luck

there was this one time when i was super heartbroken and i met someone for the first time — and, like, really met her you know — and that turned out good until it became shit. we were both shit to one another for a long time before it fell apart, and let’s face it, that’s the story of every relationship i’ve ever had. i bring out the worst in people and they bring out the worst in me. it’s fine. it’s just one of those things. i don’t even mind it anymore, i just try to avoid being shit to as many people as i can. which definitely doesn’t work. i’m still shit. you’re all still shit. this isn’t a pity party or a condemnation, it’s just simple fact. we’re all kinda shit. the thing is that you don’t beat yourself up over it. if you don’t think you’re shit, you’re wrong. if you do think you’re shit, you’re wrong. and this isn’t some moral resignation to let everyone off the hook to be all happy-go-lucky, it’s just, i dunno. i don’t really know anyone who’s not shit in at least one way. shit happens. and we make it happen. it’s fine. it’s fine. we all fuck things up constantly. deal with it. everyone else does.

it turned out that i’m shit at a lot more things than i anticipated, and so i wound up being shit some more. that’s fine. i should probably go talk to a therapist, but they’d be like, hmm thinkingface.emoji, and i’d be like c’mon. c’mon. just be real. we’re all fundamentally fucked up, and anyone who pretends otherwise is my neighbor who has a shit dog that is shit. here’s an idea shit dog, shut the fuck up it’s 6 in the goddamn morning and shut the fuck up. did i mention shut the fuck up? because i should have because it’s 6 in the goddamn morning. so shut the fuck up.

even when things are 100% shit (and oh lord they’re going to be for a while), you still sometimes get lucky. and i’m not talking, ‘oh wow, i got lucky last night,’ as in banged some hottie — male or female — i’m talking luck. because it’s a thing. i once hitchhiked from quebec city to chicoutimi in late november with my friend eric. our driver crashed in a national park in a blizzard. lucky doesn’t begin to describe how we lived. we got even luckier when a tour bus picked us up afterwards on the side of the highway. we got luckier still when jessika — the woman of eric’s dreams — somehow found us, took us out for a drink, and let us crash at her place.

that was the luckiest single day of my life. because i should be dead. nine times out of ten we’d have gone off a cliff.

i should be dead for a lot of reasons. i’m still here though. being lucky.

my favorite part about being lucky is part of luck is loving life. part of love is hating life, of course, but you love and you love and you love, and you hate a little bit less every day, because you just do. life is the great romance. which is trite and stupid to say out loud, but i dunno. just look at it. there’s a pigeon or a squirrel or a monkey or a lobster or a whatever the fuck ever, and isn’t it kind of great? have a great conversation, a horrible break-up, a traumatic accident. aren’t you glad you just fucking made it?

i’ll never forget it, a girlfriend’s mom and her friend came to visit us in portland, and we were out of toilet paper, and i rode my bike furiously to the plaid pantry to get some motherfucking toilet paper, and i did, and when i got back they were gone. and i felt real bad about that, you know?

i should’ve married that woman. i fucked it all up.

but life is all about the mistakes you make. or at least that’s how i sleep at night.

there’s a stupid quotation from a stupid movie that i like that goes “you make your own luck.” and it’s batman so there’s, like, a moral dilemma, i forget, some shit happens, and anyway two-face, who is harvey dent who was supposed to be gotham’s savior, anyway et cetra et cetera, it’s the one with heath ledger in it. so batman kills harvey dent i think? or maybe chief gordon does. anyway, i dunno, somehow harvey dent has a coin and it’s what he flips but then his face burns off and maybe so does the coin? or, like, half of it? point of the story, he becomes a bad guy, and says ‘you make your own luck’ and it’s a coinflip metaphor, is what i’m saying.

but you know. that’s kind of a silly thing to say. i get that it’s supposed to be super reaffirming or whatever, but nah. nah. you don’t make your own luck. i know too many dead people to buy that line. luck comes at you fast.

 

 

 

on ghosting

i met meghan via tinder and it turned out we knew a whole bunch of people in common. her ex, for example. but that was fine because it was just a date, and even though we went outside to make out, it wasn’t really a thing, you know? we just had lust. and a couple of drinks to rid ourselves of the inhibitions. so when i was like, ‘wanna go outside and make out?’ she was like, ‘sure.’ and that was that. we did the same thing a week later in park slope, and it was fine.

life mostly seems fine to white dudes.

so anyway when i was a kid i was apparently translucent. which, i dunno, various sunburns throughout the years would seem to confirm. so i was a ghost. and i’m still the whitest.

but i had to ghost on meghan from tinder because she liked me, and as casper it’s in the script. i’m one of those people who pretends to have values, but doesn’t actually live by any of them nearly enough. a hypocrite. granted, i don’t think most people are any better, but i really want to be. i really do. i think that would be just great.  i just want to be 75% great.

i don’t think that’s too much to ask.

god came up and said what kind of shoes do you want? and i said air jordans, and god said that’s good.

and those air jordans are coming tomorrow.

sometimes i think i never woke up

i had this dream last night where i was looking for new hiking boots to climb a 29,000 foot mountain in new hampshire. just a day trip. all of my friends were crashing at my place before we headed out for the climb, and i needed to get rid of a dresser, so i put it into the back of my truck and headed to union square in new york, because that’s the obvious place to get shoes. so i went into one place, and everything was in disarray, and i felt bad because i hadn’t put socks on to try on shoes, but this sales guy only had two pairs for me to look at, and i felt less bad because i wasn’t going to try on either. i told him ‘look, we’re climbing a mountain today, these aren’t going to cut it,’ and he was like, ‘they just might.’ and i left. i put the dresser on the side of the road and parked and went to a little plaza, which was really more like downtown brooklyn now that i think about it, and anyway. anyway. it was almost 10 AM, and i was stressing about how to make this trip work if i didn’t have hiking boots, so i go into this one spot, which is kind of like a mini-mall, and i’m looking for a ‘shoe emporium’ sign because it was advertised outside. and i’m doing this big U, following the path of the mini-mall, and as i come around there’s this restaurant and michael jordan is sitting there having coffee and shooting the breeze with the regulars. anyhow, somehow he knows i’m looking for shoes so we chat for a bit, and he’s like ‘try up the road, and i’m like ‘thanks, michael jordan.’ so i head out to check up the road, but then i wake up.

and i really wonder if i find shoes in that dream. i really wonder what the top of that mountain looks like.

dreams are weird.

i fell and hit my head a year and a half ago and almost died, and i look at the world now, and sometimes i think i never woke up.

the rise and fall of the roman republic, a memoir

I finally came clean to my mom. It was after a friend and I spent the afternoon tripping out on mushrooms. I’m not going to pretend I had any sort of revelation that hadn’t already been simmering in my guts for years, but it was just time to say it. “I’m suicidal.”

She said what moms all over the world would say, the good ones anyway. “Oh, honey.”

There is nothing wrong with mental illness. But it does have to be dealt with. For quite some time I went to a doctor in NY, and he gave me benzos and an SSRI. I never took the latter, but I used to former to mask alcoholism. If you’ve gotta take a customer out to dinner, it’s generally not great if you have the shakes. Benzos were the solution.

Last year, a friend came to stay with me at my apartment in NY. He and I had always spoken really candidly about our various problems. We toured Vancouver Island together, after all, so there was plenty of time to chat. He’s a great guy, even though he, too, is an asshole.

When he was my guest last year, though, I said, “I’m quitting drinking when I’m out of benzos.” I was unemployed and uninsured by then, so I was on my last scrip. I pointed to the pills, probably 20-25 or so, on my desk. There are three left now. There have been three left for a long time.

Yesterday I went to Gloucester, and a friend and I walked along the beach and sat on logs and watched the colors change as the mushrooms set in. I carried a bag with my lunch the whole time, and it became a running joke that I was just a normal dude with a plastic bag, because things are funny when you’re on mushrooms. It was a beautiful windy day, so we decided to lay down on the rocks, and because there were bugs everywhere that was funny, too. When we started to come down, we walked along a ridge of stones, plowed there by the city to protect against the storm-surge from the previous day’s Nor’easter. We slid and fell a lot. I gave my friend’s dog my sandwich, and the apple I’d brought along was too mealy to enjoy so I threw it into the sea.

There are a whole lot of things that are really beautiful in the world. You included.

god bless america

donald trump gave a press conference today. it’s his first since the time over the summer when he was like, ‘yo russia, hack that bitch woman who i hate because i’m a misogynist,’ and russia was like, ‘dude we already did, chill,’ and trump went on to fucking win the goddamn election because this is all a computer simulation and the 12-year-old who’s got the wheel is just beginning puberty so buckle the fuck up motherfuckers, because before you know it jennie isn’t going to want to dance with him at the eighth-grade semi-formal dance, and then what? then you fucking know what, don’t give me that. 12-year-old jesus is going to say ‘fuck this game, i’ve been playing long enough maybe jennie will love me NOW’ and then he’ll bomb someone because That Will Show Them, and we’ll all die and jennie won’t be impressed and your mother only loves you because she has nothing better to do. and then the world will be destroyed but it’s possible — just — that we’re in a multiverse, or we’re the figments of someone’s imagination, and just what if the end isn’t the end. if we clamor for the afterlife for long enough, do we get a participation trophy?

probably not but it’s fun to think about. and the main reason it’s fun to think about is because all of the war and pestilence that my country is about to unleash is really way too much of a bummer for me to grasp. on our own citizens, on people around the world. i don’t know. how do you apologize to everyone at once for something you didn’t even do? i’m pretty good at apologizing. i’ve done it for most of my adult life, because being a fuck up who’s not out on the street requires it. but for this? i don’t even know. any apology i could make would be bullshit. so no. no. i’m not sorry. i’m horrified. this is the most disgusting thing i’ve ever seen.

i don’t currently have a job because i’m super depressed and i don’t really feel like looking and i’ve got a tiny bit of savings and a credit card so ‘weeeeeeeeee motherfucker, let’s see how far down this hole i can go,’ and so today i watched president barack obama’s farewell speech, which is available to stream on fine internet properties such as the youtube, etc., and i just i dunno. i mean, i love the guy. just seems like a fundamentally decent dude. and people are gonna be like, ‘oh well he droned motherfuckers,’ and i’m like, ‘no shit, dude. no shit.’ because yeah. no shit. no shit, dude. in this country, though, you’ve only got two choices. i picked obama twice and i’d pick him again and again and again if i could. it’s been said a lot, but it bears repeating: we didn’t know how good we had it.

obama said this, he said: ‘ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,’ and i know somebody out there is gonna say, “AKCTCSHSSHUALLY JFK SAID THAT” and you’re right but i don’t give a shit. obama said it better. he spent the last ten minutes of his time with us imploring us to get involved.

which is kind of a weird thing. we take it for granted, but for lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of people, you can’t just get involved. you can’t just say, ‘fuck it i’m gonna call this person on my lunch break because i’m animated and their job depends on my support.’ you can’t fucking do that most places. you really fucking can’t. stop pretending that what we have here is at all guaranteed. stop pretending that your contrarianism, your privileged above-it-all-ness is something anyone in the opposition gives a fuck about protecting. they don’t. if there’s one thing this election has taught me, it’s that barry was right. democracy is fragile. this is no-fucking-around time.

(probably always has been, but i’m still learning)

the bible tells us a lot about trials and tribulations. job, jesus — the whole lot of them pretty much just suffered and died, and then people were like ‘that’s cool,’ and then other people were like ‘same,’ and then jesus and job got book deals and whatever. and that’s fine. that’s good. but the message of determinism is the message of freedom, and it suggests that we are bound to find our way out of this. and that if we don’t, that it’s better to die trying. it’s better to fail at finding freedom than to win at anything else.

marblehead

my parents were baby-boomers, so that helps explain things. other than that, they were fairly normal. my mom, granted, spent most of my childhood pretending to be four years younger than she actually is, but whatever, grown-ups are weird. source: i’m a grown-up now.

i went to marblehead today to help a man do work on his computer. he’d said over the phone that he needed help with formatting in microsoft office, so i figured he had the tiniest bit of knowledge about it, but no. nope. not this time. which isn’t to talk unnecessary smack. the guy seemed perfectly fine, an environmental lawyer who was now going to be [redacted] in his retirement. probably accomplished more than we’ll ever get the chance to, if i’m being honest. which i can’t quite be sure of these days anymore.

so i clicked and dragged icons to the desktop, recommended he never use internet explorer again, showed him how to double-space shit on word. all in all, it was tremendously boring work, but i felt, for a little while at least, helpful.

“you could probably google the library and see if they have classes available,” i said. “or just call them.” he and i had been discussing the merits of phone calls versus text messages briefly, and i hadn’t wanted to get into it.

“is there a trash barrel,” i said, coffee cup in hand.

“yes, it’s downstairs in the kitchen as you make your way out.”

it’s kind of weird interacting with socially awkward people who don’t know how to use computers and it’s even more weird when you’re teaching them how to right click, but anyway, it was especially weird to be like, “uh, okay, thanks [redacted]!” from the landing because dude wouldn’t show me to the door. and made a bad joke about his dog that doesn’t really bear repeating. and had just given me $40, which, okay, i guess that’s the value of a right click and running malwarebytes these days.

the world is so terribly fucked.

thoughts before coffee

Doris says, “Use your head, c’mon, Tom.”

I say, “I know how to clean a vase. This would be much faster without two people doing it.”

Doris is my boss for the moment. I don’t really need the job, but I’m bored and some of my favorite people on earth work there (and have worked there for years), and so I’m like, “Okay, Doris. What do you want done?”

And she cleans a vase like one would clean a vase, and I’m like, “Oh, wow. Thanks.”

I do not hide my sarcasm.

Doris is a crazy person, but she has the virtues of 1) being incredibly talented, 2) commanding respect, and 3) sometimes earning that respect. Most of her employees are lifers. She is probably the worst boss I’ve ever had. But I do know that she’ll always hire me. I don’t really know why. She hired me in high school when I was just trying to earn enough money for a bit of weed and some cigarettes, and maybe an ice cream for my high school sweetheart. She’s hired me every time I’ve asked since. When my dad died, and it was the day of the wake and we were all just fucked up and trying to deal — when I called her and said, “Holy fuck, I need some funeral shit, I don’t even know what, and the service is in two hours,” she put that shit together and got it to the service well before it was due.

There’s probably something to be said about loyalty and all that. Hell, I almost quit yesterday, but I didn’t. In the meantime, I’d rather have coffee.