Category Archives: self pity

Battling Pirates and Losing

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I have been boarded and scuttled by the pirates of Banko Merricka.  Yes the blood-thirsty buccaneers have won their lawsuit against me and forced me into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  You see, they ambushed me.  When I was undergoing a debt reduction plan, the evil banker buccaneers of Banko Merricka not only refused to answer all calls from my lawyer, they quietly sold my debt to their ruthless debt collecting assassins, who waited until I had paid off all my other creditors, and then launched a lawsuit against me.  They normally get away with this kind of ambush because people in general don’t know how to respond.  I hired a lawyer and fought back.  I would’ve been able to pay a settlement if it had occurred when I wasn’t dealing with a big financial hit from the city over the derelict swimming pool.

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My Banko Merricka debt was boosted by a couple thousand dollars due to their court fees which I must also pay.   It is a very expensive process for the average American to become bankrupt and poor.  The kind of bankruptcy I will undergo bundles all my unpaid unsecured credit card debt into one huge pile and then, supervised by an account manager, I will pay it off in manageable chunks for the next five years.  It wipes out all my credit accounts except car payments and reduces my ability to secure loans to zero.  The pirates have won.

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But I am not despairing.  I haven’t been able to afford medicine and going to the doctor since I retired, so I will probably not live to pay it all off anyway.  And money is not the focus of my life.  The people who care about money more than life itself do not lead happier lives than I do.  If we lose our house and have to move to an apartment, we can do that.  If I have to get by on less each month, well, I’ve done that before.  Money worries will not be the cause of my heart attack or stroke.  And who knows, if I eat enough spinach, maybe there is super-power to fight back with in my future.  Pirates don’t win every battle.

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Filed under angry rant, battling depression, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, humor, monsters, Paffooney, Pirates, satire, self pity

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

This is not a tribute to Winston Groom and his famous creation, Forrest Gump.  This is an admission that when I have had very little sleep and lots of worry lines on my brow, I often do remarkably stupid things.

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And sometimes, doing something monumentally stupid makes me feel better.  You know, more a part of the stupid, meaningless, and goofy world around me.  So, what stupid thing did I do?  I joined a nudist organization’s website.  Me, who freaks out when members of my own family happen to see me naked.  And, you see, there is more to joining this organization than just signing up for some random thing on the internet where you get a lot of random emails.  I had to submit nude photos of myself to be posted in community forums.  And I may be able to write a blog for this website, which will mean taking some camping gear and actually going to the naturist club site near Dallas to experience the things I will be writing about… and probably making jokes about.  But don’t be afraid of being subjected to the hideous torture of having to see me naked.  In order to see any of that, you would have to join the organization yourself, and you are probably not as stupid as me.  (But I am not telling you the name of the website anyway.)

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This is a detail from an illustration based on Golding’s Lord of the Flies.  But it is also a picture of me and a childhood friend from back in the skinny-dipping days, based on an old black-and-white photo.

You see, I have some real life experiences with nudists before this happened.  I had a roommate in grad school who liked to go au naturel, and even was comfortable with me being in the room when his girlfriend was visiting.  He was nude in the kitchen one time when my grandparents came to visit.  It is a good thing my grandfather entered that room ahead of my grandmother.  I also had a girlfriend in the eighties who had a sister living in the clothing-optional apartment complex in Austin, Texas.  Every time we visited Austin, the city nearest where my parents lived, she would stay with her sister there and I would have to go in to fetch her whenever we had plans.  Sometimes I was there just to visit.  But always, since clothing was optional, I took that option.  I did get used to being around naked people, though.  I actually have nudist friends.

So, though I am not a nudist, I guess I already know a lot about how to be one.  It is how I managed to stumble into this awkward arrangement.

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I know I will never be able to get my wife to go along on this harrowing adventure.  She refuses to even consider going nude in the house.  She has to wear clothes to bed even though studies say that sleeping nude is good for you.  I will be facing this basically naked and alone.  And possible paid writing work will never make this worth it by itself.

But my photos are already posted and approved.  My membership is a real thing.  And I am not ready to shoot myself for this stupid decision.  In fact, I will probably be less naked there than I have been here in this very blog where my every secret is laid bare and made fun of on a daily basis.

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This is How the World Ends…

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The T. S. Eliot poem “The Hollow Men” talks about the disappointing nature of human beings and ends  with a dire four lines quoted more often than any poem’s end in the history of poetry.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Now I have revealed this particular truth more than once.  I am not prescient.  I am an idiot.  And the only things I know for certain about the future are that I will die one day, and so will everyone else.  But knowing those things  is wisdom.  Especially the idiot part.

And I can see how things are progressing.  I know what people are like at their core.  If humanity is doomed to die out in the next century, or even the next decade, it will not be because of nuclear war.  It will be something sneakier, quieter, and more permanently lethal.

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It will be the fact that people are capable of heartlessness and cruelty.  Adolf Hitler turned the full power of government-focused hatred on those he defined as less than human; Jews, gypsies, gay people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the mentally handicapped.  He used that focus to burn those peoples out of existence.  But many forces in the human character rose up to shield the victims, saving some and avenging the others.  Hitler learned the hard way that he was not the end of the world… from a bullet, in a bunker, having lost an empire.

Now, the Republican clown show in the United States is turning into Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

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They show lack of concern for anything but corporate profits.  They will undo Medicare and cancel the Meals on Wheels program because, according to evil leprechauns in charge of the budget, we can’t afford to feed people, or educate people, or do anything to dry up the painful ocean of poverty capitalism is creating.  No, we must bury our pots of gold and any magic they have left in them.

They have changed the laws on environmental protections to allow themselves to profit by pouring pollutants into rivers and water supplies.  They pull out of world-wide agreements to work towards saving the environment from climate change.

They may have found a way to focus hatred through the lens of indifference.  Hitler’s mistake was in thinking most humans could be manipulated only through fear and hatred for those who were different.  Trump’s troll army has added stupidity and greed to the lenses the light can be filtered through.  And so, they may well succeed where Nazis failed.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

 

 

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The Moaning Writer

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I am not Charles Dickens.  I wish I were.  I want to be a writer of wry humor, social commentary, and have an effect on the soul of the world I live in.  The way he was.  Heck, Dickens invented Christmas the way we do it now (with considerable help from department stores like Macy’s) by writing A Christmas Carol.  But the chances for that are growing ever dimmer.

The small publisher with which I was associated, and who gave me a contract to publish Snow Babies, has died.  The business folded while my novel was still in the editorial phase.  PDMI Publishing was a worthy group of writers and entrepreneurs who in a different time might’ve gone far.  I know by reading some of their works that they had talent.  But between the ferocious grip of the mega publishers and the waves upon waves of self-published stuff on Amazon, real writers with talent are drowning in a sea of mediocrity and media indifference.  Writers who succeed are the ones with the most luck or the most direct connections to the gate keepers.  Profit is far more important than literary merit.  You don’t really have to have talent any more.  You don’t have to know what a split infinitive is or how to compose a compound sentence properly or how to spell.  Shoot, you barely have to know how to write.  Just write about sparkly teenage vampires falling in love with high school girls or sexual perverts who are into torture devices, and you can be a millionaire… if you can somehow luck out over the millions of wannabes writing the same exact crap.

There was a time when writing teachers and published authors were telling me that sooner or later good writing gets published.  It was supposed to be inevitable.  But that was a different time than now.  Different rules for the game.  I will have two published books with two different publishers.  I-Universe published Catch a Falling Star.  And Page Publishing will publish Magical Miss Morgan.  But I paid both of those publishers to turn my books into published paper books with ISBN numbers and access to customers of Barnes and Noble and other outlets.  But I don’t expect to earn the money back that I invested.  Not while I’m still alive at least.

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My I-Universe publishing experience was worth it.  I spent a lot of money to get Catch a Falling Star published, but I got to work with real editors and advisers who had experience working for Knopf and Random House.  They gave me a real evaluation of my work and taught me how the business of promoting the book was supposed to work.  And the help that they gave me ended there.  No advertising budget beyond what I could afford myself.  I learned a lot for my money.  But I had to come to terms with the fact that marketing was going to take more time and effort than I was physically capable of doing.  I have six incurable diseases and am a cancer survivor after all.

Page Publishing was a mistake.  They were cheaper than I-Universe, but I am not getting anywhere near the value for my money.  Instead of real editors reading and suggesting and modifying my work, I get nit-picky grammar Nazis who don’t even know as much about grammar as I do.  They are only copy editing.  And the last rewrite was me spending time changing all the incorrect changes they made back to the original text.  They did not even tell me the name of the editor making the changes.  I talked to the I-Universe editors over the phone and discussed changes in detail.  Page gives me email copies to read over and fume about silently.  They are no better than the vanity presses of old who were really no more than a re-typing and printing service.

So, from here on, I will only do the self-publishing options available through Amazon.  I have no more money or energy to spend on the black hole of literary dreams.

I can’t help but be a writer, though.  That part is genetic.  I will continue to write and tell stories that I need to tell.  I can’t help it.  Not to do so will cause me to shrivel and die almost instantly.  And I am only exaggerating just a little bit.  Well, maybe a lot.  But it is still true.

Whatever promises the future holds, I am not depending on them for my feelings of success, closure, and self-worth.  The world as I have come to know it will always be a ridiculous stew-pot of ideas and ego and cow poop, and I am not so much giving up as stepping out of the stew.  I wish to tell stories for the story’s sake.  I have no delusions of becoming as wealthy as Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.  I will never be Charles Dickens.  And I am okay with that.

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Triple Down Bummers Now Come in Grape Flavor

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You heard me right.  Grape flavor.  Specifically sour grape flavor.

I put my family on an airplane today to go be with my oldest son while he has surgery.

I get to stay home with the family dog because my back is hurting so fiercely from weather and arthritis that I can’t possibly spend hours on a plane.

So, sour grapes.

You know the Aesop’s Fable about the fox and the grapes?

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The fox, seeing the luscious grapes, tries to leap and get the grapes.  He is hungry for the grapes.  Ravenous for the grapes.  But no matter how hard he tries, he cannot reach the grapes with his snapping jaws.

He buys a trampoline from Acme.  But it sproings him over the tree and into the river on the other side… where there are alligators.  (Yeah, I exaggerate here… but in my life there always seem to be alligators.)  He still can’t get the grapes.

So then he goes to Home Depot and buys a chainsaw to cut down the tree.  But when he tries to rev up the chainsaw he realizes… he’s a fox.  He doesn’t have hands.  He has paws.  He can’t work the chainsaw.  And on top of that, his credit card is denied because he’s a fox and his job only pays in dead mice and rabbits, and chainsaws cost money, not mice.  So Home Depot sent a Sheriff’s Deputy to arrest him for stealing the chainsaw.  And it turns out that in spite of consumer complaints, Home Depot has signed a huge chainsaw deal with Acme, so the chainsaw explodes because he tried to start it with fox paws.  And as he is flying through the air from the explosion towards the river with alligators… he realizes… grapes don’t grow on trees.  There has to be something wrong with those grapes.  They must be sour.

Now, this is exactly the way Aesop told the story.  Believe me.  It really, really sucks to be a fox and not be able to get what you want in life.

This surgery is a big thing.  But it is not life threatening.  My son will be fine.  My family will be able to go places and do stuff while they visit and entertain him.  It is like an extra family vacation.  His grandmother (my mother) and his aunt (my sister) have both had the same surgery for the same reason.  They both came through it and came out cured.  But the problem is most likely genetic.  So, not only do I not get to go and be with my family on this trip, the bummer reason for the trip is genetically probably my fault.     Yep, there are alligators in that danged old river.

I get these benefits only from the sour grapes; I get a lonely week to recover from alligator bites for myself, and I definitely have something to write about for today.

 

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They’re Despicable!!!

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I had promised myself to put the whole political outrage stew in the freezer for a while, and stop picking at the meat and potatoes of it before it completely poisons me.  But President Pumpkinhead is imploding so fast I may miss out before incoming Russian and North Korean and even possibly Australian missiles begin nuking the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area.  I guess I simply have to boil it a little bit more right now.

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If I were going to script it as a psycho-consensual farce and put it on the stage, I couldn’t have written it any funnier.  It seems a couple of evil geniuses have been manipulating the pumpkin-headed guy so they could achieve their own personal ends.  They are selling him invisible clothing again.  And they will get away with it, too, because they are doing it in the context of the Republican Party.  The GOP, of course, is the party that cheats in order to win.  They gerrymander voting districts.  They suppress voters that are more likely to vote for Democrats.  And they maintain a lock-grip on the House where more people nationwide actually voted for Democrats, but that comes through the voting system as a Republican majority victory.  They are, as Sylvester says so juicily, DESPICABLE!!!  (Yes, I know, the triple exclamation point thing again.)

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It appears that now that Hatchet-face Flynn, the Dick-Tracy villain who was in charge of National Security, committed treason by promising the Russians that Obama’s sanctions for hacking the American election would be overturned as soon as Trump took over the job as big cheese in chief.  And it not only appears that Trump knew about this (or is that gnu about this?), but even said after Flynn was fired that he would’ve approved of it if he had known… even though he didn’t know… (or gnu).

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Immediately thereafter, Football-head and Bowling-ball-head on the Congressional Oversight Committee (You know, Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz who brought you the Endless Benghazi Hearings Follies and Republican Musical Review) went about the business of completely overlooking any possible wrong doing by the Pumpkinhead Administration.

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A Republican friend of mine once told me that he knew that all the crooks weren’t exclusively in the Democratic Party, but that’s the only place he really wanted to look for them.  It helped him sleep better at night.

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I spent a good share of last evening being lectured over Facebook by a conservative friend about not getting behind the Trumpkin bandwagon and scooping up the horse poop so they could continue their parade of doing Republican good things for the country (where “Republican good things” is a phrase that means destroying public education, taking away my healthcare since I have six pre-existing conditions, and dumping coal pollutants into rivers and oil pollutants into the air).  Apparently my writing stuff about Pumpkinhead Tinyhands that isn’t positive is a protest which constitutes terrorism, and I need to go to some other country like Canada where the commie-ISIS dictator is a libtard idiot just like me.  I don’t  have a right to stay here if I protest the elected government and the so-called humor in my blog and Facebook posts are unacceptably un-patriotic.  Apparently you can only call black presidents Hitler without being hooted out of the country by REAL AMERICANS.

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Apparently I am wrong about this man.  I am told he does not have a bowling ball for a head.

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A Plethora of Bad Days

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I’m sure you probably are saying to yourself something like, “What the heck is Mickey saying?” or “Why is this gesticulating goombah complaining again?” or definitely, “What the heck does plethora mean?”

Well, the results of 2016 I truly did not love.

Saturday my football Cardinals got a measure of revenge.  They were leading the hated Seahawks by a score of 31 to 18 in the second half.  Then, like God was cheating in their favor or something, the doofy Seahawks made a couple of long scoring plays and should have been able to kick the winning point after touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game.  Miraculously, the kicker shanked it wide left.  Tie score, 31 to 31.  So then, karma finally kicked in and the Cardinals got down into fieldgoal range on a pass to David Johnson, the miracle running back who ran for over 100 yards in his 15th consecutive game.  The game ended with a successful Cardinals’ field goal that gave them the unlikely win.

So, why am I not happy with a win like that?  Because it was practically the only one.  The Cardinals had a talented team this year that was predicted to win the Superbowl at the beginning of the year.  But they kept losing games.  Eight of them, as a matter of fact.  They were out of the playoff picture before Saturday’s game.  And the last time they played these skanky wanky Seahawks, they scored first in overtime, but still only got a tie out of the game.  And these same Seahawks made it into the playoffs as the winner of the Cardinals’ division.  Football life is really unfair sometimes.

And besides that, the Cubs won the World Series.  Donald Trump is going to be President in 2017.  The world is ending (at least within 100 years).  I am dying (at least within ten years).  And I am no closer now to being a successful novelist than I was on the day I was born.  Oh, and I have a viral infection that makes me cough and may kill me.  Life is all dark brown and dumbly glum right now.

So “plethora” means a whole gol dang lot of something.  And somewhere, somehow, someone owes me a good day or two.

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