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.