Category Archives: battling depression

Trying to Think of Other Things

20170928_072134

It’s raining today.  Appropriate for the moment when this thing that has consumed my entire summer comes to an end.  Appropriate too for the way the orange-faced king of our country has dominated everything in public life.  As hard as I have worked the last four years to claw my way out of debt, I am now bankrupt.  Everything the king has done and continues to do hurts poor folks like me.  Was George III the insane one?  The narcissist and paranoid schizophrenic?   And if he was, why did we decide after more than 200 years of independence that we needed a corrupt despot in charge again?  We have invited the king back to where he doesn’t really belong.

So what can we focus on today to get our minds out of the mud?

ca44555d05c99b9d8750b62b5f98c3e4

There’s always sunshine to consider.  The sun will come back.  It is like a law of nature or something.  And, although nothing is ever certain in life, “The sun’ll come out… tomorrow!  Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow… there’ll be sun!”  (That’s from the Broadway musical Annie, in case I wasn’t obvious enough.)

One can always also appreciate a pretty girl.  Is that being inappropriate?  I am a cartoonist and I have been obsessing about drawing pretty cartoon girls.  So maybe that’s what I really mean.  I’ll go with that.  Let’s think about pretty cartoon girls.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Yes, Emma Watson before Harry Potter wearing Mickey Mouse ears counts as a pretty cartoon girl.

So, if I still can’t get my mind off the mud… what will I do?

Think about Zebras climbing trees maybe?

DJJqr2tW0AAjkEI

Or Millie Bobby Brown starring in season 3 of Stranger Things on Netflix in October?

image

But while I’m writing this, I get a call from the pool demolition guy.  The plumbing and the electrical work apparently didn’t pass the city inspector’s inspection.  Now, it’s not only mud time again, I have a fire boiling in my spleen and am tempted to take an ax to city hall.

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, battling depression, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, surrealism

The Waning of September

5-fall-leaves-563461075

The pool removal has finally begun.  As I write this, I can hear the machinery grinding away at the gunite.  And so, September has almost ended.  It has not been a good time.

Branch_with_Autumn_Leaves_PNG_Clipart

The world has been filled with the fetid orange-faced swamp monster in charge of our nightmare future raging against football players while an Asian nuclear baby Godzilla trades insults and threats of Armageddon with him as the sideshow.  My health has been seriously threatened by chest pains and breathing difficulties made worse by all the stress brought on by my battles with the city over the pool.  How many more years of this can the world actually withstand? How many more can I hold on to life and love and laughter?

But it is not over yet.  I can still write.  I can still laugh.  I can still make goofy WordPress posts with autumn leaves and regal fritillary butterflies to make me feel better.  And I can still put together novels that make stories worth telling.  That is enough for the moment.

Val in the Yard

 

3 Comments

Filed under artwork, autobiography, battling depression, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Thank God I am Poor

Yes, now that I am bankrupt, I thank the God who made me that he made me poor and saved me from the terrible torture of being rich.

I know that sounds like a joke.  But I am serious.  In this world where you have to be willing to climb over the bodies and crushed hopes and dreams of your fellow human beings in order to be rich, I would prefer to be on the side of the downtrodden with a clean conscience and an empty wallet.

 

C360_2017-06-06-21-27-07-231

I have a castle of my own, but it isn’t very large.

I am actually a bit miffed after this last week.  The swimming pool that has given me ulcers from significant financial reversals all summer is still not removed.  I keep having to pay more and more.  I had to declare bankruptcy because my credit rating was degrading and all insurance companies and mortgage companies punish that crime by charging you more money.  The city is pushing hard to get the pool removed, but on Friday their city inspector failed to inspect the pool which must happen before the demolition can begin on Monday.  In fact, the inspector never showed his face or called to explain why.  But the city did not fail to contact the bank that holds our mortgage lien to make them reconsider the value of our property and the payments we are required to make.   Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn’t protect you from such things as that, by the way.  In fact, it doesn’t help protect you from debt.  I still have to repay everything I owe Bank of America and the other credit card banks I owe money to.  The only thing it does do is stop the snowball of finance charges from rolling further down the mountain, and then it reorganizes my finances with outside guidance to guarantee the banks get paid off.  That is because, even though I had to pay lots of money to the lawyer, and will have to pay more before we’re done, taking care of the banks’ needs is the first priority.  So, I am on my own with the city and their demands and their bullying to make certain their demands are met too.  It is probably a good thing that I have decided to become a nudist.  After all, there will be no money left for clothes.

You will have to forgive me for beginning to think dark thoughts about rich people.  One way or another, the wealthy minority are to blame for most of what’s wrong with my life.  Congress right now is trying again with the Graham-Cassidy Bill to make certain that my next health reversal kills me.  It is very important to them that Obamacare is repealed.  And why would that be?  Is is it because Obamacare works because it takes more in taxes away from one per centers, and the Republican-controlled Congress wants to give that all back to the rich folks?  They need the extra millions more than I need to keep living, right?

I am tired of fighting over numbers in bank statements and credit card bills.  I am poor.  I have paid an awful lot of money to get to that point.  I will be satisfied to defend my tiny kingdom to the death as the orcs of wealth-acquisitions overwhelm me.  After all, I have a certain satisfaction with how I have lived my life, and no matter how badly it ends, that satisfaction cannot be taken away from me.

Leave a comment

Filed under angry rant, battling depression, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, photo paffoonies

The Man in the Mirror

Every now and again we have to stop what we are doing for a moment and examine ourselves.  If we are writers, we tend to do it every fifteen minutes or so.  You have to expose the soul to the light of day for a moment and take a look with eyes wide open, prepared to see the worst… but also open to seeing beauty where you may not have seen it before.

8614260_f496

So what do I see when I look in the mirror?  More darkening age spots, more patches of psoriasis with increasingly red and irritated potential infections.  Drooping eyes that have lost their sparkle and now darken with blue melancholy.  I see a man falling down.  Falling slowly, but falling never-the-less.  It happens to everybody with age.  I can no longer do the job I loved for 31 years.  I am no longer the goofy Reluctant Rabbit with the big pencil in the front of the classroom, telling stories and making learning happen.

20150807_135323

Once I was a big deal to little people.  Once I created magical experiences involving books and great authors, poems and great poets… and I taught little people how to write and master big words.  I mattered like a big frog in a small pond, able to make the biggest splash in that particular pond.  I was the froggiest.  But I haven’t drawn myself as a frog yet.

michael_jackson_dangerous_1991_retail_cd-front

Of course, I was never as big as that other Michael.  He made a really big splash in a really big pond.  He was a really big frog.

japan-three

He and I have a lot in common.  Not far off in age.  We got married about the same time.  Both had three kids, two boys and a girl.  Both were associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses at one point.  Both of us never really grew up.  He had Peter Pan Syndrome, and I stayed in school my whole working life.

And everybody has a dark side, in counterpoint to their better angels.  I’m not entirely sure what my dark side entails.  Being a grouch?  A diabetic?  A closet nudist?  But I have one.  I trot it out to make fun of it constantly.

But as I was feeling sorry for myself, being forced by the city to remove the pool, becoming a bankrupt poor guy thanks to Bank of America, and generally in such ill health that I feel like I am wearing a lead suit all the time, I stumbled across one of those life-affirming moments.  A former student asked me on Facebook to post a picture of myself so he could see how I was doing.  I posted this picture.

C360_2017-04-02-20-46-24-890

Yep, the man in the mirror is definitely me.  I got loads of complements and howdys from former students, former colleagues, a former grade school classmate, and my Aunt Wilma.  I heard from people I care about and they reaffirmed that they still care about me, even though some of them I haven’t seen in more years than I am willing to admit.  Sometimes you have to look in the mirror to see what needs to be changed.  Sometimes you just need to see the precious few things that were always good and haven’t changed.  It is a process worth the effort.

2 Comments

Filed under battling depression, commentary, empathy, feeling sorry for myself, grumpiness, humor, insight, inspiration, Paffooney, rabbit people, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Being Bankrupt

I am swiftly turning into a detestable human being.  I have admitted already on this blog that I have not only known nudists in my lifetime, but I have recently visited a nudist park and become one… for a few hours.   Today I am admitting to being a bankrupt individual.  I am taking steps to declare a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

3a1bf775a53fe7a4764eadb74ac6eda8--student-loans-law-school

As with nudism, bankruptcy is really probably not what you think it is.  It is embarrassing and stressful to be bankrupt, at least if you are not Donald Trump and able to gleefully rob workers and creditors and investors by manipulating bankruptcy laws.  But it is not immoral.  In fact, with my Chapter 13 bankruptcy, I will end up paying back everything I owe to credit card companies and especially Bank of America whose lawsuit caused this bankruptcy.  It will just be a managed pay-off with no further interest charges, managed by a court-appointed executor over the next five years.  It will drop the bottom out of my credit rating initially, but may actually bounce it back up better than it was because my debt-to-income ratio will be dramatically improved.  I will not lose my house or my car.  I simply will have no more credit cards.  That can’t be all bad, can it?

powell

So, filing for a bankruptcy of this type has done a good job of teaching me where I fit in modern society and how the idea that you need to pay back what you owe to those you owe it to applies more to me than it does to rich folks.  I will let you in on a big secret.  I am not now, nor have I ever been, even remotely defined as rich.  I haven’t really been poor before now, either.  But I am sinking into that swamp quickly, and the crocodiles smell blood in the water.  It is expensive to become poor.  You have to pay a lawyer to help you get rid of all your money.  You have to plead with them to allow you to continue to buy food and, with luck, necessary medication.  But as long as you continue to hemorrhage money into their money-sucking vampire fangs of profit-making, the rich ones who own everything and control everything and make all the laws will allow you to continue to live… unless it becomes more profitable for them in the short term to let you die.

bankrupt-city

Now that I have driven over the bankruptcy cliff, I will probably try to enjoy the view and the exhilarating rush of air on the way down.  Maybe I will do it naked.  I could go back to the nudist park for the Labor Day weekend.  I would save on clothing budgets.  And when I get to the bottom of the cliff, there is a possibility that I will bounce back up.  After all, if I don’t the bankers and the lawyers won’t be able to get any more of my money.

 

8 Comments

Filed under angry rant, battling depression, commentary, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, humor, pessimism, Pirates

The Super-Sucky Start To School 2017

Four years ago now I started school for the last time as a teacher.  I didn’t know at the start of the year that it would be the last.  I had planned to teach until I died if possible.  But it wasn’t possible.  By March I had to make a hard decision and report to the administration that I was going to retire.  Because of deteriorating health and family difficulties with finance and schooling for the kids, I had no other workable choice.  I really doubted four years ago that I would still be alive four years later.

Supe n Sherry_n

Today, I dropped my daughter off to start her sophomore year in high school.  This is actually the second week for number two son, who can now drive himself to school, saving further wear and tear on my aging, disintegrating self.  Will I still be alive next year to start a fifth year of retirement?  Does it matter?  I am already victorious in ways in which I didn’t believe I would be.

And then, Hurricane Harvey decided to show up and remind us that we are all mortal and none of us have a guarantee that we will get to start another school year.  Of course, the hurricane is not directly threatening me.  It is in Houston, and I am a long way away in the Dallas area.  But it still has an effect.  I have former students and their families living in the Houston area.  One of them told me she was safe on Facebook, but she was shaken by the devastation she saw around her.  She wanted to help in rescue efforts.   I told her to please take care of herself first, that she could only help others after she was firmly okay herself.  She told me that she always loved my class and made me cry.  I know she will probably be all right, but she will take risks and act all heroic without regard for herself.  That’s just who she is.  And I have other former students in that area just like her that I haven’t heard from yet.

DH70aS8XsAAwOuY

And while the hurricane gives him cover, the orange-faced Bozo in chief has had a great couple of weeks encouraging racists and pardoning racist criminals and possibly even sending my number one son to Afghanistan in a surge that goes against campaign promises to not get us more involved in foreign wars.  Now he wants to take Afghan resources and enrich himself and the evil corporate slugs he works constantly to enrich.  Jabba the Trump in his full glory.  I didn’t vote for this parasite, but despite the fact that I have no voter guilt to overcome, I am definitely not happy with him.  And how much more damage does he have to do before somebody stops him?  The party in control hates him too, but they can do all the evil they want and he’ll ultimately get the blame, so their voter-suppression tactics will continue to let them hold on to power.

class Miss Mcover

But, even though I still have to remove the swimming pool or risk losing the house, and I have to finish the paperwork for becoming bankrupt, school has started one more time… in spite of the fact that everything around it really, really sucks… in the sense of a vacuum cleaner.

2 Comments

Filed under angry rant, battling depression, feeling sorry for myself, humor, irony, Paffooney, politics, teaching, Texas

For the Love of Sad Clowns

C360_2017-08-06-21-19-37-889

This is my latest clown picture, inspired by my newest fascination with Puddles’ Pity Party on YouTube.  Like all my clown pictures, I am fairly sure that my number one son will tell me it’s a creepy clown.  He has never liked clowns.  When he was still small we took him to the pre-show at Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus which at that time was Meet the Clowns.  We met the men… and women… and dwarves… in the face paint with the loud personalities and huge red smiles.   I was charmed, as always, but number one son spent most of the time behind my pantleg, peering around for sneak peaks at the clowns.  He was actually shivering most of the time.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But me, I love clowns.   Always have.  Especially the sad clowns.  The hobo clowns.  Red Skelton playing Freddy the Freeloader, Charlie Chaplin as the Little Tramp, Marcel Marceau, the peerless mime, and Emmett Kelly Jr. as Weary Willie.  There is something deeply poetic and resonant about a clown who makes you laugh by his outward actions but manifests deep feelings and an underlying sadness on the inside.  It is a metaphor for the whole of life in the human world.

Puddles walked on to the stage of America’s Got Talent and engaged everyone first with his silent-clown mime routine, and then grabbed everyone right by the heart by singing a song about drinking and swinging on the chandelier with such emotion and operatic power that, by the end of the song everyone was standing, everyone loved him.  Singing clowns with a sad song help us keep our own little boats afloat on a vast and stormy ocean of life.  The song buoys us up and makes it bearable to tread water a little longer.  I am at a time and place in my life where I really need that.

I love clowns.  Especially sad clowns.  Particularly when they sing.

I dare you to watch these videos and not fall in love with Puddles.  That’s the point of sad clowns.  They make you laugh at the sad and serious things that tear people apart.  And by doing that, they put Scotch Tape on the tears and put you back together.

Leave a comment

Filed under battling depression, clowns, commentary, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, sharing from YouTube, strange and wonderful ideas about life