Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Little Victories

Today was not a raging success, in fact, if I were forced to classify today, it would be placed firmly in the failure file, and I would quickly try to forget it as quickly  as this beer will allow me.  We are awful sometimes, and my job sometimes brings out the awful in a lot of people, usually that is not a problem as long as it isn't me that the awful is overflowing from. Today it was, and I am not exactly sure I am okay with that.

I have, when asked, likened my job to bailing the ocean out with a slotted spoon, and that is a very apt description. It quickly becomes incumbent upon me to get by on little victories.  I have to learn to get by on those little victories, because usually the defeats are quite heavy. Another problem is the world does not stop and let you enjoy those little victories. The world is, quite simply, out to destroy you, and it will. You have to know, understand, and eventually accept the fact that world is going to drive you to your knees, and eventually force you flat on you back. You are the Sonny Liston and the world is Muhammad Ali just like that photograph that made Ali famous. However, it is quite unlikely that the world is going to make you famous.

To the world you are just another person/thing that it will destroy. It will catch you when you are awful, weaken you to your knees, and destroy you. It is just that simple. The knowledge of this, and the eventual acceptance of this is something that we each have to do in our own way, and in our own time. Providing of course the world lets us.  There is no referee to stop the world from pounding you while it has you in the corner. There are no standing eight counts in the you vs the world title match. A match that you are ill prepared for, and in which the only question is in what round you will go down for the count.

The world has already dug your grave, and it is just a matter of time before it puts you in it like a newly minted mother placing their new born in their first cradle. The grave is, in many ways, the 'mother' world placing you in your last cradle. Confidence in yourself, and your pathetic, in comparison to the world, skill or talent is about the only weapon you have. You  can't really fear what the world is going to do to you, mainly because there is no point in being afraid. It's going to happen, it is going to be a surprise, and it is going to hurt, and there is the square root of fuck all you can do to stop it.  The world will catch up to you, and will exact a terrible revenge upon you when it does. It has done it to far greater people than you, Shakespeare, Gandhi, JFK, and all the heroes of our youth have been counted out by the world, there is no escape we pay for the violence of our ancestors.

That violence that some cave dweller who happens to share your genetic make up visited upon the world back when the world was young, is going to have to paid for, and you are going to be the one writing the check.  And write it you will, and you are the only who can write it for you. No one else, no matter how good of a friend, lover, or even enemy can write that final check for you. Make sure you have a good pen handy, because that check will be both the last thing, and the toughest thing you will ever have to author. It might be the only thing of any importance that you ever author, but it will be yours. Even though the world is dictating the terms, you are still, even in the smallest of ways, necessary to the cashing of that check. The world is playing a scene with you daily, and your last scene, though unimportant to the world, means everything to you. After all, it is your last scene there is no next act, next scene bit in the tragicomedy of your life. The last bill has come due, and you have to pay it.

The trick is to pay it with as much aplomb as you can muster, which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't going to be much. It never is, it wasn't for all those dead heroes, or all those dead villains, or all those dead nameless clowns that no one even bothers to grieve over anymore. It isn't much, but it is all that you have, and it has to be enough.  That last time you are awful, that last time the world drives you to your knees just before it knocks you flat on your back, and finished you off is, in many ways, the defining moment of your 'play', and while we all can't go out like Butch and Sundance in the movies, we can at least learn to get by on the little victories.

P.S. Sometimes inspiration, such as the inspiration for this post has multiple sources, and sometimes those sources can cause quite different reactions. This source had one meaning until I took the trouble to trace it back to its beginnings, and when I did I discovered a rather unhappy alternative source. It is that alternative source, and the heavy defeat that it inflicted upon me, that somehow, someway, in spite of my best efforts, continues to inflict upon me that this post, poor as it may be, is dedicated.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

What a Sweet Revenge

 This post is the end game of the post I wrote October 24th, 2010. Read that post first, then come back to this one.

Cross sectioning my life, this post is a more in-depth explanation of a status update on my Facebook page that I posted earlier today. It had to do with revenge, a dish best served cold, as we all know from our Start Trek, or our Talleyrand. Meaning that revenge like fine wine, should be bottled, placed on a shelf, and allowed to mature. Mature, and grow some 'body' something that will make the revenge be noticed.  A quick, hot revenge is something that is for the school yard. A bully pushes you down, and you reply by kicking him in the junk. A simple, quick, revenge, but not something that we, as adults, need to practice.

No, our revenge must be calmly thought out, and planned with detail that would do Sherlock Holmes proud. The egregious insult that we suffered all those years ago, must not be forgotten, and most certainly must be addressed. Also, a bit of planning is in order, after all the offending party went to all the trouble to insult, hurt, or injury you, and as the Scots say, "None shall injury me with impunity."  I happen to know a couple of Scotsmen, and I hope they don't mind me 'borrowing' their national motto for my own nefarious purposes. Considering the use that I put to the motto, I doubt they will mind overmuch.

It was a long time coming, and I had to do several things of which I would not normally be proud of, but my revenge came to fruition today of all days. It was actually a bit of a surprise to me that today was the endgame of my plan, which I guess shows me that maybe I not quite the Talleyrand that I thought I was, but then again there was only one Talleyrand.   I am sure there will be a school of thought that will say that I should be the bigger person, and let the insult go, after all it has been nearly three years. Those who know me, and realize that I am only the bigger person size wise, will understand why I would never do such a thing. I do not have to forgive, nor can I forget. That is just part of what makes me such a pleasant fellow to be around. I hold a grudge. I am, in fact, holding several more grudges as I type this. Some of them will eventually pay off like this one has, and some of them I will probably be holding till the day I shuffle off this mortal coil.

The sad part of this, if there is really a sad part, is the person upon whom I revenged myself has little to no clue that it happened, or why it happened. They are so self-absorbed that they will probably never understand what they did to deserve my revenge, nor will they figure out exactly why I did what I did. That does make the revenge slightly less than perfect, but one has to on occasion settle.  The person in question has no real concept of the fact that people are usually divided into two types. Those that use, and those are used. This person mistook me for the latter, when I am, for the  part, the latter. This lovely individual, who will never read this post, is a person who likes to use people. There are ways to use people gently, sometimes we have to use people, but that does not mean that we have to use them harshly. I am not meaning this as badly as it sounds, but the overall idea remains the same. Attempt to use me at your peril. I am just not a good person, and not a good person to try to use. I am sure that I have my uses, but they are, like my feelings, mine, and I tend not to try to share either my uses or my feelings.

It is probably true that pure revenge is a revenge that people have to notice, and have that 'I knew I should not have fucked with that guy' moment, and perhaps a public serving of revenge would also allow others to understand that 'fucking with that guy' is not such a good plan. I am not such a 'bad man' that people should not fuck with me, I am sure that several million people on this rock could, at their leisure, hand me my ass. I am also quite certain that a few would be willing to try, that isn't really the issue. I understand the limits of my ability, but some people do not. I possess a very limited ability for a lot of things, math for instance, but I have an affinity for revenge that has caused me to be a student of it for quite some time. One of my heroes is Talleyrand, look him up sometime, and one of my favourite novels is The Count of Monte Cristo, the ultimate revenge novel.

My revenge is complete, and I am quite happy with the form it took, though it is not perfect, few things are, it will have to suffice. It is a dish best served cold, and after almost three years my particular helping of it is almost frigid, and there is plenty of it to go around, but like many things revenge of this kind is something that you can't really share. You can tell people about it (obviously), but at the end of the day it is a dish that you must eat alone. Which, in my view, makes it all the more tasty,. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


The title of this post is stolen from the title of a book written by one of my favourite philosophers. A fellow by the name of Soren Kierkgaard wrote "Either/Or" in 1843, and it contrasts two particular life views. One, is the consciously hedonistic, and the other is one based on ethical duty and responsibility. Many, many, moons ago, while I was being classically educated, I read Either/Or. The details of that reading, and the memories of it that I still possess need not detain us here, the fact that I read it doesn't mean that I've figured out which life view I believe to be correct, nor does it give me any insight into the reason of this post.

I have discussed before how sometimes my unconscious self, the sleeping self, the dreaming self sometimes wages a very dirty, very effective war on my waking self. The dreams that I have are beyond the control of my waking self, and like all of us, sleep can be considered a gateway to a lottery. The lottery of dreams as it were, where Queen Mab with 'her wagon spokes made of long spinners' legs' allow dreamers, such as myself, to give birth to their dreams. A fairy that allows sleepers to experience dreams of wish-fulfillment. The unconscious self that is really in control of a lot more of your life than you are willing to admit, takes over once we sleep, and guides the mind where it wants it to go. Many times those are places that are best left unvisited, and places that the conscious mind, if it weren't 'asleep at the switch'as it were, would never revisit. 

Therein lies the rub, the conscious mind is asleep at the switch, and when that happens all sorts of shit can start to break bad. This is a glimpse into my own personal 'Either/Or', and trust me it has absolutely nothing to with an 19th century Danish philosopher, at least not that I can tell.  My dreams, as of late, have been taking two forms, hence the 'Either/Or' dilemma.  Either they are type A which is a dream about work, or something related to work. I had a long week at work last week, so part of this type of dream is understandable, and probably unavoidable. They weren't necessarily nightmares, but they were certainly not the type of dreams that inspire a desire to stay asleep. After all, I have to go to work, and 'live the dream' as it were, why should I be doubly punished/blessed by having work invade another 8 or so hours of my life. I recently made the conscious choice to try to avoid talking about my job that much while I am not actually at my job. I am trying, and failing, to not let my job define me as a human being. After 10+ years in the job, I am beginning to fear that is a problem that I might not be able to repair. My job is not taking pictures of half naked supermodels as they pose on piles of money, therefore dreaming about it isn't something that I particularly care to engage in that often. However, the good news, if there is any good news is that at least type A dreams are better than the 'Or' in this dichotomy of dreams. 

That 'Or' are what I call, for the sake of simplicity, type 'B' dreams. Type B dreams are very, very, very rarely pleasant. They involve any number of what could be deemed my 'ex's' flings, long term relationships, or fuck buddies, each have had their representative in my dreams. These are, for the most part, not happy dreams. Dreams of former fuck buddies hardly ever center on the activity that gave the particular girl her 'title'.  No these are not playboy channel type dreams, these are revenge dreams. Dreams in which an ex, any ex, plays the starring role. Sometimes it is merely a 'normal' dream about some everyday occurrence, but it has to have the ex in it just for the hell of it.  There is no reason, on its face, that the ex would have to be in this dream, other than the unconscious self deciding that she needs to be there. 

Those are the easiest of the type 'B' dreams to take the mostly normal ones. The ones were she is just there like window dressing to poke some sort of fun at my waking self.  A little nudge from the sleeping self to the waking self to remember it that the sleeping self hasn't forgotten. The other type of type 'B' dream are much, much worse they usually consist of the see the ex happy with new beau type of dreams, or hear the ex tell me what a total loss my life is since she had the pleasure of walking out of my life. Those are a little bit tougher to bear, maybe because the grain of truth in them is a bit too big for me to swallow. That grain of truth, which I must admit exits, keeps coming back almost nightly to haunt me. The leading actress, i.e. which ex my subconscious decides to torture me with, changes sometimes nightly, but that doesn't really help a lot. The only small bit of joy that I am able to get from these type of dreams is the bet with myself as to which ex will be the star of the show tonight. Not a bet that has a winner or a loser, but a bet that is both, a winner and a loser.

 The starlet that takes the stage probably isn't really the point, but the subconscious is a clever bastard. It has access to all the memories that even the waking self has forgotten, or stored away in some deep, dark compartment never to be opened again, and it makes my dreams a cinema of horrors designed especially for me. The subconscious self remembers all the details about each of the leading ladies, and is able, with seemingly little effort, fashion a dream that is very specific to the ex in question. It is an absurd bit of theatre that makes me want to stay awake as long as possible, but as I have mentioned before, sleep comes to everyone while we wait wide awake and blue.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fuck you! Shakespeare

The title of this post is stolen from Pete Rose's reaction to whenever a fellow by the name of Jim Bouton pitched against his team. M. Bouton was the co-author of a book called "Ball Four" which is considered one of the most important sports books ever written. Feel free to read it, I never have, but I hear it is a pretty juicy book.

The reason I am stealing the title is because I stole a bit of Shakespeare myself this week, and I am not certain I am proud of that fact.  Those of you who both have the wonderful luck to know, and to read me, will know that I spent the last week in a murder trial. No it wasn't as exciting as the one in Florida that has everyone all in a flutter, but it was important to me, and very important to the victim's family.  It went as well as a murder trial can go, which is to say that every day when I came home all I could do was eat the crappy take out food I had purchased, and spend the rest of the night thinking about what I had done wrong that day, and what I would need to do the next day in order to fix those mistakes. Because, since I am actually not perfect, I made mistakes, some of them I thought were pretty important, and some of them I shouldn't have made, but they were made. And in their making they cost me a fair amount of sleep.

That was my week, half of the time I was in trial, the other half I spent thinking about trial. I did not do much else. And by that, I mean nothing else. My apartment has become a battleground between my garbage, which has taken over the kitchen, and my dirty laundry, which has taken over the bedroom. Both sides are now fighting over possession of the living room, each of them have advance scouts placed in strategic places, and it seems each side is prepared for a long struggle. My indolence coupled with my exhaustion have made it impossible for me to broker a peace agreement. In fact, I am beginning to believe that the key to the battle are the dirty dishes. They are also piling up, and I figure that whichever side they ally themselves with will be the eventual victor.

It is a sad thing to say that my life has not been my own for a week, and that cleaning up the flotsam scattered throughout my apartment is more work than  I feel up to undertaking at this moment. All I want to do is sit and stare at the walls, and to hell with the battle of the wastes.This week marked the seventh birthday of this blog, and I was so tired that I did not even manage to write my annual birthday of the blog post, it was, in case I didn't mention it, a long week.

  The week that just passed was, in many ways, the pinnacle of my so called professional career. In my world, it doesn't get much sexier than being 'first chair' on a 1st degree murder trial. Though, truth be told, my co-counsel was beyond brilliant, and I couldn't have done it without him.  It was a close as I will ever come to being what passes as a real lawyer. Not that I have any idea as to what or what does not constitute 'being a real lawyer'.  All I know is that I want to pack this week away, and not have it repeat itself too many more times, because after all if it does it means that someone, somewhere has died at the hands of a loved one, and that is the tragedy of the week. That some putative Romeo has killed their Juliet. And unlike the real Shakespeare I only want that play to happen once, but I can't seem to stop if from repeating. It is just the actors are different, the facts are a little different, but the underlying tragedy remains the same.

And it is that tragedy, or a tragedy that hasn't happened yet, but will that keeps me struggling out of my new favorite place, otherwise known as my bed, to try and save the fair Juliet from her sad fate. I know that I can't because that is not really my role. So the best I can do, the best I try and hope to do is see that our fair Juliet, even though she has met her sad fate, at least receives what some people call justice by taking our Romeo out of 'fair Verona' and putting him in a much darker place.

P.S.  At the end of the day, I realize that me and my co-counsel didn't 'win' this trial. Trials are not like baseball games. There are no real winners or losers, it is just a decision, a decision that is placed in the hands of 12 strangers, and a decision that I can only hope goes 'my way' and a one that I hope I can live with.  To all of those that helped me this week, thank you.