Sunday, August 5, 2018

Our Main Characters are Teachers

I have a number of short stories, novellas, and novels in various states of completion.  My hard drive is full of them.  Some are good projects that need attention while others were half-baked ideas that never really amounted to anything. 

I always imagine my main characters (MC's) just standing around when I'm not working on their story, smoking cigarettes, and looking cool, while chatting with each other.  I wonder if they get lonely and worry if I'll come back.  Do they feel abandoned?

I have horrible abandonment issues.  I freak out when people leave me.  Knowing I'm doing that to another person, even fictional ones, bothers me.  But then I have to remember not everybody is like me.  I'm broken.

Do my MC's think of me as a burden?  Do they think of me as a chore they have to deal with in their routine?

"Let's see--I've got to do the laundry, feed the dog, and aw, shit!  I need to be in Ted's story."

Lately I've become very much aware of just how people see me in their lives.  What role do I play?  Do they think of me when I'm not around?  Am I the butt of their jokes?  When they see me, do they think, "Aw shit!  Here comes this asshole.  God, I hate this guy!   He's so weird!"

I'd rather know people are using me for free ice cream than to think I'm a seen as a chore on their list of things to do.  Is there anything more heartbreaking than to know the only reason somebody keeps you in their lives is because they feel a sense of duty or obligation?   Not so much that they owe you but they're a kind person with a good heart and they don't want to be mean, so they are kind to you while scrambling for a way to get away from you.

It's embarrassing and humiliating.  Knowing you are a chore or a duty to somebody shatters your heart.  It's worse than pity, in my opinion, because pity comes from a place of care and empathy. 

Is that how my MC's see me?

Or do they see the nose-dive I'm in, and how despite my efforts the monkeys on my back make pulling up and out of it almost impossible, and think to themselves how they'll be free of me soon?  It's a ghoulish thought, I know, but my MC's are human (mostly) and without me demanding things from them or constantly needing interaction from them, they would truly be free.  No Ted to drag them down or take up their time.

Or is it the other way?  Do they get mad on those bad nights when I'm on the edge and I'm writing letters to nobody in particular while looking at my pistol every few minutes?  Do they say things like, "Don't you die on me, fucker.  I need you to finish this story so my destiny will be complete.  I need you to finish my fate so I can live happily ever after."

I should note at this time that none of my characters ever live happily ever after.  I figure if that's impossible for me, then it's impossible for them.  They're going to die alone just like me.

But I've lied to a bunch of them and told them it's possible.  My MC's totally believe the Happily Ever After ending is possible and if they just do as I say and jump through the hoops I've laid out for them, then they'll be able to ride off into the sunset with somebody who actually wants to be with them and isn't thinking how it's a chore to hang around.

Every once in a while, I'll get an MC who develops faster and in more detail than the others, and they begin to call audibles.  Instead of going to visit their friend the gun dealer, they go to visit a priest, and ask for absolution.  Instead of listening to good music in their cars, they listen to Taylor Swift, and sing along with the radio.  Instead of being a foodie, they're a picky eater who lives on fast food and cheap beer.

These small ripples turn into tsunamis later on.  Subtle changes in an MC in the first chapter create destiny by the fourth act.  That means the whole thing needs to get re-written and switched around.  And most MC's will be defiant about it. 

"Hey!  Look, I'm a real person!  And I honestly think having me tell the story would be better than somebody else."  


Bob looked up with defiance, his arms crossed over his chest, and chin jutting out.  


"Defiance?  I'm helping you!   I'm just trying to help you write something good instead of that schlocky bullshit you usually shovel."  


Bob whined like a little toddler who wanted a cookie or needed a nap.  


"I'm not whining, you asshole!"  


Bob threw his nookie down on the ground and began screaming as he threw a tantrum.


"Oh.  My.  God.  You can't be serious!  I'm not throwing a tantrum.  I'm saying that I can tell a story better than you can and you don't like it."  


But what Bob didn't know was that he was standing on top of a nest of hornets.  


"Hey, man!  No need for that kind of stuff.  We're just talking here, okay?"  



And these weren't just ordinary hornets.  These were Japanese hornets, known for their painful and sometimes deadly stings.  


"Okay, maybe I was a bit rude back there, and maybe I said some things I shouldn't have.  I'll admit that sometimes I can get a bit emotional."  


The hornets were asleep for now but Bob's whining was beginning to stir them and any more sound would be enough to wake them into a fury as they defended their nest from an intruder.  


"I'm sorry!  I just wanted some closure is all."  


Bob looked around at his options, wondering what's next, and if there was going to be a future.  


"It's just that you don't do closure for your characters, and I could really use some.  That's all."  


What Bob didn't realize was closure is for television shows and novels.  Bob, the poor, unfortunate bastard, was in a short story connected to a series of novels.  There would be no closure.  Not for him, anyways.  


"But the people in my life..."


Bob thought about his life, and the people in it, and he realized he wanted them to be happy more than he wanted to be right.  Or find peace.  


"I don't get any closure, do I?"  

Bob slowly walked away while fishing in his pockets.  There, he kept a couple of pills tucked away.  Three, to be exact, and he knew they would make this moment less painful.  He swallowed all three at once, and washed them down with some Mt. Dew.  He doesn't curse, he doesn't cry, he doesn't say a word.  He thinks about tomorrow, and how it doesn't look much better, but really all he wants is today to just disappear.  


Sometimes, our characters get out of hand, and you need to wrangle them back under control.  Some people talk about how our characters belong to us so we may torment them.  I don't believe in that.  I hate tormenting people.  Contrary to what you might think, I'm a very kind man, and never want to make anybody feel worse than what I've been through.  Even if they are fictional. 

My characters work through stuff.  They endure.  They survive up until the end when they die because that's what we all do, eventually, and I want them to go up until their Fate. 

I think they hate me.  On some level, I think they really hate me.  None of them ever get laid, they're alone, and usually I take everything away from them that they've ever had.  But we write what we know, right? 

I've tried being nice to my MC's.  I really did.  And let me tell you, they were happy bastards when they found out.  They were cracking jokes and making even me laugh.  They were the life of the party. 

And then it came time to actually put them through their paces of being happy.  It was time for them to find love, to enjoy life, and all of that happy shit.  And I just couldn't do it. 

I tried.  I really did.  But in the end I just couldn't do it.  I became jealous and started to look at my own life, and the things I've done, and want to do, and it just became a mess.  I became too depressed to continue and those stories all languish unfinished on my hard drive. 

Unless I decide to drag them into my world and unleash monsters, demons, meth addicts, crackheads, and voodoo priests.  If they're miserable, I'm comfortable.  I don't say that in a sadistic sort of way, even though it sounds like that, but I just haven't grasped what it's like to write characters who are happier than myself. 

And that's why I think they hate me. 

I'm working on new story.  A deeply flawed character and I'm not so sure what I'm going to do with him.  The more I write him, the more he becomes me, and that means I need to develop him.  It means I need to do for him what I need to do for myself.  And that's a shitty, shitty road. 

Plus, I'm obstinate, and I don't change very easily.  I wish change was easy for me because it would make things much better in my life. 

So this is why my MC's are always a certain way.  I have a very hard time writing characters who aren't deeply flawed, depressed, and static.  It makes for a very difficult character ARC to write.  It's like pounding steel or sculpting water. 

This character I'm writing currently is going to realize he belongs where he is and that's his home despite how badly he hates it.  He will remain deeply flawed.  He has much farther to go before he reaches bottom and that might prove to be just as difficult to write as making him out to be happy.  As for right now, he isn't going to get a Happily Ever After.  I just can't bring myself to write those. 

I mean, if I don't get one, why should anybody else? 







Sunday, July 29, 2018

Maybe I'll Get Fired For This

For the first time since the beginning of this blog over 7 or 8 years ago, I have been asked to take down a post.   I'm so stunned that I'm not sure how I feel about this.  I promise you, though, when I've organized my thoughts, there will be a long, detailed post.  It's a slap in the face.  Pure and simple.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dealing with the Latest News and Social Media

This isn't about politics. 

I will not do that here. 

In recent days, I've been increasingly depressed.  I'm lashing out at people, getting angry over stupid shit, and starting arguments and picking fights online.  I've been having a harder and harder time controlling my anger, waking up grumpy, and ready to piss people off. 

In fact, I've been making people angry and then walking away, just to really rub salt in the frustration of it all. 

All this time I've been wondering what's wrong with me.  Why am I falling apart like this?  Where is this depression coming from?  And why am I waking up ready to shit on the entire world?  I realize now that's going on. 

Social media is full of posts about the latest issue to piss people off--children being separated from their families at the border.  The children are taken into custody and held there until family members who have already come to the US can be located, and told to come get these children.  Then, the kids are handed over to family members.  Parents who are divided from their kids are understandably upset and in one case, a man killed himself out of anguish. 

I lost my family because of US immigration laws.  The only thing I ever wanted in life--a family--was taken from me.  It destroyed me.  I'm still not over it and we're coming up on 18 years.  It is still raw for me to this day. 

The news being blasted on social media has ripped open these wounds for me.  I am reliving a lot of the emotions I endured when this first happened.  The horror of knowing your family is torn from you by a system that will not, and will never, show mercy or empathy.  Nobody cares. 

Because it's trendy now, social media is full of righteous outrage, and everybody is screaming about the children.  But that's okay, as I'm sure they'll move on to something more horrible later down the line, because there's always something more horrible.  This world is such a terrible place, and our species is so violent and sadistic, we can be assured that there will always be something worse in our future. 

There was no angry social media posts for me when I was dealing with Immigration fucking me over.  When I told people about how my wife would call me on the phone crying because she was worried about her safety, and how our daughter was so skinny because she couldn't afford much food, I would be met with a shrug of the shoulders and a "wow, that sucks." 

That was it.  Nobody gave a shit.  And there was nobody there to help me. 

I was going to sneak my family into the states through Mexico.  I got as far as speaking to Mexican workers who had made the trek several times, and I quickly realized how dangerous it was.  I was pretty much guaranteeing my family would be severely hurt, if not killed, and if they were arrested, I'd never see them again.  At the time, my daughter was a toddler, and it would have been pure hell on her. 

I also thought of making the Northern route.  There are passages through Canada into Idaho, Washington, and Minnesota we could have tried.  It would have been expensive, too arduous for my wife and daughter, and I would have risked serious consequences if caught.  In that area, it wasn't so much ICE as it was DEA agents, who would have instantly labeled me a drug runner despite not having any drugs on me at all, just because they knew they could pile on the charges. 

In my research, I had come across a story about that exact thing happening.  The guy didn't have any drugs on his at all, and he was with his wife and baby, hiking down a trail into the US.  They were caught by the DEA, and he was labeled a drug trafficker.  His wife was arrested and sent back to Thailand with their baby, and he was thrown in prison.  I've been searching Google for the link to that story, but it was about 17 years ago, pre-9/11, and I just can't find it. 

Just reading that story was enough for me.  I knew it would be a horrific risk and the odds were so far against it working, it was best not to even try.  Plus, I just didn't have the resources to try.

But here's the thing--I knew the risks.  I knew that if caught, my daughter would be divided from not only myself, but also my wife, and it would be traumatic for them both.  I knew it would be so horrific that I didn't even try it. 

With all of these news stories, I have been reliving all of the emotions I went through back then, and it has been difficult for me.  This never goes away.  It never leaves me.  I am always carrying the loss around and I can't get rid of it no matter what I try. 

The closest I have gotten to some kind of healing is realizing that with all of the things that went wrong, it's obvious to me Fate had plans for them, and those plans did not include me.  Fate needed them to be on their own, together, for whatever reason and whatever lessons.  This was not about me.  This was about the path they were supposed to walk, and Fate knew I would carry them as best as I could, so I had to be removed from their lives. 

You have no idea how painful it is to write those words.  But it has been the best way for me to deal with what I have lost.  This past weekend was Father's Day and it sucked.  I like to think I would have made a good dad to my daughter.  I try not to think about all of the horrific things that happen to girls who grow up without a dad.  When those thoughts do come around, I want to die, because that way I don't have to see the hurt and pain in my daughter's life. 

I'm trying to take a break from social media.  I'm trying to keep my mind clear of the bullshit.  Plus, I'm trying not to be angry at people.  But I'll admit there is a lot of anger there. 

But rest assured--there will be something even uglier in the press soon, and we can all move on to the next reason to be outraged. 


Monday, June 11, 2018

Anthony Bourdain and Calling it Quits

I'm not much for celebrities and I don't follow gossip pages.  But I adored Anthony Bourdain's work and looked up to him.  He was a late bloomer who moved forward into some amazing levels of achievement.  He and I had things in common and he was my hero.

Waking up to the news he committed suicide gutted me.  It was like the guy who spoke for me and at the same time educated me abandoned me.  He was the leader of us fucked up, depressed, addicted, empathic, sympathetic people.  And losing him gutted me.

Saturday was a rough fucking day.  I'm done trying to sugarcoat it and be nice.  I'm so done with everything.

Tony's death opened a conversation online about suicide and depression.  Online, on places like Twitter and Reddit, people opened up about their experiences and for the first time, people talked about what it's like when you're ready to go.  People are finally talking about what it's like for them when The End comes and they know it's time to go.

I found it to be something special.  I'm not sure if I'd call it liberating or comforting, but it was special and it meant a lot ot me.

There were a lot of people trying to figure out why Tony did it.  Or why Kate Spade did it.  Both of them hung themselves.  Everybody said they had everything.  As with any suicide, there are rumors, and nobody knows for sure.  To an outsider those rumors about this and that might seem like a small reason but you never know what it will be that finally pushes you over that edge.

It's like standing on a bridge made of woven straw.  You hear snaps and pops as bit by bit it disintegrates under your weight.  And then something happens and that's it--you're done.

For me, it's different.

I have tethers that keep me here.  Connections.  People.  Potentials.  I don't have dreams and I don't have hope.  It's the odds of something happening.  It's the odds that something will be here for me once I pull out of this nose-dive.  Maybe I'll have a heart attack tonight.  Or maybe a stroke.  Maybe my heart will finally give up trying to keep blood moving in this morbidly obese body and just stop.  Every day that I'm here, there is that chance, and I can't say I care much.

But what are the odds that even if I do crawl out of this pit I'm in that I'll figure out what I'm needing and find it?  Low.  Very low.  We're talking Las Vegas odds and as we all know, the House always wins.

But I know the Powers That Be aren't going to let me out of here so easily.  I know they want me to fight and earn some kind of happiness.  Nothing will be given.  No more tools will be offered.  No more hands of support will be sent.  I have what I need to move forward and it's all up to me now.

What holds me back is knowing how many times I've been down this path and had everything and everybody taken from me and I feel like I'm a sucker just for thinking about doing it again.

In my first day of First Grade, I had a Hot Wheels car in my pocket at school.  During recess, a kid wanted to see it.  I was a trusting sort, so I handed it over, and he threw it against the ground as hard as he could.  I picked it up and he asked to see it again.  I was a trusting sort and never knew this kind of behavior.  I gave it to him again and once again he smashed it into the ground.  My little toy car was all fucked up.

I feel like life is like that.  There's no guarantee that what we want is on the top of this mountain we're supposed to climb and I've climbed enough of them to know how worthless that journey can be.  I'm tired of feeling like the sucker who took the fool's bet.  Friends tell me it's not the destination but the journey and frankly it pisses me off.  I have no interest in that journey. 

I don't know why I'm still here.  I don't know why I even wake up in the morning.  I don't even know what I want.  I can't think of a single dream.

I exist and that's all I do.

And sometimes, I leave fingernail gouges in the dirt while I drift away.

I guess it's different for all of us.  I don't think it would be easier for anybody if  did it.  I know I'd hurt people and that tears me up.  I've had it done to me and I know what it's like.  I can't say I could do it to somebody else.  So that's a big tether that keeps me here.  I just watched a video of Chef Masa in Japan break down while talking about the loss of Anthony Bourdain.  It was heartbreaking.  And there are tons more videos like that of people who knew him and didn't know him breaking down because they were so devastated by his loss.

It's not about him.  It's about how somebody who had so much going for him took that option when so many of us are barely surviving with little to show for it and not much hope for anything more.  We're still here.  We're still waking up in the morning and putting one step forward at a time.  And this world is so awful.

Death sings the sweetest songs when the world is dark.

But I'm still here.  I don't know what to do to get beyond this but I'm working on it.  I wake up, I work, and sometimes I get the courage up to leave my apartment.  I did that yesterday but today just wasn't in the cards.  Tomorrow is another day.  And that sums it up in the end.  Tomorrow is another day and I'm not going to beat myself up because this one didn't amount to much.  I woke up, I worked, and I got through the day.  Sometimes it's the best we can hope for and it's the best we can do.

Sometimes, those are the nails dug into the dirt to keep us from drifting away into the darkness forever when there just aren't anymore tethers holding us here.  It's the best we've got and it works for another day.


  

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

I Love You in a Bowl

I love you.  

It's three simple words I have wanted to tell a number of women in my life but never could because of various reasons.  Most commonly, because it's too powerful of a statement and often the fastest way to get rid of somebody is to tell them you love them.  

Or worse, they will assume something is wrong with you because you love them.  They'll ask you why and how and then you'll have to go into a long monologue detailing all of the reasons your heart latched on to them like a facehugger from Alien.  

There have been times I have wanted to tell someone I loved them just because I felt to not do so was a sin against the fortune I had been given, as if not taking advantage of that moment somehow offended the gods, because they moved mountains for that moment to become a reality and I was wasting it. 

But no, I've had to hold my tongue far too often in this life.  There are women I loved a long time ago and still love today but can't say a word because it would complicate things beyond comprehension.  Telling them how I felt, and continue to feel, would fill the room (or intertubes) like a rapidly expanding and combustible gas.  It would become something so awkward it would border on toxic.  

So what is a man to do?  

I cook.  

I have lost count how many times I've made special dishes for women just so I could say "I love you" without words.  Instead, I spelled the words out in dairy, sugar, and strawberries.  Rather than eloquently recite a poem professing my fondness, I spelled with apples, oats, and brown sugar to make an apple crisp.  



I have told a woman "I would do anything for you" by means of sushi and I have told a woman she was the first person I thought of in the morning and the last person I thought of when I went to bed by giving her a slice of custard pie.  


And then there is ice cream.  



I got my first ice cream maker about 13 or 14 years ago at a St. Vincent of DePaul thrift store for only $5.00.  My first batch of ice cream was terrible but soon after I got the hang of it and embarked on a path of decadence that has taken me to all manner of pleasure.  

I'm constantly making ice cream.  Even though I'm spending money I can ill-afford to burn, I am making ice cream almost every week.  And then I take pictures of it and post them online.  I'll come back to the videos I posted on Youtube in a few paragraphs.  



As for the ice cream itself, I give that way to people I care about.  Neighbors, friends, and the select lady here and there.  There have been women who have begged me to bring them ice cream and women who have begged me to stop.  And when those moments came, I asked myself, "does she know I'm telling her how much I care about her with these bowls of ice cream?"  

I've had women be genuinely surprised at the ice cream I've given them, expecting some lame DIY kitchen effort, only to find a well-rounded and developed flavor that was rich and scoopable.  


I'm good at what I do.  

So what about those who are important to me but are too far away to actually try anything?  That's where the pictures and videos come in to play.  Food pron.  I've been posting a lot of it recently because I want watch them and get hungry.  On Twitter, I've been tagging people lately, because I want them to have happy things sing for their attention instead of dreary news stories about yet another stupid thing.  

The other reason I post food pron is envy.  My life ain't that grand so when I find something in it others want, I brag about it.  



I've found that when I post picture of my latest ice cream batch, people tend to feel better, because just seeing ice cream elevates their mood and makes their day better.  I love doing that for folks.  Especially for the ones I care about.  

Sometimes I get frustrated.  It's like showing a woman you're madly in love with picture of a dozen roses and telling her how great they smell.  I'm sure she'd love to get those roses in her hands.  Or at least be in the same room as those roses.  

It's frustrating for me, too, because I want to put that ice cream in her hands so she can decide if it goes in her belly or not.     

I used to think the fastest way to a woman's heart was through the ribcage.  But after speaking to a few of them, I learned that old say, "the fastest way to a woman's heart is through her stomach."  That's not true, either, but I'm going to go with it for now.  



There are videos on my channel dedicated to specific people.  And there are videos out there still dedicated to certain people but I kept their names out because I wanted to respect their privacy.  



Or maybe I was afraid.  Because honestly, it's easier for most people to just say, "I love you" or "I'm madly in love with you" than to make and edit, the post, a video showing them making ice cream.  

You have to be careful who you say "I love you" to because it might be the last time you speak to them.  Nobody wants a big, creepy guy in a van mysteriously falling in love with them.  Uninvited love is scary.  I am incredibly aware of this and often say little, if anything, because I'd rather be the quiet one in her presence than the talkative one she avoids.  

It's a trade-off we creepy guys have to make.  

There are times when I've asked women, "do you want some ice cream?" but the real question I was asking was, "could you please stick around for a few minutes because I really enjoy your company."  

I treat ice cream as an edible sonnet dedicated to how much I care about someone.  And while that someone might tell me it looks and sounds good, what I hear is, "I love that you're putting in the work and effort to make this for me because it shows me just how much you care."  


I'm not naive enough to think a woman will fall madly in love with me because I can make stuff in the kitchen.  Far from it.  In fact, I think it works against me on some level, because it detracts from the sparks and sexual tension that has to go into a budding relationship.  But it gets a woman's attention and that's what I enjoy--the attention.  The rest just isn't in the cards right now and I'm okay with that.  For now, anyways.  

I'm sorting a lot out in my life and this is the one thing that's going well.  Ice cream is there for me and as I tell the ladies, I'll make sure it's there for you, too, if you let me.  Because in the end of it all, I just want the people I care about to be happy, who isn't made happy by ice cream?  





Sunday, April 1, 2018

Just Another Marker

Twenty-three years ago today, my dad drove his car as far as it would go until it ran out of gas in  some remote section of  Sevier County, Utah, where he rolled it to the side of the road, and shot himself in the head with a shotgun.

Some years this day passes me by and I don't even realize it.  Some years it hits me and I deal with a rolodex of emotions.  One year I'm angry, the next I'm depressed, and the next I'm upset.

This year, I'm scared.

I feel like my dad's life had some kind of groove or gravitational pull that was just too strong for him to escape and no matter what actions he took, his life was going to end the way it did.  Somehow, I've repeated the patterns in his life only faster, and with a greater sense of urgency.  I can see the same abyss that claimed him and I'm hurling toward it at twice the speed.

But I don't want to die alone in a car on the side of the road.  It's bad enough statistically I'm going to die in this apartment and nobody will notice until they smell something.  If it happens in the summertime, my window will be open, and people will walk along the sidewalk and there will be this stench...

My weight is back up to where it was when my friends had their intervention but I'm making changes.  I've made changes.

Made.  Past Tense.

I generally don't like "I'm gonna" or "I'm doing" statements because it always feels like a con.  It's as if I've given myself enough wiggle room to somehow cheat they system.  And cheating is how I got myself into this whole mess.

I got back into writing.  I actually put words on paper.  Granted, they were shitty and hollow, and clearly missing something, but that's to be expected when you scramble your brains up like I did for months at a stretch.  It's almost as if I have all new brain cells and I have to whip them into shape so they can perform the way they're supposed to when I tell them to write.

But that's not true.  Brain cells don't write.  Fingers do.  Fingers connected to an ass in the chair and eyes that aren't downloading crap.  Lately it's been a lot of Youtube videos.

At least I'm out of the habit of watching people get mangled on Liveleak.  I no longer need to see that.  I've moved beyond emotional numbness so profound I need to see the extremes of humanity just so I can feel anything.

I got word a few weeks ago that I sold a short story.  I really sold one.  For the first time ever, I will receive payment in the form of money in exchange for a piece of fiction I wrote myself.  They're even going to publish a picture of me and they didn't specify that I have to wear clothes.

I might even get my first nude photos published, too!

I've been making ice cream again.  This is important.  Ice cream is how I reach out to people.  Ice cream is how I extend myself towards others and how I show love, gratitude, and affection.  For me to make ice cream is a big step because it's just not something I do when I'm isolated and depressed.

It's something my dad never did.  He never reached out to anybody that I know of and he didn't have friends.  That's one of the biggest things I've done and it's what has made all the different. 

I have the best goddamn friends in the world.

I have people who hug me and tell me not to give up because I'm important to them.

And as I write that last sentence, I try not to think about how I could have done that for my dad and if I had, would that have even made a difference?  As he sat on the side of that road in the middle of nowhere, over 50 miles from the nearest town, he wrote his suicide note.  It was about eight pages, that I can remember, and the only thing he said about me was "Ted always wanted me dead."

I didn't.  But at the time I was just too angry at him to say much else.

My dad was a drunk who fried his brains.  I hardly ever drink.  Granted, I have my own monkeys to feed, but I'm dealing with them.

My dad destroyed his family.  I try to tell myself I didn't destroy mine.  Based on what I've gathered from so many others it is clear our fates were to be separated and nothing I could do would have changed that.   It is now clear to me there was a very specific path they were to be on and my job was to get them on it.  But they had to walk that path without me.

Dad killed himself a week after his divorce from my mother was finalized.  I've lost so much over the years and had so much taken from me, but somehow I still wake up in the morning.  Maybe that's the key to all of this--just wake up and show up.  And hug your friends when you can.  Let them hug you and tell you how you are important to them because even though you don't believe it yourself, it's hard to deny the memory.  You can't tell yourself that never happened and therefore, you can't tell yourself nobody cares.

Hugs are important like that.

My dad rode his fate to the end without fighting.  I'm fighting.  Some moments I win, some I lose.  But I take it moment by moment instead of day by day.  A day is a huge chunk of time to throw in the garbage.  A moment can be ignored.  A moment is something you can just crumple into a ball and throw away, never thinking about again.

This way, when I get cravings for deep fried dough covered in sugar, and make a bunch of funnel cakes, I can avoid beating myself up over it. 

Or when somebody goes into details about their sex life and triggers the fuck out of me until I'm anxious and ready to implode, I can unplug.

I'm not healthy but I'm not falling into the abyss anymore, either.  I'm pulling up on the reins but there's a lot of momentum here and sometimes it's like I'm sliding on black ice.  My dad didn't do that.  He did the bare minimum needed to stay alive.

My future is in ice cream and fiction.  The rest will work itself out in time.  If I'm meant to die alone, then so be it.  It sucks but some things just can't be fixed.  All I can do is keep writing and keep making the ice cream.  Whatever is supposed to happen after that will unfold. 




Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Sending My Resume to the White House



I swore I'd never again work in politics.

It was a mutual decision because I just don't fit in that culture very well.  I tend to make bad jokes at all the wrong times to the wrong people.

One time, I was in a campaign meeting with some of the highest ranking people in the State of Illinois.  The conversation drifted off to fine cigars.

"I found some great cigars out of Miami," said one elected official, who oversaw several powerful committees.

"I like those better than the ones I get out of Cuba," said another, even more highly ranked elected official.  He was so high on the food chain, he could openly talk about getting illegal Cuban cigars.

"Yeah," said another.  "I'm not a fan of Cubans."

Seeing my opening, I turned to one and said, "I don't like smoking Cubans--they scream too much when you light them up."

And their jaws all dropped as I walked out of the room.

So yeah, I didn't belong there.  Not with those people.

I can tell you, when the indictments came down, and the men from the Secretary of State, along with George Ryan's other people, were charged with all kinds of corruption, the men in that room were so highly ranked they were untouchable and none of them had their names come up in the newspapers.  Not a single one.

When the campaign was over, I wasn't offered a job in Springfield and I was glad.  I shudder to think of what I might have turned into had I taken that job.  I simply didn't belong and it took an internship to make me realize it.

But with the current administration in Washington, there's a chance for redemption.  President Trump is going through staffers like tissue paper and I'm sure I could get in as an aide, advisor, or even as some kind of key staffer.

This is my chance to get back into politics and use that degree in Political Science for once.

The President would totally love me, too.  I just know it.

I already know what to say in my interview, too.

"So, Mr. Theewen," they would ask.  "What can you offer us here at the Trump White House?"

"I can offer you amazing service and excellent production.  I would be so amazing, you would tell your kids about me.  I would be incredible.  So incredible, the President would tell Putin about me when they play golf together.  I would be incredible.  So incredible, you wouldn't believe it.  You would be amazed at how incredible I'd be."

I would make a great advisor to President Trump, too.  In the two weeks I would work there, I'd give him stellar advice about Russia, aliens, Area 51, and coming apocalypse.

And then he'd fire me.

That's just it--I wouldn't have to move to Washington.  This would be a temp gig for sure.  They wouldn't even bother with the security clearances because by the time they got them done, I'd be long gone.

Which is a good thing, when you think about it, because you guys know me and lets' face it--I couldn't get a legit clearance to take out the garbage at the White House, much less get close enough to offer advice on nuclear proliferation in the Middle East or why Russia should be ignored because they're our friends.

In fact, I'm still shocked and amazed I'm not on the Domestic Do Not Fly List.  I checked for my name and sure enough, I'm not on there.  Unless I'm on the secret one so many of those pesky brown people are on.  I'm sure if I changed my name to something menacing like Muhammad they would give me the stink-eye but for now, good old Ted seems to have them totally fooled.

I'll admit I have a shitty past but since they're not doing security checks, I'm golden.  It's like when an employer doesn't do a drop test and pretends to not see the track marks on the inside of an arm.

Bugs.  I got bitten by bugs.  Nothing to see here, move along.

I'd be a shoe-in for the Trump White House.  I've never been to Russia, I've never been charged with sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, sexual har--well, okay, there was that one time.  But she made that up.  And those witnesses were lying.  And I never sent those emails.

But that was a long time ago.  I mean, who cares?  It's not like I grabbed any woman by the pussy.  And if I did, I certainly wouldn't brag about it.  I've got some class.

Plus, I've never been arrested for domestic abuse and no woman has ever accused me of hitting them.

Note to Porter:  Get a van and some duct tape, you moron!  How in the hell does somebody move up the food chain as far as you did without knowing how to cover your tracks?  If you're going to be a violent abuser, at least know how to keep from getting dragged out in public and labled what you are.  I mean, sure, I'm a sociopath, but it's not like I walk around with a sign that proudly proclaims it and I certainly don't let people who won't stay with me forever (wink wink) know about it. 

So now that the White House is hiring people as fast as they can fire them, this is my golden opportunity.

Why?

Well it certainly isn't because I actually believe in them.  It would be a bit of an embarrassment to admit you even work for them.  But the White House?   That's something completely different.

If you work for the White House, you get to add that to your resume forever, and it impresses a lot of people.  So the next time I apply to flip burgers at some shitty fast-food place because I can't find a decent job anyplace else it'll totally impress the 20-something high school dropout doing the interview.

Who knows?  Having that on my resume might actually help me get a job that doesn't involve getting kicked in the nuts daily for minimum wage.  Just as long as it is something they can call to confirm, I'm golden.

I'm fairly certain that I would be fired within the first two weeks anyways.  Number one--they seem to fire everybody.  Or they "resign."  That's a trick Ross Perot used to do.  Everybody signed their Letter of Resignation on the day they were hired so when he fired them, he would just accept their resignation.  That way, he didn't have to fire anybody, which always looks bad on a campaign.  Or at least, it used to look bad, but in today's climate you can fire all the people you want and it doesn't matter.  We've come to accept a lot of crap at this point in our history.

Quitting is bad, too, but not so much.

Another reason I'm sure I'll get fired is that I don't speak Russian.  I'm sure that's important with this White House administration for some reason.  I can drink vodka.  I love to drink vodka.  But I just can't speak Russian.

The other reason I'm sure to be fired is that I'm broke.  I have no money at all and most people who work at the White House seem to be rich and born into money.   People who are born into money carry themselves differently and you can just tell by their demeanor they have wealth.  Poor fuckers like me always look like thieves and pickpockets whenever we stand next to them.

Whenever I'm around a rich person, I feel like they see me as a carnie, and the best they can hope to get out of me is cheap weed and ways to rip off people they don't like.

Now that I think about it, maybe that's why from time to time, people offer me money to kill people they want to make disappear.  It totally makes sense now.

The biggest reason why I'll get fired in a couple of weeks by the Trump White House after being hired is that I have a hard time being nice to people who piss me off.  There comes a time in this life when you simply cannot handle the company of fools and you need to let them know.  My years as a writer and a telemarketer have honed my verbal skills into a weapon.

I can strip flesh from bone with just a few words and I'm not afraid to do it.

Should I be hired by the Trump White House, it would be only a matter of time before I snapped on somebody so hard they would run home to their mama in tears.  It's happened before.  I enjoy it but it's ugly for other people to see and it scares some folks.

With my luck they'd hire me to be the White House Spokesperson to step in for Sarah Huckabee Sanders when her eventual nervous breakdown manifests.  You know it's just a matter of time before she collapses into a delirium mumbling "fake news motherfuckers..."

I have a lot of respect for her because you couldn't pay me enough to do that job.  Not if you wanted me to do it with any kind of class or respect, anyways.  I mean, I have no problems getting up there behind the podium and ripping each one of those people a new asshole.  It would be fun, even. 

I think working for this White House would be a whole bunch of running around from person to person, asking what we're doing, and then constantly monitoring Twitter to see what we're supposed to be working on.  I also think it would be the perfect environment to hide and play video games in because nobody seems to know what's going on or who is supposed to do what. 

An environment like that, one could get away with anything, like checking out their own FBI files unredacted.  That would be a blast!  I'd love to see my own FBI files without all of those black marker streaks across them.  That way, I'd finally know who ratted me out. 

I'm going to title my resume "Amazing Staffer" and in my cover letter, I'm going to say how amazing I am and how I'll do amazing things for them once they hire me.  But I am going to say I'll need a parking spot for my van.  And assurances the Secret Service will stay out of it.  Plus, whatever they do find, know that it isn't mine and I have no idea how it got there. 

I can't wait!