Notes From the Dungeon

 

In my head is not a pleasant place to be these days.

Thoughts of despair, of hopelessness, of emotional weariness. Of just a general fatigue with it all.

Monsters from without and within, each taking its turn at me, no letup.

Thoughts of putting an end to all of it. Yeah, those thoughts.

Oh, depression, you’re so much fun to have around.

 

This isn’t really stuff I want to share, but I need to show the bad side, as well as the good.

It ain’t always like this (fortunately), but it’s not all zippity-doo-dah, either. This $#!t can pull me down pretty quick.

And sometimes, I even want to stay down. How twisted is that?

It’s just part and parcel of my life. Unfortunately, that means it’s part of my wife’s life, too. I hate that.

This, too, will pass; I know it will. Just sucks at the moment.

Hopefully, the next post will be cheerier. Love to you.

From Your Little Boy

 

You idiot! Why are you such an idiot?

How stupid can you get?

Shit, talkin’ to you is like talkin’ to a child, sometimes.

You cotton-pickin’, half-witted idiot!

 

I know that, over the course of our life together, you said many kind, loving words to me. I know you loved me.

I loved you, too. I admired you. I looked up to you. I wanted to be just like you.

And I hung on to every single word you said to me.

Including all the ones at the beginning of this post.

The ones that sliced deep into my heart. The ones that told me I was a failure in your eyes. The ones that have haunted me ever since, and I still struggle to forget.

As far as I’m concerned, I am an idiot.

And so, for the rest of your life, I couldn’t look at you without imagining you looking back at me and wondering how you ended up with such a stupid son.

 

I never told you this. I couldn’t.

I guess I thought it was something I had to just get over. Maybe it is.

But, dammit, it’s tough. Even with the memory of how good you were to me. (And you were.) Even with the memories of all the good times we had together. (And we did.)

You’ve been gone nineteen years, but even if you were here now, I probably still couldn’t tell this to you.

So, this is as close as I’ll ever get, I guess. Now that I’m nearly 60.

On some level, I forgive you. I know you were angry or frustrated when you spoke these words to me.

But, I could never convince myself you didn’t mean them, anyway.

Shouldn’t be so freakin’ sensitive, right? Dads say this $#!t to their sons all the time.

 

At the end of all this rambling, I guess all I really wanted to say is, I wish I had told you.

So you could apologize. And we could embrace. And it could be behind us. And everything would be okay.

But I guess I couldn’t do that right, either. Sorry.

 

Tired

 

I’m tired, boss…mostly, I’m tired of people bein’ ugly to each other.

John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), “The Green Mile”, 1999

 

I’m tired, too, John.

By now, I’m flat wore out, as we say around here.

Lately, as you know, people are being ugly to each other in all kinds of ways, and I’m plenty tired of all of it, but especially…

I’m tired of people taking it upon themselves to go and shoot several other people, for any reason or for none at all.

You can’t go to church, you can’t go to the grocery store, you can’t go to a bar, you can’t go to school, you can’t f****ng go anywhere that there isn’t the possibility of getting shot to death.

The American flag may as well be flown at half mast from now on.

And the sadness of that is absolutely overwhelming.

This is how bad it’s gotten: One of the survivors from this week’s shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, was also in Las Vegas, Nevada a year ago, when that shooting occurred.

But another survivor of the Vegas shooting was killed this week in Thousand Oaks.

When people are present at more than one mass murder event…

The really cynical among us probably wonder what these gunmen have against country music, around which both these events centered.

The rest of us know it’s no laughing matter at all.

 

All these people. All these precious, beautiful, innocent people. Attending their classes. Worshipping their god. Enjoying a night out with friends.

Unaware.

Then, in the blink of an eye…

Utterly incomprehensible, unspeakable tragedy. My God, the tragedy.

I’m not gonna trot out all the gun violence statistics we probably could all recite by now. I’m not gonna bring up the gun owners and their Second Amendment rights. I’m not gonna rage against our government’s continued impotence over this crisis as the body count just keeps going up. I’m not gonna point out how the phrase “thoughts and prayers” is, by now, as empty and hollow as the barrel of a spent gun.

Because I’m tired.

I’m not numb to it, mind you. I haven’t quit caring about it; not at all.

I’m just…tired. Physically, mentally, emotionally tired.

First, the horror, then the sorrow, then the anger and frustration. Over and over and over. It wears you down, I tell you.

John Coffey, I’m right there with you, brother.

 

I Stand Corrected

 

“IF YOUR ACTIONS INSPIRE OTHERS TO DREAM MORE, LEARN MORE, DO MORE AND BECOME MORE, YOU ARE A LEADER.”

John Quincy Adams, American president (1767-1848)

The above quote is in my morning paper today, as the Quote of the Day, and it made me realize that, apparently, I’ve been wrong all this time.

I guess donald trump is, by Mr. Adams’ definition, one of the greatest leaders this world has ever witnessed. At least, when it comes to the qualifications Mr. Adams laid out, he certainly checks all the boxes.

I shall explain:

DREAM MORE: trump has Americans dreaming of a time, not so long ago, when this country wasn’t the unmitigated disaster it is now, and what it can become again, once he leaves office – the sooner, the better.

LEARN MORE: Okay, how much did you know about the environment before trump became President? Or health care? Or North Korea? Or tariffs? Or Stormy Daniels?

Well, here’s what we’ve learned about those things:

Environment – trump doesn’t give a $#!t about it.

Health care – Or this, either. At least, not when it pertains to folks on the outer fringes of society like, for example, women.

North Korea – It’s a little country led by a little “Rocket Man” whose button isn’t as big as donald’s. His words, not mine.

Tariffs – Despite what every economist and his mother says, trump is going ahead with them because, by god, they’re good for the economy, because AMERICA FIRST!

Stormy Daniels – A porn star who alleges an affair with trump, was allegedly paid $130,000 to keep quiet about it until after the erection, I mean, election, and now is suing because the alleged non-disclosure agreement was allegedly never signed by the alleged President. A guy so anxious to sign so many things, and he forgets about this one?

She signed the agreement under her pseudonym, Peggy Peterson. If she wanted to avoid any suspicion of having sex with donald, she should have used the name, Melania Trump.

DO MORE: Gotta give credit; this guy has done more to inspire Americans to action than anyone in recent memory. From a more vigilant and persistent press corps, to more numerous and determined voices of protest, to all those individuals and groups, newly emboldened by this President, who spew their hate-filled rhetoric unashamedly, and follow that up with despicable, cowardly acts of cruelty and violence.

Just remember, doin’ more ain’t always doin’ better.

BECOME MORE: Need anything be said here? trump inspires us as individuals, as well as a country, to become more caring and compassionate towards each other, and towards our planet, since he and his minions have absolutely no concern for either.

So, yeah, I guess trump is really one helluva leader.

Thanks, Mr. Adams, for ruining my day.

 

 

Fire, Bleed, Repeat

 

Really, is there any point?

Any point at all in discussing the school shooting in a Florida high school on Wednesday?

The one that left seventeen people dead, at the hands of a nineteen-year-old former student? With a rifle?

That filled our TV screens with crying students and crying parents and SWAT teams and somber reporters?

That rang the bell for Round Whatever of the great Gun Debate?

Really, is there any point?

When we all know the end result will be…nothing.

And the story will disappear from the news cycle in a week or two.

And the whole f####ng scenario will play out again. And again. And again.

I honestly don’t know where to go from here. I can’t offer any hope. I can’t offer any rage. I think it’s all a waste of my breath.

So, I’ll just offer this:

To those of you who lost people you loved in this tragedy, I am so very deeply sorry. My heart is broken for you.

But, just as heartbreaking, is that you’re likely just the latest in a never ending line.

Because our attention span is just too short to allow us to care.

That’s the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homewreckers

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Some things just don’t make sense to me.

I work over in a pretty heavily wooded area, which allows me to still catch an occasional glimpse of raccoons, possums, armadillos, squirrels and even deer as I drive up and down the same road all day.

I enjoy that very much. I love seeing wildlife; it’s my way, however small, of staying connected to nature.

One evening two weeks ago, when it was after dark and I was still driving, I came upon a deer crossing the road. Fortunately, I could stop in plenty of time to avoid hitting him. We just looked at each other for a second, then continued on our way.

A little later that same evening, I saw him again, over in the woods. I stopped a few seconds as we regarded each other again, me admiring the majestic presence of this beautiful animal, him…I don’t know, checking out some goof in a minibus.

And the sight of him thrilled me and saddened me, at the same time.

Because, it reminded me of what we’re doing to his home.

 

Now, I’m not saying we should never build any new roads, or construct any new buildings, in deference to the original inhabitants of this land. I know better.

But, here’s the part that doesn’t make sense:

On the street I drive on all day, what looks like a perfectly good office building sits empty, vacant, unused by anyone.

Meanwhile, more land nearby has been cleared for construction of a new office building.

And I don’t understand.

What’s wrong with the vacant building? Is it in disrepair inside? Wouldn’t it cost less to refurbish it, instead of starting from scratch?

And why do we have to crowd all the animals into an ever shrinking amount of space?

I just can’t help thinking, in our endless zeal to keep building, keep growing, keep expanding, maybe something’s gotten lost along the way.

Something like respect for the land, and the divine creatures that inhabit it.

Honestly, I don’t know what the solution is.

I just know, the last deer I saw was on the side of the road, dead, struck by a vehicle.

And it broke my heart in two.

 

Manchester United

From The Guardian, 5/23/2017:

“At least 22 people, including children, have been killed and 59 injured in a suicide bombing at a crowded pop concert in Manchester, the most deadly attack in Britain in a decade.”

People of Manchester, UK:

The world cries with you.

The world mourns with you.

The world stands in solidarity with you.

You are in our hearts.

UPDATE: The second victim identified was an eight year old girl.

An eight year old girl.

When will it stop?, a passenger on my shuttle asked me this morning, perhaps rhetorically.

When the world stops, I guess.