cookies had been provided to take the edge off of unpleasant, I held up a hand to forestall the "list of your sins" speech from getting into top gear. "I already know what you're going to say. I have my spies as well you know." Here, I stopped (a dramatic pause if there ever was one), and took a long slow look around the room. Not because any of these cunts were my spies, but it never hurts to spread doubt among one's enemies. Let them ponder that bit of impossible news for a second or two, maybe they were a bit like the Bolsheviks, and after so many years "in power" they would start to turn on each other and devour themselves.  

Not that they would mind you, they weren't quite the power mad bastards that Stalin and his cronies were, but it was worth a small prayer to the gods that it might happen.  "You will be even sadder to know a few things about my spies" I said with just enough conviction in my voice to convince me that I actually did have spies (which wasn't exactly true by the textbook definition of the term, but luckily for me this lot hadn't look at a textbook in over a quarter of a century).  "First, you don't know who they are, they aren't the obvious people you would think, if you bother to think about it at all. Two, I don't have to pay them, nor can I offer them any reward for good information, or punishment for bad information. Thirdly, unlike your lot, they are loyal. Fourth, and this is just my personal opinion, they are smarter than your group, which makes it quite entertaining for me."  That little speech did NOT go over well, but by this juncture, I was beyond caring about the eventual, obvious outcome of this meeting. I had endured a long day, and I just wanted a beer or ice cream, or maybe a ice cream beer float.  

"Well that was certainly a wonderful speech," I heard from behind me, "Anything else you'd like to rally the troops with there, Churchill?" This came from the throne's version of Molotov, the plodder in the group that somehow managed to achieve a high position to the amazement of everyone, up to and including themselves. It was a bit clever for them, and I figured that another one of "them" had provided the quote to "Molotov" in order to keep from speaking themselves. "No, I figure that most of Churchill's wisdom would be lost in this situation, and besides I have not dusted off any of his speeches in a while. So you can go ahead and set my punishment now, though with your lack of imagination I know the choices execution or exile."  

That drew a oddly disturbing smirk from the throne, and when the throne smirks it cannot be anything but bad news to the person at which the smirk is aimed.  "No, genius we've decided against either one of those option, though there were a couple of us that spoke quite vehemently for the former, but they eventually came around to the majority view." I arched an eyebrow in question as to what these mad bastards could have concocted as a third way of punishing me. They were not known for their imagination.  "It took us a while, but we figured out the best way to, in your words "punish" you was quite simple." She leaned forward tenting her hands (a la Monty Burns) and said with pure joy, "We are going to promote you."

You unbelievable, magnificent bastards ....

Friday, September 01, 2017

Les Loups

Almost five months since last writing anything for this blog is inexcusable. There have been subjects that needed addressing, but I found myself beset with a lassitude that was too hard to overcome in order to make that happen. It is not something to be proud of, the habit of not writing can be just as easy to fall into (and to break) as any other bad habit, but we should at least give it a try. After all, I (and my layabout co-author, Ladislaw) already possess enough bad habits between us to keep a clinic, a whorehouse, a bar, and a team of psychologists busy for years to come, there is no need to add any more bad habits to the list.

Seventy-eight years ago today, some very, very bad people did something very bad to their next door neighbors and in the doing of that caused a whole lot of other people to get involved. The neighborhood had seen this disaster coming, but they just couldn't be arsed to do anything of substance about it. Every time the bad, bad people did something bad (as bad people are wont to do) the rest of the 'hood just make excuses for them, or believed the bad people's lies when they proclaimed (this lot were great at proclaiming) that they were very sorry, and that it wouldn't happen again. The neighborhood, being the trusting sort, and being distracted by what was happening in their own houses (after all the laundry isn't going to do itself, now is it?) took the bad people at their word.

Of course, "the word" of bad people (and a lot of the times any people) is generally as useless as a white crayon, but I guess "not so bad" people tend to look for the best in everyone no matter how bad those people have shown themselves to be. This is, from what I've been told, a form of optimism, something that I have never been accused of possessing. The very, very bad people got away with a few transgressions before today, seventy-eight years ago, they got just a little bit too greedy and "crossed the Rubicon" that the not so bad people had told them was the last straw. In their defense, even though they are really impossible to defend, the very, very bad people had every reason to expect that the not so bad people would react as they had before, which was to waggle an admonishing finger at them, and ask them "not to do it again."

One of the problems with very, very bad people is their word is shit. They didn't get to be very,very bad people by being honest, open, and straight with other people. They lie, they cheat, and they don't follow the conventional rules of polite society it is what makes them both hard to comprehend, and hard to deal with in any setting. They just quite simple do not care about anything other than themselves and their agenda. If you are in their way, they will steamroll you, if you have something they want, or think they need, they will just simply take it from you (if you persist in trying to keep it), and they don't care if they have to crush you like a bug in the process. They may start out using words as weapons, and you can reply in kind, but they aren't afraid to quickly progress from words to real weapons, and you have to understand that while you may be loathe to respond in kind, it will eventually become necessary to your continued survival as a viable person.

All of that leads us to (what we hope) is the main point of this post. Words as weapons, and how far you can take that particular idea. In the past week two people whom I consider to be "bad people" (they haven't progressed to very, very bad yet) told two other people that I know (they are closer to the "good people" category but are still not without their flaws), that they (the bad people) "always had their (the good people's) back."  A simple enough idea, and if true a wonderful thing to say. Both of these bad people might have even have meant it (I wasn't there to judge the sincerity of their words). This isn't the McCarthy hearing, and I am not being asked to "name names" and I am not going to.

 Hearing of both of these proclamations of undying fealty of friendship, and knowing all of the parties involved, I began to wonder about their veracity. Since neither of them were made to me (me and the proclaim(ers) aren't that close), my thoughts on the subject were merely (for the most part) an academic exercise.  They are beautiful words to say, and to hear, and if true a sign of some sort of enduring friendship that will stand the test(s) and  strains of time. The problem with the declaration is the word "always'. There is a theory that "always" and "never" should not be added to those types of statements, based upon the theory that it is rather predicative of future events that you (the declarant) have little to no control over. External events such as war, famine, plague, or getting a new job in a new city as a wringer of chicken's necks are hard to predict, and even harder to control.

Those external events cannot be accounted for because they don't exist yet, you can try to plan for things that don't exist, but most of us aren't that clever. To come up with a plan to combat a problem or an enemy yet to be determined is the work of genius. Schopenhauer said that "talent hits a target that others can't hit, genius hits a target that others can't see. Pretty fair assessment of this situation. Knowing all the parties involved (both the speakers and the listeners), I can assure you there is no genius in this lot, there is talent sure, but no genius.  If those beautiful words had been spoken in a vacuum then perhaps their lofty goal might be attainable, but they weren't they were spoken in the real world to real people by a couple of people that could be labeled as "lying cunts'.

Much like the very, very bad people of seventy-eight years ago our speakers have some massive flaws. We all do, and that is not what the major problem with this story is, if they were perfect (which one of them is pretty sure he is), then we wouldn't be able to stand to be around them.  Flaws are not fatal until they begin to poison the bloodstream of the friendship with diseases just as jealousy, betrayal, and greed. Those types of issues crop up in a lot of our relationships and they are very rarely signs that things are going swimmingly.  In two of the three proclamations of "always having your back" those beautiful words are not beautiful that are, in fact, weapons.

It is probably expecting too much of the speakers of those words (they both said it to the same person) to have them even realize they are using those words as anything other than what they seem to be on their face. Beautiful words of undying loyalty to another human being they purport to deeply care for. But again, that tricky little word "always" comes into play. Though now we are talking about internal problems. Not that your garbage can has been stolen by the very, very bad neighbors, but issues that are internal to the relationship between the speaker and the listener. The kinds of things you (both speakers) can control. Things like how you treat the other person, both in a crowd, and when you are alone with them.  They may be different for a various number of reasons, but you should both understand and agree to that set of rules.

The weapon those words picked from the selection of injury dealing items in every one's relationship armory is guilt. A dangerous one to be sure, and one wielded far too often, and with the usual brutal results. The knout of guilt is something that can flay more than the skin off a relationship it can cut through to the bone, and leave more than external scars.  Guilt can deceive, it can make the listener start to doubt their own judgement, make them believe a fable that the speaker is spinning in order to distract attention from their own lack of character. Keep the listener guessing, keep them doubting their own judgement, and the next thing you know you are controlling their emotions. Which is the major goal of guilt in the first place. Keep them terrified, Keep them from trusting themselves make them trust you, and get a concession from that first concession of doubt you can start to change the narrative to you being the injured party not the lying, grasping cunt you really are.

After pounding away with the knout of guilt, our speakers both decided to reach for the battle axe of jealousy. As if the knout wasn't enough to break some one's spirit. The battle axe of guilt was especially appropriate in both of these cases for reasons that are easily sussed out, but best not written down. Both used it with abandon, both meant it with malice, but one of them had a decided advantage over the other. Again details are not important, it is the fact that the axe was added to the knout in order to control the listener's feelings, to make the listener doubt. Doubt, like fear, is the mind killer, and once you have them doubting, you can, like the very, very bad people mentioned above start to get away with more and more egregious actions.

Finally, at least for our purposes today, the speaker can't really "always" have the listeners back. There will come a time when a "me" or "them" decision has to be made. The wolves will be at the door, and no matter how much they may have actually meant that declaration of loyalty, they will leave the other person to the wolves. It is just basic survival technique, we aren't talking about the self sacrifice that a mother will undertake to keep her child alive, we are talking about non-lethal situations where the speaker will throw the listener to the wolves because it becomes apparent that the speaker will benefit from it more than "having the back" of the other person. The realization that the speaker will leave the listener to the wolves will eventually dawn upon the listener, and like the "good" people above they will have to, in order to survive, stand up to the both the wolves and the person "always having their back" the pity of the situation is that more often than not they are actually one and the same person.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thor's Hammer

In the legend, the comic and the movie(s), Thor the God of Thunder has a hammer that only he can lift. He even says that anyone that can lift it can rule Asgard in his place. All of his fellow super-heroes try and fail to lift it, as he knew they would. There is only one Thor, and it is his hammer made for him alone. It is his right and duty to wield it. We all have our own version of Thor's Hammer, something that only we can "wield" or do, or something that is ours alone. It might be be a burden, it might be a privilege, it might be a duty, or it might be a right. More than likely it is, if you keep it long enough, all of the above at some point in your life. The point is that it is yours, and you don't have to share it if you don't want to, and even if you do share it, you can really divest yourself of being its sole proprietor.

This blog, which I have been shamefully neglecting, is, for today's purpose, my own small version of Thor's Hammer. Clearly, sometime near the beginning of the year I "downed tools" and stopped writing.  It was an act of pure, unadulterated laziness for which I am duly ashamed. It is also an act which I am going to try to remedy. I still suffer from a lack of actual writing talent, but that deficiency never stopped me before, and I should not allow it to stop me now. A lack of material is not to blame, there exists enough of that in my day to day life to keep me at this keyboard for years to come. Be it the rumors swirling like autumn leaves around my workplace (some of which I am the subject of, some of which I gleefully start or embellish, and some of which I am the keeper of), or the continued failure of my relationships and sports teams (to which there seems no end), or the pure insanity of the group of people that I chose to call my friends. All of those sources are fields of gold for material to write about, and with the proper name changing, and the occasional artistic license could be worked into something that could be considered entertaining.

I have attempted to share this blog (my hammer) with Ladislaw, but that ne'er do well is off living a life that would make Caligula proud, and has, it seems, also downed tools. I can't blame Ladislaw for the work stoppage. Keeping the tarts happy, holding down a semi-full time job, and managing to be a constant source of irritation to so many people must be exhausting. I shouldn't expect regular contributions to this blog to be particularly high on the list of things Ladislaw is concerned with doing. That isn't anyone fault exactly, Ladislaw has a hammer of considerable weight to drag around that takes up a considerable amount of time and effort. Fair play to him. She has, in the past, graciously allowed me to help with his hammer, but it remains her burden alone. That is a story for another day, and if Ladislaw can be arsed to do it, maybe he can tell it. Those details need not detain us here.

During the Viking Age, the age that we associate most with our buddy Thor, His hammer, forged with a slightly too short handle by dwarfs tricked into the making of it by Loki, became a symbol of the old gods, a rebellion against the Christianity that was becoming more prevalent in Scandinavia. The hammer became a sort of "anti-cross" to people who resisted that change and clung to the old ways (we fear change, so we can understand this entirely).  Without trying to sound like too much of a pretentious prick, this blog is my own (poor) version of an anti-cross. It wasn't exactly started as an act of rebellion, but it has developed into one over the years. It is my own small rebellion against the everydayness that Sarte and Camus explained, lamented, and eventually rebelled against. I do it poorly, and I understand that in many ways it is futile, but sometimes it is the act itself that is important regardless of the chances of success or the certainty of failure. It must needs doing, and I am the one that needs to be doing it.

Unlike Mjolnir (the name of Thor's hammer), this blog isn't capable of leveling mountains, and it certainly does miss more than it hits. It is not going to create thunderstorms which will make my many devious enemies cower in terror in the dirty, smelly hovel in which they live. It is not designed for that purpose, though it would be bloody nice if it could make thunderstorms happen, I love me some thunderstorms. But no, the more mundane, and more un-godlike task of this blog is not to be a burden, not to be something that I have put down, and now can't pick up again. Its task, its purpose, and its goals are to entertain. Mostly it is to entertain me, if it happens to provide other people with some sort of entertainment that is grand as well. I waver between hoping that it does, and not give a shit if it doesn't.

Either way, the point of this (if there is one) is that the work stoppage must come to an end, and if my loyal readership of four, maybe five people are still out there, I hope they will rejoice (though that might be asking just a bit too much) at the news.  If, by some small chance, the subsequent blog posts (of which I hope to write soon) entertain them, then that is a bonus. And if by some further miracle, Ladislaw manages to crawl out of whatever tart's bed they are warming, and crawls back to the keyboard to contribute, well their assistance in picking up this hammer will not be unappreciated.  Here's hoping.

 P.S. this post was written on a Thursday for a reason, it is Thor's day, now go forth and bring the thunder down upon your enemies.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Cinq Ans

Report on Comrade GI's Five Year Plan, recently uncovered after a forensic examination of his papers, and during extensive questioning of GI.

Prepared for the Central Committee for their perusal, and for the informative purpose of instructing others who deviate from party discipline.


As you are no doubt well aware Comrade GI has been seen by members of the Security Squad, and has revealed, after several days of questioning, the details of what he referred to as "his own personal Five Year Plan." Some of you may also be aware of the anti-authority streak present in GI, and many of you well remember his previous run ins with this Committee. It would seem that previous attempts to correct GI have failed, and we are forced to admit to this being a failure on our part. Perhaps if we had been less overbearing, and yet somehow more firm, we feel that GI could have been saved from himself, and would not be in the situation in which he finds himself.

Nevertheless, it is not this office's  remit to comment on the obstinate nature of GI, it would fall to the office of Moral Reticence to correct, if possible, GI's wayward, dangerously individualistic thoughts. However, in passing, this office would note that it is our considered opinion that such correction is doomed to failure. We believe that GI is too far gone down the path of moral degeneration to be saved, and a long prison term, or being put up against a wall and shot are the only suitable means to deal with him. It is also our opinion that the only purpose that GI can be to the party and to the State is to serve as a warning to others, and his ultimate fate to be used for the education of others that are prone to deviate along the path he took.

GI is a clever man, and a clever man is sometimes a dangerous man, both to himself, and to the State which he claims to serve. However, he is not as clever as he thinks, nor is he as clever as he seems. His perceived cleverness was part of the reason that he managed to elude discovery for so long, his over-estimation of his own cleverness is what allowed us to eventually catch him in his own net of lies. His original responses to our question showed a certain misguided belief that his system was foolproof. He continually replied that "it is MY Five Year Plan, not yours, and you would never understand either it, or the need for it." This comments is reflective of the time GI spent in the decadent  cities of our ideological enemies. It was an assignment for which he was deemed suited, but for which, as it turned out, was more than he could bear.

The main thrust of GI's Five Year Plan was it's design to be his and his alone. A dangerous individualism has crept into his thinking, for which he repeatedly refused to apologize or accept his error in doctrine. We must admit to a certain admiration for the plan, as it is fairly well-reasoned, duly follows the rigorous methods laid down by the Party for such plans (on the larger scale of course), and had goals that were attainable. In fact, we believe that if he had not been betrayed by his own hubris, GI's Five Year Plan's goals would have been met.  His plan would have been ultimately successful, and we would have never been much the wiser.

It was that hubris, and that desire to be an individual that led to his downfall. GI is, in his mind at least, a lone wolf, however he lacks the capacity for the true loneliness that such a position entails.  We readily accept that his true loyalty is to himself, but we also were able (after some persuasion) to ascertain that he had formed attachments to others that he was wont to break. It was these attachments which led him to abandon his Five Year Plan, and to break with the Party, and which have placed him in his current situation.

The main criticism of his Plan is that it entails a certain amount of "economic adventurism" that is unduly Western in its approach, and risky in its application. It is this risk, this adventurism that sets GI apart from the Party. His almost absolute belief in his own way of thinking, while in some ways admirable, is also very,very dangerous. No man is bigger than the Party, this lesson we have learned to our cost before, and refuse to allow the mistakes of the past to creep into the present, and to eventually cloud the future. GI has not taken that lesson to heart, or just chooses to ignore it. Questioning him along these lines revealed several, logically inconsistent answers that we were unable to resolve to our satisfaction.

Despite the adventurism contained in his economic plan, it is economics that formed the basis, and were the most detailed part of his Five Year Plan. A closer examination showed that his plan was flawed, but was still going to serve the purpose that he desired it to serve. Which was mostly his own self-interest. The independent/contrary streak that GI displayed throughout his training did make him a perfect candidate for his position, but it also made him a bit of a wild card. It was to be hoped that the proper amount of freedom coupled with the slightest amount of structure would keep him on the right path. We were quite wrong about the amount of deviance in his thought. He did a wonderful job of keeping his thoughts masked from even the most observant of his instructors.

It is the opinion of this office, and myself personally that GI's plan was ultimately doomed to fail. He is clever enough, but subject to human frailty just like the rest of his. His plan completely forgot to account for his own humanity. He is not by any stretch of the imagination, a people person, but he has a certain weakness for his fellow man that he has been unable to expunge from his character. It helps give him a certain amount of charm, but it made it wholly unable to carry out his plan as he envisioned it. His plan was Spock-like in many ways, but GI has a little too much Kirk in him, it made him constitutionally incapable of seeing his plan through to the end.  The failure inherent in GI's plan would, in this office's opinion, lead him to the same sad fate's of men such as Fredrich List, and Vladimir Sukhomlinov. One found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot would in some cheap hotel in Bremen, and the other poverty-stricken, and found frozen to death on a park bench in Berlin.

We have yet to ascertain exactly what led GI to abandon his Five Year Plan, but we feel certain that in a few days the last remnants of his resistance will crumble, and we will be able to piece together the remaining details of his failure. For the nonce, we recommend keeping him isolated, and awake as much as possible. We understand that he knows our methods, and is trained to combat them, but these methods have been proven effective time and time again, they will eventually work on him. It is just a matter of time, and time is something he has just as much as we will let him have.

It is the recommendation of this Office, and we think the Party will agree, that despite his being a good comrade, GI needs to be placed against a wall and shot.

Respectfully submitted

Aleksander  G_____v
Captain, Security Squad, Party number 22143

Friday, October 28, 2016

Story (ies) Time

I have been told, by people who would know and have no reason to lie to me, that when they read this dross that I befoul the internet with, that they can hear my voice in their head while they read it. I took, and continue to take this as a huge compliment. Not that I want to be inside anybody's head but my own (and even then sometimes I wish I could exit stage left from it), but that they know me well enough to let me take over the narrative voice that they (and we all) carry around with us. Hopefully, in your head there is only one voice providing the background narration to your life. If there are more than one, then perhaps professional help might be in order.

That narrative voice is important, it might tell you to remember to buy onions for the fantastic soup that you have planned for dinner, or it might tell you to go up to that girl and give it a shot.  Either way it should be your voice doing the narration. A madder than a March hare German philosopher by the name of Schopenhauer claimed that in all of human history there were only about 25 books that people should read. His theory was that when you read a book, you allow the author of that book to take over your narrative voice, and in part your way of thinking, That is a very over simple way to put it, but Schopenhauer was a fucking genius, and me, well not so much. It is that theory of his that I always think about when people tell me that they can hear my voice when they read me. It is a little scary, and a little bit of an ego boost, and gods know I need an ego boost (that ladies and gentlemen is what is otherwise known as sarcasm).

It is also a great responsibility to know that my vast readership of 4, maybe 5 allow me the privilege of taking over the controls, even if it is just for a little while. I don't even have to promise not to break anything. I try to at least entertain these people because of the trust they place in me should not be either abused or misplaced. I am quite certain that I fail more often than I succeed, but I hope at least that the successes are enough to keep my place in their heads. The stories I tell, even as poorly as I tell them, are designed to keep people entertained. I know I can't compete with the multitude of cat videos on YouTube, but I give it my best shot. I understand the occasional attempt to send a cat into space is much more of a draw on one's attention that the ramblings of a semi-literate, mostly drunk, fool with too much time on his hands, but seriously how many cats have to die (never too many) before we realize that jet packs strapped to their backs are a bad idea?

And it is those ramblings, those stories told with (mostly) good intentions that are the point of this blog. There is a fundamental difference between MY story, and my STORY. The former is mine, something that happened in the drudgery that passed for my real life, and with the name changed to protect the guilty, the innocent, and the damned, I relate to the best of my ability. That narration is easy, it follows the semi-logical lines of the actual real life event. Some embellishment is bound to take place, but in the general outline the story is true, or at least true enough to pass muster.  On occasion the story may wander off into semi-fiction, and that can sometimes be attributed to either a faulty memory brought on by took much alcohol, or a desire to spice the story up a bit to make sure people are still paying attention. The MY part of it is the important point. It didn't happen to my mate R______ who is probably under surveillance by all sorts of law enforcement groups (and probably the IRA as well), or my other mate N____, who is dodgy as fuck, or to Ladislaw, who is probably currently waking up and trying to focus blurry vision on the note I left that reads "you were brilliant, not-Alison says hello lover."

The second part is if something is my STORY. Meaning it is made up out of mostly whole cloth. A figment of my imagination, and I do have an imagination. Something that has almost next to nothing in common with the day to day drudgery that masquerades as my real life.  It is something that I try to make original, but struggle with that idea because I wonder if anything is ever truly original. It doesn't star any of my dodgy or not so dodgy (although they are much fewer in number) friends. The setting is not the shit hole town I presently occupy, nor are the names going to be the same (if I bother with names at all).  It is a STORY plain and simple. No real hidden meaning, because I am not that clever, and usually no moral because I am not particularly moral.  These types of stories are truly designed to exercise my imagination, and see if maybe I can move to Paris and slowly starve to death while living the Eric Blair dream of my childhood.

I am no great shakes at writing either type of the above dramas, and I am acutely aware of that shortcoming. It is a painful one to realize, but at least I don't delude myself into thinking I am the second coming of Charles Baudelaire.  However, a recent event has lead me to re-think my (limited) ability. I clearly came to this writing thing late in life, but then again so did Raymond Chandler. Age is not exactly as limiting to writing as it is to playing football, either the American kind or the real kind the rest of the world plays. That event was the reading of another person's attempt to tell a story. I was not exactly the intended audience for the story, nor do I expect the person particularly values my opinion(s) either about literature or anything else. Which is perfect because I don't value their opinion either. It is a relationship based upon mutual indifference with a dash of distaste. It is quite lovely in its own special way.

I obtained my copy of the story this person was trying to tell, and was appalled at the poor quality of the writing. At first glance, I thought that I had missed the first page because the opening paragraph (which is generally important) made no actual sense. I soon realized that wasn't the case, and they had started the story with an very awkward beginning. Awkward beginning are fine if you eventually grow out of them, like your teenage years. Sadly this story did not achieve that desired result. It started somewhere in the middle of nowhere, and proceeded to get worse.  The actual writing, I hesitate to sully the word style by calling it such, seemed to be written by a 12 year old. It was so bad, that I remarked that if a college professor of mine had read it, he would have written "shouldn't this be written in crayon?" at the top of the page next to the giant F and the "poor even for you" that generally graced papers that displeased him. It was abysmal.

That sin was bad enough to warrant this person being shipped to at least the fifth circle of Dante's hell, but it was then compounded even further by the content. Sometimes poor style can be salvaged by good content, it is a bit like the Ugly Duckling child's tale. Sure, the duck is bloody ugly but with a little polish it can be turned into something beautiful, or it possesses an inner beauty that shines through the not so pretty packaging.  This missive compounded poor style with the additional sin of poor content. The content had potential, much in the same way I used to have potential before I settled into the middling career with dodgy friends while living in a shit hole apartment that I currently occupy. It was potential that was sadly so far gone that it was never going to be realized. The poor style and the poor content were finally joined in the "poor" trifecta by the story trying to be something that it was not.  It was told as a "MY story" type of story, but it lacked the one key component that was required. It was full of outright lies.

Not that lying is a hanging offense, as far as I am concerned if you are going to lie you should lie with some degree of aplomb, and a fair amount of extravagance. However, this story was not a blog post, or the opening pages of the great American novel. Its purpose need not concern us here, but it was something that the MY was important to. This person, whom I can not allow myself to call a friend, had mixed up the MY story with the my STORY.  They had told, quite poorly, a STORY something that had not happened to them, but maybe to one of their dodgy friends (if they have friends, dodgy or otherwise).  Or maybe it had happened to some random stranger, and they overheard that person telling the tale of woe and regret on the bus. Making matters worse was the story was really supposed to be true, it wasn't a loan application or anything like that, but it was written in a context and to a group that you really shouldn't lie to (like the IRA).

It boggled my imagination that this person would believe that any right thinking human being would consider their story to be anything but absolute junk. I am not enough of a friend to this person to tell them, gently or otherwise, that what they wrote is donkey shit. We are all a bit touchy about our writing, and I didn't want to come across as just plain mean, but I was truly appalled. Both as a reader, and as, using the term very broadly, a writer. It takes a lot of courage to write certain things down and place them in front of the "world", but it takes a different kind of courage (maybe a more gentle courage) to tell someone who has tried to write a story, that the story is shit, needs to be completely trashed and rewritten, and that you really expected better from them (especially if the qualifications they brag about in the story are true). I can only hope that somewhere, someone (other than me of course) has provided this service for this person. My other hope is that somewhere, someone will do the same for me when I commit the same sin. I only hope they are gentle when they do it. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Upon Ponder Rock

Recent developments in this farce that passes for my life have led me to begin to wear an ass groove into Ponder Rock. Some of these developments are lovely, some are awful, and some are awfully lovely. The exact details of all these developments need not detain us here, they are exactly one person's business, and that person isn't in the mood to detail them to the world, at least not yet. When or if that times comes, it may give rise to a whole series of blog posts. Then again, it may very well not. Only time will tell.

This post was meant to written down (it was already "written" in my head) yesterday, but the combination of poor computer service, and an overall shitty day led it to being postponed by twenty-four hours. Some of it may have leaked out of the fragile eggshell brain of mine, and been lost to the mists of history, but I will try to get the majority of it on paper. It is a common and frequent failing of mine that I have a tendency to spin the beginning of a post in my head, and then either suffer an attack of laziness and don't bother trundling my fat ass to the computer to write it down, or forgetting the damn thing before I am able to make it to a computer. I fear this post may suffer from both of those maladies.

Ponder Rock is not an actual place. There is no large boulder like area with the words Ponder Rock chiseled into the side denoting that here is the place you've been looking for to sort out all the mysteries of the universe, or to try to sort out where all those socks go when they don't survive the holocaust of the dryer. Of course it would be nice to have a specific place overlooking some bucolic setting that eased the mind into the ruminative state necessary for one to figure out their life, and their loves and all the shit in between, but I am not sure it's possible. After all, my Ponder Rock, and your Ponder Rock might not be in the same spot, For me Ponder Rock, if it were an actual rock, would probably be beside some large body of water. I am not sure exactly why this is so, but bodies of water set me to thinking. Perhaps in some previous life I was a sailor (with the sad handicap of being unable to swim), and that is bleeding over into my present consciousness. Other people might have a phobia of wide, open spaces, and place their Ponder Rock somewhere completely different. Some place where they feel at ease, I suspect Ponder Rock, and the toilet get confused quite often. But hey, as long as the thinking takes place, who am I to criticize the location?

In my wanderings, both recent and in the past, I have found several Ponder Rocks. The key to my personal Ponder Rock is a lack of other people. I find them (people) distracting (especially tall girls, but that a different story), and therefore quite an impediment to any sort of serious thinking.  And for me at least Ponder Rock is the place for serious thinking. It is not the place to finally sort out the paper or plastic dilemma that haunts all at the grocery store check out line. No, Ponder Rock while not exactly an exhaustible resource should be reserved for the more thorny problems that plague us. Superman vs Batman is a good thing to sort on the toilet, deciding whether to tell your boss that you've been sleeping with his/her daughter/son is something that may need sorting out on Ponder Rock.  One can contemplate the general mysteries of the universe whilst stuck in traffic in Pigeon Forge (and you will be stuck in traffic in Pigeon Forge), but for a detailed, try to solve the mystery of her think, you need to hie thyself off to Ponder Rock usually sans her.

Not that you are trying to exclude anyone, it is just somethings need to be worked out alone before they are shared with the world. The world might not quite be ready for your jet packs for cats idea, and the cats of the world surely aren't, so it is best to spend some quality Ponder Rock time sorting out the mechanics of it all before you shoot your brave cat through the new cute girl neighbor's window that you are trying to impress with your cleverness. Cleverness is grand, cleverness while standing over yet another corpse of a catonaut is a whole different explanation entirely.  Not that Ponder Rock is as serious as some Yale professor in his study, you can attempt to sort out the perplexing problem of why all of the running backs on your fantasy football team seem cursed with the inability to get out of the bathtub without pulling a hamstring, or you can try to solve the Rubik's cube you brought along for moments just like this. The decision is up to you, after all, it is your Ponder Rock.

Not being a physical place, and sometimes also being a bit of a pain in the ass, Ponder Rock(s) do, on occasion, come to you. You might be walking along minding your own business keeping an eye out for any descending space junk trying to kill you, but not thinking overmuch about anything in particular, when Ponder Rock jumps up like a prairie dog, pokes its head out, and asks some serious life altering question.  It can be quite the awkward moment when you try to explain to some other person that you've been struck with an idea, and their presence needs to quickly become their absence. Depending on the person, the response can vary, and sometimes they are not exactly pleased that you've requested they put on their goddamn pants and exit stage left as quickly as they can manage.

The cloud of mystery that surrounds my own personal Ponder Rock is not exactly the point of this post, but we can at times get lost in the forest and miss the actual trees while writing. The recent developments that have led me to frequent Ponder Rock like a drunk frequents his local, are probably going to be life altering. It has yet to be determined if the alteration will be for the good or the bad, but it will certainly change things in my world. Like playing a game of cat and mouse with your own personal Gestapo, it sets the heart to racing, and the palms to sweating. It makes you wonder what or who is around the next corner, and think that maybe you actually should call your mother and tell her you love her before it is too late, either for her, or for you.  It is not for the faint of heart, or the weak of character, and because other human beings are involved it is going to require telling quite a few half-truths, truths masquerading as lies, and downright lies. Some of these things may be told to people who deserve better, but some of them will be told to the Gestapo, and you have not lived a complete life until you lie to the Gestapo, and have them believe you. It is a wonderful, liberating experience.

Until these recent developments, I would have adhered to the idea that Ponder Rock only has seating for one. It is your Ponder Rock, and therefore it only needs room for you (and maybe a place to set your beer), but I have recently been converted to a new theory. As usual for me, it seems my original theory was flawed, and it took someone else to point that out to me. I am not even sure they realize that they did it, and that is the genius of the whole thing. They were, in many ways, the reason I was occupying Ponder Rock like the Nazis did Austria, I needed the room. That room, as it turns out was needed for reasons that I did not understand at the time. It is room for them on Ponder Rock, for the collective thinking that needs to take place. A solo Ponder Rock is a wonderful thing, it is something you can possess all by yourself, a place to tell the world to go fuck itself while you think in beautiful isolation, It is also, a selfish thing, a thing that once you realize is beautiful, but isolated, needs to be refurbished. After all, two heads are better than one, as they (whomever they are) say, and rocks come in many shapes, styles, and sizes. Eventually Ponder Rock(s) to continue to evolve, and to help you evolve need to be built for two.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Dream, Part2

So Grand Inquisitor and I have a number of interests in common... blondes, old movies, cake... but we don't usually share dreams. Friday seems to have been an exception to that rule however because that night I also dreamed I went to a wedding.

My plus-one and I came in the side door and looked around. It was a big, fancy wedding. The kind that smells like flowers and lemon polish and a big empty church. The kind where young men stand awkardly at the back and ask "bride's side or groom's side?" The kind where you hope the free drinks and tiny fancy food at the reception make up for sitting through a homily about putting God at the center of a marriage. At this wedding in my dream, the groom stood in the back of the church in a dark tuxedo, looking like he'd just robbed a bank and was looking for the door. If ever a man looked liked he could use a friend, it was that groom, and I felt moved by pity.  Rather than just finding a seat immediately, I decided to go be supportive. My mother would have told me to mind my own business, but I couldnt just leave him like that. And in a small way, I had the nagging suspicion that GI was my business.  Touching Not-Allison's arm and pointing at my goal, I led the way across the church in his direction. She shrugged apathetically and tagged along.

Now his version credits me with more sarcasm and wit than my dream included and I think what I said was something like, "Hello friend, this is some wedding!" without much follow up. I didn't much know how to ask all the questions that seemed to be running through my head without seeming rude. "What the hell are you thinking?' and "Have you lost your goddamn mind?" being the top two candidates. I wondered if maybe, given the bride's obvious wealth, he'd finally had enough of a meager paycheck and an apartment that is most kindly described as modest. Maybe he's just in it for the money. There's nothing wrong with that, if it were true. In fact it's much less crazy than most of the reasons people get married. But GI doesnt strike me as the materialistic type, and he hadn't mentioned wanting to move out of his apartment, so I had my doubts. But my own confusion and curiosity wasn't why I wanted to talk to GI.

He looked like he was in truly desperate straits and replied only in monosylables. "Yep. Right. Seems like."  Conversation flagged a bit as we stood awkwardly-- him confused and me sympathetic but out of ideas. But I was determined to stay where I was in case I could be helpful, and if not, at least I'd have a court-side seat to his downfall.   I could see Not-Allison getting restless, scanning the crowd for more interesting company. She had on a new dress for the occasion and wanted to find a more appreciative audience than the two of us, I gathered. She checked her phone a couple of times and then gestured vaguely at the door, where a tall guy with fancy hair was looking for a seat near the back. I waved her off, and turned my full attention to GI. But just as I started to ask him, as gently as possible, to explain himself and this circus of a wedding, the music started. All I could do then was smile weakly at him and I made my way to my own seat seat... trying to enjoy flowers and the pretty music and not dwell on GI's imminent and questionable life choices.

But in the way of many dreams, my friend was saved by a shifting of the scene. The wedding suddenly became a courtroom and GI drifted from the lead role to that of a spectator. Not-Allison  made her way to the front and began making her argument... but it shifted shifted from a summary of the merits of the legal case and to an explanation of her own merits instead. The crowd watched her as she walked back and forth and nodded its agreement. Knowing the content of that lecture could be lengthy, I began to head for the door. I looked for GI on my way out, to see how he was faring after his narrow escape. I saw him in the front corner of the church, looking cheerful again and talking to a woman I did not recognize. She was wearing white, however, and was very pretty. She even had very bright red hair. The bride, I thought, and woke up with a jerk and a laugh. How nice for him.