Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Parade

Life is a succession of bad days, they progress past you like a parade of the damned, one day blurring into the next because bad days can be blurry. In fact, bad days need to be blurry, all the booze you consumed to make up for having a bad day, is supposed to wipe the memory of the day from your mind. That is one of the many, useful purposes of alcohol.  But, after so many bad days, after the parade gets to be so lengthy that you wonder if you can remember any GOOD days squeezed into your life, alcohol ceases to help.

That certainly does not stop you from trying to get alcohol to help, the truth is you probably just increase the dosage in the hopes that more alcohol makes up for more bad days. Sadly, for you, happily for your bartender(s) it doesn't. They live well off the slightly extravagant tips you, in your daze, leave them, but you well, you know that even if you manage to sleep tonight, another bad day is waiting outside your window when you wake up tomorrow.  And you have to wake up eventually, and face the day, whether you want to or not. The day will wait for you, it has nothing else to do, it's a day, that what days do. Wait for you so they can start falling to shit.

The biggest problem with this parade of bad days is that you begin to expect them, you lie there in your bed trying to avoid opening your eyes on the disaster that is your life, and ponder what the fuck went wrong while  you were asleep. Because bad days will wait for you to realize they are bad, but there is nothing in the rule book (trust me, I've looked) that says they have to wait for you to start being bad. They can become the kind of day that ends in tears while you are snoring away the last bad day. And the sad part is that, as far as you can tell, there is fuck all you can do about it. Ever been told to "have a nice day?" Sure you have, but the truth of the matter is that the day is the one picking the music, and you are the one dancing the jig.  I doubt many of us have tottered off to work, school, church, or the strip club with the express intent on having a bad day. Personally, I have started off a few of my days with the intent of making someone else's day bad, but that just because I am an asshole.

And maybe this parade of bad days that I am seeing slide by me week to week is sweet revenge. Maybe there is some medicine man in some far off tent, chanting my name over some fire placing a curse on me for my douche bag behaviour. If that were true then I wouldn't feel so morose about these days that continue to go to hell in a hand basket. For then at least, I would know the source, and the reason of this bad day parade. Instead I am left to sit on ponder rock, surrounded by an ever increasing number of empty beer bottles, and try to sort out what exactly I did to deserve this many bad days in a row.

It can, on occasion, devolve into a pity party, but not usually. I am a fully grown man, and I deserve little, if any pity. I don't deserve, and I certainly don't want it. After all pity is just going to make a bad worse. It might give off the impression that the bad day is somehow winning our little war, and I don't want to let the day know that, now do I?  After all bad days can sense weakness, and they do not come as single scouts, but in battalions. Wave after wave of them will assault you as they try to batter down your resistance, and make you spirit break. The only spirit you have any time for comes in a bottle, and gets you ploughed so you can face what is already, and you are still in bed, another bad day. Perhaps it is time to invest in one of your own, hopefully better, medicine men before you find out to your dismay on your deathbed, that your life when it flashes in front of you is nothing but a VERY long parade of bad days. 

This post is dedicated to someone who had a bad day Friday. It was his last bad day, and hopefully, if the people that are celebrating today's date are correct, that person is in a better place. Here's also hoping that his flashback was not a parade of bad days, but was a happy, if all too brief, parade of good days. They made a few of my days less bad, and they will be missed, both the good days, and the person. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pictures of Me

There used to exist, before I destroyed it along with most of the other pictures of my childhood, a picture of me and my maternal grandmother. She was a lovely, hard working woman, and I spent a great deal of my childhood at her house. She, unlike the wolf that raised me, was a wonderful cook, and is probably the reason that I was such a tubby child.  She died about a decade ago on this day, and I, much to my dismay, rarely think of her nowadays,.

Either way, in this picture a (very young, tubby me) is seated upon my doting grandmother's lap it is a picture that Norman Rockwell would be proud of, and is disgustingly happy. Such a happy photo except for one small flaw, that being that in the picture my grandmother is sporting a lovely black eye. When I was older I inquired about how she obtained the shiner in the photo, and was told that the younger version of me had "accidentally' head butted my beloved gran, and given her an unintentional black eye.

It is a sign of my gullibility, and my sheltered childhood that I believed this story without any second thought. After all, who expects the grandmother they worship to lie to them?  Now that I am a fully grown, card carrying cynic, I realize the truth of the matter. It is what I do for a living, not buying the lies I am told on a daily basis. I get lied to a lot, and I like to believe that I have a fairly well developed ability to spot a lie when I am told one.

Fast forward about 20 years until yesterday afternoon, I have been in a murder trial from Monday to Friday of this week, and it was only on Friday afternoon that the jury found the defendant guilty of all sorts of bad things, and sometime next month the judge is going to sentence the murdering bastard to a whole bunch of time in prison (hopefully).  It is what he deserves, and I am mostly proud of the result.

Though the credit for the verdict goes mostly to my brilliant co-counsel, I like to think that I played at least a small role in the piece. Friday night, after the verdict was rendered, was a night of celebration where I received the congratulations of many of my very supportive colleagues, and was bought a whole lot of alcohol.  It was a nice night, and I must admit I was a bit proud of myself. However, as I awoke the next morning with the mother of all hangovers and feeling smug, I realized that instead of basking in the glow of "winning" a trial I should remember the victim.

She was not Snow White, and she was not 'as pure as the driven snow' but she did not deserve to die like she did. She did not die a brave man's death, but died pleading for her life (on the 911 tape).  She had a child in common with her killer, and he took away a little boy's mother. I know it is silly, but I kind of feel that now I have taken away that little boy's father (even though he is a murdering bastard).  That was my week, and I am very glad that it is over. Until yesterday, it was a week that could be classified as a 'good week.'

It was yesterday afternoon that things all went pear shaped.  I was listening to my IPOD, minding my own business ( I find that minding my own business gets me into a lot of trouble), when a song about domestic abuse begin to play, and the 'repressed' memory of my grandmother's black eye bubbled to the surface. It was like my own personal punch in the face. When the, now grown up, me connected the dots that younger me could not manage to do all those years ago, I was shocked at my ignorance.  That song, of all things, brought the concept that my grandmother was a 'battered' woman to the forefront of my mind.It is a good thing that I was already sober (for a change) because it was a sobering, gut wrenching thought, and I must confess that I had several moments of deep seated angst (or I cried like a Frenchman at the fall of Paris, you pick).

After those moments of angst, which are still plaguing me as I write this post, I called the wolf that raised me to confirm my suspicions that my dear gran's 2nd husband (she had buried the 1st) beat the shit out of her on a regular basis. It was confirmed with a world weary sigh, and the comment that "it was a long time ago." I replied that I did not give a shit how long ago it was because it was all new/green to me, and I proceeded to tell the story of my week to the wolf that raised me. I made her promise to visit my grandmother's grave, and pass along the story of my jury's verdict. She promised me that she would, and for only the second time (that I remember) in my adult life the wolf that raised me said "I love you" to me.  It was a proud moment, and a sad moment all at once, and this post is dedicated to all those women and men, like my dear gran that are true victims of domestic violence. You are not alone, and I will be there for you as long as my sanity allows.

Monday, April 04, 2011

You, Again

This is a post about you, not to you, or because of you, but about you. Not any of your traits per say or, anything that you have done other than be yourself.  Let's focus on you as you sit there reading these words in your apartment, house, or office. Whatever the surroundings are isn't really important, because this post is about you, not your surroundings.  Take a deep breath and allows your eyes to wander over this page of nonsense, and then close your eyes, and focus on you. On yourself as a being in, of, and out of time (think Sartre or if you are really bright think Heidegger). For you are a being in time, a time that we all occupy known as the present, you are a being out of time for you will occupy someones future, and you are a being of time because you occupy someones past. 

Feel your pulse, your heart beating (does it go thump sometimes?), then thank some guy named William Harvey for figuring out the circulation of the blood that is being pumped through your body by that heart.  Think of the rest of body, move those fingers, those arms, those limbs. They are yours to command, and if you remain healthy (here's hoping) they might be at times the only thing you can command. Think of all the other body parts that go together to make up you. The lungs, the liver, the circle of Willis in back of that wornderful mind of yours, and the miles and miles of blood vessels, and skin that are the building blocks of you.  Open those brown/blue/green eyes back up, and continue to peruse this page of nonsense.

Shake your head of brown/blond/black/red hair, and ponder how you've managed to survive all the minor disasters that take people like you out of the world. Maybe you are special, more than just a number, more than just one example of human life form in a world of six billion people. More than the sum of your parts, more than just a cardboard cut out of a person.  You have feelings, whether you want to admit them or not, and you (even though it makes you upset to hear it) impact other people's feelings as well. But that isn't the point of this post. This post is just simply about you, the fully functioning example of carbon based, human life form that you are. And we hope you remain a live, fully functioning human being for years, and years to come because (to quote Sting when he was still with the Police) without you, we would be so lonely.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Snoopy the Vulture

We all know the fellow above, the lovable dog Snoopy pretending to be a vulture to scare poor Linus below, for whatever reason a dog pretending to be a vulture to a young boy who needs a security blanket just to get through the day is supposed to be funny. And, it is funny in many, many ways, and on many, many different levels it is high comedy.  It is also tragic, and since I am better at writing tragedies than comedy, we are going to lightly brush over the tragic part of Snoopy's attempts to bully Linus.

Vulture are divided into two major groups, Old World Vultures, and New World Vultures. These two groups are not closely related, and probably do not exchange a lot of Christmas cards with each other. Regardless of which type of vulture you run across, it is probably not good news for you. If you are being hounded by a 'wake' of vultures (the term for a group of them) then you might be in need of a wake yourself. They rarely attack healthy animals, preferred to prey on the sick, and the dead/dying of the animal kingdom. I suppose there are enough of the dead, sick, or dying to keep the vultures in business for they don't show any signs of dying out, and I also guess that they perform a sort of 'garbage man' type service to Mother Nature (the bitch). I mean without vultures around, all those dead animal carcasses would just stink up the joint. 

However, like I said they do get a bad rap, and I am fairly certain they deserve it. I mean no one invites vultures to any sort of gathering, they just show up, and shit starts to break bad. Seeing a vulture, whether it be circling over your head, or sailing past you as you jump out of a perfectly good airplane, is a sign that shit is about to break bad. Probably for you, or at the very least for some member of your group.  Vultures are hard sons of bitches, they don't have real jobs like the rest of us, and therefore, can afford to perch patiently on the nearest tree, waiting quietly while you become their breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or maybe if you are chubby enough, all three). There they loom, staring at you with those unblinking eyes, quietly reminding you of your impending doom.

They will pick your bones clean, and leave you being only a memory in the rest of the group's minds, providing any of the group survives. Vultures probably aren't big fans of survivors, after all, survivors are just a meal that managed to get away, and I imagine vultures like to eat just like the rest of us.  You start seeing fat vultures, you suddenly realize that you've wandered into the wrong horror movie.  While the picture above is in a 'comic', and is intended to be funny, I can only imagine Linus' terror. Above him sits a reminder of his mortality, an unsmiling, looming, dark presence that is there for only one purpose, to watch him die, and pick his bones clean. It must be doubly horrifying for a sensitive, intelligent child such as Linus. No, I choose to not see the comedy that is supposed to be inherent in the drawing above, I see the horror of a child/man being stalked by his doom.

It is that doom that vultures foreshadow, they are a patient lot, and can wait out the strongest of victims, it may take them a week, a month, or even several years, but vultures usually 'win' in the end. After all, they are vultures, and this is what they were put on this earth to do. And unless someone gives us a proper burial so that we can be food for worms, then we are likely to just end up food for vultures.