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October 21, 2018, 12:13:53 PM
608212 Posts in 46934 Topics by 6242 Members
Latest Member: LoriMatney Forum  |  Other Topics  |  Off Topic Discussion  |  Stream of Consciousness « previous next »
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Author Topic: Stream of Consciousness  (Read 11028 times)
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #60 on: October 10, 2017, 11:27:27 PM »

Imaginary conversation with a friend.

Friend (who's surfing the internet): I tell you, it's so confusing these days.  All this information, all these pictures and videos and stories you hear, it's hard to know what's real and what's not.  Hard to separate fact from fiction, and I frankly find it rather annoying.

Me: Well, it can be that way sometimes, but that's why you gotta get your information from multiple sources, do some research, and hopefully you'll find out with some degree of accuracy what news stories are true and which aren't.

Friend: News stories?  I'm talking about celebrity nude pics!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 04:37:57 PM by AoTFan » Logged
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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The world becomes a dream....

« Reply #61 on: October 11, 2017, 03:50:25 PM »

My cousin, his friend the weekend rent-boy, and I went to a lecture about the supposed paranormal the other evening, given by a group of self-dubbed ghost hunters, and it wasn’t bad if you could lay aside a knee-jerk impulse to roll your eyes at how don’t-laugh serious the presenters were. They played an EVP of a gargley voice going, “Leave or I will hurt you” (or maybe it said “Beaver, Wally heard you”) and showed a nice PPP about shadows and orbs and the like, put up some shots of genuinely spooky wouldn’t-go-there-sober places like a prison built atop an Indian burial ground, a middle school built atop an Indian burial ground, and an Indian burial ground built atop an Indian burial ground, but they said they said one indication of whether a group you see on TV is genuine is the frequency with which they claim to encounter demons, which the speaker said are actually uncommon compared to genuine ghosts.

Hmm, thought my mother’s daughter, yet Jesus always seemed to run into demons a bunch. Go figger, as the love of my life would once have remarked.

Demons got me thinking of my mother in law and the Keebler Elves, but also of John Milton. Specifically, ever read Paradise Lost and start thinking Lucifer had it together, and then you wonder why someone so brightly eloquent couldn’t grasp that God would've known an infinite number of years before he began his revolt everything Lucifer was gonna do in that revolt? Or that God, again, being GOD, wouldn’t weave Lucifer’s revolt into his (okay, just this once -->) His plans for ultimate triumph through His creation?

Or why God didn’t just go to Lucifer a trillion years ago and be like, “Son, I know what you’re up to, so stop before I have to smite you with horns and a tail, K?”

I think Lucifer would have appreciated that and everyone could have happily gotten along behind the Pearly Gates eating ambrosia and mana, with Lucifer going in his Yorkshire accent, “Thanks, Lord, I feel a right git knowing you were onto me the whole time.”

(Of course without the devil we never would have had rock and roll or chocolate, so, yeah, God is wise.)

Sometimes when my mother in law (yes, it’s her, not the Keebler elves) shifts into her machinations I feel clever like God must have when Lucifer started plotting behind his shining back. Like when she is attempting to do a low-key outa the corner of her eye clandestine glance at someone in public, usually preambled by one of her friends saying something like, “That little waitress’ nose ring makes her look like a hussy, doesn’t it?” she resembles Katharine Hepburn wobbling her head in that direction while pretending she is, ho-hum, just happening to glance that way.

My mother in law never quite made it a secret she would have rather her son married someone other than me, and if she was never “exactly” unwelcoming, she also left no mystery about her preferences. In fact if I ever had any doubts about that an email of hers cured me in the mid-‘00s, she coming to the wonders of the paperless letter about a decade after everyone else, when she accidentally sent me a copy of a private missive intended for her son’s eyes only, not quite grasping that “reply all” meant REPLY ALL. Thus I and all her contacts awkwardly learned in great detail what she truly thought of me.

If most people I know had sent out a reply-all while blasting someone down to the DNA level, I’d have comfortably assumed it was intentional, but, no, I knew she truly was that technologically inept. So I gritted my teeth, slammed a tennis ball against the side of my house for a while with my cursed racquet (why it’s cursed is a story for another time, but LSS when I was fifteen it nearly killed me), then asked my spirit guide Oscar Wilde for some soothing words. Ireland’s greatest homo reminded me that: “Evelyn, the only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about.”

That being not very comforting I gave Oscar an ectoplasmic Viagra and told him to f**k off back to buggering Plato or something.

My future husband, who’d also read the email, hurried over after work and brought me flowers and said, “Laugh it off, she wouldn’t think Helen of Troy was good enough.”

“Yeah, um, okay,” I said, “I’ll do that. Ha and ha.”

Truthfully he was right, no woman ever would have met the checklist in her dream category (wide childbearing hips a must) but it seemed I was just really off the mark, being everything from not a WASP to not a Republican to working a job that she couldn’t quite put her finger on but something about it wasn’t right, to being a vegetarian, to not liking cat figurines that much, to apparently somehow in her mental gymnastics having me down as both an agnostic and a Catholic, to being…how should I put this…um, if I were a snowdrift I’d have other footprints on me? But the thing that really made it okay and left me laughing it all off was………she insinuated that I stuffed my bra.

Stuffed my bra, yes.

What is this, I thought, 1950? Who stuffs a bra anymore?

I said to her son, “She thinks I stuff my bra? You know that’s insane.”

He said, most gratefully, “Oh, yeah.”

Okay I’m not top-heavy or anything, just a B-cup, but I don’t have to stuff my bra, for gosh sakes, so my mind was just nuked.

When she found out she’d emailed her private thoughts to about sixteen people, including me (she had my email address because she’d send out links to pictures of porcelain kitty cats and other nauseating things she collected) her embarrassment was more than acute, like Spinal Tap’s stereo, it went up to eleven; double-blood pressure medicine for sure.

She tripped over her mouth’s feet apologizing and, grasping this’d give me the high ground for a long time thereafter, I said, “Ah, it’s all right, you were being honest in what you thought was a private communication.” (You creaky-kneed backstabbing blob.) “Don’t be embarrassed, you were looking out for your son.” (You sour old bag.) “Someday we’ll laugh about it.” (Like at your funeral.)

Oh, sure, in coming years she grew to tolerate me and reach the point of liking me a little by proxy since I did fulfill two of her deepest wishes, I got her son married, and I helped give her grandchildren, though the joke was on her, I did it partly out of order.

Speaking of that blessed event (not our wedding, which she talked me out of having in a cemetery, the other blessed event) she wanted us to give our first daughter this name she’d loved since she was our age, a name she’d have bestowed on her own little girl, if she’d had one. It was a name that in her mind shone with golden light, which rang with angel-voices, a name which meant the world to her.

That name was Mimi.

No offense to anyone (still) reading this who might have a Mimi near and dear to his heart, but…Mimi? Mimi is fine for, say, a small yappy dog, but you name your daughter Mimi and you are pretty much assuring she’ll never get to be President of the United States someday, since no world leader is ever going to summon much awe at the prospect of a meeting with President Mimi. So the 131st time I let her down in my life was when I did not bestow her grandchild with the name Mimi.

Annnieway, the ghost hunters last night were a trip and my cousin flirted with one, his gaydar pinging “hot ass” loud and clear, and he and the rent-boy and Goober the ghost-chaser went out to Starbucks after the lecture, somehow being able at that age to chug lattes at 8:30 PM without losing the night to insomnia like me, and I came home to find, as I knew I would, none other than my mother in law watching the children---who absolutely love her.

As she left she asked if I’d tell her how the upcoming parent-teacher conferences at the kids’ school went, and I said, “Sure, I’ll email you.”

To this day the word “email” still makes her flinch.

It was great.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 03:53:58 PM by ER » Logged

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
Dark Alex
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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« Reply #62 on: October 12, 2017, 02:46:56 PM »

I love these dark nights. I can go walking late at night and its like there is no one else in the world. Went along a dark street with an open park on one side and trees on the other yesterday. I couldn't resist running through the piles of leaves and kicking them up. Without the heat of summer the nights feel cooler and less stuffy. I don't even mind if it rains a bit, after all that tends to keep everyone else inside and the sense of isolation helps me relax.

My boss wants to move me back into my old job in the windowless dungeon. I can't say I am looking forward to that, but I'll get it done. Hopefully I can get a move on to a more enjoyable and challanging job soon though.

Some times I really wonder if I'd be bothered if everyone else just vanished off the face of the planet. I'd just find the surviving cats and become their emperor.

Of course, about the only command they would obey would be ignore me and stare disdainfully in my direction.

Watching a TV series from the late 90's where Sir Christopher Lee discussing the past 100 years of horror. So many great old movies... so many of my idols dead now alas. Oh well it suits the time of year. Going down to see the family for 10 days after I finish work tomorrow. Got my little brothers stag do on Saturday, going to see my little half brother play rugby on Sunday, catching WASP playing in Glasgow on Monday and then the wedding on the following Saturday.

Oh yeah, and that means ER gets sole custody of long posts while I am gone.  Twirling


There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

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The world becomes a dream....

« Reply #63 on: October 13, 2017, 10:53:09 AM »

Gee, Alex, I---I'll try....

Today’s inadvertent topic: one thing the Church of Scientology gets right is how screwed up the field of psychology is.

When I just started middle school I and others in this hideous gifted program I was in had to see psychologists every week, and the one I was assigned to was this rather young woman named Doctor Nora, and this person had no business being around children or even being in her profession at all, she was simply a terrible, Orwellian human being. But anyway, one thing Doctor Nora did that sticks out in my mind was she was talking to me one morning, her ever-present notebook in hand, insulated tea-mug on her desk, probably all of twenty-six, and with her eyes half-hidden behind thick wide glasses she said, "Tell me all the filthiest cuss words you know."

Talk about being startled! I, an insufferably good child who rarely questioned authority figures back then, blurted out, "Why?"

She said, "It's about measuring your social development. I won't tell you said them, just tell me the ones you know."

I wouldn't do it, I refused, I said no, so she wrote something long down without saying anything to me for about thirty seconds, then without looking up at me she said about three truly bottom of the rung back alley words and asked if I knew them, and I turned red and squirmed and she said, "All right, I think you've answered non-verbally."

In all my years among mental health professionals, in school and later in a job I worked, no other psychologist or counselor ever asked me anything like that and I still wonder about it since it seems inappropriate. But then again, as I said, Doctor Nora was utterly heinous and used to tell many lies and violated confidentiality on several occasions. Although she looked nothing like her, she reminded me a little of Delores Umbridge from Harry Potter, falsely-sweet exterior, cruel inside.

A few years in the future, 1995, having by then grown used to speaking to “thought-doctors” I was asked if I would do my father’s employers a favor (as they phrased it) and answer some questions about how I believed my father was doing in light of the stresses caused by his impending divorce, and since my dad said, yeah, go ahead, El, it’s all right, I agreed. The trippy thing was this psychologist they had me go see about my dad (he had a high clearance for his job so he had to be stable) was a Navy officer who looked exactly, and I mean ex-actly, like the TV talk show host Montel Williams. To this day I am not sure it wasn’t Montel Williams, though why Montel would’ve been moonlighting as a Navy psychologist in a mid-sized city I don’t know. He asked me about how my dad was doing, and I sat there feeling the GUEST/VISITOR laminated badge  they gave me to get in the facility hanging around my neck like a millstone, and I answered honestly that while, yeah, sure, he was upset, he seemed fine and had really been helping me with my homework lately. Also he still coached basketball for an inner-city youth center. Oh, and he was way nice to those disadvantaged urban kids. Yeah, he was just great. Doing fine. Perfect. Ran two miles a morning, wasn’t drinking or kicking my dog, Charlotte Sometimes. His guns were locked up and everything.

Not-Montel asked me more things, none of them seemed particularly significant or anything, then finally closed his notepad and asked if there was anything I wanted to talk about, since we had time left and I’d been “so good” as to come in. I said no thank you, sir, and he asked if I was sure, since what was going on at home was doubtlessly stressful on me as well and sometimes talking did help. I still declined and he left it there and thanked me, shaking my hand as we left. (At that age an adult shaking my hand, person-to-person was still worth noting as an event.)

Turned out I’d unknowingly ratted my father out without having a clue I was doing it, but, not wanting me to feel bad, he didn’t tell me for almost another twenty years how much trouble I caused him, and he said like a lawyer cross-examining someone on the stand the people behind the interview had been after one tiny iota of a fact, and I gave it to them. I asked why he didn’t warn me then, and on that rainy day in 2014 he said it was not his place to do that over something so important. That wasn’t how the rules worked.

Yes, Not-Montel was yet another snake in the grass in the field of psychology.

Though I’ve routinely seen psychologists across much of my life for school and work, only once did I ever consult with one of my own volition, since I am not sure the profession is all it’s cracked up to be (for starters they still have not arrived at defining the difference in “mind” and “brain” did you know that?) and I think there’s a certain inner-moxie that comes with toughing out life’s rough parts on your own. In fact during the worst stretch of months of my existence, the second half of the year 2000, knowing anguish I’d not wish on a North Korean bomb technician, I didn’t talk to anyone professionally, just endured a life in death inspired by a death in life, (thank you, Coleridge) and more or less pulled through to be the sunny soul I am today.

(The sunny soul who wanted to get married in a graveyard, yes.)

You know who actually did help me? A priest.

In high school I used to talk to this Jesuit priest, not confessing, I made that clear, I never asked for absolution, but he was a nice man, in his eighties then, gone now, and he invited me to come talk anytime, the seal of confession would still bind he, he said, even though I claimed not to believe in sin or forgiveness or absolution or indeed in God. So I’d head downtown about once a week to this gloriously lovely 1850s church called Saint Xavier’s and tell him about my adolescent life, its ups and downs, the squeeze plays and the pressures, the madness  and the mystery, and he was more helpful than any degreed psychologist I ever knew.  He also told me I had “scrupulosity” and was caught in a sort of harmful self-centeredness that focused on what I saw as my own failings and negative qualities, which to an extent could be a good thing, though he felt I’d taken it too far and beat myself up for everything I got wrong. (And since I felt I got so much wrong I wore a lot of self-inflected mental bruises.) He advised me to also concentrate sometimes on my good traits, and said it was all right to be proud when it was deserved.

Sometimes I wanted to reach through the confessional curtain and hug that man, he was so selflessly nice to me.

The really strange thing about the conversations I had going on with this ancient priest, though, was that I was initially drawn to him largely because I knew someone else who was going to him for actual confession, and that gave me a sort of frission to think I was telling this man one half of the same story someone else was feeding him from his perspective, so that even though as a cleric he could never reveal anything to me or about me, he was in the center of both sides, which…felt Hitchcockian.

Neither I nor the other party made a secret of what we were doing, going to the same priest, but neither of us ever confided to the other the things we were telling him about ourselves and the collective realm of “us.” Besides, love conquers much, as I found.

Here is a link to that kind old priest’s grave site, if you’re interested. Beam good thoughts at him, if you’re so inclined.

As I mentioned I did talk to a psychologist on my own just once, back circa 2005 when I got this ten-session retainer package for around twelve-hundred bucks, and she was actually more helpful than Not-Montel and Doctor Nora and the other double agents from school and on the job. I told her a lot of things, like how as far back as I could remember I’d had this fixation, this certainty, that I was going to die when I was twenty-nine years old. (Whoops!)  I told her about all the deaths of loved-ones I’d had in my life and about various stresses that came with my existence, and interestingly, using slightly different terminology she told me much the same diagnosis as the Jesuit priest had in high school, though instead of “scrupulosity” she said I had unresolved guilt issues (how vanilla), and she gave suggestions about how to overcome the feelings of self-blame she said I carried, things like writing letters to myself and to the objects of my issues.

Good advice, though some of the guilt was warranted and I wasn’t sure I deserved to shrug it off like I bore no responsibility to anyone else for anything they experienced. I had been cruel a time or two and I had inexplicably, spontaneously abandoned someone at arguably the worst time I could have done it. I’d also been half of something that was too terrible for words, so I never told her about that, though always knew what she’d have said, and I didn’t want to hear someone telling me to forgive myself for that too.

Whether it is coincidental or not, looking back I see that about the time I visited her I did experience a change of chapters in my life story and many of the issues that felt pressing to that point did fall away, and for about another decade I was good to go. I felt glad about the trajectory of my path, which was new and it was nice. I took trips, I had my first baby, I bought an assault rifle.

Then a few years ago, I slipped.

It happened because someone from the old days was moving back into town, re-opening deep scars, some deservedly terrible. Because I had never resolved any of those, just hid them, I got sucked into the gravitational pull of old issues and went through this odd era of being extremely past-focused, wallowing in remorse, grief, regret, almost to the exclusion of the present, which my friends more or less endured until it got so strange my husband sat me down one day and said, “We have a good life. We have our children, this house, our work, and a lot to enjoy now. We also have a whole future ahead of us. What you’re agonizing over was a long time ago and you need to get over this.”

Well, yes, he was right, and I did, it wasn’t that I didn’t have the power to make that choice, I consciously decided to close the door again on a loss that tortured me like a fresh wound. So I did tons of ab-crunches to burn off energy, gritted my teeth and got through my dread over this person I hated, partly for his connection to a lingering grief I, he, and all his family share, being unavoidably back in my outer life where I knew I was destined to encounter him.

Though like Sylvia Plath’s bell jar (the concept not the book) I wonder if it’ll descend again one day, my almost time travel-like concentration on parts of the past that ache to this very day? I hope not, because it’s rough on a parahyperthymesiac like me to be stuck reliving what’s over and done when the hard fact is there is nothing more useless than yesterday. (Except in its ability to teach us lessons.) In fact I got over at least part of it so much I am going to have lunch in twenty minutes with the person whose return I once dreaded. (Poor man, he never deserved to be hated like that….)

So is psychology helpful? I don’t know, but as I started off saying, that b***h Doctor Nora really blew.

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

Karma: 816
Posts: 5358

The world becomes a dream....

« Reply #64 on: October 14, 2017, 05:00:04 PM »

This morning the young woman who tried to cut her own throat in a car last month came by to see my teenaged cousin (once removed), and she also happens to be the only girl he's had sex with, though he's had lots of guys. He just figured he'd see what it was like, and she was into him, so, shrug, that was earlier in the year. ("Looser than I'm used to," was his verdict about the experience of heterosexual intercourse, and I just about fell off my chair when he told me that.)

It struck me that in slashing open her neck it was as if she released foul spirits or something, since she was the calmest, steadiest, most un-crazy person today, and she was NOT like that in times past when the vibes she gave me leaped around like fleas on a hotplate, and I cautioned my cousin then, "Do be careful of that one."

He, who reminds me so much of his mother in male form, all the stories of her life she used to dazzle me with growing up, said, "Are you saying for once you think I'm safer with men?"


Placid though she was today, my young cousin still got her out of the house as fast as he could and bade me not to be fooled, he thought she was still nuts.

Out of genuine curiosity I asked if she was so iffy why'd he mess around with her, and he said, "She asked me to."

There you go, she asked him to. Wow, why didn't I think of that when I was single?

I asked if he thought she was attractive, and he said yes, of course, he perceives female beauty, it just usually did not sexually activate him. (And she is by almost any standard a nice-looking girl.)

I said, "Is that what it's like? A separation of physical beauty from sexual beauty?"

He goes, "I guess because I did have to think hard about hot guys while I did it."

I picked up on him saying "usually" women don't arouse him and he said if his attraction to men is a ten his pull to some women is more like a two. Not a turnoff just much weaker.

Then he told me how she stalked him all spring after hanging around him all the time last winter while they were still in high school, and how all his friends told him he should not have done what he did with her because she was in love with him and she was a freak-girl.

This man to whom I was once engaged used to have synesthesia, and he'd tell me being around some people sounded like this shrill noise was going through his brain. I bet he'd have felt that about this chick even today because somehow her calm was almost more daunting than her normal instability.

Whatever the case may be regarding her mental health, good luck to her, I hope her life is happy and involves no more self-inflicted razor wounds, since eighteen would be ridiculously young to die.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 05:17:06 PM by ER » Logged

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
Frightening Fanatic of Horrible Cinema

Karma: 816
Posts: 5358

The world becomes a dream....

« Reply #65 on: October 15, 2017, 03:17:22 PM »

I recently ended a love affair that began in the days of my youth.

It happened when I made the tough decision not to stay a member of the National Geographic Society, as I had been since I was seven.

Perhaps it is a symptom of the problem when I point out that the notice sent to me from National Geographic (from a Florida-based mailing house, no less, not even from the HQ on the Mall in Washington DC) referred to my involvement with The National Geographic Society as a “subscription renewal” which may seem a minor thing but it’s not. You see, as Alexander Graham Bell and the other founders intended back in 1888, one joined The National Geographic Society in order to lend financial support to the noble endeavor of “increasing and diffusing geographical knowledge,” and the cheerfully gold-spined periodical that came in the mail was merely a monthly report that kept a member informed of some of the wonderful undertakings toward the pursuit of knowledge dues made possible. There was never an intention that the journal of the National Geographic Society be “merely” a magazine.

I think the cancer started when National Geographic began to appear on the shelves of supermarkets and (back then) book stores. That was….a mild rules violation right there, something longtime President Gilbert Grosvenor wisely resisted for years (his mantra was “We are not Life Magazine”) but no one kicked because, hey, more readership meant more funding, which meant more exploration, right? But it was a symptom of the decay that had already begun to fester deep within the skeleton that was supporting the world’s most distinguished instrument of information.

What the real final straw was for me I could not tell you. It wasn’t the “gender” issue this January, though that was an insult to biologists and rational thinkers everywhere with its efforts to argue that bi-gendered homo sapiens sapiens actually have as many as seven distinct sexes. Nor was it the four-part “food” series that was in actuality little more than anti-Malthusian bleeding hearts stoking the fires of First World plentitude versus Third World need. And it wasn’t even in itself the staff and editors working “global warming” into almost every feature each issue, or even the fact the once literate tone of the journal had given way to colloquial prose that included the occasional four-letter word. No, it was that these things were indicators of how the mentality had shifted among the board of directors, taking this once-strictly non-political gift to the world and turning it into just another blatantly slanted tome that tried to make us all feel bad about ourselves. (Hey, if I want to feel bad about myself I’ll listen to my ever-wise eight-year-old explaining why I am wrong about almost everything I think I know.)

And enough of that was far too much. I began to feel the Society had become like the Catholic Church circa 1500, in need of a purifying Reformation to draw standards back to their roots. I hungered for more articles on archaeology, on the outer planets, on the mission to save the dome of Hagia Sophia, on the efforts to reach absolute zero, or the quests to explain how the neutrino can exist and yet have no mass. I wanted less ink spent on how Third World peoples lack toilets, what Whoopi Goldberg thinks of the state of education, or why suburban Americans should beat themselves daily for enjoying the fruits of modernity gifted to them by the ingenuity of their ancestors.

I wanted to learn about blue whales in ways that included more than the (shameful) fact humans had once hunted them. I fondly recalled times when a piece about the Mariana Trench did not devolve into a spiel on how plastic bags litter the ocean waters. Remember when half the content of an issue could be a delightful travelogue written by some family driving a camper across Europe? When was the last time National Geographic published something fun like that? These days where are the informative pieces on South Africa’s revitalized packs of painted wolves? Where is a bit about the centennial of the horrors of the Somme campaign? How about an issue dedicated to Siberia’s taiga, those great stretches of sub-arctic forest which are the legitimate “lungs of the planet” and not, as so many now think, the fetid Amazon?  (I went to Brazil for my honeymoon and trust me, South Park nailed it, the Amazon is a Hell-ish nightmare.)

Above all I wanted to encourage editor in chief Susan Goldberg to learn the difference in “excellence” and “elitism” and quit hitting that Western Guilt button! I’m terribly sorry people in Rwanda don’t have skyscrapers and good libraries, and terribly glad we do, but isn’t it contrary to natural selection to think all population groups within a species could face different geographical challenges and nutritional benefits across many generations and yet result in exactly the same levels of competence within that species? Europe and Asia were great places to dwell, I’m sorry so much of the sub-Sahara wasn’t. Hey, I don’t make the rules, Charles Darwin did. Maybe God created everyone equally, but blind nature certainly didn’t. Deal with it or not, “Nat Geo” but stop complaining. (And FYI, for the record I hate when the journal is called “Nat Geo”.)

Oh, I still treasure National Geographic as a concept, this source of knowledge that enshrined the grand 19th century spirit of pure scientific exploration well into the nascent 21st century, but I love what was, not what is. Which is fine, since on digital I own every issue ever created, and, truer to the heart of what I’m talking about, have physical copies of every volume back to 1943, and about seventy issues dating earlier than that, so I have plenty of quality material to keep me going. In fact I love few pleasures more than finding a spare hour to lose myself in the columns of those old issues, their pages redolent of the libraries and scholarly bookshelves of times gone by. The digs of Heinrich Schliemann and Howard Carter, the London of the Tudors, the Maasai Mara migrations, the Leakey family in Olduvai Gorge, the graceful stalking of a leopard after her prey, the blindness of cave fish, the wildlife of the Korea DMZ, the Volga delta, the wonders of a Vermeer, the madness of Ivan Grozny, the inexplicable flight of the bumblebee…these are what I want National Geographic to be, not a record of the miseries of African secondary schoolgirls not having the same standard of feminine protection American women take for granted.

And I doubt I am alone in wistfully remembering when National Geographic had all that.

So let the current crop of agenda-propelled hijackers learn nothing from the plight of a fellow publication, the once glorious Smithsonian, as they dourly pilot the National Geographic Society straight into a volcano, weeping the whole way down about how evil and ethnocentristically self-entitled people in the developed world are. I might mourn but I’ll have decades of classical reading to comfort me. As for my “subscription”, well, I never had one. I was a dues-paying member and I wish the current management grasped the fine point of that. Maybe I’ll come back when they learn the difference, though I doubt they ever will.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 03:22:35 PM by ER » Logged

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
Bad Movie Lover

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« Reply #66 on: October 15, 2017, 05:24:14 PM »

Whoa ER, that one had teeth! Very scathing, I like it! It touched on something that is infecting every single aspect of our lives and its getting more forceful everyday. The mention of National Geographic got me thinking though, remembering things. Back in 7th grade, somewher between '92 and '93. That particular time left such an imprint on me. It was a transitional time. I was beginning to learn about things like consequence and social orders. The years that would follow would be increasingly awkward and painful. At this time I was not yet self aware enough to realize just how uncool I was, it was the end of a certain childhood freedom of not knowing or caring how others might think of  you.

That particular school year was mostly spent in ISS (in school suspension). It was great. If you got in enough trouble, you were sent to a room with the other delinquents, usually for 3 to 5 days at a time. You couldnt talk or interact with the others. The only thing you had to do was copy an entire page from a book, once you did that, you were free to draw or read or day-dream.  This gave me time to sharpen my super-hero drawing. The comic boom of the 90s was in full effect, so at that time, my drawing skills were in demand. Being able to draw wolverine and magneto paid off big time, I could trade drawings for goods and services, I had enough cry-babies, tear-jerkers and air-heads to last me a life-time.

The wardens name was Coach Buford. I think he used to be some big-time foot ball coach, he looked like one. He projected a silent strength. He pretended to not see a lot of things, he didn’t want any trouble, the perfect government employee. A year later he would retire and only later it would become clear why he was so low key. After working a lifetime in the system with a year left until retirement with a full pension and benefits. Theres no way I would risk that by having an incident with an illegitimate punk or one of his irate parents. Smart man. Its not worth it. He was like us, doing time.

One of the “perks” of being in ISS was being able to read, and reading material was provided. In the corner was a huge pile of  National Geographic. Most of them were old, some going back to the late sixties. I can still remember their funky smell. Who knows where these things came from or how they accumulated, many of them had a little sticker on the corner with a home address. I never saw one with the same address. How did they get there? 

There was always a surprise with those old “Nattys”. I liked to pull from the bottom of the pile. Whats it going to be today? Angkor Wat? Great whites? Tiwanaku? Malaria?

Oh, I can still remember the thrill of stumbling upon a picture half naked indigenous woman with mud caked boobs, and I was doing it in front of an authority figure. I was beating the system!

exterminate all rational thought.....
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« Reply #67 on: October 15, 2017, 06:09:57 PM »

That's hilarious, kakihara. I only got detention for one incident and at my school it was called ASA (After-School Assignment) and no one could believe I had it, they were all like, "Right, you got ASA, uh-huh." But I did, I got it in the fall of my tenth grade year for shoving this goshawful girl named Andrea one morning when she was blocking my locker and badmouthing my mom, and as luck would have it she fell onto her backside then got up and ran away crying, but good grief she had it coming and had been a pain in my life for many grades, so I couldnt bring myself to regret it. I think even the people who put me in detention were a bit amused I was there and knew what a shrew Andrea was. And like you I thought, "THIS is supposed to be punishment? This is a vacation compared to regular class." Alas we didn't get National Geographics to read. (I almost mentioned brown native breasts up there and should have. Well done. Two points.)

Y'know, someone oughta do a topic, "DID YOU GET IN TROUBLE IN SCHOOL?"

Heck, I bet even Indy has a story or two, and RC....he'll be off the scale.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 07:37:49 PM by ER » Logged

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How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

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« Reply #68 on: October 16, 2017, 09:14:11 AM »

I miss avatar kitty.

God of making the characteristic which becomes dirty sends the hurricane.
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« Reply #69 on: October 16, 2017, 04:46:12 PM »

I don't know if anyone is aware of the "Me too" thing going on in facebook right now about women who have undergone some sort of sexual assault or even rape. Although I've known lots of people who have done, its been something of a shock to me just how many friends and relatives have undergone this. I am feeling incredibly angry about it right now and wanting to go out and cut the balls off every man who has ever done these things.

One of my female friends started critizing people for posting this as not really being helpful especially to people who can't stand up and say it happened to me without fear of reprisal from friends and family. She has been raped twice and accused me of being cruel.

Anyway the arguement went on, me telling her that hiding things in the shadows helped no one and if she wasn't prepared to offer a better solution then she should stop putting down other peoples attempts to help. Eventually I am pretty sure she has unfriended me. Some how I don't feel bad about making this stand. If it brings out how big a problem this is to the forefront and gets something done about it I can live with her disapproval.

There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh.
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« Reply #70 on: October 17, 2017, 08:53:40 PM »

According to the late Danny Sugarman, author of the most fawning biography I’ve ever read, No One Here Gets Out Alive, Doors front man Jim Morrison said that “drugs are a bet with the mind.”

That line sounds just so shamanistic and cool when you’re a teenager, doesn’t it? But it loses something when you consider that the abuse of drugs morphed the version of Mr. Mojo Risin’ who said that into the obese, hypertensed, alcoholic twenty-seven-year-old who’d by then gone back to calling himself James Douglas Morrison, and become an ex-pat writer of incomprehensively awful jottings his chemical-saturated brain thought were poetry, a has-been who likely died of a heroin overdose while wedged into a bathtub.

I don’t know why so many people want to make that “bet with the mind” (more like a war on the mind) but they do, and living in a region sometimes dubbed Ground Zero for the narcotics epidemic drives home just how stupid involvement with drugs can be, and how many people lose that bet that sounds so cool when you’re young.

Today I was taking my littlest daughter into the library to return books we’d read over the weekend when I saw two police cars and an ambulance parked by the library entrance, and a man walking out said to me, “Might wanna come back later.” He gave me a pointed look that said he was absolutely serious.

I wasn’t sure what was going on but if it was something I wouldn’t want my five-year-old to see, well, better safe than sorry. So we drove down the block and killed an hour walking around and looking at coloring books and Halloween decorations at a drug store, then went back to the library, and this time the parking lot was clear except for a board of health inspection vehicle. Turns out, as I’d soon learn from an overwrought librarian, someone had overdosed on heroin in the restroom, and while that person was revived, in about two-dozen cases every week in my home city, others are not so fortunate. The board of health worker was on-site because the restroom had to be inspected, I was told, to make sure no harmful substances were left behind.

Living as I do in a region where morgues are literally having to leave bodies in hallways because they’re so full of overdose victims, I wonder why are drugs still so glamorized? I know there is a difference in various substances, that saying ”drugs” is simplistically throwing the same blanket classification over everything from marijuana to morphine, but the message is so often the same, that there’s some cool mystique around getting high, and that I don’t get.

Oh, I’m not immune, myself, just puzzled, and I can understand the allure of intoxication, be it psycho-genetic in nature or just a desire to while away an evening pleasantly buzzed, but why the widespread pretense that using various chemical substances somehow elevates a person’s social standing? See, that’s the part I don’t get, use them, whatever, but why is there a perception that it makes someone more daring to do that? If anything, being high on most drugs makes someone less appealing, less bright, less athletic, less sexually capable, and frankly leaves most people smelling worse, be it the burned foam rubber stench of crack that’s so hard to wash out of hair, or the reek of booze in someone’s sweat, and even marijuana does not exactly come across as the most fragrant of colognes.

So what is it?

I can remember one of the first times I felt it, that “oh, wow, I’m gonna go get drunk, how wild of me” attitude. I was sixteen and my twenty-year-old cousin decided she was going to get good little me wasted, and later she claimed it was to show me how terrible being very drunk felt, one of a long chain of life lessons she seemed to try to instill in me to scare me off of everything from shoplifting to sex, but I think mostly she thought it’d be funny to get me to that state, and usually I would have declined to participate in her game but that evening there was a perfect storm of conditions, everything from me being away from home for the night, staying with her at this little rented four-room college town cottage (that rested about ten feet off a highway) she called her “bungalow,” to the fact this guy I was in love with was coming by to hang out, to some X-factor of it seeming…well….like I said, cool.

Therefore when it was just her and me she convinced me to chug down beer after beer, and I was absolutely headed for true sickness but the guy I was going out with came in before the evening was too old, took a look at me, and gracefully positioned himself between me, my cousin and the beer (I guess I’d had about five of them), and talked me into walking around outside with him for a minute, and before we came in he whispered to me the sage advice, “Don’t drink any more, okay?”

(He also said drunk girls were either tedious or interesting but I was an exception in being both.)

I would have done basically anything he said and luckily he was looking out for me, as usual, so he was the one who let me in on the fifty-foot sign I was missing even though it was right in front of me, that being that my cousin was doing this on purpose, setting me up to be throwing-up sick in front of him, all for her own amusement.

Jeeeeze, man, could you get any redder than that?

So I sobered fast and was all right, and I had a lot of fun that weekend (even though those two, my cousin and my boyfriend, didn’t like each other as I expected they would), us roaming a university town where my cousin ruled the A-list in ways I never could or would, but I still wonder what I was thinking drinking that beer, and why did I believe I wanted to get so drunk in the first place when I had almost no experience with alcohol at all?

Intoxication has a mystical allure, I tell you….

In due time maybe I learned a thing or two after seeing another cousin so sick with alcohol poisoning she was indescribably pathetically grossly sad, visit another cousin in a facility after she had to be revived by paramedics following a collapse on a sidewalk near a college, the result of snorting  a speedball, I’d be there when a tough-as-nails friend of mine broke down telling about his brother’s death after a cocaine binge that robbed his family of everything that could have been, and when I was seventeen I’d save someone’s life after I walked in and found him more dead than alive, eyes rolled in his head, face flushed splotchy purple, mouth foaming,  after mixing the wrong combination of pills. (In his defense he wasn’t trying to get high, only get through a holiday-season event after a recent catastrophic illness left him weak.)

I guess you could say I’ve had the good/bad fortune of being there for occasions when drugs put less than the best foot forward, and I also feel truly lucky to have been born without the addictive traits that plague relatives in my generation.

Yet, I can’t pretend to be some absolute guru of sobriety. Not when I’ve been drunk a score of times, smoked a few jazz cigarettes, considered ingesting ayahuasca as late as last year, and on an infamous long-ago cruise took pills with my roommate and was left rubber-limbed and stumbling into a wall as I tried to navigate back to our cabin while some strange man sought to grope us both in a hallway, yeah, not real fun, so I’m not throwing stones at anyone, but it’s what I started off going on about up above that honestly perplexes me: with everything shedding contrary evidence on the matter, what makes drugs seem cool to so many people?

And that I don’t know.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2017, 09:03:33 PM by ER » Logged

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« Reply #71 on: October 24, 2017, 11:44:49 AM »

In college my roommate and I lived a floor above this middle-aged man named Ray, for whom I felt sorry and about whom most everyone else complained, and he was a true challenge.

For starters Ray chain-smoked, and we could smell it up in our place no matter how many towels we put in vents. He'd wake up in the night and fire up a cigarette, we could easily hear this through the thin floor, and I was sure he was going to burn us all to death sometime, so one day when I was getting the mail I asked him if he'd tried to stop smoking and he said yes but deep down he just didn't want to.

I said that sounded like my grandpa, and Ray got happy and said, "So if he’s still alive and smokes, there's hope for me, huh?"

Then as if on cue he lit another and kept puffing.

He proceeded to tell me he did once try to quit with hypnosis back in 1980, and learned to hypnotize himself for the same price as having somebody hypnotize him, and said if ever I wanted to be hypnotized for any reason, come see him, he wouldn’t charge me much.

I thanked him without irony and later tried to imagine a life-crisis or addiction of suitable magnitude to drive me downstairs to let Ray mesmerize me. I couldn't.

Ray also left his TV on LOUD honestly night and day, whether he was home or not, he never turned it off since by his own admission he was lonely and it provided an illusion of company.  He also once confessed the set didn’t always come back on after he turned it off so he left it on to be safe.

I asked if he had a newer TV that did turn on and off would he shut it down sometimes, and he told me, “Ellie, if I had a new TV I’d hock it and spend the money.”

So that bright idea went into the trash can.

But above all what I remember about Ray is he was a letch who would time his exits from his apartment downstairs to coincide with when we or any other females left ours, so he could try to brush up against us in the hallway or on the stairs, a thing for which he was so infamous we dubbed it "getting Raylested." It was like some creepy game, twisting your body sideways on the stairs to run the Ray minefield. He was absolutely shameless about it and if you timed your dodge just right you could actually catch him as he leaned his beer belly out toward you in these "accidental" Twister-like contortions.

When my mother visited me one summer I delicately broached the subject of these intrusions with him (since he never denied what he was doing and even seemed to find it funny) and mentioned if he happened to smear against my mom on the stairs my dad would hear of it and likely Ray would wake up naked covered in oats and honey in a camel market in Yemen, so how about giving her a pass?

“Oh, sure, El, anything for a fiend.”

The man lacked all shame.

Yes, he was gross but I did feel sorry for him because he was wretched. He drove an old car that barely ran, this like 1979-ish Buick, but yet he was convinced every kid that passed by our parking lot existed only to come vandalize his vehicle, so when school let out he'd stand in his window and watch and when some Butthead-looking teenager happened by he'd shout down to the sidewalk:

"Better not see you touch my car, punk! I’ll kick your ass!"

One night I came home in a merry mood and wrote some things in the dust of the back window on Ray’s old Buick, and in the morning he was asking around, "Did any of you see someone vandalize my car last night???"

"Vandalize" being the writing of BITE ME in the dusty grime.

It made him so crazy he sat up all night to catch the miscreant (some teenager, of course) on a return visit to the scene of the crime, and he bade me please phone him night or day if I saw anyone doing it again. I kept a straight face only through superhuman will power.

I remember one Halloween in particular Ray came and stood on the front stairs when we were giving out candy, and complained non-stop to any of us who would listen (which meant me, everyone else ignored him) and helped himself to piece after piece of our mini-Three Musketeers, and then he tossed the wrappers down so I had to pick them up before I went back in. My roommate said I should shove them under his door but what was the point, you know?

But the really strange thing about this man was Ray was a lawyer. Or... he'd been to law school and passed the state bar (that makes you a lawyer, right?) but he worked as a telemarketer for some mind-befuddling reason when I would think almost any attorney could make a better living practicing than trying to sell vinyl siding in a boiler room. Yet that was what Ray did, he worked in this phone room and lived on the ground floor of an almost run-down student apartment building, so broke he borrowed packs of Raman noodles from us a few times, and occasionally I’d bring him back Taco Bell and he acted like it was the gifts of the three wise men.

I did feel bad for Ray, though he made it hard.

For instance he had a teenage son he never saw and really never much had because he said he did the male version of aborting him. I made the mistake of asking what that was and he went into this long dissertation of how if a woman doesn't want a child she can have an abortion but a man is stuck supporting the result of an unwanted pregnancy, so while he could not help that he was forced to pay child support, he could pretend this kid was aborted and never think of him.

I asked if that was working for him, and he said it was. I went, what about birthdays and Christmas, don’t you ever feel sad then? “Nah, I picture her in a clinic back in 1984 and that clears my mind.”

Just....I was at a loss for words about that.

Ray could be funny but Ray was also a bitter man who was convinced life had dealt him an unfair hand. He wanted to give everyone advice and said he was good at it, but I thought physician heal thyself, dude, you’re living like a bum.

One memorable piece of advice was when this guy from back home came and visited me up there Ray told me after he was gone (I swear to God), “I hope you had sex with him up here because you’re going to lose out on him if you didn’t.”

I looked at Ray and didn’t feel mad or anything just… What does someone say at a moment like that?

Toward the end of my residency in that dumpy little flat I did learn to my surprise Ray actually found a woman who was willing to spend her life with him. There’s someone for everyone, I guess. She was rough and out-smoked even him, coughed when she talked, and drank wine straight from a bottle, but she was pleasant enough and friendly and did seem to care about him, and above all she turned his blasted TV off at night, for which she still holds my gratitude.

Eventually Ray and this woman left the building, shortly before I did, and moved somewhere across town with wedding plans, and I lost touch with them and have never found anyone from those times who hears news of Ray anymore, so good chance he's in the great smoker’s lounge in the sky, but he is much more fun to look back on and laugh about now than he was to live above, Raylestation and all.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 11:51:04 AM by ER » Logged

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
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« Reply #72 on: October 24, 2017, 07:14:35 PM »

the previous post reminds me of how much trouble my total inability to keep a straight face has gotten me.
   my first semester( junior year) at my vocational high school, i didn't go to very many of the regular classes, as i had already done the work at my old high school, so i took that time to do 2 years of learning all the stuff about electronics that i would need to graduate with my class and get all of my licences senior year, like everybody else. i did that work in the school library, so i spent all day for a week there, then the next week was learning the hands on stuffin shop class.
  anyway, roundabout thanksgiving, mr. dempsey, one of the english teacher came in and asked why i wasn't in class with the guys in my shop. being an idiot, i laughed and said i'd completed honors english through freshman college at my old school. very stupid barri.
   he went to the principal and demanded that i be inclasss, and the principal complied. so i went.and i aced every essay and book report, because i'd ALREADY DONE THEM! this p**sed him off, so he told me i had to write an essayfor the national why i love america contest, which was supposed to be voluntary, or he'd fail me. mind you, if he failed me, i'd get kicked out of school, we had to maintain a b average in all regular classes, period .
    again, i laughed at him,and told him i'd do it, and write the biggest load of tripe he'd ever read. and i did. my parents were literally in tears with laughter when they read it, it was such a load of hooey( i DETEST american history,especially early american history, having grown up in new england, the paper was all about my respect and admiration for the pilgrims and paul revere and drivel like that) ,but they told me to submit t so i wouldn't flunk out. and i did.
   AND I FREAKIN WON FOR MY SCHOOL!!! 250 bucks prize money, a trophy and moving on to the county contest.  AND I WON AGAIN!!! jack dempsey was BALLISTIC in his fury, he KNEW it was a load of crap. but my wins made HIM look good, you know?
   so i went on to the state contest and was one of the top 3 contenders for going on to the nationals. we had to read our essays on a live radio show and the top vote getter would go to DC for the nationals. so i start to read....and i start to laugh. and i could NOT stop laughing!! they gave me 2 more chances to start over, jack dempsey claimed i was just nervous, but i could.not.stop.LAUGHING!
   i think maybe it was because mysubconscious wouldn't allow me to win with crap like that...or maybe it was my revenge on jack dempsey... or maybe it was because the other 2 kids DESERVED to win,and go to DC and get the big scholarship and intern on the hill. none of which interested me in the slightest, i already knew i'd eventually become a chef, my true passion. but i still have the 3rd place trophy, it's a bronze microphone i affectionately refer to as jack's dick in bronze...
    and at 56, i STILL get in trouble for being a smartasss who can't keep a straight face.


don't EVEN...EVER!
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« Reply #73 on: October 31, 2017, 10:08:10 AM »

I kind of went off the deep end last night, and only got two hours sleep, so when my youngest leaves for kindergarten, I better take a nap for trick or treating tonight.

See....long ago I was diagnosed with this rare condition, so rare many doctors say it does not exist (as opposed to "ADD" which makes total sense, right?) called parahyperthymesia, and it kicked into overdrive with no warning about thirteen hours ago.

It's not contagious or even inheritable as far as can be told, but it leaves me all the time extremely past-focused, and able to recall in fine detail past events, which sounds better than it is, but the result is often I can't fully enjoy the present, and am only waiting for it to pass so I can analyze and re-live it in memory.

And that is a suckfest. (Well, it did contribute to getting me a cool job, but the job has been a mixed blessing, truth be told.)

You've probably seen it in me in here, my almost compulsive need to record and detail my own past, right?

Annnieway, last night it hit me like a hammer. My palms started tingling and my heart started racing, it was less a panic sensation than a sudden understanding that I HAD to figure out this thing from my past, I HAD to, it was like....needing to breathe, that strong, I HAD to do it. I had to write it down, I needed to tell it, to record it, to think it through. I could either do that or begin to overload into some sort of crazed manic state.

So I went away from everyone and started writing, pouring it out of me, memories of this particular time. Nine pages flew out in a few minutes, typos and weird sentences but I kept going and going at it. The children went to bed, I barely said good night, my husband, who understands me, shook his head and laughed and said, "I think I'll leave you to it then."

After a few hours I did finally quit long enough to take a break and get online for a bit, but then I poured back into memory until almost sunup, and the result is this long WORD document I haven't even read yet and don't know what I'll think when I do, but I am feeling better today, exorcised, drained out, back in balance, but as far as afflictions go, it's a strange one to be stuck inside your own past, seeking to....what, to understand it? What's that even mean? But at least I feel more myself today.


"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
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« Reply #74 on: November 06, 2017, 05:16:20 PM »

I'm in a lull at work right at the moment, nothing happening, my invitation to chat declined out of necessity, but I still have to stay another hour, so I thought I would come in here and write something, just whatever, not as easy as it used to be since I've run low on topics and life experiences worth sharing (and even those that aren't) so I don't know, have I….ever written in detail about the time I wanted to murder someone?

By that I mean literally murder him?

It was around seventeen years ago when my desire to strike at this person was at its height, and I used to feel my pain send out tendrils toward the cause of that grief, a man across the city from me, and I'd have these ideas, dim at first but scary in their intensity later on, that were centered on how this person, who'd irreparably damaged so many lives and taken someone away from us, should die. Most beautifully of all, he didn’t even know I existed, so that would be a big plus in getting away with it. Because I did want to get away with it, I wasn’t self-destructive, just notably amoral and in unprecedented anguish directly because of him.

Fair to say I’d done some crazy things in my young life, twenty-one years old and thinking I was all grown up, but I’d never killed anyone, and disliking violence never wanted to. In fact I even used to tell these veterans I worked with how glad I was of that and how I hoped I never had to. But as the summer of 2000 wore on and life was in this valley of desolation, regret, agony, depression (the list could go on) I kept thinking how this man was alive out there, and did he deserve to be after what he’d done? Had he ever even reached out and said he was sorry? He’d re-written my entire future and hurt so many others, and yet he got to go on. From the depths of my darkness that knowledge wormed through my skull and gnawed into my brain.

Nothing was going to happen to him for what he’d done.

So I entertained what I knew was a bad idea, my interest in him which inched into obsession. I found out what his name was, where he lived, when he left for work, what he did, when he got home, who his friends were, his habits, when he put his trash out in these ugly Chinese-made brown cans, where he had gone to school, when he got up, and the time he went to bed. At first it was a….well, not a game, exactly, I was too lost that summer for games, but a curiosity, something to try to get my mind off how horribly life hurt right then, but by degrees my stalking got more serious, and then I came to this moment when it occurred to me the idea I had in mind would work, it honestly would most likely let me kill this man and get away with it.

Oh, sure, I still told myself this was a dark fantasy and mostly justified, I didn’t actually want to make someone die. And I think that’s true, I didn’t, not deep down, not even on the surface….except, well I kept thinking about it, the final idea, the plot, the deed, the scenario, which would be successful, I knew it would. And that’s when all at once I was afraid of myself.

For myself too, but of myself.

Ever been in that situation? Where you scared yourself?

I realized I had spent weeks knitting together a plot and was entertaining this notion of doing something that every culture on the planet from the stone age to now ranked as the worst offense of all, a crime that would send you to Hell or link you karmically in future lifetimes, where I lived, if caught, it would get you the death penalty. It was something that would turn you from a person into an anecdote, leaving your schoolmates spending the next six decades telling anyone who would listen how, yes, they knew you, and how you used to seem normal as far as they could tell.

If I got caught maybe I’d get lucky and my family would work out some insanity plea, but what life would that have been, locked in a mental hospital for decades?

The coming to enlightenment about how far into this I had gone, when day by day it felt more and more normal and all right to think about, struck me with such a jolt that I tried to make myself stop even letting the idea enter my head. Yet it wouldn’t go, and I couldn’t evict it.

I finally, abruptly, told one other person, this man I still know today, someone just as mired in sadness as I was, someone I was talking to a lot that summer, and when he didn’t seem to get what I was saying in my little stumbling bits of confession (again, he wasn’t doing well either) I looked him right in the face and made him understand I was telling him maybe as a way of asking for help, which he seemed to understand then, almost like a psychic connection, I wasn’t just talking, I was afraid.

I was hoping for something eloquent and deep from him but the best he could come up with was, “Well, you can’t do something like that.”

I went so far as to tell him that wasn’t exactly true, I could, my idea was good, it had strong odds of success since I knew about…things.

So he said, “What I meant was YOU can’t do something like that.”

And there was the fact of it, at least that time, under those conditions I couldn’t, that was true.

I sat there longer with the man and he proceeded to say some very nice things about me and I knew I would be betraying all of that, this regard he had for me, that others did, betraying my upbringing and my family and law and my future, setting myself up for unending paranoia and guilt, maybe even eternal damnation, and for what? What would I change when all I would be doing is extending one group of people’s grief onto another’s and hurting some other family?

I felt ashamed then, and I felt like some darkness lifted off me, so, yes, I guess that man who told me all that helped me that day. Maybe even saved my life.

Later that lost summer, which seemed to get worse in other ways as it went along, not better, I left the area, mostly on schedule, since I had to go back to school, and distance helped so that by fall it seemed surreal I’d ever had such horrendous thoughts in my head at all. As time will, it began to play a little game with me so that I started doubting that I had ever been as consumed by the idea of murder as….I confess I was. By Halloween I could nearly believe I’d imagined it.

Eventually, years later, I’d even meet this man I used to fantasize about killing and for warped reasons ended up paying him a thousand dollars in return for him telling me things I wanted to know about an otherwise mundane morning in 2000 that made this stranger so important in my life.

Now he has children and he didn’t then, children who never wronged me and who wouldn’t have been born if my grieving madness had tilted far enough for me to do what I imagined doing, so I’m glad I never did, and don’t know that I ever truly would have, or could have, since I hate violence, but it is disturbing to me now to remember how I was then in the worst summer of my life, and honestly make note of the fact that I invested as much time as I did in something so wrong and dark and terrible as wanting to kill another person.

Though….to this day I do still think my plan would have worked.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 05:22:27 PM by ER » Logged

"If I should meet thee after long years,

How shall I greet thee? With silence, and tears."

--Lord Byron
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