Tuesday, June 25, 2013


In less that one hour I will be another year older, a year that will weigh a little bit heavier due to the increasing number of them that have passed.  A day that is really nothing to the majority of the seven billion people on the planet, is, for me, something that is (in theory) supposed to be celebrated. I did manage to get the day off from my job to celebrate/mourn the day of my birth. As my loyal readers will know by now, if they bother to be either loyal or to read, I share my birthday with a fellow by the name of Eric Blair. Known to the general masses as one George Orwell. That is a tough thing for me to share.

George Orwell wrote some really fantastic books, and is one of my favorite authors. I write a shit ass blog post that might be five pages long, and is generally filled with either spelling or grammatical mistakes, and is probably not worth reading. See the difference? Perhaps I see it more clearly than other people because it is, at the end of the day, my difference. My inability to measure up to the standards that I have set for myself. I can't imagine, because I lack the imagination, where Herr Orwell got all that wonderful material for his books. Though some careful research has unearthed a couple of points of inspiration for a couple of his books. But, I still can not imagine all the things he saw, and all the things that he left out of his writing. How much of what he saw that even his genius could not capture on paper. Like it or not, I figure that a lot of any sort of 'inspiration' I have comes from my personal life, a life that has ticked over another number on its odometer.  A number that is only going to get higher until it reaches it final number, a number that I am not sure of, and am terrified to contemplate.

The 365 days that it has taken me to age another year have taught me a few things, but some things I just don't seem to be able to learn. The last year of my life has seen me make a decision that will affect the remaining years of my life, and it is a decision that was not taken lightly, and it will not be a popular decision, but me and popularity have never been close friends. I am not the popular type, and I never will be. I prefer to think of it, if I bother to think about it at all, that I am an acquired taste, and if you care to take the time to acquire me, you will probably regret it.  Regret is another thing that I have carried around with me for the last 365 days. Regrets, big and small, that, in many ways, have helped to define the last year of my life. Regrets have a tendency to do that, define things, for both good and bad, usually bad.

Regrets make us realize the mistakes that we made during the last year, but there is usually exactly fuck all we can do about them. Regret is a great teacher for students of life that are willing to listen and learn. I am not such a student, I am hard to teach, and no matter how much I listen I can't just seem to discern what I am being taught. It is a bit like listening to the last transmission of Vladimir Komarov aboard Soyruz 1. I know that he understands he is about to die, and that he is saying the last words that anyone will ever hear him speak, but he is speaking in Russian, and I don't understand a bleeding word of it, I just get the idea that he is trying his best to say all that he needs to say for a lifetime in about 22 seconds.  And all of this horror happened just over 2 years before I was born.

 Komarov didn't have the chance to die a peaceful death in his bed, he smashed to Earth at an incredible speed and all that was recovered of his body was a smashed heel bone. An entire of life of 40 years summed up in a brief transmission of rage at the damn fools that sent him to his death, and a state funeral for dying because of some other damn fool's incompetence.  Don't you think he deserved a little more? Red or not he was a brave fellow, far braver than I will ever be, and today who the fuck remembers him? For that matter, I realize that I won't die a heroes death, and the number of people that remember Komarov (no matter how small that number is) will still be more than will remember me. And that is exactly how it should be.

The truth of the matter is that tomorrow, while slightly disappointingly important to me, is just another indistinguishable day for the majority of the world. Which is also exactly how it should be, after all, the date of my birth is nothing to be celebrated, anymore than an atheist would celebrate Christmas as being the 'birth' of Jesus.  As the last seconds of my 43rd year on this planet tick away, and I am left facing a new age with its new problems, I realize that escape is impossible. We all pay for the violence, or foolishness of our ancestors, and a couple of my ancestors were very violent fools. 

 As that clock ticks away I am reliving the last year of my life at a supersonic speed. Trying to cram all of the emotions, both good and bad of the 43 year of my life into its last quarter of an hour. It is not a easy thing to do, and there were quite of number of mistakes made during this year that need a lot longer than a quarter of an hour to fix, if they can be fixed at all.  And now that the clock has struck midnight, and I am a year older, I realize that time is just as ruthless as gravity. It is a force that you can fight all you want to, but you are never, ever going to beat it. Time marches on, and you have to follow whether you like it or not, just like you hit the ground if you fall because gravity doesn't give two real shits about you. It just is gravity it takes no delight in what it does, or doesn't do, it just is. And maybe, just maybe as I thumb through my well read copy of "1984" I need to learn to realize that perhaps just being 'is' is the best I can hope for. Welcome to a new age.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mignon Maison

Recently, as in last week, I took a lovely little trip to sunny San Diego. It was quite fun, and I went alone, which was a bit of a shock for some people, but it was one sure way to make positive that I had as much fun as I wanted to have.  Part of going on vacation, for me at least, is the ability to eat when I am hungry, sleep when I am tired, and wear pants as little as possible. Those minor goals were achieved during this trip, and that makes me happy.

During my sojourn, a friend of mine text me and asked me 'when are you coming home?' I replied 'Sunday' but soon after I got to thinking that perhaps my friend had fallen into a similar trap that has snared the wolf that raised me.  That trap, one that assumes I have a 'home' to come back to, and one that I need to come back to. Neither of which is true. I realized that as I typed back my response. The realization that my 'home' as one would call it is, it exactly where I am at any given moment. Granted that doesn't include my office, or certain other public areas, but the truth of the matter is that I could have stayed in San Diego, and not missed one thing about my current 'home.'  Part of that might be the shit hole town that I live in, or the shit hole town that the wolf that raised me thinks I should call home, but the truth of the matter is that shit holes aside, I am a man that does not need to put down deep roots.

Those roots that a lot of people, and plants need in order to survive are not for me. For me they restrict, they restrict my movement, my thinking, my ability to breath, and all sorts of other things that I don't talk about in polite society (if I ever find myself in polite society).  These possessions that occupy my own grand maison are something that I can walk away from in 5 minutes flat. There are advantages to be a minimalist, and one of those is the ability to just turn your back and walk away. Of course, I did not stay in San Diego, and I caught my flight back to the city that I current call 'home' but there was that moment of regret as I boarded that aeroplane. That Sisyphus like moment when I realized that perhaps I could just turn away from my rock (in this case my life in this shit hole town), and be free from all of my so-called troubles. Not that my troubles are anything awful, and not something that anyone would be so frightened of as to run away from, but they are my troubles and they seem to have a great deal of sticking power. 

Troubles are like that, they have the ability to stick around and withstand your best attempt to solve them. After all, if I could solve them, then they would not be my troubles anymore. I am quite sure a new set of troubles would rise up to replace any of the ones I managed to solve, and thus the circle of life for troubles at least would continue. Perhaps troubles and I have one huge difference, a difference that binds us together more tightly the more I struggle against them. Perhaps, unlike me, my troubles have put down roots, and are here to stay. 

Monday, June 03, 2013


My name has been lost to history. It wasn't a particularly impressive name, and there is no real reason that history should remember it. Let's just call me Otto, it isn't my real name, but what difference will that make to my story? So I am Otto a native of the grey city of Berlin, and I am nothing special. My mother, when she was alive, would have, and did let anyone who would stand still long enough to listen that 'her' Otto wasn't 'anyone that you would really want to count on in a pinch'. Well in many respects she was right, I am not a hero, nor am I quite the villain that this story will make me out to be.

At the time of this story, late 1937 and early 1938. I had been on the police payroll for just under 5 years. I was nothing special to look at, and not the brightest student in my school, and Mother's poor choice of marrying for love and not money, had left me with a limited educated, and even further limited job opportunities. The less said of my father the better, he stuck around long enough to get my mother pregnant, but didn't have the sticking power to stay around and watch me born.  I suppose my Mother did the best with what she had, but I was never going to turn out to amount to much, and as it turns out I didn't except once. There was one time where I was one of the most important cogs in the machine of state, and without me perhaps the history of my country, and the world might have been a little bit different.

By 1937, I had come to realize my niche in society, and it was not as a belle of the ball type. I was one of those 'grey' men that wouldn't attract any interest unless I was standing directly in your way. My looks were nothing to write home about, and my home life wasn't that great either. I was scraping by working on the edges of Berlin society, going nowhere fast. My life had it's routines, and its own sort of pace that I didn't really have a terrible amount of control over. I hustled money when and where I could, and I knew a lot of what most people would call 'low-lifes' the detritus of a society that was 5 years into the Nazi regime of one Adolf Hitler.

The Kripo, the Berlin police force, had found me a easy enough recruit, a simple arrest for a simple burglary, and a promise of 'making it all go away', and I was there newest informer. A dirty, stinking, awful thing to be, but to me, it beat the hell out of spending time in prison. Therefore, I began to sell that most dangerous of commodities, information. The Kripo were very careful about when and where I would reveal all of my information. There was an office belonging to some private dick on Alexanderplatz that I had to phone once a month, and make an appointment to see 'the Count.'

To this day, I still have no idea who 'the Count' was, or if he was a real count or not. I guess it doesn't matter, he treated me like the shit you scrape off the bottom of your shoe, and I am sure that to him that is exactly what I was, shit.  But, I made sure that I became a useful shit, and my information was always good, and always 'checked out'.  I preferred quality of information over quantity, and though this frustrated 'the Count' at first, he soon realized that my information was like gold, a little scare, but very valuable.  I wouldn't say I was proud of what I did, and I had hopes that someday I would be able to tell the Kripo, and 'the Count' to fuck all the way off because my informing days were behind me. However, like most jobs, informing became a sort of means of itself. I had hopes and dreams, but they just seem to be stillborn, and the money I made informing was just enough to keep me body and soul together, and to provide me with enough left over to indulge in my own, personal vices, but that is beside the point.

I wasn't and am not proud of my informing, but a fellow has to pay the rent somehow, and informing was a job that matched my disposition, and my inherent laziness. Manual labour was not something that I every felt any affinity for, and it didn't take a lot of effort to hang out at the the dives I hung out at, and just pay close attention to the rumours that floated slowly by.  My monthly meetings with 'the Count' weren't overly strenuous, and allowed me to have a lifestyle that, while not luxurious, keep me out of the soup line.  Then one day all of that changed. I came across a nice little announcement in the paper detailing the wedding of Herr von Blomberg to his former typist "Eva". Or at least that was the name that I knew her by, and knew her quite well.

That the 60 year old commander in chief of the German army married a 26 year old girl from the typing pool came as a bit of a shock to me, but once I stopped laughing at the absurdity of it all, I made my way to a little studio on Nurnberger Strasse. The kind of place that you could find all the female company you wanted as long as you were willing to pay for the time.  I knew a fellow there, his name is also not important, but he liked to take pictures. Pictures that some men liked to pay money for, and that some women, down on their luck and needing some extra money, posed for.

I knocked on the door of the studio, and the photographer opened it himself. I showed him the wedding announcement that contained a picture of the blushing bride, and told him that perhaps our fortune was made.  His smiled widened as he recognized the girl in the picture, told me that 'he'd be right back', and disappeared into the darkened interior of his studio. I remained waiting, and he came back with a nice brown envelope that contained the photos of the Generals young wife as naked as the day she was born, and posing quite prettily for the camera. I nodded, and grunted my thanks, told him that 'I'd be in touch' and left as quickly as my feet would carry me.

My next meeting with 'the Count' proved quite fruitful, when he asked if I had anything for him, I produced the pictures with a flourish, and leaned back to enjoy the surprise on his face. It was a look of total surprise that crossed his face as he looked at the pictures and began to put together what they would mean to certain members of his party. I didn't know much about the man, but I knew without really knowing how that he was a Nazi through and though.  He rubbed his hands together, promised to make me a 'very rich man' and left with a bounce in his step. I left a bit later, already spending the money that I figured was my due.

The rest of the tale is actually history, unlike me. The general married to a girl who posed for dirty pictures, and who was also probably a prostitute did not last much longer in his position. To his credit, when offered the chance to divorce her, he refused, and disappeared into the mists of history. The mists of history from which I never emerged. It will come as a surprise to no one, except me at the time, that the 'Count' was not one to live up to his promise of making me a rich man. In fact, he paid me what I considered to be a pittance, and expected me to thank him for it.  When I finished counting the money he had turned over to me, and it didn't take long to do, I made that critical error of inquiring if this was just the first installment.  The 'Count' cornflower blue eyes narrowed, and it seemed as if the temperature in the room dropped a few degrees. A smile that did not reach his eyes came across the lower part of his face as he told me 'Otto, that is all you are getting, and you should be happy for it.'

I suddenly decided that happy is what I should be, and plastered a big grin on my face as I thanked the 'Count' for his generosity. That was when I knew that my informing days were over, and my running days had begun.