Thanks to FreeFoto.com for the image of those two adorable pups!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Laundry

The only time I drink by myself is late at night when I’m waiting on my laundry to be done. I should clarify that I don’t drink myself into any sort of stupor. I’m not bragging about the extent of my restraint, and I don’t really hold sobriety in any high regard. I just can’t bring myself to down beer after beer alone, waiting for my laundry to finish spinning around in a coin-operated contraption.


So, I only have two beers while I wait. I could drink three or four or nine. I have the financial means, and I’m twenty-three years old. There are no economic or legal restrictions that prevent me from becoming blotto-fuck drunk while I launder. I simply choose not to.


My reasoning might have something to do with the fact that I know my girlfriend is in the next room sleeping. It might have something to do with the fact that I might hate myself if I became wholly inebriated while cleaning my clothes. It might have to do with the fact that I’m kind of health conscious, and more than two beers before bed isn’t good for the body (some would argue that even one beer before bed is detrimental to the physical faculties. Those people are most likely absolutely correct).


I don’t know the reason(s) I limit myself to two. That’s the truth. Currently, as my fingers semi-deftly interact with my keyboard, I’m finishing my second beer. It doesn’t have me tipsy, but it has me close. I’m walking that thin tightrope between drunk and sober. I’m precariously bi-pedaling(Not uni-cycling, bi-pedaling. I know the difference) myself on that thin rope in fact. Any sudden movements might serve to pitch me over the side and send me careening towards the circus floor of inebriation.


The beer is a Belgian White Blue Moon. I bought it when a friend came over for a hang out. I also bought it, because my girlfriend likes it. I live with her and I love her, so I show this affection through a slew of small gestures such as buying beer she likes and doing dishes before bed. All that is neither here nor there. The real question is why.


So why do I do it? What’s the point of casual solo drinking as my clothes swirl? Again, I’m left with no answers. Why do I feel the need to do this? I’m not an alcoholic. That’s not me rationalizing. It’s the truth. I drink with extreme infrequency. I don’t even drink every time I do laundry. I don’t even drink most times I do laundry. It’s the only time I drink alone however.


My fear is that it’s posturing. Am I trying to look cool, to feel cool, to be cool? Am I the person in fancy clothes chain smoking with affected sultry sexiness? Am I posing as someone who drinks at night alone? Do I achieve some sort of sick satisfaction from the knowledge that I’m really, really doing something that I perceive as cool? Fuck I hope not. It’s a definite possibility.


My other fear is that I’m cultivating a problem. I’m not an alcoholic now, but it runs in my family. It runs in my family with a vicious vengeance. Violent alcoholism has destroyed the lives of people I know. Will I one day cross the dangerous Rubicon into greater than two beers? Will I stumble to the washer and dryer like the town drunk? Will the next people to do laundry have to wake me with a cold bucket of water like some old west degenerate? Will my laundry drinking habits lead me to a cold death underneath a bridge? Am I signing my own death warrant, tempting the doom of my family tree, fastening the noose around my own neck by cracking open two orange flavored beers while I feed a white machine quarters? I’m slowly killing myself, estranging myself from the ones I love, from my home, from my passions in life, from the youthful innocence that I still cling to. This is the beginning of the end for old Sam Thomas. It’s act three in the tragedy of my life.

Hey, asshole get out of your head. Chase yourself off the table of unhealthy self reflection with a spray bottle like an unwelcome feline. Get out of your head. Leave.


Here’s the truth. I enjoy it. And I have to do something while my laundry dries. This is not the beginning of the end. I like to have two beers at night while your t-shirts, pants, and other articles of clothing soak and mix with detergent. It doesn’t get any deeper than that. I think. Jesus, am I in denial? Nah.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Intolerant of Lactose

In between nodding off and drawing squiggly-faced cartoons in my notebook in college psychology 101, I learned a few things. One of the things I learned is that our fears and phobias can derive from certain events, which transpire over the course of our lives. I forget what this is called, probably because when the professor told me, I was doodling in my notebook. However, the truth remains that, psychologically speaking, any little thing can set any old person off on some horrified spiral.

It’s really kind of depressing, the idea that, unconscious observations can snowball until they are crippling phobias. It’s like knowing that at any moment, without warning, without even the benefit of a hint, that dormant tumor in our brain can fire off and destroy our every sense and function. So, instead of facing the frightening truth about the effed-up and finicky idiosyncrasies of the human brain, I drew a picture of a dog peeing on a tree.

However, not long after that particular psychology class had come and gone, I found myself in one of those moments of reflective personal clarity. It had to deal with milk, yogurt, urine, leathery nipples, and my own unconscious phobias.

I have always hated milk, hated it like it was already rotten and festering with green pustules like some deathly pale burn victim. It’s my liquid equivalent to Indiana Jones and snakes. If it gets on my skin I have to rub and rub with hot water until I’m sure it won’t rot there. And if I see it, sloshing around like unhealthy semen, in almost any capacity, my gag reflex reminds me just how much it can hurt me.

What’s even worse is when I see milk mixed with anything. Once, as a cruel gag, a friend mixed his apple juice with his two percent milk near me. The translucent orangey juice mixed with the milk like blood injected into a hypodermic needle. It looked like an unholy insemination, and it resembled the beverage I most associate with the cafeterias in Hell. By my reaction, you might have thought I had stumbled upon a Serbian mass grave. I gagged and almost fell out of my seat, which caused quite a stir with the other diners. However, my mind was not on the fact that I was making as ass of myself, but rather on the white hot fear and anger I was currently experiencing at the hands of squeezed apples and bovine excretions.

Up to a certain point, which I will refer to as my moment of clarity, I accepted my milk phobia like all rational humans accept death. It was an inevitability as necessary as breathing, eating, and fapping. I did not question it, which would be like a retarded infant trying to comprehend the stars and streetlights. Any such cognitive probing would result in more questions than answers. Frankly, I don’t think I was yet ready for the truth, which, one day as I lay in bed, struck me like an abusive stepfather. I had to live enough life to be able to come to grips with the roots of my phobia before I could begin to come to grips with it. However, like so many of those little mental secrets, it eventually leaked.

It was my moment of clarity, my time to shout eureka, my Eli Whitney moment as I invented my cotton gin. And, as an incontrovertible truth, it was morbid, disgusting, and scatological. The story begins quite some time into my past. The setting is somewhere around my mothers gnawed on areola.

In order to understand the gist of this tale, one must have some inclination as to the nature of my mother. And, in this brief profile, I don’t mean to pass judgment, merely facts.

She is a traditional woman. Not traditional in the classical sense. Not like staying home and making food for exhausted man-folk to consume upon their return from the fields. Not traditional in any literary motherly sense.

She is, rather, traditional in the way mother bears and Indian Squaws are. Her traditions are very rooted in the basic principles of nature, natural healing, the teachings of The Buddha, and a strong belief that a placenta is something to be consumed for protein and holistic goodness.

It pains me to write this next bit. However, it is so vital to my story that I would do myself a disservice by not writing it. The embarrassing truth and white elephant of my childhood is that my mother breast both my brother and I until we were very much too old to participate in the sucking of a mothers tit without an awful undertone of unrealized sexual tension. I was banished from the teat at the age of about two (which is rather old), and the knowledge of this makes me want to hurl my lunch into a toilet somewhere.

The very fact that my supply of nutrition, for the first two years of life came, at least in part, from the very body of my mother, instills in me savagely psychotic thoughts. There are times when I count the similarities between Norman Bates and myself as more in number than the differences that fictional momma’s boy and I share.

I have no memory of my life as an un-weaned wild child, or I would most certainly recount some tales of when I still thrived on mother’s milk. However, my ignorance is not a trait I regret. Some things we’re better off not remembering. Like battered war veterans who have blanked on certain horrors which they witnessed, I blacked out any recollection I may have had of being a first person suckler.

Though, I do have many, many, many, dark memories of my brother being nursed. He went even longer than I in his partaking of the mother buffet. When he was weaned, he was about three years old. That poor boy-child had it the roughest. I often wonder if he remembers those dark days of human lactose. I would never dare ask him.

I remember, in particular, one car ride we took as a family. I remember this without fault, like I saw it in a movie. My father, brother, mother, and I were on some long car trip. The ride took place in the span of time in which I was done breast-feeding and my brother was not. I don’t remember what brought this about, but, long story short, my mother took her awful purple bosom out and squirted some milk into a small cup, which she passed about like a mixed drink at a frat house. In turn, she sipped it, passed it to my father who also sipped it, and then gave the cup to me. I sipped it. The taste of it, like warm birthday cake icing, still haunts me.

That era of my life was critical in instilling in me a fear of milk. It was, however, not the only ingredient of my phobia. The plot begins to thicken a few years later when, in a life or death situation, my life would be forever changed by the foulest concoction I have yet smelled.

When I was about eight and my brother five, there was a snowstorm in Pittsburgh. It blanketed everything and fogged the sky for miles. The snow came down so thick that it looked like ice shaved off a giant glacier. My mother, brother, and I had the misfortune of driving in that apocalyptic mess. We didn’t get far. Before we knew it, our blue Nissan Maxima had stalled out somewhere on the highway. We were pulled over to the shoulder, dormant like a dead animal, slowly being encased in snow and ice. I remember looking out the back window and seeing the ice crystals forming on the glass and being reflected like celestial objects by the manufactured glow from the street lights.

My brother and I were yet too young to realize the dire nature of our predicament, and, to this day I don’t know how bad we had it. All I know is my mother seemed to think we might freeze to death, and she kept leaving the car to clear our exhaust pipe of snow to avoid carbon dioxide poisoning.

We were there several hours, and visibility was getting horrible. Night had set in, and with it, so too any hope of a car seeing us and picking us up. And still, the snow came fluttering down in great amounts. Before long, we were entirely encased. Everything looked pretty bleak, and the cold had crept into the car. My mother had finished her yogurt.

I have failed, up to this point, to mention my mother’s yogurt habit. This is a glaring omission, since yogurt figures prominently into this story.

She would eat plain Stonyfield farms yogurt literally by the quarter gallon. Plain yogurt does not mean vanilla yogurt or anything else of the sort. Plain yogurt is nothing more than solidified milk fat, gelatinous, creamy, smelly, and fatty, squeezed inside a plastic container. When the container was first opened up, a pool of stagnant looking water would slosh around on top, bits of unattached yogurt floating around in it like bloated week old cadavers in river water.

My mother would take to it like a hog to gravy. She scooped that awful dairy product up with little white plastic spoons, licking every bit of yogurt off before descending again into the pit. It was a habit, which, before we became stranded in the freezing cold, already gave me the willies and the nillies.

At some point during our desperate situation on the shoulder of the highway, my mother finished her yogurt much, I imagine, to her ravenous milky chagrin. The smell of the yogurt permeated the car as if shot from a gas canister intended to flush out lactose intolerant hostage takers. The odor reminded me of the innards of a constipated cow. Our encased car soon became a hot box of that foul smell. At this point, I began to feel the first twinges of claustrophobic panic. As the snow closed around us, and we started to look more and more like Inuits, and the idea of this car becoming our grave seemed more and more plausible.

Eventually, my mother’s bladder caught up with her, and she announced that she could no longer hold her water. She had to urinate, and she had to do it immediately. Now, if only there was some round and hollow container into which to spill herself.

Eventually and inevitably, she picked up the yogurt container and asked us to avert our eyes. I still remember the awful sound of her stream hitting the plastic bottom.

She filled it up. The smell of urine and yogurt could be used in Guantanamo Bay as a form of torture tantamount to water boarding and naked humiliation. It smelled like ammonia mixed with old sour cream. There was no retreat from it. It was either that or brave the cold. Had I been a braver child, I might have walked into traffic.

However, as a timid and freezing little boy, I just sat there and took it all. The hours felt like hours with bamboo up my urethra. The cold continued to invade our car, and we sunk deeper and deeper into the seats to escape it like Hitler and his staff falling further and further back into the bunker.

Finally, the cold was too much, and we could do nothing but shiver. I’m not sure how close to freezing we actually were. However, in my young mind, I was sure we were about to become icicles or snowmen or something of the like. So, in what may have been a misguided attempt to protect her pack, my mother demanded that we utilize the only source of warmth that we still had. This was, of course, the urine filled container. So, much in the same spirit as mountain climbers who gnaw their own arms off to survive, we passed that ungodly hot water bottle back and forth like a marijuana cigarette.

There’s not much else to say about it. We used my mother’s urine to stay alive that night. For better or for worse.

Eventually we were rescued by an off duty police officer, to whom my mother cheerfully described the manner in which we stayed warm. When she said this my cheeks went rosy, and I became, for the first time, keenly aware of how parents could embarrass their children.

We made it home safe and sound that night. However, just like Iraqi war veterans, my scars did not dissipate upon return. Instead, in true PTSD fashion, they expanded.

Truthfully, an aversion to milk is not such a terrible price to pay for not being found dead in a car clutching to a yogurt container filled with my mother’s steamy urine. I’ll take it.

Psychologically speaking, at least when referenced with my rudimentary knowledge of the subject, it all makes sense.

Paired with my latent weaning, the story of yogurt builds a clear blue print for phobia and psychosis.

As for this story, I’d rather know than not know. And, as someone recently pointed out to me, being breast-fed that long might have resulted in me being afraid of boobs. Dodged a bullet there.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Let's focus on what really matters", suggests Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Since last December, the Israeli government has maintained a policy of keeping settlement construction partially "frozen" in the occupied West Bank. Settlement construction (which is really government-supported annexation) in East Jerusalem (which is really part of the West Bank), however, has been allowed to continue unabated throughout this period; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that Jerusalem will forever "remain the undivided capital of Israel."

Now it seems that the parts of the West Bank that aren't East Jerusalem are also fair game for Israel's settlers -- the freeze has officially expired. As Ha'aretz reports, the United States' diplomatic team is frantically trying to preserve the current round of "peace talks" between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (who represent the Palestinians of the West Bank, although not thanks to any kind of popular vote) in the face of this new development. The Arab League is set to convene on Oct. 4th at the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss whether or not the PA should continue negotiating. One wonders what the actual people of Gaza and the West Bank have to say about these matters. But not to worry:
Netanyahu said that his intentions to reach a peace agreement are "serious and honest."
"I say to [Palestinian Authority] President Abbas: For the sake of our two peoples, let's focus on what really matters. Let's continue expedited and serious peace talks to reach a historic framework peace agreement within a year."
The implication, in case you missed it, is that Netanyahu's support for the removal of more and more Palestinian land is not what really matters. On the contrary, his seriousness, his honesty, and his good intentions really really matter.

My moral inclination is to be nauseated by rhetoric like this, but ultimately you can't blame the guy. Abbas and the PA have all but stated, by again opting in to the peace talks charade while the West Bank gets smaller and smaller and less and less contiguous, that Israeli settlement doesn't matter to them. Meanwhile, Netanyahu and Obama have proven that the Palestinian people don't matter by systematically ignoring Gaza's need for self-determination as well as freedom of exchange and movement, and by negotiating with the corrupt and weak PA as though they actually represent them. The vast majority of journalists have shown what matters to them (hint: it isn't accuracy) by short-handing the PA to "the Palestinians" in stories about the peace talks, as in this quote:
According to the source at the Paris meeting, the Palestinians would be prepared to give up their demand for a full freeze if Netanyahu declared he is willing to discuss the issue of the 1967 borders and a land swap.
What matters to those in power is the circulation of the narrative that "the Palestinians [or 'the Arabs', depending on the context] don't want peace", that "all they want is war and terror", and that they (and any who support their freedom) "hate Jews." Since Oslo, another "peace process" that coincided with massive settlement construction, this has been the go-to narrative of those who wish to avoid fundamental change -- i.e., full Palestinian equality. The peace process is, simply, a rhetorical [white phosphorus] smoke-screen, and behind it are the facts on the ground, which speak without talking.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Against libertarian exceptionalism

This reason.tv video, about the charming old guy who owns Anchor Brewing Company and the recent increase in craft breweries in the US, got me thinking about where I really break off from some of the people at reason, WFTC, and other libertarian-of-center ideological communities.

The charming old guy in question, Fritz Maytag, proclaims at one point that he is an exceptionalist: he views the American story as particularly amazing, inspiring, and beautiful. He's a hardcore patriot. I think this attitude is quite widespread in this country (especially in rural areas, but just about everywhere, really), and perhaps even abroad as well, but I'm going to argue that it's not an attitude that a libertarian ought to have.

Above all else, a libertarian ought to care about liberty, and the principles of liberty. It doesn't matter how you cobble together your principles, from which Hayek, Mises, Rand, Rothbard, Friedman, or Locke text, or even from none of them like me; as long as they are principles of liberty, you are a libertarian. In the words of Omar, "a man got to have a code." I described mine this way in a post I wrote in February about foreign policy & libertarianism:
I don’t believe governments have the right [emphasis added] to intervene in any individual’s free actions, ever. I believe every individual ought to be free to act; I believe the law ought to codify as crimes [those] actions freely committed by individuals which deny other individuals’ freedom; I believe the government ought to enforce the law by restricting the freedom of guilty individuals, but only to the extent absolutely necessary to preserve the freedom of other individuals [in the future]. [...] Implicit in this belief system is that one of the freedoms guaranteed to individuals is the freedom to commit crimes. If and when they are committed, the individual faces punishment by the government.
That, in a paragraph, represents the core of my views on the proper role of government in human life, one that emerges logically from my moral philosophy, my code: that all self-conscious beings capable of acting ought to be free to act. (This is the moment when a bunch of practical questions scamper out from behind the couch, but just do your best to ignore those for now.)

And so I ask all libertarians this: why, from our perspective, is the American story so amazing, so beautiful, so inspiring?

Undoubtedly anyone who has attended a public school or a patriotic private school can explain with gusto that the principles of freedom and liberty are in our nation's founding documents, that they are our national creed. But have the actions of the US government since Independence, often with the unanimous support of the polity, really preserved the freedom and liberty of all? (Do I really need to mention Indian removal and slavery? Our numerous imperial impositions of military force and wars of aggression against other nations? The near constant government impositions upon the free market? The utterly selective and unprincipled applications of the law? The fact that we imprison more human beings -- literally removing their freedom to act -- than any other nation in the world? The fact that our executive branch today has the legal ability to kill without trial? And on, and on, and on.)

In short, I'd argue that while the principles of freedom and liberty have always been in our government's lexicon, they have not, in general, guided its behavior. We have a market freer than many other nations, yes. We can speak and assemble more freely than many nations, yes. But the exceptions to the two preceding statements from our past should never be forgotten, and they ought to help us guard against such exceptions in the present and future. Paradoxically, these exceptions reveal that the United States as a nation is not exceptional.

Nationalism is always the enemy of liberty, even when that nationalism is articulated in terms that deify liberty. Moreover, a nation is an exceedingly complex thing. It's a multitude of individuals doing good things, doing bad things, doing mediocre things, living and dying and working and sleeping and fucking and going to the bathroom and watching sports and doing drugs and eating. That's true of every nation. When a value judgment is made about a nation as a whole, it's always a lie designed to serve the interest of someone powerful in that nation or another nation.

The complexity of nations, of human beings, is precisely the reason that I'm a libertarian. I'm skeptical that anyone can control us, and I'm skeptical that anyone can understand what's best for us. Since no one can, the rule ought to be that no one has the right to. But to claim that the American story is exceptional, to claim that America is exceptional, is to claim that you are omniscient. It's to lie, which you shouldn't do on principle, but which you also shouldn't do as a libertarian for the practical reason that you're spreading a lie that helps justify US government actions which deny human freedom domestically and internationally.

Exceptionalism is a form of nationalism, and nationalism is the tool of authoritarianism. Authoritarianism and libertarianism are incompatible. Thus, libertarians should not be exceptionalists. Let that syllogism be your guide in an increasingly authoritarian US political sphere.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11/01: the opposite of a sobering moment?

Today we look back nine years at the day when four commercial jets were used as weapons against the United States.

For me, the most difficult (but ultimately, the most rewarding) conclusion to make has been that the policy choices of the United States, NATO, and Israel (in short, the Free World) toward the Arab/Muslim world, policy choices which have amounted to, broadly, wholesale manipulation (supporting Al-Qaeda against Russia, supporting the Shah against the Iranians, consistently supporting the Saudis, and on and on and on) and occupation (the West Bank, Gaza, the first Gulf War, and on and on and on) for the purposes of geopolitical advantage, contributed enormously, from a causal standpoint, to the events of 9/11.

Of course, to borrow the favorite phrase of our current President, let me be clear: the 9/11 terrorists still "did it." They're still murderers of innocents, and thus they have earned the condemnation of history. I have been accused in the past by angry commenters (of neo-con disposition, I do believe) at When Falls the Coliseum of stripping the people of the Middle East of any causal power, and I do not seek to do that. But to deny that our callous, reckless actions in that region have provided al-Qaeda's recruiters with an irresistible narrative is to simply blindfold oneself to history.

And, as I have argued multiple times, that's what makes the Free World's actions in the Middle East since 9/11 so face-smackingly awful: they've only strengthened, made all the more salient, the evidence for that narrative.

Imagine you're a 14-year-old, haughty and reckless and naive and arrogant, and impressionable, as most kids of that age are (I know I was). As fire rains from the sky from vehicles that you've never seen before in your country, as people in uniforms you've never seen before in your country approach your home, screaming in a language that you don't understand, to take your older brother out of your home and into their truck and away; just then an older man from your town and your country, perhaps a spiritual leader, but most importantly a native and a native speaker of your own language; this man tells you: "they're not trying to save you, even though they'll tell you that. They're trying to exploit you, and exploit our land. And they'll kill you if you get in their way. The only way to show the world what they've done is to attack them, to try to bring some of our pain to their lands, to their people. It's only fair. It's vengeance."

First, consider what you would do in that situation, given that choice. Second, consider how similar that choice is to the choice our political leaders and our media gave us in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. The difference is that most of us were adults (although I was 12, around the age of the kid in my hypothetical), we lived in a relatively prosperous, free, and powerful society, and thus the response we gave to that choice was far more devastating than any the kid in my hypothetical, or the groups he may have joined up with, could hope to give. On 9/11 we lost almost 3,000 civilians; but we've killed tens of thousands of civilians in our ensuing War on Terror, scores more foreign fighters, and we've lost scores of our own troops. Similarly, when Israel went to war with Hamas in Gaza in late 2008, Hamas and other militants killed thirteen Israelis, while Israel killed about 1500 Gazans (most of them civilians).

This bloodshed is incomprehensible. These wars are stupid, expensive, and wrong. Undoubtedly the public sentiment after 9/11 was such that our political leaders couldn't have done nothing, but how much of that was their own doing, and the media's doing? And why couldn't we have, for instance, carried out one major military strike targeting those connected to the 9/11 terrorists and been done with it? Instead, we're engaged in long, bloody, no-end-in-sight occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq (and Pakistan, and Yemen, and Somalia), occupations which are portents of the next 9/11.

Indeed, what we ought to "never forget" is what we did to encourage the last 9/11, and what we're doing to encourage the next. Never forget what we've done to our current and future course as a nation and the futures of all those impressionable young kids in the Middle East.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Little Man

When he walked into the bank a rush of cold came with him. The streets were packed with snow, a blinding, thick snow. Its depth was to the knees of most large people. Short people, people like him, they found themselves enveloped to their waste by freezing powder. So, on the day he walked into the bank, he was soaked and shivering.

Naturally, in a manner that completely coincided with the overall unfairness of the universe, of the two tellers, the fat, rotund woman with the puffy face had a much shorter line than did the lovely, blond with the protruding breasts. Jealousy and confusion and behind the back rumors must have plagued their working relationship.

Luck as well as beauty, as it turns out, was not on the side of the fat teller. Her unfortunate looks (be they derived from unfortunate genetics or gluttonous and exorbitant life choices) would prove her downfall. Because, when the short, half soaked, man saw the relatively miniscule line that had formed before her window, his choice became obvious. The pretty blond, smiling through infuriatingly perfect features, could not see beyond the opaque bubble of beauty within which she lay curled like a fetus. Her gaze was fixed beyond such petty things as the little man. And she might only laugh in the face of what he intended.

So, with a deliberate and somewhat weightless stride, the little man joined the dwindling line of the unfortunate heifer teller.

The people in front of him were oblivious, their minds so involved in the minutiae of their personal funds, to his heavy breathing and scared-white skin. Their bodies were defined by baggy winter clothes and sacks of skin full of fat, the kind of excess body mass that is only acquired through a life of denying our natural tendency to run across great distances. Their sad eyes, behind which was the weight and knowledge of mortality, were blind to his intentions.

In fact, as had been the case for most of his life, the little man passed before the world like a minor breeze. If people did, by chance or necessity, notice his existence, it was merely to avoid bumping into his physical being. And, upon his sallow face was a countenance of pure invisibility. His lips were thin, his eyes unremarkably brown and small, and his chin seemed to have been neglected in-uteri. Nothing of significance, it seems, could ever occur upon or within this man. He looked as if he would pass in and out of life in the same desperate and futile way a may-fly does. The desperate buzzing of his soul would never amount to more than a slightly distracting white noise in the barely audible background world of the people flanking him on all sides, phalanxes of large people marching on and on oblivious to him.

Even as he stood, sopping, in the more miserable line at the bank on a miserable winter day surrounded by miserable people who no longer had the gumption to wait in a slightly longer line to talk to a pretty girl, he was unmistakably the most miserable person in the world. The world being an expansive, blue, spiraling, ball of increasing misery.

Above him, in a cruel joke of architecture, the ceiling was so tall. Beyond that was the sky, which could not be taller.

It was an ordinary bank, the type that gets built to accommodate the desperate rush of people intent on populating an un-spectacular suburban landscape.

Beyond the bank was a parking lot. The concrete sea of it, scattered here and there by cars moored to a parking break, expanded across a great distance until it finally gave way to a shore of shops and restaurants. A movie theater lay just beyond this distant land of Apllebee's and TGI Fridays and it shimmered, a beacon for the sailor searching high and low for escapism.

This was a world of concrete where people grew bored and died. Where sensationalism was the only item on a menu that had been replicated with exact precision in other places exactly and nautically identical to this particular sea.

And this knowledge, this defining characteristic of what people had become, when coupled with his own miniscule heart and soul was enough to make the little man act in a drastic way. This, said the little jaw clenching under his soft skin like a writhing oyster in its shell, was precisely what the little man was going to do.

The line moved quickly and without the benefit of jovial human rapport. The only sound was the slight mumble of the tellers speaking to the people. Occasionally someone coughed. Once a cell-phone sounded off in an ironic ring tone. The teenager owning the phone silenced it, ashamed of her own joke.

The little man now, for the first time, seemed to waiver. The strong winds of the mediocrity around him had ruffled him a bit. He swayed under their tepid force. He clutched his chest as if he were a miniature Giles Corey being pressed by pebbles. Then, in the closest thing to courage the little man would ever display, he stood taller. His jaw clenched yet tighter like a vice securing a gushing and hopeless artery.

When it was his turn to speak to the ugly woman, with the ostensible purpose of managing his funds, he felt his heart take off in his chest and fly out into the cold air. He wished it well and pulled the tiny gun from within some hidden pocket of his coat.

At first, as her mind attempted to calculate and understand the predicament, she stared. Then, experiencing a personal seismic disturbance, she began to shake. Her jowls quivered like a bowl of jello on the table of an RV speeding over rocky terrain. Desperate tears streaked down her face. They flooded over her thinly veiled acne, and they pooled in the shallow scars caused by the selfsame affliction. She could not speak. Her voice was only audible as a squeak, a side effect of her desperate sobs.

The little man did not change expressions. In truth, he could not, for certain, tell you what he was doing. The idea that he was doing something had not yet crept into his brain. His plan, devised the night before, as he sat in front of his computer in a post-masturbatory funk with his pants around his ankles, had never quite been revised.

The rest of the bank had, by this time, become aware of the small mans actions. And they melted away from him as if he were the opened vein of an AIDS patient.

The pretty blond was crying, also. Her tears ran down her face, smearing the ridiculous cocktail of chemicals intended to make her prettier. The more enterprising young men in the bank, their minds already grinding towards the conclusion of this hiccup in their day, moved closer to the trembling blond. They eyed one another up like street-fighters pumped full of endorphins. Already, and without the permission of the little man, the world had begun to spin again.

He could not abide this. He had meant to stop their hearts, and all around him he could feel the tangible eyes on the back of his neck. Impatient feet stomped. Some skinny white man with a stupid beard was saying things at him, smiling as if they were old friends.

The fat one, the awful looking woman with the gelatinous chin, started to scream. With surprising athleticism she leapt over the counter. Waddling like a scared, handicapped, shaved Yeti, she attempted a frantic pilgrimage to the front door.

And then he pulled the trigger. She fell, screaming, blood escaping her middle parts in pools. Now all eyes turned cold on him. They turned to him, and, like sand, they poured over him. The gun was wrestled away from him. He felt its coldness leave his hand. Their hands tore and scratched at him. Parts of him were removed. Other parts of him were damaged beyond repair.

Outside the bank, a fat child dangled himself between his porky parents, sliding his fat feet along the snowy ground, as they walked into the welcoming front door of an Outback Steakhouse.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Jokes

Here are some more jokes I have written

I like playing pool but I’m mad shitty. I watch the guys on ESPN and they are better than I could ever be. But I realized that they play in unrealistic conditions. If I played in those conditions I would already be as good as them. I’m talking about the fact that they play in an appropriately sized room with no people around. No real person does that. You always play in some asshole’s basement where you hope your ball doesn’t stop on the long edge so you have to do the fucking trick shot that just makes you hit the table straight on with your cue, completely missing the ball and John, the asshole who’s table on which you are playing, says, “You don’t care about my things, in fact you don’t care about anyone’s things. That’s why you’ve gone through 3 wives and 12 packs of cigarettes in the past week. Why don’t you just lay down and die, Anil.” Anyway… I was thinking that there should be a new pro pool game called basement pool where they are in a 10x10 room with thirty people in there shifting around and heckling them.


I smoked weed with my friends from home for the first time recently. Somehow, they aren’t good at smoking weed. One of my friends held the joint with both hands with his fingers pressed hard against his lips. This reminded me of how 2nd graders dribble a basketball with two hands. That’s how one of my friends did it. Then I stopped and thought about my childhood and how my 2nd grade self would see me now. So I said, “Hey.”

“What?”

“Christina, pass the joint, I want to forget some stuff.”


I am a firm believer in evolution because, of course, I am the Devil. What probably happened was that we were created 6,000 years ago and Jesus came down at some point and buried dinosaur bones. As the Bible says: if thou dig unto the ground thou will be fucked with. Something I do not understand about evolution is how certain types of animals do not exist. Why is there no animal that just jizzes everywhere it walks? No matter if a female is around, it just jizzes. It jizzes to mark its territory, it drops a load to ward away predators, it busts a nut just for the fuck of it: like a sprinkler. Anywhere a female sits down in this path, she will get pregnant. Think how hard birth control would be if humans did this. Women would just have to wear a suit of armor at all times.