Monday, January 19, 2009

Because I am, at heart, an old spinster lady

Here's a blog about my cat.

Ummm... Exclamation Point! (?)

So, yeah, Murray has FIV, or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or Kitty Aids. Here's what happened. I went back to Michigan for a week, did Christmasy crap, all Holly and merriment and such, and dumped the cat outside. Middle of winter in Iowa.

HOWEVER, I took the following precautions: I gave the neighbor kid twenty bucks to feed him. My front window was a piece of plastic held on with duct tape (Murray actually knocked it out getting in) and the cat could STILL get in one corner, so I figured he could come and go as he pleased. (As could anyone else, I guess.) I left a bowl and a dustpan full of food out for him as well.
And I figure, worst comes to worst, the neighbors put food out for THEIR cats. I figure he'll be OK.

So I get back from Michigan, cat's gone. Neighbor kid's gone, and I to this day haven't seen him. Landlord, shockingly, came by and fixed my window so the cat can't come and go after all. Neighbors' haven't seen him.

I wait a week.

I get the bright idea to call the animal shelter, and lo and behold, there he is. Not doing so well, either. All sick and sneezy. So I let him out of his cage and he comes and curls up on my lap and doesn't move, so he's not feeling very active, and the shelter peeps say that he's REALLY not happy to be there, and once more he's not eating.

And this cat, he's a freaking EATER. Eat, eat, eat, eat, eat. I've never known a less-picky cat.

But I found 'im. Good news.

The BAD news was shelter plus food plus adoption fee plus whatever-the-hell else they felt like charging me for added up to 115 dollars. PLUS 18 dollars for a rabies shot, which he may or may not have had, but I couldn't find his former owner for confirmation.

Bummer. So as much as I didn't want to leave Murray in his cage overnight I needed me me a few days to get the scratch together, and ANYWAY the animal shelter didn't want to release him 'till he'd had his rabies vaccine, or PROOF that he'd had his rabies vaccine and anyway (again) they didn't want to give him while he was sick (for obvious reascine,ons) and so they kept him overnight, and did a blood test while he was there..

And Kitty Aids.

Which is really, really fucking depressing 'cause I like my cat a lot.

So, current update. Murray is doing a LOT better. He drank all his water the first day home and started eating on the second day and doesn't even really seem sick anymore. The Landlord doesn't want me to have a cat, so I'm moving us at the end of the month. (If anyone knows a cheap, quiet-ish place in the IC area, hook me up.)

Hopefully I'll have the $$$$ to get him to the vet at the end of the month, and we'll see what's up from there. But he's doing alright now, and caught a freaking BAT yesterday. And the animal shelter said he could, if he's lucky, live 2-3 years. So I'm cautiously optimistic for now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A is for Aliens.

(A)liens.

Space-y aliens, not the other kind.

Let's look at the possibilities:

Explanation A: The contemperary, widely publicized alien myth where big-eyed grey dudes from outer space all zip down to earth in flying saucers and buzz around unpopulated areas and occasionally abduct people and stick metally things up their backsides....

Alla that. More or less true.

Explanation B: What people THINK are grey dudes with flying saucers... blah blah upopulated areas blah blah... backsides blah blah.. All of this is there own mistaken interpretation of perfectly natural, explainable phenomenemememems. Weather balloons, the planet venus, swamp gas.

Explanation C: Mo'fos be tripping. Grey dudes, flying saucers, ZIP!, backsides, all that shit is caused by mass halucination, the accidental or purposeful imbuing of psychotropic drugs. People think they see something, and are wrong. There's no aliens. Hell, there's no swamp gas, even. It's a-a-all in your head.

Explanation D: Again, the people who see aliens are wrong about their exact nature, but they ARE dealing with something beyond the ken of current human understanding. Say, they've encountered some sort of physical manifestation pf the divine,and choose to process this experience in a way that they can understand. 400 years ago they'da said they saw angels, today it's aliens. Or there's an alien-shaped hole in our Jungian collective unconscious and certain selected prophets are selected to deliver us the current cultural myths we need. Or the aliens are actually Bigfoots and Loch Ness Monsters.

Alright, some SERIOUS long-shots in this group. Ignore the examples if you want to. But (A) people did see something (B) that something was not within the bounds of recorded human experience, so (C) the alien spotter misinterpreted does seem like a real possibility.

Explanation E: Lies. Everybody likes attention!

Explanation F: Just for the sake of completeness, let's call this "All the OTHER options I'm not bright enough to think of." (Help me out here, wouldja?)

Now NONE of these are mutually exclusive, right? I mean, it could be D in some cases, C with a bunch of E thrown in in other cases. It's certainly not ALL A, and some alien encounters are B and E. Duh.

So let's move on.

(A) is gonna be a pain to work with. Aliens are inscrutable, and I won't attempt to scrutinize. Why do they avoid big cities? Why don't they want to talk with us? Do we have space cooties? CAN they talk? Is anal probing their primary means of communication? I dunno, dunno, dunno, dunno.

So. Let's toss "A" out and group all fo NOT A" together, and assume that NOT A = truth. Why do we pretend there are aliens.

It means! What does it MEAN? If grey sky dudes in flying saucers, why? Why not, say, orange translucent elephants in mini-skirts that live in oak trees and speak Latin.

For instance.

Yeah, screw you. Don't give me that look.

OK. So grey critters, flying saucers, anal probes...

There's kind of a religious thing at work here. Think old school paganism. Think Greek/Norse Myths. We have these critters that are, y'know, basically humanoid-y. Except MORESO. Sky Chariots and shape-changing or Flying Saucers and tractor beams, we have a race of beings that has clearly exceeded us doofy little humans in technology/power, which REALLY are, historically, interchangable.

And they're inscrutable, their motives aren't exactly clear, but for the most part their motives are framed in HUMAN terms, and they're out to fuck with you. (Contrast with the Christian God. Who loves us. On a scale that eclipses the human idea of "love.") Aliens kidnap you, Gods off-handedly send a giant bore to eatcha for random, petty jealousies, but these are not loving beings, exactly.

They are human-ish, they are powerful, they are not friendly. And there's a sex-thing to both of 'em, Zeus all swooping down in the form of a swan to get it on with Greek Sheperdesses, anal probing... It's alllll orifice insertion.

Still, it's not quite religion, izzit? It's got the social aspect of shared belief bit down, but religion, at least in the Classical, Western sense, creates social structures and hierarchies. In most of 'em there are priest types who can bargain with the Gods and stop them from randomly smiting you, in exchange for goods and services. (Which Uncle Jim points out is basically taxation.)

And it's hard to see who DIRECTLY benefits from aliens, like, financially. T-Shirt salespeople? manufacturers of glow-in-the-dark plastic novelties? And I'm sure someone SOMEWHERE claims to be the alien whisperer or whatever. (P.S. Fuck them.)

We're kind of dancing around the edges of issues of faith here, too, but we're swooping in from different angles. Claims of aliens are all about the sheer number of people who have seen stuff that sort of looks like the stuff that other people have seen. It's all aboug verified! Proof! Dammit!*

*offer void where prohibited and subject to diverse interpretations of the term "proof." Void in Oklahoma, Kentucky, most of Guam and yo' mama's house. Odds of winning 7,000,000:1 against.

While religious faith tends to anchor isself in emotional (spiritual) truth, not logic.

So, hey, Christians. If A Aliens, did Jesus redeem the aliens? Or do they have their own alien Jesus, and, if so, were the Jesuses simultaneous? Y'all see why I have trouble sleeping at night? Sheeeiiii

And, hey, I'm not an expert on Islam (as opposed to the solid SIX MINUTES of research I did on aliens) so correct me if I'm wrong here, but

God rewards the faithful with material prosperity. Allah provides, and Allah provides good.

Aliens have material prosperity the likes of what we's never seen. They have Flying Fucking Saucers! All spanning vast galactic distances like ZOW! We have quaint little space shuttles that can maybe get five, six dudes to the moon in a couple weeks if they don't blow up, which they do with depressing regularity.

(And no Islamic Nation even has that.)

So, seriously. Flying Fucking Saucers against un-manned Jupiter cameras, frisbees, and infomerials for direct buy furniture and thousands of people starving in Islamic Africa. Who's better provided for, God-wise.

(I tried to work up a Christian proof that aliens are God's chosen people, but my sources totally crap out on me.)






























Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Now We Are An Art Blog

Shooting War - (Comic) Interesting stuff, based on the idea of division of power. Quick summary - Lefty political blogger is sent off to Iraq to report for a major news network, ends up showing the world "the truth," - Except it's smarter and subtler than that.

Sorta. It's not dealing with real characters or delivering any life-changing insights, but it does, briskly, admit that every side and character in the story is somewhat flawed and or fallible.

Genre-wise, um, it's the kind of thing I'd LIKE to see more of it comics, but it's also not really what I'm most interested in.

What I AM interested in is the art, which is collagey in a cool way. It slaps together traditional pencil drawings, photographs, diagrams and 'puter drawings the overall effect works sometimes, and doesn't work sometimes, but it's a valiant attempt to utilize mixed media.

The Confessions of Saint Augustine - (Book) Chapters 1 -3. Recommended by my friend Liz. This fifteen-hundred-odd year old book was recommended to me as STILL the most important set of writings on faith.

It's written as an open letter to God, which is an interesting idea. SA narrates his life story about moving from the fifth century version of sinner (He stole pears! And fed them to the pigs!) to man of God. The first three chapters give us Augustine as baby, youngster, and attention craved young man.

O says that you have to read it like Irvine Welsh - There are a lot of worthwhile insights here, but you have to seperate it from the intermnable praising. Example: "But you are life of the soul, life of lives. You live, oh life of my soul, because you are life itself, immutable." And so on and do on... Ad infinitum.

The book looks like it's gonna pick up soonish, though. In the next chapter he joins a cult!

RIP 2007 - From Jon Bogart's Brilliant Music Blog. Link

Marvel Team-Up 35

Countdown to Mystery

Pirates Vs. Ninjas II: Up The Ante

MIA - KALA (Album) I'm listening to this one over. And over. And over in my car. Our buddies at Rolling Stone called it the best album of the year and, heck, they might not be so super-hugely incredibly far off.

Warren Zevon - Stand in the Fire (Album)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Was An Accident

"The Past is a Placebo/Dissolving Down the Drain" - Firewater


It’s Thursday, late. Outside, a September storm is dying, but still releases the occasional half-assed lightning hiccup. I am lying on my tum on the floor of my basement room, wearing boxers, one sleeve of my pajama tops and one (matching!) sock. I’ve got my knees up in the air at a ninety-degree angle behind my body, jerking back and forth as the beat-to-hell Fats Waller record sputters and skips on my turntable. “Ain’ Mibehavin.’” THUNK. “Ain’ misbehaving.’” THUNK. A cup of quite strong ginger tea is precariously balanced by the white carpeting, but it’s been ignored for a good while now and it’s growing cold. I type furiously on my laptop – hands on keys tlicktlicktlicktlicktick. I am intent. I am focused. Cosmo, the Cat-who-is-basically-a-dog is half-sitting, half-lying on my back, legs tucked underneath his body, purring, contented. His weight makes it hard to breathe.

I ignore this.

The lights go out again, one last capitulation to the storm.

I ignore this, too.

I ignore it because I am superwriter. I am taut. My focus is steely, unwavering, and I have transcended physical sensation. I am absorbed into… make that devoured by my work. Also, the goddamn paper is due in five hours, so I don’t have much choice BUT to keep working.
“Y’know, Mark, you don’t have to be running around like a chicken with your head chopped off,” Amelia-the-Ex would say.

I am writing a short memoir piece for a college class. And, honestly, I’ve done enough stuff that this should be easy. I’ve been to Alaska, London, the Dominican Republic, Canada and, accidentally, New Jersey. I’ve lived in Chicago and volunteered at the shelter in Denver and built houses with the Catholic Hippies in Maine. I’ve been a maid, a dishwasher, a reference librarian, a door to door salesman, a tour bus washer, a comedian, a pretzel slinger, and I spent the better part of a month painting two houses bright pink. I’ve been homeless, close to death, almost married, heartbroken, and I’ve been escorted by the fuzz out of Aspen, Colorado. I’ve even been a professional writer, although “professional” translates into “never made more than fifty bucks.”

I’ve also been Santa Claus.

“Wow,” John the Musician says, “To think that, out of all of history, I know the real Santa Claus. And he’s sleeping on my couch.”

It was a pretty speedy operation, mercenary in it's effectiveness. Kids are plopped on Santa’s lap, pictures are taken, and money shoots up the tubes to Santa’s corporate masters. I’ve decided to write my memoir about my life as Santa, and maybe try and look at the cultural idea of Christmas and What It Means from the inside out. Besides, well, being Santa Clause kind of like ascending to Godhood. Sort of. Except itchier around the beard area. And I don’t think Zeus was ever soaked by the pee of nervous children. “Ho, ho, ho,” I mutter to myself, tlicking the keys.

Cosmo, the cat-who-is-basically-a-dog shifts his weight and nicks me in the ass with his claws. “SheeOW!!” I tuck and roll, trying to force the cat off of me. Cosmo barks (yes, really) and scoots. I inhale, hard, and read what I’ve written. The lights come back on.

“Being underployed makes one long for the comforts of fast food conformity.”

Ack! What the hell does that even mean! But not only is the writing congealed crap, but there’s no real plot, no real sense of going anywhere, and I can’t even write decent dialog for my “characters” – who are also my best friends! The lights in my room click back on, and I face facts. It’s also surprisingly boring. My Santa-life meanders and runs together, and the events that seemed so exciting at the time turn into sad little half-stories when you drag them into the light.

Which means that I am not superwriter. I am worthless and I should leap off a bridge to my demise because that would show them, except it’s cold out and I can’t find my jacket. And who would feed the cat?

Jerking spasmazoidally in frustration, I roll off to one side tipping my forgotten teacup and my ginger spice blend cum low level biological weapon soaks into the carpet. “GAH!!” I vocalize, unconsciously. Cosmo, (TCWIBAD) looks away from outside the window to flash me the “Have. You. Lost. Your. Goddamn. Mind?” look which all cats have perfected.

I hit “erase,” and Santa vanishes like it was December 26th. I mutter the procrastinating college students’ prayer “Its due in four hours Please Jesus don’t let me fail” and consider my options. Maybe I’ll just start over. I was going to write “How I Lost My Virginity, a Tragedy in Three Acts,” but decided I’m far too prudish to let anyone read about my sex life such as it is. But necessity is the mother of desperation, and I’m lacking in other ideas.

I am six years old. I have been pulled from Mrs. Whaley’s second grade class for “Special” lessons. The sad-eyed woman in front of me steels herself for one more try. “No, Mark,” she says. “THE THeatre.”

I scowl. “TUH! TEATRE!”

“No.” She says. “The Theatre.”

“TUH! TEATRE.”

“THE!”

“TUH!” The fluorescent lights make it hard to breathe.

The woman is clearly losing patience. “Why don’t we have a five minute “recess” and we’ll try this again.

I mumble the worst word second-grade-me knows under my breath, and watch the woman head out into the hall.

Fact one: I am a complete failure. Fact Two: I can’t write. Fact Three: Nobody will ever really love me. Fact four: I will die alone and unmourned, in a pauper’s grave. Probably in New Jersey.
Acknowledging these truths cheers me up a little, and I decide to adopt a Zen-like attitude. I breathe in deeply, exhale. I open my mind to the universe. “Buddha nature,” I think. “Must…find… Buddha… nature.” I am serene, and peaceful. And calm. No, I transcend calm. I am overwrought with serenity. I am one with the myriad beauties of creation. I speculate that Buddha nature lies somewhere between cat and dog. (Cosmo, now on the windowsill, burps.) I am the very PICTURE of humble serenity “Ommmm,” I chant, solemnly. “Ommm.” I am as implacable as time, as uncaring as the wind. I am CERTAINLY not going to throw my shoe through the window because fuck all this college bullshit, anyway.

“Trying,” lectures Matt-the Busdriver, “Leads to failure.”

I disentangle myself from the lotus position and soak my spilled tea up with a pink-paint splattered T-shirt, imagining the Buddha doing the same, big belly jiggling too and fro. It takes me a couple minutes to get it all, and in that time the upstairs roommates wake up long enough to turn the lights off and head from couch to bed.

Now, completely calm, I resolve to face my problem with cold, logical, understanding. Now my first problem is that, as a writer…. HOLY SHIT! The ginger tea residue I didn’t get sopped up is actually dissolving the carpet. I put off writerly concerns and post-haste it up the stairs to the kitchen, searching for sanitizer, paper towels, and gloves. A fizzing noise is coming from the carpet. Yes. Definitely gloves. Thick, thick gloves.

I head up the stairs and I reflect. My hand brushes the light switch and the kitchen is bathed in a soft glow.
\
My biggest problem as an autobiographer? My memory is bad. This is a running joke to more than one of my groups of friends.

“Do you remember the NAME of the STORE where you got that CD?” Matt-The-Bus-Driver asks? “No. OK, Do you remember STORES? Places where you go and you give them money and they give you things?”

“Yeeeeeaaaaah. Let’s ask MARK for directions to the pet shop. That’ll go GREAT,” Amelia-the-ex sneers. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen Texas.”

“And you don’t even smoke weed,” John-the-musician howls.

But it’s not THAT bad, I protest in my defense. I’m just not good at proper nouns, like streets, buildings, cities. Or people’s names. Or faces. I joke that I never forget an ass, but I lie. I generally forget everything about everybody. And sometimes it goes beyond forgetting names. I distinctly remember forgetting, not so long ago, which pedal on my car is the brake and which is the gas, as I sit there, paralyzed, the traffic light turning green….red…..green.

I dropped a child when I was Santa Claus. This is what I remember. The child was on my lap. The child was crying loudly. Then the child was on the floor, looking shocked. Then the parents were threatening to sue me and the child was crying really, REALLY loud, while his (her? Hard to tell.) older siblings walked over to me, blushing. “Hi, Santa!”

I was telling this story at my job. I work at Goodwill, taking people’s donations and sorting them. “I didn’t do it on purpose,” I tell my co-worker. “But the little bastard deserved it. For sure.”
Whitney-the-feminist (who, like most everyone else but me who works at Goodwill has an advanced degree and is completely overqualified for this gig) is hanging men’s suits on racks. She stops. Looks at me. “Urh-Huh. Remind me never to let you near my children.”

Now, I honestly believe that kid-meet-floor was an accident. It would have to be, right? A slip of the ‘ol butterfingers. Coulda happened to anyone. But she has a point, validated further if one reviews the evidence. I have a fairly large lap, and a sitting child has a very sturdy center of gravity. Also, it was a long day, containing MANY crying children. And while I am certainly a patient man, well, a reasonably patient man… Well, look, OK. I only dropped ONE kid out of maybe a thousand, right? Either way the percentages probably come out in my favor.
And my carpet is probably ruined. Armed with 2 pairs of rubber gloves, one winter glove one bottle of Extra Strength Green Spray Stuff and a towel, I head back downstairs CTCWIBAD trotting loyally behind me ‘till we get to the top of the stairs where he runs off to play King of the Refrigerator with the other cats. .

I am 21 years old. I live in Seattle, and work at the bakery. Occasionally, I scrounge up a couple of spare dollars as a stand up comic. Tonight is one of those occasions.

“And then the dog said you may be a bastard, but at least you’re not a son of a bitch!”

Nobody laughs.

“Well, g’night folks,” I say. “You’ve been lovely. Charloette Lewis will be along in just a couple of minutes.”

I trudge backstage, change clothes, slink over to the bar. I bombed, but I am the second of the three comedians, which is the best position to be in if you bomb. The first comedian has come back and host and the closer has to have the longest set of material, but the second can limp off the stage and vanish.

I consider going home, but I decide against it. I really do like Charloette’s stuff and it’s contrary to my exorbitantly cheap nature to leave before seeing ALL of a show that other people have paid for.

I drop into a corner booth, rest my head in my hands, cover my face, the light is very dim, but I still it still feels like a heavy spotlight. Blarf. I consider suicide, decide on alcohol. As I look up I feel pressure on my shoulder.

“Hey kid,” Charloette Lewis says. “Saw the end of your set - You blew it. Totally.”

I am certain I look like I’m going to cry.

“But you got some funny stuff.”

“Really?” I am desperate for any sort of encouragement.

“But, uh, I’m not sure how to say this…” Charloette Lewis sucks in her breath “have you considered being a little less, uh, yourself like? A little calmer, maybe, uh… more confident, like. You’re freaking people out. Just a bit.”

Splirt. Splirt. Splirt. I spray green stuff on the carpet and rub my paper towels back and forth. The simple, mechanical rhythm, calms me a bit. Having attained Buddha nature grants me new insight into my problems. The failure here isn’t really mine. See, autobiographies are pointless and stupid. I wander over to the window to see if the neighbors are up. I look out and see nothing. The nearly full moon has ducked behind a cloud.

“Making EXCUSES,” says Amelia. “Always, always Excuses!”

No, no sweetie. Check it. I read a lot of biographies and autobiographies, mostly of musician-types. And there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between the two forms. How many times have I read some dude’s autobiography and he’s all “I am this virile stud muffin and here is a much pared down account of my sexual conquests.” Then you read a BI-ography of the same fella written by an outside observer and it goes “Yeah, he was basically this tremendously sensitive, shy sort of guy who sort of smelled like old cheese.” I’ve seen many, many variations on that particular theme. We are in no position to judge our own life. I rest my case.

“Naaaah,” says John the musician, “But look at how wrong we are about other people. You liked Charles, remember? And then he went on and stabbed Bongo 17 times.”

“And of course you’d say that,” says Cynical-Matt-the-Bus Driver. “You won’t even admit you dropped that kid.”

But, I dunno. Charles was a good guy, especially for having stabbed someone seventeen times. And I am almost probably certain I didn’t drop the little rug rat. But you all are missing my point, anyway. We can’t, or choose not to, see the constantly patterns in our lives. We all fuck-up, and we all fuck-up in the same way over and over again. When we’re all dead and gone ain’t much left but a pattern of repeated failures, and we’re all brilliantly dull to them.

Tuh Teatre! Tuh! Tuh! Tuh!

Besides the dropped child incident, I thought I was a very good Santa, thank you very much. It wasn’t my fault the costume didn’t fit. I was younger and thinner back then, and the costume was most definitely built for a plus-size guy. Even notching my big, black belt up to the last loop left me with a solid foot-and-a-half radius of unfilled belly space, meaning I had to hold my pants up with one hand at all times.

And then there was beard. The elastic would give way, and it would slide on down my face, forcing me to fix it single-handedly. And my glasses kept falling off my nose, which was fine because when I wasn’t wearing the glasses I could actually see. Yeah, I may have been a tad rough looking. Still, what I lacked in appearance I tried to make up for in can-do enthusiasm, ho-ho-hoing with all my Santa Claus heart.

Still, reflecting back, I don’t blame the mall-goers for thinking I was drunk. Perfectly understandable mistake, although it’s certainly lacking in Christmas spirit to think so low of Santa Claus. I do, somewhat, blame them for calling the local Hot 97 radio station and telling the DJ that I was drunk and where I was. And I certainly DO blame the local talk radio station for failing to do the responsible thing and sit on this information instead of informing the greater Seattle community to “Head on down to Northgate Mall and see the drunken Santa!”

John-the-musician (Who lasted one day as a Christmas elf) pats me on the shoulder. “Hey Cat. Don’t feel down. (heh heh.) It’s your first day, you know? It’ll all turn smooth.”

But the thing is, John, Matt, Amelia, drunk Santa is always the last to know. All of Seattle knew I was drunk Santa before I did. I didn’t have the distance from my predicament to appreciate how stupid I looked. tsagsagsdgasgds

I grant myself a brief reprise from cleaning the carpet to celebrate my deep spiritual understanding of human nature with leftover cheese and odd-color-of-orange spread sandwiches, twizzlers, and beer. I gather my cleaning supplies and head back towards the kitchen, humming “Can’t stand you ‘cause your feets to big.” After stocking up on provisions I kick the door to my basement open with my legs, but a cat – not Cosmo- runs between my legs, and cat (Cosmo) follows at surprisingly high velocity. Surprising because Cosmo is not a small cat, approaching “dog” in size as well as in temperament and voice, and that’s a lot of fat to be moving THAT fast. Which means that a Cosmo, me, and foodstuffs collision could make for another semi-serious mess. Luckily, Cosmo’s reflexes are still decently catlike and he’s skidding to a top, furiously trying to apply the brakes to linoleum. I scoop him up, and march downstairs cat in one arm, food and beer in the other.

The shock of almost being grounded by 20 pounds of cat has cost me by Buddah nature, and also my smugness. But, in exchange, I gain some clarity. But look at it this way. we still wring truth from our lives? Isn’t the purpose of writing, especially writing Can’t about me, me, me, me, me to attempt to recreate for ourselves the kind of objective distance?

So if I CAN’T write about myself, doesn’t that make me a self absorbed asshole? Or am I just
afraid, fersinstance, to challenge my IDEA of myself. Huh. I vaguely notice that the sun has started to rise.

I am a good person. I would NEVER effectively beat up on a three year old from a position of power, right?

I sigh, drop food and cat and beer onto a pile of dirty laundry.

“Or maybe you just wouldn’t admit it” Matt-the-Bus-Driver states.

I flop myself down next to the rest of the stuff, bouncing a couple times on the camping mattress which has been temporarily serving as my bed for the past three years. I check to see if I got the tea stain out of the carpet.

On the one hand, yes. I no longer see a brown tea stain on the white carpeting. On the other hand there’s now a tree-inch radius blue stain cause by the… Hmm. According to the label, the green stuff was toilet cleaner.

Damn. ShitShitShitHelluvaShit. And also Shit. I really need the damage deposit I paid on my room. I am a poor College student, and 200 bucks is a helluva lot of money.

“To your broke ass,” sneers John the Musican.

I consider my options. Option one: I could paint the carpet white, stain and all. Option two: I could buy a rug and put it over the blue spot. Option three: If I burn the house down they’ll never.. but maybe I’m not thinking clearly.

No. Time to take stock. I AM going to lose my 200 dollar deposit, eventually. And

IMMEDIATELY I have a paper due tomorrow, which I am going to fail.

Still, worrying won’t do much good. I try to regain my Buddah nature, but it is truly difficult to find oneness with the divine when God so obviously and demonstrably hates me.

But taking stock wasn’t such a bad idea. Question: Besides memory, besides the courage to admit their faults, what do GOOD writers got that I don’t.

Clean carpets. And they start working more than one day before their assignment is due.

Good. What else?

I am 25 years old. I am standing in the campus police station of Evergreen State College. They tell me that my father just died. “It’s too bright in here,” I tell them.. “My eyes hurt; I can’t see.”

I tell my girlfriend. Amelia hugs me, as I cry, asks if there’s anything she can do.

Two days pass. I am home, going through his things. There’s a funeral. It passes in a blur.

I return to college, fail my classes that semester.

And then get on with my life.

But sometimes there’s this little voice, like. In the back of my head. It says“Your dad died.” And I figure that can’t be right, and that I need to wake up now. So I try to force myself to consciousness, to reenter the real world where obviously that couldn’t be true. And then I realize that I’m already awake and start to laugh and end up sobbing.

Heh. I smile. The neighbors still have their Christmas lights up. Maybe that’s why I have Santa on the brain. And besides my first day as drunk Santa, there might still be some lessons worth learning.

Here’s one: Faith, true faith, is pretty damn boring. I’d read stories about Santa Claus before, and they always had children’s eyes growing wide as saucers as they gaze up adoringly and blah…blah…blah. Actual kids, it turns out, don’t do much in the way of speechless, shocked awe. They either fairly categorically either accept or reject the reality of Santa Claus, and either way it’s not such a big deal to them. To the believer “Here’s Santa Claus” is about as exciting as “here’s the dinner table” and, lacking bells and whistles, is considerably less exciting than

“Here’s a fire truck.”

But that’s a lesson learned after the fact. Which is when lessons happen, really. The process of living - of finding the delicate balance between the pure joy off existence and the annoyance of having to deal with all of this total bullshit – doesn’t leave much time to forge the raw material of sensory experience into little nuggets of wisdom.

Hmm. The sun’s coming up now, and light is poking through my dusty basement window. I finish my snack. Cosmo head-butts my leg, demanding attention and I reach down and stroke his tail. Then I drop down in front of my laptop and start to take some notes. Well, I did figure some stuff out in the last hour-or-so. Maybe I can write about that. I flick off the lights to let the sunshine in, quietly exorcize the ghosts of absent friends and lovers, and start to type. Then I drop down in front of my laptop and jot some notes. “Memoir is about learning, I guess. Doing the learning from experiences that living gets in the way of.”

Left to his own devices, Cosmo sniffs at the blue spot on the carpet, looks puzzled, and vomits. Ah well. The carpet’s a problem for another day. Right now I’ve got to try to make sense out of my life. At my laptop I juggle some titles: “Reflections of Drunken Santa,” “On Failing to Write My Memoirs,” and finally “Was an accident.”

I finish off my beer and continue typing. “It’s Thursday, late. Outside a summer storm is dying….” But it’s well and truly passed now, the sky is cloudless and the sun is very bright.