That Moment When I Learned More Than I Wanted to Know

It was several weeks ago at one of those family things I loathe.  I don’t even want to write it but I have to get this shit out of my system.  It’s been festering a while. We’ll discuss it, I’ll tell her how much she hurt my feelings, how much it hurts every time she pushes me away, how much learning this information hurt me, how it hurts every time she tells me how inadequate I am, and she’ll put it back on me by reminding me how fucking inadequate I am and how I need to get another job and work two jobs, the one I have and a part time one, while I’m finding the third, thus far invisible, elusive job that will miraculously triple my income.  We have two teenage kids, and one is starting college this fall.  She’s on a scholarship, and I pray her grades, and her investments, get her more, because I’ve got both jack-shit AND fuck-all to show for my faithful service to the present job.  For my son, in a few short years from now, I pray the same.

Mrs. M has a way of skating into opportunities and making more money than me at every turn, which is great for her and for us, but the way she holds that over my head calling me a failure kills any shred of extra self-esteem that might come up in my spirit.  Don’t get me wrong.  She works hard, the stress is obvious.  She’s assertive.  She gets what she wants, or believe me, I hear about it.

I used to get by, and get what I needed when I needed it.  I work hard too, but I hate change.  Having a routine is the only thing that keeps me from daily vomit, stress asthma, ulcers, high blood pressure, and whatever other (potentially literal) shit the stress of never knowing what the fuck I was doing would offer.  I used to trust people when they told me about how my career would be going places at [fill in the company name here].  I’d settle in to the comfort of a routine, and then I’d find out later they were using me, taking me for granted, and returning boatloads less than they promised.  The jobs that promised career advancement potential, but the potential was bullshit, the advancement was to more responsibility for the same money.  The people who all said they want to help me, but all they wanted was what they could get from me, and then when they’re done, so am I, and there was never any helping Mr. M.  This even happened when I worked for a few churches., and thus far has always happened when I work as a volunteer.

I hate people who bluff, assert pretend dominance, and then bluff some more, skating their way though life.  They lie and cheat and steal and get more than they deserve, and then they retire early, with benefits, while I stare at them in indignant, and I’m sorry to admit, jealous, amazement.  How the fuck do people get away with that shit?  I also hate people who are selfish, which is just about everyone in the known universe.  Don’t believe me?  Go driving, attentive to being safe and driving purposefully, intent to keep your fellow-drivers safe.  They’ll cut you off in traffic and then hit their brakes, yakking on their cell phones, completely oblivious to why you’re pissed off at them and honking your horn.  Try getting that parking space at the grocery store.  That skinny bitch soccer mom trophy wife with the faded plastic surgery markings will drive her brand new SUV into the spot you’ve been waiting patiently for in your old car, laying on her horn, and acting upset because you were in her way.  I hate people who act like other people only exist to serve them, and who only exist to take that service for granted.  And I hate people who fuck with other people and either pretend they care, or worse, don’t bother to pretend, or worst, pretend they’re not doing anything wrong and it’s somehow the fault of the person getting fucked.  With.

I don’t want to complain about Mrs. M.  She’s a beautiful, amazing woman.  She does everything right.  She wants the best from everybody, and she wants her family to succeed.  She truly cares about people, and helps other people when they need help.  Years ago, a lady she knew was going through a rough time and she stayed attentive, looking for ways to intervene in the circumstances, and her friend landed on her feet and is still doing fine.  That’s just one example; I’ve seen it several times, to varying degrees of help, with lots of people – sometimes she drags me along to help helping out. And she loves me.  I love her too.  And you’re all saying, “awww, how sweet.”  And it is.  It’s mostly worked, for more than 20 years.

And then there was a family dinner party.  It was a fancy thing and her sister and her sister’s husband hosted.  Oh, there was fancy food.  Amazing lobster and fresh raw oysters, and Italian beef, and sausages and lots of other amazing, delicious things.  I’m afraid to eat lobster or oysters, because I think I’m allergic to shellfish.  But there were also drinks, desserts, cookies, coffee, alcohol…  The whole thing was amazing and must have cost a mad fortune.  They do this a couple of times every damn year, not that I’d be jealous or bitter.  Yeah, I’m jealous, but only because of the money, not because they have dinner parties.  I hate dinner parties.

I was talking with someone Mrs M had known basically her whole life, they attended the same schools, that kind of thing, and they’re still pretty close.  And we talked about dinner conversation-type things, the family, friendship, the food, new events, blah blah, blah.  I loathe dinner parties.  Another opportunity for Mrs. M. and me to serve.  We helped with setup, cooking, hospitality (translation, serving in ways I can, just to be nice), and cleanup, because we’re under obligation as part of the family.  Methinks the lady had perhaps a little too much to drink, and out slipped an unmistakable sort-of-half-subtle disclosure about Mrs. M’s past, before she was Mrs. M.

Bless her late mother’s heart.  Her mother was a prude who thought that conservative Mr. M. was enjoying his marriage relationship to her daughter a little too much, so she did whatever she did to put a damper on it.  At least, she heartily discouraged any public display or discussion.  Her mom was Catholic, and behaved as though if such a thing were possible, all of her kids, including Mrs. M., were immaculate conceptions.  Thus, I had always blamed her mom, but nope.  It’s not mom.  It’s Mrs. M.

It seems that in Mrs. M’s past, there was another relationship, which I knew about and had dismissed as irrelevant.  But finding out the little detail is what hurt.  Suffice it to say that Mrs. M. has reinvented herself in our marriage, into someone much more prim and proper, perhaps even prudish like her mom.  But in the former relationship, not so much.  The habit of pushing me away, rejecting my advances, of being socially uncomfortable with public displays, of denying my requests to be treated like I’ve always treated her, all started in her mind sometime before our relationship, but certain things went on in this prior relationship, and I found it out from the little drunken conversation.  Which makes her ongoing and regular rejections, since we’re fucking MARRIED, hurt a lot.  She doesn’t always reject me, but makes it clear she’ll do what she’ll do, and nothing she decides not to do.  At the same time, she expects me to do whatever she wants me to do, and unless I do whatever she wants me to do, she doesn’t do much of anything.  We have discussed this a few times before, and she’s aware of how she’s hurt my feelings through the rejections, long before I found out what I learned at the dinner.  Damned family social gatherings.

So, you’re probably insightful and know without me blurting it all out.  If I were hardhearted, and if I didn’t have so damned much time invested in this relationship, and if there weren’t kids, and if I didn’t have this stubborn desire to keep MY promise that I made when we got married, and if she weren’t so damned amazing and beautiful, and if I didn’t fucking LOVE her, I might just say “fuck this, I’m out.”  Instead, I’m going to express it.

I’m very glad I did not win the lottery right after learning about this, because in the shock of the moment, I might have done the rash and drastic thing, and abandoned ship, finally financially free to do what I want, and to have whatever I want.  Instead, I didn’t win, I know what I really want, and what I really want, is reciprocation from Mrs. M., same as what I have always really wanted.

I don’t want to complain about Mrs. M.  I decided before we were married that I didn’t want to hold any of her old relationship bullshit over her head.  And I really didn’t, except this inadvertent knowledge tells me that in my marriage relationship, I am being treated as though she loves me less than she loved some other guy.  If I didn’t think the lack of reciprocation was fair before, how much more unfair do I think this bullshit is now?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, dear Mrs. M., if you love me less than you loved him, why the fuck did you marry me?  Just say “no, ‘we are never, ever, ever, [going to get] together,’ fuck off and die, you’re a pathetic loser, stop persisting you dumb ass, go fuck yourself, and leave me alone.”  Give a guy a clue before you lead him on and say “I do.”  Or whatever the hell we said at the wedding.  I do vividly recall you declined the “old-fashioned” vow “to love, honor and obey.”  I think you said “cherish,” or whatever, “as long as we both shall live.”  Too late now.  More than 20 years too late, and I’m not leaving.  One of us has to die first, and I have no plans of committing suicide.  Nor murder.  I’d prefer the same from you, so just keep on living and don’t kill me, if you please.  So we have to sort this shit out.

Do you really love me, Mrs. M.?  Do you love me more than the other guy, the guy you didn’t marry?  What I want in the marriage is to feel free, unlike I feel in any other arena of life.  Instead, I’m trapped by pain and frustration and rejection, from the unfair way you’ve treated me.  Our wedding preacher and everyone else we talked to about getting married said it has to be more than 50-50.  It has to be 100-100.  And it’s not.  I’m not putting what you want into the relationship.  Why?

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

My feelings are hurt.  I’m deeply hurt, and it’s because of something I found out about quite innocently, quite accidentally, probably unintentionally.  The woman probably thought I thought she was talking about Mrs. M. and I, in our marriage, but I fucking know better.  I have about 18 years or so of hurt to process.  I say 18 because it wasn’t until we had been married a while I started to decide what I wanted.  And the cuts from her habit of rejection that were small and repetitive, since the meal, have been re-sliced open all over again, only much deeper and all at once.  If my heart, and by heart I mean emotions, had any blood left in it, and by blood I mean whatever metaphorical liquid pumps through ones emotions, what’s left is leaking out.  If I thought I was dying inside before, I’m dying faster now.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Um…   Mrs M.?  We need to talk.  Again.  Same discussion as before.  Remember?  It was years ago.  When I said, in one of those rare moments when I wasn’t as resolute in my decision, that if the trend continued we might as well get divorced?  What we have is not good.  Your habit of rejection has me already resorting to the couch more than the bed.  Like the song goes, “I want you to want me.”  But here’s what I found out:  you apparently don’t.  So…what the fuck, Mrs. M.?  Seriously!  What the fuck!?  Everywhere else in my life, I’m supposed to just work my ass off and continually give, and then accept what other people offer me without bitching about how it’s inadequate and not what I really want or need, because other people are selfish and I’m supposed to be the nice guy who politely acts as a doormat for other people to wipe their shitty feet on, accepts whatever they want to offer and act like it’s o.k., and then just wash the shit off to be ready for the next person to take advantage of and use some more.  Please don’t tell me our relationship is the same one-sided bullshit as the rest of my life.  I don’t want to be overly demanding, but I don’t think I’d be out of line to say I think you should start making up for 30 years of lost time, and then some, to apologize for the habitual rejection.

The Love Poem I Can’t Seem to Write (Songs for My Tribe)

The Love Poem I Can’t Seem to Write (Songs for My Tribe)
06/29/2017, Deon Mumple

It’s still not good enough, I’ve written the same poem four times now.
I keep trying to say it just right, keep trying, but I don’t really know how.
How do you say this thing, this feeling? What are the right words?
I don’t want to say the same sounds I know you’ve already heard.

It didn’t turn out those times before, when your hope needed fulfilled
And those last two times, when you swore, no more, after the dream was killed
I don’t want to be that way,  I want to be different, and never see you hurt
But I know the times I’ve failed before, don’t trust me,  trust me, you’ll get burned

I’ve written this poem five times now, just trying to say it right
I want to make the promises and keep them, so we always win the fight
I want to be superhuman, and be heroic, but at the same time, be real,
But I don’t feel real; I’m up and down without flying, can’t even control how I feel.

I’ve written this poem six times now, and it’s never going to be perfect
The same as I know about you and me, but I’m not, and you’re not, and we’re not.
I’m afraid, you’re afraid, it’s not going to work, but I hope you’ll give it a shot.
Like this poem, I’m trying to write it right, and keep on writing it wrong,
Me versus verses that don’t have choruses, and a form that’s far from correct
Sometimes even the best composers build a bridge to write a decent love song.

I’ve written this poem seven times, this is the last time, then I’m through.
It may never be exactly right, about like trying on the wrong sized shoe,
But if a hope is just deferred but somehow I know it was meant to come true,
Maybe mixed up words will make the longing fulfilled, so I can win and keep you.

From Hyper-critical to I-Don’t-Give-A-Shit in 3 seconds

I don’t know if that’s the accelerator or the brake.  But I know that the right words, or preferably,  silence with the right actions, can motivate me to work my ass off.  And I know that the wrong words, because nobody ever just shuts the hell up, can put me into escape mode.  I’m already gone.  I’m already done helping with whatever concerned you.  The silent, unseen “fuck you” has already left my soul.  It doesn’t need to be said, in language, sign, sigh, or any other physical reaction.  I’d like to think it’s a private, psychic rocket ship, one that, most of the time, is far more efficient than any known technology.

Because of this, I think it’s an accelerator.  Sometimes I wish it weren’t psychic, I wish it were real.  It’s a rage rocket.  Instead of flames, it would release sonic energy.  “Impulse” power just goes, “Buhbye! Bye now!  Bub-bye! Buhbye!”   It ramps up through other rage-induced profane and/or snarky expressions, and if you really piss me off, full throttle goes “FUCK YOU!  FUCK YOU! FUCKYOU!!  FUCKYOU!!!FUCKYOU!!!FUCKYOU!!!FUCKYOU!!!

Say it.  Push my buttons.  And see what happens.  Except you presume you’ve done or said nothing wrong, and it’s me being batshit that causes me to be angry.  You’re not paying attention to yourself.  You’re not paying attention to me.  And when I told you what the issue was, you didn’t want to do anything about it, and my way of handling that rejection was to shut off that part of your part of my life.  You can still come back.  You don’t have to verbally apologize.  A non-verbal apology and promise will suffice.  But I don’t think you know how to not say it.

My problem  is I want to stay.  I want to come back.  I want you to come back.  I want my kids to know I genuinely care about them and I want them to return my care appropriately, but I can’t afford to buy that affection.  Thank God most of the time the kids have learned to read me, and know when I can laugh with them versus when what they say or do, or don’t do, will just piss me off .  I want my wife to know the same, but I can only offer so much, and there’s that trigger, more sensitive after almost 25 years of being married.  I’d think she’d know not to do or say those things in that way, and I’d think she’d know it’d be nice if she did something I liked once in a while.

It’s the same at work.  I want to work.  I want to work my ass off and make you a ton of money, but I need the favor returned here too.  Entry level wages and being ignored unless I’m being disciplined does not earn my respect NOR my extra hard work.  You pay me shit, expect my work to be shit.  And it would be if I had no pride in something I have to put my name on.  But my name is on what I do, so I want to do it right. You should want to do right by me in return.  After 10 years I’ve proven I’m worth it, and you should prove you want me to stay.

And it’s the same at church. You’d think with my training and volunteer experience, they’d maybe want me to work at the church, as more than a volunteer.  But no, I can volunteer or I can decide to do nothing.  So I’ve decided to do nothing and see if the doors open somewhere else.  Corporate America does not as a rule promote people who know what the fuck they’re doing from the inside.  They make them stay where they are and work them until they’re worn out.  Similarly, “modern day” “normal” churches do not recruit from within.   They find some superman who looks great on paper and has a more forceful presentation, and all the hidden agendas that go along with that kind of force.  Well fuck that.  If God wants to use me, He’ll set that up, and if not, well, here I remain and I think I have to be ok with that.

And it’s the same with God.  I want to have the best relationship with God, but I often fail.  Being the Creator He should know this and deal with me with a little patient and divine encouragement.  And you’d think my struggle with faith and doubt might be answered like it is with my earthly father- sometimes he’ll slip me a $10 or $20 for just being his son, which is really cool.  And lately, this whole relationship with God has actually improved.  I wonder if it’s because I quit trying to do anything.

People ask how you know when you’re in love, and they ask how to find a significant other/partner/spouse, and I think the answer is the same for some people.  If  you’re aggressive, you run after what you want and you take it whether it was offered willingly out of love, or whether it was just you being a pushy ass hole.  And you think you’re getting what you want, but really you’re just taking it.  I want to be given what I want, willingly and out of love.  And I want people to realize, without me having to tell them, that they’re selfish, grabby, pushy ass holes and they’ve been taking everything at my expense.  But I think you find love when you least expect it, and you wake up and realize you’re in love because you were falling long before you ever realized you had fallen.   I still haven’t figured out how to just get what I want at work, but with marriage it’s been a conscious decision, my choice.  Fuck, I still love her and she treats me like shit quite a bit of the time.  It’s because after I realized I loved her I decided I wanted to be in love and stay that way.

It’s naive and stupid and setting me up for heartbreak, people tell me.  And they say the same thing about believing in God.  But lately,

I quit trying to do anything, and God did some pretty cool things in answer to a pretty snarky prayer “request.”  Actually I was flippant and nearly in denial and He did answer, giving me something I really needed when it was needed.

So maybe this quitting doing anything would work for work, and for wife, and for family.  Except I like a clean house, a dog that’s been walked, a yard that’s been mowed.  I’m not sure which “anything” I need to quit and which I can keep doing, that’ll ultimately and miraculously result in me getting what I need from family and wife.

As it stands, I’ve got a dead cell phone because I didn’t demand we get more time/data yesterday when I thought I had a month left.  Kids don’t clean the house or walk the dog because they know I’ll reach a point of desperation where it’s too gross and needs to be done, or I know the dog is about to create a disaster if I don’t take care of him.  I’ve got nothing happening in other areas because I haven’t demanded that.  I don’t want to demand anything to get what I need.  I want to be treated with love and care and respect just because I’m worth it, but because I’m not demanding and pushy people take me for granted and treat me like shit.

So where’s the road sign from rage and depression and lack, bypassing forceful taking, and driving straight through to people just giving me what I need because I’m worth it?

If you know, let me know.  But right now I have to go buy a fucking phone card because mine is dead and Mrs M and the kids want to text me their list of demands.

A day without all this cloudy, grey, dam(n)p rain so I can mow at mum and dads would be great too, but that’s an appeal to a Higher Power,  Fuck it, if He wants clouds and rain, and rivers in my back yard, bring that shit on until He’s bored with that and moves on to sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and lollipops and neapolitan ice cream and remembering Buttercup, and other shit I might actually enjoy.  Same with the fucking job, and the family, and the church.   Maybe the rain has to fall and I have to be broke, and the job has to be shit and the house has to be filthy and my legs have to cramp until I can barely walk before I take the dog out, and the wife has to be off-putting and insulting and demanding, so I really appreciate when it’s finally sunny, and I finally win the Lottery AND the Publisher’s Clearinghouse, and I finally get a job I really enjoy, and my kids finally help clean the house, and finally make a habit of walking the dog and my wife greets me naked at the door and attacks me with all those soft, beautiful weapons.

For now it’s clouds and rain and cramps and abstinence and alcohol.  Bring it on.  I think I can still weather it a while.

It’s been a while since I thought of Buttercup.  I figure, if I just wait, and refuse to do shit, the rest of the clouds are sure to break soon.  (I know, but shut up and let me have my delusion!)

Saying “Yes” and Saying “When.”

I can’t remember exact dates (sorry, every significant other EVER) except my birthday, Christmas, my wife’s birthday most of the time, Valentine’s day, and our anniversary (awww!).  I remember some dates, some of the time. But don’t ask me for a cousin’s birthday, or an in-law’s birthday, or worse, one of their kids’ birthdays.  How rambly of me.  All that to build the foundation for this:

There was a recent time, maybe just a few years ago but I can’t remember, when it was a popular fad for success speakers to tell their cultish followers to “say yes” to whatever life offered, whether it was a success or a disaster or an invitation to go somewhere, or a chance to experience something new or “accidentally” die while parachuting or diving with sharks in Australia.  If you’re going to say “yes” to something, each of you should send me $20 …and that would result in me receiving about $…. zero dollars, because I LOVE my readers but I know both of them are broke.  You know who you are, do NOT send me $20.  If you have extra, spend it on something nice for you because I love you and you should love you too, you beautiful darlin’ you.

And indeed we should say yes to whatever the universe brings, because everyone knows the universe is a benevolent place that wants to give good things to everyone.  Right?  Oprah says it, along with several success preachers and motivational speakers.  Which means that the universe is friends with success preachers, motivational speakers, and Oprah, and basically, possible early life trauma notwithstanding, these people either ask for, or tell, “the universe” what they want, and they get it, or they twist the universe’s nipple and MAKE it give them what they want,  and then they teach people that they should be able to do the same.

Horse shit.

Have you READ Newton’s laws?

Have you seen anyone ever die, or worse, commit suicide? The universe is NOT my friend, the universe sucks ass, and a lucky few get what they want. What’s worse, the universe doesn’t owe me shit, so I can’t just go expecting that it’ll pay me if I’m good enough.

If there is such a thing as karma, it doesn’t seem to matter how good some people are, or try to be.  We only see the outside of a person, so we can’t judge.  And if we’re honest with ourselves, we know who we really are on the inside.  Which is why I know the universe doesn’t owe me shit.  I wish it did.  And for my second wish, I wish it’d start paying up.

I DO believe in spiritual forces.  I believe in God.  Laugh all you want; I don’t care.  If there wasn’t a God with a plan to ultimately save me, I’d be fucked worse than I am, and I’d just end it, which I don’t think is a good choice.  If you follow the link, I was thinking of verse 19.  But because I believe, I’m staying through the movie until the end of the credits.  Who knows?  Maybe there’s a blooper reel and maybe it’s actually funny.  I doubt it though.  Well, maybe it’ll be funny at the end after the story starts making more sense.

The “Say Yes” movement has been around for at least long enough for a few books and motivational speakers to start sucking money from people who are trend-followers, and there are many, or people who are desperate, and there are a few, or people who forward those emails around that say if you forward it you’ll receive good and if you don’t your groin will be infested with scorpions.

I’d be a success preacher but I think you’re supposed to actually believe what you’re preaching, not just in it for the money.  Or the power.  Or the sex.  Oh wait, that only happens to rock stars and politicians.  Or does it?  Fuck me, maybe I should be a rock star, or a success preacher.  Maybe not, I mean, Freddy Mercury died of rock stardom, along with a host of others.  Anyway, anyone who tells you to affirm yourself is fine, but anyone who tells you all you have to do to have [fill-in-the-blank] is either just take it, or ask the universe to deliver it to your door is peddling swamp water as the fountain of youth, snake oil as demon repellent, crystals and magnets and fucking rocks on strings as charms to attract good things, and nuggets of bull shit they say are actually made of gold.  “But wait, there’s more!  You also get this prayer cloth imbued with my personal forehead and/or neck sweat, that I personally prayed over so you’d get a blessing from sending me your money.”

If you had a healthy ovum, a genetic splicing machine, and a laboratory, you could quite possibly clone your own televangelist with one of those prayer cloths. (See also “The Big Bang Theory, The Gift Hypothesis.“)  Or, Bitch Televangelist. (See also “Family Guy, Quagmire’s Baby.“)  See, I used to like tv and stuff, but depression sucks all that up.  I used to like some other things too, at least a few times, but if certain other people don’t like the same stuff, it’s not going to happen again any time soon and THAT is further depressing.

We Christ followers are supposed to be a special lot, and we’re supposed to celebrate when shit happens.  (See James 1, or I Thessalonians 5:18, or Philippians 4:4.  Woo hoo, more shit!  Halle-fucking-lujah.

This weekend, I had the good fortune to be alone except for the dog.  While I revelled in the solitude most of the time, I felt a lack of motivation except to do the things that absolutely needed to be done, and I did them when I damned well felt like it.  I should have asked the universe for controlled mania (oxymoronic of me, no?) so I could get MORE shit done.  I did small things, when big things could have been done.  Or should have been done.  I did not do sufficient self-care.  And I really should have.  But I’ve been depressed and don’t have motivation for that.  I SHOULD do it for myself, but I only want to do it for Mrs. M., and she doesn’t care and isn’t interested right now.  Mrs M. can go from “I’m so busy!” to “Zzzzzzz!!” in three fucking seconds.  Yep, I’ve got me a fast woman.  Hooray!)

I did do a small list of things that you might think is a lot, but when you look at life through Mrs M’s eyes, or her trained minions, not so much.  Rather than taking over the world like I COULD have, I only walked the dog on the long hike three times, fed the dog and his best friend, washed all the dishes and put them away, washed, dried, folded and put away a few loads of laundry, emptied the lint trap so the house wouldn’t burn down, took out the trash and recycling, mowed the grass, spread weed & feed on it for the dandelions and damnedythistles to die, fucking weeds, DIE, emptied the vacuum cleaner in preparation for really cleaning it, took the dog to his obedience class so he could learn not to be an ass hole (are there human obedience classes?  No, DON’T tell me, and STOP LAUGHING!  I’M not the one who needs to sign up.  Or am I?  Shut UP!!) …and so on.  I also picked up my son after his scout camping trip and helped him wash and put away his tent, and wash his laundry, after which I dried and folded it and made him put it away.

I don’t know, it seemed like a lot to me.  I also did some other tidying up and putting away of miscellaneous things around the house, in the yard, and in the garage.  I may have wiped off a few counters and tables, I think I did but don’t make me swear to it because someone would bitch they found a wet place on the counter over here, or a place that’s still sticky from something they fucking spilled before they left.  It wasn’t immaculate, or anywhere close.  I didn’t do any writing, I had a beer and then the next day a small amount of whiskey, but not enough to get intoxicated, and I also wasted a few hours on Netflix Criminal Minds.  (Horatio: ) “Looks like this one… tried to put too much weekend ::sunglasses on:: …into his weekend!  YYEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

But there comes a point, (I’m GETTING to the point already, shut UP!) and I’ve reached it, where one has said “yes” to the universe one too many times, and needs to say “when.” Not this “when,”

but the opposite “when,” for when saying “when” means “stop!”  Funniest “Say When” cartoon ever:  https://nightowlet.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/its-been-one-of-those-days/

When… Mrs M and my daughter and son were all finally home we all gathered around the rotisserie style chicken I went to the store to find.  Everyone started talking about their weekends, but quickly devolved back into nit picking shit and somehow it was my fault whatever it was wasn’t done right, from the dishes I washed in the fucking dishwasher that weren’t clean enough, to the state of the laundry that wasn’t brought near the washing machine so I’d have a clue it needed washing, to why this or that was done the way it was done or why this or that wasn’t done.  Thank GOD I had more wine.  I poured a glass Sunday night.  “The dishes I washed aren’t clean?  The house isn’t clean enough?  You can’t find your gym uniform?  You’re frustrated because I’m less communicative than you want?  You need me to [fill in the blank task] tonight, tomorrow, before 5AM?  ::I pour more wine, like a whispered, liquid “fuck you.”::  Do go on and tell me about your weekend adventures.  And tell me more about how little you appreciate what I do.

In the spirit of more and more shit adding itself to my life, whether I want it or not, whether I celebrate it or not, whether I want to say “yes” or say “when,” one of my dear family members backed up the downstairs toilet and one of my dear family members thinks unsightly things should be put away so they can never be found by anyone, heaven forbid house guests, GOD forbid friends, and heaven help family members, so they put away the fucking plunger so well I couldn’t find it to fix the toilet.  Hooray!  This same person likes to put the vacuum cleaner (full of dirt and hair I vacuumed up) out in the garage so it’s as far away from practical use as possible.  Then mum called and wanted me to find something she had given us, worried that it was lost or thrown out.  Something nice, to be sure, but I didn’t have the first clue where to look since when I put things where I want them, they get moved.  See also, the vacuum cleaner and the plunger.  If you see them, can you please tell me where the fuck they are?  And, is there more wine?

It has been one of those days.  One of those weekends.  One of those weeks.  One of those months.  I’m fucking sick of it and tired of everyone and everything, and people wonder why I want to be a damned hermit.  For fucks’ sake (from one person, quite literally), I want to be celebrated and enjoyed and praised and encouraged by people when I do something nice for them, not criticized, pushed away, yelled at, discouraged, and watch as more demands are placed on my ebbing energy.

Maybe it’s just my depression talking, but I am more and more convinced the universe has nipples.  Why else would almost everyone I know SUCK?!  I wish people would figure out how to latch on correctly, instead of latching on to MY LIFE.  And if a certain significant other HAS to suck, can I tell her where and how to latch on?

Speaking of things that suck, now I need to go find the plunger and the vacuum cleaner so I can deal with shit and show more dirt where to go.  Before someone tells me how and when “it needs to be done,” (the “right” way, now, by me) rather than just fucking doing it themself.  Seriously, I am motivated more by seeing something that needs to be done and NOT being told to, and how to, do it.  Being told how to do it, or being told to do it, is the opposite of motivational.  It sucks my energy and unction down until my soul is empty and I want to disappear.

I’ve seen a few things that need to be done, and I’m going to try to accomplish one or two before someone tries to tell me to do something else, or tell me how I should do, or should have already done, what I’m doing, or how I suck because I didn’t do whatever it was in the order they “needed” it done in.

Good luck with your side of the Universe Vacuum; I’ve heard it sucks all around, unless you twist its’ nipple and it likes it well enough to give you what you need or want.  I guess someday we’ll all be in the bag.  If the critiques and helpful suck-gestions start again tonight, I think I’ll look for more wine. I may be half-in-the-bag after that, but maybe I won’t really care.

Here’s hoping we can all accomplish good things, for ourselves and for others, before the universe sucks everything away.  And here’s hoping, if the universe does have nipples, that we can all latch on and reverse the trend.  After all, don’t we all live in the Milky Way galaxy?

Not Writing About What I’m Writing About?

I got up early today and have taken my daughter to school.  It’s not something I want to be in the habit of doing, but then, she’s already 17 so it’s a way to bond I guess.  It’s bad inasmuch as it fosters her laziness and encourages a lax attitude about time management, because she has a safety net to fall on.  It’s there, but I don’t want her to take advantage of it and just think it’ll be there her whole life.  My slightly more responsible son caught his bus.  Today she had gifts for her friends and wanted a ride so she could easily carry everything and not have the jostling and space issues of the bus ride.

I’ve had a cup or two of coffee, I’m back home and feeling nicely focused, but maybe easily distractible, it remains to be seen.  The squirrel joke is no joke.  I’m hoping I can have a little “me” time (writing here) and still enough time to walk the dog before the rain comes and get some chores and maybe a little extra catch up work done before I have to get to work today.  That upstairs…  I want my floors,  I want my desk.  It’s just that I’ve been like a pack rat for a while with no place to put “everything in its’ place,” and my wife is worse because she’s better at packing big things into small spaces.  No, NO, stop.  I mean like getting more stuff in the suitcase, or in the car, like that old game TETRIS, not THAT.  Although…  Nah, only if she wants that.  I surrender.

I started out wanting to write about a specific writer who has recently moved to the US after running into some difficulty because his government took issue with his writing.  But I tried to research and didn’t find anything accessible.  “This content is restricted.”  If his native government wants to restrict his thoughts and he restricts his audience, who knows what he’s talking about?  I’ve read a few comments and a few things in news articles I presume were quotes, and two year old or older blog things I found, and all I can think is, who the fuck cares?

It’s a fucking blog, like my own.  I guess, if he tells people to riot in the streets or kill someone or commit crimes, there’s a problem inasmuch as his words might actually have a direct impact on my life or the life of someone I know.  So yes, if he advocated violence or actual crime, I’d stand against that, but I can’t find anything to know if he did that.  And I consider myself a pretty damned good online stalker.  All I could find is stuff where he said, essentially, that both Christians and Muslims are idiots.  He’s an athiest, I get that, and again, my reaction is, who the fuck cares?

Well, radicals who profess either religion might, but I don’t.  He posted a picture online that was deemed “obscene.”  That’s stupid.   I’ve seen “sacrilegious” “art” before, and I don’t care.  Express your lack of faith in Jesus, who came back from the dead, or that “prophet” guy, who didn’t.  I don’t care.  Express your lack of faith in the government, I don’t care about that either.  America has elected a lot of presidents that people called names.

What concerns me is that people take the words of a fifteen or sixteen year old that seriously.

You want people to treat your religion with respect?  Get a religion that’s respectable, and be respectable with your faith.  You want people to treat your government with respect?  Get a government that’s respectable, and exercise your authority in ways that respect your constituency.  The people at quotesgram.com and quoteimg.com sum it up in short and then in long:

Image result for respect is earned not given

I don’t know how long it’ll take for me to earn my kids’ and wife’s respect.  Been working on that for more than 25 years for the latter.  Taking my daughter to school when she’s overburdened, giving a hug or a supportive remark when she’s sad or feeling insecure, helping my wife with chores and being as romantic as she’ll allow, helping my son in scouting and in becoming a young respectable man, helping the kids develop life skills and independence, it’ll eventually add up to respect.  Maybe.  I hope.  Work is a lost cause.  They want to demand my respect just from having authority to fire me, not realizing that at work, my respect can be bought, to start.  After starting with buying it with a decent wage commensurate with my experience and training and tenure, THEN it can be earned by helping me succeed in my career and developing me to the point where I can actually retire before I die, and hopefully have enough years to catch up with all the things I don’t have time to do between work and family and church and other activities.

As a blogger, if you don’t like me, you won’t read it.  You won’t follow it.  I’ll either get the message or not, but what do you care if you quit following me.  Just like the TV, or radio, if I hate the show or the commercial, I endure it or shut it off.  It has zero impact on the producers or the advertisers, but they are free to express whatever shit they want to broadcast and sell whatever shit they want.  Who the fuck cares?  And why?

There’s plenty of things I’d call “obscene” on the internet.  Why are people so afraid of someone offending someone else?  I think if a person has talent and respect, they ought to rise to the top.  But in the modern era what seems to rise to the top is infamy.  For some reason, the tacky, the cheap, the lowest common denominator, is what people want to see more of.  It makes them feel good about themselves and doesn’t challenge them to strive for better and more.  For some reason, the crafty, the villain, the ill-mannered, get the vote for fear that the one who seems honest and trustworthy might have some kind of hidden agenda the talentless, seem to get the sympathy vote because here in America we don’t want anyone to feel like they should keep on looking for their specialty, and try something new until they find something they’re really good at.  Our little baseball playing toddlers don’t keep score (but the adults do).  Art that people don’t think is art might sell to someone.  And someone might pay you to blog.  I wish they’d pay me, but I’m not holding my breath.  Plus, I need something either huge and inexhaustible, or huge and reliable over time.  I’m settling for reliable over time, but with that plan I’ll be working until I’m dead.  How disappointingly depressing is that?

I’ve vented enough, and I’ve thoroughly disappointed both of the people who strive to encourage my writing to be better.  So now I’m going to get myself ready to disappoint my boss, by working my ass off as hard as I can with my motivation high and my expectations low.  I think the boss pretends to be disappointed, and secretly they’re impressed trying to figure out how I’ve stayed so long for so little reward, and keep trying every day.  Maybe that’s why Mrs M is keeping me.  She’s secretly impressed, but also my worst critic, trying to encourage me to do better.  At doing what she wants me to do, mostly because she doesn’t want to do it herself.

I hope you find your inner motivation today.  I hope I do do.  I need to accomplish things when I take my breaks, because I didn’t accomplish anything great yesterday or today.  Except maybe I offended someone because I don’t take offense at sacrilegious, satirical, or political art or language.  If you’re offended that I’m not offended, you know what to do.  That’s right, have me arrested.  No, learn to park big things in small places.  No.

I hope you can do something good, that makes you feel good, or makes you happy because of either the sense of accomplishment or the gratitude of a friend or stranger.  Or, for a little while, do nothing, or something just for you and feel good and eventually harness the energy you have from taking a little “me” time to rest a little.  I hope I can too, but it’ll have to be snuck in between and after work, since I haven’t invested the morning in tasks.

Have a good day.  Both of you.

Defending Myself

Self realization.  It takes me a while to figure out some things.  I’m not saying that I’m dull-witted all the time, it’s just that about certain things I take a while to figure out.  Fixing certain things takes a while too.  But I solidified something in my mind this past weekend.  I’ll warn the sensible readers who like actual talent to stay away, because this shit is going to ramble on like Led Zeppelin.  (Sorry, to at least one reader who doesn’t like the music, but for some reason keeps reading. You know who you are, and I love you.)

I’m not sure what to do with the information, or if the realization will actually bring any change.  (in large denominations of currency, he jokes)  But it’s information, it’s logical, and I do plan to point out the trend when I observe it, for the purpose of letting people know how I feel.  When it’s not a huge risk, or when I decide it’s something really really important.

What I’ve learned is that when I do things, when I say things, when I cook things, whatever it is, and I’m not even sure if it’s random or if it’s a trend to observe, but for some reason Mrs M is pushing the buttons and making me defend myself verbally.  She asks a question about cooking, I give the answer I know is right, and she questions it.  Yesterday it was Greek cooking.  She wanted to know how to give chicken a uniquely Greek flavor, and I told her that Greek cooking would add a surprise- cinnamon and nutmeg and marjoram for a trace of sweetness- to a spartan Italian mix (garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, onion).  Damned if she didn’t reject the suggestion and then bitch that something was missing.  Well, if you didn’t want my suggestion, why the fuck did you ask?  What’s missing from the tzatziki sauce?  Well, um, plain yogurt where you used sour cream, more lemon, and you totally left out garlic.  Not essential but it does add something.  Same with my dear daughter and her music and the rest of her education.  Why the fuck do you ask for help and then tell me how I can’t be right and you’ll just do it on your own?

My dear daughter has learned that sometimes I’m right, even though she’s hit that sixteen and opinionated as a fucking 89 year old stage.  Two years ago, she didn’t listen to anything I said, rejected my offer to help her with a piece of music, and we play the same instrument.  It’s just that I’ve played the same pieces before, maybe 35 years before her, I still practice, and I know technical things.  She similarly rejected my help with math.  So, two years ago she went to the music contest and got a bronze medal.  I’ve been working on this one.  Last year I fought with her but insisted on coaching, by making her listen to me play and add instruction, and she got a gold.  So this year, she picked a contest piece and under duress of too many other things going on in her life, accepted my help- with practicing, technique, understanding the history, tempo, style and ornamentation of the piece.  And guess what?  She got a gold medal.  But, I felt pretty good when she got out of the performance room and then went to find out her scores, because I damn well knew it was a gold medal.

We have somewhat differing opinions about social issues, but basically we want people to do good and we want people to get help when they need it.  Here, I’m proud of her for pushing back.  I’d rather she have strong, and self-educated, opinions she can back up with research data than be a zombie idiot sheep who follows whatever the herd does and says whatever is popular.  While I am still concerned that the press tells people what and how to think, I’m proud of her for researching multiple sides of a question before making up her mind-that I’m wrong.  HA!  It’s fine, honey, be right and prove I’m wrong.  But in 30 to  years, I’ll be right about this too.

My kids’ taste in music is fucking awesome.  I don’t like all of it, but I’m really happy it’s an eclectic mix and not all the same bubblegum bullshit the rest of the herd is listening to. Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve listened to, and, I confess, enjoyed, my share of bubblegum music.  But mostly I liked classical, what they now call “easy listening” like James Taylor and Jim Croce, and a lot of classic rock and early metal.  But bubblegum, sure.  Girl bands. Girl lead singers, I confess, it’s a trend I still follow.  Madonna.  Did you SEE the cheesy movie they made out of Dick Tracy?  But I bought the soundtrack.  That is still awesome music.  J. Lo.  Mmmhmm, her ex is an idiot.  And while we’re on the subject of idiot ex-es, why the fuck did Mr. Mariah Carey let THAT jewel slip through his fingers?  Um…no.  Not Jewel.  She didn’t do anything for me at all. When I was very young, there was this gem, resurrected by Shrek as a testament to its’ lasting popularity:

and then there was this:

Oh, whatever.  Wordpress, or my laptop, is tinkering with the links so I don’t know what the fuck you’ll be seeing when you read this.  (Both of you.)  When I was older the good bubblegum was Brittany Spears, PCD, Spice Girls (if only for Scary Spice, she is still worth the whole rest of the band), and Christina.  Girl bands.  Girl singers.  All right, enough rambling on about that.

Not all the time, but a lot of the damned time, I feel like quitting.  The fight isn’t worth the cost.  I hurt myself, I hurt other people, I fight to keep on trying at life and work and family and marriage and church and friends and emails and housework and writing.

Lately all my writing is on stolen time, and I have to not take it very often, or life makes me give it back or puts me through more bullshit until I surrender.

If I could change something that sounds like something that could be changed, it would be the whole self-defense thing.

The one person that I should be able to trust NOT to attack me is the person who does it the “best.”  But she questions me on time management, on focus to tasks, on cooking, and is never quite satisfied with anything I do.  It’s not fair.  I don’t want to feel the need to defend myself from the one person on the earth I should never have to be defensive around.  The family learns this. She got it from my in-laws, and her children got it from her, so yeah, I have to sometimes defend myself around them too.  It’s not fair, and yes, I would love some cheese with my whine.  Got any extra sharp cheddar?   The other day I made dinner and they all started in with the criticisms, and I think it shocked them into silence when I softly retorted to my teen children that “If you want it different, or better, you can cook it your damned selves.”  And I left the kitchen.

I don’t want to defend myself at work either.  I want a job that doesn’t harness me on the basis of fear, but rather, on the basis of reward.  I want a boss that doesn’t harass me to exert and display her power over me on the basis of intimidation, wanting to keep me under her control, but a boss that sets me free to work hard and succeed.  And gives me tools that work to help me succeed instead of crippling me with shitty tools that don’t work like they should, and telling me that I need to not be upset or disappointed because if they work the third or fourth time I try to make them do what they’re supposed to do the first time, they’re “working.”  For fucks sake, if your hammer handle is broken you buy a new fucking hammer.

I don’t want to defend myself against random people.  Don’t fucking call me, you asshole telemarketers.  My long distance service is better than yours in the long run, no matter how free yours is in the short run.  Plus, don’t you realize I hate change AND ringing phones?!  Don’t ring my doorbell, traveling salesmen/women, unless you’re bringing girl scout cookies or boy scout popcorn, which I could take or leave because that’s what MY kids are selling.  I don’t want a $50,000 vacuum cleaner even if you vacuum my carpets and show me it’s really worth every penny.  Fuck off.  You know who you are.  You were suckered into a sales job by a deceptive classified ad, and you have to do the fucking presentations and then you pray someone buys that shit because your life now depends on it.  I don’t want to name any names or confess to anything in my bitter past, but I answered the ad and attended days of allegedly paid training and they didn’t confess it was fucking door-to-door fucking VACUUM cleaner sales until the fourth FUCKING day.  And the name rhymes with, um, “Derby.”  And doesn’t start with “DE.”  “Let him (or her) who has ears to hear understand,” it started with the exact same first two letters of the precise thing I wanted to do to the people who wrote the advertisement and led the training, for suckers to quit their day jobs to answer, and desperate people to sign up because they’re desperate.  I don’t want to ever have to carry sacks of shit.  They need to be put down.  I mean every kind of sack of shit, including those who lie around; “let him (or her) who has ears to hear understand.”

And thank fuck there aren’t any trolls on this thing who bother to read my blog and know how to push the buttons.  Thank fuck I’ve been sensible enough to decide who can follow and comment and I can decide  from the list of things to do with trolls:

D  o not allow them to post their bullshit comments;
A  llow them to post their bullshit comments just to show how stupid they are;
E  mail the sender and tell them to fuck off and report it to WordPress;
M  odify the comment before posting so they sound even dumber than their
O  riginal comment was, and make everyone see what a worthless shit they are;
N  icely respond to all the mean shit, and agree that their point was more valid than mine
S  end them a fucking love poem, or eroticism, or traumatize them with something
like a picture of a cute cat, or a dog, or a bag of burning shit, every day so they
realize it’s pointless and they fuck off on their own accord.  “Bite me… gently…”

Ooh, look, it’s a fucking ACROSTIC!  Who knew?!  Oh, and, sorry for the turn-on if you get turned on reading such things.  I can’t help myself, this devout and very married introvert is a steamy, sexy devil dog with a dirty mind, ready lips, and talented, strong hands, just dripping with … oh, sorry, there I go again.

I’m going to find a beverage since it’s Friday night, and see if nature changes its’ course.  It’s a hot day in fucking FEBRUARY, so if that nature changes course, maybe OTHER natures will change and start giving me what I want.  Hope you all have a great weekend, and I hope the universe, God, and your life and family and significant others all love you the way you want to be loved, without bitching about it, for the sole purpose of making you happy because they love you.  I may find three beverages, which is an extra one.  It’ll help me if I have to accept the seemingly inevitable outcome of THAT wish for myself.  But I want YOU to get everything you want.

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.

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.

~Deon

How Are You Feeling?

How are you feeling?  Isn’t that a loaded question?  But if we care, I believe we should ask. If someone asks, “how are you?” I’m willing to bet the reader evaluates the sincerity of the question before answering.  And in most “relationships,”the level of sincerity leads us to answer “fine,” or some say “great,” or some say  “ok,” or some no longer will even bother to answer the question.  And if the answer isn’t “fine,” or “great,” or “ok,” I wonder how many people I know would actually pay attention to someone who answers honestly.

I want to write about pain and health today.  Because life isn’t always the perfection of baked Thanksgiving turkey or honey-glazed Easter Ham or social media or the damned braggadocious Christmas letters I still get in the mail from some people.  Johnny got straight As and he’s already been accepted at Insert Prestigious Medical School on a full scholarship.  Husband has systematized  and simplified our lives, because he’s making so much money at his Insert Prestigious Professional Field and High Profile Company Name that we have a chef, a house keeper, and a personal assistant for each of us.  And he’s also hired private tutors, a nanny and a chauffeur for each of our two perfect children.  They’ve taken up Insert Musical Instrument because their stellar activities in school and Insert Sports and Insert Extracurricular Activities were going so well they wanted to try something just for fun.  Wife is hotter than ever and completely successful as Insert Professional Career and leading her Insert Social and Charitable Group, with her Insert Athletic or Exercise Activity and as a wife and mother.  This year we upgraded to a new Insert Expensive Thing No One Else Has An Old One Of to Cause Envy.  For our vacation this year we all spent a month in Insert Location and we all Insert Envy Inducing Activities.

Sometimes dinner is cheap mac and cheese and sometimes lunch is ramen noodles.  Sometimes we feel anxiety, sometimes we’re late, sometimes the boss gives us grief when we try hard and then underpays us because of their unrealistic and impossible “standards,” and then blames the company policy for the way they’re maltreating us.  Sometimes the car is rusty and needs new tires and you worry if it’s going to start.  And sometimes, life is pain.  Even in our modern fairy tales, the truth isn’t utopic.  Just like in this blog, where I tried to start this clip at 13 seconds, and then tried to play it before posting and it didn’t work and started at 0 seconds because sometimes it isn’t perfect, sometimes it’s a bitch and you fight and it still doesn’t turn out how you wanted.

When we’re hungry, “normal” people eat.  Some, though, eat too much, and others don’t, or can’t, listen to their bodies and ignore their need.  When we’re tired, “normal” people rest, or sleep.  Some, though, suffer insomnia.  When life gives us a stimulus, “normal” people give a “normal” response, but some don’t, or they can’t.  Pain is the same as any other stimulus.  “Normal” people do something to alleviate their pain, but some people can’t.

Some pain is obvious.  My back hurts because I have a developmental thing where the way I walk and move “naturally,” causes my lower back to misalign.  When that happens, I either go to the chiropractor if I’m rich or I wait for it to go back how it should be, or I have my family twist my hip until I feel that bone move back to where I don’t hurt any more.  My teeth, thank God, don’t hurt like they probably should, though.  Two of them have broken but they don’t hurt at all, even though they need to be extracted.  Eventually the damage may cause me some pain if I don’t go get them pulled out.  But for some reason I’m either able to suppress it or it just isn’t there.

Sometimes our troubles are simple but related to our emotional tides due to circumstances in life, and they can be treated with counseling.  A guilty conscience can literally kill you, unless you make it right.  If it doesn’t kill you, it can cause any number of stress-induced symptoms.  The medical community is diagnosing and looking into PTSD, Seasonal Affect Disorder, Chronic Anxiety, and so on, all of which cause very real physical symptoms including very real body pain. If it IS a medical and not a mental or spiritual or emotional issue, sometimes a harmless medicine  can be used, like an antibiotic or antiviral.  Sometimes there’s a surgical treatment, like extracting a tooth or a tumor or skin lesion, or replacing a knee or a hip or repairing a torn meniscus.  Sometimes there’s a stress-related cause and the symptoms go away if we have enough money or free time to treat ourselves a little nicer.  Among other things I have stress-induced asthma and wonder what other consequences and symptoms I have that might be cured if I didn’t feel like a helpless, worthless, stressed-out slave who can’t escape because there’s not enough freedom, not enough respect, not enough money, not enough time.

We now understand most inflammations, back pains, nerve pains like sciatica, foot pains like plantar faciitis, and tooth pain from decay or sensitivity.  But some pain has become mysterious to doctors. We’ve learned some things about some pains.  Nerve endings can become damaged from stroke or disease.  For literally thousands of years we’ve known how Hansen’s disease can affect the nerves, but the cause wasn’t discovered until 1873 and an effective treatment without divine intervention wasn’t found until the 1940s.  For some reason humanity hasn’t eradicated the disease and doesn’t have a standard, affordable, global treatment plan to cure anyone who picks this disease up.  Same with polio and other cureables, but that’s another annoyance for me.  We’ve learned about inflammations and minor aches, and some kinds of headaches too.  We’ve learned about diabetic neuropathy and how that makes diabetics have to be more careful about their feet or other extremities.  We’ve seen how arthritis causes pain and sometimes deformity, and we keep learning how to treat some of these diseases and cure others.

Many pains are actually good, like the stimuli that remind us to drink water, eat, move (for example, away from the stove)  But some don’t seem that good.  We still don’t know about Crohn’s, or Fibromyalgia, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or any of a number of various Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms including various pains.  But I’m wondering if these have a negative cause that should point us to a positive resolution, and maybe we haven’t figured out what the cause is, so we can’t know what the cure is.

We’ve learned about certain vitamins and minerals and how deficiencies can cause or exacerbate various medical problems.  We’ve learned how certain excesses cause problems.  We’ve learned about things that are toxic, like lead, mercury, and other minerals, and lithium (there’s a separate rant about this, but suffice it to say that this is a poison that is routinely prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, and sometimes schizophrenia and major depression with suicidal ideation.  For fuck’s sake, why do people have to take poison to make them not want to kill themselves?)   We’ve learned how and why good exercise is good for us.

I have food cravings.  I’ve talked about them before, so loyal readers may know about them.  I used to just feel thirsty and drink some water, or I’d feel hungry and I’d have to think about what sounded good and cook and eat that, or I’d just eat whatever we had in the house and the hunger went away but the craving didn’t.  Then I became aware that my brain was telling me specifically what it was craving.  A few were obvious.  Caffeine.  Chocolate.  Salsa.  Salt (very rarely).  Sugar (even more rare).  But then the specificity got to a level I can only describe as weird. Biscuits.  Steak.  Eggs.  Toast.  (Maybe I shouldn’t have had coffee and a banana muffin for breakfast today?)  Pizza.  Seasoned croutons. Mint, ginger, garlic, basil, tomato.    Popcorn.  Grits.  An apple.  A few prunes, without being aware of any digestive reason.  Italian sausage, or an Italian beef sandwich.  Caramels.  Soup.  Cheese.  Fried Chicken.  Oatmeal or granola.  Broccoli.  Green beans.  Tortillas.  Butter.  Fish.  A specific kind of potato  or corn chip.  A specific kind of drink, like tea, a type of wine, a vodka tonic and lime, apple cider, orange juice, egg nog.  Fettuccine Alfredo.  A specific flavor of ice cream.

The more my craving for very specific foods has become specified, the more I’ve started to think that maybe these unexplained pains some of us feel are telling us we need something, but nobody knows what that something is.  What if depression is just a craving that’s curable by giving our body what it needs when it feels sadness?  What if bipolar could be treated by being aware of what phase our emotions are in, or will be in, and by giving our bodies what they need to stabilize our minds, rather than poisoning with lithium formulations or other drugs?  What if fibromyalgia is nothing more than a craving for something our body desperately needs?  I wonder whether fibromyalgia is a form of depression that turns the pain into sensations we’re aware of rather than emotion.  My point is that maybe things doctors once thought, or still think, are “all in our heads,” aren’t.  Maybe they’re in our bodies and we need them out, or they aren’t and we need them.

I’ll readily say, and you’ll agree, that medical treatments have come a long way from leeches and trepanning.  But it upsets me that the treatments for things like bipolar and cancer and some other maladies are poisonous.  Why does the patient have to die, or get sicker, before they are cured?  Modern pharma is a business more than something necessarily good for a patient.  How many modern medicines have interaction complications?  I resist the idea of taking certain medications because of all the potential side effects.  How many of you suffer side effects?  The list includes such wonderful things as sweating, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, weight gain, weight loss, hair loss, gas, constipation, water retention, dehydration, urinary tract or intestinal problems, dry mouth, thin blood (slowness to clot), D.V.T., stroke, irritability, episodes of rage, nervousness, panic attacks, hallucinations, nightmares, sleepwalking, sleep driving (for fuck’s sake!), acid reflux, acidic esophageal damage, liver damage, kidney damage,  nerve damage such as causing Parkinson’s-like symptoms which “may become permanent,” toxicity, heart damage, paranoia, delusions, psychoses, brain damage, suicidal tendencies, death.

Big pharma pushes the newest drugs with full awareness of certain effects and at least a statistical possibility of others.  Why aren’t we offered nutritional counselling as a primary option, advocating natural substances that might help, before the doctor prescribes costly and poisonous treatments that might help us, but along the way might kill us.

We’ve learned that the sun provides natural vitamins absorbed through the skin.  Light can be successful in treating some skin issues including psoriasis.  Light therapies are being used by some to even treat cancer and other medical issues.  We’re barely scratching the surface of the potential.  And doctors know damn well that light helps certain kinds of depression.  Why aren’t we patients being told this?  Because, my inner cynic screams, there’s more money in potentially toxic, or lethal, chemicals.  Ancient medicine men treated patients with herbs and other natural substances.  Penicillin was derived from a fungus, not a poison.  We’ve learned fish oils provide essential vitamins. Even in the Bible, they described or offered successful treatments that were completely natural, not even miraculous, just wisdom.  We use mineral salts to treat minor skin infections, garlic as an anti-viral, honey is anti-bacterial, and chicken soup has been called both Polish cold medicine and Chinese cold medicine for a reason.  Whiskey and other strong alcohol can help chronic coughs and insomnia and depression and pain.  Morphine and codeine are from flowers.  Marijuana is now more widely recognized as useful for medicinal purposes.

What if there are natural cures for things the drug companies and doctors are currently only able to treat with poisons? What if what’s eating us is eating us because we’re not looking in the right direction for the cure?  What if the cure is social, like if we need our own group of friends who speak honestly with each other to vent frustrations and celebrate successes.  What if we just need someone to listen to us?  What if the cure is spiritual in nature?  Jesus touched the lepers and they were cured.  Jesus had a certain set of abilities that we ordinary people aren’t gifted with, but I do believe there are miracles still today.  If I didn’t, I would quit praying, and I have no plans to quit.   What if the cure is even simpler, something light-based, natural, or nutritional?

How are you feeling?  What does that mean?  What is it telling you?  Are you listening?