Ignoring the News

So, I just sent my daughter bowling.  We’re visiting in-laws in a northern suburb of Chicago.  And so it was after taking care of some of the “wifely duties” around THIS house, people kind of are going their way – Mrs M is showering, and our hosts are doing their things, ignoring one another.  Our hosts are Mrs M’s sister and husband.  Their kids are off bowling with my dear daughter in Chicago.  Chicago.

As it happens they left the TV and the stereo playing.  I’m mixing “nana, nanana nana nana (we are young, so let’s set the world on fire)” with the TV news everyone is ignoring.  With good reason IMHO.  Sweet baby Jesus, where the fuck did I just send my daughter?!  On the TV, they just reported 61 shot, and IDK, fucking 10 or 12 dead, in old west style shootouts over the holidays in CHICAGO ILLINOIS.  And there’s still idiots on the news advocating for stricter gun control.  FUCKING IDIOTS, GUN CONTROL ONLY CONTROLS the LAW-ABIDING!!!  Oh, and in a population of approximately 2,720,546, there were ONLY 756 killed by gun violence this year, up from about 468 last year.  “about,” because some of the gun deaths might still be classified as accidental.  But seriously?

I sent my daughter out there.  She’s 16, and all I want to do is keep her safe and cook and clean for her.  My baby girl.  My son stayed home to help with the dog and play video games with one of his cousins.  Oh, all right.  To play video games with his cousin.  What am I, in denial?  All I can do is pray for her, and otherwise I’m helpless.

The damned grim-reaper statisticians say that’s “only” 0.03% of the overall population so the odds are in favor of survival.  Yeah, but that isn’t the statisticians’ baby.

I’m going to go pray, and wait for her to get back.  I hope she has fun and doesn’t even think about this kind of shit, ever ever.

And then, there was fighting in the malls, what the hell?  THAT is nothing less than domestic terrorism.  That happened in Chicago, Indianapolis, Texas, Tennessee, New Jersey…  This was organized somehow, but which social network was it? Or was it just a coincidental series of idiots?  I just don’t think so, not all at the same time.  Some asshole organizer needs to be arrested and put in stocks in the mall, and the police can fund-raise for charity selling tomatoes, various other squishy, preferably rotten, produce, and rotten eggs IN THE SHELLS.

Why in the shells?  Because like the great Mr Rickman once said in a movie he made great,”it’ll hurt more.”  And who will buy the most missiles?  Those fucking brats that attended the fight.  After the public pillory, just send him to jail and let it be known he encouraged kids to abuse other kids.  See what happens.

People are fucking idiots.  And I wish they weren’t.

Shootings?  Fighting?  The shooters don’t need coddling, nor do these shitheads at the mall.  They need a good swift kick in the ass, and some jail time.  Oh, not the shooters.  The mall fighters need to be handcuffed to their parents, and the shooters need to be sent to hell.  Except the witnesses that might have survived were law-abiding, disarmed victims, unable to defend themselves, and by the time the cops get there, all they can do is clean up the blood and cart off the meat to be incinerated.  But if the citizens were armed, there would be a lot less of this shit going on.  It would also be better if these kinds of events NEVER made it to the news, because fame, or infamy, breeds copycat bored shitheads.

Malls are not a place for your damned bored kids to drive themselves and hang out, unless they’re peaceful.  But your kids are either driving themselves or being left there while the parents are off taking a momentary break from teenage I’m bored bullshit.  Fucking idiots.  Your shitty kids need to wash your dishes and wash all the household laundry, dry it and fold it and put it the fuck away, and then study for their SATs and college admission boards.  They need to clean the bathrooms and take out the trash, and then they need to volunteer at a senior center or boys and girls club.  Or they need a job so they can learn how hard it is to earn enough to live.

Your kids better not kill my kids, or you and your kids can all go to hell.  And given the chance, if that happened, I’d be delighted to send them there while you watch, and then send you to join them.  I’m the guy who says he hopes everyone figures it out and grows a little faith in God and love like Jesus taught, but I have my limitations and I know them.  Don’t ever injure or maim or kill one of my kids, or shit’s going down.  Your shit.  I’ll hide the bodies and evidence.

Thank you, Dexter.  I don’t WANT to be a mass murderer, but if I ever need to handle just one or two, I know how to handle it.  They may catch me eventually, but I think I can delay them for a long time.

My poor daughter is so naive, we disagree on the topic of gun control.  She hates that I think everyone should have guns and learn how to use them.

She may be a naive teenager, but she’s not tramping around or hanging out unsupervised at the mall.  She’s bowling with her cousins and her uncle. Bored kids need something to do with their idle time, or we’ll just see more and more erosion of civilization perpetrated by kids who have too much money and free time on their hands.

My daughter did some volunteer work over the holiday season, and so did my son.  I may not like all of their idle time, any time they complain about boredom, but I admire their willingness to be a contributing part of making the world a better place.  I think if everyone focused on those kinds of pursuits, there might eventually be teen boredom, but I’d love to see how fucking long that shit would take to come to the surface.  My bet is it would take a very long time before the world ran out of poverty, hunger, starvation, sickness, etc.  I am sure if you look around, there is a service organization where you and or your children can serve, contribute, care, improve things.  Or they can start one, pick a pet project and run with it.  I did an internet search for just “service project,” and there were 57,700,000 results.  That’s 21 for every single damned citizen of Chicago.  More if you limit it to those who aren’t bored enough to go around shooting at people or start fighting in the fucking shopping malls.

Please show your kids how honorable that kind of behavior is- random, or planned, acts of kindness, are awesome.  That makes a parent, and a community, proud of their kids.  This other behaviour, random or planned, is just shit.  It’s worse when it’s planned misbehaviour.  And behaving like shit makes people who are only worth flushing.  When you clean that bathroom, bored teen, don’t forget the fucking bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, scrubbing bubbles…  whatever cleaner you need, I’ll provide it.  Mop the floors after you wash the mirrors, clean the sink and scrub the toilet.  Inside and out.  And hear some wisdom:  If you act like a little shit, don’t be surprised when society wants to flush your ass.

Christmas Cheer

Is it bad that for Christmas dinner I wanted a venison steak for Christmas dinner, and egg nog with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert?

Coffee would be great too.

I had neither.  That venison though, my kids are too old to be horrified, so it’s not for impact, it’s just because it’s delicious.  Marinate that in some italian salad dressing, and grill that up with some veggies, maybe squash and onions, and baked, then sliced and then fried potato with some onion, garlic, salt and dill… mmm.  It isn’t even dinner time, I’m still full from lunch, but I could eat.  Or drink.

Have a nice cup of Christmas cheer, everyone!

Sadly, the venison isn’t happening, even though my kids are too old to be horrified.  Oh well, we all grow up sometime.

On Christmas day, we read from Luke 2 before breakfast, and Mrs M asked the kids what they like about Christmas.  I like hope.  That’s what I want to go with my venison dinner.  A big bowl of hope.  I hope you get served up a big dish of hope too.  It’s a great mixture of sweet and savory and occasionally a little bitter mixed in.  It’s very filling, but I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the longings of our hearts to be fulfilled.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  Proverb 13:12

It’s almost a tradition to listen to Christmas comedy songs, so I started with “I am Santa Claus,” and “Hey, You, Get Offa My House,” and a few others.  And of course, I love all of the music so there were classic carols and a few favorite artists.  I only heard Mariah Carey once.  Given the stress levels at Christmas, “novelty” recordings are a necessity.  I avoided several of “The 12 Pains of Christmas…”  I didn’t send out or hand out cards this year, and we only decorated inside the house, not outside.  But my in-laws are tolerable, so facing them isn’t usually too bad.

That’s a thing some can’t say.  Most people fall in love and they’re so doe eyed for the other person they ignore that they’re going to be family, have to deal with the family dynamics and stresses the other person is used to dealing with.  I did have to let Mrs M’s mum know I didn’t like her little jokes about injuring her son-in-law in a certain way which would prevent grandchildren, and sometimes I still have to listen to Mrs M’s dad rant when he forgets his blood pressure medicine or eats too much salt, or when he feels disappointed not everyone else knows how to fix plumbing or a transmission…damn, the future Mrs M was NOT prepared for someone who likes to clean house as stress relief.  She should have married a dirty auto mechanic plumber, not a creative writer with OCD, ADD, and a few other letters.  The swearing thing?  Sorry not sorry, it IS NOT Tourette’s, it’s just Deon rebelling against the decorum that is my mum.

Bless her heart, she rightly says swearing is bad, disrespectful, whatever negativity you wish to apply.  If it’s a display of a poor vocabulary, then I can’t imagine how many more words I would know and not be able to use because no one knows what I’m talking about already.  (Friend: What the fuck did you just say?!  Me:  I said [insert randomly thought of, but momentarily utilitarian, big or obscure word and meaning].   And Mrs M?  She had to learn my mum and dad have their own issues and I’ve lived with that my whole life.  The whole thing is about patience and acceptance- I’ve learned quite a bit about plumbing and I can now fix certain things about the car, too.  I’m still not content with Mrs M’s sense of propriety, or the way she demands impatiently when I’m in no mood for immediate demands.  Should have learned plumbing when I was learning all those stupid words [doltish, pretentious, fatuous, coccydyniacian  …know any other sesquipedalian words?]…and how to cook and clean everything under the sun.  Not all words end up making one a pain in the ass.  Some are useful because if the person you say them to or about won’t realize whether they’ve been insulted or complimented.  You Fibonaccian- formed readers all know I’m right about every one of your golden ratios, even if it looks a bit wabi sabi to you,  every one of you cuddlesome callipygians.  ::Deon ducks and runs::

Just because I know the word for it doesn’t mean I’m in the habit of actually looking it up…or down.

I want a lady who’ll put up with sweary, irritating Deon, depressed Deon, manic Deon, raging Deon, and still behave like a fearless tigress when we’re alone.  Yeah that’s the other Deon…  And you picked him, so please, for fuck’s sake (ha), or for whatever other sake Deon’s up for, hang up the prim and proper behaviour, Mrs M, and just let me have it how I want to be had.  And I’ll do the same for you.  I picked the lady I thought was closest to best-fit, and it’s been ok.  And less than ok when I am particularly irritable or psychologically knackered and she’s feeling less than my ideal concept of pliant.  And better than ok sometimes, and she has tried some things.  I just want more and more often than she thinks I need.  On the Big Bang Theory, Dr Hofstadter hooked up with Dr Winkle, and Dr H started making relationship plans and future hookup plans, and Dr Winkle wasn’t having any of that- she said she would be good for a month or so without any, erm… interaction.  I’m with Dr H. there, once a month doesn’t do it for me.  I want…ah…attention, three to five times a week.  Or seven.  Or ten.  After more than 20 years, she’s still it.

At the risk of being accused of idealizing, I do love Mrs M and celebrate the little ways she’s perfect while lamenting the little ways she’s not.

It was a surprisingly good Christmas, all things considered.  Being practical, Mrs M attended to my functional needs, but invested the rest of her creative and loving efforts toward the kids and of course, to her family.  I have a pending request for a little more attention toward her loving husband and “house-wife”(so goes the joke since I do so many of the household chores and cooking and so on).  So there was some stress relief, which is always good.  I dread change, and trying to learn how a NEW person ticks, not just one on one, but putting up with her friends, learning her family dynamics, AND what she likes and doesn’t like intimately, would probably shut me down more than if I ever lost Mrs M., so yeah, I’ll do whatever I need to do to keep her.  Even putting up with getting less attention than I want sometimes.  Ugh, the whole dynamic of courting… no, thank you.  I can flirt all I want, but the actual adventure?  If I didn’t die of embarrassment, I’d die of STRESS!  Change is stressful, I can do without any extra stress.

Speaking of holiday stress, at least I’m not at work.  I took the last week of the year off, and I still lost a few hours of earned time off that was just not taken, not that anyone at work cares about that.  That will be fine too.  I’ve quit caring since I got to spend holidays with family, that was what I really wanted, whether the quirky systems they clock everyone on works right or not.  If I want anything different this coming year I’ll have to quit, and you all should know I dread change.  I haven’t gotten to it yet, but you want to do something nice for me?  All I need is prayer, because God can fix my brokenness and motivate other people to help me, just for virtue of YOUR PRAYERS.  Some of you are already praying for me, you know who you are.  And if you confessed to actually praying for me, I’m praying for you too.  I’m even praying for people who haven’t asked, and I’m not even sorry.  You’ll just have to deal with it, or come and kill me or I won’t stop.  MWAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA….  That’s right, I did an evil laugh for doing something good.  Well, I think it’s good.  YOU can tell me it’s pointless all you want.  We’ll see who laughs last.  MWAAAAA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!

Mrs M was afraid she short-changed the kids this year, but I saw plenty of smiles and happiness on their little sugar-plum faces.   We’ve got good kids, basically.  I’ll keep them.  You can’t choose family, but if I were choosing, I could do worse.   I don’t think they’ll turn us in to Child Protective Services… this year.  Foster programs very likely wouldn’t let them stay together to torment and abuse our replacements, and college money would be more uncertain, and then there’s the new dog.  He was an early Christmas present.  So the “nuclear family” has the occasional meltdown, the occasional explosion and mushroom cloud, and sure, there’s fallout, but for now, it’s intact.

The single most fun thing I did this Christmas wasn’t for my immediate family.  I persuaded my family to let me find presents for a few different people.  They let me take two gift tags off of a tree at work for some kids who don’t really have anything.  I have very strong, but well-researched and well-supported opinions about work, but the fact that the tree with the gift ornaments was at work isn’t the kids’ fault.  I bitch about how I can’t afford shit, but I dearly love opportunities for generosity.  I love helping people.  I can’t tell you how or where it came from, because it takes the joy and the mystery away, but we figured out how to get those two presents. And two other people I love, we figured out how to send them a few little things too.

I’m proving that you don’t have to be a billionaire to do little fun nice things.  Being a billionaire WOULD be a lot of fun.

I don’t want to “buy everything,” or God forbid, get famous.  When I’m a billionaire…  There’s a poem there, but not a song.  Someone else can come along and set my words to music.  I don’t want to waste money, or live some kind of entitled life.  “To whom much is given, much is also expected.”

But it feels good doing nice things to help or encourage other people, even when you feel helpless about big things. It feels good, just doing something tiny. Not just to the person you’ve done something nice to, but to you, too.  That whole “pay it forward” movement?  It’s fine, but it’s also OK to trade favors with the neighbors (or pies, or dishes of food, or loaves of bread, or mowing the grass or shoveling the snow, or really, anything).  I’m sure there’s a list of things people can do for each other online, not that we’re that empty headed and can’t think of something, but just to get the wheels of friendships rolling.    It’s empowering.

For the new year, I hope to be set free to do as much of these things as I have time for.  It would be nice to be handed enough cash to do this sort of thing without really having to count the cost, but until then, I’ll just count it and see what I can do.  Don’t tell the universe fucker, you KNOW he’ll bescumber me… I mean, “he’ll make sure the shit will break loose to try even harder to discourage or stop me.”

While it may be true that “each day has enough evil of its’ own,”
don’t let anything stop you.  I’ll try, too.

Deep Tears

Deep Tears, 12/22/2016, Deon Mumple

The Infant cried as Mary tried
To offer some comfort.
She hugged him close and kissed his nose,
With love, gentle support.
He half giggled, her hair tickled,
Then tried hard not to cry-
Pained and aware, burdens to bear
His purpose in His eye.
The Innocent knew He was sent
To offer love and peace.
The angels sang and heaven rang
With profound mysteries:
“Cosmos: Rejoice! You have a choice!
He’ll rescue all who come!”
He felt our aches, all our mistakes,
But fought his tears, for mum.

Rage Trigger/Follower Filter

Rage Trigger/Follower Filter

Merry Christmas, everybody.

I don’t like people, and I used to just blanket the world under the statement that I hated everyone equally, but you get to know people and you dislike some people even more than you dislike others.  Oh, tell me all you want about how I can’t judge a book by its’ cover, or I shouldn’t judge or I’ll be judged by the same standards.  Honestly, if I don’t like you, feel free to stay the fuck away and don’t interfere in, don’t interact with, and most importantly, don’t be any influence in, my life.

Grab your breakfast dishes and hold on tight.  Somebody shit in Deon’s cornflakes this morning.

I was innocently sitting at work when one of my associates walked in.  She’s like, 16 or12 or  something, way too young for me to have the slightest interest.  You don’t get Deon unless you’re Mrs M, or Hayley Atwell, or Jeri Ryan, or Mariah Carey, or certain favored co-inhabitants of the blog-iverse.   All of those people, including any that I may or may not have read about or researched online, either should know, or already know, that if you’re not Mrs M you don’t get any extra special favorable treatment.  There will NEVER be any special occasions unless they include an invitation to meet Mrs M back at the bunker.  I am NOT interested in complicating an already too complex life.  And, you can be as hot as you want, but unless you’re 32 or older, AND you’re Mrs M, I don’t want whatever products or services you have, whether you’re selling, giving away, or just advertising.  I may actually love you, you know who you are, I may compliment you in the hottest way I know how, but Mrs M owns everything and I don’t have her permission to give you anything past a hug, and barely that.  OK Disclaimers over, back to my story.

Wait, one more thing:  Jeri, sorry the stalkers scared you, I know that literally happens to celebrities and it sucks.  All you beautiful celebrities and fellow bloggers, I’ll only ever stalk you from afar, and only ever hold you in the highest regard because you’ll never ever find your way into my arms because I’m staying in hiding in the safety of my bunker.  Stay the hell away from me, there’s such a thing as too much temptation.  I know you won’t be able to restrain yourself (-ves).  I’m simply too hot.  Irresistible.  I KNOW.

OK, back to my story. She walked in and she was wearing something, we’ll call it maybe a rock and roll tee shirt or a Christmas sweater, and I said I liked it.  I mean, if you’re wearing a Led Zeppelin tee shirt, everyone’s going to see it.  It’s fucking right there.  And if you’re wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, everyone’s going to see that. If I said what it was and she read it, well, would it help or hinder my argument? She’d know she pissed me off, not that she would read the blog, much less change her opinion of her version of the event. All I said was something complimentary about the item of clothing. Could have said the same thing in the store seeing it on a clothes hanger.

Fuck me if she didn’t start to giggle.  I asked what that was about, and she said, “You know what you were doing.”

WTF?!  OK so, “what was I doing?”

“You KNOW!”

OK babe.  I was NOT checking YOU out.  Firstly, you might as well be twelve and I’m from the dark ages and whatever you’re thinking I’m thinking is just NEVER EVER going to cross my mind.  Secondly, Mrs M holds all the deeds to my property.  And then I thought about it.  This girl is probably very sensitive, aware of herself, and I’ve already heard her besmirch the character of another guy here in the office, a friend of mine she said was staring at her.  I might look over at her once a day if she’s talking to me or if I need to talk to her, but there’s none of that.  And, although I didn’t want to believe it of my friend, I don’t work in his area, so I don’t know.  Maybe this girl is a victim of someone’s abuse, but not of me.

It upset me.   Here’s why:

In these dear United States of The Offended, although people SAY that one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, this is not the case in all cases.  Young little Miss Thang, who looks young enough to be my daughter, presumed my guilt.  Presumed my covert hostility.  Presumed my bad intent   *cue Ian, and play Jethro Tull’s Aqualung*

What the fucking fuck?   I didn’t zoom in and try to observe. I observed the wardrobe and tried to say something nice. I didn’t covet the the contents. I don’t have x-ray vision, not that there’s much to observe. One can window-shop all one wants, but if the shelves are almost empty or I have better at home I’m not giving it more than a glance.   Jumping to your misbegotten premature conclusions like that makes it sound like I was openly staring, taking careful measurements, and making a schematic diagram.

Your presumption of my hostility is an act of hostility to me, little one.  And hostility is a HUGE trigger to my hostility, but not the kind of hostility you presumed.  It’s as bad or worse than presuming that I’m privileged and you’re not based on things about me you PRESUME, without actually knowing me or anything about my life.  And let me repeat myself:  “Oh, tell me all you want about how I can’t judge a book by its’ cover, or I shouldn’t judge or I’ll be judged by the same standards.  Honestly, if I don’t like you, feel free to stay the fuck away and don’t interfere in, don’t interact with, and most importantly, don’t be any influence in, my life.”   More importantly, if you don’t like me, do the same but go twice as far away.

If I can’t judge you by your presumptiveness, and I can’t hate you back for presumptively hating me, then you are at an unfair advantage and I won’t be set up for that.  That statement above is very important.  Feel free to stay away, please.  Don’t try to touch me, talk to me, or have any impact on my life whatsoever. Please.  No, really.  Please. Go. Away.  And, although if pressed you would deny all of this, it’s too late.  I already hate you and my walls have gone up, little one.  And it’ll take a LOT for the walls to come back down. I literally put a folder up on top of the cubicle wall to prevent her from presuming my being possessed with perversion.  I wouldn’t want to be speaking to her and have her think the wrong thing ever again.

Things that make me dislike people are myriad, but I try to be fair, until I get to know a person.

I’m sure there’s a top 11 list of things that do.  Oh look!  Here comes one now:

11  Conceit
10  Selfishness
9    Presumption
8    Hunger for power
7    Being over-charged for things I need
6    Reckless disregard for others
5    Being Demanding
4    Being upset when your unrealistic or unnecessary or tyrannically urgent, spoken or unspoken, demands or expectations aren’t met
3    Forcing me to do something twice when once should be enough but you weren’t satisfied the first time.  (see also, demands)
2    Not doing or saying anything to acknowledge when I try hard to do something nice for you.
1    Saying you care and then presenting ongoing evidence to the contrary.

I read a quote attributed to Maria Callas, a formerly famous opera singer.  The internet says she said, “Don’t come to me with your troubles.  I have to work for my money, and you are young enough to work too.  If you can’t make enough money to live on, you can jump out of the window or drown yourself.”  It made me intensely dislike Maria, and if she wasn’t dead and found out I didn’t like her, she’d probably cry all the way to her rich friends and they’d all have flutes full of consolation champagne.  If it’s the truth and that’s an accurate quote, Maria had a very ugly soul.

It goes to prove you can have a measure of outer beauty, and be completely hideous on the inside.  It also goes to prove you can be surrounded by swarms of deluded people who are more than willing to tell you how great you are.  These are the kind that are happy just to have your shadow fall upon them, but in the end you’re empty and worthless.

I submit that you can be a bitch and still have people who actually know you, actually like you.  As evidence, your honor, I submit myself, exhibit A.  Well, I THINK they like me.  I’m a bitch, it’s true.  Just read a little more of the blog if you’re uncertain.  But I actually care about other people, and people I actually care about can tell.  Maybe I’m deluding myself; maybe that’s how Maria deluded herself.  But if you’re a self-centered heartless one, although people may wish to bask in the glow of your fame, or profit from it, no one really likes you.

Sure, I wish the world revolved around me or at least I wish I was privileged like some people think I am.  It would make everything so much easier.  For me.  But it doesn’t, and I gave up on the concept of myself as God probably about the time Aqualung came out…if I was even born that long ago… not saying it wouldn’t be great to be in control, but saying I guess I can deal with the fact I’m not as long as you let me wrestle for as much control as I can have.  I should probably count myself lucky to have a [ctrl] key on the keyboard, and be content with that.  The more I wrestle for it, the less I seem to have.  Fucking universe fucker…  I’d get rid of him if I could.  It’s hard enough without a thing bent on making it worse.

So yeah, my “privileged” self wrapped ONE present for Mrs M and we went shopping for some small items for our kids because that was all we could afford.  I DID find one other thing for Mrs M…no, she found it and needed it for work so I bought it.  The car repairs and my teeth and whatever else breaks will have to wait until next year for the “privilege.”

Judge not, so you won’t be judged.  Don’t think you’re all that enough to presume I can see something that isn’t there, worse, think I’m trying to see it, and then passive-aggressively hate me for it.  When I go back to work, I hope to bring Christmas cards for the top of the cubicle walls, because honey, I’ve seen into your soul, without having to inspect the shell, and it’s not attractive to me.  With your ugly-ass soul, I’d rather not be able to see the shell at all, or anything you put on it, even if it is a cool rock and roll t shirt or an ugly Christmas sweater, you ugly-souled, self-centered, presumptuous fucking   bitch.

For the rest of you, still, Merry Christmas and thanks for letting me vent a little.  If you think that my venting is the best Christmas present you got this year, I am PROFOUNDLY sorry.

Tomorrow, something SO much better.  A Christmas poem.  Just you wait.  And for the record, you can check me out all you want.  Just don’t touch.

~Deon, feeling less pre-Christmas rage and more Christmas do-we-have -to-go-see-the-in–laws-again-stress already.  Hooray for Christmas sarcasm.  Save me, baby Jesus!!

Sparks Near Inferno’s Gate

By the time you read this it’ll be Thursday. It’s Wednesday headed toward Thursday fast, and I am trying to exercise a way to write just to write something. For those of you who might anticipate a high level of quality writing here, bless your hearts for still holding out hope…

Because, what’s the sign say over the gate to hell in Dante’s Inferno? Come on, you know this one. … No?

“Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.” The most popular translation is “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

The journey begins and to me it often looks like this:

I heard a preacher on the radio, I know that’s kind of old fashioned but sometimes I’ll hear something that’ll spark my brain in some way. Well, spark it did. I understand that everyone who reads the Bible is going to come away with something different: a specific understanding, a mystery to explore further, an interesting topic, complete confusion, and so on.

It’s Christmas, but I can’t feel it.  Not now.  I feel like Santa left sadness, disappointment, darkness, worry, rage, loneliness, pain, and helplessness behind, along with reindeer shit, in my stocking. Where are you, Christmas? Whoever wrote this song found something they celebrated at the end of the song; I’m stuck between beginning and middle:

If your reaction, to reading or to life, is complete confusion, I’m right there with you, and also I’m sorry to say that my recommendation is to read more. And so it is that with Sunday’s confusing events, and the hated translation, I hoped was butchered, I have checked the Greek. What can I say, I just have weird things that push my buttons. I went to my standard resources, and read and reread. There’s a little word tacked on at the end of Luke 2:14 in the Greek. Doggone it if there is no comma, nothing exact to explain the exact implication. It just says “eudokia.” This is one place where I think King Jim’s translators got it right, though. If there’s a comma implied, it’s SO much better for me.

Curious? Go ahead: http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/Greek_Index.htm ; dive in. Would I steer you wrong? It’s FASCINATING, really. Next stop on the rabbit trail? I went here: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?t=kjv&strongs=g2107.

In my study, I do not see any indication that “eudokia,” “good will” is conditional and implies the requirement of God’s delight in order for Him to bequeath the promise of peace. So, though the language in the translation sometimes used implies it, the original language carries no such baggage. Thank God for that. So say whatever you feel like saying, translators who want to attach boat anchors and 16 ton weights to God’s grace. People seem to delight in doing that. Like this:

You want to get into heaven? OK, work for it. Work hard and maybe you’ll earn God’s favor.

Um… How do I know if I did enough good? And …that doesn’t answer the awkwardness of the bad things still on my conscience, so how can I trust that?

I don’t think it works that way. I believe there are no such boat anchors, because of several internal reference points in the same document. You could go back to John 3:16, which starts on the foundation that God loves the world and wants to save us. You could go to Galatians 2:16 or 3:10, which pretty much close the door on us ever measuring up to any kind of approval from God by our own good work. Or Ephesians 2:9-10, which are even more clear. Or Titus 3:3-8, which interestingly enough, makes the point to call out lazy Christ-followers who say, “OK, I’ve accepted God’s grace on my faith. I believe it, so I’m all good,” and they sit and wait for the end and don’t help anyone. There’s a thread though which says it’s not our works that save us, or restore us, or bring us into any kind of relationship with God.

There’s a point to all of this, and I’ll get back to it. It has to do with this preacher guy on the radio, and he went all the way back to Genesis with something that bugged me a little. I mean, I’ve said (above) that there are as many interpretations or understandings as there are people, so maybe the guy’s entitled to his thought process. He was talking about Christmas, and how God came to Earth “in the flesh,” or “incarnate,” which is a big word that means “in the flesh.” What he was trying to get at was that Jesus, the baby who grew to become a man, came as God’s gift of John 3:16 -“God so loved the world that he gave…” Jesus was protected into adulthood, until everything was ready and he was prepared to pay for all the bad things I ever did. OK, yeah, all the bad things you ever did too. Despite all of the attempts made on his ancestors’ lives and on his own, and if you read the story you’ll see those. If Jesus’ ancestors knew about it, they’d have been scared to death for their own lives. But it happened, and Jesus was born, and lived until he was ready and until the time was right. He had to wait until Israel was under Rome’s thumb, so the message could be shared with the whole world. If it was just Israel, they would have just done this:

Under just Israel’s law, no Roman or anyone else in the world would ever know what happened except Israel. But under Roman rule, the message would be visible to Rome and to Israel, and to the world. Under just Israel’s authority, the stars themselves would make less sense.

Rabbit trail #2: The sign for Israel is Pisces, the 2 fishes. (See also Mark 6:41?) The sign for Gentiles (the rest of us), is Taurus, the bull. Right between the two, hard to see hanging up there, is Aries, a ram. (See also Genesis 3:21, Genesis 22, very importantly John 1:29, and also, like a button on the end of a great piece of music, Revelation 5, and there are more, I’ll get to one or two if you can stay with me.) The Bible is a tightly woven tapestry.

This preacher on his radio show, though, said that when Jesus came to earth as a baby, it was the first time He had been in human likeness, or “in the flesh.” But the more I read it the more I wonder if God was showing us how He was going to try to save us, all along. This preacher said that when God walked in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8) he was not in human form. You remember Genesis 3, it’s where Adam and Eve screwed up, disobeyed God and fell, along with all their descendents including me, and took all of creation on a ripping rollercoaster ride, a twisting, screaming journey to hell in a handbasket. Try to deny it all you want, and then turn on the news. For some, the journey seems short, but on a cosmic scale it’s taking longer than 8,000 years, presuming a young earth, but that’s another can of worms and I am NOT touching it. I won’t go back. But this message, this implication, it bugged me, because the guy has no way of knowing that, and no way to back the statement up. This preacher wasn’t in the Garden with God back in Genesis 3. My Genesis 1:26 isn’t at all unclear: “Let us make humans in our image, in our likeness…”

What I’m saying is not that this preacher was necessarily wrong, or intentionally saying something to mislead. What I’m saying is we all have to dig in to the Bible for ourselves to find our own treasures. It’s important that each of us do that. My assertion is that if we ARE in the likeness of God, “in [His] image, then He must be, in highest form, the pre-image of humans.

To the point, here’s one treasure I take from my digging:

What if God was enabling the restoration of the relationship broken by Adam and Eve as the slain lamb in Genesis 3:21?

What if God was restoring the relationship broken by Abraham, as the slain lamb in Genesis 22?

What if God was enabling the restoration of His relationship with Israel through the symbols of Exodus 12?

What if God promised the possibility of restoration in Isaiah 53 (see the Lamb there in verse 7?), written 2716 or so years ago? And finally,

What if God was offering, if we believe, to restore the whole world, as the Lamb of John 1:29, sacrificed at Passover in John 19, and raised in John 20?

You don’t have to ask yourselves these questions, but I raise them for your consideration.

John wrote in maybe A.D. 90 or so, which puts it at 1926 years or less ago, and the events of John would have taken place maybe 800 years AFTER the prophecy of Isaiah 53. If you’ve followed me down the rabbit trails this far, just read the last few verses of John 20 (verses   29-31). 31 is important. How did Isaiah know 800 years early?

Because if God did that, who am I to say whether He pushed my sorry ass into this pit of despair for some restorative reason? I HATE the pit, but if there’s some value in my being here, then eventually it’ll be fine. I’d really rather not. But I get to hang out with some of you, here in the dark, and you’re pretty cool. Maybe we can walk together a while. Or just sit here, it’s better with your company.  I’m not anything like the Lamb. I just talk about Him, just like John did. I complain WAY too much to compare myself to Him. He is, if you don’t already know, “…One you do not know. He is the One who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” (John 1:26-27) He can restore, or establish, a relationship with us, if I’ve read this right. I wish there were, but there’s no promise of any circumstantial changes. Only eternal changes. All it takes is our faith. I still have to walk through this shit for now, but eternally, I’ll be eternally better off than now. I feel abandoned, not that I’m nearly important enough to matter. But Jesus himself felt the same: “Eloi! Eloi! Lama Sabachthani?” (Psalm 22:1, see also Matthew 27:46; and, how did David know a thousand years early how that scene would play out?) It wasn’t just words to Jesus. It was agony far worse than I may ever know.

What if God pushed me into this pit of despair, or let the universe fucker push me, or let me fall all by myself, to encourage JUST ONE of my readers, to let me meet you, to reassure you of your beauty and incredible worth, to assert that God loves you in ways far more pure and complete and unimaginable than I am capable? To encourage you to have courage, and faith? Although I hate the test, although I hate the universe fucker for the whole journey, if you get it, you’re worth it to me. There are times when I hurt not because it sucks to be me, but because I know what you are going through and I wish I could do something that would effectively reduce your pain or just thoroughly and completely rescue you, but there isn’t anything. I pray for you, and can’t not weep.

Christmas is coming and I haven’t got anything tangibly helpful for you. I have a prayer for me, and may it be answered a thousand billion times, yes. And I have a prayer for you, and may it be answered the same, a loud resounding FUCK, YES!!

Here’s my prayer for me:

OK, I confess, that was a joke. Well, halfway. Because I really do want that for Christmas too. But here’s my real Christmas wish for me:

Here’s my prayer for you, and maybe selfishly I want a little of that for myself too. If it gets answered, the way I want, there will be enough for you to share.

I’m going to go to work when I wake up today, because if I don’t, I’ll think about it and start crying again. This time it’s not just for me. It’s for you too.

It took me a long time, but I think I know why I cried for me on Sunday: It’s because I’m broken. It hurts. And try as I may, I can’t fix it.

And I know why I’m crying for you too: I’m broken that we’re all broken, we live in a world that is killing us, slowly and painfully, and we can’t do anything much about it, except to be there as an encouragement to one another. I hate that you hurt, and I wish life treated us all SO much better.  But while we’re alive, I want us all to share an eternal hope, even if we can’t have peace for now.

Please share that hope with me.


About What Happened on Sunday


Sunday, and it’s already Wednesday and I haven’t had a chance to process what happened Sunday and the dishes are in the sink unwashed again and the trash is full and I know that damned lint filter hasn’t been emptied since Monday night when I did it myself. I’m grateful, don’t get me wrong, for the fact that Mrs M is a good investor, and she bought us a washer and dryer so we didn’t have to collect the dirty laundry, motor over to the laundromat, wherever the fuck that is, have cash, detergent and dryer sheets for static for enough loads to wash and dry, fold, motor back home, and distribute said laundry to its’ owners. No, we did the laundry at home.

I looked it up, and for my convenience there is a laundromat about 7 miles from the house. Good to know. But fortunately, we wrapped appliances up in the cost of the home when we bought it. Which means, the warranties … nevermind. I don’t want to think about THAT crisis. They’ve been dependable and despite the thick layer of lint in the trap I’ll empty tonight if I remember to do it, the house hasn’t burned down yet.

I think I know a little too much about laundry. And I also know how to dissect a vacuum cleaner and reassemble it after getting all the dirt out. I do NOT want to know how to dissect a washer or dryer. Nor do I ever want to learn how to do plumbing or car repairs. Which reminds me, I need an oil change, and about a thousand more dollars of work done on the car. The oil change I can handle. The thousand? It’s just an estimate, a grand estimate, so grand, it’ll have to wait. And I have to check Mrs M’s car soon because we get to go visit family for Christmas. Yay. (is all my sarcasm out yet?) Don’t get me wrong. I love my in-laws. It was much easier after Mrs M’s mother quit discussing ways to dissect and disable and dismember her new son-in-law. The jokes weren’t ever funny. Never.  Thank fuck she quit that.  And it is easier when Mrs M’s father doesn’t yell about how he’s a self-taught expert on everything and my son and I should be too. Dad, take your blood pressure pills, please. And put in your fucking hearing aid. You can’t hear yourself yell.

About the cars, I can do the simple things: check the oil, check the tire pressure, switch a flat with a spare (not required, yay!), but I can’t do things like replace struts or shocks or sensors or rebuild a transmission, or hang the engine from a tree, fix it and remount it. We live in a gentrified area. Gentrified is code for I can’t do things I would probably never do anyway, if I actually OWNED a piece of property. I’m not allowed unless I ask permission and get approval, because there’s an HOA. Apparently, although I’m paying the bank AND the HOA for the privilege of living where I live, I still don’t own the land, I just am required to mow and maintain it according to their standards of beauty. God only knows what they said to the guy with the rich bumper crop of thistles in his yard. Maybe nothing, after all, thistles are lush, pretty and green and grow pretty blue flowers on the top even when there’s no rain. Anyway, their recent bill for, I guess, hiring a snowplow to wake us up at 11:30PM scraping ice that would have been snow and come up easier a few hours before we went to sleep, came in and I happened to see it. Remind me to let Mrs M handle that from now on. I already know I can’t afford shit, now I can’t afford whatever costs LESS than shit. I saw a few other bills too, before I took Mrs M Christmas shopping, and wouldn’t you know the bank let us buy a bunch of shit we can’t afford in spite of what I know.

I am angry all the time. I am angry and I wish I could blame it all on the cyclothymia, but it’s something different. I call the universe fucker to account, because most of the rage comes from there. And from the very feelings of helplessness my helplessness inspires. But I’m supposed to be a responsible adult, supposed to be in control of my responses to life’s stimuli, supposed to be a good husband and father and I have to confess that I’m not well able to do any of that. I’m not supposed to be angry, I’m supposed to figure out how to fix whatever’s upsetting me, and I have to confess that I’m not able to do any of that. I have tried to earn more money, and it’s an open pit that sucks whatever I make that should be “extra” away and only demands more. I pay to fix the car, have to go for a physical and the doctor orders a test that insurance doesn’t help enough with, I pay for that, my teeth break. I pay to fix my teeth, the plumbing leaks. I pay to fix the plumbing, Mrs M’s car breaks. And so on. Except it’s now to the point that I can’t afford to pay to fix the car, so it waits, I do a minimum repair, and I hope doesn’t break to a point where it won’t take me to work. And my teeth don’t hurt, but they just have other awkward consequences I’m tired of. What I need is a break. NO, for fuck’s sake, NOT something else that breaks!! What I crave is not “control,” but rather financial security. What I want is a wider margin of safety. What I need is peace.

Every time I’ve prayed and asked God for a wider margin of safety, I’ve ended up with less margin. God has a fucking twisted sense of humor. And He also has a fucking twisted perspective on how to answer prayers. See also So it is that with all of the shit falling apart around me, //giphy.com/embed/6BPsv5NHI5jEc


without taking a pause to allow any kind of recovery, I wonder why I’m not dead yet. I don’t want to be Job. You know the guy. He’s faithful and upright and God decides he’s a pawn in a cosmic game and puts him through all kinds of shit until he wishes he was dead. Or maybe more like this guy, you may well laugh (and how could I say “fuck you” for that?), and I admit it’s a trifle funny but King Arthur is basically chopping bits off the guy //giphy.com/embed/nReribyqzVy9y

via GIPHY,

rendering him more and more hopelessly and ridiculously helpless, and yet he keeps coming.

If I’m lucky, perhaps I’m not invincible as the Black Knight of our tale, and King Arthur (AKA, God) will just come along and chop my head off. If I’m not, then I’ll continue down this delusional path thinking I’m serving a purpose and I’m just for some reason supposed to be frustrated with the hopeless, completely fucked feeling of it all.

I’m still not sure what to call what happened to me on Sunday, except possibly a miniature nervous breakdown. I wasn’t hearing voices, I wasn’t unable to control myself and I wasn’t unable to pull myself back in. But I did have a very strong stress reaction to a recorded presentation. I wept. My son, either understanding me, or empathizing, or from confusion, wept with me. Honestly I think I scared the shit out of him and he didn’t know what to say or do. Neither did Mrs M, sitting on the other side of me. The presentation introduced “Peace on Earth,” the promise of the angels. And it asked how we’re supposed to have peace in this (sorry, I can’t directly quote the script, but I’m sure the intent was expressing it milder than I have here, but the meaning seemed obvious) GODFORSAKEN fucking shithole. The answer was a lot less obvious and the message even less. Or not, maybe throwing me in a pit I can’t escape is just another strange way:

I used to really love Christmas. Because “when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Children are supposed to get Christmas, but I guess ogres and men like me “don’t live happily ever after.” And yet, I know in the Christmas story, there were wise MEN and grown shepherds, everyone from kings to the lowest in society, who celebrated the birth of the King.

I didn’t get my invitation to celebrate the birth this year. Instead I got something I couldn’t put into words. Maybe a tiny nervous breakdown. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_breakdown

When I was a child, the Bible stories focused on the heroic dude who slayed the giant, the heroic prophet who kept the widow lady and her kid able to eat, those “great men,” those faithful fuckers. They barely mentioned, if at all, the parents who felt the only way they could survive the famine was to kill and cook and eat their kid(s). “Well, Johnny, we love you and we know you’re good. You’re such a good boy, we want you to know we’ll still love you after you’re dead. Because we know you’re going to be delicious. Bye-bye now!” (See Deuteronomy 28, II Kings 6, and Ezekiel 5.—NEVER MENTIONED in Sunday School, unless I read more carefully and asked about it.)

It’s very sad that medical and psychiatric specialists only treat normal nervous breakdowns and normal mental illnesses according to symptom, not etiology. And I need an etiological treatment plan. The problem with treating the symptoms and not the root cause is the same as the problem of paying off the minimum balance due on your credit cards. You can medicate away the acute symptoms and you can appease the creditors in the short term. But in both examples, the hole just gets deeper, and in that minimum payment plan, there are still no steps or a ladder to climb out. So I can either sit here at the bottom of the dark hole, and pray for a ladder, or I can pretend like fuck that I have peace and light and joy this Christmas season, the same way I do every year, Pinky. I’ve gotten good at it.

Sunday I felt all the bad emotions. I wrote down in my sermon notes several things and circled the dark ones. And the speaker did NOTHING to even help with the symptoms. He made it worse.  He said the promise of peace was for “men on whom God’s favor rests. (Luke 2:14, SOME translations)” I fucking HATE that specific way of translating it, so naturally our speaker taught THAT shit. When I was a child, when I read the old fashioned KJV, it cut off and just said the offer of peace and goodwill was “toward men.” (Ladies, I was taught as a child that when King Jimmy’s translators said “men,” they meant “people.” So when I quote him, I’m reading that it’s to you too. Because “Fear Not.”)  Why would I hate it?  If it requires God’s favor, I am royally fucked and I will NEVER feel peace. I felt pain, I felt lonely, I felt abandoned, I felt the worst soul-shredding I have EVER felt. If I’m not abandoned, why is there no hope? Why is there no peace? Where is my invitation to the Christmas party?

The etiological treatment for my torment seems obvious to me, so why, when I ask to be cured, am I not? If I’m to have peace, I need the money pit of my life to be patched and filled and resurfaced, not graveled over and left until the next cracked tooth or broken-down engine or doctor’s expensive and wacky medical experiment. “I am not an animal. I am a human being.” I am not an illogical collection of hard-to-understand symptoms. If money is the cure, and God is the Great Physician, then I’d like “enough,” please. And if there is some other cure for broken teeth and broken cars and broken furnaces and air conditioners and broken job situations and my broken heartedness, I’d like that.

The shepherds got to go to the party, because it wasn’t a party like ordinary people throw. Normal people expect gifts, and they will even give out a goody-bag at the end of the party, as long as, at the end of the party, the spreadsheets show them in the black.  Can I be a child again and get Christmas?  It’s worse than Charlie Brown at Halloween: I feel like the sheep brought me a gift bag.  And skipped the bag.

Gee, Deon, why are you depressed?

I don’t know!! (THERE’s the sarcasm. FINALLY!)


First World Problems

Sorry I’ve been away so long. You all probably think I won the lottery or changed to a better job or went on vacation with Mrs M to someplace warm and steamy, with the emphasis on “steamy.” Nope.  Not yet.  I’m still hoping because there’s still a slim chance if I buy a ticket.

I got a little advance warning on the impending crash of the wave of depression, so some of you were perceptive enough to pick up on it.  I think. I may have mentioned it. Because it sucks. Well, crash it has. I like Christmas, I just hate that I have to ride around in this semi-animated corpse pretending everything is great including me. Yeah, you’ve heard the cheer on your radios because it’s after Hallo-fucking-ween: “Voices singing let’s be jolly, fuck the halls with bouts of folly.”

Well, everything IS great, on the spreadsheet. Except finances, and my job, and my car’s check engine light, and my teeth still not fixed, and my wife and kids demanding indentured servitude without the terms of severance or the income.  Wikipedia says “The employer is often permitted to assign the labor of an indenture to a third party.” And it’s true, we have a new dog the kids have named “Scruffy,” and my labor has been assigned, on an as-needed basis, to serve “Scruffy.” And this without relief from the other duties two of my friends tease me about. They say I’m “a good wife.”

On the spreadsheet, I have a job. I have a car. I have a house. I have a family (and a dog). There is food on the table. The house has heat for winter (now) and air conditioning for summer (now).  I also have time-released amphetamines for my depression.  They keep me awake sometimes, they might help me focus a little better than the coffee.  Oh, and I have coffee, which is excellent.  Coffee is one of the best things on the plus side.  These are great on the surface. Scratch it a little (because “Scruffy” likes that).

Under the surface a little, the wisdom of another “Scruffy” shines through:



That’s right, about the time I’m ready to kick life’s ass and take its’ name, life, or my feelings, or my whatever the fuck the opposite of mania for a cyclothymic comes along with a great big rainbow of



And it IS a gray rainbow.

I thought I was done with a project and it popped its’ ugly little head up again and said, “Remember me?  Good, now prove you did everything right, all over again.” So after I half-recover from the stress of this week I get to go through all that shit all over again, prove my numbers, search for the one thing the one person wants me to find, and if I find it, figure out why the rest of my numbers worked out right, and if I don’t find it, deliver the bad news to the guy who loses $200 dollars and does not get to pass “Go.” I was very careful and I’m 96% sure I’m right.  It’s just a tiny “fuck you” from a universe full of those.  Duck, or the universe will hand you a few too.

Remind me to never volunteer for shit again.

It’s been a rough few weeks for me, not from the plus column because I’m truly grateful for everything good in life: I have good friends, three in particular who have been extremely supportive. There are people who would murder to have that kind of morale support, and their lives tear them down regularly to a point where even my bitching feels like encouragement to them. And I offer it.

Add to the plus side:  I have a car.  It runs, and it depreciates, so therefore it costs me money.  Depreciate is a big word that’s code for “shit falls apart.”    I have a house, and I like it when it’s cool in summer heat and warm in winter cold so therefore it costs me money.  I have a family that likes to eat, and I’m the biggest culprit for that.  I have a laptop computer that likes to spontaneously highlight what I’ve typed and delete it in ways Ctrl+Z won’t recover, and despite this, I still like to write.  Mrs M and the kids have their electronics, and we like Netflix too.  The stove runs on electric too, so we have a bill to pay or three there.  We also like it when the trash is carried away once a week, and we like our hot and cold running indoor plumbing.  To handle the expense of these things, I have a job.

My minus column might not be bad if it weren’t amplified by depression and loudly broadcast through a few other things. Amplifiers take the existing signal and push it up. Amplifiers are good because they boost what you can’t hear and make it audible. It’s the speakers I dislike. The minus column by itself is fine, I guess. Nothing a little humongous lottery win, or death, wouldn’t eliminate forever. (I’ve got no immediate plans for death, just in case you read closely enough to grow concerned, so the only thing left is that HUGE cash windfall. Bring it. And AMPLIFY THAT shit to 12 out of 10 on the dial.)

1-The grind – I fucking hate the grind. I have a job, but there’s no reward beyond a sub-minimal paycheck. There’s no such thing as team. There’s “I,” if you want to promote yourself like hell and there’s “they” if you want to finger point and make other people look bad in order to make yourself look better, see also, “I.” I was temporarily under another supervisor’s thumb for a week. During that week of assigned indentured servitude, I was scheduled to be in early, and I was late once. A half an hour, which I realize was my fault because I didn’t observe the schedule change, and I was in at my regularly scheduled time. And thereafter, I had two days of adjusting to a new, earlier traffic pattern when I was in the office on time but not on the clock until 3 minutes late. And because this alternate supervisor is one of the “they” people, he reported my tardiness, all six minutes over two days, which my company treats to punishment, as if I had missed an entire fucking day. The remaining two days I was early. But I have a job. Would other people murder for my job? I think not. Just so Mrs M can hold her exhaustion over my head (see below) Mrs M has to have a job because my job is shitty and pays shitty.  I’ve been there for several years and recently things have taken a turn for the decidedly worse (see above). There used to be grace, a few minutes, no big deal. But now, even though I always give a little extra in between and after just so my desk stays under control so my name and my conscience are clear too, and then try to help people get theirs done, there is only punishment and fear of more punishment, and stress, and accusation, and “I” and “they” thinking instead of mutual respect and consideration and mercy. In light of worsening weather and us getting a dog, I asked about working from home in addition to asking for a raise. Others make the same (new people) or more, others doing the same work are permitted to be home-based, but my request is denied because I didn’t jump when they originally offered it. I wasn’t ready for such a big change, and who among you with a touch of Asperger’s if they’d relish a huge change in their life.  I didn’t toe their line, when they wanted me to, and how they wanted me to, so now work is dishing out “fuck you’s” and second helpings of “fuck you’s.” I’m supposed to be grateful and ask for thirds and dessert courses of the same.

Anyone hiring, looking for a guy who just wants to come in, do good work, and go home, or better still be home, satisfied at the end of good day’s work? I don’t mind staying late or coming early if the expectations are clear. I don’t mind working hard, and I do a good job, not that anyone I work for would confess to that. I do good work because I value my name and I want my company to be profitable because if they’re profitable it’s supposed to trickle down. But no, if minimum wage is “raised,” I get a tiny “raise,” but ultimately it represents a 50% pay cut because I’ve worked hard to be almost up to the newly proposed minimum above the minimum wage and I’ve almost reached the newly proposed minimum wage because I’ve been faithful. So go ahead and raise that and knock my feet out from under me, why don’t we ask the government? But the idiots who don’t understand basic economics WANT the new minimum wage, not realizing it moves a bunch of struggling almost-middle-class people who’ve worked their asses off to earn anything close to the proposed minimum, JINGLING ALL THE WAY back down to the new poverty level. I don’t mind telling you it’s frustrating as fuck watching the idiots who want to run our country…into the pits.  Why am I despairing?  I don’t know!  (Is my sarcasm showing?)

Does the boss appreciate good work? With her lips she audibly says yes, but with her unrealistic, unmerciful expectations and her daily pittance, like some kind of Ebony  Z’You’rescrewed-ge, she screams a silent, yet somehow much louder, FUCK YOU! (Oh, yeah, just for all the citizens and illegal fucking aliens of the United States of the Too-Easily-Offended, the name is not racist, and fuck you very much if you thought it was.  Not that I should have to explain my intentions as  this is my fucking blog, I’m feminizing and characterizing the name “Ebenezer Scrooge.” You try it and see if you can do any better.) But hey, I’m accustomed to being taken for granted, which brings us to broadcaster:

2-The family—I fucking love/hate the family. If they were any more “supportive,” I might drive into oncoming traffic as fast as my crap car would go. With my luck, and with my car, I’d probably survive, which deters any such thinking pretty fast. And again, that’s not a plan. You worriers! All three or four of you.

My friends say I’m a “good wife,” and they’re right. One night I was so cold I washed dishes just so my hands would feel the hot water for a while. My children do chores only when we are angry and demanding, which sucks for parenting. “I have homework!” is a popular excuse. Among others. I do chores because I’m sick of the excuses bullshit and because Mrs M sighs and says she works so hard and doesn’t have the energy for anything more. And she doesn’t have the energy. She falls asleep hours before I do and gets up maybe 30 minutes before I do. There’s no time or energy left over for Mr. M., which is just great. Wait, is my sarcasm amplifier still on? And if there is time or energy, there’s no enthusiasm. I’m another fucking chore to sigh through and endure. And in spite of this, please cue “All I want for Christmas is You.”  The Mariah one, but pick your favorite if you have one.  I like the album one, to be honest.

Sure, she’s lovely live, have you seen those beautiful red dresses?   Of course you haven’t.  Because there are no pictures of the lovely Mrs M online, and I’m not sharing.  (I don’t mean Miss Mariah, although she’d be a hell of a catch.  That SINGING!!  Sadly, I’ve only really come to wanton, reckless desperation wanting Mrs M for Christmas (and every other day of the year) for years, since I determined she only loves me her way, not my way, and only when she feels like it. There’s certainly no joy in doing anything extra that would make Mr. M. overly happy. If I beg and plead, it’s an even worse chore, “sigh, sigh, sigh, you’re horrible and I hate you,” say all the nonverbal cues, which makes me not want to bother, which seems to fit the agenda.

And yet, she’s beautiful and pretends she means well and loves me some of the time. I just wish it seemed a bit more real all of the time and was a little more freely shared with me without the stupid dynamics that I don’t bring to the bedroom for offering the same treatment, freely, because it makes her pretend to be happy for a little while.

When she feels like pretending I’m reasonably happy and I can almost forget she’s just pretending.  It’s been more than 20 years, and I can’t exactly pinpoint when I realized she was doing that, but it really pissed me off and despite my efforts to recapture her heart, alas, I am only taken for granted and more is expected and demanded.  Fortunately I “make a good wife.”  My fucking friends are right.  But I know she’s the one I want.

This is 100% true, so far, no matter how hard I flirt online with all you fantastically hot bloggers.  You know who you are.  Yes.  You.  Fucking beautiful souls and hearts, trying to tempt me and ten percent away from succeeding…because I hide in my bunker to keep you at fingertip distances away from the true depths of my heart, once plumbed by the lovely Mariah…erm…Mrs M..

3-Because this is a list of amplifiers, I feel obligated to have a third item for my amplifier list.  I’m stressed out.  I’m discouraged.  I’m riding the wave and it’s cresting over my head.  It’s so cold in the office I can practically see my breath.  I wear layers to stay warm enough to keep working because my clients deserve good service despite the way our system and our management don’t help me.  I asked for a raise because of all the talk about raising the minimum wage nationally, also because I found out that I earn the same amount now after my years of experience as they are paying new people.  I wasn’t supposed to say anything.  I wasn’t supposed to ask, so now they are punishing me for saying something.  I’m not supposed to be upset about feeling punished, and I’m not supposed to be upset that my systems don’t work and I’m not supposed to be frustrated that my management is punishing me for little picayune things and for asking for a raise.  And I’m not supposed to be angry and convey any frustration to anyone at the office.  I’m not supposed to believe that I’m being punished.

I’m not supposed to be discouraged in life, in work, in my relationships.  I’m supposed to suck it up and be a good wife and be a good indentured servant to wife and work and family and dog and volunteer organizations.  I’m supposed to think positive.  I’m supposed to continue working and believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  Well, like they say in the Metallica song, it’s “just a freight train comin’ [my] way, hey, hey.”

But indeed, I am horrible, and I earn and deserve every discouragement I get.  AND, the scary thing is, other people struggle with worse things than me.  Other people have worse dental situations, worse financial situations, worse work situations, worse relationship situations (some people are fucking physically abused, for fucks sake, by losers who should be shot to death as slowly as possible.), etc.  If I had a shred of manly courage I’d have a better job and earn enough money, and I’d also be able to fix the cars and the things around the house without routinely having a panic and rage attack when it falls apart, and wishing I had the cash to just call the guy who knows how to fix the fucking thing right the first time.

Lately it’s hair and fuck knows what else stuck in the drain pipes, and I don’t know what happened except a miracle: I’ve been able to fix that, after the panic attacks subsided and the desire to rage-quit was replaced by a strong desire to not have to pay someone to do it for me.  My teeth are still an issue.  I already need two implants, or the cheaper alternative is to have them just pulled, maybe a filling or two too.  Maybe in March I’ll get the courage and the cash to have them out, and then decide if I want to, or if I’m able to, save and spend it on myself.  I love doctors (see below) almost as much as dentists.

I can do little things, not big things like afford to put $3.5K in my face, or $700 in a doctor’s pocket for a blood test AFTER fucking insurance, or $1K into my car.  I only want to help people, and be helped in return, so the universe in all of its’ fallen glory shouts a great big FUCK YOU at me and deals the shit cards out.   I’ve taken to just calling the jerk who makes the universe suck, because I lack a more polite but accurate literary term,  an “ass hole.”  To spite the universe fucking ass hole, I decided to treat some dear people as nicely as I’m able.  You know who you are, you know I love you very dearly, and I hope what I did was practical and useful and fitting… for you, however impractical and impulsive it was for me.

Because if the universe is an ass hole to me, it’s an ass hole for others too, and if I can lash out and flip two great big birds at the universe fucker by doing something nice in spite of my situation, then that is what I want to do.  Fuck you, universe fucker.  Until you stop treating people like shit, including me, I’m going to randomly try to do nice encouraging things for people.  And if you slow down on fucking me over long enough for me to break even or get ahead, I’m going to do MORE whenever I can.  What I did was so small, but it was very significant to me

Because I keep asking a question.  I wish I knew where I should look to find a little, perhaps lingering, taste of the answer for myself, but I also ask for Mrs M and for my family, despite everything.  Maybe if I figure them out they’ll learn and eventually have enough to share.  I also ask for people I want to somehow help or encourage, in spite of the universe.  Because if I need it for myself, I know my family needs it too.  And if I frequently feel so empty, my family might feel that way too sometimes.  I know it’s true if I need it, that everyone else needs the answer, too, whether they’ll admit it or not.

When I look in the mirror I realize, even though I don’t really have a clue about how to fix very many things, I know I’m staring at a tiny part of the answer.  I don’t know what to do about work.  I still want to maintain my standards, but I’m past the point of giving half a fuck about this company and the people who have me under their thumbs and enjoy the work I do.  They seem to just be screwing with me right now so I won’t forget my proper place under their authority.  So If you know someone hiring at a decent wage for good work, I’ve done editing and proofreading and writing and research in the past and really enjoyed that.  (If I get paid, it’s not as crappy as this blog often is.)  It would be refreshing to do what I like instead of what my current employer undercompensates me for.

“Undercompensates” is a big word that means “acts in cooperation with the universe fucker to make life more difficult than it should be or needs to be.”  I think the universe fucker abuses the laws of physics and gravity and invented the contrary “laws” of relationships, to break precious things and break even more precious hearts, and cause unnecessary grief to anyone whether they can handle more shit in life or not.  Depressed?  Moi?   Fuck that, I’m busy pretending like fuck to be positive in spite of the shit dealers.  Because, for one, the boss wants me to smile while she’s fucking me over with barbed wire implements, and if I don’t like it, she wants me to pretend I do, and tell her “thank you” for the attention.  And not tell anyone about how I feel, or how it, and the tools the company gives me to try to do my job, that fail to help me fully succeed induce panic and rage.  At least I haven’t heard anything lately at church that pissed me off.  But give it time.  Christmas is when the gospel is love from God through scandal-an illegitimate child’s birth- and angels singing “comfort and joy” and “peace on earth.”  After Christmas, I’ll expect it.  If I get blindsided I might let you know.  As for Mrs M, Christmas and New Years give me a better shot at being loved how I want to be loved.  And I’ll keep trying to do the same for her.

If you don’t hear from me until then, despite how you may sometimes feel about messages either from the Bible or from some pastor (not necessarily the same original source), Merry Christmas, dear readers.  Life may not all be “tidings of comfort and joy,” but we can try to encourage each other anyway.  Like you encourage me.  And if you have a chance, be a tiny part of the answer to someone, even if it’s not very much or appreciated right now.  “This calls for patient endurance.”  But if I can do it in my tiny, insignificant way, you can do it too.  Try.  It feels really  good to flip off the universe fucker.

Math Language Disection IV

Hello again, readers, fans and celebrated literary critics!  It’s been a while, you all have been warned, SEVERAL TIMES, and despite my cautionary notes advising against it, to date there are, according to WordPress, 297 lost souls who for some reason have clicked “follow” at the bottom of one of my wellsprings, by which I mean pits, of insanity.  You may think it’s writing, but this blog is the dumping ground, the killing floor, and the outdoor crapper all in one, for my wasted genius, my grief for undercompensated best efforts, my useless emotional outbursts, and any pitiful kernels of spirituality, dropped and immediately snatched away by birds, and choked lifeless by the cares of the world and the Powers that be which could do something about shit but couldn’t be arsed because, to shamelessly steal from Jeff-fa-fa Dun-Ham (dot-com)’s character José Jalapeño (on a stick) [they’re] “laughing too hard.”  At my damned expense.

Did you see what I did there?  See, we all love readers, we all love fans, and we all love it when a reader or a fan has something nice to say and posts a comment about our writing.  We don’t like the haters, because nobody likes a hater.  But instead of just pushing away, which really resolves nothing and might even provoke an antagonistic response, I gave the haters a little dignity, a little respect, in calling them “esteemed literary critics.”  Maybe that’s all any of us needs.  Personally, I’d love to be a literary critic.  Because what do you do?  You read it, or you skim it, and you offer an opinion about what you read, or about the author.  You can literally say whatever shit you want.  If you’re in a bad mood, fuck your subject, fuck your readers, and fuck the world.  If you’re in a good mood, fuck your subject, fuck your readers, and fuck the world, but enjoy doing that.  Being a critic:  It’s something similar to being tangential, except instead of being tangential at a given point, a critic offers a tangent at any point.

A good critic will offer encouragement to continue doing whatever a person being critiqued  is doing, but to continually work hard, in an effort to do it ever better.  One doesn’t normally just give a status report, a numeric evaluation, without any kind of answer guide or explanation.  One might establish a baseline expectation of performance, either based on prior experiences there, or industry standards, or One gives things the subject should keep on doing that they’re doing well, a kind of “run.”  And then one gives things where they need improvement, a kind of potential to “rise,” or “fall.”  You give an “O-pinion”

An O-pinion is something that’s unpredictable.  The tangent might lie anywhere around the circle, the “O” if you will, and go in any direction established by the critic.  That is to say, if a place did better the last time and they were crap this time, a downward slope might be indicated.  If a critic only pinioned a subject, in contrast, there would be no room to breathe, you would be unable to move, which is why an o-pinion is preferable.  If you were racked and pinioned,  you’re probably already finely ground between the teeth of the gears.  And stretched, if you were racked correctly, and immobilized if you were pinioned correctly.   If you were pinioned, always keep in mind that being immobile has the benefit of being what’s called “nodal,” meaning you are not moving up or down.  If that’s the case, it may suck, but at least things aren’t getting any worse.   And if you were the same as last time, you may get a slope that’s a horizontal line.  It may be on the bottom of the o-pinion, which means you sucked and you still suck and your critic has abandoned all hope, but still gave you a shot, or it may be at the  top, which means you were excellent before and you’re still excellent.  The benefit of a horizontal line is they liked you the same as last time.  I’d hate to have a slight upward slope.  It might give me false hope of actually improving, for fuck’s sake.

There are chefs in restaurants who literally live, or have died, by their rating.  Chef Bernard Loiseau was in debt and suffering clinical depression, and still worked his ass off in the kitchen all day, before killing himself, on February 24, 2003.  I haven’t forgotten.  I never got to go to his excellent restaurant while he worked there.   It is a tragedy, and I will never forget.   I’m not sure which is more tragic:

a) being in debt, which I am, and working your ass off to get out of debt, only to figure out that your employers are shitheads with jackboots on, and realizing there is no way to climb out of the pit because when you try someone is up there to kick you back down;

b) not being able to fix the situation enough to become more comfortable or at peace, no matter how hard you work at it, which I am, precluding some kind of miracle, see below;

c) being prone to depression like Monsieur Loiseau, which I am, though perhaps not quite so severely, after working so hard to succeed and feel good, you get the boot and fall again and feel like a failure who’ll never succeed, which I do.  I married an absolutely fantastic woman, and I love her beyond what I believe is anything normal, but she is a fucking backward nit-picker.  You work your ass off, deal with the details, pick all the nits you can find out, fix everything your little detailed brain can handle until you’re too tired to see, and she comes in and only needs a minute or two to assess, whereupon she always tells you where you fucked up, what you did wrong, the 1 tiny nit that remains out of the five hundred you carefully combed out and killed, the 1 to 3 percent of whatever project you didn’t accomplish, and why it’s not enough and you feel like it’ll never be enough, so why keep trying?  So far, I keep trying and she hasn’t kicked my  ass to the curb yet, so I must be doing all right I guess, even though I feel like a miserable piece of shit;

d) realizing that the only people who really matter to you are all like the above, never satisfied with anything you have ever done.  What’s the hope they will ever not be looking down their fucking noses at everything you ever will do, all the while forcing you to either eat your rage or just accept whatever they do, because your love covers a multitude of  their sins, but evidently they don’t love you enough to overlook yours.  Trust me, it’s a shitty way to live;


e) not being quite stubborn enough or angry enough at them to stick around if only just to piss them off.  I’m one stubborn bastard, which is why I’m not dead.  In my heart and soul, I do care, and I wish that what I brought was enough.  But my stubbornness dictates that I ultimately reach the point of va te faire enculer, and I let the critics go their way with my French, um, well-wishes, trusting they will be self-satisfied and content with their lives while they destroy mine.  In the spirit of said va te faire enculer, I do sometimes pray for a critic to be adjusted, gently given a little bit better perspective, and meanwhile I work until I’m tired, and I get up the next day and try again.  If only I could be self-satisfied as they are, and let that be enough.  If only the hard work I do could be appreciated and well-compensated at work, and reciprocated at home.

Alas, my day job dictates that I be subject to critical opinions and unrealistic timelines and expectations that keep me bruised and kicked down, no matter how hard I work my tail off to satisfy the requirements.  Career advancement might have been possible if I had kissed ass, sucked …up… and let the bosses steer my career.  I didn’t, so I’m dead to them.  They don’t give a shit, they labor hard and long to think of reasons why they can’t give me a fucking cost of living increase, but turn with the same two faces and tell me how much my work is appreciated.  In reality, I know the truth of the matter:  they’re just waiting for me to die, or to quit, and it can’t happen soon enough to suit them.  Fuckers!

Alas, my family life is the same, and I am already bruised and kicked from work, so there’s nothing left to offer but blood and body parts.  I’m not important enough, or depressive enough, to feel that what I do or don’t do is worth getting depressed enough to kill myself. I appreciate solitude, don’t get me wrong.  But Mrs M, bless her heart, more days than I actually appreciate, gives me a nonverbal va te faire enculer and then probably takes that and applies it literally in her own way, because how the fuck should I know when she goes to sleep and leaves me awake and dealing with my feelings all by myself.  I’m not crying, because that’s not me.  “Fucking WAAHH!”  Nope.  I’m just angry, and I eat rage for midnight snacks, and wait for Mrs M to decide she’s relaxed and not tired, and just bored enough to use me.  One of my readers teases me about how I make such a good fucking wife.  I love her, but at the same time…I love her.

Oh, Monsieur Loiseau!  To have ended yourself just for having disappointed one or two smug fuckers, customers who think they know better than anyone else what service, and food, should look like, and taste like, and what you should cook, and how you should cook it, blah, blah, blah.  As if their way was the only fucking right way.  And, as if, disappointing one or two customers mattered, when you’ve literally satisfied a few thousand others.  Those critics probably don’t even pay l’addition, s’il vous plait; les rapiates!  Putaines!

Notice that hope for the “critic.”  I could have just said:



and left it at that.  But no.

If I were driven to be the best writer, instead of just expressing what I feel, or writing what I’m thinking about, I’d be done.  I’m aware that my writing can be surpassed.  I have days when I can almost pull it together.  I may have written something crappy last time, but maybe this time, it’s not AS crappy as then.  The slope of the tangent, from last time to this time, is upward.  The love from encouraging, soft-hearted people, comes along.  Other days I’m not so together, those same loving, encouraging, soft-hearted people are too kind to offer a word of criticism because it might be taken harshly.  Because, sure.  Let a heartless putain de connard literary critic come along and shred me, the weak, worn fibers will no doubt tatter easily.  The slope of the tangent, from the quality of yesterday’s writing to today’s, is downward.  Why?  Well, Deon, maybe it’s because you didn’t write anything yesterday, but today’s is crap so why should we expect better?  There are people with better audience appeal.  There are people with more interesting or more compelling subject matter.  There are people who have a better sense of humor, a better way of expressing themselves, a better vocabulary, a better site layout, betterbetterbetterbetterbetter.

There are writers who can actually focus and write on a topic, without rambling.  And speaking of rambling, the moment you’ve all somehow had the stamina to endure for, has come.  My ramble is rambled, my rant is ranted, at least for now, and finally…

It’s time for Math Language Dissection IV:  Today’s Dissection:  Derivatives

Oh, Deon.  Not again.  We could hardly stand it the last time, and this time you rambled on about shit no one cared about until no one was still reading.

But Oh, Yes, more Mould.  Or Math Language Dissection.  Because that’s the nature of math, and mould- it grows on you.    Four times as much math dissection as the first time.  Last time I did this, I nearly lost 212% of my readers, which should be impossible you say, but just trust me, it almost happened.

At the risk of doing it again, click here and look through this webpage.

If you did that, and actually came back to my blog, you intuitively know something about people who studied math on purpose, more than our basic masochistic leanings.  But you should also intuitively understand that the reaction you just had is the same reaction EVERYONE has, especially students who are forced to learn mathematical derivatives.  It’s an entirely human reflex action, as natural as what happens soon after ingesting Carapichea ipecacuanha syrup.  Mmmmm.  Deliciatives.

We hate derivatives.  Derivatives try to copy the original.  You THINK they’re hard to figure out, but when you scratch the surface and take a good hard look under the gilt-edges, you see the truth.  They’re fakes, cheap imitations, trying hard to pretend they’re just as good.  They follow the slope of the original function, or the recipe, if you will, but the flavor is flat as a dropped soufflé.   They follow the concept, you get the idea, but they have no soul.  It’s there, it’s OK, sure, but every OUNCE of the love has been sucked out.  Like The Machine in The Princess Bride sucked the years out of Wesley, a derivative is The Machine turned up to 99: not until the function is “only mostly dead,” but until the function loses its’ purpose.  There’s almost nothing left- it’s a skeleton, where there once was a captivating, lush-lipped, full figured, gorgeous woman.

We loved Alan Rickman, for instance, but there isn’t a human being who can match the snark, the bitter sarcasm, the attitude, the absolutely harsh, absolutely charming ennui, of Mr. Rickman.  He could be apologetic and still, under the gently sorrowful words, you somehow knew he knew he was right.  Fortunately for the pretenders, but unfortunately for the rest of the world, he’s gone.  Attention, all you haters:  You have a chance to aspire to the new number one.  Unfortunately for you, haters, it’s me.  That’s right.  I’m sorry (no, really!), but your opinion is worse than irrelevant, it’s powerless to change the fact that I’m right, and it couldn’t be more exhausting to me.  It’s exhausting, because you so strongly believe you’re right, that you wear everyone out with your endless, foolish, barbaric garrulity.

I am the world’s harshest critic.  Fortunately for the world, my harshest wrath and ennui is trapped inside the mirror of ssensselepoh like a damned horcrux.  That’s right, I am the anti-Gilderoy Lockhart, and I speak Parseltongue, too.  I gaze into the mirror and see my soul, my shattered dreams, my surrendered ambition, my brokenness, and everything adds up to intense self-loathing.  All I’m looking at is the image of a harsh reality; what I see is all entirely truthful.  And unlike Voldemort’s foes, no one is willing to even TRY to destroy the mirror I sometimes gaze into, which could potentially be accomplished by giving me any amount of cash greater than $300M.  Thus far, no one has been willing to try, and therefore I can’t die.  Come on!  Someone, give it a shot!

What the world needs is not more derivatives, like those unending old Haim Saban Power Ranger sequelseries, or Stephen J. Cannell’s crime mimeographs, or Dick Wolf Wolves, or Anthony E. Zuiker Zuikers and Bruckheimers, or sappy Aaron Spelling everything-works-out-good-in-the-end-after-the-shit-goes-down-and-people-“just”-fucking-try-harder shows.  Spelling also loved stories where people didn’t appreciate what they had until they got what they thought they wanted.  I hate that shit.  Fucking “It’s a Wonderful Life” DERIVATIVES.   And honestly, I really DO appreciate what I have, to the extent that what I have is good.  What I have is a lush, full coloured painting, of what could be.  What I want is 3-D, so much more, so much better, so very possible.  I love Spelling’s REAL story in spite of myself, because it could have gone really bad but it didn’t, at least not until his misfortune returned in around 2001.  He was MARRIED to Morticia Addams, and what could be bad about that?

What the world needs are anti-derivatives.  Anti-derivatives are the opposite of derivatives.  Instead of being fashionably way too thin and nearly two dimensional, or worse, one dimensional and just showing the slope, an anti-derivative is original, gorgeous, full figured, proud, stark naked and grinning, going in it’s own unique direction, shouting a loud “FUCK YOU, ASSHOLES!” to all the critics.  THIS, Chef Bernard Loiseau, is who you were meant to be, except you let them wear you down.  When the haute cuisine world goes off on idiot tangents, if you’re able to be yourself, the anti-derivative, the original function, instead of the tangent off the anti-derivative, it’s a glorious thing, but the critics are always critical.  If you’re classical,they want you to run with the fad and still excel, and if you run with the fad, they bitch because you’re not traditional enough.

Don’t let the critics wear you down.  Don’t, even if the critic is the voice in your own head. What the world needs is you.  Not the you that tries to be someone or something you’re not.  The original, beautiful you.  Be that.  Be the Anti-Derivative.