Saturday, May 11, 2013

O My Brothers

Here's to all the men, the bungled and the botched
Here's to all the guys with dicks and balls at their crotch
Here's to all the heroes risking lives while fighting fires
Here's to all the workers raising Freedom Tower spires
Here's to all the voters who gave their brothers equal rights
Here's to all the cops who captured terrorists in gunfights
Here's to all the roughnecks sucking power from the ground
Here's to all the truckers bringing happiness to town

Here's to all the victims who are rotting in a cell
'Cuz some woman said he raped her and the system said oh well
Even though there's next to no evidence of crime
You're a man, and therefore guilty, bound to doing time

Here's to all the husbands getting beaten by their wives
And with nowhere else to go end up taking their own lives
'Cuz society and government will never donate money
To a man's domestic violence shelter. They just think it's funny.

Here's to all the fathers who had their children ripped away
By a system that said the better parent's the one who cannot pay
'Cuz even if the man was the solitary provider
The woman gets it all just for the uterus inside her

Here's to all the fellas watching women's lives get longer
While their sons are getting weaker and their daughters getting stronger
Who have to listen every day to all the women say
They can do anything a man can do and better in every way

Until the pickle jar won't open or the roach is on the wall
Then they're screaming for a man to come and heed their beck and call
And god forbid the man should say "Take care if it yourself."
She'll play her pussy trump card and make his life a living hell.

So, here's to you, my friends, and to all the unnamed others
I raise my beer and proudly dare to call you all my brothers

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I was conditioned to hate myself for the first eighteen years of my life. My mother would punish me if I got a single grade below a C. It was most common for her to ask me, "What's wrong with you?" after, say, I had lost a brand new wristwatch or broken another pair of glasses. Over and over, it was hammered into me that there was something wrong with me. Since I wasn't a stupid kid, I concluded that whatever it was that was wrong with me was the reason my mother never really loved me the way the mothers on TV or in the movies would love their kids.

My brother was (is) two years older than me. He remembers our father better than I do. He would take out his frustrations on me by slugging me in the arm. He would make up games about it, and I, desperate for some kind of affection, would play along. Other times, if I was watching TV by myself, he would come in the room and snatch the remote away, turning the channel to whatever he wanted to watch. "What are you gonna do," he'd say. "I'm bigger than you." So now, I'm small and weak and there's something wrong with me.

The bullying I got from my classmates only solidified, codified this perception of myself. Since it was all I'd ever known, I had no clue as to just how much I hated myself and how screwed up I was.

Five years of college and one suicide attempt later, I found myself in a relationship with the worst woman in the world. She treated me like dogshit and told me it was my fault. To me, that was how things were supposed to be. It was all I'd ever known. Except, this woman kept escalating the abuse until it got physical. Then it got truly evil. She would lie to people in front of my face. She lied to the police. She was and is a genuine psychopath. She manipulated everyone around her. When I finally saw through her bullshit and started calling her on it, she would freak out and do things like hitting me over the head with a garden hose. Since I knew the cops would believe her lies over my truth, there was nothing I could do. I lived the last six years of our sixteen year relationship in this state of mind.

I doubted my sanity. I wondered if all the crazy shit she spouted at me was, in fact, true. Like when she would deny what she'd said not ten seconds after she said it. And she was so serious, so adamant in her position that I wondered if, in fact, I hadn't heard her correctly, that it was really me who was screwed up.

Five years out of that relationship, and I can see the truth now. I see how completely twisted and wrong she was. Just like my mother. Just like my brother. Just like my classmates. They were all wrong to treat me the way they did. And because I endured so many years of constant harassment, I have been programmed to hate myself.

Self-hatred undermines everything. The smallest details of simply being human become sources of blind, screaming rage. If I tear off one too many sheets of toilet paper. If I forget that one thing I went to the store to get. If I leave out one step at my job and have to backtrack to fix it. Silly, minor, inconsequential stuff that shouldn't mean anything--it all becomes proof of my complete worthlessness, and justification for my raging hatred.

When I'm around other people, I clamp down on the rage. I learned the hard way that it scares people. Like, really fucking frightens them to see me slamming my fist repeatedly into my thigh or the nearest hard surface until my hand is swollen and bleeding. So I don't do that around people anymore. I keep it to myself. Thus, when I'm finally alone and something happens, there's extra fuel behind the rage. All the anger I kept bottled up gets released at the first opportunity. I've lost a few things I really cared about in those kinds of fits.

The cold, intellectual, emotionless Spock side of me realizes that this is a very unhealthy way to live. My lizard-brain survival instinct doesn't want to die any sooner than is absolutely necessary. So, I think to myself, what do I do? The answer is always "get treatment." I have a disease, I'm told. The disease is depression. At least, that's the best label I've found, because I'm pretty sure the DSM doesn't have a single diagnosis for "raging self-hatred that's the result of 34 years of programming by evil fucks who didn't care about anyone but themselves." That's a little wordy. Doctors like three words, max, for a diagnosis. Borderline Personality Disorder. Bi-Polar Disorder. Paranoid Schizophrenia. Et cetera.

So, treatment. How does one treat programming? With more programming, except this programming is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Dr. Drew once described it as "re-wiring your brain." What it boils down to is programming yourself to no longer have these "undesirable" thoughts and feelings.

So, why is one programming bad and another good? How is the organ that was conditioned by outside forces supposed to now condition itself from within? And why should I believe the people who stand to make money from me for their treatment? Aren't they going to tell me anything they can to get me on their couch so they can bill me ridiculous amounts of money to re-program me?

I already know that treatment isn't going to work. For programming to be effective, you have to buy into it the way I bought into it for many years. Now, I'm utterly opposed to programming, and I'll resist it in any form. Whatever therapies or techniques a therapist prescribes for me, they'll be undermined by my own core belief that I'm being programmed again.

Anti-depressants are the worst kind of medicine. They force the brain to behave in unnatural ways. They're the chemical equivalent of an old Henny Youngman joke: "A guy goes to the doctor and says, 'Doc, it hurts when I go like this.' Doctor says, 'Don't go like this.'" Doesn't exactly solve the problem of why it hurts in the first place, does it? That's anti-depressants.

The one thing I've found to be effective at all is illegal, and there are other physical side effects that make it less than ideal. Plus, I'd lose my job if I failed a drug test. So I'm pretty much fucked.

The worst part is when someone spouts some simplistic crap to me like, "You need to lighten up." As if I have a choice. That kind of bullshit does several things at once. It directly states that I have a choice when I don't. It then implies that I'm making the wrong choice, which is a judgment about me as a person. And it also tells me that the decades of baggage and programming that I drag around behind me every day is, to other people, a simple one-note issue that can be solved as easily as blowing my nose. All of which only serves to reinforce my self-hatred that much more.

I've been programmed into this. I'm supposed to program my way out of it. It's all bullshit. I just want to be me, free from the self-hatred. I don't want to be what someone else thinks I should be, and that's what programming does. Even if I'm the one doing the programming, it's someone else's code that I'm writing into my brain.

Maybe I should just kill myself and be done. There doesn't seem to be much point to trudging any further.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Playing the P-Card

So, there's some backstory to this that, unfortunately, must be waded through. Please, be patient.

Years ago, I ran into a guy who put on an awesome karaoke show. I'd never sung karaoke before, thinking it was the milieu of drunken idiots who didn't know any better. But this guy had Dead Kennedys, Frank Zappa, and Mudvayne in his catalog. It blew me away. Plus, he would play videos during his shows that were either hysterical comedy or super-cool lesser-known acts. In short, he worked very hard at being a great entertainer, not just a guy who droned into the mike, "Okay, up next is blah blah singing blah blah."

The fact that he was an unabashed AV geek just made him that much cooler in my view.

Then he got a girlfriend. I didn't know her before he started fucking her, but since I was a regular attendee at his shows, I kept seeing her. Eventually I started chatting with her, mostly to be social. As I got to know her better, I started to like her. She seemed like she was pretty smart, had a creative streak, and was generally a good person. In fact, for a bit, I found myself far more attracted to her than I wanted to be. She was someone else's girlfriend, and I don't do that homewrecker shit. I actually backed off for a while until I got my shit together and dealt with my feelings. Which I did.

So, very recently, the girlfriend posted one of those photo thingies you see on Facebook all the time. Something that's supposed to contain pithy wisdom or whatever, except that this thing was all about the fucking P-card.

If you don't know what the P-card is, think about the OJ Simpson trial, and how everyone decried Johnny Cochrane for "playing the race card." The "P" in "P-card" stands for pussy. It's the idea that women are better than men simply because they're women. It's bullshit. It's sexist, bigoted crap that society and the government has bought into, and it is responsible for my life being ruined.

The girlfriend used to tell me that I shouldn't be so down on myself, that she saw me as, in her words, an "attractive, intelligent man." More than once she told me this. I knew it wasn't an indication of any serious feelings on her part, but it made me think (actually believe) that she knew me, understood me, to whatever degree.

She knew I'd been abused by my ex-wife in the past. She knew the ex-bitch was preventing me from seeing my daughter, and there was nothing I could do about it.

So, she posts this thing on Facebook that says, basically, whatever you give a woman you'll receive tenfold. "Give a woman sperm and she'll give you a baby. Give a woman food and she'll give you a meal. So, don't give her any crap or you'll get a ton of shit." That kind of drivel.

See, I gave my wife sperm, and she took my baby away. I gave my wife food, and she demanded I cook the meal and serve it to her. While she spent every dime I made on useless crap we didn't need. And if I told her we needed to save money, I got "a ton of shit," which in reality meant things like a garden hose upside my head, resulting in a bleeding scalp wound. My ex is a reprehensible, worthless piece of shit who ruined me and my life, but she knew how to work the system and society to make everyone around her believe SHE was the victim of MY abuse. She played the P-card.

I worked. She didn't. She told me, at various points, the following: "Don't think; you only get yourself in trouble" and "Why don't you use your fucking brain?" I was a worthless, incompetent moron every time I made a mistake. If I tried to stand up for myself, she accused me of "verbally assaulting" her, which justified her physical violence against me. If I tried to physically respond, she accused me of "not liking what someone said" to me. I was fucked if I did and fucked if I didn't. It was domestic abuse, through and through, and because I'm male I have no resources for healing anywhere. I am ruined beyond repair thanks to that fucking cunt.

The girlfriend knew this (I thought). And STILL posted that horseshit about how great women are.

I wanted to call her and scream. I wanted to post a long rant in response to her post. Ultimately, I decided to just un-friend her and walk away.

The worst part is that I can't ever go to that karaoke show again, because she's always there. I thought about sending a message to the guy himself, asking him to let me know if he ever does a show his girlfriend won't be attending. Then I thought about his asking "why" and my explanation, which would undoubtedly lead to more conflict, more confrontation, and more drama. So I just threw my hands up and walked away.

She'll probably try to text me in a few weeks. She's done that in the past: "Just wanted to know if you're doing all right" kind of thing. At this point, I don't know how I'll respond. I'm torn between letting her know what she did and just ignoring her.

I feel betrayed, but I don't know if I should. I feel wounded, hurt, and most of all WRONG. I was so wrong about this person, it makes me feel like a fucking idiot. And that brings up all the shit my ex hammered into my head over the course of sixteen years. Everything gets mixed up and complicated, and all I ever wanted to do was sing karaoke.

Judgmental Horse Shit

To anyone who's ever told me "just let it go" or "don't be so hard on yourself" or "don't let it get to you" or any other exhortations along those lines:


Is there some food you enjoy, say, brussel sprouts? I hate brussel sprouts. But I won't tell you what to like or dislike. And I won't tell you how to feel about something. Because It's not my place to judge your emotions.

Every time you say that kind of crap to me, you're judging my feelings, which I have NO CONTROL OVER. You may think you're trying to help, but all you do is make shit worse for me.

STOP IT. I feel what I feel. Don't tell me not to. I don't have a choice, any more than you have a choice in what foods you like to eat. When you tell me that kind of crap, like "Just let it go," what you're really saying is, "I've decided it's wrong for you to feel the way you do, and I'm JUDGING YOU to be an asshole for feeling that way." Anyone who really cares about me won't say that shit. And I will hate you for saying it. HATE you.

It's your choice. Do I, as a person, have value? Or are you just trying to eliminate those parts of the world you're too weak to accept? If you try to tell me how I should be, you are NOT a friend of mine. And you can fuck off and die for all I care.

It's judgment. By directly stating I have a choice, you are implying that I'm making the wrong one. Why would you urge me to make a different choice if you didn't think my original choice was wrong?

People who don't know me and what I've been through aren't part of this. When they say it, sure, it annoys me, but I don't take it personally. It's the ones who do know me, know my history, and say it anyway that piss me off. Because they're also the ones who claim to care about me. The ones who get mad when I tell them I don't count them as a friend. Buddies, sure. Friendly, absolutely. But not FRIENDS.

Friends trust each other. Friends understand each other. Friends respect each other. No one who trusts me, understands me, and respects me should ever say that kind of judgmental crap to me.

This is why I have but one friend. He has NEVER told me that kind of shit. He cares about me and tries to help me as best he can, but he has never made me feel like I'm an asshole just because I feel bad. Sometimes I upset him when I'm especially down on myself. He's yelled at me in the past, saying things like, "Dude, why are you so down? You're fucking amazing! You write awesome stuff! You're super smart! I fucking love you, dude!" And sometimes, he upsets me; he's done some uncaring things in the past.

But he's never judged me. And he's never told me to lighten up, let it go, or to stop being hard on myself. He asks my WHY I'm hard on myself, but he doesn't tell me to "just stop it."

That's why he's my friend. That's why the rest of you aren't. Fuck you all.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nature Finds a Way

There's a local business a mile or two away from where I live that I patronize occasionally. I happen to love their business model, and they provide a service much needed by guys like me. The place describes itself as a self-serve porn studio. By any other name, it's a brothel.

So, think about this. It is illegal in every state in the U.S., except Nevada outside of Las Vegas, to pay someone to have sex with you. Given my own gender and the fact that the overwhelming majority of both prostitutes and porn stars are female, I'm going to drop any pretense of gender neutrality for the rest of this post. Just realize that, yes, I know men do these things too.

Anyway, back to the point. You can't pay a woman to have sex with you. You can, however, pay a woman to have sex with someone else, as long as you take pictures or videotape it. (It makes me smile that, in this digital age, we still use "tape" as a verb. I guess "videoflashmemory" doesn't have the same ring.) So, none of the men in porn are "johns," they're actors or models. The women aren't whores, they're also actors or models. If a producer gives a woman money to have sex with me, it's not prostitution. Are we clear on the distinction? If you give money to the woman, it's a crime. If you give money to someone else, it's porn.

Enter the self-serve porn studio. You enter the establishment and are greeted by a friendly woman (always a woman) who has you initial two documents. One is a statement that you're over eighteen. The other is a "contract" that makes you a one-time producer of porn. You then show your cock to the woman, who gingerly inspects it with gloved hands to make sure everything looks healthy. Then you meet the girls.

I am of the opinion that the cock inspection is more of a safety net than an actual health screening. It is a known fact in these kinds of circles that a cop can't engage in illegal (sexual) activities with the subject of their investigation; doing so makes any evidence they collect inadmissible in court. This is exactly what happened elsewhere in town years ago; many massage parlors got busted after a long, undercover operation, but when it was revealed that the cops doing the investigating were getting hand and blow jobs from the women, all the cases were thrown out. Showing your cock is considered over the line, a sexual act that taints evidence.

The girls "choose" a "studio" with a pre-determined time-limit and price. One half hour for $120 to $160. You give the cash to the friendly cock-handler and go with your girl to your studio. Said studio is a room with a bed, a photographys studio light fitted with a diffuser, and a digital camera on a tripod. The girl strips naked and lays on the bed. You take some pictures of her while she fingers herself. After about eight snaps, you're done, and the sex begins. A timer goes off after half an hour, and bob's your uncle.

Make no mistake: the people who run this place know what's up. You don't just walk in; you have to call ahead and tell them you're on your way. Once outside, you call them again and they unlock the door to escort you inside. When you're done, the girl calls the friendly cock-handler to escort you back to the door, which she locks behind you. You never get copies of the pictures. No video is ever shot. The pictures are never sold or displayed on a web site. This is a gray-market business, carefully weaving through the legal maze of anti-prostitution and pornographic artistic expression laws. It's fucking brilliant (ahem).

Is there a point here beyond my describing how I can finally get laid again? Why, yes, there is. The point is that there are some simple facts about human nature that will always be true, no matter how many laws we pass against them. One of them is that people like to fuck. Men, especially, like to fuck so much that they're willing to pay a woman to fuck them. And there will always be women who are willing to accept payment to fuck a man. That's never going to change, no matter how harsh the legal penalties for doing so. The same holds true for drug use. And eating unhealthy food. And homosexuality. And abortions. This is who we are as homo sapiens.

Quit wasting our time with useless, irrelevant laws that only consume taxpayer dollars. Quit busting the whores and potheads; start busting the financial regulators, the fuckers who do real harm to people.

I love that self-serve porn studio, and I'm not ashamed to say so. I love that it's so close to my house. I love that it's technically legal. I love that I can get laid anytime I want (except Sunday; even whores gotta got to church, I guess) without worrying about the social interactions that a suck so badly at. I love that all the girls are fairly cute, and at least two of them are significantly to heavily tattooed. I love that someone was clever and creative enough to come up with the idea and implement it with such grace and style.

There's apparently a second location somewhere in town, but they don't have enough girls to staff it. Any ladies need a job?
UPDATE 6/21/2013: The studio has been busted for prostitution. Nine people arrested: seven model/actresses, the friendly cock-handler, and the owner. A female undercover cop applied for a job there; that's how they got around the "no showing cock" limitation. I'll either keep updating this post or make a new one if developments warrant it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Closet

The bedroom closet is a walk-in with clothes hanging along both sides, deadening sound. Pitch black silence, it envelops, provides scant comfort. I huddle in the corner, pulling my knees tight to my chest, trying to become as small as I can.

She will return soon with a car full of useless things purchased with yet another credit card she opened in my name. It's legal because we live in a "mutual property" state.

The gash on my scalp has quit bleeding, at least, although my bathrobe is ruined. A long rivulet of blood runs down the side of my face and onto the terry cloth, leaving a hard ridge of crust in its wake.

She'd hit me over the head with the garden hose when I was sitting on the back porch. The hose had a heavy metal spray nozzle, thus the laceration.

I had retreated to the porch to escape our latest fight. The details differ, but the framework is always the same. Disagreement. She attacks me verbally. I defend myself. She attacks me physically. I retreat. Years ago I used to try to resolve problems but always failed. Now we merely see who can hurt the other worse. She wins every time.

This was one of the worst. We fought, argued, and yelled at each other. I made one last snipe and went outside to smoke and calm down. After a minute, she followed and grabbed the hose. I thought she was only threatening me with it until the final swing.

Go ahead and call the cops, she said. I'll tell them it was self-defense.

My mind goes back to the time I called them after she hit me across the face with a stick and left a mark. One cop talked to me outside; the other went inside. I told the truth. The cop saw the mark. His partner came outside, and they conferred. I was told they couldn't do anything because they didn't see it happen. I was told to get it on video if I wanted to prove anything.

The police won't help me.

An old friend of hers had come to visit and saw how we constantly sniped at each other. She laughed and said we were a real-life version of "Married with Children."

Witnesses won't help me.

My mother was a controlling bitch who would blame me for things that weren't my fault, like the behavior of my friends. My wife consistently reminded me that mother didn't care and only wanted to control my life.

My family won't help me.

I am alone, in pitch black silence. The hopelessness crashes over me, and the screaming sobs begin. I grab a towel to press against my face, trying to muffle the sounds so I don't wake my little baby girl in the next room. Thank god she's been asleep this whole time.

It's all my fault, she says. She can't get a job and it's all my fault. She's miserable every day and it's all my fault. She can't lose weight and it's all my fault. Something goes wrong and it's all my fault. She hits me with a garden hose and it's all my fault. She spends every dime I make and it's all my fault. I'm in the grips of suicidal depression and it's all my fault. No one will help me and it's all my fault.

I'm a worthless, incompetent moron, she says. I should kill myself so I quit sucking air away from those more deserving of it, she says. No one will even notice if I'm dead, she says. And it's all my fault.

The sobs have melted together into a long, wailing moan. I can barely pause to take a breath. My body shudders from the effort. I rock back and forth, clutching my knees. My skull wants to burst out of my face. My eyes are swollen shut. The snot and tears soak the towel, smearing slime everywhere. I turn it over to start on a clean spot.

She likes to follow the example of Leo, the abuser from "Twin Peaks," using a bar of soap in a sock to hit me. She believes another character from that show who says such a weapon causes internal damage but leaves no bruises. She, however, bruises if you sneeze too hard next to her. If I bat her fist away, it leaves a mark, which she then shows to the police, and I am kicked out of my own house that I alone work to pay for.

I installed the picket fence around the newly-landscaped front yard. I assemble any new furniture. I installed the kitchen floor. I painted every room. I ran the wires for the surround-sound speakers through the walls so the living room would look nice. I installed the dog door in the back room. I taught her how to use a computer. And I am an incompetent, worthless moron who doesn't deserve to live.

If only I could do better. If only I could remember every word she says, even when it was months ago. If only I could anticipate her every whim. If only I could never disagree with her. Then she would finally relent. It's all my fault, you see, because I don't do better. I could, but I don't. Because I'm worthless. According to her.

Her car pulls in the driveway. The switch flips, cutting off the sobs. I climb out of the closet, splash water on my face, and prepare to meet her. I must do this, for the consequences of not are far worse. The key turns in the lock. I steel myself and hope I can make it through the next round.

Death would be a blessing. One I don't deserve. So, it continues.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gimme a Break

So, yeah, I took a break from this blog for a while. I lost my job back in February, and since my personal history makes it so my sense of self-worth is directly tied to what I do for a living, getting laid off hit me really hard. I've been mired in near-suicidal depression for two months.

I got a new job today, at least.

The Snizz Iz the Biz

Where are the women?

Not the silly little girls
With their hair done up in curls
Who think fake boobs and a tan
Is the way to snag a man
You know, the superficial bims
Who care about your rims
'Cuz a fat ol' stack of bills
Is what gives 'em body chills
Doing belly shots all night
In jeans too friggin' tight
Two hours in the weight room
Three hours in the bathroom
To land a sugar daddy's heart
Then let themselves fall apart

No, I mean the women

Not the stuck-up know-it-alls
Who get off on busting balls
And always think they're better
On the basis of their gender
You know, the self-righteous femmes
Who denigrate the gents
Who have a word to say
That isn't "Please" or "May
I have some more?"
So they can slam the door
In a decent fella's face
And put him in his place
Make him feel like a dog
And her high on the hog

No, I mean the women

Not the psychopathic nuts
Calling other women sluts
Then running all around
Banging every guy in town
You know, the manipulative types
With the never-ending snipes
Telling one story to me
Then another one to he
Then another one to she
Then denying all three
Who'll give a guy a pop
Then go running to the cops
Crying poor little victim
When she's the one who hit him

No, I mean the women

Don't need a man to make their lives a piece of cake
The earning my respect 'cuz they're giving what they get
Couldn't give a bleat about statuses and tweets
The iron granite spine, never asking for a dime
With dry, sarcastic wit, intellectually fit
The mother to her child with uncompromising style
The challenging, engaging, intriguing, stimulating
Fascinating, funny, not obsessed with money
Fiercely analytical, passionately political
Eyes and mind wide open, never give up hopin'

I ain't looking for a ton
Can someone just show me one?

Here's a video of me reading this poem live:

Friday, February 22, 2013


One day while grocery shopping, I pushed my cart full of food all the way to my car before I realized I'd left my keys in the store. Rather than push the thing all they way back inside and then again out to my car, I left the cart next to my vehicle and ran inside to fetch my keys. I was gone less than 45 seconds. As I ran back to my car, a woman saw me approach and, in a seemingly jokey tone, said, "Aw, I thought I had me some free groceries."

She had a christian fish on her car.

She didn't think about the real owner of those groceries. She didn't think about the affect her theft would have had on that owner. She didn't think about the groceries' destination, whom the food was to feed, etc. She only thought of herself in diametric opposition to her professed religious beliefs.

This is selfishness, pure and simple. And it is this attitude that is at the heart of every fundamental problem in our society. I would even say it applies to the entire fucking planet.

When it boils down, there is a single motivator in all of life, in all its forms: gene propagation. Our genes want to live on within us, generation after generation. This is what evolution does: it enables us as carriers of genetic information to pass those genes on to subsequent generations by adapting us for better survival. This genetic motivation has two aspects: survival of the self and survival of the group. If the self dies, the genes die; if the group dies, the genes fail to propagate. Both self and group are necessary. Yet, we emphasize the self to the exclusion of the group.

We are all interconnected. We all have an affect on each other: we affect others, and they affect us. There's no denying. Well, there is, but that doesn't make it legitimate. Yet, time and time again, we choose to ignore that interconnection. It certainly makes life a lot easier when you're the only one in it.

Selfishness in and of itself is actually not detrimental. There are plenty of situations in which being selfish is, in fact, the best course of action. Regardless, what makes the particular selfishness I'm describing so fundamentally destructive is its disregard of the group. It is the emphasis on the self to the exclusion of the group.

Have you ever been cut off in traffic? When it happened, did you yell some profanities from the safety of your car, calling into question the offending driver's lineage, mental capacity, or even humanity? Chances are, even if you didn't give voice to such thoughts, you still had them. You saw the other driver as the "bad guy" because he cut you off. Did you ever pause a moment to consider that that driver has just as many stresses on his mind as you? That his day may not have been going well at all? That he may, in fact, be a very conscientious driver in all other situations? That this may have been a mere oversight, the kind of simple human error that (without exception) everyone on the planet is capable of? Probably not. You probably got annoyed/pissed off/enraged at the offending driver and blamed him for being an asshole.

(Male pronouns are used exclusively on purpose. 'Cuz that's how I troll.)

No matter what the nature of your interaction with other people, they always enter the situation with as rich, varied, robust, and personal a history as you. Everything in their lives has led them to this point, exactly the same as you. They had childhoods, educations, families, etc. Just as all the events of your life have shaped you into the person you are now, so have all the events of their lives done the same to them. It's yet another example of our fundamental interconnectedness.

Yet, how do we respond to conflict? "Asshole cut me off." "Asshole got my order wrong." "Asshole didn't pay attention." Etc. Etc. Etc.  We dehumanize the other person. It's much easier to disrespect and disregard something if you reduce them to a mere orifice. (Which, when you think about it, is actually reducing them to nothing: a hole is actually a space, not a tangible thing. Has anyone ever called you an anus or a sphincter?)

Our culture and society work tirelessly to maintain this selfish way of thinking, too. All the Tea Party politicians spout the rhetoric of "personal responsibility," which is a glossed-over re-branding of Randian social darwinism. "D.I.Y." "Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps." As if each of us exists in a vacuum. "I'm not paying for someone else's health care!" Because, you know, there was never anyone who said we should love our neighbors as ourselves, right?

Religion is the worst of these reinforcers, because it speaks to our fundamental, biological need to stay alive. Religion (at least in the Abrahamic, Western Culture sense) tells the individual he will be rewarded for following the rules. Religion devalues this world and everyone in it. Religion keeps us obsessed with our own mortality, emphasizing death over life ("whoever believes in me shall not perish"). Religion tells the individual he is better than others. ("Kill the infidel! Burn the witch!")

An example that, to me, illustrates this point better than anything: There used to be a TV show on cable about a Mormon family whose business was constructing custom-made high-security SUVs for diplomats and international CEOs (I'm not kidding). The family's religion was a major part of the show. In one episode, the father stated flat out: "I know this world is meaningless. I know the real world is in the kingdom of heaven." Which made me wonder why he was even working in the first place, but whatever. This is what religion tells its believers, that the world (and, by implication, everyone in it) is worthless, that only after death does life truly begin.

But the worst part of all is that we're stuck in a reflexive cycle, spiralling ever downward. The more internalized we are, the less we progress. Just look at popular culture today: there is no longer any innovation, just a re-mixing of everything that's come before. This hasn't been true at any other point in history. We got to a point in our cultural evolution where, instead of striving ever forward and breaking new ground, we spun 180 degrees and began re-working everything that had already been done. A century ago, the Abstract movement was introduced to the world, and it shook things up like crazy. Today, an artist is described in terms of his "influences," i.e. which previous styles he incorporates into his work and how. There is no new "movement" coming.

The ridiculous concentration of wealth in the hands of the top 1% of the population that has occurred in the U.S. over the last 30 years is another prime example, one that has devastating consequences for our future. Do you think any CEO who decided to be paid in stock options thought about how it would fundamentally change his business from one designed to provide goods or services to one designed solely to turn a profit? Or how that change would ultimately harm our economy and millions of people's lives? Or do you think the CEO thought, "Payday!"?

People have been brainwashed into thinking self vs. group is a binary proposition, an either-or question. Pick one, only one, can't have both. Except, you CAN have both. I know because this is exactly where MY mind is. I do for myself in many ways; I fully embrace my selfish nature. But I never lose sight of the affect I have on others or the affect they have on me. A typical example would be me and some friends sitting at a table at a bar. Some of the people are strangers to me (friends of friends). I hear a comment that brings to mind a snarky, probably offensive response. Instead of just blurting it out and making myself laugh, I hold my tongue because I don't know how these unknown people would react, and I don't want to have a negative affect on them. If the people were all my friends whose boundaries are well-known to me, there would be no such qualm. With strangers, there is. Just because they're strangers and I don't know them. It's not about my being a "good" person or "better than others." It's not even something I do with conscious thought. It's fundamentally uncomfortable for me to do that; it feels like exposing my genitals in public.

If I can do it, anyone else can. I'm not special.

And that statement ultimately brings me to the final point: why I hate the humans. Every one of us, without exception, has the potential to behave as I've described above, to act upon our own desires while maintaining conscious awareness of the effects we have on others. It is our choice to remain selfish. We choose it because it's easy. It requires no self-reflection, no effort to see another's viewpoint, nothing. The laziness feeds the selfishness, and the selfishness feeds the laziness. All by choice. It doesn't have to be this way; we make it this way, then blame everyone but ourselves for the outcome. We are stuck in this self-reflexive downward spiral, and I don't believe we are capable of breaking out of it without some outside force acting on us, like aliens landing on the White House lawn. Something that proves, irrefutably, that there is more to existence than our own petty self-interests. Think that's ever gonna happen?

The path we are on has an end that was described by Frank Zappa in his song, "Dumb All Over":

You can't run a race without no feet 
And pretty soon there won't be no street
For dummies to jog on or doggies to dog on 
Religious fanatics can make it be all gone 
I mean it won't blow up and disappear, 
It'll just look ugly for a thousand years

Full disclosure: the days in which I question the value of maintaining my own existence outnumber the days in which I don't. And the margin is growing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Humans Are Worthless

Honestly, I believe in the sanctity of life. By that, I mean I value life and existence highly. We exist in this cosmos despite astronomical odds against us. It's almost like winning the lottery: yes, there's always a winning number, but it's never yours. Well, our little planet hit the evolutionary jackpot, and here we are. It makes our lives priceless.

Which is why humans are worthless. We've squandered this miraculous gift the universe has bestowed upon us. We've developed amazing powers of reason and deduction, allowing us to solve some of the fundamental issues of life (food, clothing, shelter) and elevate us to an advanced, civilized existence. We create art to examine our own presence in the universe. We're the only species capable of such self-reflection. Our ability to use reason and logic to deduce answers about our world has enabled us to cure disease, fly through the air, travel across oceans, and even leave the very planet that birthed us.

So, what are we doing with this awesome potential we have? Watching "Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo" and refusing to just help each other out with some basic issues. We've become selfish, self-involved, and self-absorbed. We deny the irrefutable connection we all have with each other for the sake of some immediate gratification, disregarding and denying consequence all the while.

Take universal health care. What could possibly be wrong with providing everyone in the country access to proper medical treatment? It's the selfish attitude of those who oppose it: "I'm not going to pay for someone else's medicine!" Not only is this totally callous, it's not entirely accurate. You see, if universal health care is implemented, everybody pays, everybody benefits. It's a shared burden providing shared benefits. Yes, some of your money pays for other people's care, but the reverse is also true. And, it turns out that if everyone shares the burden, everyone's individual piece of that burden is much smaller than what would have been shouldered alone. In other words, "paying for someone else's medicine" actually benefits the payer. But, thanks to our selfish attitudes, we've decided it's a bad thing

People have this idea that they should be completely independent. "No one helped me get where I am; I did it all myself!" is a typical attitude. Except that statement is utterly false. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do, you owe pretty much everything in your life to other people.

Look at your shirt. (I assume you're wearing one.) Did you plant the cotton, tend to the field, harvest it, de-seed it, spin it into threads, weave those threads into cloth, dye the cloth or print a pattern on it, cut out the individual pieces, sew them together, pack it, and ship it to yourself? Then you owe that shirt to all the people who performed those various tasks. Plus the people at the store who put it on the shelf and rang it up for you. "But, I'm the one who bought it and I earned the money myself." True, but there would have been no shirt to buy in the first place were it not for all those others.

Absolutely everything in your life that you did not create from complete scratch is owed to other people. Broaden that concept from personal objects and apply it to your surroundings. Roads, sidewalks, traffic lights, bridges, tunnels, phone lines, water lines, sewer lines, gas lines, power lines -- all these things were created and implemented by other people.

We are all undeniably connected in tangible ways to each other. We live our lives enjoying countless benefits of living in such an interconnected society. It is that very interconnection that allows us the time to watch TV and movies, read books, go on vacation, and write blogs about shit that pisses us off.

We could be devoting hundreds of billions of dollars to, say, curing cancer. But there's no profit in that. Instead, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars creating pretty images in movies and refusing universal health care. Our government is motivated by personal greed over all else. We have the resources to completely eliminate poverty, hunger, and homelessness. We'd rather watch worthless white trash on TV.

We blew our chance. We no longer deserve this existence. We had the choice to turn our gaze outward, toward each other; we chose to gaze inward for the sake of a buck. It's time to scrape the planet clean and let the roaches take over. At least they won't poison the air so they can drive massive SUVs.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Am A Misogynist

Someone defined "misogyny" to me as "hatred or mistrust of women."

That word "mistrust" got to me. Because I don't trust women. Well, I don't trust anybody when I first meet them; time must pass for me to relax my defenses and build trust. However, it's much easier for me to develop trust with a man than with a woman. Which makes me more mistrustful of women than men. Which makes me a misogynist.

Frankly, I'll wear the badge with pride. Because it's true. And I have good goddamn reasons for not trusting women.

My mother was emotionally abusive, withholding affection, and overly controlling. I was born with infinite trust in her affection for me, and I was told flat-out, to my face, that I was her "obligation."

My ex-wife was emotionally, physically, and psychologically abusive for the span of our 16-year relationship. I busted my ass to make her happy, to do everything she wanted me to do, and I ended up getting my ass beat for not being good enough. She ended up getting everything in the divorce, including my daughter, whom the ex is preventing me from seeing, even though I have rights. And I'm financially supporting her with alimony.

A female tattoo artist was doing work on my arms. We would talk during breaks, and I began to like her. I drove two hours away so she could work on me at home. There was definitely a mutual attraction between us. After one session, I kissed her (not on the cheek). She kissed me back and squeezed me tight. Two weeks later, she sent me a text that basically said she'd been spending time with this other guy for a while and was going to start dating him.

An old girlfriend once told me that, were her ex-boyfriend ever to say he wanted to get back together, she would dump me in a heartbeat.

Another old girlfriend was a recovering catholic who found out one of her high school classmates got pregnant (this was freshman year of college). It freaked her out so much, she refused to have sex with me anymore, and we broke up.

A third old girlfriend (I've had four total in my life; one is my ex) surreptitiously quit taking her birth control pills and got pregnant. I ended up paying for an abortion.

In almost 45 years, no woman has failed to betray my trust. They always proved themselves to be as selfish, self-serving, and self-interested as every other shaven ape crawling across the face of the earth.

I always went into relationships with my heart wide open. Some called me naïve. I called myself romantic. I was only going by what I was taught by all the Romantic Poets and Shakespeare that I'd read throughout school. In later years I was a bit more cautious about opening my heart, but it really didn't take that much to do it. I was much less guarded.

And the common response I get is along the lines of, "Not all women are like that. You've just had bad experiences." I never said all women are like that. I said that I don't trust them; I must spend time and effort to get to know them very, very well before I will trust them. It's a caution borne of experience and unbelievable suffering.

Fuck yeah, I'm a misogynist. Women are pretty much guilty until proven innocent to me. Which is not to say that I won't or can't trust women. I just don't dole it out automatically anymore; you gotta earn it. That's right, it's not a privilege, not an entitlement, not something you deserve just because you have a pussy.

And saying that means that I'm probably never going to be in a relationship again. At this point in my life, the women who would deserve and could earn my trust are already in relationships. No single woman these days is going to exert effort to be with me; they'd rather get the douchebag in the Tapout shirt to buy them drinks and give them stuff.

If being alone until I die is the price I must pay to prevent another occurrence of the searing emotional pain that has already scarred and gnarled me beyond recognition, so be it. It's the lesser evil that I choose. I don't like it, but the alternative is unbearable.