Monday, January 19, 2009

Thank you, Laura

I love NPR. I listen to it on the radio, and I download just about every podcast I can find. Today I found that I had somehow missed a podcast subscription to, “Radio Diaries.” I immediately downloaded everything iTunes had to offer, hit play, and settled in to do my Math homework.

“My So-Called Lungs: Laura Rothenberg is 21 years old, but, as she likes to say, she already had her mid-life crisis a couple of years ago, and even then it was a few years late…. “

I half listened to the narrators’ introductory description, as I began to write out my math problems. In the typical dramatic tone the narrator continued to explain how Laura has cystic fibrosis, “a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and other organs,” and that she had recorded her struggle via a tape recorder. Her story began at 11:02 pm, in room 104 of her hospital. She briefly mentioned her years of experience with the comings and goings of the hospital, its procedures, and staff. She seemed very light hearted and knowledgeable, as she told of her early childhood dealings with CF, and her childhood friends. Then the tone of her tale began to lilt, as she listed off the friends she has lost, Gina at 13 years old, Damien at 17 years, Niki, Tamesha, Elizabeth, Sophie in 11th grade, and Marcie “this past summer.”

Seduced by her sadness, candor, humor, and honesty, I listened with undivided attention. I will not attempt to recapture, or distil, the tale I listened to for those 22 minutes. I will say that I wept, I wept like I haven’t wept in years. This young woman faced her death at every turn. In the face of this great adversity, she did everything she could to live, and experience, a “normal” life. My heart went tight as I heard the anger and sadness Laura’s frail voice held, as she explained her frustration with being stuck in her room (she was 19 years old) while her friends went to parties and plays. “Unfair’ doesn’t even come close to describing it.

It often becomes a laughable cliché when a person, or persons, tell their tale in an effort to touch the world around them. Sometimes these brave souls find a chink in our egocentric armor, and they get inside. It’s that place within us all, sealed up by years of mind numbing cynicism. Those few that get in gently touch our naked humanity, as if they know how tender and soft we are on the inside. And Laura Rothenberg's story touched me deeply. I looked online to find a way to help, to send a donation perhaps, and hopefully to say thank you. But I found Laura had died, on March 20th 2003, after just turning 22. The podcast, was a re-broadcast.

So, I am going to donate to the Children’s Hospital Trust, in her name. It’s the least I can do, and it’s my way of saying thank you. Thank you so much, Laura.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Death of Innatism

Yes, I started a new blog. This was not to hide from the few readers of this opinionated, egocentric, and impromptu soapbox you see before you. Rather, it was because without change all things become prematurely decadent, and fade away. Of course, there is nothing more pathetic that the walking dead…I see them everyday. As I cling tightly to the bosom of revolutionary evolution, I cannot help but look back at some of these posts with a sense of embarrassment and shame. I believed the past writings contained herein, were limiting, in some way. Thus, the blog “Innatism” was born! A name chosen with much forethought. Although I do not believe in an innate knowledge embedded in the mind at birth, I do believe in a retained knowledge after a psychological or existential re-birth. (But I digress; these are undoubtedly topics of future posts.) I now see the beauty of a once simple mind in the continual transcendence of self. Thus, as I continue in my aspirations to become something perpetually greater than myself, I will lay waist to innatism, and rekindle the dying embers of this forgotten blog. This is not a return to the ethics of the past, my dear readership, but the creation of a literary individual evolution.
Vis-à-vis, it will be on these distant shores of Sanctimonious Indulgence, that you may hear my Re-birth cry from time to time.


The Journey



If there is to be a downfall in my college career it will either be due to a lack of a job (i.e. income) or MATH. A friend once told me that math is the only thing that makes sense in this world, he said that it is the one place where 1 and 1 will always equal 2. He said this with such reassurance, and I believe that this prospect truly brings him a sense of peace.

“Math: It brings order to the world.”

Perhaps that is why I hate it so. This world has never been equal or balanced! Contrary to these plastic man made beliefs, which inevitably decay by our own design. Although your inner child, or perhaps your inner adult, may cry out “that’s not fair”, please allow me to state my case.

Tartak, Anammelech Ashima, Succothbenoth. Ra, Odin, and Zeus all held the absolute truth. These all but forgotten gods told their people that 1 and 1 would always equal 2. The people devoted learning institutions, languages, even their very lives to these beings in the faith of their omnipotent equations. Where are they now? Crushed and lost under the wheel of time. Truth be true, they each had a part to play in the development of mankind. But at what cost? As the world was once flat, the square route of pie IS 1.772453851. The world is in a constant state of flux, a flux that no prideful mammal with opposable thumbs could ever fathom. Now the fruits of math may be seen on the face of your clock, or the face of a child burned by a radioactive fallout. Math brings me no peace; the price you see is too high.

There was a time when the new moon was the only thing that held the darkness of night at bay. The bright moonlight forced the creatures that would come for us to be seen, but as the waning crescent took to the sky’s we knew our place in the world. Mythic things would take you in the dark, right? It was a time to fear, a fear of the unknown, a time to fear the chaos of our world. It was a time when 1 and 1 didn’t equal 2. So you can keep your cultural security blanket, I know that some times the shit in this life doesn’t add up.

Oh, be sure to tell me what the mathematical probability of being eaten by a lion would be when you hear the jaws SNAP shut around your throat. Never mind I am sure we will work that one out next week in class.

Then again, it could be that whole job/money thing.


We shuffled into the factory the next morning. I would have rather stayed in bed, but they have money and pills at work! Its better when I’m at work. When I stay home I usually just masturbate, but not too fast. No, I take my time…hours if need be. I wait until I find the perfect, and free, 30 second pornographic video clip. Only then do I allow myself to cum. Discipline, my friend. After that there really isn’t much else to do. Now that’s no way to live day in and day out! Some of you think that’s a horrible reason to go to work, but you’re poor, no one wants to be your friend, and people don’t admire you…you people wouldn’t understand.
Fuck you! Fucking judgmental pieces of shit!

Besides, they let me out for three to four ours every evening…sometimes. You tell me how the hell I am supposed to buy all the stuff I need without money!

How asshole, tell me?

Oh I see, so my family can think I’m a failure, so I can take someone out on a date in my GEO Metro and bring them back to my 400sq. ft. apartment on the west side and hope that they don’t throw up with disgust!?! So I can be like you?! No one would even want to know my name if that’s all I brought to the table as an active and contributing member of society. Maybe I could eat out of dumpster and beg for spare change too, only to be told by every single person that they “don’t have any cash” or all they have on them is “credit cards”.

You must be fucking insane.

The pills? Lord knows I need the pills. Without them I don’t move, I don’t want to, I can’t…I tried once, and that was enough for me to see the light. The company knows what’s best. They have to care for a thousand other employees. You don’t take care of that many people and not know what’s best for them. Besides, the CEO said “good morning” to me when we crossed in the bathroom yesterday. I’m on my way up!!

Want to hear a true story? They don’t like us to talk about it but…

Last year the company almost went under when they handed out antidepressants before our shifts started. It took a while for them to realize that it wasn’t depression that was affecting our productivity, but rather an acute inability to focus. I am glade they realized it before it was to late. It’s good to know they are looking out for me. Who knows what I would have done if left to my own devices.

There has been some crazy talk going on around here lately.

I have heard some of them whisper as they huddle in around the water cooler at lunch that it could be the job that has forced us to loose our humanity, and that it is the lose of our humanity which makes us indifferent to life in general…or something like that. I don’t know. I honestly can’t really hear what they are saying exactly, I have so much work to do, bits and pieces to count, and a good work reputation to justify. I am a hard worker! If what was ruining our work ethic wasn’t what they said it was…then why do I always get so much done now?

I don’t like to think the other way. Nothing good ever comes of it.

Sometimes when I do my left arm goes numb, and it feels like someone is slowly dragging a frozen knife across the top of my skull. It’s cold, so cold when that happens, it passes though. Although sometimes I want to scream and smash my head against the wall, but that would be crazy, and I’m not crazy. It’s not painful mind you, but every fiber of my being wants to bust with some inexplicable rage. A calm rage…if there is such a thing. No, no that’s wrong. It’s more like a time elapsed tree growing inside me, and it’s all I can do not to let its branches explode from my body.

I go through the rest of the day working frantically, hoping that I get enough done to please my superiors. After all, it is their clock that tells me when I come to the factory in the morning, when I go home. They will let me know when it’s okay to fall in love, settle down, and start a family. I don’t have to worry about when it’s alright to sleep, or get sick. When I can die or make new friends. Who has time for that anyway?

You know what I mean…don’t you?

It Doesn't Matter

Evolution, growth, development is never a pleasant experience. It seems that the fruits of “change” are all to often brought forth by the ugly hand of pain. Our own masochistic selves are often the protagonists in the development of Life’s individual and stagnant chrysalides to move forward. We feel drawn in by the dangerous and volatile nature of the real and fictitious life around us. We are complacent in our modern day existence, but our primal urges seek an unconscious destruction that knows no bounds. In our happiest moments we squint into the dark parts of our lives, anticipating the imminent destruction of our current euphoria. Why? Why must suffering entice us so?

The fact is that mankind is a broken and bloated animal. We are lions without a pride, so we cheat on our wife’s. There is no hunt for our sustenance; so scowling we swim the infested waters of Wal-Mart. The pain of our fellow man does not concern us as much as the window attendant at MacDonald’s forgetting the fries in our #6. The word “strife” has lost its meaning and potency for us all. You may think me a pompas and arrogant voice, but I assure you that I am no different than you in this unequivocal decline. At the core of us all is the innate desire to tear our fucking world apart, just to provide and opportunity to overcome…ourselves. It’s lonely at the top! And so our minds and actions over complicate the world around us, our pride forces a new injurious paradigm with every enlightened step forward. Think about this; the select few who strive to become something more or to show us a better way are vilified and idolized within the same breath.

We lack, nah, we necessitate desperation. And if the reliance of our desperation is misplaced in the hands of another we are all too quick to take on the obligation and thrash ourselves.

I would not give you the “truth” if I had it. If I could give you this “truth” I speak of, you would simply wipe your ass with it. Later you would hold that filthy thing up for the entire world to see, and tell them what a flawed and disgusting thing I have given you. Oh yes, another tainted testament to the evolution of human enlightenment. I can think of only one thing that may give you some temporary solace: Temporary, for your pride would never let it take hold in your mind.

It doesn’t matter, all your pain and suffering. It doesn’t matter.

Richard Cory

by Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1869-1935

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,

We people on the pavement looked at him;
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,

Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,

And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,

“Good-morning,” and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich—yes, richer than a king—

And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything

To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,

And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,

Went home and put a bullet through his head.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

“Like the wind crying endlessly through the universe, Time carries away the names and the deeds of conquerors and commoners alike. And all that we are, all that remains, is in the memories of those who cared we came this way for a brief moment.”

--Harlan Ellison

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Operation Valentines Day

Blood shot across the white pre-warmed hospital blanket that covered my legs.
“Oh, I am so so sorry Mr. Saunders” She cried.
It must have been the blood and the look of horror on her soft face that triggered my unexpected and abrupt burst of laughter, causing me to spray spit and snot all over myself. As I finished wiping the last of my face off with my hospital gown I watched with nervous tension as this peripheral butcher moved in on yet another one of my veins with her 100% sanitary 16-gauge needle with built in IV catheter.
“Happy Valentines Day” She chuckled as she slid in a second needle.
Yes…I suppose it was Valentines Day wasn’t it...
As I slowly lay back in my pre-op hospital bed and thought to myself “If God simply has a sense of humor…then Cupid must be Groucho fucking Marx.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Weird Five

Hobbes saw fit in his infinite wisdom to “tag” me. I am usually the guy that speaks his mind regardless of repercussions or others opinions, but I found myself in a bit of a dilemma…I don’t find anything weird. So I surmised what others might find “weird” and of course altered my original list in a desperate attempt to keep you all from having horrific and uncontrollable nightmares for the rest of your lives. So if you find this list boring I apologize, and if not…enjoy.

1) When purchasing movies having sequels I always fight (and lose) the uncontrollable urge to purchase the remaining films simply for aesthetic purposes. Most of the time this is complete waste of money due to the fact that many sequels are shit that I will never even watch. (i.e. Batman and Robin, Batman Forever)

2) Even though I live alone and I am male I feel the uncontrollable compulsion to put the toilet seat down after every use. Yes, I still pee standing up.

3) Although I detest “fast food” I find myself eating Chick-fil-a at random stressful moments. It’s odd but in some strange way I do it because it reminds me of the peace and utter contentment I felt so long ago, as I sat on my couch ate Chick-fil-a, and watched the entire first season of Battlestar Galactica.

4) When getting ready to go out I will put together the possible outfits for the evening and lay them out. Then I will look at myself in the mirror after I put on each article of clothing. Finally I will get back in front of the mirror once the entire outfit that I have decided to go with is on…but I don’t look at the outfit…I look deep into my own eyes for around 30 seconds. I don’t know why I do this…I just do it.

5) Every morning I feel panicked unless I grab my goods and make sure they are still there. I have fought this urge before and it has ruined my state of mind for the whole day.

There are more but…

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Devil went down to Baker Street

Those who are familiar with Holmesian lore know of Baker Street all to well. I on the other hand know of another Baker Street…Baker Street Pub that is. While this Houston bar my have been inspired by the famous residents of 221B Baker Street its inhabitance bear no resemblances, although you could probably find a heroin junkie or two. The night had picked up after some stimulating conversation combined with mass amounts of barley and hopps, which had left my bladder ready to burst. I excused myself and ran to the men’s room fighting the urge to clutch my genitals for fear of pissing my pants.
Upon my return to the drunken hedonism that I had left just minutes before the live band kicked out a semi-punk rock version of Wham’s “Careless Whisper” out through the speakers next to my head. Now I never really liked the original version of the song but the prepubescent fuckers jerking off their guitars was starting to induce a vomitous reaction, so without a moment’s hesitation I fled blindly back to my table. With a heavy and relieved sigh I crashed my ass back into what I thought was my chair but upon opening my eyes I was assaulted by a barrage of both enhanced and non-enhanced breasts (these were no hounds of the baskervilles mind you). “Surly these are not my friends, and surely I am not that drunk” I thought to myself. I heard Carl’s voice behind me and realized that I had mistakenly sat down at the table full of girls that we were ogling moments ago. A smile slowly crept across my face as I decided to give these girls a run. The flirting went on ubiquitously for some time until one of the surgically enhanced girls leaned in and told me of her desire to have a ménage a trios with her, Carl, and myself. This of course was not a possibility as my dear friend Carl had recently married plus the fact that I was way to drunk to fuck, Shortly there after the girls left disappointed. I would like to think that they found some comfort in the arms of one another later that night…yeah I really like that thought.
It was near closing time and after some botched attempts at luring young women and an unfortunate mishap with a tranny Carl and I decided that we should move along to greener pastures. We were both on the verge of blowing a 2.1 but Carl felt confident that he could brave the insane streets of Houston at 1:00 in the morning. So we loaded into his pimp daddy Lexus and began our travels once again.
There is a moment no matter how intoxicated you are when you look at your drunken friend/friends (whom in this case was driving) and you hope you aren’t as utterly shit faced as they are. You sit a little straighter and try to compose yourself as you watch the others lose themselves in their euphoria…my moment came after we ran one red light and I noticed that we were doing 110 mph on a 35 mph road.
It was elementary dear reader that should this gleaming example of Toyota’s marque ingenuity crash into anything at 110 mph there was no airbag in the world going to save our ass’s. This and the fact that I had never known Carl to drive like this forced me to glance over at the driver. I screamed a little when I looked over and saw that my once dear friend had been replaced with the devil himself!! A smooth skinned red thing with a lit cigarette in his hand, I watched him laugh uncontrollably as we ran through red light after red light his crooked yellow piano key teeth jutting forth in the moonlight. I shoved my back into the roomy leather interior of the luxury box in an effort to brace myself for impact for what seemed like an eternity until we suddenly came to a screeching halt. I whipped my head around to behold the great dragon sitting next to me; he had stopped…at a stop sign. “Ankou, Izanami, Mors, Mot, Yama, Shemal” he screamed with eyes blazing red like the fires of Hell. “W-w-w-what”, I asked as I felt tears brimming in my eyes. At that moment he let out a scream like a sheep being slaughtered and smashed the pedal of the luscious Lexus into the floor. We flew at over 100 mph once again, I heard horns blaring and tires squealing in our wake. “HA HA HA, EIJI TOYODA IS MY CONCIBINE BITCH, AND YOU SHALL DIIIIEEEEEE” the devil roared as we ripped down the black asphalt. With an unintentionally sharp jerk of the wheel the demon sent my head smashing into the passenger side window; streaming lights blurred as the spiraling blackness enveloped my vision and I lost consciousness.
I woke up to a sharp poking in my side; I looked up and realized it was Carl. I was overjoyed as I threw my arms around my friends neck. “Oh Carl you wouldn’t believe the dream I just had” I cried.
“Really? Come on you will have to tell me about it inside.” Replied Carl as the red neon flashed behind him.
At that moment the smell of burning rubber and cigarettes permeated my nostrils. I looked up at my friend as I trembled with fear.
We were not home…
“Come on” he said with a wave and a smile, “this is one Hell of a bar, you’re going to love it”.

Thursday, December 22, 2005