Posts Tagged ‘growth’

Welcome back everyone,
hello-cute

Hey there 😉

As you know, on this blog I generally do my darnedest to keep things whimsical. I like to try and make intellectuality fun — at least as fun as someone bereft of said topic can make it — and that’s because I understand all too well that pretension will only get in the way of communicating what ideas I may have and would genuinely enjoy hearing others honest opinions about.

For that, I need you all to be smiling.

I require your guard to be down.

(But not your fly… XYZ, reader)

Now, some may call this peevish, and if you do I have a special place for you, (Just click the “X” on the upper right hand side of your web browser, and I’ve got the whole thing set up to redirect you exactly to where you belong on the internet!) but I believe in everyone’s opinion being valid. As I see it, we all have differing life experiences, which lend themselves to differing insights about the reality of being. Each of us alone is only a piece of the puzzle, only together can we see what is. Thus, you may have noticed, across the four some-odd-years that I’ve run this blog, (Say Thank-Ya!) that I’ve always made pains to refer to you all as one. Never referencing color, race, location or gender (unless that’s the topic in question), while addressing you all in these jaunty little introductions, or, in this blog’s previous incarnation, throughout the entire proof of my theorem.

"Humans"

“Humans”

Today though, as you may have already guessed, I’d like to assume a more sober tone. Today I’d like to discuss something that happened to me personally (don’t worry I’m FINE. It merely led to this week’s inspiration), which helped solidify the mere fragments of thought on the topic I’d had, up until it’s occurrence. At first I was going to obscure the introduction, being that the person who did this may well read this blog, but I quickly realized that I am no coward, and that relenting in such a manner would be tantamount to “Do as I say, but not as I do” — which is decisively Un-Cool. And so, without further ado, here it is…

(Wow, can’t quite find words which won’t elicit a giggle….)

(Well, whatever… You’re a mature audience.)

😛

I got my junk grabbed — like full on, a full handful, for a full second — and this was done by someone I work with. A Woman, no less. Now, as you may or may not know, I once worked as a topless waiter at a strip club. There this type of thing was routine, and I was able to shrug it off as the nature of the beast. However at my current job, working for CBS on a television show, this type of behavior, even with a flirty coworker (whom I certainly reciprocate with, just never to this extreme…), was, frankly, unacceptable. And so, with a heavy heart, and plans to kill the buzz, I approached her in a clandestine manner, asking for things to never again go to where she took them. She then responded vocally, amidst a large group of others — people without any knowledge of the aforementioned affront — saying, and I quote,

“Oh, be a man. You know you liked it.”

……

Now, it took me some time to process all the emotions — admittedly, mostly negative — that coursed through my mind at this moment in my life. I’m not going to lie… at first I wanted to smack her, but logic quickly argued against that. Then I wanted to wail vocally, explaining to the entire gymnasium full of our film crew that she had, in fact, sexually harassed me… but my days at the club popped in my mind and it all felt like a rather flat argument. The best reason I could find within for feeling so wronged was that, somehow, a power struggle had been breached… and quite unjustly. Finally I found a healthy way to deal with my feelings on the occasion — I’d write about it. And the story today, after three manifestations that I’d scrapped for being far too blunt, is the result of it all.

I’m not going to mince words here: Equality is a blanket term, it has NOTHING to do with entitlements or supremacy. If you truly wish to see yourself as an equal — a just contributor to modernity — than privilege becomes a slight. It’s abhorrent, as it assumes the same role of the oppressor which you, or (more likely) the brave people before you, had once fought so direly to be free from. You may or may not see how, but this piece is my way of confronting the racism I’d been subject to as a child, the class warfare I’ve bore witness to all my life, and the general ways that mankind has tried to keep his brothers and sisters down. It should also serve as warning to movements of equality, Feminism, Racial equality, First, Second, and Third world conflicts amongst each other, and any people who strive for their fair share, that sometimes we can take things too far. Equality, true equality, is blind to Gender, Race, Color, Size, and shape — and perhaps may someday include Species, Race, Planet — and even Galaxy and Universe.

Everybody’s on a journey throughout this life, one unique to them, and so every point of view is valid — and certainly deserved of a listen by the rest of us.

~J

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Ordinary Extremities

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“Ticket, please”, Bade the Conductor, approaching the squatted pile of rags at the far corner of the car.

The woman beneath didn’t stir.

“Hello Ma’am?” He said politely, “Sorry to wake you, but I need to collect your ticket now.”

Still the enshrouded figure remained nonplussed.

The Conductor bent, waving a translucent blue palm before the hooded cave of the woman’s visage, before kneeling and tipping his face in for a better look.

The fact that this man was, in actuality, a hologram — a mere segmented sliver of the conductors waking mind, present here only due to clever camera and speaker placement — was not lost on me. So at this thought, despite myself, I snorted a laugh.

From his hands and knees the man inclined his head in my direction, before craning his neck to peer under his arm’s nook at the wall of passengers which had built up across the car. The Conductor then got up, dusted off his knees, and approached me.

“Ticket Please”, he said, an accusatory lilt staining his custom level tone, seeming to imply some connection between myself and the vagabond across the way.

Casually I removed a balled fist from the pocket of my well pressed Sports Coat, never bothering to take the sole of my fine Italian loafer away from the door on which I leaned, thrusting it out then for the man to see, before hinging each finger out, slowly and in turn, to eventually present him with a bare palm. From the transparent ceiling above, at a point indeterminate due to the setting sun, a green laser light fanned out, sweeping my palm first in one direction and then the other before blinking out extinguished.

“Thank you.” Said the man, eying me suspiciously. Shooting a thumb over his shoulder, he soon added,  “How about you help me out? Go wake your little buddy over there so I can scan her ticket too.”

“Little buddy?” I scoffed, failing to stifle a second snort, “I don’t know that person.”

The man dove his face in toward mine, searching my eyes, darting erratically back and forth from left to right, before melodramatically stepping back to indicate the crowd.

“Tell me than, what’s this? Why is it you can stomach this woman’s clearly quite pungent odor, when the rest of my passengers huddle and cower like frightened livestock?”

I regarded the crowd, noting that easily three yards separated me from the next nearest paying customer. A singular huddled mass, the people all breathed as one; through sleeves, scarves, and hats — anything that might help stave off the offensive aura being generated by the woman just across from me.

“She’s harmless.” I asserted. “Besides, my desire to be left alone presently supersedes any musk this individual could possibly produce.”

And it was true. I’d hastily purchased a ‘standing room only’ ticket, knowing full-well the risk, and had accepted this unfortunate condition as mere penitence for my retreat.

The Conductor scrutinized me thoughtfully.

“Well then, friend” He began afresh, clearly changing tactics. “Give a guy without a hand, a hand, eh? This form may have function, but it has no form — if you’re picking up what I’m projecting down. Be a pal and, well… just tap her on the shoulder for me, would ya?”

I unfocused my eyes, looking straight through the shifting veil of blue before me to examine the mysterious figure just across the way. Indeed it seemed that the thing beneath the ratty pile of garments was, in fact, a woman… though without removing her thick and pungent wrappings it would be impossible to tell for sure. Long, dreaded hair flowed out from under the dark recesses of her cavernous hood, which then weighed down the loosely stacked garments cosseting her chest to detail two modest, though distinctly feminine, mounds. Carelessly crouched in the corner as she was — wrists rested on bent knees, back strait, shoulders level, with some indeterminate rigidity protruding diagonally underneath her thick vestments — the woman seemed more pious sentinel, particularly in this shade of divine azure, than penniless freight-hopper.

Malodorous scent or not, queer as it may sound… I soon found myself drawn to her. Something was brave and bold beneath that hood. Something new. Something I’d never encountered in all my worldly travels, and someone who the other people of this train would never dare try comprehend… I stared intently into the void cast by it, that hood. Searched every impregnable inch methodically, earnestly seeking but a single point of light being reflected back by flesh… but only found its darkness to be absolute. Just as I was ready to give up, prepared to simply walk on over as the Conductor had asked, a dual burst of slits flashed alight within the gloom, each punctuated by an iris of burning red. Their appearance, though brief, was married to a nearly imperceptible incline of her head, and the collective gestures combined to culminate as a simple yet strikingly vivid message; ‘Stay Away’.

I faltered. My composure shattered. Fear gripped my heart, and my easy lean slipped from the wall. My palms pressed firm to the doors behind me, unconsciously searching for a place to flee, and I found myself flat against the wall standing on tiptoes. The Conductor regarded my change, glancing over at the woman — who only appeared as she was — before whipping back around again to me, scanning my eyes for any sign of a ruse.

Eventually satisfied, he pressed a heavy weightless hand into my shoulder.

“Forget it,” He began, his voice imbued now with genuine care, “I thought you knew her”. He then added, dimming his speaker volume to a decibel only audible to my nearby ear, “I’ll just let the Staties deal with her once we pass Forrest Squarewood. That’s their jurisdiction, you know? They hate Planet Hoppers. Such a shame, too. Hate to hand over someone who’s fallen on tough times. But… a job’s a job. Word to the wise? Beware that woman, friend. She’s likely strange; wily. The type that can’t be trusted even for a second. You keep your distance, now.”

Abashed, staring absently through the clear floor at a tempestuous river we raced above, I nodded stupidly in response.

Then, I was alone. The conductor walking straight into the adjacent car, unperturbed by silly things of matter, like tangibility or mass.

“Get out-of-the-way, Moron!”, came a voice amidst the crowd.

“Move it, Jerkface!” echoed another, seemingly headed my way.

Then, all at once, the hermetically sealed line of average passengers burst, spewing forth, before the wound quickly healed, two attractive young ladies; one a petite Brunette, and the other a voluptuous Blonde.

“Jesus, Tria, you said she didn’t smell so bad. It smells like a Whorehouse’s Outhouse out here.” Exclaimed the Blonde, quickly masking her face with a jewel encrusted hand.

“No, Lo-Lo, that is not what I said at all.” Proclaimed the Brunette, exposing her pierced navel as she yanked a low neck line up over her nose. “What I said was, and I quote; ‘How bad could it be, that guy’s standing there?’ Answer: really, really, really, freaking bad. Wow. The last time that thing took a shower, John-John was on ‘Mercury House’. Am I right?”

“Hell, yes you are.”

“Am I right?”

“Oh my God, bitch, I already said, ‘Yes’. Can’t we just spark? That thing’s making me sick, already.”

“What am I, your mother, you whore? You need permission? Light it. Danm. Light that shit up already.”

“Shut-up, slut.”

“Hoe.”

“Bitch.”

Then, in tandem, they both concluded, “Whatever.”

Flashing each other a vicious pair of smiles somehow seemed to settle the exchange, and soon both were digging through their respective golden handbags, extracting, before long, a pair of Electronic Cigarettes.

The Blonde unscrewed hers at the center, peering inside. “Shit, I’m out. You got any left?”

The Brunette then unscrewed hers, turning about in circles while trying to find an angle for the overhead light. “I can’t tell, I think I need a refill too. You got any more on you?”

“Yeah, I think I do.” Said the one called Lo-Lo, juggling her effects, balancing her bag on a raised knee and struggling to keep her balance. “Somewhere in here…”

“Hang on.” Said Tria, tugging her friend violently by the hand, nearly toppling her over, and then dragging her by me. “Hi there, Mister.” she began, long lashes fluttering, salaciously brushing my arm, “Hold this for me, would you?”

Before I knew what was happening I found myself clutching a clutch, supporting a shoulder bag with my shoulder, and palming hand lotion — amongst other unidentifiable effects of superficiality — in my palm. The two young women, for their part, each held a strap of Lo-Lo’s Bag, and were both digging voraciously through its contents, stopping only to toss out bits of garbage onto the train floor.

Finally Tria produced a small container with a sealed lid.

“Is this it?” She asked, presenting it to Lo-Lo between two raised fingers and a thumb.

Lo-Lo snatched it unceremoniously, raking her friend harshly with manicured nails bearing a collection of tiny circus animals.

“Ah, you bitch”. Shouted Tria.

But Lo-Lo was lost in the vial. She eagerly popped the lid, hurriedly raised the opening to her nose, and huffed the noxious scent therein deeply. The display was for show. Once opened, even from back where I stood, the smell was sufficient to stifle even that of the transient’s across the car. Reaching inside they each pinched off a small amount before plucking their cigarettes from my open palm and stuffing their devices full. Within but a second, the gadget was reassembled, the girls pressed at the ignition, and each was inhaling deeply — leaving me as a forlorn baggage handler at the airport, and without any tip to boot.

From somewhere at the back of the crowd a man’s voice could be heard “Hey, you can’t smoke in here. It’s illegal. Some of us have an allergy.”

“Oh, yeah?” Challenged Tria. “Who’s gonna stop me? Not you. I do what I want.” And to punctuate this apparent fact, she took a long drag, deep down into her lungs, before exhaling a mighty vapor cloud toward the group.

A wheezing, raspy cough was the crowds only retort.

Lo-Lo then took a lungful in all her own, before breathing it out into my face, asking “So… what’s wrong with you? You enjoy smelling like ass or something, Mister?”

“I just want to be left alone.” I insisted, extending the clutch toward Lo-Lo, “I just got back from this long, pointless ‘inter-office relations-trip’ that my boss sent me on, and…”

“That’s not mine.” Lo-Lo interrupted, stepping back from the handbag disgusted.

“Yo. Don’t give that hoe my bag.” Interjected Tria, swiveling her head around like a snake. “She wouldn’t know what to do with one that’s not a fake, anyways.”

“Please, girl.” Pleaded Lo-Lo. “It’s been a long, hard day, and I don’t have the energy left to teach you the difference between a ‘Carl Mongoose’, and whatever it is you’re calling a ‘Petera’ Divine’ over there.”

“Oh, don’t you start with me, Miss ‘I-Don’t-Buy-From-Little-Persia-I-Only-Like-To-Look’.”

But Lo-Lo did start…

And then Tria continued…

And so, as the girls continued to debate the laurels surrounding the question, “Which one of their bags was better suited at holding things?”, I quickly grew weary of acting out the role of impromptu living mannequin. Thus did I proceed to place all of their loose effects into whoever’s shoulder-bag it was I was presently shouldering, to then merely lay the weighty satchel down on the clear floor at my feet, noting, as I did, the first patches of trees springing up on the ground far, far below.

It wouldn’t be long now. Soon I’d find out exactly what type of woman it was buried underneath all that dowdy patchwork.

Lo-Lo seized her bag from the floor with a huff, and shoved me harshly against the wall, saying “What the eff do you think you’re doing?”

“Oh-My-God” Chimed in Tria, slapping my shoulder. “I know that you did not just put her Ten Thousand Dollar, ‘Carl Mongoose’, Winter collection bag on that dirty-ass floor, with that filthy… thing… sitting right there.”

“Girls.” I began, tenderly as I could manage. “Don’t do that.”

“Don’t do what?” Demanded, Lo-Lo, as sprightly green tips began whizzing past her ankles.

“Don’t talk about another human being like that.”

“I will talk about whoever, however I want.” She insisted, the thickening wood growing steadily to overtake her height.

“Look, it’s clear this person has fallen on tough times. You don’t know her story.”

“We don’t care.” Insisted Tria, clapping her hands for emphasis on each word, all while massive shadows painted darting streaks across her form.

“Yeah, well… either way. You shouldn’t add to her problems. Just… leave her be. I’m asking you a favor.”

“Come-on mister. What, you in love? Bitch ain’t even got no clothes.”

“Hoe don’t have no money.”

“Trick smells like ass.”

The tips of the monolithic pines were now beyond the reach of sight, their numbers surging greater by the second still.

“Yeah, well… She’s a person. She get’s to live how she wants. What if this is what makes her happy?”

“What? You serious?”

“No makeup. No friends. No class. Smells like a dirty-ass construction worker that just tipped over in the Pora-a-John. Sitting here, doing nothing but stinking up the train for the rest of us normal, god-fearing, folk. Man, please: that ain’t even a lady.”

Suddenly light inside the car was squelched out entirely, as the encroaching tree line had finally grown bold enough to steal the setting sun.

A mind trembling scream rang out from somewhere amidst the crowd.

As the lights of the cabin pulsed slowly to life, and my vision oscillated between states of pure blindness and mere hazy shadow, I found the crowd was moving toward me, reeling back from some bewitching scene unfolding near its center.

It was then when I caught my first glimpse of the thing. Circumscribed by the ever swelling circumference of screaming and frightened passengers was a beast not quite human, with a wide drawn out squamous face, and a lithe lolling tongue — one which defied jagged rows of impossibly sharp teeth as it danced along their precarious peaks and valleys — actively tasting the air. It held a redundant dagger in each of its two claws, as all of it’s five fingers were adorned with vicious, corkscrewed nails, while it stalked through the crowd of lambs — slaughtering any and all without the sense or wherewithal to run.

Calcified as I was, agog from the massacre unfolding just before my eyes, I nearly didn’t feel the nagging pull of the two wildly wailing women persistently scrabbling at my back. However, when I nearly lost my footing while stepping on a familiar golden bag, the initials ‘CM’ forming a gaudy pattern all along it’s every facet, reality finally came home, drunk and crashing into the garage, and I became instantly aware of the two girls urging me to glance over to my left. There, at the epicenter of the car and just beside where we stood, a luminous pinprick wisp was floating, unaided, and steadily gaining in girth. The wormhole rapidly gained mass and began to pull at me, and, were it not for the frantic women holding firm at my arms, each demanding I, “Be a man and save them!”, and weighing me down, I may have even been engulfed by its mystical allure — cast to frightful plane. Then as the otherworldly draw began to ebb, and just as the brilliant vortex, hollow at its heart, had reached a sizable three yard diameter, another set of scaled and corkscrewed claws braced themselves at the lip of the dimensional rift, to then vault their master whole into our place in space.

The Reptilian beast landed to the floor of the car with a weighty thud, as the wormhole neatly cinched up behind it, sending a splintering shock-wave throughout the reinforced plastic at its wake, compromising integrity engineered to hold a hundred men. It spent but a moment in the throes of nausea before its slitted eyes were trained on us, and the women redoubled in their efforts of shrieking as it slavered and ambled serpentine our way.

Lo-Lo shoved me toward it with one hand, and held firm with the other, bellowing, “Fight it, Mister. Protect us!”

Tria wept, and held firm at my arm, wailing, “Make it go away. Tell it to leave.”

“Girls, let go.” I pleaded. “I can’t move.”

“Do something”, they screamed in unison.

Like lightning the creature was on me, effortlessly shifting its easy gait into a terrifying pounce, clutching then at my coat, arching me overhead, and slamming me down hard onto the floor. The ground groaned and quaked beneath the hammering of my mass, and all the air was stolen from my chest. As the room spun, and the light-show played, my whereabouts grew dubious, and my mind clouded. Sleep beckoned.

Somehow through the hypnagogic haze I felt the light playing on my face dim. Gathering my wits through great focus of effort, I synched my wayward eyes and fought to look out strait from my helpless supine form… only to discover forthcoming doom. The thing was upon me, mighty fist raised high overhead, blotting out the cabin light, and prepared to slam down into my skull. With a greater effort than my body had left to give, I rolled hard to the left, feeling the whipping air thrash my necks nape at the wake of its mammoth fist as it narrowly missed my face. Already undermined, the car yielded to the tremendous power of the things assault, and left me dangling through the floor, hanging precariously by the tips of my weakened fingers.

It seemed the end was near. The creature wasted no time in reeling back for a second strike, this one aimed at my fingertips which clung desperately at the lip of the opening, promising to cast me into an impending free-fall many kilometers long, either to be impaled on a tree, or to shatter my every bone against the distant terra. Resigned to my fate I turned my face toward my attacker, determined, at the very least, to go with my dignity intact. I matched his wild eyes with a level gaze, wholly free from fear, merely patient, and found myself in admiration of the speed in which it’s limb was capable of traveling — that is all before a warm spray misted my cheeks, and the hapless arm cascaded clear beyond me, tumbling freely into the open air beyond my dangling feet. Armless now, the beast hissed in pain, whipping about furiously then to confront its assaulter, only to be diced, just at the hinge of its jaw, by the returning upward swing of a Katana.

And there, flared by the wildly luminous cabin lights, stood a proud silhouette which wielded the brilliant blade — the lowly vagabond from the far corner of the car. Shed now of her outer layer, camouflage from the very start, she shucked her sword free from the serpents blood, highlighting, as she did, bountiful curves of dense musculature beneath an elite black and silken armor. She then kicked at the chest of the thing, still writhing even without a head, shoving it out beyond me and into the open air below, before dashing off, and out of view, presumably toward the panicked crowd at my back.

The drama then unfolded in screams and gasps, while I struggled and flailed, and failed, in extracting myself from my tricky predicament. Before long the cacophony, blind to my eyes, fell to stillness. Not a sound could be heard. Visions of an all-encompassing massacre filled my mind…

Finally then, after a silence of interminable length, where I never ceased in my struggle to re-board the racing car, it was the shallow voice of an elderly man which broke the strange repose.

“Thank You.” He said, voice quavering with emotion. “Thank you so very, very much, young lady.”

Then came another, quick on his heels, a woman this time. “Here, take this. Please, I insist. And… Thank you.”

Before long, another chimed in, a little boy, “That was really cool! Here, strong lady, it’s my favoritest… I want you to have it.”

And then came another, and another…. and another.

And so it continued, as my fingers quaked, from all the voices, of all the people in the car: gratitude. Thanks being showered on one who, only just a few minutes ago, the entire lot had all but condemned.

I felt the dimming of the overhead light once more, and, fingers trembling, strained to look skyward… and there she was, bearing a halo of light — and was she ever beautiful. Long dreadlocks framed an angled face that belonged on the cover of a magazine, were it not for the jagged scars and random battle-won maladies which gave it its fierce character. She had her rags back on now, and from all the errant, random, and poorly sewn pockets, people’s valuables jutted out. Precious necklaces, rings, jewelery and just plain cold hard cash overflowed the paupers clothes, creating a jaunty juxtaposition embodied in the sight of this mighty warrior woman.

She regarded me, as she drew her hood back over her head, sightlessly cleaned her blade on a rag, and sheathed the sword, asking, “You’re the one who defended me in my rags?”

I swallowed hard, saying all I could think to, “Yes…”

“You shouldn’t have done that…” She chided, a bright smile shining out from under the hood. “Look, times are always hard. People will have their opinions. All that really matters is how you react to the ordinary extremities of everyday life.”

I merely nodded, the wisdom of her words failing to presently pierce me in my condition — I was simply praying she’d help me up from my hole.

“Hey!” Came a voice, I knew to be Tria, “Take this. It’s worth alot!”

“Yeah, yeah!” Chimed in Lo-Lo, “And these. They’re yours now.”

“No.” Said the warrior woman, severity back in her tone. “I want you to keep them. After all, they’re all you have.”

She turned back to the hole, regarding me with pity.

“Pull yourself up.” She ordered. “You’ve done it before. I have no doubts that you can do it again.”

And then, without hesitation, she leapt through the hole — never to be seen or heard from again.

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~ FIN ~

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I sure hope you enjoyed this.

It’s 4 days late, and that’s because I took some more time with it — and it still feels like I could’ve taken another week or so to get it right.

Please leave your thoughts below, on the topic and the story, and I’ll add edits to this as time permits.

Thanks

~J

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Happy New year, Everyone!

Good_News_Everyone_by_martynasx

Hey there, everyon… Woh!

Heh. Sorry about that. You caught me off guard. No offense intended here, but… you sure put on some weight over these last few weeks. (I barely recognized ya’!). I mean, you’re still dead sexy, Readers… My readers ARE the sexiest group of readers on the planet… but come on! Let’s get with it! It’s time to kick this thang off right!

Anywho, no matter really — we’re all allowed a bit of leeway around the holidays. In fact I believe I’ve missed two weekends worth of stories, myself.

(Tsk, Tsk…)

And so, I thought I’d make up for it today.

This story needs little to no introduction, as I’ve written it, re-written it — and then deleted everything I had because it was crap and re-wrote it yet again!

And now I think I’ve finally got something of merit.

🙂

WARNING: For those of you that live with ADD (like myself) you may want to break this story up — it’s mostly why I add the pictures FYI… ‘Virtual Bookmarks’.

This story was inspired by three splinters that, despite how many times I’d removed them from my thumb over the course of a week, continued to appear. So, as inspiration goes, this was… queer… but I really had a lot of fun with what i came up with here, and believe I nailed the syllogism I was after in the end (if I do say so myself)…

Let’s see if you can catch it!

Please enjoy.

~J

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Evolution

Ominous_Mist_by_clacier

He felt it wake up…

He always did…

It wouldn’t be long now…

Hurriedly, abruptly, Hickey threw out excuses, ended conversations, and broke away from the gaggle of foreign nurses and technicians which had congregated around him.

It knew. It surged within him, flaring up from the nape of his neck and growing quickly around his shoulders to embrace his chest and ribs. His eyes watered, blurring his view, as he made his way, serpentine, toward the Janitor, entrusted today with keys that had never before been used.

“I’d like to be let in”, requested Hickey, meekly. His face down and his hands jammed far too deeply into his pockets — feeling more vulnerable than an assistant to a post op, carpel tunnel knife-thrower on a spin-wheel, he told himself.

Wait, what? Where did that come from, he wondered frantically…

Fanning the flames of his fear…

Unknowingly Feeding his demon…

Far too slowly, the Janitor raked a suspicious eye across Hickey from head to toe — it took hours. This is insane, he thought. It was calling again — of course it would, once awake it never stopped — and he didn’t know how much longer he’d be able to resist. He needed to get away. Now. It didn’t know what today was, and Hickey didn’t know what it was, to be fair… not for certain at least. But he simply couldn’t let his peers see him like this; in this sad, weakened state. No way he could let this ruin him. It was a cutthroat industry they worked in, and he remembered well what it had taken to get himself to the top — and he was now, undoubtedly, at the top. He’d arrived. The big dog, chosen alone for this special patient. Looking over toward the crowd of his contemporaries, Hickey thought, All they’d need is a little leverage, and all my life’s work

“You alright, Dr. H.?” finally, the Janitor spoke, “Normally you’re the last one in the OR.”

The overly familiar tone hit a chord within Hickey, making him tic, cocking his head to the side ever so slightly… before something behind his eyes snapped. Suddenly, with deft, explosive speed, he reached out, seizing the man’s Adam’s apple in his fist — gripping it with tremendous force — before proceeding to tear his entire esophagus out through his throat with a violent jerk. He hoisted it then above his head, his slick and throbbing trophy, while letting its fresh, warm blood trickle freely down and across his wildly grinning visage.

Seriously_Scary_by_steelgohst

It’s not real, Sam… It’s your imagination…

You know that it is…

Fight it.

He snapped back to reality, “I’m fine, thanks. Maybe it’s the locked door, George.” He said, selling the ersatz politeness like a veteran used car salesman, motioning toward the door. “It’s… unnerving. Would you mind?”

“Of course, Sam. Of course.” Said George, expertly fishing a weighty, triple-decker key-ring off his belt loop in a smooth and well-practiced motion, before beginning to rifle through the keys. “Hey, did you catch that Re-run of, “House” last night by any chance?”

“No, George” replied Hickey, far more edge to his voice than intended. “I’ve told you, I don’t watch T.V.”.

George tried a wide, bronzed key in the knob — no good. “I know what you say, Dr.H… but everybody watches T.V.”.

“Well… not me”, Hickey answered, saddened somewhat by the prospect of this simple normalcy which had always eluded him.

“That Dr. House, he reminds me a lot of you. You know?” George continued as he tried a dull silver key in the handle to no avail — and as Hickey saw a flash of himself gutting him with all the subsequent wrong choices. “He never gives up, that House. And, like you,” he glanced back at Hickey, “He’d rather be good at what he does, than be healthy”. Finally, his third try, George got the right key. He stepped into the prep room, holding the door for Hickey, and used his custom key to flip the light switches on. ” You look like you need some sleep, Dr.H…”, he concluded.

“I’m fine”, said Hickey, abruptly — before slamming the door shut in George’s face.

Violently, without hesitation, Hickey clawed frantically at his neck, eventually quieting, for but a moment, the crippling familiar which now resided therein. How much longer can this possibly last, he wondered. What have I done to deserve this? Fuck that damned rat, he thought, punctuating each word in turn within his mind… before beginning to feel a familiar warmth radiate from his chest. Returned from their charge, and speedily en-route to engage their fresh one, his hands came back from behind his head contorted, crooked, and, to his great horror, bloodied — which stopped them dead in their tracks before awestruck eyes.

Just then the light in the adjacent OR flipped on, and through the semi-transparent waved glass, just beyond the gap between his stained, seized-up hands, he saw the silhouette of the mystery man, the man who was to be his patient, being wheeled into the room.

Running to the sink, his demon momentarily forgotten, Hickey flushed his hands under the cool water, liberating them from their red coat… only to unearth a brass substrate beneath.

No… It can’t be.

Not today!

His demon laughed at this, and swelled.

Now, visible throughout the tips of each of his fingers, were tiny, filament like shards of browned steel. Most lay flat beneath his flesh, glimmering under the surface against the pulsating fluorescents above, but some jutted out straight, little daggers planted firmly in his skin — their tips sharp, foreboding, and now fairly obviously the reason behind all the blood. Without much thought, he jammed his fingers into his mouth, clamped his eyes shut, and felt about with his teeth and tongue for anything protruding… before yanking them out one by one as they were found, and spitting them into the basin.

Ting… Bing… Splat…

He had to hurry.

Ting… Bing… Splat…

They’d not be far behind…

His humanity was fading. This, perhaps, was the only bit of higher reasoning that remained with him — that he was losing his mind. Whatever he had been, prior to the Rat invasion only two weeks past, he now no longer was. Doctor, Leader, Boss, Friend… The best at what he does… These titles meant nothing to him now. Now, he was nothing but a rabid animal — cleansing himself with his teeth, and using the finished bits to slake away tiny increments of his primitive, senseless urge. God, did he itch! It was nary unbearable. But he had to hold out just a little bit longer. After all, he could always stop the bleeding on his neck, but he could never take the hue out from his scrubs. He just needed to finish the extractions, wash his hands, and put on the gloves. Then, none would be the wiser. Nobody would know. He could finish the surgery in half the time he’d quoted, rush off home to be alone, as he always was, and then calculate his next step.

Just one step at a time, he assured himself.

Just one thing, and then the next, and then… eventually…

…I’m sure you’ll get to the bottom of this.

Licking his fingertips once again reminded him of the devolved state he’d been forced to adapt, but also proved to him that he was now, finally, finished with his task. And as soon as this realization hit, like a green light after a year and a half of sitting at an intersection, he jammed on the gas, succumbed to his need, and worked himself into a tizzy — scratching this way and that, up and down, left and right, and turning about while contorting his shape in order to reach more and more exotic locations… feeling, all the while, like the Tasmanian Devil he’d loved so very much as a child.

What a stupid thing for a kid to idolize, he thought. A mindless, spinning, inexhaustible appetite with eyes. A creature of pure instinct, with no situational awareness whatsoever…

“Sam, what are you doing?” Demanded Ann in a whisper from behind his shoulder — shattering his thoughts, ceasing his motion, and causing him to leap from fear and land on the Moon. Her voice continued on then as an omnipresent echo, a hushed thunder that rang out all across the surface of the great cheese ball where now he stood, agape and staring up at a half-lit Earth, “You’re bleeding…”.

At once, the room he’d forgotten came back into focus, and Hickey soon realized, much to his chagrin, that he’d been doing the ole’, “Hokey-Pokey-Tasmanian-Devil-Itchy-Dance” right before all his contemporaries while they washed in the sink and prepped for surgery — precisely what he’d been planning to avoid.

Well, you got your leverage, he thought morosely, closing his fists to hide his shame, now let’s see if you spineless invertebrates will do anything with it.

“Come here”, insisted Ann, her hand spinning him by the hip to face the crowd, hiding the blood behind his neck as she wiped it tenderly with a paper towel. “What did you do?”

He faltered. “I, uh. I had an itch…”

Gently she grabbed his wrist, as she simultaneously conducted her blind cleaning, saying softly, “Stop. Sam, we don’t have to do this. You look like shit. We don’t know any of these people. Hell, we don’t even know the patient! What are we doing?

“We’re doing the surgery, Ann.” He said plainly, noticing an eavesdropping technician over her shoulder, holding the door for the bulk of the flock as they migrated into the adjacent E.R.. His gaze darted as it met Hickeys, but he was sure he’d sensed a healthy modicum of self-pity in those eyes before they had. Likely trying to justify why it was Hickey and not him — or at least one of their own, this supposed celebrities’ entourage — chosen to perform the surgery.

Because he was the best, he assured himself.

Not anymore, came his unconscious response.

His demon cackled heartily.

“What, were you up all night working on your book again?” Ann inquired as the room finished clearing out, successfully fishing him from the void once more.

“No. I just…. I can’t sleep at all anymore. I actually finished all three a couple weeks ago.”

“Edits and all?”

“Edits and all.”

“So… What is it?” She inquired rather tenderly. “I am so proud of you by the way, Sam… I mean, Doctor Hickey. Truly.”

Her eyes penetrated him thoroughly, leaving him somewhat dumbfounded. Proud? Who was she to care about him? He returned her direct gaze with one of his own, and their eyes began a waltz, chaperoned by dueling smiles. “Well, actually, that night… the night I’d finished, that’s when this all started. I finished typing in the final edits, clicked save, stretched back into my chair — the most relaxed I’d felt in months, honestly — and that’s when I saw it. A rat. A big, brown, bulbous-assed rat, scurrying across my kitchen floor, right in my peripheral vision.”

“Sounds like you need a woman’s touch around there.” She teased.

“I maintain a VERY clean home, thank you” He defended, quickly staving off the worst of his demanding flesh as he rubbed hurriedly at his thigh, hoping not to be noticed.

paranoia-melissa-dzierlatka

The demon was starting to win.

He had to get this going.

…But, what of Ann?

“I meant no offense, Doctor.”

“Never fear.” He assured her, feeling her draw away some. He picked up the pace of the story now, to try and win her back. “Anyway, I did a bit of quick research and found a simple solution: Steel wool. So, I bought a few cheap boxes up the block, scoured my home for any tiny passages, and shoved a ball or two of the stuff into all the spaces.”

“I don’t understand. So… What happened to you, exactly?”

“That’s just it… I’m not really sure.” He distractedly scratched at his belly,  “I woke up the next morning itchy, with a shard of steel sticking out of my thumb — so I figured it must’ve been the steel wool, right?”

“Sure.”

“Only this shard… was brown. And also… there were more.”

“More?”

“Yes. Many more… More buried in my palm. More stuck into my thighs, and my legs, and neck… and even certain… delicate areas. I mean, I did a bit of juggling at one point as I wandered about from room to room, stupid in hindsight, but this seemed… strange. Obviously. To say the least…”

“I’ll say, but…” She trailed off, noticing his balled hands held firm against his waist. “Wait, it’s happening right now, isn’t it?” Hickey didn’t answer, but his skittish countenance said all she needed to hear. She laced her fingers tenderly about his hands. “Sam, let me take a look…”

“No. It’s… it’s nothing. I’m fine. Let’s just head in and get this over with.”

“Sam Hickey,” she began, in a tone which mirrored that of his mothers when he was in trouble as a boy, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but you choose me… correction, you fought this celebrity douchebag tooth and nail to have one of your own in the room with you, and you made that person me… and you don’t trust me?” Verily, heartily, Ann was offended. “I trust you…”

Gazing into her thoughtful, deep emerald eyes Hickey felt an immense sense of guilt wash over him. He desperately wanted to relent, but the urge was reaching critical mass within him. Besides, this issue was no simple matter, not that she knew that, or even could know — and time was of the essence.  At once, he broke away and crossed the room, headed over toward the box of sterile blue gloves, saying simply over his shoulder for closure, “After surgery”.

The other side of the room fell cripplingly silent.

She hates me… He thought.

Well… What else is new?

Without looking back, Sam Hickey threw on his gloves, entered the OR, and left Ann behind in the prep room… as she silently began to weep.

In the room, everything was prepared. The patient was drugged, unconscious and entubated, and the impromptu staff had taken their proper places around the patient’s table. The head laparoscopic assisting technician was extending a scalpel in his direction, and Hickey could sense the sneer aimed at him even through the surgical mask.

Well no matter…

Let’s get this done with…

Time to begin.

Looking back over his shoulder, hoping that the soul vestige of his team would soon be at his side, Hickey saw the shadow of Ann grow through the dense and waved glass. Slowly it moved toward the OR door, placing a tentative a hand on it’s flat face, before hesitating, and then slowly retreating back away from it… eventually leaving the prep room entirely to head back out toward the hall. He sighed, and, after a long beat of hesitation, reluctantly accepted the scalpel… just as the sole of his right foot began to flare.

This surgery was going to be a test of will he wasn’t sure he’d pass…

His foot, engulfed in flame, beckoned him…

The demon was growing inpatient.

In his distraction, he never noticed the patient sit up, nor plunge the needle into his neck.

Before he could react, the group of strangers leapt at him, arresting his limbs.

He suddenly grew tired…

His demon assuaged…

Then… Reality grew dark.

Hickey slumped to the floor.

Businessman laying down on white background

The next thing he knew, Hickey was strapped to a massive, upright rotary sander, the pad wildly spinning, wobbling off axis, and making him vomitous. Across from him, on a belt sander, stood Ann, chucking scalpels at him underhand in a windmill softball fashion and missing repeatedly by mere millimeters. Then the queer, detached, markedly unenthused voice of a Man neatly broke his stupor, saying levelly, “Sam? Sam are you there? Wake up, my friend. there is much to discuss.”

Hickey’s eyes cracked open in a flash, his illusion neatly rippling into reality while fear slowly washed over him — as he soon realized that he recognized nothing of his surroundings. He sat limp, exhausted, and cotton-mouthed on an ultra modern, cloyingly adorned, white chaise lounge, amidst an expensive, well furnished, wood finished office, and just before an impossibly wide, somewhat garish, highly polished oak and birch trimmed desk. Behind the desk sat the man who he was scheduled to operate on, a man who had only gone only by the pseudonym, ‘Bojangles’.

“Oh, good. You’re awake.” spoke the mystery man from behind his small fortress. “How are you feeling?”

Groggily, he pushed himself up easy on the sofa, and then swung his legs off to the side to sit upright — and he couldn’t help but notice that his palms hadn’t stuck to the lounger as they sought comfort to lie in his lap. Turning over his palms confirmed his suspicion: there, at the end of his wrist, was bone, blood, dermis, epidermis, nails and knuckles and hair… but no steel. Not one single fiber... He shot a wary, frightened look across the room to the man behind the imposingly wide desk.

“We’ve given you a drug that can stave off the metamorphosis, but only for a little while. You’ll likely need more soon.”

“metamorphosis?” Said Hickey weakly, with a voice around three pitches below the one he was accustom to.

“Yes. Congratulations, Sam Hickey. You’re evolving. And, very likely — if you’re anything like the others — dying. Rather painfully, I’d imagine. I’m so sorry.”

Hickey’s brow knotted.

Dying…?

Evolving…?

Others…!?

Hickey was at a loss. What was he to make of all this? Could he trust this man? This imposter, who’d drugged him, and kidnapped him, and brought him… here. Wherever the hell here was.

His lip twitched…

No. He had to get away. Surely his life was in danger. He shot a glance behind him, discovering the door, and sprang to his feet to dash toward it, quickly finding the floor — which was a surprising outcome…

Speaking relaxed and unhurried from behind him, the man said, “Try again in about ten minutes, the drug is an intense muscle relaxer. You’ll only hurt yourself otherwise.”

Though he couldn’t move to look, Hickey heard the voice of the man grow, and visualized his approach from behind the desk. Soon there was an easy hand snaking its way under his shoulders, which then helped him back up and into the comfort of the Chaise lounge. The man dragged a simple steel folding chair over from the corner of the room, and set it up to sit next to Hickey now.

“Here’s the deal,” Began Bojangles, an older, silver-eyed, bald-headed man, with liver spots and tired sunk-down eyes, wearing a sad, simple smile, “You can never go back to the world.”

Hickey’s eyes went wide, quavering.

“Now you’re a doctor, so I’m going to explain this under the assumption that you know the terms I’m about to use. Have you any questions, let me know at the end, and I will answer them with complete candor. I want you to know, that I am on your side. Alright?”

Hickey eased some, and nodded — knowing that without motor function, he didn’t have much other choice.

At least my mystery has a solution, he thought, …or at least an explanation.

“Very well.” Began Mr.Bojangles, before pausing to clear his throat from what sounded like a golf ball-sized lump of phlegm — which Hickey then involuntarily visualized kicking clear out of his mouth to land a Hole-In-One out the window, which didn’t exist, on a golf course he didn’t know was there.

It had awakened…

The demon yet lived…

It was merely coping with the soporific drug’s effects, itself…

Reaper_155

Bojangles continued, wholly ignorant to his own death and rebirth that had just transpired in the last second, “Lamarckism is true, and it stacks with Epigenetics. Your father, Ron, was a very hard worker, indeed… as was your mother, Diane. As a matter of fact, we followed your genealogy back to the middle ages, and found mostly scholars along the way. Long story short, you’ve tripped an evolutionary trigger. Something you did recently, I’d say about a week ago, maybe more, filled your RNA to capacity. The reaction you’re experiencing is your body’s response to a need for more storage space. An updating of the brain, as it were, which seems to uniformly take place in its oldest region: the Medulla Oblongata.”

Hickey just stared in awe, rapt at attention.

Feeling it was OK to proceed, Bojangles forged on ahead. “Psychologically speaking, who you are is not a single entity. You are the manifestation of three — well, mostly three — distinct personalities: each arising in the major regions of the brain. This happens in any sufficiently interconnected system, given enough time and exposure to the world; consciousness forms. Here is where the problem arises. Feeling itself falling into a death spiral… The brain stem has begun fighting back. The effects can normally be felt as psychotic hallucinations, paranoia, withdrawal from society, and extreme discomfort. Without fail, these symptoms will continue to get worse, and worse, until one day you will snap… and likely go on a killing spree. This is why we must remove you from society.”

Hickey blinked… Then blinked again. Nodding then, ever so slightly, for the man to continue.

“Right.”

Here, Bojangles took a deep breath. To Hickey, he seemed redolent to dive into this next bit. He steeled his mind as best he could to accept what was to come…

Bojangles went on, holding out his fist, “Here’s the deal.” slowly, he upturned his palm and opened his fingers in turn to reveal a tiny purple pill in his hand. “This is the medication we gave to you. It has the power to stop the changes. But there’s a catch. Ultimately, it’ll be your decision whether or not to take it.”

Summoning the whole of his lungs volume to formulate his words, Hickey took the bait, “What’s the catch?”.

“The medication will insure your sanity, granting you the ability to exist without all the pain and mental torture you’ve endured as of late. However, the way it does this is by attacking the culprit at the source… it will erode your Brain stem.”

“Meaning my heart…” Hickey ran short of breath.

“Will eventually stop, yes. And you will perish…. Years from now, though. Probably twenty, maybe more… I don’t know. It’s different for everyone.” He paused here, letting the last bit catch up fully, before moving on. “Moreover, and if I’ve extrapolated properly from your case file, the bit you’ll find most pertinent… because the drug is engineered to pass the blood brain barrier, the other regions of your brain will be subject to the same fate. Basically, your brain will deteriorate. You’ll be alive, yes, but you wont be yourself. We’ll take care of you, we’ll feed you, house you, clothe you, clean you — permit you endless entertainment — but what you must know before agreeing to taking this pill, is that you will cease being who you presently are. But, from what I can gather, this option is far preferable to the alternative; remaining who you are, yes, but being all the while trapped in your mind, as your reptile brain tries to take over, and you journey along the hellfire on a spiraling journey to certain madness…”

Again, all Hickey could do was blink. This was unacceptable. Inconceivable. How could he, or anyone for that matter, willingly give up their humanity just… to be alive. Some lump on a couch with a TV… All that had ever mattered to him was improving himself, and helping others — he’d never even invested the time in someone else to have a meaningful relationship — his brain had always taken precedence… and here he sat, numb, lost, and facing nothing but a choice to give all that up… Meanwhile, in this perspective, he still had so much living to do.

He’d left so much undone in his life…

Ann’s beautiful face flashed before his eyes…

A single tear rolled toward the tip of her attractive, aquiline nose…

His ire at the prospect gave him the strength to speak, “You said I had a choice. This… this is no choice. Nobody would take that offer.”

Bojangles looked to the floor, rubbing at the back of his head with his free hand, “Everyone has taken the offer. Give it time… The pain will return, and you’ll remember why it is that you’re here, speaking with me.”

And it was true. Even as the air passed his lips, a meager flare-up, no larger than a pimple, was forming at the base of Hickey’s skull. Already he could feel it grow. Had all the others actually chosen mental suicide, he wondered? It seemed rather hard to believe, being that these individuals, like him, had reached this end due to a generationally passed down passion for knowledge. Could he really take the comfort of death, over the pain of living?

His mind was made up.

He reached out for Bojangles, lithe, arthritic hand…

And closed the man’s delicate fingers back around the pill.

“I refuse” Said Hickey plainly. “I choose knowledge. I choose myself over some lifeless husk. Even if that means constant torture…”

Bojangles looked up from the floor, and searched throughout Hickey’s eyes for even the briefest glimmer of doubt –smiling broadly when he found that none existed.

“We’ll have to cut you off from the world — you know that don’t you? If you continue learning, you’ll only accelerate the process.”

“All I require is paper, and pen” Explained Hickey, “I will make it to the other side of this… if even that place exists.”

“There is no evidence to that fact…” Explained Bojangles, the hope in his eyes and inflection to his voice mismatched to the words implication.

“Regardless… I want you to observe me. I believe that, over time, being that I now know what it is that ails me, I can conquer this…” And, as he made the claim, almost as a test, a fresh hallucination was unfolding before his eyes — Bojangles made for a very uncomfortable trench-coat, as it turned out… however, Hickey moved on. “I will do my best to document my experience, and I hope, over time, you may come to trust me enough to permit me back into society.”

Now it was Bojangles who could only blink… And with the heavy crease at his eyes, it was nary unnoticeable. Eventually, he said “Very well. The choice is yours, after all.”. Suddenly light poured in from the now open portal behind them, and two imposing men carrying shackles came to stand behind them. “You’re a braver man than me, Sam Hickey. You may always change your mind…”

“I’d like that option to be taken off the table.” Said, Hickey, cutting him off. “Who knows what I’ll say under duress?”

Bojangles looked him over, saying eventually, “Fine. That’s fine. Of course you’d say that. It’s not protocol, but… I’ll make certain that it’s so.” The both of them stood, and embraced, like old friends, before the security detail began to gently bind Hickey’s limbs.

“And… Sam?”

“Yeah?”

“Good luck.”

“Thanks” he said, while being escorted out the door. Adding, beyond Bojangles sight, while walking down the hall and toward a padded cell. “It’ll never win you friends — but somebody’s always got to be the first, before anything can ever move forward.”

Bojangles wished for something to say, something that may carry this brave man through the harrowing years that were sure to come, but failed before the sheer intimidation of what this all represented. Instead, here merely fell to his hands and knees, knowing this to be all too true.

"Thank you..."

He whispered, “Thank you”, just before hearing the bolt of Sam’s cell drive home.

“Thank you…”

“Good luck…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for your time, everyone.

Hope you enjoyed the read.

Opinions are relished.

Have a great day.

~J

Hey, Creative peeps! — It’s sure been a hot minute, hasn’t it?

Not to worry, the insane brain possessing all this flesh and corporeal tangibility has not gone away for good, but has rather been in a bout of writing hibernation. And, as it should never logically follow, the snows of New York’s bitter winter have taken me out from my own literary hibernation — and here I am: Fresh from the cave, unkempt, unshaven, and slightly gassy…

(For instance, and for proof of purchase, ever wonder if the phrase “hot-minute” is an unexpectedly clever twist on the Einstein “theory of relativity”?? Oh to dream…)

Yeah, that's the one!

Yeah, that’s the one!

 

Methinks this site needs a makeover. And, in due time, that’s precisely what she’ll get, but for today I’d just like to begin anew.

To post SOMETHING, to get the proverbial log-rolling. The hypothetical hypodermic plunge onto its descent. The meteorological transpermia action impregnating forlorn rocks, so that worlds may flourish anew. So, with all that in mind, I began free writing. Just once a day, stream of consciousness stuff — and I’d love to share it all with you. So, and without further adieu, I give you what I’m calling (after a team of wildly untrained organtuans flung poo at a poster board full of words, selecting the vehicles for the prose, leaving the leftover for the title.)

Influence

I could smell, but not taste. Feel, but not see. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t breathe. Yet, I was alive… Wasn’t I?

How long had I been this way? What was the cause? Now, it’s obvious that those two particular lines of inquiry were fruitless — yet it was all my beleaguered mind was willing to offer up. So there I was, slung from my achilles, dangling prostrate, inverted, inert, numb, and left betwixt the cages of parroting inquiry that shut out possible rational thought by endlessly squawking at my ears in turn: “Why”, and “How long”.

I find now that it’s embarrassing to admit…

My training should’ve here kicked in… manacles could always be undone — blindfolds removed, Gags spat out — all things I’d done, and studied, and committed to muscle memory, things I shouldn’t even have to consciously think about to do. Somehow they’d removed my instincts… That’s what they’ve achieved. They’ve engineered a poison to sneak past the blood brain barrier… something that we’ve proved impossible. Or so we thought…

Wait… THATS IT!

I know what’s in the pill! It’s not a medicine, or a drug, or some natural additive… Nothing of that nature could’ve done this. There is however, another, rather sneaky, way to achieve these detriments; sensory deprivation, memory fragmentation, recall haze, non-responsive motor function.

God, it’s so obvious now…

But, with this insight, surely we can win the war!

The only way to do this, to effect all these regions of the mind, without surgery, is to make a placebo… but here’s the twist — the sugar is merely fuel. Or rather food… You ready?

What’s really in the pill is…

is…

Oh, my…

They’d even thought of this too.

The agent hinges forward, crashing hard onto the desk

— dead–

office-killing-desk-dead

Dear, good-natured, sweet and gentle readers…


…The host of this blog has deceived you!

That’s right, and GASP you should!

See, this Jared guy sure puts up a nice front, acting all wizened and caring and whatnot, but he never fooled me! No sir, not for a second! Well maybe ONE brief second, I did discover him by reading and following his blog after all, but not for a second longer than that initial second… which was an inordinately brief second to begin with! (I swear!) He’s not some nice dude, concerned about your happiness and well-being — NO — he’s a sham! A rouse. A villain! A vampiric siphon for your digitized web traffic and time, operating solely to further his own dastardly and duplicitous motives!

(Go on, have another GASP!)

Who am I, you say? What proof do I have? Well, for security’s sake, let’s just call me a concerned citizen. Someone tired of all the BS. And on behalf of all of us subject to said BS, and in order to seek out the truth behind this tyrannical monster, I’ve broken into his home in Astoria, Queens and am perusing his bedroom. I know, the irony’s not lost on me. It’s just that, well, someone needed to learn the truth, and learn the truth I have!

Firstly, I have to say, this place is a mess! Papers everywhere, scattered about without cohesion, dirty dishes stacked irregularly along the floor, hand-written pages with hastily scrawled and satanic looking images taped all about the walls, a pair of wooden nunchaku left abandoned on the bed alongside stacks of dirty clothes (one, a canary yellow button up, has blood splattered all across the fabric…) and, possibly the most ominous and disturbing facet to this whole incongruous scene — a lifeless parrot hangs helplessly upside-down, forgotten, serving as a misbegotten gate-keeper to lead you through the portal which is his bedroom door…

He’s named it “Nolon Effe”, two palindromes. Curious, that… Remnants from what I believe was a pirate party held here at his apartment… Curiouser and Curiouser…

Does this seem like the type of place an honest, caring man would keep!?

I would think not. You, his good-natured, gentle and sweet readers, deserve better than this. I know you think that he’s preaching about pacifism, love, creativity, openness and well intended insanity on here, but, trust me, it’s only a matter of time until his subtle brainwashing technique kicks in, and he’s got you walking the ole’ zombie shuffle up toward capitol hill. Still not convinced? Well, let’s have a look-see at his calendar than, shall we?

Oh — what’s this? Knife class? Fight lab?

That’s right. Sounds mighty peaceful, doesn’t it? For the last month your ‘enlightened’ author, who wont shut-up about creation, love, invention and non-violence, has, every Wednesday night, taken a two and a half hour course with knives, at a place called Combat, Inc. A knife is a very personal weapon, readers, and one which requires you to fully embrace and acknowledge the pain that you are about to inflict on another person… sounds rather violent, wouldn’t you say? Psychotic, even. Furthermore, every Tuesday and Sunday, he has his calendar marked with something he’s calling, “Fight Lab”. I wonder what could that be? Do you suppose he kicks cute little Labrador puppies? Fight Lab(rador)!?!? Oh, I bet that’s it… and every Tuesday and Sunday too!

ThE MoNsTeR!

Oh wait — crap — someone’s coming! I hear keys jingling just outside the door. Now someone’s slid one into the tumbler! Ahh, oh no! There’s no more time! I have to go, gentle readers… but remember, FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY IN THE WORLD, stay away from this creepoid! For, after all these lies, who knows what he’s truly capable of?!

And I’m off!

………………………………

………………………..

…………………

(Screw it, I’m stealing Nolon Effe!)

……………

………

…..

..

.

OK then…

So, wow, yea… uh, hey guys. It’s me, J, now. Evidently some nut-job, some sunflower loving fan, broke into my house while I was away at the dentist today, and left, not only this crazy rant on my blog, as you can plainly see up above, but also tons of bar-b-que flavored sunflower shells all over my floor. WTF!? He also stole my prop shoulder parrot. Double WTF!? Who steals a shoulder parrot, I mean really? Nolon, was the man! He’s irreplaceable! Ugh… Plus, evidently, he broke my window during his hasty escape.. Seriously, what is wrong with people? You think I have the money to replace that? I’ll give you a clue……… NO. Why don’t you all go ahead and take a wild guess at, “who has two thumbs and will be eating salad for a month so he can pay for a busted window?”

Yea, that would be me… on both accounts.

But, whoever he was, he wasn’t completely off…

I haven’t been completely honest with you all, and I’m a bit ashamed that it’s taken all this insanity to make me come clean… I — aside from genuinely believing in unilateral love, cooperation, hard work, and general pacifism — am a fighter.

As a child I’d studied multiple forms of martial arts, and, as I got older, I traded my know-how with a good friend who was a boxer, picking up some of that. My years in school were not kind to me; I was picked on a good deal — leading to at least a fight or two a week. Yea, that many… Most of these I lost, I did not like to hurt others and so I held back what I knew, but I did learn how to end a fight without landing a blow, and how to take a beating without being hurt — mighty valuable skills in and of themselves.

I then became a wrestler in hopes to advance my physical capabilities further, finding that I was rather talented at it too. I took a few tournaments, pinned plenty of people who were purportedly out of my league, and had a damn good time while I was at it. Also, as my confidence grew and as rumor of my winning circulated, I was picked on less. I guess no-one wanted a ‘fair fight’ after all, just lunch money.

But, after six years in the sport, during which I had moderate successes in all three styles of wrestling, I began to feel that I no longer had to worry about fighting. And, being that it was so tied to a negative memory from my past, I was more than ready to let it go too. I’d learned plenty about self-defense by then in my life, and, because of why I’d begun to learn, I worried that it would only be detrimental to my psyche if I kept moving forward. Who wants to have their history solely dictate their future? Not me. No sir. So, even though I enjoyed the sport, I hung up my violence cap once and for all (or so I thought), and took, instead, to the sanctity and freedom of the stage.

I should’ve seen this coming…

I mean, what did I expect? A whole chapter of my life to just… disappear? Sure I’d left fighting and the whole physical aspect of myself in the past, (where I’d thought it belonged), but my body knew, all along the years that preceded this stoppage, that something was missing…

So I kept in shape, I couldn’t really tell you why, and not the, “Look how much I can bench-press”, rounded shape, which some guys prefer, but rather the, “I can do hand-springs, back-bends, and a whole bunch of push-ups” shape — practical stuff only, nothing just to look flashy. I never had the biggest biceps, but I took first place in a college arm wrestling tournament with my dominant arm, and second place with my non-dominant one. It’s still, to this day, one of the first images that comes up when you Google me ;-).

But why, right? Why bother? Well — I liked it. I knew this. I liked being physical. However, simultaneously, I denied myself of this same pleasure in order to ensure that I was pursuing it only for the right reasons. I never wanted to be anything like the kids who used to harass me, enjoying violence for the manipulation and fear that it could create in others. And so still, all throughout college, I ignored anything physical — even when it came to cooking up some good Theater, my major, despite it’s inevitable healthy dash of Stage Combat.

Now fast forward eight years — to my accidental encounter with Fight Lab.

“Lab”, as in laboratory. As in the way that Dexter says it.

Firstly, the sunflower jerk was wrong in his assumption. Fight lab is not at all about punting Labrador puppies, (nor full-grown ones for that matter), it is about taking fighting to the laboratory. A dash of this, a hint of that, stir it all up and see what works. Now this is not to be confused with “Fight Club”, for, if it were that, I’d be breaking the first rule by even writing all this (and Brad Pitt would already have a lackey en-route to deal with me). No, this is Lab; a controlled environment where a group of talented people get together twice a week to geek out on all that is fighting for stage and film.

For me, my involvement began when I met one of the fighters, Dina, by chance on a film I was doing for a friend: Sweethearts; a film made for Valentines day, about just how screwed up love can be at times (I’ll try to tuck a link in here later so you can watch it). Throughout the day of shooting we got close, as actors tend to do, and I told her about some of my past in combat.

“Well than you should come to lab tonight”, she said offhandedly.

“Sure” I said, without really thinking much about it.

See, I thought I was being polite by agreeing, I’d not really expected to go, but she thought, (cause why shouldn’t she), that I was serious. Now, you have to understand, Dina’s the type of person who could sell Ice to an Eskimo, Sand to an Egyptian, Funk to Parliament Funkadelic, and so, despite my objections post filming, even after no sleep and a thirteen hour shoot day, I found myself running home to Queens as soon as we wrapped to go grab some workout gear.

Yea, she’s that good.

What can I say — I got hooked. It’s been every Tuesday and Sunday now since I’d worked with Dina back in early February, and I wouldn’t give it up for the World. The people there are all hard-working, honest and real, easily the first group of genuine friends I’ve had since moving to the city all those years ago, and, under their tutelage, I’ve been chasing away my own private demons. It’s exactly why I took that knife class the sunflower bandit highlighted too, to support my growing knowledge of choreographed combat. So you see, gentle, good-natured readers, I am NOT — contrary to sunflower-boy’s claims — a violent person. I am just one who enjoys exploring the potential for the human body. It’s just another form of creative obsession, and, let me tell you, there is plenty to be obsessed about over at Lab. Check us out!

Here on the blog for the Deranged and Enlightened, we often talk about breaking out of our comfort zones in an attempt to keep growing as a person — so what kind of hypocrite would I be if I kept running from my past? In Lab we choreograph, rehearse, and then film a new fight each and every night, and, though I still get butterfly’s when I have to hit someone, I am slowly getting accustom to the practice. Hold the pencil. Punch the parrot. Sell the strike. This stuff is fun incarnate.

It’s not all just for fun either…

…These guys have a master plan, and one which has already been initiated. If we get our way, we’ll be the guys and gals that flood your movies, TV shows, and stages, heralding in a truer type of combat for all to enjoy. As a matter of fact, the timing of this break-in couldn’t be more fortuitous, (that is, if any break in which resulted in a stolen parrot and a broken window could honestly be labelled fortuitous), as the group, CKT (Contact Kick Therapy) has just released their first Commercial! I joined a little too late to be a part of this glorious foray, but I’m just so gosh-darned impressed with the product that they’ve put out for “The Baconery”, a bakery where everything is made with — yep, you guessed it — BACON, that I couldn’t resist sharing.

Now I’ve really got to run, it is Tuesday night after all, and now that my deep dark secret is out you all know exactly where I’m headed (plus I still have to clean up all this glass before I go…), but, please, go on over to You-Tube and “thumbs up”, as well as “Favorite” this video, as it greatly helps us as a group.

Thanks everyone,

Let me know what you think in the comments 😉

And, sunflower man, if you’re reading this… please bring back Nolon. I miss him dearly.

~J

Why are we here?

Aja

What is the purpose of our existence?

Mankind has been taking blind flailing swipes at this curious conundrum for many a millenia now; spawning religion, philosophy, and science as potential divining agents along the way.

It’s no surprise we’re so focused on it, really — after all, it’s the original question.

Without doubt, as man, through whatever means, found himself separated from the other animals due to self-reflection, his inaugural novel thought could have been nothing other than, “What now?”. In other words, “Now that I have the freedom to choose what I want to do, now that I find myself above solely instinct — what should I do?” Followed closely thereafter by the reduced version of the thought, “What is my purpose?” Or, “Why am I here?”

At the time, it must have been quite a burden.

After all, where do you begin when you don’t know what you’re after? We need a game, don’t we? A way of keeping score. Before, it was merely survival. If you did — hurrah — you were winning! But now… what were we to think? Past instinct, past simply surviving, what was our angle — what else was there to life!? Advancement? But, why? Where would that lead us? How would that be preferable to where we were?

And on and on our ancestors thoughts spiraled…

…Until, at the end of the day, (since it was simply untellable), we had to do something in order to move on. We desperately wanted to get to the truth of the matter, but, in a cruel twist of irony, what we choose to do at this juncture of our past — in order to merely begin our journey — would prove, over time and more than anything else, to carry us farther away from the very same truth we so desperately sought…

Because we so direly needed that game, that direction, that purpose — a primitive type of insecurity that has been insulating us from honest truth since before we’d known it to be a worthy pursuit — we devised a clever way to put the distracting query on the back-burner, involving, mostly, a curious type of mental gymnastic which we still employ today — namely: Religion.

Now, I try not to talk about Religion much,

though it is often on my mind.

Religion and I have traveled down a rocky, uneven road, and, being not able to objectively answer some simple conversational questions I’d had along the way, I respectfully parted ways with the thing long ago. These days, I cling to the questions. I, honestly, find greater comfort in the acceptance of non-knowlegde, than in the attempt to describe the theme park from the entrance-arch.

That’s not to say I don’t empathize with those who are religious, as a matter of fact half of my family, whom I love dearly, are members of a devout Pentecostal faith, it’s just that I don’t personally believe their revered books to be anything more than a somewhat-decent collection of historical science fiction. This, for me — along with being an only child (within a vast familial average of 3-plus), produced of a divorce, who grew up in an all around unwelcoming environment — caused me to travel along quite the lonely path of life inquiry and discovery. A path which, up until a few days ago, I had thought, of my family, I had traveled alone.

Turns out, I was wrong.

Fate, destiny, or just dumb luck: I might never know what had brought me to see John Rullo’s show that Saturday night before Easter, but whatever it was, there I stood, unnoticed — across the overly sticky barroom floor from someone who, like me, had chosen truth and isolation, over faith and family. The man jammed away blissfully on the dimly lit stage. He was quite good.

John had made himself known to me, not too terribly long before this, via Facebook, as someone who was on my vibe spiritually — which came as a surprise at the time, particularly because, initially, I’d known him from the religious world I’d been born into. As far as I knew, John had a Wife and two kids, and all of them were diehard Born-Again Christians, much like my family, who should, by all rights, have less than zero interest in the type of things and topics that find their way to my main-page. So when he let me know that he’d been not only been reading my blog, but enjoying it, by sending positive and helpful feedback through the Facebook comments, I was, understandably, a little shocked.

All I could think was, what happened to this man?

After all, this place of honest inquiry and unabashed truth could easily be described as an anti-religion. Common sense, logic, truth and reason? Hogwash! Honestly, I’ve been expecting the accusation of being the anti-Christ for some time now. But his words were true, this I was sure of. There was no pretense, hesitation, or double meaning to his comments whatsoever — he just honestly enjoyed the conversations I was putting up. So, curious as to what sea-change had manifest within this man to make him speak as he now was, I began to check out his work, and it didn’t take long for me to discover he’d written a book, “Planet Love; The end of the world as we knew it“.

Now where was I?

I had come out to the Island that Saturday, rather than solely on Easter, as was my custom, because I hadn’t seen much of my family and was hoping to play catch up. I had a vague recollection of the invitation to go see John’s show, but A) I originally hadn’t planned on being in town while the show was going on, B) Being I was playing catch-up with the fan-damily I thought I wouldn’t have the time, and, (of most relevance), C) I don’t own a car, and thus had no means of traversing the two towns necessary to get to his venue. But as fate would have it, and as the evening slowed the motions of the day while everyone in the home settled somewhat (having mutually relinquished the noteworthy stories of our recent lives to one another), my phone rang.

It was a dear old friend from high-school. She’d just been broken up with. Right before a long scheduled vacation was to happen with her, and her then man. She wasn’t happy. She needed a beer. I, in my defense, almost always can use a beer. We agreed to travel together and go hunt out a gaggle. She came by, scooped me up, and we went to the first local pub we could think of.

The guy was a jerk, that much was sure, and she was confused and in need of a good night. Aside from me, she had also reached out to another school-hood friend of ours, another cool ‘dude’, like us — evidently at some point I’d ruined his car antenna, but that’s a story for another day (it’s funny what you forget…). So, we then left the bar not long after we got there, went to this “dude’s” house across town, where we met his girlfriend and learned about what we were going to be doing for the evening — going two towns over to the very same pub that John was scheduled to play at, the “dude’s” lady had a job interview.

That's odd...

Now, look, I’m not entirely sold on the whole fate thing…

… I don’t like the idea of a predestiny any more than the inevitability of annual dentist visit, but, occasionally, something like this comes along and forces me to stop and think twice. So there I stood, against all odds and obscured by the volume of voices and the density of the crowd, directly across the way from someone who had, somehow, walked the same queer path as me. It felt like spotting an albino zebra in the wild.

Though I still hadn’t known what had happened to the man, not exactly at least, I could tell by his commenting on my work that we were alike. Mind you, I still could’ve left the bar undetected at this point, but felt like I needed to connect. When you believe as I do, it’s an opportunity that simply couldn’t be ignored. Though not completely sold on fate, I felt this was the reason I’d gotten that call earlier in the evening; this was the reason I was even here…

Finally, after the show, I got my chance to say hello.

Having only had online communication up until this point I don’t think John recognized me right away, but as soon as he did a brief flicker flashed throughout his eye, and a broad smile quickly formed about his lips. We dove into conversation, as if a gasp for fresh air, conversing about life, the universe, and the potential origins of it all — much like our ancestors had once posited, but had invariably supplanted with religion — and found that, on topic after topic, we had a similar sentiment. Truth, love, and acceptance seemed, constantly, to be the unifying threads.

Though, because the spirit of this venue was such as it was, not exactly lending to a lengthy exchange, (particularly when his Wife likely wanted to go home and my friends were all wondering where I had gone), what might have been quite the meeting of the minds had to be cut short, but before we parted, John was kind enough to thrust a copy of his book into my hands — Gratis. It took me a little over two weeks to read it, but, now that I have, how could I not share? The book is, quite literally, the quintessence of this blog as a whole, and, having fallen into my hands through such an inplausable chain of events, it just plain feels right.

Planet Love, The end of the world as we knew it

Told in a whimsical first person, past-tense narration, this work of Fiction John’s crafted, based loosely on fact, addresses just about everything that is near and dear to this blog. It is honest, raw, real and unyielding in the face of anything but truth, love, or compassion — quite inspirational indeed, (particularly to someone who still pulls punches in the face of the specific type of adversary that his awakening had riled).

It follows John throughout the days which unfold just after he has an encounter with an extraterrestrial craft, which, upon viewing, had flooded him with visions that imparted on him the knowledge of truth throughout the universe. He is left both enlivened, and bemused — as he is not sure what to make if it all. Unable to tell many people about the wondrous experience he’s had, knowing, full well, he’ll be dismissed as a nutter, John has to suffer alone with the fact that there is more to life than what those around him insist upon.

Soon, through curious and quirky twists of fate, like-minded people from varying and sporadic stages of his life make their way back in toward him, all finding that, to some extent or another, they’ve all shared in his experience. Together they begin to understand what is to come: another visitation, possibly the last, an event tantamount to the christian rapture. Gradually John begins to comprehend that this is what the ancients had reported into the biblical texts he once worshiped, merely misinterpretations of what they couldn’t fully understand at the time, harkening the third of Arthur C. Clarke’s laws on prediction: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I wont give away the end, you should buy it and check it out for yourself, but what I will say is that it’s a very good read, which, personally, came to me at an important point in my life. John, though his story, reminds us all that life should never be about defining our differences from one another — I.E. Race, Religion, socio-economic status, gender, etc… — but, rather, should be about identifying our collective commonalities. We are, in the end, ALL AS ONE, each on a different path of experience which adds to the collective of mankind’s whole, and we all have our own paths to walk, none better than any other.

At the beginning of this post I’d mentioned that our inaugural thoughts as man, once we became self-aware, must have had to do with our purpose here on earth. At the time it was a question without answer, and so, to put it aside, we invented a system of belief, which became religion. The reason I’d started here was because this was the one thing that this book really drove home for me — when you seek truth, you don’t look for a workaround, you merely seek truth, and that’s enough. It’s OK to not know. Scary, sure, but just plain fine. Only when you know enough to know what you don’t know, can you then learn.

Did you follow that?

I think it’s important, uncertainty. But what I find equally as important is the understanding that if this is the path we all wish to follow; this blind and uncertain meandering of drunken discovery, than we must support each other — with love. Love is the glue that makes it all work, Love is the driving force behind it all, and, as beautifully illustrated in John’s book, only through the lens of love, can we ever hope to discover genuine truth.

Check it out people 😉

~J

Don’t you just love a good rule?

I know I do, and I know you do too — don’t play coy. They’re just so darn comforting, is what they are. The more the merrier, that’s what I always say. Otherwise, I mean, how else would we know how to behave — am I right? For, without rules, why wouldn’t we all just be purse snatchers, pickpockets, thieves, card sharks, or, better yet, politicians?

What a world that would be…

Yep, without a doubt, there sure is nothing like a nice, tidy little set of parameters to let us all know when we’re well within the guidelines of society. Nothing quite so comforting as an automatic feedback function to jerk our choke-chains and let us know when we are acting as we should, and when we’ve simply stepped over a line. Indeed, nothing is better for a budding society than a voluminous set of thorough, intertwined, and rigorous rules.

Wait a minute — what am I saying !?

I loathe rules! Nothing more efficiently stifles experimentation, or novel thinking — they’re pretty much the worst thing conceivable for society. Shackling guidelines, put in place by those who came before us, with the expressed purpose of making people do whatever seemingly made sense at the time, but was likely only sensible at the precise second of their origin — and, OK, maybe fifteen minutes or so after that?

No, thank you!

Rules, by nature, establish the status quo. They seek balance, normalcy, and comfort… but since when have any of those things actually been good for us? With respect to our progress — the only true goal of any society, other than survival — every innovation we’ve ever spearheaded has come about, to one extent or another, by being the exact OPPOSITE of these things, I.E: unbalanced, a little odd, and certainly well outside of our comfort zones. Do you suppose the first man who proposed going to the moon thought it would be tantamount to a Honeymooners marathon spent on the sofa?

He really did it. Wow...

Doubtful…

But I get it. I do. Particularly in the professional world, there’s more than a mote of logic surrounding the idea of detailing proper behavioral practices. After all, with the ever-present ‘lawsuit’ looming overhead, one would be wise to take pains and properly insulate oneself from the stupidity of those who merely operate around you — which can be as vast as the ocean is wide… That, at least to me, is somewhat practical.

However, notwithstanding, and that being said, why than would we, any of us, wish to actively impose extra rules onto one another, especially when outside of the professional realm? Why on earth would we ever seek to add additional restriction to our lives? Aren’t there enough guidelines imposed upon us which we have little to no say in, without imposing more upon ourselves? Guidelines that we expect our friends, loved ones — and complete strangers alike — to adhere to, despite their lack of utility, semblance of sensibility, or even the slightest ease of comprehension?

I am, of course, referring to Taboo.

Click this image for a better look. I might still suck at Photoshop, but I've compiled a set of at least 15 taboo's here in this picture. Can you find them all?

Taboo just is…

…and that might just be what irks me the most about it. Rules should serve a purpose and, when that purpose is exhausted, then be eliminated. I, admittedly, have logical issues. And by that I mean, if I can’t make logical sense of a rule, and nobody can aptly explain that rule to me, I will, and have, take(n) issue with it, and will proceed to go out of my way in order to break it.

It’s my nature.

Be the change you want to see in the world, and all that…

I want to see a world full of people who think for themselves. I want to see individuals do what makes sense to them, not some senseless stigma — and if that entails wearing white shoes after Labor Day to match an outfit, (despite the fact that that snob, Becky Sievermore, from the local community watch-group will attempt to oust you from the next local chapter meeting), well, by-golly-gee, I want to see you confident in doing that! To hell what others think about you — you do what makes sense, and if that loses you friends, well, than, why in the heck would you want to associate with those people anyhow?

Don’t follow, simply for comfort.

Comfort has never achieved a thing!

I invite you, here, today, now — be uncomfortable!

Break free from the status quo, and begin traveling new and exciting roads!

Isn’t it high time for a change, people? Aren’t we all ready to usher in a new world? A world where ‘Common Sense’ is just a trifle more common? I mean, for the love of all that is cheese, how can extra rules possibly help with that? I guess that’s my real grudge with rules, standards, expectations, and Taboo’s alike, their execution accomplishes the exact opposite of their intention.

Seriously!

Think about it…

The intention of a rule is to ensure that people behave in a civil manner. OK, I can dig it. The problem isn’t in that, the problem arises when we have acclimated SO MANY RULES that people cease to THINK about WHY the rules exist in the first place. What this inadvertently creates is a society of people who are living up to expectation, rather than thinking for themselves. These type of people are, by nature, followers, and will find it nary impossible to do anything the least bit satisfying with their lives. This, often times, can lead to depression, personality disorder, and overall mental discord.

My friends, all that made us human arises from thought, and when we sacrifice thought, or even expression — on any level — to some nameless, faceless, and, potentially, unjust system of caste based rules, we forfeit everything that might move us ahead.

Why would we ever want to do that?

Instead, as currently unrealistic of an ideal it is, I would like to see a world with no rules what-so-ever. Yea, that’s right. Sure, it might be messy at first, but when people hold others accountable for their faults, and the whole of our society begins to think about how others feel, work, live, and even dream, then, and only then, will we truly know the face of humanity, and, for the first time in history, be able to know what to do, collectively, in order to improve.

So, in conclusion, and contrary, I’m sure, to everything you’ve just read, I do believe in taboo — yet, only the one — the one and only thing that should be taboo is, in my opinion, the ultimate Taboo itself — Taboo.

~J

Aw crap — that did it…
LOOK OUT EVERYONE,
The Grammar Nazis are coming!

Not to worry, good reader, it’s all going to be OK — I’ve got a plan!

Just hurry up, grab the women, and come with me!

There should be a trap door here someplace…

GOT IT!

*Click*

Now hurry up and get in!

*Slam*

Phew…

You can breathe easy, friend, we’re good now. This is my old WWII Nuclear Bunker. She ain’t pretty, but we’ll be safe here. We’ve got enough supplies on those shelves to last us months — maybe even years. Ladies, grab us a couple of Schlitz, would you? Yep, not even those bastard Nazis would be stubborn enough to wait here that long. Oh, and don’t worry about them breaking down the door either. That thing we just shut behind us is eight inches of solid steel. I reinforced the floor too. They don’t stand a chance…

What do you mean, who are they?

You’ve never heard of the, “Grammar Nazis”?

Have you ever even been on the internet?

No, they’re not exclusive to the net — they’re right outside the door, you dullard. They’re Grammar Nazis! They’re the secret police force of language, working either for, or in league with the dastardly Webster cooperation, and they’re on a clandestine mission for a unilateral totalitarian regime-like standard for talking, writing, and, soon, overall expression.

Somebody call me?

See, language is smooshed, shortened, squeezed, tightened, altered, cramped, clipped, cut, “lol’d”, and “haha’d” more and more, each and every day — and the Nazi’s can’t stand this…

They prefer to work under the stringent principles of their sacred symbol, the four spoked, red and white, “W” (believing that the rest of us should fall in line as well), which states that they will simply not accept anything but perfection — and all the WTF’s, LOL’s, HAHA’s, OMG’s and ZOMG’s of this modern-day just won’t fit into their narrow, Webster defined, Aryan-like list of acceptable words. Never mind that these particular terms are acronyms, allowing for faster points to be made, (saving us all some valuable time in a minute-by-minute world), these sycophants toward Webster simply do not care. A word is only a word, when it’s a word written in one of their holy books.

But, hell, I say words should be words when they properly convey a thought — AmIrite?

The way I look at it, language shouldn’t be held to such rigorous standards.

*Pound, pound, pound*

“Nein. Speak properly — we can hear you in there!”

“Quiet out there, Krauss! This is between us men.”

Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein, nein, nein!”

*Pound, pound, pound*

“Not to worry, they’ll get tuckered out soon enough…”

See, friend, in its essence, language is just a place-keeper tool, used in lieu of mind reading. Seriously, no joke — look it up! Take a look into the Shannon Weaver model of language, which is the linguistic basis for all communication, and you’ll see just what I’m talking about. Basically, when a person wishes to share a thought, it first has to formulate somewhere, right? Namely, their head — and then you need someone else to share with (otherwise it’s just thinking). If the thought is complex, and hard to describe with non verbal cues alone, well than we have to encode our thoughts into words, and then speak them through a medium — in the case of speech, air — which it then travels through to reach your ear, and you can interpret it in any way you see fit.

Now, if I could read your mind, none of this would be necessary.

Yes, I'm bald under the hat. Is that ALL you ever think about?

But I can’t, and likely won’t be able to for a long while.

(Not until the singularity, at least)

So, in the mean time, I’m left to communicate crudely, pruning bits of my original thoughts to suffice ever-dwindling attention spans and time budgets…

HEY — pay attention!

I know they’re cute, but there’s no rush, we’ll be down here for weeks… plenty of time to charm them over.

However… Ladies? Could you tie up the robes? It’s distracting. Thanks! (Love ya!)

Now where was I?

Right!

IMHO, language is inefficient enough while spoken, and, when we talk, we’ve got emotion, inflection, pacing, gesticulation, eye contact, and body language backing us up. Also, because of all these things, all these cues we’re reading into, we get a general idea of the listener’s attention, which, then in turn, helps us to adjust accordingly to entertain (and, thus, know that we’re being heard — we’ve always got an ear while we’re entertaining).

Chappelle, please come back -- We miss you...

When we write though — which is just the same as speech in terms of communication, save for the changing of the medium; from air, to paper or computer screens — the inefficiencies of language are really highlighted, and to an extreme. That’s because, while writing, we don’t have the crutches of audible pacing or inflection to help place emphasis on our words, we’re left to use only the Nazis goosestepping mantras — the finite words and ways found in their dictatorial dictionary’s, and proper grammar propaganda texts — to convey our thoughts.

But they’re our thoughts!

And , I don’t know about you, (I mean, you look like a nice fellow — just not very bright…), but my thoughts are often wild, eccentric, interconnected to many things, and, because of all this, wholly difficult to express in this stiflingly rigid way. Being stuck crafting true communication with words which must interlock in a specific way, like Lego blocks, can sometimes hinder full elucidation. I mean, who really cares if I follow “proper sentence structure” (or use of quotes), just so long as you understand me, right?

Now, don’t get me wrong good buddy… Oop — Hang on.

Ladies, another brewski por-favor.

Better make it two.

Grassy ass.

Ahhh, that’s better… Anyway, I’m not saying that we should all just make up words, all willy-nilly like — nobody would understand us — but I am saying that there’s nothing wrong with a little tweak here and there. After all, that’s how language was devised in the first place. Playing around. Otherwise, I mean, what? We’re just done? So, that’s it? We did it? *Language complete*?

No! No effing way.

Language is alive. It’s living. It’s breathing. It has a heartbeat to match the times and trials it goes through, just like we do — or at least it should — and when jerks, like the ones outside this door, try to arrest the language, the only thing really getting locked away is true communication, ya dig?

This is why I’m saying that, “Irregardless” is, most certainly, a word.

Nazis, Kitty. "Take that Nazis"... Sorry, he's drunk -- again...

I mean, sure, we’ve already got “Regardless”. But, as a word, doesn’t that sound a bit clipped to you? Curt, even? Go ahead, try saying “Regardless” without sounding like a prick. Narry impossible, I tell ya! But, “Irregardless”… now that’s sexy. It’s not quite as sharp either. It’s almost like it’s laughing at itself in its own usage.

If “Regardless” were a warden dismissing evidence at a parole hearing, thus denying an early release, “Irregardless” would be a wild haired and wizened Scientist, mucking up a great point with a bit of unessential information and a tangent off topic, and thus, a wave of his hand and a muttering of the word can get him back to his point.

Why can’t there be room for both?

Now, again, if we could read minds, than none of this would matter. But we can’t. And, since spoken language has the monopoly on inflection and timbre, I say that the written word should be a little looser. Give us scribes a touch more elbow room to show you just what we mean — and how we mean to say it.

Ya feel me?!

Speaking of which, did you know that there used to be such a thing as an, “Interrobang“, which was a mixture of a question mark and an exclamation point (just like what I had to use two symbols to accomplish in the previous sentence) yep, you guessed it — killed by the Nazis.

As a matter of fact there was once this crazy guy, named, Hervé Bazin, who’d extended the idea of an, “Irony mark”, first proposed by the late 19th century french poet, Alcanter de Brahm, into a series of other punctuations, including; an authority point, a certitude point, a doubt point, indignation, love — and many more.

Wanna guess what happened to him?

Danm Nazis…

Look, as we move along, and evolve as a culture — we naturally gain knowledge. With knowledge, naturally comes preference. And, with preference, reason. Naturally. Thus, ample deliberation becomes a necessity to the newer, preference ridden, thought processes of the world — as, there is simply more to say. And, aside from just talking, there is much more going on — words trigger emotions.

Whether it’s “Irregardless” you’d want to use, to soften up the sound of your meaning, or “Spoked” (which appeared at the top of this page — got ya!) to describe something with spokes, or “Disinscent” to describe something with a removed incentive, or LOL to say that you’re laughing out loud, I say — SCREW THE NAZIS, and SCREW WEBSTER, you communicate however you’d like!

*Pound, Pound, Pound*

“We’ve come back!”

“We don’t care”

“We a have a plasma cutter”

(Oh crap)

“We heard what you were saying about us.”

“Oh yea, what do you think, Sauerkraut?”

“I think I can’t wait until I get home, to tell my wife all about how I squoze your scrawny, little, stupid neck”

“Bad news for you then, buddy”

“what”

“Squoze isn’t a word”

*Bang!, bang!, bang!*

“Guess we won’t have to worry about ole’ Krauss anymore…”

*Fluouoshhhh!!!*

“But it sound’s like his cronies are still lighting that torch, crap… Looks like we’re in for a shootout, friend.”

“Ladies, take cover. Friend, take this gun — YKWTD

~J