Friday, November 21, 2014

Who am I?

Who am I?  It's a question that's been on my mind for as long as I can remember.  And it's one that has been weighing heavily on my mind for the last few months.  For whatever reason, the gods answered that question for me tonight and, while part of it is flattering, I really don't like their overall message.  But as I considered it, I am forced to admit they are right and this blog is a perfect example of just how right they are.

From the beginning, the posts on this blog could be labeled in one of two categories, ranting or reflection.  I have thrown in a bit of fiction but for the most part, ranting or reflection.  As time has passed, the reflective posts remain as they were, true to my heart, mind, and, sometimes, memory.  It's the rants that have changed.

It's not that my rants haven't expressed what I think.  They convey the message I am trying to get across but sweet tap dancin christ, could they be any less entertaining?   This isn't a surprise to me.  I've known my rants have sucked for a while.  I just couldn't figure out why.

Well, that's not true.  I know why.  They aren't funny.  In the beginning, regardless of which sacred cow I was slaughtering, the rants were filled with profane brilliance.  I know why they suck I just couldn't figure out why they weren't funny.

I'd like to tell you that I lost my edge.  That I've aged and settled down.  Perhaps even matured.  Anything would be better than admitting I'm a fucking coward.  That's a hard pill to swallow.

Before I go on, we're going to stop and I really want you to listen to me.  I am not looking for affirmation.  I am well aware of how funny, talented, unique, and handsome I am.  Knowing all of that only makes this harder to accept.  Please understand, I am writing this to get it out of my head, and perhaps help others that suffer from the same hurdle I've been battling since early childhood.  I am not looking for encouragement, in part because I don't deserve it.  If you do comment, I ask that it be about the substance of this post and not about how you feel about me.

There, with that out of the way, let's move on.

When I starting blogging I had 3 readers, my wife, my best friend, and his wife.  These 3 people know me in ways the rest of you never will.  They have heard the very worst of the shit in my brain and have never judged me unworthy because of it.  They were a safe audience.  I could be me and not worry.  And those early rants remains things of profane beauty.

As my audience grew, I never changed because I remained detached from new readers.  They found me and liked what they read enough to stick around and read more.  Again, a pretty safe audience.

The turning point came when a fellow blogger recommended I advertise, at least on Facebook, to gain more readers.  Now, it's not that I invited others in and they didn't like me and I fell apart.  To date, I've received exactly one comment that I'd consider negative.  My readers have always been wonderful.  It's not them.  It's me.

I want to be liked.  The problem with inviting in my friends is that a lot of my friends only know a part of me.  Part of that is because a lot of them know me from work and I had to behave in a certain way because of my position.  Peppering my language with "fucktard" and "I hope you fucking die" wasn't really appropriate.  The other part is that I am guarded around most people because it's been my experience that most people don't have a sense of humor. 

I want to be liked and right now I am.  But what if they see more of me and they stop liking me?  Trust me, I am as disgusted with myself for having those thoughts as I am sure you are disgusted by me admitting it. Is it really that simple?  Is it vanity?

Yes and no.  Yes, part of it is that I like to be liked.  But the other part is that I am content being liked.  When judging whether or not I should write something, it's much easier to not be offensive.  I can live with people liking me for what they know even if what they know is only part of the story.

Now, this isn't just about my blog.  My whole life suffers from this same contentment problem.  I love my new job because it isn't my old job.  I don't love it because it's what I really want to do.  I have been looking for ways to move ahead and planning a career I don't even want because it's better than it used to be.  I'm content there.

Last night a truck passing me on icy roads lost control right as his front bumper caught up to mine.  I got lucky.  I didn't die.  But I did wake up.  Not literally, though my heart was pounding and my senses became very aware.  Rather, I woke up in the sense that I realized I almost died for a job I don't really give a shit about.

I wrote before about how getting fired and rehired woke me up to my need for change.  I thought it was just that I needed a new job but something else has been awakened in me.  I have a better job but I want more.  I want to make a living doing something I love.  This job will do for now but that "for now" part has real meaning to me now.

None of this is really new to me. I've known it in bits and pieces for years.  The first time I really felt it I was in my mid-20s and I reconnected with old friends who were living the lives they dreamed while I was getting by ok.  I worked at a job I hated but hey, the money was good.  This has been a process that has taken decades for me to finally grasp and it hit me tonight like a train.

In a weird way I feel more alive than I ever have before.  I've always dreamed big but now I am awake big.  I want more.  I want happiness.  In everything I do.  I want to be me.  Making the move to my new job scared the hell out of me.  But damn that feeling felt good.

When I started at the new job I had a weird feeling.  I felt like I belonged there.  Now, let me tell you, I do not belong there.  I like my coworkers, the job pays well, and it is easy work but it's just a job.  It's not a passion.  The feeling of belonging was misplaced.  It wasn't the job.

It wasn't until that truck almost hit me that it finally made sense.  I love the new adventure.  For at least a little while, I have a whole new skill set, rule set, and schedule to grow content with.  Except this time, content isn't enough.  I recognize this job for what it is, a means to an end.  And that end is what this has all been about.

For the first time in my life I am ready to be me, all of me, not just to friends, not just when I am an anonymous voice, not just when I'm comfortable.  I am happier than I ever remember being.  It's addicting and I want more of it.  I sincerely hope you find this feeling.

As far as this blog is concerned, I still hope you like me.  But if you don't, that's ok, too.

 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Random Thought

Tricky nipple.

Don't worry, I'll explain.

I was taking a shower, letting the voices in my head run wild and I began thinking about language.  I've been told I have a way with words.  I don't know how true that is.  While I am horribly conceited I also don't find myself to be all that special.  I know, it's a bit confusing to me as well.  I realize I am not like everyone else but I think anyone could be like me.  In this case, that means I believe anyone could use words the way I do.  I don't feel special.

And then I'll read someone trying to be funny or romantic or deep and I think, sweet tap dancing christ, who let the moron type?

Anyway, this got me to thinking about how horribly the language could be misused which led to ridiculous adjectives which gave birth to the tricky nipple.  And now I'm picturing a tricky nipple passing through a vagina....a gregarious vagina.

I may need sleep.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Breaking Up Isn't That Hard to Do

I was asked for my opinion on this question, I'm paraphrasing, "how can a man let another man steal a woman or let that woman slip away if he really loves her?" My first thought was that without some background, it's a difficult question to answer.  People are too varied for a generalization on this one.  Then I thought about it, that hour drive to work comes in handy for these situations. 

The simple answer is, the effort to keep her outweighs the love he feels.  I know.  I told you it was a simple answer.  It really isn't any deeper than that.  But the real question isn't how, it's why. 

Why would a man decide fighting for a woman's affection isn't worth it?  That question has many varied answers, as many different answers with as many different depths as there are different people and different situation.  But it's still pretty simple. 


Let's start with a woman being taken by another man.  With the exception of kidnapping, no woman has ever been taken.  She gives herself.  Why would you fight for someone that doesn't want you, that is obviously looking for something better?  You can either have some pride and move on or wait and hope she decides you might be good enough.  Not good, good enough.  It's not a question of how much he loves her, it's a question of how much he can tolerate before his pride kicks in.

What if there isn't someone else?  What if she just leaves?  Shouldn't he chase her?  Contrary to popular myth, guys don't want to chase you forever.  Men are hunters but if we never get our prey we aren't beyond picking a berry for sustenance.  At some point, there has to be an end to the hunt.  It's exhausting and, more importantly, it's discouraging to keep trying to win her over, especially if you've made it clear to her that she has won you.  If you're in love why would you still be running?  Why are you insisting he keep proving himself?  Do you realize you're telling him he isn't good enough? 

There is also the possibility that the guy either didn't love her or didn't love her very much.  Maybe he was just comfortable with her.  Maybe he lied to see her naked.  As the old joke goes, "how can I tell you I love you if you won't take off your clothes?" 

It all boils down to what I've said before, if two people don't really want to be together nothing will make it work.  It has nothing to do with professed love, real, imagined, or an outright lie.  So, how could he let her slip away?  They don't belong together.  I told you it was simple. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween



                Seeing his daughter’s name on the incoming phone call brought an immediate smile to Marcus unshaven face.  Things had been rough lately.  An argument led to hurt feelings, awkward silences, and an uncomfortable home.  For a week the two had shared little more than a passing hello.  Her call could only mean one of two things, she needed something or she was finally getting over the argument.


                “Hello.” 


                “Dad?”  Marcus smiled again.  Who else did she expect to answer his phone?  


                “Yep, what’s up, kiddo?”


                “Where are you?”  


                “I just stopped at the grocery store.”


                “Oh.”  There was something about that oh.   Disappointment.  Marcus hadn’t thought it possible but his smile grew even more.  His daughter missed him.


                “Everything ok, baby?”


                “Someone is in the woods behind the house.”


                The smile was gone.  “Why do you think that?”  


                “I saw flashlights out my window.”


                “Lock the doors, I will be right there.”



          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



                Marcus put his key in the lock, pushed the door open, stepped inside, and called out to his daughter as he made his way upstairs to her room.  When no reply met his calls, he ran.  When he didn’t find her in her room, he checked his room, forgetting any notion of privacy he burst into the bathroom, room by room he search now yelling her name, opening the cabinets in the kitchen, the hall closet, every inch of the house.


                His chest was tight and he was shaking.  She wasn’t there.  The closest neighbor was a mile away.  Even at 17, his daughter would have been too scared to try to make it to the neighbor’s house.  She would not have left the home and she certainly wouldn’t have locked the door if she was that scared.  She’d have run and not looked back, likely leaving the door wide open.  


                Marcus reached into his pocket for his phone.  Shit, he’d left it in the car.  Opening the front door and stepped out, he was suddenly aware of how dark it was.  The porch light was out.  Was it out when he pulled up?  Reaching back into the house he flipped the switch up and down.  Nothing.  He’d have to replace it later, the car was only 40 feet away.   


                The car door swung open more violently than Marcus had meant it to.  He ducked in to grab his phone off the passenger’s seat where he always laid it while driving.  The seat was empty.  The searched the backseat, the floor, and even the glove box though he could never remember ever putting it in there.  It wasn’t in the car.  He must have dropped it in his haste to get into the house.  Marcus looked at the ground, the walkway between the driveway and house was painted with dead leaves  
   

                Dropping to his knees, Marcus began frantically feeling around along the path between the house and driveway.  He had searched about half the distance when he heard it, the ringtone he set for his daughter’s calls.  It was distant, coming from the far side of the house.  Slowly rising to his feet and then forcing himself to step forward, Marcus made his way toward the sound.


                Marcus leaned as far as he could to peak around the dark corner of the house as the ringtone stopped.  He held his breath as he took a tentative step around the corner.  No one was there.  


The ringtone came again, this time from the back of the house.  Willing himself to follow the sound, inch by inch Marcus moved toward the backyard.  Again, just as he reached the corner, the sound stopped.  With his heart pounding harder than he ever remembered it beating, Marcus leaned around the corner and peered into the shadows behind his home.  


                He stared into the darkness waiting for the phone to ring again suddenly very aware of how unarmed he was.  He didn’t own a gun but he did have a baseball bat.  Sprinting to the front door he grabbed the door handle and found it locked.  The phone rang again, this time from right behind him, no more than 10 feet.  


                Marcus froze.  He wanted to turn around.  He wanted to confront whoever was taunting him, to find his daughter, to save her and himself.  He couldn’t move.  The horrors running through his mind paralyzed him.  


The song stopped, the rhythmic beat replaced by the unmistakable sound of his daughter’s laughter.   

Monday, October 27, 2014

No Working Title



A few months back I started writing a story that I ended up not liking very much but I did love this scene and since I haven't shared fiction in a while, and I've only posted once this month, I figured I'd share.  I hope you enjoy it.

---------------------------------------          



            “Vin, I’m not sure that’s what they mean by City Watch,” Darius said as he approached Vincent who was making no effort to hide his interest in the backside of the young lady in the faded purple dress.  

            “No, apparently what they mean is mind numbing boredom babysitting people who are in no danger what-so-ever.  This is just a perk of the job,” Vincent said without averting his gaze. “I swear some days I’d give the family jewels for something exciting to happen.”

            “As if you’d know what to do if you ever got the chance to do more than stare are Samari’s ass,” Darius said as he took a place next to Vincent.

            “I’m resourceful, I’d figure something out.”

            Darius leaned back into the fence surrounding the fairgrounds he and Vincent had been assigned to protect.  Protect the fairground?  He couldn’t remember being given a more useless assignment.  Not even the time he and Vincent had been ordered to guard a merchant with no wares to steal even if a thief had wanted to.  Vincent had suggested mugging the man out of spite. 

            At least it was the winter festival.  The duty was boring but they weren’t sweating under their chainmail, tabards, and tunics.  While not the snows of the Eastern Realms, winter brought a much appreciated break from the heat of the other seasons.  

            “I think I can make out one of her nipples,” Vincent said as he continued to stare.

            “And that is why we get these assignments,” Darius replied.

            “No, that’s why I get these assignments.  You get these assignments because you are a good friend who wouldn’t leave me to suffer alone.”

            “You don’t seem to be suffering all that much.”

            “Oh, I’m suffering alright.  Very much indeed,” Vincent’s voice trailed off, his head slowly tilting to the right as he watched Samari bend over to pick up a leaf.

            “If Captain Decker catches you looking at his daughter like that the excitement in your life will be giving up the family jewels.”

            “Given my heritage, I’m fairly certain my family jewels are still diamonds in the rough.  Worth the risk, I say.”

            “Still be a shame to lose them over the buck toothed cross eyed daughter of the captain.  It’s not as though she’s Remi with those perfect breasts and legs that make a man want to..”

            Vincent spun to face Darius. “Alright, alright, you win.  Just don’t talk about my sister like that.”

            “She’s a woman Vin, most of us talk about her like that.”

            “Not around me and if you do it again, I’ll forget we’re friends and remove your tongue from your vile mouth.”

            “Then who would keep you company when your vile mouth gets you into these horrible assignments?”

            Vincent smiled.  “When my vile mouth gets us into these horrible assignments.”

            The two men shared a laugh.  Vincent turned to face the grounds and leaned against the fence next to Darius.  They watched as the carpenters patched holes in the booths that lined the fair’s midway, stables were filled with hay for the animals, and other preparation were made for the fair’s arrival.

            “Have you ever heard of the fairgrounds needing a guard,” asked Vincent.

            “Nope, you must have really annoyed Decker for him to dream this one up.” 

You Piss Me Off.....

I had another one of those thought the other day.  One of those, "I'm just not like other people," moments.  I know you think you're unique, and you are, but when I say I'm not like most people, well...consider the following.

I was driving home on the highway when I came upon two cars one behind the other in the right hand lane.  Given how quickly I had caught up to them I pulled into the left hand lane to pass them.  As I did, the rear car also pulled into the left lane blocking my path.  No big deal.  I slowed down and waited to pass the lead car at a slower rate.

5 god damn miles.  The rear car became "that asshole in front of me."  For reasons unknown to me, after 5 miles, the asshole in front of me hit his gas and took off like a bat out of hell.  Weird but not my fucking problem.  I passed the other car and got back into the right lane resuming my normal cruising speed.

By now, the asshole in front of me is about half a mile ahead of me.  Can you guess what happened next?  That's right, the fucker slowed down and I caught up to him quickly.  So, I pulled into the left lane to pass the asshole.

10 god damned miles.  The asshole that had been in front of me was now the asshole beside me that wouldn't either slow down or speed up.  Fuck this, I'm not playing highway games with the asshole beside me.  I hit the gas and blew past the little shit like he was standing still.

When I was a respectable distance away, I pulled back into the right hand lane and resumed cruising speed.  Do I even have to say it?  The asshole beside me became the asshole behind me as he got as close to me as he could and matched my speed.

Now, it is important at this point to tell you I did not react to this guy at all.  I maintained my speed and he eventually fell back and disappeared from my life.  I did not do what I thought about doing.

So, what did I think about doing? 

I looked down and saw the empty fast food cup to my right and I thought, I should pee in that cup, hold it up on the roof of the jeep, and let go.  If I didn't think the wind would have blown it out of my hand before I could get it on the roof, I just might have done it.