Monday, December 22, 2008

Fear and Loathing in Overland Park pt 47-58

The month of August 2008. Enjoy.

Part 47

A change continues

"Nothing endures but change."
-Heraclitus of Ephesus

This is it. Ground zero. We're nearing our destination. We have made it to our stop. All passengers please exit the cabins in a frighteningly quick fashion and take this opportunity to look around you. The faces have all changed. The landscape has changed. The world itself, is change.

And we are just an everlasting part of this change.

There was a purpose, upon our creation, upon embarking on this extra long journey of the mind, the mindscape, and all the places it would take us. Throughout that time, we have seen things, been a part of things, and this has grown into something different.

Something far different than what it was originally intended to be.

It was intended to be something gonzo, something looking into one man's life as it happens around him in a gonzo journalistic fashion. But as this writer can attest, and some others can also attest, writing about yourself and your daily routines can be boring. It's not thought-provoking, it's not worthwhile, in all honesty:

It's utter shit.

So that changed.

And that brings us to ground zero.

The time for change is here.

So let's have it. Shall we?

“The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different.”
-Aldous Huxley

There are so many things in this world that we do not understand. That we do not agree with. That we do not hold in our hearts to be true. Why? Why do we not believe that each and every person around us, whether friend, foe, or just plain annoyance, can't believe in these things and fight for them tooth and nail? Why do we only allow and accept those things that we have been pre-ordained to accept, or pre-believed?

Why do we fear change in all of its forms?

There is a presidential election on the horizon, and the campaign trail has gone completely insane.

One believes the other is waving the race card and playing it very very hard. The other believes that one is an old worry-wart who is just scared of progress.

Aren't we all?

I mentioned, and spoke in long form, regarding suicide and death, and how this has affected my life. There have been so many more deaths than just those brief few that garnered mention on this website, on this blog, that it would go without saying, that death stalks my every turn. In fact, I recently became aware that one of my favorite musicians, a woman by the name of Natasha Shneider, died recently after a long bout of cancer. She and her husband Alain Johannes are best known for contributing to Desert Sessions and working with Queens of the Stone Age, and actually going on tour with them during their Lullabies to Paralyze tour.

To me, it was most important that they were in a band called Eleven, which was an amazing three-piece band that included Jack Irons (him of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame). Long story short, Eleven was an outstanding musical group that I never had the good fortune to see live, and Alain and Natasha made some of the most stellar music that I have ever heard and will ever hear.

And she is gone.

Yet another person gone.

It gives the whole life and death idea a vague feeling of worthlessness. Why fight what you cannot change?

“Our generation has an incredible amount of realism, yet at the same time it loves to complain and not really change. Because, if it does change, then it won't have anything to complain about.”
-Tori Amos

Isn't that the question we face daily?

Why wake up in the face of great adversity?

We'll never be millionaires. We'll never be movie stars, action heroes, writers, presidents, dictators, scientists, astronauts, race car drivers, or vastly important people with a global perspective.

Why wake up in the face of this great realism that you will live and you will die and that is all there will ever be?

Why? There's many good reasons why, and the greatest is, because someday, you will die.

There is nothing you will ever be able to do to change that. You are not a Highlander, you don't have immortal blood pumping through your veins. You are not a TV star or a novelist that sells a one-page backstory for a billion dollars, in all likelihood, we are nothing.

But that is what makes us everything.

We are the choosers. We are the great equalizers that can make great change with our able minds and bodies.

We are the ones who vote and change the landscape of the world, based on the things we believe in.

But what if all we believe in is death and destruction? What if all we want to do is watch the world burn?

If that is all any of us want, then we don't have to wait for long. Our own lives are burning as we speak, and our own world is burning. Time is passing us by while we sit and bitch and moan about the way that it is. We sit and wonder why these awful things are happening to us, and instead of doing something, we just sit and wait for our light to expire and our world to end.


The great question of why. Why will never be answered in my life. I'm far too inquisitive.

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
-Paul Boese

Life is like a 12 step program. One of those steps is forgiveness.

There are a lot of demons that follow me throughout my life. People, places, events, things that transpired for a reason, to bring me to this place, at this time, and to give me these words to hopefully strengthen someone else's resolve in the face of suicide, death, and destruction.

There are people. Friends, family, those types of people that wronged me. That cut in front of me at the grocery store or in traffic or threw me a middle finger or bitched about how their life was irrelevant and no one ever wanted to hang out with them. People that made me want to commit suicide because they mocked my choices in life. They mocked my feelings, my aspirations. They took the greatest things I had and turned them into jokes.

People that made me look to the end of the rope, the end of a knife, and pierce the flesh and let the blood cascade down to the floor. Staining the linoleum as it struck and splattered. People that made me want to cast myself off the highest heights and crash through something massive and painful so that my body would cease its life on that constant downward spiral.

People that took all the great things I had and turned them into a potential villain, a potential figure on a chart of teenage/adolescent suicide.

People that made everything inside of me turn to black bile and attempt to spill out in violent ways.

Do I still hold rage for them? Do I still wish destruction, hatred, pestilence, and a thousand demons upon their heads?

Sometimes, I wish that I did.

But with change, comes growth. I'm still here. Maybe because I chose to be here. Maybe because I'm supposed to be. But I took that fate within my own hands, held it up, and made the choice.

And with this, I choose to forgive those people. The people who wronged me. Past girlfriends. Classmates. Coworkers who stole jobs from me, promotions from me, recognition from me. Supervisors who looked past me. People who made me feel less like a human being and more like an animal.

I've changed. It's your turn.

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”
-Brian Tracy

So here we are, at a crossroads, and it's time for a change to be had.

My name is not really Momar Van Der Camp.

It's not Raoul Duke.

It's not Jasper Belmont.

My name is whatever you want it to be. My name and my ideal and my self are whatever you make of me. I am the clay to be molded and I am the change that I choose to be, and from this point on, in my mind, I will always be Momar Van Der Camp.

Maybe not in the real world, in the real world, I have a different name. I'm not that different of a person, I'm not a lie, I'm not a fake, I'm not a fraud.

But I am Momar. In every way.

Just not in legal name.

But is he the change that I so drastically needed? At one point in time, wasn't Jasper Belmont and wasn't Ron Von Sexron and wasn't any other single name you've latched onto given you some form of idea of who you are? Isn't a name something that defines you?

Or do you choose to define yourself?

That is the greatest change that will come from this. I will be what the world needs me to be. Sometimes, my world needs me to be a villain. It gives people a common enemy at work, and there always needs to be someone that everyone can cast their hat against and throw their weight against and hate and hate and hate together.

It gives people a common goal.

For my gonzos, I can be Momar, the spirit of change. The spirit of unwillingness and sarcasm and cynicism that can give them a greater mindset and open their eyes to things around them.

For my wife, I can be the hero. I can forgive. I can forget. I can destress. I can live life like I want to and be what she needs me to be. Strong. Honest. Easygoing. Loving. And a man. I can be the broad-shouldered Superman when I need to be and the Batman when I need to be.

I can be whatever I need to be, whenever I need to be, because I am the change.

“If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.”
-Albert Einstein

I will forever and always be the change. And with that, it is time for this blog to change.

To continue to change as the day sees fit.

Somedays I will use this as a sounding board for death and destruction, chaos and unwavering certainty in the face of some greater demon. Others, I will use it to tell a story, to open the eyes of those around me. And others still, I will just use it for all that it's worth. To give an essayistic look into what I'm thinking about or what I'm dreaming about or what insomnia has made me believe.

So this is what change looks like.

This is where the curtain falls and you finally get to see the man behind the curtain. But does the change, does that idea of change, allow for you to truly believe that what you see and what you read is real?

That is for you to decide.

So what changes do you wish you had in your 12 step program life?

I wish that I was thinner.

I wish that I dressed better.

I wish that I was famous.

I wish that I was rich.

I wish that I was a little bit taller. I wish that I was a baller. I wish that I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat and a 6-4 Impala (couldn't resist, I really couldn't).

I wish that all of our lives were not so homogenized, so completely ridiculously droned out and created and fashioned after a world that lusts after all the latest trends, gadgets, gizmos, and money that we could all just live. I wish that each and every single one of us could live their lives freely without having to worry about money, about the contents of their wallet, about the little things in life that trip up marriages and friendships and job hunts.

I will change the facts now.

I will change what I want because that is what I choose to do.

In my life of the or, I will not worry about how I look, what I read, what I watch, who I talk to, how my hair looks, how much money I make, or the level of fame that I have.

But I can't change what I've said.

"Even God cannot change the past.”

There's no going back now.

There's no game ones.

There's no fresh starts.

This is it. Ground zero.

What changes will you make in this life you have? What will you do to better the world and the society around you by bettering yourself and your outlook and the things you love and the things you believe in?

It all starts from within.

To make this world change, to recreate everything around us in a way that fits what we want from the world, we have to fit the world to us. We have to change ourselves in order to make change. We have to accept that life will end one day, and there is nothing we can do about it. We have to accept that people will leave us and we will leave people, we have to accept that nothing is static, everything is falling apart.

We have to accept the change and be the change and be the or and make the hard choices. Do you choose to change and change the world with you? Or do you choose to sit idly by and let things happen around you?

It's your choice. The time is now.

Make change and be change and everything can be change and you will change with it. Forget the past. Forgive the past. Let go and start again. This is it. Ground zero. The time is now.

We are the change the world deserves.

“Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
-Harry S Truman
Part 48

The online art of stalking

“Some stalkers are quite benign, but finding someone in your garden at three o’clock in the morning with a meat cleaver and a hard-on can’t be much fun.”

-Daniel Craig

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is James Bond’s Daniel Craig. 007 himself. Funny enough talking about hard-ons on a Monday, but regardless, it’s true.

Each and every one of us is responsible and has probably perpetrated some form of stalking.



Telephone stalking.

There are many different forms of stalking, and each of us has done it at least once.

Friday was innocuous. Spent the day in blissful pain from chronic back spasms. Spent the early afternoon in a doctor’s waiting room for the pain to go away and for yet another check-up to tell me what I already know.

No one knows what’s wrong with my back.

But glory of glories, flexirol prescribed and back pain seems to subside. Even the insomnia has dissipated to an extent. It’s only been 3 days, but things are looking up.

However, side effects may include cottonmouth, loss of appetite, constipation, dizziness, and the best news is I’ve felt them all.

Driving while on Flexirol, operating heavy machinery, not considered a good idea. Must keep in mind before getting behind the wheel of the front loader and ramming a wall with the amazing power behind it.

Remember that.

Friday was then spent trolling, or internet roaming. Trolling is what a number of you have done, checking and rechecking and rechecking and rechecking random web pages, Facebook profiles, or even Ink blogs.

We’ve all done it.

Some of us just do it more than others.

“There are also new and dangerous crimes which these numbers don’t reflect…Child predators are stalking our children on the internet while methamphetamine production and use endangers our communities and families.”

-Roy Cooper

It seems like every other day there is an item on the news media about another predator caught, another sexual predator being put in confinement for the betterment of the society as a whole.

And I won’t argue that it’s necessary.

I worked with two men who we found out later were sexual predators. It makes all the past conversations you have with these people come to the forefront and you question things.

Like why those men were allowed to work at a toy store. Or why they were ever put in the employ of a business that caters directly to children.

They got their rocks off I’m sure, but it sure is strange to think about working late on the dock and having these weird bastards around you at 3 in the morning.

Not a good thing to think when the paranoia associated with painkillers starts to strike.

And it reminded me to check my online status for some reason. It reminded me of all the options at my fingertips to stalk my friends, family, or the famous people that I just absolutely love.

“Stalking is an extension of harassment elevated to a level where it is causing disruption or physical threat to the person being harassed.”

-Mark Childress

10 mg dose of flexirol is small compared to the oxycontin, clonazapam, Demerol, codeine, hydrocodeine, and the vast amounts of other pills, painkillers, muscle relaxers and the like that have been taken.

They make you a little paranoid.

So you check Facebook. You check your status. The status of ex-friends. Ex-girlfriends. Old teachers. Old classmates. Kids you used to live across the street from.

All of them are coming to get you and the pills are making it worse.

They don’t mention extreme paranoia as a side effect, but it’s there.

And as I mentioned previously, we’ve all stalked.

Either by checking these status updates or looking at pictures of people we once knew to see what has happened or changed in their lives. We look at photos of engagement nights to see if their engagement was as good as ours.

We look at pictures of weddings and judge.

We look at ex-girlfriends and make criticisms about how much better your life is now since you aren’t with them anymore.

We post photos of people we randomly meet in bars and wonder aloud who those people are and then request assistance from each and every person we know in finding them (there is a Facebook group devoted to finding out who some girl was on a plane with another guy in which they made eye contact at least once on a long plane trip).

Sad, right?

“We’ve found that harassers tend to be white collar, don’t have a criminal record, are not internet experts or hackers, and are just like you and me. They can be teachers, lawyers, businesspeople, students, doctors, the kid who bags your groceries – online harassers and stalkers are not who you may think they are.”

-Jayne Hitchcock

You are a stalker. Online, personal, whatever. It doesn’t matter. There are levels of being a stalker.

Have you ever checked your girlfriend/boyfriend’s phone to see who called?

Have you ever checked another person’s email to see what they’re saying to other people?

Have you ever followed news reports about your favorite celebrity’s recent childbirth?

Have you ever spent an entire summer going to the same pool to see the same lifeguard everyday?

Have you ever driven by the favorite haunt of an ex-loved one just to catch a glimpse of them?

Have you ever posted a picture of someone you met on a plane, at a bar, or just in passing to attempt to find out who they are?

If you’ve done any of this or more, you’re a stalker. Accept it and move on.

Just don’t become a manic stalker, one who does something much worse than just looking. One who stalks and harasses, who throws words of hurt and attempts to meet these people through their friends or family. Who attempts to disrupt their lives by pigeonholing themselves into that life.

Do not become something disturbing like that.

Sit back. Relax. And let the painkillers set in.

We are living One Day as a Lion, just like this really great band I happened across that includes Zach De La Rocha from Rage Against the Machine. It makes my head all whimsical for the good old days when Rage was regularly putting out new music, and it makes me wish I could live one day as a Lion. I wonder what my life would be like.

But maybe that’s the painkillers talking. Who knows.

“Skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls.”

-Emile Cioran

One thing to keep in mind with hardcore stalkers and the types of stalkers that are harassing people by putting the pictures of people they wish to stalk online is you can’t treat them with kid gloves and say it’s okay, they’re not hurting anyone.

They are hurting people.

They are making people uncomfortable. They are using their anger and their frustrations with their pointless little lives and shoving that on someone else and using their abilities to mock and terrorize the other person’s life.

They are the paparazzi of real-life.

They take photos of you dancing at a dance club, just having a good time, and force you to make up lies to get away from them.

They try to slip you pills in your drinks and make you forget all about the night just so that they can finally touch another human being.

Because they are sad individuals who have no life and have to make terror of another person’s happy little existence.

They are despicable and gross, and even in my haze I can see this. So why can’t some of you? How come some of you enjoy the idea of having as many friends as possible on these internet sites like Facebook and Myspace when all the personal information in the world about you (besides your social security number) can be ascertained from those websites.

All they have to do is have some working knowledge of the internet and an inquisitive mind and some stalker with real malice in their heart can destroy your life.

“Hatred can be murtured anywhere, idealism can be perverted into sadism anywhere. If hatred and sadism combine with modern technology the inferno could erupt anew anywhere.”

-Simon Wiesenthal

Isn’t that why we have television shows like To Catch a Predator? Because technology is to the point now where I can figure out your IP address from the screen you’re viewing this blog from and track down your address based on your account with Time Warner or whatever internet provider you’re using?

And I only have the inquisitive mind. I hold no malice for any of you.

I just know how easy it is.

I’ve been stalked.

By a number of people.

While in college, my roommates and I were called a number of times by internet patrons and followers that despised us for our viewpoints while talking on a message board.

That’s why I don’t flame or talk on message boards anymore. It’s worthless, it’s ridiculous, it’s pointless, and the people searching for fights (or flames) will always get it for their asinine opinions about bans going on in the city.

There’s no point.

I’ve been stalked by ex-girlfriends. By ex-best friends. I’ve had people come to my apartment in the middle of the night and do things to my car because they wanted me back in their lives.

It’s all a little weird.

So I’m using this as the time to tell you: hatred can be flamed and can be turned against you. Even if you’re the one with hatred in your heart, that hatred can be turned against you in a way that will upset the apple cart and turn your life into a living hell.

A living hell full of torture, despair, and painkillers.

“So much attention has been given to the Internet and stalkers of this nature. This kind of gets overlooked. It turned out to be just another hunting ground for sexual predators.”

-Jeff Roberts

Take a second to look at your friends list on all those websites like Facebook, Myspace, Meetup, Inkkc, dating sites, whatever. Look at all the people and then look at their friends. If the friends list they have isn’t a healthy mix of men and women, there might be a problem.

It might be a person desperately trying to get into someone’s pants, or it might be worse.

It might be someone looking for something more than one sexual encounter and something worse than just a date. It might be someone who is so desperate for human interaction that they will friend you and then find out where you live and stalk you.

Invite you to events, but only you, so that they can seize that opportunity to use you and abuse you and make your life reflective of theirs.

While we’re on the subject, anyone want to go to PL&D tonight and kick it?


There are ways around this. Many ways.

Just stop opening yourself up to each and every person who requests you to be their friend or frink on these websites. Plain and simple.

You don’t need to have the highest friend count out of anyone here. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth the potential heartache just to seem like you’re the most popular when all of us know that really this is just a fake world and the most friends means nothing.

It puts you on par with Tila Tequila, and does anyone really want to be on par with her? You might catch something from her just by being in her presence.

So let’s mention the choice: you have multiple choices to think of. Will you be a stalker and pay close attention to each and every person’s status on your favorite networking websites? Will you be stalked? Will you be the one whose life get’s terrorized?

Or will you be something more?

Will you just live your life and not be so caught up in the friends list and the lives of those around you unless they really matter?

A close group of gonzos and your wife and family. That’s the group of people who you should pay attention to.

Not some person you’ve never met who lives a world away. Not some person who’ll never give you the time of day in person and if they do they’ll make up some really really lame excuse about how they have to go find the friend that they got separated from just to ditch you.

We all have excuses.

But do any of us really see ourselves as a stalker?

Maybe the choice is in front of you. Will you be a stalker or will you just live your life as it is and not worry so damn much about what other people have that you don’t have or that you want?

Maybe it’s the painkillers talking, but it’s time for a change. I’m embracing the or, and side effects may include dry mouth and a complete sense of elation. Here comes the or, it’s your chance to change things.

“A stalker will look for any kind of attention, positive or negative. A vast majority of them don’t see themselves as stalkers.”

-Jill McArthur


Part 49

Charity and what it really means

“Affectation hides three times as many virtues as charity does sins.”

-Horace Mann

Do you ever sit and hate people who tell you all about the glorious things that they do for other people?

Do you ever wonder why these people feel it is necessary to let you in on all of the awesome things they’ve done to help other people?

Do you ever sit and think, hey, maybe charity and anonymous donations of money, blood, or whatever it is, is meant to be kept anonymous?

In my mind, when a person feels the need to tell me that they’ve voted, given blood, sent a $5000 check to their favorite charitable organization, it makes me wonder.

What the hell is wrong with you?

And why should I care?

People seem to think that doing something charitable should do more than make them feel good on the inside. They think each and every one of us should pat them on the back.

So they wear stickers and buttons and big grins on their face like shit-eating grins advising you that they know they’re better than you because they did something amazing and gave to someone less fortunate and you didn’t.

These people are scum.

“Boards of public charity were invented by the devil to prevent real individual charity.”

-Austin O’Malley

I have a group of friends going to Mexico that are looking for donations to their travel fund because they are poor, and they know I’m poor, so they don’t expect me to give them money to assist in their travels.

They know that I’m currently moving.

But people, when someone says no, they aren’t capable of assisting you with something, why hound them? Does that make them want to be charitable?

I ask this question as the Company is currently having a Blood Fair this week. It seems everyone and their mother is.

I have a problem with giving blood, which I will get to later. And it has nothing to do with fear of needles or anything of that nature. It also has nothing to do with communicable disease.

The problem I have with people assisting in charitable functions and getting their faces out there is that at the Company, those people seem to be lurking around every corner, waiting to pounce on you as you make your way to the cafeteria or the breakroom or just stepping foot in the office.

It seems a little ridiculous.

Yes blood is needed. Yes charity is needed to give the blood to people.

But you getting in my face and telling me if I don’t that it means I’m scum and that you are better than me, you better get out of my face before I come back with a roundhouse kick to your head from the years of karate I’ve taken plus all the pent-up rage that still is encased within me from working at this Company.

“They take the paper and they read the headlines, so they’ve heard of unemployment and they’ve heard of bread lines, and they philanthropically cure them all by setting up a costume charity ball.”

-Ogden Nash

Does any of this make sense? Does it make sense to anyone to have a pub Crawl for the Cure? All that does is create liver disease as opposed to whatever form of cancer they are fighting against that week. Not to mention when said pub crawlers pass out on the streets of Westport/Power and Light they will then get skin cancer from the harmful UV-rays they did not protect themselves from.

Does charity make sense when it involves smacking someone in the face with your enormous wealth and making their poor disposition or lesser grasp on life look even worse?

What is the point?

And now for the reason why I haven’t given blood in a long long time.

The last two times I gave blood, in a fairly short period of time, one was for a blood drive and the other was at a doctor’s office.

Both times my arm came out covered in blood.

The first instance the phlebotomist could not find a vein and poked and poked and poked and poked and poked about 10 times and finally found a vein. Then, after that fiasco and being bruised and beaten, when she YANKED the needle from my arm, the blood just nicely flowed in red in a steady drip down my arm to the floor.

That was a swell day.

At the doctor’s office it was more poke and yank and then blood ruined a favorite t-shirt. So a lot of memories of needles.

And isn’t this me talking about my charity?

No it is not.

It’s me suggesting why you should stop bothering me with your call to be charitable. I can be charitable in other ways without giving my blood away.

“Charity isn’t a good substitute for justice.”

-Jonathon Kozol

My charity comes in many different ways. But first thing’s first:

I think the idea of asking if someone will sign up to give blood and then rewarding them with Royals tickets can be a good idea. It seems to work, it seems less influenced by personal ideas of needing to look like you’re a charitable human being and therefore better than someone else, and it allows you to win something.

So you’re not doing it so much for yourself, but more to see the Royals get beat. Again.

But like the man said, charity isn’t a good substitute for justice. Can we really expect people to change just by smiling at them and giving them the chance to be better without actually expelling justice?

Is this all just a nice way of telling you that charity doesn’t have to mean giving money to someone?

If you search Wikipedia regarding charity, the first thing you’re asked is to donate to them so that they can provide you with all the glorious free content at your fingertips. Could be a worthy charity, but again, I’m not made of money and I like free stuff, so I’ll just keep getting the free stuff.

Charity is the practice of benevolent givings, according to said Wikipedia. It does not state that you have to pay money. It does not say that you have to give blood.

It does not say that you need to do anything drastic to change your life so that someone else can benefit while you lose your lease on life.

Charity is all the small things we do for people.

“Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature.”

-Chuang Tzu

Charity can be as small as a smile or as big as giving away a kidney.

It can be as small as a wink and as big as giving millions of dollars to a homeless person who needs it more than you.

Charity can be going to a food kitchen. It can be reading to an elderly person in an assisted living community. It can be food drives. UNICEF. Adopting a child from a foreign nation where they might not survive.

Charity comes in all forms.

And you don’t have to proclaim what you’ve done for other people to make it meaningful.

If that is why you do something nice for someone, why do it anyways? What’s the point?

To make yourself feel better about an emptiness you feel?

If that is why you’re being charitable, then it’s time to stop. It’s time to try something else.

Like alcohol or pills.

I mentioned previously that flexirol is changing my habits. It seems to be changing my brain patterns as well. That cottonmouth has gone insane and my back feels a slight bit better.

Not immense changes. But enough to notice.

And my wife did something charitable in getting me to go to the doctor. As I’ve mentioned before, I hate doctors. Hate going to see them time and time again and them tell me nothing is wrong with my constant back pain and they have nothing to do but hope for the best.

By forcing me to go to the doctor, she was charitable and came back with a reward of her own.

I don’t complain as much about the insomnia.

“Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.”

-Albert Camus

You see, the whole let’s change the world thing, hippie love-in message I’ve been proclaiming since the first day, it’s boiled down to generosity and charity.

It’s boiled down to doing the right thing on a daily basis and making things look better and feel better.

It’s not that hard to give away some of the hate in your heart so that someone else can smile when they need to.

It’s not that hard to go from clinically depressed to bright and bubbly if someone needs you to be strong for them.

It’s easy.

It’s easy to be generous and giving. It really is.

But it’s even easier to talk about it and pat yourself on the back.

So that’s the ticket right there. This idea, this changing of the world that we all seem so much to want, it depends on that.

It depends on doing the right thing and helping your brothers and sisters and not patting yourself on the back. Not proclaiming how great you are.

It’s not about you anymore.

It’s about everyone else.

When you really truly realize how heavy the entire world is, there’s a part of your mind that just has to accept that you will never fix or change everything. You have to accept that there are people who feel the need to always say how great they are because they voted and they want you to know so that you can tell them how great they are for saying and doing just that.

But that’s not the issue.

The point and the issue is: to change the world, to embrace this Or that surrounds us, the choice starts within each and every one of us. We have to accept that we must be generous and charitable to others and not expect something in return.

That is not what charity is all about.

It’s not about what you get in return.

It’s about helping someone else.

So this is my way of helping all of you. Open your eyes and look around you. Do you like what you see? Do you want something to change?

Then it’s time for a change. But it’s on you. If you want to be better and do something better with yourself, or you know someone that does and needs to be pushed, it’s time to push and it’s time to start.

The choice is yours.

This world will change with each and every one of us.

We just have to remember the basic principle of charity: doing good things and not doing it for ourselves. We are doing it to better everything around us, and we don’t need anyone’s approval to do it.

“What do you call love, hate, charity, revenge, humanity, magnanimity, forgiveness? Different results of the one master impulse: the necessity of securing one’s self-approval.”

-Mark Twain


Part 50


“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”

-Martin Luther King Jr.

The real tragedy is that so long after his death, his dream has not become a reality. The real tragedy is that this blatant racism we all suffer and face and throw at each other every single day of our lives will probably keep progression from happening.

I’m going to open this blog/rant/essay with a story. It's a personal story, which I try not to always tell. But regardless.

I was at an interview yesterday waiting for the interviewer to come and get me so that we could get started. The woman at the front desk was a really great lady, a lot of fun to talk to, but we got in a random discussion most people don’t get into when they sit and talk with someone in a fashion befitting friendly conversation.

It started as politics and ended with racism.

We both started discussing Obama and how we felt that he was the change this country needed because he had fresh eyes and fresh ideas, and the name Kennedy came up. She said that’s all she hears about when people talk about him now, is how much like Kennedy he is.

And the discussion then ramped up into a fear of voting for Obama. A fear of putting him in the office of the President because the world doesn’t seem quite ready for a black President.

We both agreed that some idiot would attempt to assassinate him. For his ideals, his beliefs, and for his race.

It’s disgusting to think about, but she and I agreed that it’s still a very scary world we live in.

You all can tell that I’m white, but guess what ethnicity she was? Make your assumptions and then get back to me, as I have a blog to write and a diatribe to continue into.

The most amazing thing about it was that we spoke with each other for a span of maybe 10 minutes, and I learned something amazing about this woman, that despite age differences and other differences between the two of us (job description, sex, etc), we agreed.

We agreed that the so-called peace and the idea that the world has grown up over time and racism might not be that big of an issue, it is. It really is.

“I look at an ant and I see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit.”

-Miriam Makeba

During the interview itself, I was asked a question by said interviewer regarding something asked of me that I did not wish to follow through on. I was asked if there was a specific time where a supervisor or person above me on the company hierarchy asked me to do something I didn’t agree with.

And I had a doozy of an answer.

Some asshat I worked for during one of my vast retail experiences advised me to follow a group of young black men wearing big coats and baggy jeans. This was in early January quite a few years ago and he asked me to follow them because the way they dressed made them seem like they would steal.

I told him no and I quit, almost on the spot.

I explained to him that I wore big coats and baggy jeans. I explained to him that the way these three guys were dressed is the exact same way most people dress in the dead of winter and the way I dress nearly every day of the year.

And I told him I wouldn’t do it and wouldn’t follow that rule.

I’m fairly certain he was fired for this incident and I left. I wouldn’t deal with that type of blatant racism from a major company or a small company or any single person in the world.

You have the right to say what you think and think what you think, but it doesn’t make you any less stupid for opening your damn mouth and sounding like an ignorant jackass in a world that we live in today.

And thankfully, the next position I held at a retail store was not met with this same sense of blatant, overt racism. And the next position I kept for a solid 4 years, which was nice, but still a retail job.

At this point in the story, I was commended by Big Matt and his nephew Kelvin for being so absolutely against racism, and because I wasn’t full of myself like the other managers there, they made me honorarily made me their brother. Which was cool. But onto the rant.

“The policemen or soldiers are only a gun in the establishment’s hand. They make the racist secure in his racism.”

-Huey Newton

If you don’t know who Huey Newton is, it’s time to stop reading and learn about him.

To define racism, Wikipedia says racism is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

In simple terms.

And how many of you have looked at the person sitting across from you, be they white, Asian, black, Hispanic, or whatever, and not slightly judged them.

We’ve all done it.

And the First Amendment, besides the guns and the soldiers and the policemen that Huey speaks of, give those racists the ability to say whatever they feel.

And being a big backer, a big junkie for the First Amendment, it’s difficult to come across this blatant racism and not want to punch them in the mouth when they say: It’s not racism. It’s not racism.

It’s a chant. It’s similar to what the Ku Klux Klan do, chant against their enemies and keep their bigoted minds hidden behind sheets because they don’t want the world to really know who they are even though their beliefs are so strong and so despotic that it makes no sense to hide behind a mask.

But we all do.

We all have masks that we hide behind, especially when it comes to racism.

A lot of the black poets and radicals were racist against the whites just as the whites were racist against them.

One of my favorite writers, Amiri Baraka, sees the innate racism in everyone and doesn’t necessarily embrace it, but realizes that he is almost the same as the white man in his racism against the black.

But he struggles to identify this and grow from it, not to just let it boil within and make his world so utterly anti-someone else that it destroys the world around us.

So there is an infinitely small line between being a radical follower of the belief of peace and the peaceful thoughts on how to achieve it as well.

If the world was a different place, there wouldn’t be a need to talk about these things.

If the world was more like the way Martin Luther King Jr. saw it, my points would be null and unnecessary.

But they aren’t.

“Racism is always there underneath, but usually it is exploited in these times of economic crisis, and it’s hard to find out when one slides into another.”

-Iris Chang

That’s the biggest thing that scares me. Yes, I’m a white male, so I may not see it as explicitly as other friends of mine most certainly will, but we are in an economic crisis, and unemployment rates are the highest they’ve been in 6 years.

And that number keeps growing.

So in this time of unemployment rates and people searching for jobs, it is safe to assume that the political and economic unrest will grow just like the population’s unrest with their brothers and sisters, neighbors, and co-workers.

People will begin to riot in the streets, and there is something brewing underneath it all and it just seems to be growing.

With a dress code in place, the Power and Light District could see this sooner than later. Yes there is the idea that the dress code is in place for everyone, but each and every one of us know that it is signaling and pointing directly to one group of people.

African-American males.

Not white males. Not females. You could pretty much come completely naked to the P&L and they would let you in so fast that everyone waiting in line wouldn’t know what to do.

So maybe they should strip.

Or maybe it’s time for a revolution.

Maybe it’s time for riots in the streets.

Maybe it’s time for the unrest to boil over and each and every one of us to re-evaluate our lives and see where we are wrong and where we need to make change.

Maybe it’s time for some good, old-fashioned, civil disobedience.

“We are still conditioning people in this country, and, indeed, all over the globe to the myth of white superiority. We are constantly being told that we don’t have racism in this country anymore, but most of the people who are saying that are white. White people think it isn’t happening because it isn’t happening to them.”

-Jane Elliot

And sadly, this is almost completely true. We don’t really see it as white males, men, women, whatever, we only see it from the outside.

We may see ourselves looking from the outside of ourselves as we complain about a bad driver and imagine in our heads that they are bad drivers because of their race or they are not fun to deal with while working at a job because they don’t speak the same language as us, but we shouldn’t.

We should look inside.

We should think about what this would feel like to a friend or brother or to ourselves.

Seeing this first hand against Kelvin, it sucks. Seeing this first-hand with a few of my gonzos, it’s depressing. It makes me long for a world filled with peace and prosperity.

A world not unlike what MLK wanted.

But I may not see that in my lifetime as people cast a blind eye to the way the world really is against people of different skin color from ourselves.

Such as the tragedy and murders in Darfur.

All we care about is how this affects us today. Most people in America don’t care about genocide unless it affects them personally, unless it affects their family, friends, or their gas prices.

They don’t want to see a million news stories everyday talking about how awful the world is.

They want to sit in their bubble and believe that the world doesn’t hate us because of where we live. They want to sit in the protective, ignorant bubble and believe themselves innocent.

But as I mentioned, none of us are innocent.

“Most people are explicitly racists. In parts of the world – so called educated, so-called western society – we’ve learned that it is not polite to be racist, and so often we don’t express racist views, but…Racism is one of the big issues of the world today. Racism is the big social problem in the United States.”

-Jared Diamond

Most of us can’t even tell another person why we “aren’t” racist.

Because we were taught it was bad.

Because our parents lived in a world in the south when it was rampant and they saw this, whether it was on their barracks or on the street where they grew up.

So they raised us to believe that each and every person was worth befriending, regardless of skin color, political or religious beliefs, etc.

They raised us in a different world from the ones their parents raised them in.

And having a grandfather who expresses racist thoughts during family gatherings is supposed to be okay because that is how he grew up and that is the world he lived in.

But I don’t agree with that.

I don’t agree with that thought that it’s okay for someone set in their ways to stay set in their ways.

I don’t agree that people who grew up in a racist society should be freely allowed to think those things in the world we live in today.

And I really hope you agree with me, as opposed to just saying, it’s not racism.

That’s a joke, and it’s time to accept that the world is a very racist place.

“Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.”

-Pierre Berton

I mentioned in a previous blog an email that was circulating around offices and between personal emails around the United States about Barack Obama and how because he is black and has different central beliefs in his heart than us, that none of us should vote for him.

It was racist, and the person I received the email from said It was interesting and that is why she passed it along.

So I let her have it. I explained how xenophobic she was and how ridiculous that was to believe that just because someone looks different from you that you shouldn’t vote for them or see them for what they are.


All the racists are human as well, but in my opinion, much lower and baser than those with the free will and the free thoughts to allow themselves to understand people for their inner self and not for the way they look when we see them face to face or on TV.

It sickens me.

It sickens me to think in a free society like we have today, people worry that making a black man president would just end his life quickly with a coward’s bullet.

It sickens me to think that the way a person dresses is cause for specific pointing out and kicking out of an area.

It doesn’t make sense.

It doesn’t make sense to me not to be friends with a person or colleagues or anything else with another person just because of their race, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, whatever.

It doesn’t make sense to me to chant that this is not racism.

It’s all about hate, people. It’s all about hating someone else for the way they look.

Or the way they act.

Or the things they believe in.

And if you want to be a bigot, keep on that road. It’ll be a short one, filled with far fewer people than you’d like to have in your life. Sure, they’d carry the same beliefs as you, but wouldn’t it get boring quick talking about the same people you hate all the time and never thinking of something a little more progressive and a little more free-flowing?

I guess that’s just me. Maybe I’m wrong, but always hating just seems like a very empty existence to live. Always fighting with someone else because they commented on your comment so now you need to call them out, in an online arena no lose, and tell of how stupid they are with their young and inexperienced ways, just seems like a lost cause to me.

Being a hater, in general, is wasteful.

But the tables may turn someday. Someday we may see a world that is more open and free. Where each and every one of us has a chance for honest to goodness acceptance.


I suppose accepting the or into my life is difficult for some people to do as well. Accepting the cultures of the world for who they are and not how they look is easy, when you really try at it. But if you don’t want to try, you know what will happen?

Progress will leave you behind, and you’ll be an old dinosaur trying to get people to sway to your beliefs and hang out with you, when really, they’re all just pitying you.

It’s sad really.

It’s a lot of pity.

And it’s time for a change. It’s time to open our eyes and see change for what it needs to be. Maybe it won’t happen in our lifetime. Maybe the world will end tomorrow and you’ll never have a chance to change things. Maybe there’s a lot of things going on that you can’t change, but this is one of them.

Change the way you look at others, and maybe they will change the way they look at you. Change the way the world looks at you, and you’ve got yourself a snowball effect.

For each and every one of us that changes and accepts the change that the world needs, that change will then lead to maybe 1 to 2 more people changing how they see things, or the way they talk about things, or maybe a simple and small belief they hold in desperation in their hearts.

And it rolls downhill. And it grows. And before you know it, the change has already happened and you get a chance to see it before you die.

And that is all any of us really want or need. To feel accepted. To be accepted.

So the change starts there: accept others, and you will be accepted.

It’s time people.

The choice belongs to you.

“The horror of class stratification, racism, and prejudice is that some people begin to believe that the security of their families and communities depends on the oppression of others, that for some to have good lives there must be others whose lives are truncated and brutal.”

-Dorothy Allison


Part 51

Heroes and the worship we throw toward them

“Claret is the liquor for boys; port, for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.”

-Samuel Johnson

To preface this look at heroes and what they mean to our daily lives, it must be said that it is a sad day having lost both Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes. I will always remember Bernie Mac from Who’s The Man?, Transformers (best part of that whole god-awful movie), his TV show which was hilarious, and the Kings of Comedy (the only one of the bunch I really liked). It is sad to see him go, but we’ll remember him.

And Isaac Hayes, besides always being remembered as Chef from South Park, will always be the character he played in I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. Hilarious movie (before the Wayans brothers started to suck) and his role as the aged action hero who was shot about a billion times, but thankfully not a single vital organ was struck, was hilarious and is hilarious. Find that movie kiddies.

The reason I mentioned them is I’m certain they were someone’s hero. I’m certain Bernie Mac showed the world in a way how to be a comedian and Isaac Hayes made music his own way. I’m certain they were heroes to someone, and it’s a sad day to lose two.

Onto the show:

Back around 2003, a longtime girlfriend ripped my heart into pieces, which is where the name Momar Van Der Camp came from (that and to hide from a group of middle-aged internet stalkers with entirely too much time on their hands).

The idea of the gonzo man was created out of a sense of urgency and necessity. I had to distance myself from the heartache, from the pain, from the losses I would soon face from friends that were on their last legs of their battles with depression and musical giants that would expire from this world.

The idea of the gonzo came about after the heartache made me venture to a movie theater and gladly watch Bad Boys 2, out of a need to forget.

But I will never forget wasting money on that piece of tripe.

The reason for this look into the psyche is to mention that the idea, the definition of a hero, was boiled down to something very disgusting in my eyes when all this happened around me. When my world started to collapse as friends left in a variety of ways, I was left asking, where are my heroes? Where are those people who are supposed to save me?

I questioned the reality of the world. I questioned the greater sense of decency from events that transpired from the year we started to date through 2003 when we broke up. I questioned everything and anything.

And that’s where we are. Questioning hero worship and the idea of a hero, in general terms.

“Some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power, some worship God, and over these ideals they dispute, but they all worship money.”

-Mark Twain

What do you worship?

Who do you consider to be a personal hero?

I have people I would say are heroes in a sense to me. People that are like-minded and creative and look at the world in ways that I want to or in ways that I wish that I could. People like Hunter Thompson. People that are very cynical about things and about people and look at the world in more clever ways that just random events that are strung together.

People like George Carlin. People who openly mock everything and everybody to get us to think.

Most of my heroes are no longer with us.

I would love to say that one of my heroes is my dad, and he is heroic in a way. Not in the sense that he wears a cape and fights crime and makes over 400 million dollars in 4 weeks, but in the sense that he did anything and everything for his kids while they lived at home.

My dad was heroic in a sense that he worked a shitty job delivering mail so that we could eat, get educated, and live our lives free and happy.

He taught me a lot, and to this day, still does. But is he a hero? Is he a hero in a broad definition of the word? Yes. But what qualities must a hero have inside of them to appear to be a hero to the world around us?

Most of your heroes are probably people in Hollywood, right?

“Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety.”

-Daniel J. Boorstin

Do we, as a society, worship heroes?

Is that even a valid question that I should ask and ask it with a straight face? Of course we worship celebrities. We worship them more than actual heroes. More than actual human beings who’ve done something of worth.

Like the Chinese kid who walked out during the opening ceremony of the Olympics next to Yao Ming. This kid pulled some other kids from harm’s way after the massive earthquake and was listed as a hero during the opening ceremony.

But I guarantee in the upcoming months we’ll never hear about him again, and if we do, it will be in US Weekly or People or one of the other rags that have nothing better to talk about than what grocery store John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston were spotted walking out of.

It’s disturbing.

The commentators made mention about how this little boy was a hero and a true hero at that, but past that, we all moved on and we’ll all forget who he is.

He doesn’t have a contract to shill Gatorade or Coca-Cola.

He doesn’t have a contract to star in a big budget remake of Cop and a Half.

He doesn’t have a name recognizable from numerous months being followed by paparazzi.

And we’ll probably never see an upskirt photo of him climbing out of a car with no underwear on.

And we’ll all forget who he is in a matter of seconds because he’s not in our face, he’s not a trainwreck, he’s not some massive name brand that needs to be corrupted and visible in every inch of our lives.

“Hero-worship in the sense of expressing our unbound admiration is one thing. To obey the hero is a totally different kind of worship. There is nothing wrong in the former while the latter is no doubt a most pernicious thing. The former is man’s respect for which is noble and of which the great men are only an embodiment. The latter is the serf’s fealty to his lord. The former is consistent with respect, but the latter is a sign of debasement. The former does not take away one’s intelligence to think and independence to act. The latter makes one perfect fool. The former involves no disaster to the state. The latter is a source of positive danger to it.”

-B.R. Ambedkar

There is an inherent danger in our worshipping so-called idols and heroes. The danger stems from the future. The future seemed bright for such a long time that we never stopped to think that pollution, in every sense of the word, was destroying it.

Not just the literal pollution.

But mind-pollution.

By forcing people like Lindsay Lohan into the public consciousness, people like Britney Spears, the Olson Twins, they all become heroes and role models to young girls so all the young girls start starving themselves and doing drugs and getting into car accidents and blaming it on the camera crews following them around.

And the young boys get heroes like Shia Labeouf getting into car accidents while he’s drunk off his ass and potentially getting away with it because the other party may have blown a stop sign.

And there’s more, so much more. Children seeing people like the Kardashians, Hiltons, Richies, Labeoufs, and all the rest of the idiots that are in the news more than Tropical Storms, Hurricanes, war, famine, pestilence, and good old fashioned genocide, what kind of a life does this allow for the children that are growing up now?

What kinds of heroes will they have?

We live in a world where information is easily distributed and gained with the push of a button, and parents (not all) constantly shoving their kids in front of the TV or the computer, won’t these kids have heroes like the ones above?

And won’t these kids turn out awful?

Yes they will. They will have no sense of responsibility because the people they most look up to are all idiots that get out of jail within 15 minutes and get to keep their careers. But if your son or daughter was caught with an ounce of cocaine, they’d probably go to jail for life.

If only they were famous and followed by cameras everywhere they went, not only would they be popular and famous and thin and people would like them, they’d also be allowed to live in the world in any way they wanted.

“A hero is someone who rebels or seems to rebel against the facts of existence and seems to conquer them. Obviously that can only work at moments. It can’t be a lasting thing. That’s not saying that people shouldn’t keep trying to rebel against the facts of existence. Someday, who knows, we might conquer death, disease and war.”

-Jim Morrison

I wanted to use that quote there for two reasons: Irony as he was a massive drug abuser, and because I completely agree with it.

A hero is someone who doesn’t accept things at their face value. A hero is someone strong enough to question the status quo and works desperately hard to upset that.

So in my own estimation, those idiots listed above can’t be heroes. They aren’t struggling against the perceived notion of kids in Hollyweird, they are just acting like the spoiled brats they are. They aren’t questioning standard conventions, they’re just acting like children with too much money and time on their hands.

Back to the idea of who a hero is though, I want to know what makes a hero in your eyes.

Is it someone who fights in a war to protect their country?

Is it someone who stands up for what they believe in no matter if it means a certain death?

Is it someone who does drugs and slams cars against brick walls because they’re rich and famous?

Is it someone who goes against the grain and doesn’t follow peer pressure and does something completely off-the-wall and different from the rest of the group?

What makes a hero in your eyes and who are your heroes? I’m interested to learn about them and why they seem to be heroes to you.

So let me know. Drop a line at the bottom. I still have more to say obviously.

“To have no heroes it to have no aspiration, to live on the momentum of the past, to be thrown back upon routine, sensuality, and the narrow self.”

-Charles Horton Cooley

There are so many things wrong with this world, and it belongs to us and it is on us to fix them.

I don’t want to live in a world with no heroes, but most of the time, I come off like the villain. And for a purpose. There can be no heroes if there are no villains to fight against, to struggle against.

So I will be the villain if need be.

If I need to, I will be the war, pestilence and greed needed to defeat the hero. I will be the weapon of mass destruction if need be.

But at this point in my life, as 25 is creeping up on me, how much longer can I be the villain if no hero steps up to struggle against me?

It defeats the purpose of being a villain with no hero to go against. So it’s all very circular.

And that’s the same place I was at beforehand. In 2003. It was all very circular to think about heroes and how often our ideals change. How often our ideas of who the hero is and who the hero isn’t changes so often that it’s almost like the laundry.

John Edwards was a hero one day, and the next, he was an adulterous liar.

Harvey Dent was a crusading District Attorney, and the next, he was a murderous psycho with half a face missing.

It all turns on a dime.

Today I could be a hero to one person and a villain to another.

It’s part of how we’re seen by people and how we see ourselves.

And I knew that then. I knew that when I thought my world was going to crumble down around me because I lost so many loved ones in the span of a few short months. I knew that ending my own existence wouldn’t make me a hero, it’d make me a villain because I’d be taking myself away from all the rest of the people that cared about me.

So maybe Momar is a hero.

And maybe he’s a villain.

It’s still too close to call.

And that is the glorious part.

I still have a lifetime to decide what I’m going to be and who I’m going to be and what I’m going to do. I can choose my path, and we all can.

So it’s time everyone. Just like I always mention. It comes down to a choice.

There are any number of paths before you. But two major paths to choose from. The hero or the villain.

Which would you choose?

Which do you choose?

And how will you live your life accordingly?

It’s all a choice, and as always, the Or prevails. I will not make my choice now as I will choose to be both, depending on the day. And this gonzo lifestyle will live on within Momar and my real name.

There is so much more to happen in this life.

“Heroes know that things must happen when it is time for them to happen. A quest may not simply be abandoned; unicorns may go unrescued for a long time, but not forever; a happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.”

-Peter S. Beagle


Part 52


Not much of interest to say today, and nothing really to go into a really long diatribe.

So instead, how about a shameless plug?

Check out this webpage above.

It’s for my gonzo Victor, who I’ve mentioned briefly in the past regarding stories of war and things of that nature. He’s working on a comic pitch and it’s one of those things that would be something very important for him to win.

Main reason? We all have dreams. We all have things that we hope for.

And my gonzo Victor, growing up, wanted to make comic books.

Yes some of you will throw comics under the bus as child literature. Some of you will claim it’s less than other forms of literature like novels and biographies and things of that nature.

Some of you will think that you’re completely right.

But in this day and age, comics are a vital part of the world. They create the stories that some of us read today, and they also create the stories that we might see on film tomorrow.

So it’s like a double-edged sword of goodness.

You might not read the comic books, but I’m fairly certain you’ve seen most of the movies based on these comic book warriors. Like Spider-Man, Batman, the X-men, and all the rest.

You’ve sat through hours of filmed entertainment just to be able to view something a little out of the norm.

Well here is your chance to vote for something like that.

It’s called the Comic Book Challenge, and the winner gets to create a comic that will be published either in a monthly format or in a graphic novel.

It’s pretty amazing and if I had any artistic talents, I would have submitted a number of times. But I’m far more interested in the written aspect, and some day, I will also be able to write comics or movies or be published in some additional manner.

Some day.

But for the time being, help out my warrior gonzo Victor Castro Jr. He needs your votes to make his childhood dream come real.

Even more, the stories that he is working on need to be told. They are true stories of soldiers from World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the ongoing battles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He’s a soldier. And he’s doing the work of telling stories that some men and women may never get to tell because it’s a horrible experience that they face.

Some of these soldiers never want to talk about these terrible things to friends, family, therapists, it doesn’t matter. But the fact that Victor is in the process of gathering stories from soldiers from all walks of life is just an immensely touching sight.

The fact that he can get these men and women to tell these tragic stories is amazing.

So take a look at the page and vote. Vote for the one that you deem to be the best. Vote for Victor so that his childhood dream can come true.

We all have dreams.

We all have wishes.

We all have hopes.

Victor’s hope is for these stories to be told and for people to be able to read and experience these awesome and terrifying things through the eyes of the men and women who lived them.

It’s truly breathtaking to be able to see the work he’s doing and to wish that I was a part of it.

Plus, the guys voting for the judge panel include Brandon Routh (Superman Returns) and Kevin Munroe (director of TMNT) so it’s pretty awesome to sit and listen to them talk about your friend’s book and talk about all the awesome things that they liked about it and just about have zero bad things to say.

It’s very strange to listen to Superman talk about someone you know.

Regardless, take a moment or two in the next week and vote for Victor. Help his dream come true. Help him show the world the truth about these warriors.

Make the choice. And stay in the fight.


Part 53

Words and the power they hold over each and every one of us

“If men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter.”

-George Washington

Consider this part of my opus. Consider this my way of spilling the beans on large portions of things that really piss me off.

I’m not signing off so much as the wife and I will be moving in the next few days, so I will be sparse. But there is still more to come.

There is an ongoing epidemic that is destroying bits and pieces of this country and the nation you seem to love so much. It is tearing it asunder, wrenching and pulling you and your spirit to pieces.

The spirit of this nation will suffer so long as the freedoms we hold so dear to us are not being protected. And they are most certainly not being protected at this point. And it all hinges on connotation and how words are portrayed.

There is hate speech. There is satire. There is irony. There is sarcasm. There is so much to be found within a word that the connotation of the word is what destroys this process, what tears down the world around us.

Let’s begin.

“It is by fortune of God that, in this country, we have three benefits: freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and the wisdom never to use either.”

-Mark Twain

I don’t agree with Mr. Twain on this issue. I believe that being free to think and free to speak are two of the main reasons I have lived as long as I have. I feel that, as suicide and death and destruction crept around every corner of my life, if I had lost these two major freedoms for me, I would have been done for.

The door would have closed and I would have given up long ago.

But I believe in the power of speech and the freedom that flows from it and from free thinking. Yes, a lot of people use freedom of speech to put down other people and they have words to do that.

Hate speech is a problem. But to be a proponent for true freedom of speech, you have to accept that hate speech will always be a part of that. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. And a lot of people in this world want to.

The n-word.

I choose to never utter this word. And there are many reasons for that. Chief among them, I’ve had friends put down by idiot people just because the color of their skin and use this word to do so. I’ve seen it, first-hand been around it, while others threw this word at a girl I loved like my own sister and had to watch people put her down because they were dumb.

I choose not to utter that word for the connotation it has, for the denotation it has. It was a word created to put down slaves and free blacks a long time ago, and it transpired all this time out of some ill-gotten idiocy that it was an easy way to put people down.

There are rappers. There are other black people I’ve met and been around that use this word for each other. It’s no different than my dad and his best friend calling each other Honky One and Honky Two.

It’s a word.

Some of the people who use this word in a way as a sign of care and love between two friends, that’s on them. They believe the word to mean that. They believe it is a sign of peace between two friends or brothers or loved ones, and they can freely choose to use it if they so desire.

Who am I to tell someone, who has been persecuted by a word, not to use the word in a different way to, in essence, take the power that word had been given back, and turn it into something else?

Who am I to tell you not to say what you’re thinking, because you are free to do so?

Who are any of us to do that same thing?

“Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt.”

-Bergen Evans

Therein lies the problem. We can be free, but freedom will always come with doubt.

Do I doubt that what I’m saying is true? To me, it isn’t. To others, it won’t be true. And that’s fine. I do not doubt that some people might be offended by some of this, but I hold it in my heart that the power of words only comes from the power that people give them.

Like cunt.

Cunt is a word. Yes it is a dirty word. Yes it is a word that you can’t say on television. But having seen first-hand the Vagina Monologues and seeing my wife perform this and having seen the power that can be used from this word, it’s kind of breathtaking.

It makes me think it’s just a word.

Women in the audience clapped and cheered.

They wanted to reclaim the word cunt as a signal between them. They wanted to reclaim the word cunt as it had become something dirty and disturbing, but really, it was just a word and together, the four letters felt so right together that women wanted it back.

Granted, not every woman will feel that way, but it’s empowering to think that people in this day and age can be so thoughtful and free to understand that it is just a word and that the negative connotation given it and thrown at women can mean nothing, if you just accept it to mean nothing. If you just choose to believe that the word holds no sway over you, it will not hold sway over you.

“My desire to curtail undue freedom of speech extends only to such public areas as restaurants, airports, streets, hotel lobbies, parks, and department stores. Verbal exchanges between consenting adults in private are as of little interest to me as they probably are to them.”

-Fran Lebowitz

Think about it like this. The things my wife and I say together in the company of ourselves affects no one but ourselves. We do not throw racist epithets at each other, nor do we allow them to be part of our conversation, because that is who we are.

But does it matter what someone says in the company of their friends and family? Does it matter what might be said between two free-thinking individuals that might go overboard a little bit?

Josh Homme, lead singer of Queens of the Stone Age, was recently thrown to the wolves as during a concert he was struck in the head with a bottle, and in the middle of the tirade against the person who threw it, he dropped the f-word.

Not the f-bomb, the f-word. The word used against homosexuals that is like the dirty n-word for African-Americans or the c-word for women.

He claimed later that he did it out of hatred for being smacked in the face during a performance. Can he be held accountable for saying something in the heat of the moment, when you’re so frustrated by something that it forces you to say things you don’t mean?

Have any of us ever gotten into a massive argument with someone and not said something we immediately regret after the fact?

We have. Each and every one of us.

I don’t use the word often because of its connotation in my life. That’s a choice that a free-thinking individual gets to believe and gets to make.

So that is my choice. I’m a freak, I’m a weirdo, and I’m a comic fan. Do you think that there are bad words used for me?

“Freedom of speech is of no use to a man who has nothing to say and freedom of worship if of no use to a man who has lost his God.”

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

I have lots of things to say.

I don’t believe in God and I choose not to. My wife does. She believes in a higher power above. But I don’t. And we can stay married because we think freely and speak freely and allow each other to do this in comfort and because the words won’t hurt us.

And being a comic fan gets you lots of names.

Fanboy. Nerd. Geek. Dweeb. Dork. Spaz. And any variation on these themes or names.

Did it hurt growing up? When I was younger it did. But I choose to be a freak nowadays. I choose to make the choice of being different because that is much more interesting to me than being plain white toast.

I would rather be a spaz than a stick in the mud. And being a fanboy these days has its perks.

You know which things will be the next big movie before anyone else because you read comics on a weekly basis and dream of creating them on your own. You know which writers will be the next big novelists or screenwriters because they currently write the epic comic tales that you love.

But am I a fanboy? Depends on where the boy part comes in. I’m going to be 25, so at some point in my life, you’d think the boy part would drop off.

I mean, why does a sports fan get to just be called a fan and a comic fan gets fanboy? It’s idiocy. But does it hurt me? No. You can call me spaz any day of the week and I will smile and say thank you.

Because the word has no strength behind it and it does not affect me.

“It’s not so bad for politicians and Pulitzer Prize poets and certain intellectuals in this country to sign petitions and speak out against the war in Vietnam, but when Cassius Clay did it he paid a heavy price for Freedom of Speech.”

-Floyd Patterson

That’s a boxer speaking there. And yes the quote is old, but that’s beside the point that it brings up.

Will my saying anything about the power of words or freedom of speech affect anything at all?

It might and it might not. I hope that it opens some people’s eyes and they realize that words can mean nothing or they can mean everything. It just depends on how you say them or who you say them too.

Like retard.

It can be a bad word. For a long time, mentally handicapped was called mentally retarded.

And retard doesn’t have to mean something bad, but for some people, it does. And to those people, I’m sorry. I’m sorry if it hurts you that the word is said, and not having yet seen Tropic Thunder, I’m not aware of the context, but the movie is about Hollyweird actors and how full of themselves they are, and having heard what context it is used in, it makes sense.

It’s two actors who are full of themselves and love themselves so much that they can’t see past themselves. So they say things like retard or say words that hurt people. They wear black face and say zingy one-liners because they think people like that.

And they play handicapped people to attempt to win awards. All it sounds like is one actor telling the other that it doesn’t help if you don’t have talent, and it especially doesn’t help if you take it down a path that many people are not comfortable to watch.

Are we comfortable to face these things head on? Are any of us comfortable to watch a movie about the horrors in Darfur if the movie was a documentary and showed these things head on? Are we capable of sitting back and enjoying a movie during the summer blockbuster season if something is being portrayed in an honest light and being spoken of in an honest fashion?

We obviously aren’t. For all of our global posturing and discussions on our progressiveness, it doesn’t seem that we’ve grown at all. Because these words are still defeating us on a daily basis.

I’m not physically or mentally handicapped. I’m legally blind, and thank veloci-Jesus for Lasik, but has my life suffered for that? Being blind makes things very difficult, so I can understand what it’s like not to be able to see, so I can feel for a blind person who might need help getting around, whether it be a seeing eye-dog or an assistant. And I will never complain about seeing a dog walking through the grocery store, and it slightly pisses me off when people bitch and moan about it.

They need that. I’m not mentally handicapped, but I’ve known people and worked with people who are. I’ve been around people with these handicaps as my mom works at a hospital.

I know what I’ve seen, and they are terrible maladies that have befallen them, but a lot go beyond what a word can define them as and define themselves in new ways. Maybe they participate in the Special Olympics, or maybe they become motivational speakers that help people with the same problem.

“It should also be acknowledged that just because a person or a group demands a certain right, or says that a right exists, does not mean that the right exists either in relative or absolute terms just because they demand it. There is no absolute right for instance to freedom of speech.”

-Stockwell Day

We don’t.

We are not free because we say that we are.

We are not free because we want to be free.

We are free and we have these freedoms because we fight for them every day. We fight tooth and nail to live our lives and fight for the freedom to say what we think, and we sometimes don’t think of the consequences.

And there are consequences in everything that we say or do.

And that is the toughest part of all of this. That is the one doubt that I have had throughout the writing of this.

It is difficult to speak in absolutes, and I know that words will still always hurt. Words will hurt because of the power in which they are spoken and the way in which we decipher them.

We’ve all been called horrible things at one time or another in our lifetimes.

Has that completely ruined us? It may have at times.

I know that I was at a point of suicide because I was deemed unlovable, unworthy, and fat, and people wanted me to shuffle off this mortal coil because they didn’t deem me as a worthy human being, and because of the words they said, I took it to hear on many occasions, and damn near stopped living.

All because of words.

It’s a long and strange road we’ve been on and I’m sorry if it seems all over the place. A lot of this comes from a place where there are no answers to these difficult questions. And it is difficult. It is very difficult to see how these things can affect people, whether it’s me, a friend, or someone I know or someone I’ve seen on television.

It’s a hateful world we live in and the power of words can corrupt that to take us to an even darker place than we’d ever want to go.

And there is something wrong with that.

So what I’m saying is that you have a choice. You have the ability to look at the words, to hear them and to realize that they absolutely mean nothing unless you give them the power to do so. They mean nothing and they are just wasted air unless you feel threatened or hurt by them.

They mean nothing and they are nothing but words.

Unless you give them power.

So the choice here is simple. Allow the words to hurt so much that you close up shop and give up on trying to live your free existence, or attempt to make change and understand that people who use the words in a negative sense are the same as you.

They make decisions.

They make judgments.

They jump to conclusions.

Just like you.

Each person in this world makes mistakes and says things they don’t mean, and each person has the chance to make the change and take the time to right the wrongs that they’ve committed.

Each person.

Each and every one of us will make a mistake, whether it be today, tomorrow, or the day after that.

Each of us will find a way to put our foot in our mouth and offend or hurt someone tragically with something we say.

So it’s our choice whether the things that are said to us are really offensive and it’s our choice to do something about it after we’ve made the mistake.

It’s our choice to either make amends or allow the mistakes to take hold of our lives and define us in a way that we do not want them to.

It is your choice. It's your choice which words offend you just like it's your choice to say the words that might offend others. Why do we feel the way we do about just a word?

Because it's sometimes not just a word. Sometimes it's an epithet that gets thrown at us simply because of the way we look, act, speak, whatever. Sometimes it's not just a word and sometimes it can hurt.

I'm not saying it should never hurt.

I'm just saying that each of us, each and every one of us, gets a chance to decide for ourselves what we believe and what we choose to believe about ourselves or about other people. It's frustrating I know, but I never promised answers.

This is all just a way of trying to work things out. It's my choice not to be the guy giving the answers, I'm choosing to ask the questions.

What do you choose?

The next time you think that the freedom you have, whether of speech, hatred, religion, whatever, just remember one thing: it came from the choice of someone else and the choices they make and continue to make have allowed you to be where you are today.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protestor the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.”

-Zell Miller


Part 54

Trust, what is it good for?

The wife and I have been in the process of moving recently, so I apologize for the lower amounts of blogging being done in the gonzo/rant fashion. But we’re back now, with some kind of a doozy. I’m sure you all missed me and were going through Momar-withdrawals, but even if you weren’t, I’m still back, and this time, it’s personal.

I just always wanted to say that.

“Only trust thyself, and another shall not betray thee.”

-William Penn

Back in 2003, a summer/year which will forever live in infamy in my lifetime, a lot of things changed. And I mean A LOT.

A friend committed suicide. A musical titan died and took with him my love of country music. My grandmother passed away. And the girl I thought I loved tore my heart to shreds on three separate occasions.

You see, I had dated this girl for 2 or so years, but we felt like old souls together. We both had dreams for the future. She was the first person I ever thought I loved and the first girl I ever had really deep feelings for.

My freshman year of college went by with going home every weekend to see her or her coming up to see me. Then the summer between freshman year and sophomore year, near the end of July and right before she started at the same school in less than a month, she told me she wanted to take a break.

A break is something children do. It’s something people that have no sense of worth or ideas on what that does to the other person involved do. It’s what people who want their cake and want to eat it to will do so that they can test the waters and see if there is someone else they’d rather have in their lives.

So strike one. And because I was an idiot, I still trusted her to do the right thing and come back to me and make all the pain go away.

And by pain, I mean making horrible decisions in my life like going to see Bad Boys 2 in theaters and actually wasting 8 bucks for that shitty movie. That was the start of the downward spiral.

More bad decisions followed. I trusted her to come back to me. I trusted her not to test the waters and see other guys. I trusted that she still loved me.

So a month went by of talking on the phone, going about our daily routines, just dropping out the words love and I miss you and instead talking about generalities, like getting ready for school and getting ready for the summer to be over.

I trusted that it would only hurt for a little while.

So near the end of that month, I was forced to make the difficult decision to end things completely. I couldn’t take it any longer. I couldn’t wait around for someone who didn’t care about me enough to tell me the truth and tell me that she didn’t want to be with me. So I took the choice out of her hands and forced the issue and ended things, carte blanch.

Strike two.

Less than a month after that, my friend Justin killed himself the same night that I saw him for the last time. The same night that I promised him we would get together the next night to hang out after work and the same night that I promised him to make him a copy of a new CD we were both very ready to hear and enjoy together.

We weren’t best friends, by any means, but it still stings talking about him. I told him to trust me, we would get together tomorrow and we would play Halo and we would shoot the shit and it would be great.

He killed himself that same night and the next morning/day/week were some of the worst weeks of my life. I was still reeling from losing the girl that I loved and now I lost a friend who was dear to me. One of the few people I worked with that I considered a friend at the time and who had the same interests as me and the same problems and he was gone.

Just like that. And I promised him. I told him to trust me.

“Set your expectations high; find men and women whose integrity and values you respect; get their agreement on a course of action; and give them your ultimate trust.”

-John Akers

He was one of the few people who I talked to about troubles like my heartache or my suicidal tendencies following all of these things that were falling all around me.

So I wrote.

I wrote about trust. About what being a hero really was. About hope. And about love.

I didn’t believe in any of them anymore. I didn’t believe in the power of love and I didn’t believe that Hope was a worthy alternative to actually doing something. I didn’t believe in heroes and I didn’t believe in anything.

God was an afterthought in my road to ruin, because in my mind, suicide was an option and it wouldn’t end in pain for anyone.

Of course, I now know that is a ridiculous thought, but at the time, it was all about me. I couldn’t talk to my friends, my family, and my co-workers. I just sat around, writing, reading, standing in the pouring rain, finding the highest heights I could leap from and the sharpest objects that would pierce my skin.

It was a game.

And then that December rolled around and my trust took another massive blow. It was my birthday, and the girl called me over to tell me that she didn’t think she was coming back to school after the break because she was homesick and missed her friends.

While in her dorm room she told me she wanted me back, and also mentioned how she had gone to a party the night before we took our break and some guy and her connected. Things happened. Things that changed her mind about our future and about our love.

And then asked me to get back together with her.

Strike three.

You see where this is all going now?

“Trust your hunches…Hunches are usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.”

-Dr. Joyce Brothers

I laughed in her face. I told her good luck. I told her to stay the hell away from me. I told her there was absolutely no way in hell that I would ever get back with her.

I still managed to give her hope for a friendship, but I knew that there was no possible way to salvage it. There was no way to wash away all the anguish she had caused, all the lies she had perpetrated, all the bullshit I had dealt with, and all the other things that stacked on top of that just for good measure.

When it rains, it pours. It’s an old saying, but nothing in my life, no saying, has ever made more sense than that.

When one piece of bad news comes, about a million more seem to follow it and get thrown in my face as if I’m Charlie Brown.

But the idea, the point of this whole written rant is trust, what is it? How do you achieve a level of trust and how should you? How does one go about achieving things of the trusting nature and how do you give trust to someone when you are cynical and believe in nothing?

It’s very very hard. Let me tell you.

“Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Acting big is a forte.

It’s something you earn over a lifetime, something that you can gain through your own re-evaluation of your life.

And me? I’ve re-evaluated so many times I can’t even count them anymore. I’ve stopped and started my life over and over again so many times that I should have frequent flyer miles.

But I’ve gained something from this. I know who to trust and why now.

And the list of people I trust is so small I can count it on just about one hand.

You see, while all these terrible things were happening to me and around me and going right through me, my so-called best friend had a crisis of his own. His crisis involved a girl as well and a very bad decision which lead to even worse decisions.

His decision included another couple and included a crazy girl named Tiffany. A girl who told him black leather pants and satin shirts were sexy, and got him to wear glasses even though he didn’t need them.

A crazy girl who wanted to change every aspect of my friend that she didn’t like and actually did. It should have been my first sign that this person wasn’t one to hang the hat of trust from, but I’d been best friends with him since freshman year of high school, so it didn’t even phase me.

His crisis involved that girl and the two of them breaking up. It involved her saying he was a selfish friend who only calls or wants to hang out when he needs something.

Funny I didn’t realize that then huh?

I helped him through his crisis, I mentioned that he wasn’t a selfish friend, I helped him find his way back to being the person he wanted to be and not the person some woman wanted him to be, and I got my friend back.

For a little while at least.

Right before my wedding, a few bits of knowledge came out about my soon-to-be best man making comments behind my back and my wife’s back kicking us and mocking us. So is he still in my life? Was he still my best man?

Hell no.

We even had him walk in for the ceremony on his own without a bridesmaid to walk in with because we were so disgusted by him.

Moral of that story? Act big.

Be big. Make big sweeping actions and make big sweeping changes and trust in yourself enough to know that that is all you can trust in the end.

“Never trust the artist. Trust the tale. The proper function of the critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it.”

-D.H. Lawrence

What is so hilarious is that I’m telling you not to trust me. I’m telling you to never trust anyone, and yet, here I am asking you to trust this tale as true.

It has a more sweeping thing that happened recently to a friend of mine that has caused this recent stir in trust and the idea of what it is. If it really means anything anymore. Or if it ever really did.

In my eyes, trust is something you earn through a series of actions, whether big or small, that allows people to know that they can trust you. However, just because you trust someone, doesn’t mean that they won’t turn that trust on you and completely ruin every aspect of you in the process.

And that is what happened. One of my friends who trusted implicitly got smacked over the head with some terribly awful news that makes me want to throw up and take the person who caused this heartache out of the equation and makes me want to tell him how I feel and make the thing that hurts disappear.

But I can’t.

I can’t because I’m trying to be a good friend to him.

I’m trying not to tell him my opinion because it is his decision to make, not me. Do I trust him to make the right decision?

I trust him to make the right decision in his own life. It might not be the same decision I would make, but it will be the right one for him. I can only hope that when he makes this decision, it doesn’t completely kill friendships and familial bonds and everything he’s built back up over time with the people that care about him.

You see, this friend recently learned that he can’t trust the one person he cared about the most. It’s heartbreaking. It takes the wind out of you, and when I found out, it did.

He’s the best of us. I’ve made that comment before, but out of all of my gonzos, he’s the best of us.

He’s the one to count on. Yeah he’s not always around and yeah he’s almost always busy, but you want someone dedicated and passionate about friendships and about music and about something so strongly that you either have to fight him tooth and nail or forget your own opinion and just agree.

He’s the best of us.

And he didn’t deserve this.

“No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence.”

-T.S. Eliot

When my wife and I moved, he was the first one to put it on his calendar and make sure he would be there. He offered his services without being asked, and he follows me ridiculous ass nonsense with the best of them.

He was there, in spite of the awful thing that happened to him, and he wasn’t there in spirit, but he helped move most of the big items and busted his ass when I knew he didn’t want to be there and I knew he didn’t want to do anything but smash his fist through a wall.

Desperation does that to us.

But you see, he is the best of us. Got a kind word. Honest. Open. And trusting.

Very trusting.

More than me, that’s for sure. He trusts implicitly, but now that this has happened, I don’t see that going on any longer. I don’t see him trusting people as far as he can throw them. I don’t see him trusting anybody any longer.

It has been a massive blow to him, and it’s terrible that it’s happened to the best of us. But even then, it’d have been bad if it happened to the worst of us (i.e. me).

“He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.”

-Joseph Conrad

I’m holding back some. I really am.

I just feel like there are only so many things I can say without bringing out personal opinions and possibly offending the people involved. And that isn’t what I want to do.

What I’m trying to do is talk about trust. And how do you trust in anything anymore? How can a parent trust their child not to be a drunken idiot when their son or daughter posts pictures of themselves and their friends on websites being involved in drunken debauchery?

How can we trust the Company we work for today when they use the same resources are being used to spy on us in our daily lives? How can we trust the people we love when email accounts, Facebook, Myspace, and all the other random internet resources at our fingertips are there that allow us to e-stalk people?

How can we trust anyone anymore when the word is no longer the bond?

We can’t trust our sports athletes as they lie about affairs and steroid use.

We can’t trust our politicians because they are a bunch of self-serving jackasses who only want what’s good for them and what will line their pockets.

We can’t trust in the future because who knows whether there will be social security tomorrow or if there will even be a planet to live on.

We can’t trust anyone.

And yet everyone wants us to trust them.

Our husbands and wives, our brothers and sisters, coworkers, supervisors, parents, grandparents, television personalities and actors. Everyone wants us to trust them.

But how do you begin to trust when you can’t believe a word they say? How can you trust someone when your entire life has been stripped bare and turned upside down more times than you care to count?

How do you go about regaining trust or getting trust or allowing yourself to trust others?

“Trust not yourself, but your defects to know. Make use of every friend and every foe.”

-Alexander Pope

Can you even trust yourself? Can you trust that what you are doing is worthwhile and okay to do? Can you trust that the actions you are taking haven’t lead people to do the things that they’ve done and harmed you in the process?

That’s one thing that will always frustrate me.

When the terrible things start happening, and the person who causes them blames the person who was hurt by the actions, what does that make you do?


Start all over.

It’s a joke. It’s a process that is very joke-like.

There is no reason for the person who was hurt to have to believe that they caused this to happen. They did nothing wrong. I didn’t do anything to cause my ex-girlfriend to run me through the ringer. I was nothing but good to her. I took care of her.

And for that, I was thrown to the wolves.

The same happened to my gonzo and it is the same scenario. He is at his lowest and he doesn’t deserve to be.

Yes he trusted someone he cared about and that blew up in his face, but he still trusted. And he trusted me enough to tell me what happened. And I’ve kept the names out of this because that is what needed to happen.

I’m not hear to air dirty laundry, I’m here to ask questions.

And how do you trust anyone when your entire life has been turned upside down and all you want to do is shut down?

You probably can’t. It’s almost impossible. And that’s the problem.

How can you trust anything when someone takes your heart, stomps on it, and puts it into the grinder?

The one thing you can do is trust in the or. There is always a second option you might not be thinking about. There is always something there that will guide you to the right answer and the right changes to your life.

The or.

The choice that surrounds you at this point. You can trust, you can not trust, or you can be the or. You can have your cake and eat it too. You can look at the world around you more freely and more honestly now that something terrible has opened your eyes.

It might make you a cynic, but it might also be the one thing that saves you.

It was for me. It opened me up to new things. It allowed me to see the world in a new way. Not always a positive way, but a new way nonetheless.

And I don't know what else to say except that I am disgusted and hurt and I hope that my gonzo makes his own right decision. This might be an ongoing epic of some sort. I haven't decided yet. But it just might need to be if things keep happening like they've been happening.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in the small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters.”

-Albert Einstein


Part 55

Is your family really a cult? Does the idea of family really exist?

It’s a continuation of the last blog that I wrote, the idea of someone wronged and what it feels like to be on the outside looking in (for once). It’s a continuation of the investigation of the or as well as looking at what a family truly is. And maybe, just maybe, it is a cult.

We’ll get to that here in a minute.

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”

-George Burns

Most writers, most authors in any aspect of the world deal with depression in various shapes and colors and sizes and any other descriptive word you can think of. Most have some strange, under the skin, familial problems that they usually don’t want to discuss with you, your friends, your family, or anyone else.

But you see, this is the internet and this is part of my or. And it might just include looking deeper into my own psyche and figuring out what things mean and why they happened the way they did.

A gonzo had free sneak preview passes to see Hamlet 2. So myself, that gonzo, and the one recently wronged. Long story short: don’t watch this movie. It is pointless, it is stupid, it makes no sense and the funny bits you see on TV: Those are the funniest bits of the movie.

So there, I just saved you ten or more dollars.

But see, that and my wronged gonzo brought up the idea of family and what it means. The movie, just like Hamlet, dealt with being screwed up by your family or your father specifically, and it made me stop and think.

How much have I been fucked up by my family?

“He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stands a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure, too.”

-Ben Franklin

How much have we all been fucked up by our families and them telling us what is right and what is wrong and not allowing us to do things or see things for ourselves?

This is why I don’t think I want to have children. The idea of ruining someone’s life might seem glamorous and interesting to the villainous portions of my brain, but the actual practice seems inhuman.

So let’s tell a story.

Each and every one of us has a parent that they either despise at some point or fight tooth and nail against throughout their lives. And the reason of the belief in it being a cult will come up soon.

So let’s use the gonzo who has been wronged and now is back with his family after living separate from them for an extended period of time. Being wronged, having what happened to him happen, it leads you down a path that usually involves self-discovery. It usually leads to depression and guilt and feeling really really bad for yourself and for what happened.

It makes you think you did something wrong.

I speak from experience. From the death of my friend and the death of my love life at the time, you look back and see what you did wrong that caused these things to happen. You weren’t a good enough friend. You didn’t love the right way.

You despise everything the world shows you that is beautiful and you damn everyone who says that it is God’s will for these things to happen.

I don’t believe in God’s will obviously, and I think I have my parents to blame for that. But that is not why we’re here. We’re not here to blame someone. I’ve made the choices in my life and that has got me where I am today. Do I regret where I am?

I regret where I work. I regret my weight. I regret a lot of things. But I don’t regret the family that I am working on building.

I do regret the way that I was allowed to deal with the things that were killing me.

“Family love is messy, clinging, and of an annoying and repetitive pattern, like bad wallpaper.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

I regret being forced to “move on” when I wasn’t ready.

When I came home, dripping wet from standing in the pouring rain outside of my job after we found out Justin died, after 2 hours in the rain, I came home and was asked what happened.

I proceeded to tell the folks, and all they said was it’ll be okay.

Granted, they probably didn’t know how to handle things. They probably had never dealt with it personally. But families have simple answers for very not simple events.

They tell you it’ll be okay.

They tell you to move on.

They tell you that it happened for a reason.

They tell you, they force-feed you this bile, and they expect you to believe it, wholeheartedly, without question.

I started questioning things like that when I was old enough to talk. I started asking the difficult questions which put me in the category of hard son to deal with, and I’ve been there ever since. I wouldn’t go back and change that either.

And I know that my gonzo who was wronged is the same. We are both inquisitive. But you see what I mean about the cultish nature of families?

They cling to you. You seemingly leech off each other, whether emotionally, monetarily, or various other things that you can leech off them for. They give you their opinions and they expect you to believe it outright because they are your parents and they know better.

Sounds to me like they are the leaders of the cult and you are the lowly minion getting ready to drink the Kool-Aid.

So why is family so important in this world we live in?

“He that has no fools, knaves, nor beggars in his family, was begot by a flash of lightning.”

-Thomas Fuller

We’re all fools. We all sit and think about the things that are important to us and we all try to push those beliefs on someone else.

Politics and speech writers do it their ways. Cults do it their ways. Writers do it their ways. Hell, I’m trying to get you all to see a way of life and thinking that might be different from yours and open your eyes to the world around you. Does that make me different from anyone else?

It’s all a forum dispute. If you have a forum to speak your mind, it is your right, not God-given, but nation-given right to speak your mind and say your peace. That’s why I’ve never been able to believe in a cult mentality and I never will.

If someone screams fire in a crowded movie theater, I’m going to question where the fire is, what exactly is burning, before I start to run away from the fire.

That probably affects my dealings with families.

My wife has a very close-knit family that enjoys doing things together. I never did. I had a family that was okay being in different rooms and keeping to themselves. So family stuff is difficult for her with my family and me with hers. It’s give and take.

Unlike the idea of family. When you’re growing up, it’s you versus them. It’s a long, drawn-out battle for dominance that you will never win, in your head, or in reality.

There is no way to defeat the cult mentality, especially if you’re not the first-born or only child. There is a lot of work to do to break down the barriers created by your family and break down the walls and ceilings that they put in place. It’s a difficult journey, but would I take it tomorrow if I woke up and was 5 years old again.

You bet your ass.

“The family is the association established by nature for the supply of man’s everyday wants.”


So while on the subject, my family fucked me up just like your family fucked you up. It’s kind of their job to do that. But in their fucking you up, don’t they put in place little monuments in your brain, little things that tick away as time changes and things happen?

Doesn’t it allow you to open your eyes and realize the cult mentality does not work in your brain? Doesn’t it allow you to stop and say, no more, I can’t deal with this any longer, and just give up?

It seems like I always want to give up. But I can’t. In the face of a cult, I cannot.

So back to the story. The gonzo living with his family again and they are forcing him ideas. Telling him what they think. Telling him what he should do. Giving him the options that work for him in their minds but only would really be in their best interest.

Do they have a right to be upset by what happened? Oh god yes. It’s their son, he was wronged, he is hurting for it.

But shouldn’t a loving family, one that wants their son or daughter to make the best possible decision in his or her own life, step back and start to think about what might be best for that person?

Shouldn’t they play devil’s advocate as opposed to spoon-feeding him propaganda?

I would think that would never get your case settled the way you want it to be. When my parents told me all the horrible things that would happen to me if I stayed with the girl who hurt me, it strengthened my resolve to make my own decision.

Parents hold things back when they think everything is hunky-dory. But once it’s over, the floodgates open and they are free and clear to say all the bad things they want to say to you about that person and what they did to you.

Hindsight is 20/20. You always wish, I know that I did, that your parents and your family would have just said something prior to the breakdown and prior to everything falling all around me.

But they didn’t.

And most won’t. Because they think, while you are in the relationship, they are letting you make your own decisions. But once things break apart and start to fall apart, then they are capable of picking up the pieces and molding you back into what they want to mold you into.

A part of the cult. A wicked little follower like the rest of them.

“All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. I cannot detach myself from the wickedest soul.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

But no matter what we try, we can never completely sever the ties of the familial bond, no matter how much we want to.

I still feel pain when I think of things I used to do with my old best friend or my ex-girlfriend. Things still flood in when I think about Justin and I think about rainy days. I still feel pain and reel from what occurred in the walls of the home in which I grew up.

And I know that my gonzo will too. You can never completely distance yourself from the people who raised you or the family you gain over time past the ones that you share blood ties with.

Another friend of mine believes that before you are born, you go all throughout the outer realms of reality and you pick the family you are born to. She’s a real starchild, but in her mind, no matter how difficult this family will be, you chose them for a particular reason.

So maybe I chose mine to show me hardship. Maybe I chose mine to allow me to grow and make my own decisions no matter how difficult they were. Maybe my gonzo picked his to allow him to see each side of the argument.

But do I believe that?

No. I am a much firmer believer in the idea that once you are old enough, you choose the family and the cult that you belong to. I’ve had the same friends for 10 years, and my wife and I have been together for almost 4 years (married about 1, together the rest of the time).

I’ve lost members of the family. I’ve gained new ones. I’ve regained old ones that walked away or moved on and have recently come back.

I’ve built ties with these people over this time, ties almost stronger than blood. Would I change that? Do I still struggle every day with the idea of a family?

I do.

I struggle because I can and I always will. I want to include these people in my lunacy, but a lot of times, it’s all for me.

But when one of your family is wronged, you go into crisis mode. You start to look at things from a cult perspective and how will this affect the others in the group. You start to think about tactics on saving this person.

But it’s not up to you.

“A family is a little kingdom, torn with factions and exposed to revolutions.”

-Samuel Johnson

There will be cold wars and civil wars. There will be fights. There will be cheaters and liars and deceivers and snakes in the grass and there will be those who leave you before their time.

But you cannot control that.

And that is what I think makes a family. Once you realize that you can’t control how long someone is with you or what that person thinks, you start to realize in the power of life and just living it as is.

Live with the warts and the scars and the wars and the famine and the disease and the sadness. Live with the heartache. Live with it all.

And move on.

As a family, move on. Grow and change and allow the person who has been hurt to grow and change if they want to. If they want to wallow in self-pity, let them. Try to be the devil’s advocate and ask them the tough questions that they may not want to hear but will need to hear.

Don’t force your opinion on them.

Let them make the decision and change the world on their own.

That is what being a family means to me. It doesn’t mean constantly looking for ways to change the people inside the group or make them better.

It’s looking outside of that. It’s seeing the or in each and every member and allowing that person to flourish as different. As pained. As troubled. As hurt.

It’s allowing the world to work the way that it is supposed to.

It sucks. It really does. You bleed with them. You ache with them. But you don’t force them to see your side.

You don’t come up with a strategy to make the world in your own image, even if that world is just the world of one person.

You accept the things that happen as they happen and you change and grow and develop with them.

The essence of the or is to think outside of things. Not the box, necessarily, but outside of the regular norms held within society. It is thinking outside of everything that surrounds you and finding a way to move forward while all those things are happening.

It is letting the bad things happen, and knowing, that someday, you will die. Everyone you know will die. Your entire family will pass off this plane of existence.

You cannot stop that. But you can embrace it. You can embrace the idea that you will be dead someday and live with that. You can embrace the idea of death and not be scared by it. It is the road to awe, according to Darren Aronofsky’s movie The Fountain (one of my favorites), and I truly believe that death truly is the road to awe.

But in knowing that, I realize that not everyone does. The world does not work the way that it works for me with everyone. It works the way it works for me, only to me.

And my family will know that.

They allow that.

They embrace my or.

We are not a cult. We are a family. Embrace the or all around you and allow yourself to just live. Live today and only today. You may find that things might seem a little sweeter.

There will be more. How much more I don’t know. But this is not over. There is still so much more to say about these topics that it makes me feel like I may never be done. And isn’t that a good thing?

“I believe that more unhappiness comes from this source than from any other – I mean from the attempt to prolong family connections unduly and to make people hang together artificially who would never naturally do so.”

-Samuel Butler


Part 56

A little doubt goes a long way. Seriously.

It can make or break your spirit. It can take you down roads you never thought possible. It can make you stop and think about every single simple thing in your life just because of one little teensy word.


“Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.”

-Alan Alda

After so many essays, blogs, thoughts, and speeches, I felt like it might be time to start with a somewhat happy quote. A somewhat different take on where I’m going to go with this, at least, for the length of it.

I feel like Alda has a fairly decent idea here that I felt needed to be mentioned before I jumped headlong into another diatribe. Doubt is all about where you aim it. It’s all about how you construe it. It’s all about what it feels like.

It’s all about the connotation.

Self-doubt can lead you to something greater. It can open doors you never thought possible or it can lead you on to great adventure because of the doubt.

But that is not the norm.

The norm is something darker. More disturbing. Unnerving. Doubt is something much much worse than just the simple idea of turning it outward.

“There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything. Both ways save us from thinking.”

-Alfred Korzybski

I doubt that Alfred had all the answers in life and I’d really like to know which method he took. I’m assuming, based on the quote, that he was a doubter.

The quote, in and of itself, is calling into doubt the idea of sliding/coasting through life in only one of two fashions. We all know that this is not the case, that things are never that easy, but can they be?

Let’s go back a few essay/blogs and look at the one regarding the broken hearted gonzo who was wronged. Let’s look at what his life becomes because of something dirty and disgusting happening to him that I would never wish on another person (that’s not true, I’m sure in my head I have a short-list of people that I would wish it on now since I’m a very nasty human being).

Let’s look at what happens to a person when doubt gets cast over everything they care about. And in the process, I can probably tell you a thing or two more about me, your humble author.

Do I believe that one can slide through life by doubting everything or believing everything? I do. I have seen it first-hand in many different situations. But I don’t believe that it says you from questioning. That is a ridiculous way to think. It doesn’t save you the pain of thinking at all. In fact, living your life in constant doubt makes you question and think about everything.

I should know. I doubt everything and anything.

“Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity…”

-Vaclav Havel

Ask my wife, she’ll tell you that I doubt everything. It’s true. For the longest time, I doubted that she actually loved me and wanted to be with me.

Why? Why would I do that when so much pain has been doled out to me in this lifetime, why would I want to cause pain by pushing someone away?

It’s all about the doubt. The little, lingering sense of doubt that rips and gnashes against bone and sinew and tears what you think might be a soul into a million tiny pieces. For years of torture and pain, the doubt tears the bits into smaller and smaller bits until there is nothing left.

This is why I doubt.

When my problems starting compounding one on top of another, I started to doubt. This was a very long time ago. I lost faith in religion, family, love, honor, respect, and all the big words with connotations devoted to making people feel bigger than they really are because of what occurred in my lifetime.

Was I diagnosed with cancer?

An incurable rare disease?

Was I slowly dying?

Did I have a rough childhood with unloving parents?

Not really for any of those. But human experience is just that, experience. And each of our experiences solely depends on the person involved.

And my doubt was created due to catholic schooling. Being forced, unwillingly, to spend pre-school through 12th grade going to catholic schools, wearing dress code approved clothing, going to mass at least 2 times a week, praying to god each and every morning right before the pledge of allegiance.

It was sickening. It was disgusting. It breeds a sense of doubt in everything around you because of the people that fill the halls and surround you.

Those people, the “pious” people, would cast you off for being different. For not getting taller when others got taller. For having to wear glasses from a young age on because you were legally blind. For having different tastes that ran the gamut of geekdom. For being too smart and having to be in classes where it was just you in advanced placement classes in middle school and high school.

Because of this, doubt is born. It forces you to question the idea of religion, the idea of a just lord that watches over you and takes care of you.

It forces you to question everything.

“The first precept was never to accept a thing as true until I knew it as such without a single doubt.”

-Rene Descartes

Did questioning everything destroy me or make me stronger? Did doubting in the way the world work cause me to lose sight of the important things?

Not at all. The doubt gave me a stronger skin. It gave me a stronger will. It caused me to start over and re-evaluate everything in my life. It didn’t change who I was. I still liked the same things and believed in the same things as before, it just strengthened my resolve.

So to all the people that hurt me growing up, thank you for making me who I am today. I’m sure there are some people who are damning you for that right now, but not me. It’s made me stronger.

But that doesn’t work for everybody.

Doubt doesn’t affect us all in the same ways, and I’m sure you’ll already know this, but it doesn’t affect me the same way each and every time I doubt. I just have to stop and think that there are greater things around me that I need to remember before I get ahead of myself.

Back to the gonzo who has been wronged. Spencer wrote a blog about cheating and that is what happened to him. Plain and simple. The woman he loved wronged him in the worst of fashions because of some reason that I don’t feel like going into details on here (and for the life of me, can’t even find a good reason to justify doing so or trying to explore because it makes little to no sense to me).

What shadow of doubt can be cast over him because of what happened? He was in love with the person who wronged him. That was it for him. No more searching. No more being single and trying to find somebody.

No more start-up relationship bullshit.

It would be the person for him for life. It would be it.

But now the shadow of doubt has been cast over everything. Friends, family, co-workers, can he trust a single one of them? Can he trust me with the idea of what happened and trust me to be a good friend to him?

Again, this is not dirty laundry being aired. This is a group of people trying to make sense of things.

But doubt has been cast over everything in his life.

It is pure and simple. Doubt was cast over everything in my life too. That’s what happens when your entire world is shook to the foundations and knocked over, toppling down all around you like Jenga pieces slamming against you. There is no simple way to explain it, it just sucks.

“Doubt is the father of invention.”

-Galileo Galilei

So what do we do in great instances of doubt? What do we do with our lives and with our souls and our hearts and the people around us?

We create things.

When I was forced to doubt everything in my life on each and every occasion, I resorted to the written word, to anger and frustration, to my hobbies. I resorted to art. I drew and drew and wrote and wrote until I had pages and pages of lingering diatribes against the people who wronged me.

Long essays and looks into life from various aspects of my wrenched soul were written. Manifestos and propaganda spread around my little world. Posters and pictures and thoughts sprinkled all over the place to keep me in the know about everything that had happened.

I wasn’t about to let myself forget. But what exactly did doubt do?

Doubt created life in me. It forced me to re-evaluate everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. It made me look at my family life. My friends. My health. My job. My career. My life’s goals.

It forced me to doubt and continue to look at everything and anything in my life and it made me look at my choices a little bit closer.

Overall, it killed my will to live more times than I care to imagine, and in the same instance, gave me the strength to continue on.

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

-Edgar Allan Poe

I was there, in the same pit as Poe, dreaming these terrible and amazing dreams. I was looking at things that weren’t there. Doubting their existence but feeling them in my heart as true.

It was doubt.

It fueled me to move on. It fueled me to grow and change.

It fueled me to have a stronger hide but at the same time it cast me down into the shadows and held me under the clouds. It made the world a darker place for me, and it became something very real.

Something very different.

Something very exciting.

I didn’t know everything. I didn’t have an answer for everything. I was finally capable of making decisions that were new and exciting because I was cast down to the bottom depths of my life and forced to move forward.

My only other option death, I chose to grasp hold of the doubt and question even that. Death was no longer the only option, and if it was, I would live to spite those who thought I should be dead.

I then had a new mission.

I would spread this word, this ideal of or, and I would help those who truly wanted it.

Have I done so?

Have I been all that I can truly be in my stance on the or and my abilities to lead others? That’s for you to decide.

“The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts.”

-Bertrand Russell

I am not suggesting that you cast away all doubts. That would be ridiculous of me to assume that you could even do that.

No, what I am suggesting is far more insidious and potentially dangerous. But also potentially life-giving.

You see, when I learned of what happened to my gonzo, I was the first of us to find out. I was saddened by what happened and concerned for the friend, knowing full well what happened to me in my state of disarray.

But in the same sense, I had to be there in a way that so many others couldn’t. I couldn’t throw things at him and tell him to do what I say. I couldn’t force my beliefs on him in the same fashion of a family or cult.

I had to play devil’s advocate.

And that is very difficult when all you want to do is give your opinion. But what’s the point of telling your opinion to someone when you know that your opinion doesn’t work for everyone and everything.

When you doubt that your opinion will work for him.

It most certainly won’t. It will work for you and it might work for 5 other people in the entire universe, but forcing that opinion on each and every one of you readers just defeats the purpose of these long essays.

They are here to ask questions and to look at things in a different fashion.

Do I consider this a heroic task? No. I doubt that any of you, sitting there and reading this, think me a hero. And I am fine with that. I am not here to be a hero.

I am here to be the question man. To be the doubter. To be the one person who will look at the two different sides of the coin and try to see what is good on each side.

I doubt that I can just like I doubt that a lot of you will gain any perspective or even think past this blog once it’s all said and done.

But that is my nature as a doubter.

I doubt that my decisions in life which lead me to the Company that I work for were the best decisions I could have made.

I doubt that my decision to stay alive was always the best decision.

I still doubt that my wife will love me for the rest of our lives together.

I will always doubt things.

But it doesn’t work for everyone.

It only works for me because I completely want to entertain the notion of the or and make my life more open to possibilities. It’s all based on doubt and what it means to you.

Will you doubt that tomorrow the sun will come up? Will you doubt that someday you will die?

What doubts do you hold in your heart daily?

Are you like this author and doubt that anyone is actually reading this? Do you doubt that anyone cares?

Now take those doubts and turn them inside you. Hold them close and never let go. Make them force you to create, force you to grow, and you just might find that the doubt you have in your heart has made you stronger. Wiser. Better.

The doubt has made you a different person than you were before, and that might not be the worst thing you can imagine.

“The greatest obstacle to being heroic is to doubt whether one may not be going to prove one’s self a fool; the truest heroism is, to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted, and when to be obeyed.”

-Nathaniel Hawthorne


Part 57

A little debt goes a long way.

What happens when someone who tells themselves that a credit card is only for emergencies and will only be used as such realizes that the credit card is like free money that you can do what you will with and not suffer the consequences? At least, not initially?

That’s right, that person is a moron.

And that person is me.

“Debt is the slavery of the free.”

-Pubilius Syrus

We are bound in chains from a young age. Our parents put debt on our shoulders. The debt of following in the dreams they create for us and the debt of someday taking care of them and making them proud.

Does that ever work though?

My parents wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. They thought my brain was big enough and that I was smart enough to really achieve anything.

This is where I tell you that because of them, I’m in debt.

But I don’t blame them for my credit card debt. They didn’t create the sense of urgency to spend the money that I don’t have on things that I don’t need. But they did allow for a sense that maybe it is okay to go a little in debt for the time being and pay it off over time because that is the way they taught me.

It’s also the way college taught me.

We are all going to be in debt for the rest of our lives. It’s better just to understand that now and move on so that it doesn’t destroy you, but it will. It will break you down into tiny pieces and make you feel so small and crush your will to live.

And it will do it with television commercials.

“The men who start out with the notion that the world owes them a living generally find that the world pays its debt in the penitentiary or the poor house.”

-William Graham Sumner

Everyday we are blessed with commercials for low financing, low interest, high yield, blah blah blah bullshit. Every single second there is a commercial on somewhere telling someone about low interest on their car payments and how easy it is to get a loan.

Popping up on every block are those Check-to-Cash places, giving you advances on your paychecks so that you can pay your bills on time.

And every single second, the world is finding new ways to bilk us out of our hard-earned cash.

We see films in theaters where they push shit like energy drinks and Coca-Cola. The Olympics is sponsored by Coke and McDonald’s, because nothing spells international sports fame and athleticism like super-sizing your fat ass.

We watch television with commercials and infomercials telling us how easy it is to save money. A man screams at you about making money and what to invest in and what to not waste your money on. Each and every single television station is doing the same thing: stealing your money and your time.

We are indebted from the moment we are born. Whether as Americans with a hefty national debt rising into the trillions or personally with parents with credit card debts and moral debts to push onto you, you are doomed from the very beginning.

You are going to be in debt no matter what you do. There are a few ways to save yourself, and there are a few insane manners to go about doing this.

But I want to continue, first, with the idea of parental debt. Depending on your parents, you may feel indebted to them for giving you life. You may feel indebted to them for giving you shelter, food, clothes to wear, and an education.

But is education really something to be indebted to them for? They force-feed you this idea that college is the way to go. That you should learn from their mistakes and go to college and get an education.


Unless you’re good at sports, get lucky and have rich parents, or somehow find a way to get a full ride, you’re already screwed just for thinking of going to college. The standard debt for a college student after 4 years of school is shy of $50,000. Is that a fair number to put your kids into debt if you yourself never want to college?

No. Not at all.

It also isn’t fair when you’re freakishly smart son who you know not what to do with is still one of those people that is way in debt from college just because he didn’t score high enough on an aptitude test in high school and therefore didn’t receive a full ride. It’s all hocus pocus horseshit.

“To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it.”

-Benjamin Franklin

I’m obviously not being gracious here but I feel like there is little reason to be. Because of the debt I already owed to my parents for believing in me and giving me life, I was now so far in debt that the world seemed to be ready to swallow me up.

And that forces you to pick a job that pays you well for the time being until you can find something better. It forces you to accept something you never in a million years thought you’d be doing for a lifetime and trudge through the ridiculously bad days just for a payday and just so that you can pay those bills.

The bills that keep stacking up. The bills that pile up and make your head spin.

The bills that then begin to include the standard necessities of life. When you move out, you have to put a roof over your head. And with that, you have electricity bills to pay, water bills, gas and trash bills, car payments, and everything else you can think of that goes along with creating a standard of living.

All new ways that the world can throw you into a tailspin of debt that makes you think of ways out. Ways that include faking your own death or just going for broke and jumping off a bridge and smashing through some immense structure being built downtown that will eventually be a new place for you to spend all of your money.

It will all come crashing down in three, two, one. We have ignition.

Like the first monkey shot into space, it forces you to need to take action and be the first person to do something. I might not be the first person to rail against debt, but I damn sure won’t be the last.

“Small debts are like small shot; they are rattling on every side, and can scarcely be escaped without a wound; great debts are like cannon; of loud noise, but little danger.”

-Samuel Johnson

Small debts pile up on us over time. Causing us to rethink our spending habits. There might be a book at Borders that you think you need this week, but do you really? Do you really need to get fast food every day for an entire week just because you’re sick of cooking? No you don’t.

These are the debts that push us over the brink.

The small stuff.

And how many times have you been told not to sweat the small stuff? How many times have you rolled your eyes at that statement? Looks like it’s time to think back and remember who told you that first.

Probably your parents. Probably some person in a higher standing or one of your elders telling you not to worry about the small things because they will work themselves out.

But the people who tell you this have a lot more wisdom and years on this Earth. They aren’t the ones fighting your debt at a time when the world nears a recession. They aren’t the ones in a bind and trying to find ways out.

They may have already been through it, but when they’re telling you not to sweat the small stuff, they aren’t currently going through it.

And that’s the key to remember that this debt you worry about, this debt that seemingly is destroying you, is all on you.

If you were to jump off a building and survive, all that would do is cause more debt. Hospital bills would start stacking up and your cost of living would go up and constant care would cause debt headaches for yourself and your loved ones. And if you die, all that does is throw your debt on your next of kin.

Debt follows you into death people.

You’ll be indebted to someone for the rest of your life and possibly into the afterlife, if you believe in that. And why is that?

You’ll always be indebted to your God.

“A man who has taken your time recognizes no debt; yet it is the one he can never repay.”


If you believe in a higher power, that is where your debt begins and ends. You are indebted to your belief in a higher power day in and day out. You are indebted to the belief that doing good will you put you in the good graces of your God and you are indebted to consistently do good.

And that is very time-consuming.

If you believe in a higher power, you are in constant debt of Jesus giving his life for you to be allowed into heaven since you wanted free will and in the course of that destroyed your ability to live in harmony.

It’s a real lose-lose, isn’t it?

I’m not suggesting not to believe in a higher power, but in my opinion, I have enough debt as it is without believing that my life has to be lived in the shadow of Jesus or God. I have enough debt to think about paying off in my own lifetime without worrying about the debt I will then be forced to pay off when I’m dead.

It’s insane, isn’t it? It’s insane to think what the debt is there for and what it will do to you.

But is there a way to fight back? Is there anything you can do to keep this debt from crushing your very soul and making you question friends, family, and coworkers and even enemies for all those debts that they owe you?

Is there anything you can do is stay above the debt and be something more? Is there anything you can do to not feel completely indebted to your family or your God for the rest of your existence?

I’m asking, is there?

“The more we get out of the world the less we leave, and in the long run we shall have to pay our debts at a time that may be very inconvenient for our own survival.”

-Norbert Wiener

I believe that there is.

If we think back about the tasks that Tyler Durden achieved, there could be a simple way to defeat debt. It obviously involves anarchy and terrorism, but in the lives we live today, is there a better way?

Is blowing up buildings and destroying the backlog of debt really that far off from the world we are currently rotting away in?

I don’t believe that it is.

I’m not suggesting someone go and blow up a building full of people. That would be ridiculous. Nor am I suggesting that someone go and destroy public property. But there has to be a way to figure out how debts can be forgiven.

And not with divine intervention.

The public consciousness needs a wake up call. You’d think with a presidential election right around the corner, the time would be perfect for it. But it sure doesn’t seem like things are changing.

We are still living in a world where democracy is all but a joke. There is no free world, everything costs something. Whether it’s your life, your blood, your time, or your free will, everything costs something.

And these debts are starting to stack up.

These debts are beginning to kill each and every one of us.

“Do not accustom yourself to consider debt only as an inconvenience; you will find it a calamity.”

-Samuel Johnson

That’s the problem. We are in the middle of a calamity and there is no way out. Yes we are in the midst of change (I hope), but will the change be enough? Will the US actually be able to come out of the debt that is miring us and destroying us?

I don’t think so.

That’s why there needs to be some drastic action taken at this point and time. Something big needs to happen to wake each and every person up from their dreaming and create a world that is better and easier to live within.

But it will take time. It will take action. It will take drastic measures. It might take bombs. It might take explosions. It might take action against your brothers and sisters.

It might take a civil war.

But something needs to happen.

My own personal debts might be small in the long-run. They might be small compared to the national debt we face each and every day as Americans. And it is. But it is not small in my life.

And in my life, it’s time for a change. It’s time for the or to take hold and rip flesh from bone and cause a change. A change that involves less money being wasted on small, insignificant things that mean nothing to my daily life.

It is time for a new life to begin. For a new beginning.

It is time for an explosion within myself.

It is time for this debt to be wiped clean.

And that is my curse. It's my job. It's what I'm going to do from here on out. It's going to be fun. I just hope it's not the end of me.

“Debt is the fatal disease of republics, the first thing and the mightiest to undermine governments and corrupt the people.”

-Wendell Phillips

Part 58

Power and a very stream-of-consciousness look at the world and the politics going on around us. It's a tough look at some things bothering me in the world, and a lot of it might be hard to follow.

Do you have any power? Are you able to show your power in the world that surrounds you? Or is this a constant tug-of-war between yourself and other forces keeping you at a lower scale of life?

“On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche

On my travels into the Company this morning, a heavy cloud hung overhead. A heavy, dark black cloud seemed ready to open up and rip the world asunder. It seemed ready to rain Ragnarok down on each and every one of us and show us what true power really is.

It seemed like this day would never come.

The power of the will was slowly slipping away, and it was causing me to re-think something. To think about some choices that I had made and to re-think the power I had in my own life.

Do I have any power over anything?

It’s all a question of etiquette. It’s all a question of what control do I assert over my choices, what control do I assert over myself.

I have power over what I wear, the people who I put in my lives, the personal choices I make, and there are about a million small things that I have power over.

But I have no power over the world around me.

And for a person who doesn’t believe in fate or in God, that is a very strange feeling to have. It is the feeling of what Nietzsche says, that tomorrow I will train myself to climb higher, but in my mind, it feels like that means I will continue climbing higher and higher with no end until I am so tired that I must give up.

And I’m getting there. I’m getting to the point of giving up.

“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven’t got it.”

-George Bernard Shaw

Life is all about power. How you assert it. How you obtain it. And who you force to believe what you believe with it.

It’s pretty simple to see that. As simple as being cynical about everything in your life and about everyone in your world. It’s simple.

It’s even more simple than believing in nothing.

You see, some of you may not be aware that there is a presidential election going on all around us. I don’t want to sound obsequious or egotistical or anything but there is so much power being thrown around, it’s ridiculous.

It makes me long for a communistic way of life. One where we are all given the same rights and the same abilities and the same power.

But in the face of this great election, one must worry about power and what it can do to people. What it can force you to do to obtain it.

So think of a time when you wanted some power. Power over a loved one. A co-worker. A friend. It doesn’t matter. Think of a time when you wanted some form of power in your life. What did you do to obtain that power?

Did you step on anyone to get a higher lot in life?

Did you throw friends and family members to the wolves to get more power for yourself?

Did you sell yourself out in order to be more powerful?

I almost did.

“When one is trying to do something beyond his known powers it is useless to seek the approval of friends. Friends are at their best in moments of defeat.”

-Henry Miller

Think about what you did to all those people who loved you when you were in some obscene quest for power that didn’t belong to you. What did you do?

You sell out the people that mean the most to you. You sell out best friends for the ability to lead a country because those friends might not be the best people to hang around. You sell out your ideals for the sake of something supposedly greater.

You sell out your beliefs for the almighty paycheck.

And that is why I’m so disgusted in myself. I’ve chosen a “career” that I despise because of the debt I spoke of yesterday. Once the checks start coming in and you realize how much money you make for selling your soul, the terror and the disgust starts to wear away and be changed out with a bloodlust to do better.

And that bloodlust causes you to step on everybody who is in your way.

I noticed this in my life recently. I didn’t throw people under the bus, but dealing with certain things at the Company, you begin to realize what you’re doing. The quest for power really becomes a quest for more money. The more power you obtain, by right, the more money you should be paid.

But what does it do to your ideals? Your beliefs? Your dreams?

It destroys them. The quest for power, depending on which way it takes you, can destroy everything you care about.

“Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true.”

-Honore de Balzac

Power is all about how you go about achieving it.

Today we’ve seen that John McCain has played a dirty trick in obtaining the power of the presidency. He has chosen a woman, a choice completely out of left field, to be his running mate. He chose a woman barely anyone had mentioned before today to be his running mate. And why?

Because he wants the power all for himself.

He wants someone that will be nothing more than a figurehead. I’m not discounting her ideals or her beliefs, but she must know why she was chosen? She was chosen to give all the women, all the people who believe they were silenced by the loss Hilary Clinton suffered in the race to become the Presidential candidate, she was chosen to give them someone new to vote for.

Someone they can believe in and someone they can follow because it will potentially put a woman one step closer to the White House.

She’s young, she’s inexperienced, and she’s a strange choice. But while all the politicos mention that Obama is young, no question, no comment is broached regarding her age or experience.

Just the fact that he is a woman.

So to show his power and his quest and bloodlust for the top spot in the country, McCain has done something ridiculous and awful. He has used sex as a motivating factor to get people to vote.

And isn’t he the person bitching that Obama was using race to get people to vote? Seems like someone doesn’t realize that they’re the pot calling the kettle black. Pun intended, by the way.

“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts…perhaps the fear of a loss of power.”

-John Steinbeck

You see, I am trying to piss you off. I’m trying to get you to question me and to question what I stand for.

And there is a reason for that. I don’t want to be someone with the power to change the world and have no one question my ethics or my notions or my abilities and ideas.

If I had all that power and no one questioning me, I’d be a dictator. And right now, I’m thinking that if McCain wins, we’ll be one step closer to a dictatorship. I’m thinking we’ll be one step closer to Armageddon (the world-ending phenomena, not the shitty movie with Bruce Willis).

I’m worried that this will be more big brother antics and the world will just become a steaming pile of bile and worthless waste.

I’m worried that all the power will be pushed on everyone in the world and we’d start picking fights with everybody, every power in the world, and I’m worried that nuclear war would no longer be an afterthought and something to scare us when we go to sleep at night.

If he was president, I’d be afraid that the world would be over by about February or March of 2009. Don’t quote me on that, but judging by his strong-arm notions, I don’t know what to expect.

In the same sense, I don’t know what to expect in the presidency of Barack Obama either.

“If I wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential – for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.”

-Soren Kierkegaard

I wish that this world was ready to accept change. But I’m afraid that it isn’t.

I wish that this world was ready to grow and heal the wounds of the old. But it isn’t.

I wish that this world was ready to FINALLY live up to the dreams of the people who mattered and attempted to make change that didn’t involve death and destruction. But that is what most of the world understands, according to those in power.

During Obama’s speech last night, a deep-seeded fear struck over me. A fear that the man I was watching, whose words I was listening to, would go unheard. That the idea that this man was speaking of, the idea of change and how much we DESPERATELY need it right now for our world to thrive, would go unheard.

I was worried that some idiot somewhere was hatching a plan to assassinate him should he rise to power and take the presidential election.

I wish that this wasn’t a worry, but it is. I wish that this world was ready to accept something new and exciting, whether it was a woman as Vice President or a black man as President.

I wish that this world was ready to accept someone based on their laurels, their beliefs, and their ideals, but most people will vote based on the color of someone’s skin, their sex, or their political choosing.

I choose to be an independent, mainly because I never know what I will think 5 minutes from now, let alone 5 years from now. I usually side with those fighting for change, those closer to a socialist ideal, but really, who in politics is socialistic and communistic?

Hardly anyone. Because the power of communism dissipates due to human emotions, greed, and corruption.

And that is what it will all boil down to. Emotion.

“Whether a man is burdened by power or enjoys power; whether he is trapped by responsibility or made free by it; whether he is moved by other people and outer forces or moves them – this is the essence of leadership.”

-Theodore H. White

That is what it will boil down to come election time and come our own lives.

We must choose, based on our emotions, based on our beliefs, who deserves the power. I am afraid of making that choice as it takes the power out of my hands once the decision has been made.

And I lust for power. I want more of it. I want to fight for it and gain it and hoard it over all the rest.

But that is wrong. That is the most wrong thing to do.

To show our own strength over other people is completely against everything we should be taught. I should realize that selling out the people that I care about is wrong. There are better ways to change the world.

I should realize that having a schism between two parties is completely defeating free will and the thought of voting and making a difference.

There will be no difference.

There will be one person in power and the rest will continue to fight to gain the crumbs falling off the table. The little bits of power that they can obtain as they fall slowly to the ground.

It matters only slightly who is the figurehead of the presidency, of this country, as their power is gained from the people.

And therein lies the call to action.

“The mind has exactly the same power as the hands; not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.”

-Colin Wilson

This call to action is quite simple. It all boils down to choice as it always has with me. It boils down to something we all can do.

We can make our voices heard.

We can speak out in the face of adversity and attempt to do something different in our lives. If we see someone being kept down, prejudice based on sex, creed, religion, anything, we can do something about it.

We can make our voices heard and it doesn’t only mean get out there and register to vote. It means stand up for what you believe in. Stand up and be heard by YOUR world.

It doesn’t have to be on a national or international scale. All that matters is you speak out for yourself and the people you care about, and stop worrying so goddamn much about what it means to be a republican or a democrat. Does that matter?

If you believe in God, do you really think that your ticket into heaven is gained depending on your political beliefs?


Do you think that your soul will have a better afterlife just based on the amount of power you gain while living on this Earth?

No. It more depends on how you treat others. How you look at the world around you. If you are in the process, the quest for power, if you step over the people below you, if you leave people behind, if you forget the people that mean the most to you, forget it. It’s over for you now.

If you gain power based on putting someone down for their political leanings or their sexual appetites or their religious beliefs, you are a disgusting human being and barely deserve to be called one.

It’s all on you to determine what power means to you and what you will do to gain it. What you will do to keep it in your life.

And it’s all about the mind. It’s all about the essence of the or. Power doesn’t have to mean money or the control of other people. It’s all about the or. It’s all about what power means to you and what you believe in your heart.

If you believe that you can change the world, then you will have the power to do just that.

“This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well. Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly. Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature. Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you. Take the power to make your life happy.”
-Susan Polis Schutz
That's the end of August 2008. Stay tuned for more as the countdown begins.


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