Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Way I Were

Lately, I've been dusting off some old memories from my youthful days on the farm. My mind has not had an inclination to wander back there over the years, and I've been okay with that. It was a nice spread with two barns, and a vegetable garden spacious enough to share the bounty with the neighbors. There was some wonderful times on the farm, and I was very fortunate to have been brought up there, but I was not a farm boy. Not by a long shot.

My attempts at animal husbandry always ended badly. As far as 4-H goes, I was 4-F. The chickens penned behind the red barn quickly disappeared with nary a feather left to prove their existence. I bought a male and female sheep, with thoughts of spring lambs in mind. First the roaming dogs of the neighborhood crippled the woolly creatures, and then it wasn't long before the chase was over and the sheep also became a memory on the farm. The ponies were a mainstay, but too small for me to ride, and they liked to nip at me whenever I was within reach.

Even though my dad had a sickly childhood, he still managed to score high in the manly category. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, some winters traveling to northern Maine in search of the perfect buck to mount on the wall of his nonexistent den. I never enjoyed fishing or hunting. I was the namby pamby first son, who failed to show any interest in the wood shop, or the hunting beagles. Instead, I was at home curled up with my sketch pad, entertained by characters in my imagination.

Now I find myself taking mental forays back to the old homestead, walking through the dusty red barn across from the house; and the decaying lower barn, with the defunct hayloft, now home to barn swallows and mud wasps. I don't relish these trips down memory lane, because I end up in a dark cul-de-sac, with events reappearing that I thought I had buried for good.

Maybe my brain is proving to my mind that it can still go back and recreate those memories that I had stowed away in those neural packing crates oh-so-long ago. I also have a feeling that these unwanted memories are a sign of unfinished business, and the source of much sorrow and anger that I would be wise to expunge. What seems to work for me is to write it down. I just haven't shined the light into those dark corners of my youth yet. Time to start dredging.
Memories may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember we simply choose to forget
So it's the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember the way we were.

-- Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Silly Old Soul

My first response whenever I hear the word soul is to say, "define soul." I may just mutter it under my breath, rather than burst somebody's bubble, or piss on somebody's parade, but it's an honest inquiry. Define soul. Needless to say, I don't believe in the soul, although if I was to try and define what I feel is the perceived idea of the soul, I would put it this way: An amalgamation of personality traits and memories that seem to compose the essence of a human being. There is no central scrutinizer, or homunculus taking the wheel. Merely an ever-shifting coagulation of aspects that convince others that you are consistently who you portray yourself to be.

I don't think I'll be able to emotionally handle this upcoming election fiasco. The leader on the republican side is multi-millionaire, and all-around asshole, Donald Trump. The republican presidential candidates look like a line-up of washed-up car salesman...oh, and one tired old tart. These candidates look right into the camera and spew lie after lie. Fact checkers point out the lies the next day, and it does not matter one iota to the ignorant masses, who believe all their problems can be solved by shipping immigrants back.

The obvious candidate, who is best for our country and will do his best for the working poor is Bernie Sanders. We don't need another Bush or Clinton coronation. Ben Carson might be able to perform delicate surgery, but when it comes to the U.S. government he's apparently a dimwit. And Carly Fiorina? Please! Didn't we dismiss her and her Stepford ways back with Mitt Romney and his car elevator? Honestly, I'm always amazed that working folks, who have a hard time making ends meet, would ever consider voting for one of these shysters. But I'm related to some of those folks.

Yesterday we had that smug piece of shit Martin Shkreli, founder and chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, all over social media. His company bought the rights to the medicine Daraprim and immediately raised the price from $13.50 a pill to $750 per pill. Per pill! His ilk fill me with ire and the urge to be violent. Just take a gander at his recent tweets if you think I'm overestimating what a complete and utter rectum he is; and worse, scan to the bottom to read the comments of the pricks praising this Wanker of Wall Street.
If souls exist, what condition do you think the souls of people like Trump and Shkreli are in? Do you think their souls are black and tarry and that greedy sods like them will end up in hell? I'll let you in on something: Hell has already been copyrighted and sold to the masses. Sometimes it looks like a fast food franchise, but at other times hell wears the cloak of the self-righteous, and meets in churches and other places of worship. 

I've seen the usual lost pet posters on neighborhood telephone poles, but I've been thinking of putting up my own poster. "Lost Soul -- Grey and Amorphous. Answers to Pookie" I can advise folks to coax the soul into a bucket of cold water by tempting it with false promises and empty hopes. Works every time.
James Brown -- Godfather of All Things Soulish

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

No Time Toulouse

I do not have sufficient time to write a decent post today. Not if I want to leave myself enough time to consume some lunch. Besides, my mind is just filled to the brim with anger and it's dark sister, sadness. I keep ruminating about subjects to write about, but I the image of the dead baby on the beach keeps returning to me. It's not just the image that is burned into my memory banks, but also running backs, thanking god for their touchdown, or fans sending a "thousand prayers" for the quick and speedy recovery of their favorite stunt woman from Mad Max. I keep thinking, didn't one of the angels think to show god that picture of the Syrian toddler, lying dead on the sand? 

When angry thoughts about the silly beliefs of man come to my mind, I tend to censor myself. My anger about religion always falls upon deaf ears, especially those ears closest to me. George Michael once said that "You've got to have faith," but I think he may have been talking about his luck finding gay lovers in the public loo. Those with faith always like to brag that you either have it or you don't. Kind of like inherent intelligence I suppose. You either chose to exercise your brain and it's components of curiosity or you're one of the idiots spouting such nonsense as, "God must have needed another angel" when the death of a child is announced to you.

The teachers of the Seattle public schools are still on strike. I have no anger directed towards them. My anger is saved for our ridiculous society that claims to value education, but proves otherwise at every turn. That's because all the rich kids are currently in school right now. The children of the movers and shakers don't have to worry about missing their studies. We who live in the trickle-down  society are still waiting for the education crumbs to fall our way. Maybe if the lazy fucks of the U.S.A. got off their asses and collectively voted for Bernie Sanders. It would never happen, because there are too many fools out there, who dream of being Donald Trump, the windblown Nazi.

So, a sandwich to make, and a job to perform. Those are the tasks in my immediate future. My angst will have to wait until later. Maybe by then, I'll have some puppies and rainbows to write about.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Hungry Buddhist

Some days I just want to turn off my phone alarm and pull the covers back over my head. Work can wait. Life is here to be lived, but that includes making a living, and in my case that's a meager living, made by selling books to the general public. On a day like Labor Day, we at the bookstore work a normal shift, but we get to watch all those lucky bastards, who have the day off, come strolling in after a lazy morning. They take up precious aisle space, waiting for a table at Vios and brunch.

Fall is obviously knocking on a door, with the days becoming noticeably shorter. There has been a bit of a chill in the air lately, but it's still too warm in my book. Still not quite jacket weather. My son starts school on Wednesday, barring a strike by the teachers. It's always a last minute thing, so that we're basically caught over a barrel. I all for paying teachers a decent wage. They should make more than NBA players in my oh-so-humble opinion, as long as they don't pressure me to put my kid on medication, in order to make their job easier.

I've been both lethargic and hungry lately, which must mean that my body is preparing for hibernation. The days are shortening quickly, and soon the gray blanket of winter will lay over the city.  Over the last few months, I've been craving milkshakes and ice cream. Not an eating habit I want to get into in my mid-fifties. Of course, there are many things that I crave that are out of my emotional and financial reach. As a good Buddhist, I need to crush these desires.

I still feel like a desperate and lonely little monkey boy, but I trudge through the day without pausing to gauge my emotional weather. The show must go on, and the show -- for the most part -- is my life. Lately I find myself rebuilding memories, searching for cohesion in my past. I prefer not wasting time being nostalgic, but maybe that mental state comes with getting older. I'd rather lose the map to the past, and concentrate on the now...and the coming weekend, of course.

One of the few holidays I observe religiously.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Potpourri for Fifty, Please Alex

Summer is over, but I'm not sure that the heat is going to let up any time soon. Over the last few days, we've been experiencing the winds of change. They earn that title when they take out the father of a three year old, knocking over a tree and crushing him in his car. A desert wind is coming, and it will scour this land clean. Mark my words.

Until then, we will continue to amuse ourselves to death. We are all Nero, fiddling about while the skies burn. Chicken Little was right, but we never listened. The boy, who cried wolf was actually the wolf in disguise, scheming to eat all of us sheep, while we were distracted by his tales of magic and wonder. So, we shall cross to the other side of the road, and hope that the grass is greener over there.

Everything is just a diversion until we draw our last breath. So much importance is given to people and objects that hold no meaning or value at all. We all seem to be searching for some hidden meaning in this life of ours, but we should just keep our minds on foraging for food, and keeping our eye out for predators, instead of complaining that our Direct TV froze for entire ten minutes during the windstorm.

It's another Tuesday. Another blog post. You can probably tell from the paragraphs above, that I am struggling to put out some type of creatively satisfying blog post this morning. My wife suffered a minor concussion a couple of weeks back. Her son had a blood clot in his lung last week that is troubling. My boss had intestinal surgery -- again. And it's cloudy out.

Mind you, I am not complaining about the cloud cover or the rain. We tend to forget that there are fires just over the mountains to the east, so rain is a welcome resource. Sometimes the sunshine is just an insult. I wake up every day and quickly assemble my personality, hoping that it's one that will be suitable for my work in retail. I usually walk to work, letting my mind drift. I do have a lust for life, but most of the time I'm just consumed by plain old naughty lust. 

When I'm not nailed down to the present moment, I tend to worry about things such as my son's schooling and my debts, which have taken on the form of an Everlasting Gobstopper. Our bankruptcy hearing is next week, and then we leave for the Caribbean a few days after that. In our dreams! The Caribbean is nice and all, but these days our getaways are limited to staying in a trailer on the outskirts of Port Townsend. Any more serious trips will have to be forays of the mind. 

* * * *
I’m so glad we had this time together, just to have a laugh, and smoke a bong. Seems we just got started and before you know it comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.’ 

Now I need to assemble a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and then ease on down, ease on down the road.