Monday, August 26, 2013


There are about seven billion people on the rock that I presently call home. Not that I have a lot of choices as to which rock I call home.  Seven billion is a shit ton of people, it is a number that I can not even attempt to wrap my mind around.  Of course, there are quite of number people who are dead, and are not longer of any concern to those of us that are alive. Until very recently, out of all the seven billion alive, and several millions dead people in all of recorded history, I hated exactly two of them. Today, after some not some calm, recent reflection, that number became three. Do not get me wrong, I do not like people as a whole, and have been a card carrying misanthrope for quite a number of years. But, I understand that the whole 'hating' people thing is a bit of a waste of time. It generally just brings you down as a person, and usually the other person doesn't give two shits about whether you hate them or not.

The two people, using the term very loosely that I hate before today, were Oliver Cromwell (for reasons that need not detain us), and the sperm donor that called himself my father. Those reasons are well documented, and until today I had hopes that he would have to be the last person I hated. Silly me for thinking that I would able to live out the rest of my existence without having someone to hate. I guess I should have known better.  Don't get me wrong the person that became number three on my hate parade was someone that I wasn't overly fond of before today, but quite recently they did something that pushed them over the top. It was a long process, and it wasn't necessarily something that they did today, but a long term accumulation of things that just eventually broke through the indifference I usually feel for my fellow human beings (that is if this person is actually a human being, there have been claims that they are, in fact, Satan or at least one of his minions).

Having a living person to hate is not a new experience for me, after all the sperm donor and I lived in the same small house for nearly 25 years together, and that experience made me a good hater. And trust me on this, I am a fantastic hater. I want this person to die, I want them to die slowly, painfully, and if possible screaming (while I watch). I know that makes me an awful person, but I never claimed to be anything but and awful person. Maybe this person hates me back, and maybe they don't. It matters not one little shit to me. I hate them, I will never stop hating them, and I wish them active ill.  I might not be proud of it, but there it is.  No tears of mine will be shed if this person manages to die while I am still alive. No, whatever tears that are lost in the rain, will not be shed by me. I am sure there are people who like this person, hell I even suspect there are people that love them, more the fool to them. Let them weep for them. I will be celebrating their demise like the Vikings just won the fucking Super Bowl.

 I know that all of this hate is probably not an attractive quality, and I should 'turn the other cheek' and all that bullshit, but I can not and will not forgive the thousand injuries and insults that this person has visited upon me.  In an ironical way it makes me sad to hate this person, not that I believe they have any redeeming qualities, but that the fact I hate them with just passion must mean I care.  People that know me well, and there aren't that many of them running around, will tell you (if you cared to ask them) that I am not a man that is overloaded with emotions. I pride myself on my lack of feeling and or emotions. I do not suffer fools gladly, and I do not wear my heart (if I have one) on my sleeve.

I was raised by one wolf, and she was not the type to cuddle her only male cub. I am not someone you need to come to if you are seeking empathy.Do not come to be all dressed in sound, and expect me to solve your life's problems. I have my own life, and it is littered with problems of its own, problems that I can not solve.  Again, I am sure that makes me an awful person, but it is who/what I am, take it or leave it, it matter not one whit to me. This hate, this now all consuming passion that this person die, is burning inside of me like a nuclear core gone critical. It might just implode me from the inside, but for now it is heating me like a nice warm fire on a cold December day in Stockholm. There is no, and will no be turning back this is a hate for life. Something that (sad to say) will now define me, and there aren't really a lot of things that define me (if you take away my loyalty to certain, poor performing sports clubs).  Another irony of this is that I also hope this person burns in hell, the irony of that is that if there is a hell I will probably be stuck beside this person for all eternity.  At least I know I won't be alone.

The identity of this person has to, for now, to remain a secret. After all, if they were to suddenly 'accidentally' fall down a flight of stairs, I might be one of the first people that would have to explain my whereabouts to the local gendarme. Not that am their only enemy, but I am, whether they know it or not, there most bitter one. There is no happy note to end this post on, no quick witticism that will allow me to redeem all the hate flowing from my proverbial pen. It is a poison pen post, and one that I probably will (eventually) be ashamed of, but for now it has to stand on the few merits it possess. After all, the person is it about possesses exactly zero merits.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mon Oncle

A very good friend of mine did two things today that are beyond awesome. First, and more importantly he became a father for the second time. Secondly, but still important (at least to me) he wandered back in the writing world. He is the bastard that got me into blogging, so blame him for the dross I produce, I do. He is also fairly close to being like a brother to me, and I wish that he could have met the title character of this piece, they would have gotten along like a house on fire.

This is going to make you cry, or at least it should, because it is going to be sad, and I am have been on the verge of tears myself while I was 'composing' it at my local for the last two hours. Life has to have some sad stories, or it wouldn't really be worth living. This is a post about living, but more so it is a post about dying. Because the title character is dying, and he is my favorite uncle. This post, as poorly written as it may be is my elegy to my favorite uncle. Stop now if you can't deal with elegies.

My uncle M is (or was) my favorite uncle, he is (or was) that uncle that every boy of a certain age dreams of having. By that I mean he is (or was) Steve McQueen cool, and just ever so easy to look up to, and not just because he was tall.  He also had the major advantage of not being my father. If you peruse these pages, you will know that my paterfamilias and I were not close. We did not understand either other, and I rejoiced at his funeral. I understand that makes me an awful person, but I am the son of an absolute asshole.  I know some people who do science, but I've never asked them if they knew of anyone or any organization that was looking for the 'asshole' gene, if they are I can point them to the spot to start digging in order to find it.

My uncle M is (or was) the opposite of the bastard that donated the sperm that brought me into existence. He was an over the road trucker for years and years, and therefore wasn't around on a day to day basis, and maybe that gave him the advantage. His time around was limited, and therefore much more appreciated by me.  He was like a really good Christmas present that came a few more times a year. He wasn't around all the time, and he was always about to leave so his time was valuable and limited. Looking back, I also realize how lucky I was to get any of his time at all. After all, what guy wants to spend time with his preteen nephew when they was beer to drink, and women to bed.  Don't get me wrong I absolutely adored my uncle. The expression 'worshiped the ground he walked on' barely does justice to how I felt (and still feel) about uncle M.

He is (or was) just like every other red-blooded male in our family, he liked his beer, and he liked the ladies. In fact, he is the man that took me to the first bar I ever graced with my presence. I was somewhere around 9 or 10 years old, and since I wanted to be in his presence always he would take me to this dive bar (back before dive bars were all hipster chic) called the Western Corral.  He would buy me a soda, and set me at the bar and wait. I realized several years ago, what he was doing, he was using me as bait. Because the ladies just loved a little 8 year old tow headed child such as myself sitting at the big boy bar drinking a coke. It was a way for my uncle to get some female attention, and it was both fucking brilliant, and worked like a charm. Once I had sufficiently charmed the ladies, I was bundled off to the car, to 'wait' for my uncle M.  Many a child hour of mine was spent waiting in a car for my uncle to come back from where ever him and the ladies wandered off to. I suppose in today's politically correct world he would be accused of child abuse, but I loved every minute of it.

Eventually like most heroes my uncle fell from grace. One of those ladies stole his heart, and he married her. That decision ended the hero worship for me. He told me later that I wouldn't have anything to do with him for a long time after he married his lady friend. We joked later, years after the inevitable divorce, that I was right about cutting him out of my life, since the marriage failed. I was clearly the better judge of character even at 9 years old. It is a funny story, but the truth was my 9 year old heart was broken because some bitch had taken my Uncle M from me, and I was inconsolable.

He is (or was) also the man that helped foster my love of gambling and the ponies. He was with me when I picked the first horse I ever picked to win a race, and after that horse (Pleasant Colony see "Birth of a Gambler") won,  told me then that when I got to be old enough he was taking me to the track. He is (or was) Burt Reynolds, Steve McQueen, and Clint Eastwood all rolled into one. He took me out on his truck one summer while I was still in the hero worship stage, and when we got back told me that 'if I ever got behind the wheel of a truck like that, he would kick my entire ass.' He realized that I was the brains of the family, and that I should be able to 'do better' than just drive a truck for a living.

He also spent a lot of time teaching me to play cards, which I suppose goes back to the gambler in him, and while he is (or was) way more reckless of a card player than I ever will be, it was a valuable lesson that I am very grateful for. I guess in many ways he was the father I wished I would have had, and in many ways I am glad he wasn't my father. I suppose he had two advantages over my actual father, one was his absence, since he was gone a lot it was easier for him to be my hero because when he came around it was an 'event', and two, while he is (or was) a bit of an asshole himself, he wasn't close to as big of one as my actual father.

Don't get me wrong, my uncle is (or was) not a saint in any shape, form, or fashion. Much like his favorite nephew (since I was his only nephew I won that title) he was a frequenter of low dives, and places of ill-repute. I remember one time when he took me to a 'floating' crap game where there was a light over the door that would come on when the cops where circling the block. He had a child out of wedlock, and was probably more of a bastard than I will ever know about. I remember having to go with the wolf that raised me to bail him out of jail on more than one occasion. I can't not remember what it was he did to get himself in jail, and that is probably for the best. When I lost my head, for the first, but not the last, time over a woman, and was making stupid decisions, the family sent him to talk to me, because they knew it would work, and it did (at least that time).

 And now, my uncle, my hero, the man who made me (in many ways) the man I am today is dying, and there is fuck all I or anyone else can do about it. He is lying in an hospital bed as I type this struggling to breath, and knowing that his time on the planet is drawing to an end. I am going to do my final nephew duty, and go see him, even though I am sure he is not going to look like the man I remember and revere. It is not going to be fun, and I do not really want to do it, but he is my hero and I have to. Going to watch your hero deal with dying is not something that you should have to do more than once. He told the wolf that raised me i.e. his older sister that he isn't afraid to die, and that might be the final act of his that makes him just as cool as he was all of those years ago.  I do not have the words or the talent to express my sadness fully at the passing of my uncle. I can only hope that when the time does actually come, I am half as cool as he is (or was).

Thursday, August 08, 2013


Many, many moons ago, I wrote a post about writing for the desk drawer in which I discussed, very briefly, how a writer can not just write for the desk drawer. A writer has to eventually write to be read, and then considered. Writing as an exercise is all well and good, but eventually you need to write to be read.

That is a giant leap of faith, and it is not to be taken lightly. It is a huge paradigm shift for anyone. It is the shift from writing for yourself, and that entails, to writing for someone other person or group of people. Their expectations are certainly going to be different from your own, and are going to vary widely among the group as a whole. You will not, no matter how hard you try, be able to meet all of those expectations. It is just simply impossible. This group of people that you might have the gall to call your 'audience' are most certainly a diverse group of people. If they are not diverse, then you have not been living your life correctly. Everyone needs a wide cross section of friends, and if you don't possess one, then you are losing out on a lot of seriously important life experiences.

This shift can be quite paralyzing, after all, now you are writing for someone to read. It is like becoming a director instead of an actor. Your point of view will change whether you want it to or not, and it will be a lot harder to understand how that shift is to be accomplished.  After all, spending a certain number of years writing only for yourself has probably led you to have some bad habits in your writing.  The idea that you are now writing for people, as you like to call the people you want to read you, is going to force you to be a little more careful. Not that writing for yourself didn't require some care. There are at least seven blog posts in my 'draft' folder that I can not quite bring myself to publish. Some are just too painful, some are too mean, and one could be life altering.

I have a couple of companions that fancy themselves writers, one I have read, and one that I have not. I had occasion to speak to both of them last night over a few drinks, and I exhorted both of them to 'just bloody write something'.  Perhaps that is what 'real' writers do, encourage each other to write things for the other to read. I am not by any stretch of the imagination (which I lack) a writer, and maybe they aren't yet either, but each of us feels the tug to shove words into sentences, marshal sentences into paragraphs, and stack paragraphs upon a page for other people to read.  It may or may not be dross, but there a quite a few people who are living large by writing dross.

The idea that these talented friends of mine will take my advice and write something for me to read is quite exciting, and also a bit terrifying. After all, they are going to make the same demands upon me, and I must needs get my shit together and accept their challenge. Writers, if they are going to succeed, need to be read, they need to be challenged, and they need to be edited (which of course is always the most painful part). It is a bit like singing like no one is listening, this writing for other people, we know we might warble a little bit off key, and some of the keystrokes we make are not as sad and delicate as they should be, but we have to continue to try. Because trying is the first step, be it in failing, or in succeeding, you have to try first. And in that trying, in that putting our words out there we take that first step away from the desk drawer into the great unknown.

This post is dedicated, in a small way, to those two geniuses that inspired me (without realizing it) last evening to get my fat ass back behind the keyboard, and to try to effect the shift from writing for the desk drawer, to writing to be read. I am both grateful to them for that inspiration, and terrified that I will not be able to meet whatever odd ball expectations that I place upon myself.  I can only hope that they feel the same way, and they see that in spite of the obstacles and despite our growing fears, they will write something fantastic that I will have the joy of reading.

Finally, there is one friend of long standing that I would like to invite back into the 'writing' fold. The one that challenged me, all those years ago, to write, and whom without (for better or worse) this blog would not exist. I know this person's life has taken a new, and exciting direction, and that life has taken a large chunk out of their creative time, but the writing world (such as I know it) is a much poorer place for their absence. Hopefully this will inspire them to at least attempt to come back to the fold, and write the brilliant stuff of which I know they are capable.  

Saturday, August 03, 2013

All our Yesterdays

A sudden realization struck me the other day, and by sudden I mean out of nowhere, and by struck me I mean someone wiser than myself (not hard to be) sat me down, and explained it to me much like you explain Lego monsters to a two year old. I would imagine that your average two year old's attention span and mine are about the same length, and I would also figure that the two year old would have been quicker on the uptake about this realization than I was.

That brilliant piece of mentoring provided me with the knowledge that all of our yesterdays are rolled into today. The today I am currently experiencing, which has been as dull as watching paint dry, is the end product of all the yesterdays that came before it. All the left rather than right (in more ways than one) turns that I have made in my life have led me to this exact point in time. I understand that the universe is really, really, really big, and somewhere the odds of 'another' me having a much different, and for his sake I hope better, life are quite high. But for me, for right now, all of my yesterdays have led me here.  This point in time, which is rapidly passing me by, is only one point in time at which I could have arrived.  All the victories, defeats, and draws that I have inflicted, or had inflicted upon me have led me to this point.

This point, whatever it may be, isn't really something that I could have foreseen, because if I could have it is more likely than not I would have taken one of those aforementioned 'right' turns that I blew past like a damn fool on the road to perdition.  This point in the comedy known as my life could always be worse. After all, I have access to (more) than enough calories to keep me alive, I have shelter over my head, and a warm (or cool depending on the season) place to sleep. The fact of the matter is that this point in time, this today, that I have, for the most part, wasted isn't as bad as it could have been. Of course, neither is it as good as it could have been. Those left turns, and all the attending road signs so blithely ignored have led me to this point where the 'good' things in my life are food, shelter, and a job.

All of those things are important, and I am lucky, considering what I have to work with, to have them but at some point, usually when one is bored to tears like I have been today, one has to look around at their so-called life and wonder if perhaps one has peaked.  At a certain age, life becomes more of an anchor rather than a sail, and starts to drag a bit, and starts to slow down, or at least you start to slow down. Because life has piled a whole lot of yesterdays on top of you, and they are getting harder and harder to carry into today, not to mention tomorrow, which will be even heavier. All of those yesterdays that contains all the decisions, good, bad, or indifferent that you have made, start to pile up, and they even include decisions made about you by other people. You are not, no matter how hard you try, an island. You are not alone in time, you are one of many people, place, and/or things in an really, really, really big universe, and that universe has batted you around like a kitten with a newly wound ball of yarn.

Those yesterdays creep up on you, sometimes when you least expect it. You are minding what appears to be your own business when the universe decides that your today isn't interesting enough. To combat that, the universe allows you to have memories, and then allows, or forces you to sometimes relive one of those yesterdays just for fun. The universe is like that, it needs to have its fun, and a certain amount of it is going to be had at your expense whether you like it or not. You don't control the universe, the universe controls you. The sooner you learn THAT life lesson the better off you will be, because somethings you just have to accept. I suppose that is why acceptance is a stage of grief, and one of the latter ones. Acceptance, of your fate at least, can sometimes be a large pill to swallow.

The problem that my wiser friend explained to me as simply as they could so I would understand it, happened quite a few yesterdays ago. It wasn't a yesterday that I was proud of, and it was more than one day, but they were all of a piece. A bit like an episode in the series of my life.  A plot device that had, I thought, been resolved one way, but (as usual) I was wrong. The problem had been resolved, but not quite in the way that I had figured. The knowledge that was given to me made it a little bit easier to understand some of my yesterdays, and even helped a little with today, but all of that wisdom can't 'fix' the problem. The problem remains, whether I like it or not, because the problem isn't something that has gone away, it is just moved forward in time. It is something that I seem to be, and have been deemed, incapable of fixing, and that is the sad part of this tale. No matter how many more yesterdays I have to live, I just can't seem to learn from them. And a person that can't learn from his or her yesterdays, in many ways doesn't deserve a tomorrow.