Thursday, August 18, 2016

Destroyer of Worlds

She had the audacity to ask me how I'm going to build a doomsday device out of nothing. She said you can't build one with just a broken heart. Nonsense. A genius can build a doomsday device out of chewing gum, copper wiring, and a bitter broken heart. Okay, maybe a little stolen low-grade plutonium, but let's not mention that because the government is always listening and they don't understand supervillain jokes. Anyway, when the earth starts trembling and rips apart at the seams and everyone starts falling off into space, you will know it is me breaking it the way it broke my heart. I will be watching from my space station, my red cape billowing behind me because I installed tiny fans just for that. And then I'll be wondering what to do next now that everyone else is gone, and if I really thought this through all the way. Because I kind of need an audience for this cape to work.


Her name was Sara. She told me all of her dreams were in black and white and there were never any stars in the sky. She said that her heart was an empty box still waiting to be filled.

She said that we evolved from nothingness just to create love. And I believed everything she ever said.

The universe sent her to me when I was falling into my own sadness like a warm ocean wave. She blew into my life like some mythical force of nature that could never be owned or controlled. A reverse tornado. Instead of wrecking everything in her path, she put all of the broken things back together again.

When she moved through the world she changed everything.

She said, "We are all just conduits for someone's unused heart, so we should probably make out." 

And her eyes were pale blue fire and her lips were a maze where I am lost forever.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Untitled #2

There is a photograph I keep in my wallet that is falling apart just like everything else. In the photograph you are stretched out on an American Eagle beach towel, propped up on your elbows looking out at an ocean made even bluer by the white sands surrounding us all the way to the shoreline. The sea wind is blowing your dirty blonde hair back and you have never looked more beautiful, without a stitch of makeup or worry. You are sipping on some kind of fruity tropical drink whose name I can’t remember. Behind you, our kids are building sand castles with huge smiles on their faces, their skin pink with the beginnings of a sunburn that even SPF 50 sunblock could not prevent. The water is crashing against the beach and overhead a lonely seagull flies silhouetted by pillow white clouds. Sometimes I see this trip in dreams and I smell the cool salty air and taste the sunblock that we sweated onto our lips before we kissed. And I wake up in what used to be our bed and you are gone and there is no children’s laughter filling up the house. There is just silence and the sound of my heart slowly dying.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

If you have a cell phone, fuck you. I have one and fuck me, too.

As long as they have existed to annoy me, I have had this intense, almost irrational hatred of mobile phones. For years, I gave all my friends shit about being enslaved to their little plastic pieces of shit, because they were constantly talking or texting to the point of it screwing up our time together. They were too distracted to pay attention to our real life conversations thanks to their attention-sucking toys. You can see the same shit happening in bars everywhere. There will be people at tables full of people not talking to anyone because they’re texting away like a bunch of monkeys with typewriters.

But recently I betrayed my noble, decade plus anti-cell phone cause. I sold out. Not only did I break down and get a cell phone, I have been text messaging so much that I’m fighting a constant ongoing battle with my inbox to keep the messages deleted so that yet more can come to distract me.

By the way, who is the genius that had the idea to limit most phones to only a couple of hundred incoming and outgoing texts saved anyway? Fire that stupid asshole immediately.

It’s ironical that I have become the phone-using cliché I always railed against. It fills me with intense self-loathing every time I text and have to press the 7 button four times just to get a damn “s”. But I have to be honest and admit that texting beats talking. I can’t hear on my piece of shit phone anyway and I’ve always been better at writing than talking. Still, the slowness of the process is totally fucking annoying. Stuff I can type in like half a second, takes at least a minute or ten.

Yet I keep doing it.

Until the big Paducah Ice Storm in ‘09, I’d never even owned a cell phone. I was one of the lone holdouts and I raged against mobile technology every chance I got. I hated cell phones with every single atom of my blackened and embittered heart. Then a stupid ice-covered limb knocked out my land line and I needed a phone that worked because I had to go out of town for my job. I’d been thinking about getting a cell for road trips or emergency situations, like my motorcycle or car breaking down in the middle of nowhere. My initial plan was to barely ever use it.

When I got my phone I made sure to get one that didn’t have a keyboard.

“I’ll never text,” I swore. “Fuck texting and everyone who texts! I will only use my phone for emergencies! Fuck cell phones and the horse they rode in on!”

And, for about a year and four months, I did exactly that. I barely made any calls and the only time I texted anyone was my friend Sean in Brookport who had such shitty mobile reception that the only way you could get through was to text him. If he tried to answer, he would just lose the signal so text messages were the only way to reach him. I sent maybe ten total texts in that time period and I used the phone to talk only on the rarest of occasions.

And then I fell off the wagon completely.

A couple of weeks ago, while on my vacation, I was getting texts from several different women because I’m newly single after a two year serious relationship and, apparently, that’s how the ladies like to communicate these days. I was getting a few from some guy friends, too. So I thought, what’s the worst thing that can happen? An extra ten dollars on my cell phone bill? I’ll just start answering some texts with texts and everything will be fine.

In the past when I’d gotten a text message, I had always either called the person sending it or ignored them completely or yelled at them for texting me.

I texted everyone back and then it just completely snowballed. It created a monster. In a matter of mere days, I had nearly 100 dollars worth of fucking texts on my bill with more coming in all the time and more going out because I wasn’t going to not respond. I was looking at, quite possibly, a 500 dollar cell phone bill for one month.

If cell phones were sex, I went from being a virgin to a burnt-out old porn star in a matter of days.

And the scary, awful truth of it all is this: I found out that I actually like texting. Not the actual process of texting itself, that’s where all the self-loathing comes from, but I like reading them and I like writing them. I like coming up with funny text messages in my head. I’m a writer and now there’s a way I can interactively write every waking moment of my life no matter where I am.

One thing I do differently than almost everyone else I know is I use nigh perfect spelling and grammar in all my text messages. I capitalize and punctuate. I’m trying to start a revolution in texting where no one uses shit like LOL or TTYL or U for YOU or 2 for TO. All the extra button pushing is probably unnecessary, but it looks better, it’s easier to read, and I’m a pedantic asshole. You should do it too. Someone has to save the English language.

If the me of three years ago saw the me of today, I’m pretty sure he’d just go ahead and commit suicide in shame and disgust, but the me of today is way fucking cooler, smarter, and sexier than the me of three years ago, so fuck that uptight Luddite asshole.

And just because I have unlimited texting, doesn’t mean I love cell phones. I haven’t completely sold out. They’re just a means to an end and I still hold a special hate for other people’s phones and in the right set and setting I downright fucking loathe them. I saw Iron Man 2 with this self-absorbed redheaded chick that dated me for about five minutes and, when she saw the on-screen warning telling people to not use their mobile phones to talk or text once the movie started, she asked me, “Why does it say no texting? They don’t make any noise. They won’t bother anyone.”

Thirty minutes later, I could have given her an answer, as the stupid bitch in front of me started texting and the light of her phone shined directly in my face, completely distracting me from the movie I just paid thirty fucking bucks for. I wanted to kick the back of the stupid bitch’s chair as hard as I could, but I didn’t because I was still trying to make a good impression on the redhead that I was with since it was our first date.

Instead, I quietly seethed and hoped her cell phone would one day give her a fucking brain tumor.

And even though I will shamefully and painfully admit to enjoying texts from people when they’re not sitting in a movie theater or at their friends’ houses ignoring everyone while they play with their stupid ass phones or trying to kill me on my motorcycle as they text and drive, I can honestly say that I hate my own LG Shine with a passion that is pure and right and true. Like I wrote earlier, I can’t hear shit on it. I rarely even notice the bastard phone even ring because the ringer isn’t loud enough. And it is almost always on the verge of dying. It has the battery life of one of those big 80’s jam boxes that people used to carry around on their shoulders like idiots.

I don’t know. Maybe I bought the wrong phone.

Despite my love/hate relationship with cell phones, especially my own, they aren’t going anywhere. They’re omnipresent. Within five minutes of leaving your house you’ll see some idiot texting and driving.

Like the future, the texts just keep coming. And I keep answering them. They reproduce exponentially. They have a life of their own. I delete them and delete them but there are always more. They are relentless and unyielding and they will never stop unless I quit responding or throw my phone in the Ohio River.

Our cell phones eat up our attention, our time. Our imaginations. We think we own them, but the truth is, they own us. And we are all their willing slaves.

And my cell inbox just filled up with texts again while I wrote this.

I hope at least one of them is pertaining to a future blow job.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fuck You For Not Smoking

I like to smoke. I don’t really care if you don’t like it. I like to smoke when I drink. I like to smoke a lot. I like smoky bars full of people fucking smoking. Drinking and smoking and having a good fucking time where there isn’t a single asthmatic child, or any child for that matter, in the whole damn building.

Since April 1st, 2007 no one in Paducah has been able to legally smoke a cigarette indoors in any bars, restaurants, or hotels within the city limits. The city wide smoking ban wasn’t decided by area voters but by a few city commissioners that decided second hand smoke was killing people and needed to be outlawed for the greater good.

Area bar and restaurant owners got the big fuck you from the city commissioners when their input on the ordinance was ignored, and they watched their business revenues plummet. People opted to drink and eat at home rather than suffer the hassle of smoking outside. Some area bars compensated by setting up beer gardens and outdoor areas for smokers, but they're useless when it's cold or raining outside.

Studies stating business revenues are completely unaffected by smoking bans have been rolled out in the propaganda war on smoker's rights, but anyone with half a brain knows that on a night when it’s below freezing, people who like to smoke and drink are going to stay home where they can do both at the same time.

You may not be aware of this, but the first nation-wide smoking bans took place in Nazi Germany back in the 1930s and 40s. Hitler was a vegetarian and an avid non-smoker who thought that all Aryan Germans should be in perfect health and able to reproduce to make enough little Nazis to rule the planet. The Nazi scientists concluded that women who smoked were less likely to bear children because of the effects of premature aging and loss of physical attraction which they linked to smoking. So they implemented bans all over Germany banning smoking in many public places.

The initial effect of the smoking bans was a nearly doubled increase in the amount of tobacco consumption across Germany because apparently the master race loved to light up after dinner or sex or with one of their yummy German beers and they didn’t like being told what they could put in their bodies by Hitler and his Nazi cronies.

After the end of World War 2 many of the leaders in the Nazi anti-smoking campaign were executed, as they rightly should have been, and smoking then went on to rise to bigger, greater heights in Germany than it ever had before fueled by opportunistic American cigarette manufacturers that saw gold in them there hills. The German people freed from the fascist Nazis could once again put that sweet poisonous smoke in their bodies if they wanted to because they were, after all, their bodies.

And all was right with the world.

Except now in present day America smoking bans and bans on unhealthy ingredients such as trans-fats have become the rule rather the exception in states, cities and counties all across the nation.

We defeated our enemy only to eventually become them.

Or, at the very least, we seem to think that whole smoking ban idea the Nazis came up with sixty plus years ago was really awesome and not at all fascist. No, really. It’s not. Just stop thinking, shut up, and breathe in that guy’s BO at the table next to you that you used to not be able to smell when it was all smoky in here and your sense of smell was dulled. We were missing out on so much before we got this sweet smoke-free air.

I’m not going to assert that smoking isn’t bad for you because that would be completely insane and obviously a lie. Smoking is bad for you. It’s really bad for you. It’s a vicious fucking addiction and I wish I’d never started and that I did not enjoy it as much as I do. It can give you lung cancer, a heart attack, impotence, and all sorts of nasty shit. There are so many health risks involved in smoking that you likely need to be mildly insane just to keep doing it or to even start in the first place.

And I will be the first person to admit that tobacco companies are operated by completely evil assholes with a body count that puts every war in the history of mankind to shame and every member on their board of executives is going straight to hell when they die.

But the primary reasoning behind the current smoking bans isn’t the dangerous side effects on the people that are actually smoking, but rather the effects of the second hand smoke on the non-smokers around them. The real problem with that line of reasoning is the overwhelming lack of evidence that people actually get things like lung cancer and die from second hand smoke. It probably isn’t actually good for you to breathe someone else’s smoke, but it’s probably not good for you to breathe exhaust fumes the whole time you’re driving either. It’s probably not good for you to get totally jack-hammered on Saturday night on cheap booze, but it’s still your right as a free citizen of the United States of America to drink as much of that particular poison as you want as long as you don’t get behind the wheel of a car or beat your wife. And, hey, it’s also a lot of fun being drunk.

When we were kids we breathed everyone’s second hand smoke like people had for thousands of years before us, and we didn’t even notice or care. Sure, there were probably some kids with asthma that suffered for it, but the vast majority of us were completely unfazed and physically unaffected. We’re not all dying of lung cancer or keeling over from heart attacks. We’re fine. Or we used to be.

I will concede that smoking bans in certain places like hospitals make sense. I don’t have to be a fan of that fascist ideal to understand that from a logical stand point you don’t want sick people breathing smoke. There’s a time and a place for everything including smoking.

And that time and place is in a bar.

It’s a scary world when things that have been part of our social traditions for thousands of years vanish overnight, and very few people care. We’re not that far away from prohibition of tobacco, and, unlike illegal drugs that actually get you high which people will never quit buying because their lives skullfuck them with boredom, cigarettes will become a thing of the past.

The last time someone thought that a little nugget of fascism would be a really swell idea was alcohol prohibition. And, hello, organized crime! We’ve been going through a second prohibition with drugs since Nixon was in office, and that war is also a miserable failure. Where there is demand, there will always be supply.

Our government can ban everything that is bad for us and take away every freedom we ever took for granted in the process. But they will never change human nature.

I’m not smoking just to look cool right now, or because it helps me focus when I’m writing, or because I’m a filthy nicotine addict.

I am smoking because I still can.

Monday, February 02, 2009

What Global Warming?

This was written last Wednesday when things were at their worst here. I didn't get power back in the Fortress of Solipsism until last night, Sunday, which was nearly a week after this all started. More than 100,000 homes in Kentucky are still without power.

This is how the world ends. In ice.

December 21st 2012 came early in Paducah, Kentucky.

Right now I’m living through what the governor of Kentucky has called a state of disaster. And I certainly wouldn’t disagree with him. Because it is.

A massive ice storm blew into Kentucky (as well as a few surrounding states) and wiped out pretty much all of the power in the areas where it hit. The only reason I’m able to type this is because I’m in one of the few places in Paducah, in Western Kentucky even, with power, the office building where I work.

Not only is the power out but most of the phone lines and internet are down as well. If you need to call the cops for an emergency you can’t. The phone lines aren’t working and neither are cell phones.

And the roads, Jesus, the roads are downright anarchic.

Driving home last night was like driving through downtown Beirut. Paducah looked like it had been pummeled with bombs. Power lines hung windshield level and huge tree limbs and even whole trees lay across the roads, all caused by the weight of accumulated ice. At times I didn’t think I would be able to make it home through the natural disaster obstacle course, made even more deadly by the fact visibility was low due to everything being ominously dark and rainy.

Here’s something you probably won’t notice until it isn’t there anymore, because I didn’t. Street lights make it a lot easier to see at night. When they’re not working in a place where you’re used to having them it’s hard to even find familiar landmarks.

For me it was like driving through a war torn area in the fucking Twilight Zone.

That feeling has not changed except for the fact I’m not driving.

I don’t know if Kentucky is on the network news or not right now, because I haven’t been able to watch TV due to the whole not having power thing, but I’m betting it is.

Let me tell you what it’s like to live through this shit. Last night when I did manage to make it home by taking several detours, I entered a dark and cold house with no power. I sat down and lit a candle. The only sound I could hear as I watched my breath in the candlelit air was the sound of trees cracking and huge crashing noises as giant limbs fell and hit the ground and, at times, my house and garage. And it kept happening over and over. It was spooky and at times, when it actually did hit the house, downright terrifying.

It’s not really a sound you can go to sleep to easily.

So I had the brilliant idea of going back to work where there was power and heating and no huge trees falling apart above my head. This involved navigating the maze of death back to work, made easier by the fact I’d already driven through it once and knew what to avoid, which was mostly just roads with trees around them.

I made it back to work without dying and just as I was walking in the power cut off. I cursed God for not existing and giving me someone to blame for this crap, but the power kicked back on after a few minutes and I was saved from boredom, paranoia, and fear by distraction.

I spent the next few hours in the comforts of modern man, heating and powered lights and computers and The Wire. I was of course without the internet as I am now even as I type this. I miss the internet and World of Warcraft and piracy and all things good in the world.

The bad thing about going back to work to enjoy all the stuff I didn’t have at home was that I eventually had to go back home because I didn’t really want to sleep at work. The road maze back home at 4 AM was made even worse by the fact that not only had more power lines and tree limbs fallen making roads I’d driven on earlier impassable, but it was snowing so visibility was even shittier than it was at midnight.

I could have been intelligent and just gone to my parents where there was at least heat from their gas burning fireplace and kerosene heater, but I chose the stupidity of braving out the cold in my own home while the giant tree hanging over my house disintegrated and threatened to fall all through the roof on me all night. Like I said earlier, this was not an easy sound to go to sleep to. When I finally did go to sleep I’d wake up to that familiar sound, like tiny gunshots going off, as the limb snapped followed by the inevitable crashing noise as it either hit the ground or shook my house.

And for whatever reason having home owners insurance is not really comforting as your house gets destroyed by a tree and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it.

I heard my phone line snap at one point, though the power line seems to have escaped the carnage so far, except for the fact it’s laying in the yard still attached to the pole and my house, with three huge limbs on it. The power line to my garage was snapped as well.

Somehow I finally managed to sleep through the chaos and cold for a few solid hours only to wake up today to more limbs on my house and garage, my neighbor’s new wooden fence crushed in several places by tree limbs from my yard, and three inches of snow on the ground as if the ice just wasn’t enough.

I never thought there would be a time I preferred work over my own house, but this is apparently that time. Why go home? I can’t think of one good reason except to feed my cat.

Tonight I plan on sleeping at my parent’s house even though they’re almost out of kerosene, because at least they have a natural gas fireplace that isn’t going to run out. Oh, did I mention that Paducah is currently out of gasoline because the two gas stations that had power are now out and having to get the police to turn angry people away? We’re also out of kerosene as well. They’ve also stopped all open gas stations from selling diesel fuel to anyone except city trucks involved in the emergency clean up and repair effort.

Another thing I nearly forgot to mention because there’s so much crazy shit going on right now is that the governor of Kentucky has issued a statewide curfew. No one is supposed to be out driving after dark. I have a letter from my work place to be out after dark because I work for a financial institution that must remain open so the few places that are open can do their banking and credit card stuff. I’m sure the main reason he’s issued this curfew is because of the possibility of looting. This place is a looters and criminals wet dream right now. The cops are too busy dealing with the chaos of the storm to deal with anything. It’s not really a pleasant thought knowing no one is watching my house right now. My neighbors have been acting more and more like they’ve lost all touch with reality.

This is from one day without power.

Can you imagine how people here are going to be after seven to ten days of this which is what I’m hearing is going to happen?

Think I’ll go smoke one of the last cigarettes I can even get since there’s no place to get any more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Free Cigarette Day For Kids!

Because I’m a huge nerd, I play this online game called Ikariam. It’s kind of like Age of Empires meets Civilization only without all the graphics as it’s a browser based game that you can play anywhere where you have the internet. It’s basically just building cities and armies and fleets and going out and fighting other players and killing their troops/fleets and taking their shit Viking style. It’s pretty simple.

So in Ikariam players are broken up into groups called alliances. The alliance I’m in is called Crown of Thorns which is pretty damn funny considering the fact that I think Christianity is a kooky superstition and all. It’s nothing personal against Christianity really. I think all religions are just superstitious craziness, cause, you know, they are.

I guess because the name of the alliance is Crown of Thorns (though usually just called Thorns as to avoid having people think we’re pussies who turn the other cheek) one of the members took it upon himself to combat all the vulgarity in the alliance circular message system with DAILY BIBLE VERSES. I guess he got offended because the day before several of the other players kept changing their names to dirty filthy porn star names and kept sending circulars to show off their new names. Plus on any given day there’s usually a fair amount of swearing that every player gets via the circular message system from other players in the group, usually because they’re pissed off about losing a battle. The swearing is kind of expected in a war game.

But bible verses? No fucking way. Pushing your superstitions on me when I’m smarter than that? Pushing them on everyone else who wants to just blow off a little steam playing a game? Fuck you, buddy.

Because I am a force of nature online, I am, of course, not just a member, but part of the leadership of Thorns in Ikariam. (Like every other game I play, but let’s not mention my ego here. Thanks.) I immediately fired off a circular rant about how swearing is better than Jesus. Though I think it was probably a little more diplomatic and eloquent than that because I’m not just a member; I’m one of the people who can kick people out just for pissing me off. As a leader I have to set an example and show poise and dignity and all that bullshit.

And then I get a response from someone else in the alliance that made me realize the Bible and Christians aren’t the only things trying to ruin the world for me.

“What about the children? What about the kids playing Ikariam, Smotlock? My 11 and 12 year old play and I don’t want them seeing a bunch of porn star names and profanity.”

Then another person said, “Yeah, my kids play too. I don’t want them reading filth.”

How about this for an answer?

Don’t let them play. Don’t kids already have enough to do that they can just leave one childish game to the grown ups? Jesus, I thought since I didn’t have any kids I could live my life the way I wanted to. I could drink and smoke and swear like a fucking sailor. I could rampage through my adult world with glee and not worry about being a corrupting influence on children.

But you people keep on popping out kids and you don’t want to baby-sit them so you let them hop online to a very adult world, and you want us to monitor ourselves for their benefit because you’re too lazy to? You want us to watch your kids for you?

I am not your baby-sitter. I do not like kids and I don’t really want to be around kids. So how about this? You either monitor what they’re reading online or keep them off the internet until they’re 13 and pretty much know all the swear words already.

But, honestly, if your precious little prize doesn’t already know most profanity by the time they hit third grade, they’re not paying much attention. Back in the days before there was an internet to blame for everything we all learned how to swear at a very young age and we learned from other kids, our parents, and R-rated movies we weren’t supposed to be watching.

And, I don’t know about you, but it did not warp my psychological being to hear words like fuck and goddamn and pussy.

You people who spend so much time trying to shelter your children from reality, all you’re getting is seriously maladjusted kids. They’re in for a very rude awakening when they inevitably do grow up (if they ever grow up) and see the world for what it really is.

And it is not a Disney movie.

Goddamn, you people lie to your kids about Santa Claus and Jesus. You lie to them about reality itself and I’m the bad guy because I write the word fuck on the internet?

I’m not saying it’s cool to show your kids porn. I’m not saying don’t shelter your kids at all, because that’s crazy. There is an obvious amount of sheltering that you do for kids that’s just common sense.

The real problem here is that people love their kids so much they don’t know when to fucking stop. They’re lessening everyone else’s lives for the benefit of a kid that probably doesn’t give a shit about swearing on the internet, because they’re likely not reading it anyway.

It’s kind of like how these idiots want to put labels on everything. They’ve been trying to put warning labels on books for years, because they’re afraid Little Johnny is going to stumble across a Stephen King book in the library and be damaged forever. And the truth is anyone with any intelligence at all knows that kids read things based on their maturity level.

And then there's child-safe pill bottles and lighters and car windows and everything else that's been changed for the sake of children, stuff that isn't for children in the first place. Things that have been changed just because parents apparently couldn't keep lighters and bottles of pills out of their kids hands, because they're too busy being horrible parents.

I know your kids are the light of your life, but I don't even like them. They are the dark of my life. And I do not want to exist in the little child-friendly bubble you are creating for them and everyone else in the process.

What about the children? Nothing, that's what.

They're your fucking problem not mine.