Category Archives: self pity

Mickey Viewed From the Inside

Yes, this post is a self-examination.  Not the kind you see Donald Trump enacting every weekend, where he says any crappy thing that occurs to his craptastical very good brain to cover what he doesn’t want us to believe about the truth on Twitter, basically for the purpose of continuing to say he is great and we are poop.   I do not like myself the way Trump likes himself.  I am an old bag of gas that is in pain most of the time, in poor health, and the subject of endless persecution from Bank of America and other money-grubbing machines that are convinced any money I might accidentally have really belongs to them.  But this is not a complain-about-crap fest either.

This is a self-examination that attempts to honestly examine where I am in my quest for wisdom and my affliction with being a writer.

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If I am being honest about the type of writer I really am, I guess I am most like the Weird Recluse in the bottom corner.  I can’t claim to be as good as Kafka or Dickinson, but I am definitely better than some of the crap that gets published and marketed as young adult literature.  The business of publishing is more interested in how many books they can sell, rather than literary merit or good writing.  Some of the crap that is out there and being made into bad movies (which I have not seen because I don’t go to movies that don’t pass the fiction-source smell test) is actually a form of brain poison that will mold young people into sexual predators and professional poop makers.  And people will take poison happily if it has been deviously marketed well.  So far, in the money test, I have made only $16.43 dollars as an author (plus whatever I have made from I-Universe that doesn’t cut a check until it reaches at least $25 dollars).  Nobody is buying my books because nobody has read them.  I have sold a few copies to friends and relatives.  Some of those books are just sitting on a shelf somewhere unread.  I have a couple of 5-star reviews on Amazon, and that is it.  I will die in the near future not having known any measurable success from my books at all.

I have entered novels in writing contests and done well enough to make it into the final round of judging twice.  I have not, however, made a big enough splash that anyone really noticed.  I have paid reviewers to review my books online.  One of those charged me money, and then reviewed a book with the same title by a different author, a book which was nothing like my book, and then, when forced to correct their error, only read the blurb on the back of the book to write the oopsie-I-goofed-last-time review.  They were not worth the money I paid them, money that Bank of America could’ve sued me for instead.

The only thing I have done successfully as a writer is, I think, this goofy blog.  By writing every day, I have managed to give myself considerable practice at connecting with readers.  I have practiced writing humor and written some laughable stuff.  I have plumbed my soul for new writing ideas, and found a creative artesian well bubbling up with new ideas daily.  I can regularly manufacture inspiration.  I am never truly without an idea to write about.  Even when I write a post about not having an idea to write about, I am lying.  Of course, I am a fiction writer, so telling lies is what I do best.  I am also a humorist, so that means I can also tell the truth when I have to, because the best humor is the kind where you surprise the reader with a thing that is weirdly true.  Like just now.

So, somewhere ages and ages hence, I hope there will be a trove of old books in a cellar somewhere that will include one of mine.  And some future kid will pick it up, read it, and laugh.  The golden quality of that laughter is the only treasure I have really been searching for.  It is the reason I write.  It is the reason I continue to be Mickey.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, forgiveness, humor, Paffooney, philosophy, publishing, self pity, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life, writing humor

Getting Old is Heck

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I am sometimes forgetful.  You shouldn’t go for a walk on a country highway if you forgot to put on any clothes.

Cold weather makes my joints creaky and my bones ache.  My head gets fuzzy, and it makes it hard to think when my blood sugar gets low.  (By fuzzy, I mean on the inside like interference in your TV picture, not fuzzy on the outside.  I am fuzzy on the outside because I had to give up haircuts due to psoriasis on my scalp.)

Yes, as we get older, we get crummier and crummier.  I am literally crumbling now as psoriasis flakes my skin off all over.

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And as we get older… and poorer… and dumber… we have to learn how to do things to get happier.  My health problems lead easily to depression.  Not just a little generic sad, but deep down at the bottom of a deep, dark black pit of gloomy depression.  So, I have to take matters into my own hands.  Yes, I act a little goofy on purpose.  I draw a funny picture.  Laughter produces serotonin in the brain, the chemical that is missing when you fall into debilitating depression.  Scraggles is the result of major dark back in the early 80’s.  I also go to Walmart and buy chocolate.  Eating chocolate produces serotonin in the brain too.  I ate a whole 98-cent box of M&M’s this morning.  (Of course, as a diabetic, they had to be peanut M&M’s because peanuts have niacin in them at levels that boost your body’s insulin towards working more efficiently. M&M’s make me happy.

Of course, I am not out of the woods yet.  The mood of your family impacts your own mood.  My children have been ill for most of January and all of February so far.  And that puts them in varied states of depression and needing chocolate.  It is a good thing that Valentine’s Day is near and Walmart is over-stocked.   And it helps that it’s cheap.

I am old.  Being old is not easy.  Being ill is worse.  It really is heck.  But I don’t give up.  I don’t surrender.  I have fought back for too many years to give up now.

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Filed under angry rant, battling depression, Depression, feeling sorry for myself, humor, insight, Paffooney, self pity

The Old Man In Winter

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Handling the cold of winter is definitely not my favorite thing.  House-bound more than usual, creaky in every joint, hounded by a nagging cough that sounds like the barking of a dog who is 140 in dog years and about to die, I just don’t love this time of year.  And in Texas, we don’t even get pretty white snow to use as a distraction.

You see me here with my long Gandalf hair and my bristly author’s beard.  I have been furiously writing about werewolves and naked teenage girls.  But don’t get excited. It is not a sexy sort of thing.  Rather, it’s a comedy about feeling monstrous because of physical and emotional differences you have no control over, and, of course, prejudice against those who are different.   So I am keeping my head warm in cold weather by thinking too much.

There is evidence all around me of this.  I have so much indoor time on my hands due to weather that I am caught up in silly old man ideas and obsessions.

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I am taking pictures of frost patterns for cartoonish reasons.

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I can’t help but spend time on the computer doing things like making use of the vast storehouse of useless knowledge that I keep in a back room inside my head.

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20171231_150717It seems I am rather good at it, too.  Who knew that a life spent as a teacher would make you into the sort of Jeopardy genius that could earn a million dollars on a show that you will never ever have a chance to get on, and if, by some miracle, you did, you would get a first round question about the atomic weight of molybdenum and you’d say, “What is 42?” because that is the element’s atomic number (and the answer to life, the universe, and everything) instead of 95.94, the correct answer, which you knew, but you got nervous and went for the jokier answer.

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And, of course, I can’t help but reflect on what I am missing out on as an ESL teacher, teaching English to kids who speak Vietnamese, Mandarin, Spanish, Farsi, and Tigrinya.  The world of languages that are not our own is fascinating, as well as frustrating.  We live in a time when communicating with others is the most critical life skill we could have, especially since the world is now run primarily by stupid people, and the evil people who love them.

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This old man is scaring me.  And he has nuclear weapons.

So, I struggle through the winter of 2017-2018 with layers of old sweaters, jackets, undershirts and long-johns.  And I am not lovin’ it.  But I am keeping my head warm.

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Filed under autobiography, battling depression, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, humor, photo paffoonies, self pity, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Uber New Year

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Who knew that being an Uber driver required the skills of a swashbuckling hero?

But that is exactly what it is.  I am approaching the end of my first $100 dollar week.  And I have already been on a harrowing ride through the world of ride-sharing for money.

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The key to successfully picking up and ferrying passengers to the site of their choosing is a matter of being personable and at ease with driving and talking.  Of course, I have talking skills.  My whole 31 year career was a matter of learning to effectively talk to kids all day long.  And you may not believe this, but adults, people who actually have money and the freedom to choose their own path, are easier to talk to than kids.  I have learned about people’s families, people’s jobs, opinions of their bosses, opinions of the government and taxes, and even some tell me about their love lives, both directly, and second hand.  If there are two in the car, then they forget that the driver has ears and can hear (within the limitations of really old ears).

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One recent passenger was absolutely convinced that no Uber driver actually knows how to drive.  That passenger sat in the back seat and sent a barrage of traffic warnings and worries forward for me to deal with at the same time I was watching the road ahead.  It was almost exactly as harrowing as driving with my wife as a passenger.  I felt like a child again, driving for the meanest teacher I ever had growing up.  (Sorry, Ms. Rubelmacher, I learned a lot from you.  Don’t give me detention for writing that.)

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But why did I say “Swashbuckling hero” if I am only going to talk about talking to passengers?  And why all the Batman gifs?

Well, I am talking about driving in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, ain’t I?  Do you know what Texas drivers are like?  On Saturday I picked up a coach headed for a retirement party at a Luby’s on the border of DeSoto (a southwest Dallas suburb.  That was a twenty-two dollar trip from east-central Dallas catty-cornered all the way across the city in a diagonal direction on the tollway and then I-35 South.  I had three cars cut me off for driving too slow (by which I mean the speed limit.  Hey, Uber monitors that through their app.)  The Uber Navigator told me to keep right at a time when keeping right nearly threw me off 35 onto an intersecting highway, so I had to make a quick two-wheeled Starsky and Hutch turn through the corner of the median to stay on course.  (Fortunately, Uber can’t monitor that.)  Dallas drivers are a combination of speedy predators in WASP rockets, Texas killer grandmas in Cadillacs, and Elmer Fudds going too slow in classic cars from the 50’s.  They provide you with a booby-trapped obstacle course to drive through, and go so fast that the speed limit becomes dangerously too slow.

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So I definitely appreciate Batman for providing me with all the animated illustrations to use for portraying the high-risk life of an Uber driver.  It makes driving this way easier to pretend that I am one half of the dynamic duo driving the Batmobile in Dallas downtown traffic.  Yes, it’s true, I am saying I pretend to be Batman.

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Totally Terribly Bankrupt

Disney recently unveiled the new President Pumpkinhead animatronic doll that they are putting into the Hall of Presidents at their theme parks.  Scary thing, that.  Scarier still, it would probably make a better President than the one currently in the White House.

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Can you tell from this picture which one is the animated lump of unnatural doll parts and metal wires, and which one is the Disney animatronic President?

And in the Congress, the House and Senate each passed a tax reform bill that will reverse-Robin Hood money away from the poor and middle class to feed the never-ending greed of the top one per cent.

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And a third thing that is now revealed this week, devastating for me personally, is my Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, signed and finalized on Monday.  My bankruptcy, unlike Trump’s many Chapter 11’s, does not cancel any debt.  I must pay 100% of the money won by Bank of America in their lawsuit against me and 100% of the rest of my unsecured debt with all of my other credit cards like Discover that had to be canceled out.  The only break a personal bankruptcy affords a retired teacher like me is that I no longer have to pay any interest on any unsecured debt.  And Bank of America does not get to take away my house and car and dog and light bulb out of my refrigerator.  They are most certainly disappointed by that last thing.

So, now we get to see the suffering actually come to an end.  Yes, no one must any longer worry about going to Disneyland and being bored by stuffy politician robots in the Hall of Presidents.  Instead the Hall of Presidents will now be one of the scariest horror shows in theme park entertainment history.  A robot Cheeto Man will be horrifically disemboweling and eviscerating the Constitution and portions of the English language on stage in front of children, grandmothers, and everybody.  Rich people will no longer have to suffer the discomfort of knowing that other people have any money at all, or are entitled to any of the wonderful things that only ultra-rich people are supposed to enjoy, like Disneyland, for example.

And Bank of America and its merry band of blood-sucking pirates can rest easy in the knowledge that Mickey no longer has any money to fund undeserved privileges like the ability to think for himself.

Paul Ryan and Donald J. Trump can now sit smugly satisfied and glory in the fact that Mickey’s losses guarantees them a Mickey-less world.

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Filed under angry rant, cartoons, horror writing, humor, Pirates, politics, satire, self pity

Life By a Roll of the Dice

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These are Warhammer 40,000 Harlequin Warriors I painted myself.

Over the years I have played many role-playing games.  Virtually always I have done so as the game master, the dungeon master, the story-teller behind the action.  Players decide what to do about the story problems I represent to them.  They have characters that have painstakingly advanced in skills and levels of skills to use for the problem-solving the plot centers around.  But ultimately, when they take action, the outcomes are decided by a roll of the dice.

Life is like that.  You labor hard to control what happens next in your life.  But random chance intervenes.  If you are the Harlequin Space Elf known as Smiley Creaturefeature (the masked elf in the green robe on the front row, far left in the picture above) and your band of high level Harlequin War Dancers have come to Checkertown City Square hunting for your hated enemy, Bone-sucker the Space Orc, it is entirely possible when you use your scanner operator skills to find him, you could roll a “1” on the twenty-sided dice.  This would mean failure.  Not merely failure, but failure on a spectacular level.  The scanner would explode, killing your entire squad, yourself included.  And all those weeks of building the character up to level 17 in order to defeat Bone-sucker and his mutant minions, would be lost and become all-for-nothing in the disappointment department.

Of course, a benevolent game master would alter the outcome in some way to keep the story going.  Perhaps the exploding scanner, instead of killing everyone, created a mini worm hole in the fabric of space-time and transported them to a parallel dimension where Bone-sucker is actually the chaotic good hero of Checkertown, and you must now work out an alliance with him to fight his enemies, the other-dimensional versions of you that are actual Evil Smiley Creaturefeature and his band of Evil Harlequin Space Elves.  You must then defeat your evil selves carrying out the evil plot that the game master had originally designed for the villain Bone-sucker to employ before returning to your own original dimension.

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Real life does not work that way.  It works more like you see above.  The lovely, metal-bikini-clad female barbarian of swimming pool repair is faced with the attack of the giant rats of city pool inspection, necessary electrical repair, and limited finances.  You can see, if you look incredibly carefully at the purple twenty-sided dice, that her defensive attack roll is a “2” for catastrophic failure.  Her sword cuts off her own leg and causes personal bankruptcy.  The giant rats roll a lucky “13” on the black twenty-sided dice for successful tooth and claw attacks.  They then go on to eat her and force the pool to be removed from the property, using up all the money the player (who is me, by the way) has left.

No game master steps in to create a more reasonable outcome.  The worst possible outcome is what happens.  That is how real life works.  Roll the dice, and lose your swimming pool.

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Tumbling the Trumpinator

It has gone beyond the realm of credibility.  How can a pumpkin-headed orangutan with a belly full of racial hatred and Islamophobia still be nominally running this country?  Has he not committed enough irredeemable sins to be sent to Hell, directly to Hell, do not pass GO and do not collect $200!?  I think he stole all the “Get out of jail free” cards before the game ever started.

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I have never called this Twitter twit-wit my president.  I never voted for him.  He did not win the popular vote.  He would not have won the electoral college without Republican cheating at voter suppression and Russian influence through email chicanery.  But the terrible things he has done so far have not gotten him removed from office.  Republicans still treat him as if he were a rational adult.  And Fox News is not only putting lipstick on the pig, they are covering him in red, white, and blue frosting and molding him into the shape of an American Eagle.  Why do we put up with these tactics?

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Perhaps other cartoonists and I are the only ones who see him for what he really is.  He’s an ignorant con man put into a position of power by billionaires so they can foist their evil agenda on us and have him rubber-stamp it with faux legitimacy.

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The betrayal of the DACA Dreamers was fifteen straws beyond the last straw for me.  Who is planning to remove him from office immediately?  I want to help.  I don’t believe in solving problems with guns, but I can throw a mean banana cream pie of satire and sarcasm.  I’m actually Hell at pie-whacking faces.   I can attempt to hurt him with rotten tomatoes of jokery and the silly string  of mockery too.  But even the image of this buffoon in cheap clothing with long red ties is immune to the assaults of mere humor.  He never gets the joke, and it is never on him.  It is on us instead.

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He hurts too many good people by taking away things that they need.  He may have damaged the way sick people access health care to the point that many, including me, will die for lack of funds.  He de-values human life by pardoning racist criminals like Arpaio and praising malevolent dictators like Putin.  He puts human life at risk by taunting another irrational man-baby who also has nukes to play chicken with.

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And no effort to remove him from office for crimes which he obviously committed and shows no signs of anything but guilt about will be made by the party now in power.

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So what will you do to bring back our country and our supposed sanity?  Tell me.  I want to hear a plan.  I stand ready with foam rubber whack bats to take the best shots I am capable of to help.  And I am not the only one.  (Truly, I drew none of the cartoons in this post myself.  Good cartoonists are legion in this day and age.)

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