Encouraging Thunder Award? It’s My First Time, Be Gentle With Me!

With any and all sarcasm and the harshest of criticisms directed squarely at myself, I, Deon Mumple,  pestered another blogger until she graciously nominated me for a writing award.  Fuck me, I really am annoying.  She was my first, and she was most gentle about it.  My award is the prestigious and pretentious “’Encouraging Thunder Award,’ which exists either to promote flatulence, or to make Thor feel better about himself,” bestowed by fellow blogger, talented writer and all around beautiful person blahpolar who writes from her royal throne at https://bipolardyke.wordpress.com.  If she hadn’t nominated me I’d have done 2 things:  1) gone about my business as usual, or 2) nominated her if someone else gave me permission to nominate her, but I now have a third, and more nefarious scheme in mind for her…

I’ve been warned before about these awards.  There are requirements, at least one of which I cannot wait to fulfill.  It might not thrill the presenter, but I mean to hold her to this, and I do mean “hold her.”  She knows what she said.  It excites me that she has required the task, and it shall be my mission in life henceforth, now and until I fulfill it and the rest of the requisite Herculean Labours.  But I really hope it’s exciting for her as well, because after all I do have a starving ego to feed.  Plus, I bet she’s hot.  I’m a bit nervous about it I confess, because when you go trying to feed a starving ego you need people to affirm your lust for …ego…food, and not tell you to “Kindly do me the honor to fuck off and die, you pathetic loser ass hole.”

Featured image

What you can do with the Encouraging Thunder award:
Post it on your blog
Grant other bloggers the award.
What you can’t do with the Encouraging Thunder award:
Abuse or misuse the logo
Claim that it’s your own handmade logo.

What you should do after receiving the Encouraging Thunder award: (squeal with delight, phone all friends, drink champagne from a lesbian)

Enjoy the award. (exploit groupies scandalously)

At least give thanks via comments and likes and/or mention the blogger who gave you the award.

Mention your purpose in blogging.

Give them all love by visiting their blogs and showing some appreciation.

P.S. You do not have to accept the award. It is entirely up to you. At least this one doesn’t have a ton of questions to answer and none to make up.

Is this how a person is supposed to accept a blogging award?  It seemed right somehow.  I’ll squeal with delight just as soon as I drink my champagne from a lesbian, I’m choosing to receive that from my presenter according to her already prescribed method:  by osculation, such a lovely thing.  And maybe she’ll squeal too.

What’s my purpose in blogging?  What’s anyone’s purpose in life?  I want to get rich, bitches!  But I want to do it my way, so please, all you success bloggers who made your millions already and you want to sell me your secrets in three easy lessons with three easy payments, shut the hell up and keep it to yourselves.

I like to write.  I want to write for fun in a realm where no one knows a damn thing about me, and you can’t find me because I’m hiding in my bunker.

I also needed an emotional outlet where I could love and encourage smart people and hate and discourage fucking idiots.

* Smart people:  people who think, people who are still learning, people
who know they don’t have all the answers and are willing to search dil-
igently for them and not lord their existing knowledge over other people, etc.
People who are logical enough to follow a thread of reasoning, either to its’
illogical, frayed ends, or its’ solid spool of truth.
**Fucking idiots:  criminals, child abusers, spouse/partner abusers, evil dick-
tators, rapists (yeah, you get your own category, you and the abusers), pigs,
thugs, wanna-be’s, plagiarists, people who don’t think, people who assume
they know more than I do and who won’t listen to reasonable dialogue.  I
recognize them because I used to be a fucking idiot.  Sometimes I still am.
But at least I’m trying to listen.
And think.

Shut up, I’m trying to think!  Wait, am I encouraging my own thunder or discouraging it?  Maybe a little of both.  I need to work this out, give me a minute, bitches! (I use the term to refer to all sentient genders, both galactic and intergalactic, so unless you understand it’s intended as chummy, shut up.  If you dare to be offended, fuck off and find another blog to read, there are some really fucking good ones out there that I swear are better than mine.  Troll those guys; they like that shit.)  And, as I always try to express myself in the most genteel of manners, it’s likely no one would notice, but my purpose also involves emotional venting and also attempting to be funny and chummy, by the use of angry, or friendly, occasionally rare or generally prolific swearing when I feel like it.  I also want to encourage good writers to keep writing, and encourage average and poor writers to get better at writing, which means they have to keep practicing.  I’ll be the judge of your writing, trust me, but also trust me to keep my damn mouth shut about it if I don’t like it.  Nobody, especially me, likes a fucking critic.

Nominees?  I haven’t blogged very long so I don’t really have a following as obnoxious as myself.  Hmmm.  I’ll figure out how to put the picture in here and then pick people.  There, I think I got that right.  I promise I’m not checking out your fine asses as the basis for nomination.  Although I’m sure they are fine.  Honest.  I’m married, and my wife’s ass is the only one I really want.  to. check. out.  VERY FREQUENTLY.  In fact, can I just stay home with my wife today?  Because, DAAAAAMMMNNN,  she’s awesome.  But I think osculatory champagne served from a fine vessel can’t be passed up.  It may be immoral, but it’s an immoral imperative. Sorry hon, don’t be jealous, it’s all about the experience.  How many times in one’s life does one get that kind of opportunity?

OK, Distracted there, back to my top 5 nominees, who are:

Du, Du, (how did I discover Swedish blogs over here across the pond?), You, (because … Laughing Dragon! and because you’re following me!), You, You, and You.  Yeah I know, more than 5, who can stop when there are so many more good blogs out there.  I’m just excited to feel like I’m a part of the community, especially since I got an award!  And, You.  And You.  Oh, who am I kidding, I might just love ALL of you.  Don’t get big-headed, even you nominees- I also might hate you and just be keeping my opinion to myself.

Did she really say I had a fine ass?  Let me reread the comment thread on https://bipolardyke.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/the-discouraging-blunder-reward/ again. Daaaammmnnnnn!   I’m ready for that champagne now!  Let the celebration commence!  Can I have another sip?  Leave the bottle!

Do my links generate a pingback, or do I have to do something differently to tell these people I like them…  or not?  Please let me know if I did it wrong, but I hope this worked.  As I said, I’m new to this!  Thank you for your gentleness since it was my first time; it’s been a wonderful experience.  Garçon?  (I mean “wait-person,” not “boy!” so step off if you stepped on.)  Garçon! Another bottle of champagne, please?

Blogging Challenges: I Want to Join the Party

I watched as NaPoWriMo came and went, and enjoyed some poetry.  And tolerated some, hey we all try and some people like our stuff and some people don’t and that’s why we’re all here, just to see if we can write something that people think is good.  I say, keep trying and if anyone criticizes what you do without offering constructive tips (and without bragging about how good their own shit is, please I don’t want to hear about yours because I need help with mine!), tell them to shut the fuck up.  I’m going to read and enjoy, or read and dislike, but I’m keeping my mouth shut unless I really like something.  And that’s if I notice it because these emails come pretty fast, and I’m a baby blogger.

I probably can’t write a poem every day, especially not a good one.  But I really like reading poetry, even if I judge it not to my taste.  I really like writing poetry too and I’d like a writing suggestion.  I know F is for Free Verse and H is for Haiku, S for Sonnet, etc.  I would like someone to list poetry forms in alphabetical order, from A to Z, with at least one poetry form for each letter.  I found a great poetry website that has almost reached that goal, skipping J and K, U, W, X, Y and Z.  Sadly, although the website offers 55 perfectly good poetry forms, they are missing letters from my OCD sequential NEED for complete completion.

I don’t even think I can write a good blog every day, much less a poem.  But I’ll try,  skip a day now and then.  I’ll write something if I can get inspired or have a whim.

I watched as the Alphabet challenge came and went, and didn’t even have a clue where to start or end, so I didn’t do that one either.  Are there blogging challenges for every month?  Where would I go to find those?

Please comment with suggestions.

And now the random oddity of the day (hey there’s an idea for a blogging challenge!) :  Ever heard of earworm?  For some reason “The [fucking] CHICKEN DANCE” is in my head and I can’t get it out.

A Metaphor Non-Devoutly to be Wished

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have a conscience so I could just take whatever I wanted and do whatever I wanted I don’t want anything unreasonable (yet).  But I want what I want and as the song goes, “you can’t always get what you want.”

If I didn’t have a conscience, whenever rejected for what I’ll call a “steak dinner,” I’d go out for what I’ll call “junk food.”  I’ve looked around and seen what’s available.  Not as good as what I have at home, but a cheap burger and fries is better than starving half to death.

But then, I don’t want to get “food poisoning…”

~DM

Holy Shit! An Answer?!

OK so you know I’ve blogged lately about how my prayers reach a concrete ceiling and bounce off, well today, I flippantly mentioned that I was feeling fat and would probably be limited to salad although I was hungry after my sandwich lunch.

I walked out of the cubicle forest, out the doors, and into our breakroom at work and a lady had bought salad from a caterer and she offered me a plate.

Well I’m feeling something unmentionable and I’ll probably go home from work today and have my wife attack me in a fit of passion and do unspeakable things to me…

And I’m feeling a bit impoverished and I’ll probably go to the store and just buy that winning lottery ticket…

Or is that me pushing my luck?

The Failings of Creation, Humanity, and Deon M.

Things are temporary and fickle and they break, wear out, and rot and need replacing.  Including me.

This chair I’m sitting on is going to wear out.  The computer screen is going to go black, this disk or chip in the computer is going to suffer errors and offer me the blue-screen-of-death, I am going to die. I don’t recommend putting faith in anything temporary like that.  Especially me.

When I wear out, I’ll be dead.  Until I wear out and go into eternity, whatever that means, I wear out at the end of the day when I’m too tired to continue.  (Sorry, honey, sucks but it’s true)  I may not finish the dishes or get to all the housework you left for me.  When I wear out, you’ll need to get yourself another cook and dishwasher.  And floor vacuum-er and lawn mower and homework helper and snow shovel-er and chauffeur and whatever else you need from me.

Love is supposed to be for a lifetime, but people fuck that up all the time.  Divorce, affairs, immaturity, foolishness…  Shit happens, I guess.  But when you promise “until death us do part,” I think it should mean just that.  That’s one reason why I have stayed this long.  I’ve grown up and I think understand temptation.  It’s always watching for a way to get to us, I think.  Where’s that weakness in the armor?  What I’ve done so far is to try to run away from it.  But I do look around me and see what’s out there.  And I want more.  I want a better return on my investment.  Is that wrong?

If you put your faith in me and thought I wasn’t ever going to get a gray hair, you had better go to the store and buy me some hair dye, or I’m going to let you down.  If you thought I would always have the energy to meet your needs and do all of the above and then some, and never have needs of my own, you were mistaken, I’m already letting you down.  I don’t have energy because I’m depressed and my to-do list is too damn long and time consuming to have time to spend with you after recharging back to human levels.  I’m depressed because I don’t have energy. It’s a vicious circle and I want to break out.

For the record, you are changing, and by some worldly standards you aren’t as young or perfect as you were when we met.  But to me you are perfect.  I look at your changing body and I still see your intense beauty.  I love you passionately.  When you touch me, which is rare lately, it’s still like fire.  When you kiss me, even the hard pecks, I only want more.  I want the soft-lipped, hot, demanding passion you offered before.

I listen to your conversation, when you aren’t nagging, and I adore your logic, your intellect, and your emotional side.  I look into your eyes and there isn’t another person I feel so connected to.  I want to know about things that interest you, still.  Your hobbies, your passions, your goals, more than just the next thing on your to-do list.  Your “to-do” lists suck the life out of me and leave this empty husk with nothing left that’s worth anything to offer you.  And MY “to-do” list just sucks.  Can we have a dream list?  Like a bucket list of things to do together before one of us is, or both of us are, dead?

I’m going to run out of stamina, when I’ve been at work all day and come home and see the things I should do, things I should fix, things I should process, things I should discard, growing out of my control.  I will get discouraged because it’s just so much.  There’s a way to re-energize me.  I’d like to start with a long weekend where our mission is to re-energize each other.  That’s the first item on my dream list.

What happens when we fail each other?  I’m afraid it means you don’t trust me, I don’t trust you, we shut each other out.  I didn’t start out intending to write this, which means it’s straight out of my heart.  There are walls between us.  I’ve failed you, I know.  I’m sorry I sometimes suck at life and love and being a good man and a good husband.  Can God even answer my prayers when the walls are there?   (I Peter 3:7-12)  I can rage all I want about the way He doesn’t hear me, but maybe it’s because I’m supposed to do something first.

I hope this turns around.  I don’t want to end up empty, frustrated and bitter, or worse, finally falling for temptation.  Save me.  Help me.  You’re my only Hope.  It’s either you or Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I think he’s busy helping Luke Skywalker’s sister “Princess” Leia.  Up for a weekend?  I’ll pack the heating pad.

Not Normal

I can’t be normal.  Or can I?

I have a mental picture of what’s normal, and everywhere I look at myself, I fail to match the picture.

Maybe that’s why I’m depressed.  Or maybe I’m depressed because I really should match the picture, try, and fail.

This is what my picture looks like:  normal people can talk to other people without it sapping their energy.  Normal people have jobs and pay bills.  Normal people aren’t depressed and painfully introverted and awkward.  Normal church people teach me that God answers prayers.  Normal people get normal jobs and earn an average (and by this I mean a mean, which should be about $50,781, not poverty level) annual salary.  With my above average charm, intelligence, good looks and education, it should be easy.  R-I-G-H-T!

My picture of a normal healthy relationship doesn’t fit me.  My wife and I seem much more combative than I would like at times, and much less loving than I would like at times when we’re actually getting along.  It’s not abusive according to my mental picture of what that word means.  But it feels abusive sometimes to me. We’re mentally abusive to one another.  I fail to meet her expectations, I run out of energy to work on things, I can’t handle home repairs, especially water-related ones.  I can’t sleep at night.  She in turn fails to meet my expectations.  It’s my fault really; she is only responding to me in kind.

I would like to be able to do everything she wants: fix things, finish things, make more money.  I just can’t.  People say “just” go get another job.  I can’t.  You ass holes make it sound so simple, like the solution to my problem is to just walk into another office and learn everything… just, like somehow it’s my fault I’ve been with the same company for years.  I’m not unambitious.  I’ve been passed over when I asked by idiots who aren’t here any more.  I can fix this and that, just not everything.  I look at a list of things that need to be done and I just can’t even start, because that list keeps having shit added to it and frankly it’s already overwhelming.  The answer to all of this is money, or energy, or both, I have neither.

I have a picture of depression…  Can I get on disability because I’m depressed?  They would probably force me to try a medley of mind-fucking drugs.  I don’t want those.   Life is depressing, so I’m depressed.  Wouldn’t it be better to fix the reasons why I’m depressed?  Except I feel powerless to effect the changes.  If I could choose, it would be fine.  It’s not me making the choices.

I have a mental picture of the clock.  Time is linear, advancing at exact, measured intervals.  But my experience of time doesn’t match.  When I’m busy doing something I dislike, t i m e   s l o w s  d o w n  a n d  10:30 f e e l s  l i k e  i t  s h o u l d  b e  12:00.  I’m sure of it.  When I’m busy doing something I like, time compresses and I’ve exhausted my free time of 30 minutes that felt like 5.

Depression is a weird animal.  People sit on a spectrum of depression, from “I can’t get out of bed” to “I’ll fight and keep trying to function through this shit, but I don’t like it.  Or you.”  I’m on the “fight and keep trying” side, so far.  I don’t feel like I have a choice in that matter.  I get up because I HAVE to.  I think, if I didn’t have to, I’d still get out of bed, but when I wanted to, not when someone else required it of me.  For me it comes down to who’s in control, and since that someone isn’t me, I’m a slave.  I feel powerless to make my own choices, which is depressing.  I don’t feel like quitting and “just” finding another job is the answer.  What happens when it’s the same job for a different slave-driving tyrant?  Or a worse job?  Or if I can’t “just find another job” because there isn’t one available?

Sunday my pastor taught about a person who asks “why” and doesn’t like the answer.  It’s not like that.  I pray and I wait and there is nothing but stone, cold silence.  When I do quit asking why after hearing silence, I ask what I should do, and I don’t like the continued silence.  I seek for an opportunity that matches my qualifications, skill sets and so on, and I don’t like the rejection when I think I’d fit.  I knocked on doors, emailed resumes, interviewed, and the resounding “no” was deafening.  The devil I know with lower wages but with full time hours and modest-if-pricey benefits still seems better to me than the devil I don’t, of helplessness, part time, no benefits, and utter dependence on the goodness of the temp agencies to help me.  Or going on unemployment and hoping someone picks my application off the pile.

I went fishing yesterday and there were no bites and it was windy and cold.  It could only have been worse if it was raining.  I went job searching and at least I got this meager one.  The only thing that would be worse would be being unemployed.  But when I tried for better I hit the wall every time, because I can’t find the doors, and the doors I did find were locked very securely.  It’s like fishing when the fish aren’t biting at all.  Eventually you run the emotional gamut of grief from shock and denial to acceptance, realizing you aren’t getting any fried fish dinner tonight unless you buy it from a store or restaurant.

Now think.  If I were homeless and the only way to get food was from the kindness of belligerent strangers, who look down on you because you are in need, how would you feel after fishing all day?  Those belligerent strangers are the spiritual advisors I am told I should listen to, who don’t lift a hand to help me but have all kinds of questions about my life, my spirit, and then tell me to “just” find another damned job.  Those belligerent strangers are the HR departments who might as well have a big middle finger poster with red bold print “FUCK YOU” hanging on the door.  They have the control, all the power, and they want me to take whatever meager handouts they ask, and they want to consume as much of my time doing so as possible, so I don’t have any time or control to find another lake to fish in.  They have jobs and don’t give a flying fuck about my situation or needs, much less my wants.  Why am I depressed?  Because I have no control.  If that’s supposed to be normal, then I’m completely normal and everyone should be depressed and if they’re not, they’re psychotic.

Those Christ-Followers and their pitiful “pat” answers to life’s problems.  I guess they’re reading their Bible to find those answers, so whatever.  Maybe it works for them.  It just doesn’t work for me.  “Wait on the Lord.”  OK, no problem except what do I do while I wait?  “Put God first.”  Well I’m for damned sure not first.  I can read and study my Bible all day, and Church on Sunday, while me and my family starve, and pray all the time until Jesus comes back.  Who pays my rent and buys me food while I do all that “put[ting] God first?”

Is God a belligerent stranger with a “FUCK YOU” poster on the door to the Prayer Answering Department?  Just to count the blessings you’re asking me if I’m counting, yes, I have a home, I have a wife and family, a job, a car, and many other blessings.  What I don’t have is a single shred of fucking control over anything. And yes, life would be even harder without the blessings I’m counting.  To continue with the fishing analogy, although it’s only partially, not completely, apt, I feel handicapped, homeless, helpless and hungry, and I feel the belligerent strangers are all walking by as quick as they can and ignoring me, including God.  How am I supposed to feel?

I can still pray.  I’d like to be my picture of “normal.”  Or even better off than that.  “Are you there, God?  It’s me, [Deon].” Someone before me has asked that question because they were waiting for God before me, and feeling just a little desperate before me.

Ever felt hopeless and thought even God was ignoring you?  What did you do?

Flash Fiction 2: Hadia

“Holy SHIT!” Deon exclaimed.  His taxi had just narrowly avoided oncoming vehicles by mere inches.  It wasn’t really a taxi, it was a rickshaw, pulled by a bicycle.  And Deon had just opened his eyes after catching a power nap from the airport.  His stomach was not settled, and the rough ride on the rickshaw to the hotel was not helping.  Should have taken a regular taxi, but then he would have spent more than the 12 minutes it had taken to get to the hotel.  Business trips.  Useless, pointless ventures that only reinforced Deon’s opinion of outsourcing tasks.  Sure, there were quite a few genuinely brilliant people on this team, but the less so made everyone, and the whole company, look bad.

His taxi arrived, lurching to a halt.  “I’ll get your bag,” came the very proper British.  Deon tipped his driver and said “thank you.”  Then he took his large suitcase and looked around. Near the hotel, they advertised what he expected was only marginal American food, and from his research, the hotel had only marginal amenities.  His company’s budget restrictions kept him out of the luxury hotels.  He had seen the few reviews online for the hotel where he was staying, not good.  “The Orange Diamond” hotel.  Why an “Orange Diamond?”  Maybe because the name “White Diamond” was already taken?  “I wonder whether the cockroaches in India like curry,” he quipped to himself.

“I need a drink.”  He said it to himself, but heard the same clipped British voice.

“They brew a drink called ‘Hadia’ in the restaurant around the corner which may not upset your stomach too much further, but I think perhaps a weak but hot tea might be more helpful.  ‘Hadia’ is a mild rice beer.  And I recommend the tandoori chicken- they offer it ‘mild’ – with some simple white rice.”

That scored another tip for my tipster.  “Thank you very much.”  Deon trusted that a local would know where to eat, and naturally, what to eat.  He checked his bag at the hotel, and walked around to the restaurant.  It was crowded- a good sign – but he really disliked crowded areas.  He asked if he could take his food and drink away with him.  The agreeable host provided an ample serving he would never finish, on layers of paper plates, and his beverage in a large paper cup.  Deon decided on the beer.  He found a less crowded area with a bench, found a place to sit, and ate.

Deon ate more than he thought he would, drank the entire beverage, and disposed of the trash.  Returning to his hotel room, he fell into a deep sleep.  In his dream, he had just married the Indian princess, and they were riding off to their honeymoon castle on the smoothest horses he had ever ridden.

Next morning he had a business meeting with the local manager, who introduced the staff proudly and then insisted on purchasing breakfast.  Deon chose a porridge made of poha, thinking that would be mild on his still-sensitive stomach, and black coffee.  The meeting was tolerable enough, the staff falling over themselves to make a good impression. He documented everything required..  The second day he met another team under the manager, and endured another tour with explanations of the various tasks handled at the facility.  There was no need to stay another day, although the company had arranged for him to stay for three.  So Deon spent the next day escaping the hotel compound, walking through the local market, and along the beach, snacking at a local vendor’s booth that he had seen a lot of people visit.  He really didn’t want to do any other tourist-y sight seeing, although there was a per diem that would have allowed it.  He picked up souvenirs for his associates from the market, packed them in his suitcase, and on the morning of the fourth day, rode back to the airport with the same local rickshaw driver.  That was a stroke of luck, he thought.

Finally, boarding the plane, he took his seat for the long flight.  He closed his eyes, and didn’t open them until the plane took off and stopped straining for altitude.  Seated next to him was an absolutely lovely Indian woman, traveling alone.  It was uncanny.  She looked exactly like the woman from his dream on the first night.  Could the hadia have given him a vision in the night?  Deon felt nervous, but courageously struck up a conversation.  He stumbled over his nervousness.  She responded with the most beautiful sounding laughter he had ever heard, somehow like soft, delicate wind chimes.

Love is Here To Stay, by Deon Mumple, 4/23/2015

On the surface of the planet, all is calm.  Soft music is playing “Love is Here To Stay,” the old 1930s standard by George and Ira Gershwin.  The happy couple dances together, smiling in their formal wear, celebrating their 50th anniversary. The crowd of well-wishers applauds as they gently embrace and then walk, hand-in-hand, back to the banquet table.

Just beneath the surface, there is molten lava ready to erupt at a moment’s notice. He had taken his blood pressure medication but if pressed to honesty he’d confess, this woman at his side represented a lifetime of disappointments.  There were little annoyances: she moved his cummerbund from the dresser to the closet, sending him scrambling, searching at the last minute before the limousine arrived to pick them up for their party.  There were lingering frustrations: she was always difficult to please and nearly impossible to satisfy, despite his efforts over their courtship and through their marriage.  And he learned the repeated lesson that his wants were not going to be met, but if he was nice and worked just a little bit harder, he might get what he most desperately needed.  But nothing more, never venturing into what he wanted.

At first, the couple hid their discontent from their children and family friends. But now, these smaller irritations were unconcealed.  Anyone who ventured close would occasionally hear him either yelling, if he went unmedicated, or grumbling under his breath, if he had taken his Thorobenzaprilozene.  And she wasn’t any happier.  She’d make snide remarks criticizing him in various situations, or suggesting switching his meds.  The joke varied, between switching with anti-psychotics, and switching to rat poison.  After he heard it the fifth time, the joke was old.  At first they were charmed by one another, and very naive about what they needed and hoped from each other.  But as time went on, charm gave way to frustration, then mild discontent, then complete disrespect and hatred.

Still they smiled for the cameras, the celebration, and for their children.  What would be the point of destroying the illusion?  Since the children had moved out, they slept in different sides of the house, and only met in the morning for coffee and to discuss anything they had to do together.  Then they would part company and he would mow the grass and tinker around the house, and she would do whatever it was she did.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~*~~

“Twenty years of marriage, that’s a long time to stay together!”  Friends commented and commended the happy couple then.  But it had been 3 years since she really kissed him.  He loved her lips, when they were courting, when they were first married.  They were soft, perfect, and welcoming.  Now, there was no more than a hard peck any more.  When the kids had come along, he noticed her affection dropped significantly, and despite his efforts to encourage her and light the sparks of passion, the furnace seemed as cold as a lump of coal.  And the hard peck in the morning, though still a sign of some care, actually hurt his lips.  Even in the earlier years of marriage, there wasn’t any real reciprocation when he tried to please her.

The kids were the only proof he had that she actually let him get close once or twice, beyond that there was a once-only, weekly encounter that she barely tolerated.  He desperately wanted, needed more.

He packed his own lunch and drove to work.  And now it had been 23 years, he observed.  He would pick up a card and some chocolates and roses on the way home, not that it would be appreciated.

“Why did you spend so much money?” was how the loud litany went when he bothered to try.

“Because I love you,” he responded, earnestly hopeful.

“Thank you,”  with a flat affect.  Her response rang cold and empty.  When had this relationship died?

He felt trapped, and imagined that maybe she felt the same way.  He contemplated lots of responses.  Have an affair?  That was rejected.  If he was married and a woman was willing, who else was she willing with, and what might he bring home with him?  And what about other potential consequences?  A disenchanted husband or boyfriend on the other side of the relationship, he didn’t want to cause anyone else any grief.  So although they were always there, always lovely and always waiting in the wings, he declined any offers, never gave any flirtatious invitations, and hid behind his hollow-feeling wedding band.  God, they were all so beautiful though, and he always wondered if anyone would offer anything real if he did have an affair or just got a divorce and went hunting again.  What about suicide?  Not practical.  I’ll wait, death will come in its’ own time.  Murder?  Not practical, I’d end up in jail “married” to a guy named Butch.

They had discussed what he wanted, so there really wasn’t any reason for the dismissal other than she didn’t want to make him happy.  So why should he bother to try to make her happy?  One day, he just gave up.  There would be presents at birthday and Christmas, obligatory cards and occasional roses for seasonal holidays, but nothing more than duty required.

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After a long season of courtship, today was the day.  The minister said words he barely heard, and he repeated the necessary lines.  He thought they’d be so happy.  She looked in his eyes with unspoken, wicked promises.  “Blahblahblahblah,” the minister intoned.  Was this a wedding or a funeral, or did this pastor always speak with the same monotony?

Finally, near the end, she said, “I do.”

“Blahblahblahblah.  You may kiss the bride,” the minister instructed, but it was she who kissed him. Open, perfect, soft lips, both welcoming and invading him, and celebrating.  He was pleasantly surprised with her enthusiasm.

The reception followed the ceremony.  For their first dance together, he wanted the DJ to play a playful song, “I’m a Believer,” by the Monkees.  She rejected it saying she wanted their reception to have a classic feel to it.  Instead,  she asked, “could we have them play ‘Love is Here To Stay?'”

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“420,” Drug Testing, and Creating a Dropout Culture

Ever call a drug testing center? I have, just to check on my pee sample. I sat there for a long time on hold, just to find out they can’t really tell me anything about it except that they had received it and it was being tested.

I pictured the people there sitting in a cubicle circle, passing a joint around and then realizing “…oh, shit, man… (cough-laughing) there’s a caller! SHHH! Maybe if we make them wait they’ll go away!”

4/20 came and went. For those not in “the know,” 420 is kind of an internet thing, and it has to do with the marijuana subculture, including discussion of the legalization of marijuana, and consumption in general.  Go ahead, read the Wikipedia link.  Then look on your cute social networking site for references and further information.

I’m a non-user, and I don’t care one way or the other.  It raises interesting questions though.  If legalized, would the legalization become a gateway for other drugs to become legalized?  If so, what would be next drug castle to be stormed?  Would the real crime rate and prison population go down?  Would other drugs gain prominence after marijuana became more passé than tobacco?

The marijuana subculture does create some lovely art, as do some other drug subcultures.  But with uncertain side-effects, I still don’t think I’ll be trying that any time soon.  I’m creative enough without the drugs.  I might mess myself up if I tried something to make me more creative.

They’re talking about what a good idea it would be to test people on public assistance, cutting them off if they’re using drugs.  And then, when it comes to figuring out who pays for that, they’re saying it sounds like less of a good idea.  “They” would be politicians.  Honestly, I really don’t care either way about marijuana, but I do care where my tax dollars go.  I’d be interested in a long-range study of side effects from “chronic” usage.  I’d also like a long-range study of crime statistics and how they would be influenced by the legalization of marijuana.  If they legalize marijuana I bet they could put a sales tax on that for people who wanted to buy it like tobacco, that would be enough to pay the price for the drug testing idea.

I would also be interested in a study of dropout culture.  If they test for drugs and drug users are eliminated from receiving public aid, how do they survive?  Who supports the dropouts?  In Japanese culture there are a number of children who drop out of school and are supported.  There is even an adoption movement to get them to go back to school to receive an education, even if it is non-traditional.  At the extreme edge of dropout culture in Japan are the hikikomori,who withdraw from most social interactions.  It would be very useful to study the culture, but I imagine it would be difficult to reach out to this subset of the population.  The parents by and large support those adolescents and young people as they age.

If we studied the dropout culture, and drug and crime statistics, in Japan and in other cultures more, we might find out how forcing drug users to become dropouts might impact our own country.  An analysis of the causes of the dropout culture, the reasons people start and continue using any various drug substances, with links to crime statistics, might be enormously helpful.

Anyone got a research grant burning a hole in their pockets?  Who wants to pay me for that research?

I’m Deon Mumple… and I’m Not

If you’re any self-respecting geek you’ve read “I am not Spock,” by Leonard Nimoy, written when he was struggling with the strong identification with the character, and then “I Am Spock,” written when he embraced the character.  Well I’m Deon Mumple.  And I’m not.

I’m the real Deon Mumple, I’m angry and I want to scream obscenities at irritating people, things that go wrong, criminals, politicians, the clock at work, my significant others, “life, the universe, and everything.”  And God.  I’m the pretend Deon Mumple, my alter ego, when I’m OK.  Because when I think I’m OK it’s because I’m ignoring the details, or I’m in an alcohol buzz.  Don’t judge.  A little drink helps the news not be so depressing.  But today, I’m the real Deon Mumple.

~To those bad drivers, who are selfish and inconsiderate: Fuck You AND the horse(s) you rode in on.
~To the criminals, who steal and cheat their way through life, whether they’ve been caught or not, who feel their mission in life is to coast through and take everything my neighbors and I have been working hard for:  Fuck you, prison style, and fuck your entitlement mentality.  You don’t deserve everything on a silver platter, life doesn’t work that way and you shouldn’t try to force it to.  Try moving to an underprivileged country where people actually have to work for a living and learn from them.
~To the police who are bad eggs:  See above, you are no better than the criminals and you should get what is coming to you, as above.  This murdering and mistreatment of “suspects,” especially when they are unarmed, must stop. And to the police who are good, thank you sincerely for your service.
~To the politicians who lie to get into office, lie while they’re in office, and cheat people out of things they’ve worked for and earned, pass laws that are ignorant and unhelpful, do as little as possible and immediately step up to take credit that isn’t due when something others work for goes right:  Fuck you.  Sideways.  And then, Fuck you, prison style.
~To the clock at work, that goes fast when it’s time to take a break, and moves slow whenever I’m working and wish I was at home:  Fuck you.
~To my employers, who criticize my work even though the metrics are OK and the customer reviews are golden, just enough to turn down the promotion I asked for, so you can keep underpaying me just enough I wonder whether I could really find a better job quick enough to stay on my feet or whether it’s better to stay here:  Fuck you and your lies I’m supposed to accept as “truth.”
~To my significant other, who takes everything I do for granted and says it’s not enough, who makes me feel like I’m at work getting another performance review as described above and denied “advancement.”  Sometimes it’s good, but sometimes you really piss me off.  I want what I want in exchange for everything I put into the relationship, especially when I give you everything out of what you want that I can at my own personal expense and sacrifice.  If you won’t give it to me, maybe I should quit and find someone else to wait on hand and foot and backrub and other affections.  All I’m asking is reciprocation, not anything above and beyond.  Maybe someone else will appreciate me, even though I’m damaged goods.  So far I still like making things tidy around the house, time and energy permitting.
~To death, inevitably approaching at life speed.  Stay away as long as possible.  I have stuff to do.  Please let me finish.
~To life, the universe and everything:  Could you just stop sucking so much most of the time and finish this season of suck and then send several seasons of it’s-Ok-now-you-can-succeed?  This season of suck has lasted for an awful long time, maybe the rest of my life could be the it’s-Ok season.
~To God.  You know how I feel.  I’ve been told you are worthy of praise whether my life sucks or it doesn’t.  I’ve seen the recent, subtle changes making things suck just a tiny bit less.  But if you are God, could you please help out a bit more even than recently?  I know you’re busy and everything, having a universe to run, and I appreciate the subtle nod I’ve become aware of.  But really?  If there’s a lesson in here, I’m too thick to get it.  I haven’t learned anything as far as I can tell.  Please just help me get it and move on, if whatever it is, is holding me back, because this part of life is just shitty.  Please don’t throw me back into the worse-than-shitty again, that was waaay too hard.  Oh, and $420M after taxes would take me a long way away from shitty, if you could manage.  Since you have everything it doesn’t seem like that much to ask.  And thank you for the present lesson if I’m going to learn it, and also thank you in advance for the future blessings pending delivery, if they’re coming.