2020 Vision

I remember the first time I watched Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland and wondering when, if ever, Alice would reach the bottom of the rabbit hole. The agony of the unknown and the fear which accompanied it are pretty much how I’ve felt for most of this year.

Recovering from Cancer

My body has slowly been healing over these past few months. I underwent radiation therapy in April, and subsequent tests have shown that the surgery removed all but a couple small specks of thyroid tissue. Those two tiny pieces which remain should be neutralized by the radiation.

I’m beginning to feel like myself again, while the world around me is falling apart. Well, at a seemingly more exponential rate. A pandemic rages across the globe like wildfire while, at least in my part of the world, many deny its existence, or at the very least, do not consider it a threat.

Reopening School

My girlfriend and I were faced with a tough decision at the beginning of this school year: to let our children go back to school or have them attend school virtually. 

Virtual is the no-brainer option because these last few years, I’ve watched the flu make its way through our schools twice a season.  Virtual is the no-brainer option because children stick their fingers into their noses and mouths and spread their germs (and bodily fluids) like peanut butter all over bread. Virtual is the no-brainer option because I’ve been in the nurse’s office when a student enters, sent up due to flush cheeks and a fever, and says mommy told me not to see the nurse today. My girlfriend was that nurse.

Was…

Virtual is the no-brainer option, except that means someone would need to be there to supervise them.

We made the difficult decision for her to quit her job for a multitude of reasons. Being the school nurse meant she would almost assuredly be exposed to the virus. She has RA. Her daughter and my twins have asthma. We didn’t feel comfortable taking the risk. We also needed someone to stay with our children during the day as they attended school virtually.

It hurts because she loved that job and working with children.

Why schools are opening at all, boggles my mind. If there’s one thing at which children excel, it’s spreading germs. I’ve been a father for over 20 years. When my children have gotten sick, 99% of the time, they caught that illness from school.

I’ve heard the arguments. I agree that our children must be educated (although hearing Republicans go on and on about how crucial education is while they cut funding to schools is a post for another time). However, I don’t agree that education is more important than health. There’s still so much we don’t know about this pandemic. New studies are showing that there could be life-long health issues associated with contracting COVID-19, even if you survive. 

Pandemic

While I was finding out in January that I had thyroid cancer, the world was finding out about COVID-19. As I write this, the latest stats from the CDC state that 5,340,232 US citizens have contracted the virus and that 168,696 have died from it.

The worst part of this pandemic, sadly, is not the fact that we’re in a pandemic. The worst part is that the pandemic has become a political device, another tool with which the left and right can turn to manipulate public opinion. Meanwhile, the recommendations of infectious disease experts at the CDC are being criticized by the right and “debunked” by YouTube jockeys who claim to have done their own research on the virus. 

I’ve had multiple back-and-forth’s with random morons on Facebook (I shouldn’t have engaged, but the sheer stupidy of these people wouldn’t let me ignore them) where people tell me wearing a mask should be a choice even though the mask is meant to keep the wearer from spreading the disease. I’ve been told when quoting statistics from the CDC that my numbers are incorrect (where else would I get the numbers?). I’ve seen so many people claim that they won’t be wearing a mask because a mask mandate violates their rights, and they are not sheep. I’m not sure what freedom is being infringed by being forced to wear a mask, but MY right to live healthily is being violated by any asshole who may unknowingly have COVID not wearing a mask while out in public. Also, the sheep analogy really confuses me. The sheep who don’t follow the shepherd end up eaten by the wolf…

Death

Though it happened in 2019, I’ve still felt the passing of my mother throughout 2020. I’ll break down at random times during a song or when I see her picture. I struggled mightily on Mother’s Day, her birthday, and on the anniversary of her death. As if losing her wasn’t enough loss, my girlfriend’s aunt, to whom she was extremely close, passed away in June – another victim of cancer. 

Other Health Issues

At my regular check-up in June, I found out that my cholesterol is slightly above the acceptable range, so I had to start taking medication to reduce that. In the last month, I had to have an abscessed tooth removed, and then, a week later, I developed an infection in my saliva gland as a result of the procedure. I’ve been on pain meds and antibiotics for the past three weeks. I’ve had more health issues in the last year than the previous 42 years of my life.

Politics

I’m scared of this election cycle. Trump is as unstable as a thunderstorm, lies blowing from his mouth like destructive gusts of wind and idiotic remarks and childish insults striking from his Twitter account like lightning. Despite how radical he is even to his own party, they still refuse to condemn him. Worse, my hopes that the DNC would put forth a viable candidate died when they stifled Bernie’s campaign (again) and somehow rigged it so that Joe Biden would get the nod. Maybe they felt he has a better chance since he’s more centrist than Bernie, but my problem with Joe is that he’s got some of the same red flags as Trump. He’s been accused of sexually assaulting women. He’s prone to childish outbursts. He’s got no filter. He’s ancient.

Lastly, if Biden wins, it is likely Trump will not relinquish his hold on the oval office. When asked if he would do so if/when the time comes, the most encouraging answer he’s given so far is, “I don’t know.” That is horrifying.

Police Brutality

Multiple black people have been murdered without cause this year by police officers in numerous parts of the country and most of those officers have not been charged with any sort of crime. People protesting police brutality have been countered by armed militia supporting police. The irony, however, was when armed militias harassed police when they felt their rights were being violated by being made to wear masks. The similarities are….nonexistent. Police in multiple cities have often instigated violence at otherwise peaceful protests, too. I don’t know what there is to argue about. Police who abuse their power should be held accountable. No excuses.

2020 Vision

Usually, having 2020 vision is something about which to be happy. It means your visual acuity is excellent, and you can see things clearly. But I must say…I see 2020 right now, and I’m not happy about it at all. This year sucked even before it dropped its gigantic LED ball in Times Square. I do not wish to see anything that happened this year with any sort of clarity and I most certainly understand how addicts start down the path of addiction. If there were something I could take to numb me to this pain without ruining my life, I’d almost certainly be gulping it.

Four Score (but really only two months) Ago…

I faced the most daunting challenge of my life.

A CT scan revealed that a 4cm mass of thyroid tissue had grown outside of my actual thyroid, and a biopsy determined it was cancerous, so on January 22nd, I went in for what my ENT described as a neck dissection.

I had only had surgery once in my life to that point, and that was in 2nd grade. It was a simple procedure to remove scar tissue from the malformed growth that emerged after having my fingertip sewn back on after a freak toy box accident. No, that is not a typo, sadly.

This was going to be vastly different. This operation would be much more invasive and would be centered around several vital parts of my anatomy. I was so filled with anxiety that my doctor put me on a beta-blocker a week before the procedure to reduce my heart rate and blood pressure.

The operation lasted 5 hours, and I was in recovery for another 2 hours. My thyroid was removed, along with 53 lymph nodes. I woke with 16 staples in my neck and looked like a reject from a Tim Burton movie.

I’m once again fighting constant fatigue. The effects of radiation therapy can last from 4 to 8 weeks. I can barely taste anything, and my neck and part of my right cheek have swelled back up.

BUT…everything is looking good. At least, that’s what they’re telling me. So, for that, I am thankful.

If all this suffering keeps me around to continue watching my children grow, I’ll gladly endure it. Okay, maybe not gladly.

As I slowly come back together, the world outside is falling apart. This pandemic has shutdown nearly everything, and C’s stepfather was diagnosed with COVID-19, despite not being tested due to a shortage of tests. So C’s stuck here with me while I’m hoping that 1) the diagnosis is wrong and 2) if it isn’t, he didn’t bring it here with him.

Aside: I’m not a medical professional, but I’m not sure why they wouldn’t at least do a flu test to rule that out first

To sum this rambling shitshow up, 2020 can go suck a big, dirty…toe. What a bunch of suck this year has been.How’s everyone fairing during these trying times? I hope everyone is healthy!

Interview With a Trooper – Episode V

It’s the weekend! It’s time for another 25 questions with me! Lucky you! Or something…

  1. How old were you when you found out that Santa wasn’t real? 9 or 10, I think.
  2. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike? 7ish? All I know is my first attempt did NOT go well. I ended up hitting a fire hydrant and flying across someone’s front yard.
  3. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy? A house. And a truckload of peanut butter.
    The only REAL peanut butter.
  4. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do? I’d eliminate hatred.
  5. If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do? I’d make it clean itself…
  6. If you could choose only one, would you rather go to Paris or London? London. At least I’d be able to communicate with people there. Plus I’d get to visit a certain Brit I know and possibly throw some decomposed fruit at Boris Johnson.
  7. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be? I don’t know. I don’t really care about famous people. Nor do I care what they have to say.
  8. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be? My lack of willpower. As yummy as they are I need to be able to walk by on unopened Reese’s without tearing off the wrapper and shoving it down my throat.
  9. If you could give your younger self any advice what would it be? I wouldn’t. If one tiny thing changed it could affect my entire future. I’d never do anything to jeopardize the chance at having my children.
  10. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation where would you go? Either Canada or Alaska.
  11. If you could have any job, what would you want to do/be? Powerball winner.
  12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Canada. I’ve always said Alaska, but the US political climate is getting a bit too stupid and intense for my liking.
  13. If you could live forever, would you rather stay one age forever or get older? Why would anyone choose “get older”?
  14. If you could meet any one person (from history or currently alive), who would it be? My mommy.
  15. If you could pick one, would you rather have infinite money or unending love? Infinite money. Love hurts and I’m tired of it assaulting me.
  16. If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be? One I’ll keep to myself.
  17. If you could save just one, would you rather save Humanity or the Earth? The Earth. I have no particular affection for humanity. Humans are stupid.
    See? Case in point.
  18. If you don’t have any, have you ever thought of getting one Uh….any what? I’m mean, I’ve probably thought about getting one, but then I realized I didn’t know which one to get so I stopped thinking altogether.
  19. If you had 1 year left to live, what would you do for you? No clue. I’d probably cry a lot at first, then wing it from there.
  20. If you had A Big Win in the Lottery, how long would you wait to tell people? .00000000000001 seconds.
  21. If you had a day left to live and you could spend it with anyone you choose, who would it be? I wouldn’t and couldn’t choose just one person. I’d spend it with everyone I love.
  22. If you had more courage what would you do differently in your life now? Idk, exercise more? I can’t think of anything radical I’d change.
  23. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? I’ve never been a fan of my name, but I’ve also never taken the time to contemplate choosing a new one. I have the name I have and that’s that.
  24. If you have a nickname, what is it? Daddy (and I love it)
  25. If you inherited $100,000 right now, how would you spend it? I’d pay off my bills and buy a house. I’m sure this is the wild answer you were looking for.

I Shouldn’t Have Laughed…

Well, well. Take a look at this place. It’s in such a state of disrepair. The banners haven’t been updated in a couple of years. Well, I just looked again and apparently it’s been three years. Wow. I should probably do some house-keeping ’round here.

Anyhow, I just dropped by because I felt like sharing some hilarious news. I figured with all the doom and gloom (and idiocy) of the Trump White House (Hey, is that Sean Spicer hiding in my bushes?) we could all use a good laugh. Even though we’ll be laughing at something we probably shouldn’t be laughing at.

We all know that the only dude to ever walk on water was Jesus, right?

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No, Zod doesn’t count.

Well, a clergyman in Zimbabwe decided to reproduce Jesus’ miraculous feat and show the awesome power of God to his faithful.

No chance of anything going wrong here, I’m sure.

The pastor, Jonathan Mthethwa, led his congregation to Crocodile River (spoiler alert!) where he proceeded to wade about 30 meters out into the water. Just after promising the gathering that he was about to rise above the water, he was mercilessly ripped to shreds by three extremely famished crocodiles.

baby facepalm

Now, I know I shouldn’t be laughing at this. A man lost his life. Nevertheless, I cannot stop laughing. I mean, what the hell did this guy expect to happen? If you stick a paper clip in an electrical outlet you’re going to get shocked no matter how strong your faith may be.

First of all, I’m sure it’s not called Crocodile River because it’s filled with tears of the broken-hearted. If you’re going to wade into crocodile infested waters, you should be prepared to forfeit your life. Or at the very least a limb.

Secondly, what did this dude plan on saying when he didn’t actually rise above the water? Was he going to insult their faith? Tell them if they had prayed harder he could have pulled it off? Yeah, Jesus walked on water, but he also had the divine powers that come with, you know, being the son of God. This guy was just a tool, obviously.

What’s worse is the congregation left in his wake. They just couldn’t fathom where it all went so awfully wrong. “We still don’t understand how this happened because he fasted and prayed the whole week.” Yeah, and I gave that Nigerian prince my bank account information and I’m still waiting on the deposit. I just don’t get it…

If you read this story and didn’t laugh a bit, congratulations, you’re a much better person than I. Of course, that isn’t much of a reason to pat yourself on the back. However, I think we can all take away one important lesson here, and that is…

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Even God can’t fix stupid.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Someone vastly wiser than I (which is a VERY large crowd) once said: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Or something along those lines. I don’t feel like Googling the exact quote right now because lazy. Based on that definition of insanity, I must be bat-shit crazy. (Don’t worry, I’m medicated.)

I do it every time. I don’t know why I do it. When I begin to do it I know I’m making a mistake, but I can’t stop myself. It’s like walking into a haunted house. You know it’s going to scare the shit out of you, but you go in there anyhow. I always think (or hope) it won’t be as bad as I’m afraid it will be, but I always end up wrong. Each time the bubble that is my faith in humanity deflates just a little.

When it’s over I’m left devastated and befuddled. Why? Why did I do it? Why did I do something I know would dishearten me so? Why did I knowingly walk into a trap I couldn’t spring? Why did I waterboard myself?

Why, oh why, did I read the fucking comments?

In theory, comment sections are for friendly discourse. We’ve read an article (congratulations!) and now we have a chance to share our thoughts with the author. We can explain why we agree or disagree with an opinion. We can share a similar experience. We can congratulate them on writing such a meaningful/hilarious/thought-provoking piece. We can read the comments of others who have shared a point of view or experience of their own. Meaningful conversation and thought-provoking dialogue sounds great, right?

If only that were the case.

Comment sections are like a landfill of human thoughts. They stink, they’re loaded with useless or broken shit, and they’re a place no decent person would ever be caught hanging out. (Just in case you’re wondering, I liken reading the comments not to being in the landfill, but merely driving by it and being disappointed that it still stinks.)

Comment sections are literally nothing but the worst in humanity. Whenever I scroll through the comments (Why do I do it? Why?) of a news article I’ve just read I see nothing but hatred. I see racism. I see sexism. I see xenophobia. I see homophobia. I see name-calling. I see threats. I see a fierce intolerance for any differing point of view. I see anonymous assholes being assholes simply because they’re anonymous and there are zero consequences for it. I see horrid statements not a one of those people would actually say to the face of another human being. Except maybe if they were on Springer…

I’m at a complete loss when I attempt to comprehend this phenomenon. I can’t fathom why people resort to name-calling, anger, threats, and/or other unpleasant mental diarrhea. When I read an article about racial issues I can count on finding racist comments (and confederate flag avatars) down below. When I read an article about gender equality I could confidently bet an entire paycheck that I’d find a comment made by a man either dismissing the plight of women or, even worse, telling a woman to get back into the kitchen and/or perform fellatio (not so eloquently worded, though) on him. I’m not even going to get into some of the comments I read in response to the HB2 bill in North Carolina, but suffice to say, there are some real degenerates out there and they have internet access.

I just don’t understand how people can be so hateful. More than that, though, I can’t comprehend why so MANY people are hateful. Why are these people so angry? What exactly are they afraid of? Why do they feel it’s okay to be so disrespectful to another human being? What is so wrong with acceptance and tolerance? Why do we dismiss the plights of others simply because it’s not happening to us? What happened to empathy? Understanding? Loving thy neighbor?

Comment sections are what feed my misanthropy. Comments show me that despite all the progress we’ve made towards building an equalitarian society, there people racing to tear it all down. Comments make me ashamed to be human. Comments most assuredly make me ashamed to be a white male. Comments are like the slime from Ghostbusters 2, a cesspool of hatred and bigotry.

I told you not to read the comments, Ray! Now we’re covered in fucking hate-slime like we’re in some perverse Nickelodeon game show!

I’ve often disagreed with people who claim alcohol makes people behave a certain way. I’ve always been of a mind that alcohol simply removes inhibitions and reveals your true self for all present to see. In a similar respect, anonymous internet comments allow people to be who they truly are. It allows them to do so with the benefit of a mask. It is what is behind all these masks that sickens me, makes me crawl further up into the shell in which I hide, and not want to interact with another human being for the rest of my days.

Way, way back in the day, Rodney King, a victim of police brutality caught on tape, asked, “Can’t we all just get along?” Somehow that turned into a national punchline. What’s so funny about it, though? Why wouldn’t we all want to get along? If we could live without conflict wouldn’t we choose to do so? Wouldn’t we like to be friendly with everybody? Wouldn’t we, if we’re being honest with ourselves, all like to get along?

I know I would.

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A Neighbor’s Rant

One of the things I love most about Spring and Autumn is the temperature. It’s not too hot and not too cold. It’s juuuuust right. It means I don’t need to turn on the air conditioning or the heater. It means I can open up my windows and let a fresh breeze flow through the house.

Ah, serenity.

Unfortunately, open windows, at least where I live, come with a few downsides. I live literally a few hundred feet away from I-75, so the perpetual hum of interstate traffic is always buzzing in the background.

Occasionally, there are obnoxious children yelling and screaming outside. I can deal with that because, hey, that’s what children do.

There is one thing, however, that really rakes my nails across the chalkboard.
Have you ever gone to pick up a friend or relative (or coworker or someone else just in dire need of a ride)? I have. When I arrive I park my car, get out, and knock on the door of my eventual passenger to let them know I’m there to pick them up.

My neighbors don’t seem to have friends that considerate.

Too many times a car pulls up in front of one of the other townhouses on my block and just lays on the horn. Multiple times. It’s incredibly fucking annoying and mind-blowingly rude.

What if I were asleep? What if my child was taking a nap? What if I were watching my soaps and your incessant horn blaring sounded just as the couple I’ve wanted to get together FOREVER is finally confessing their love to one another?(What? I don’t watch soaps. What???) What if you weren’t an inconsiderate asshole, Mr. Horn Blaring Jackwagon?

Is it really so hard to get out of your car and walk up to the door and knock? Is it really going to ruin your day to get that miniscule amount of exercise? Are you planning to burn those calories another time? Or not at all?

Ever heard of a cell phone? For real, if you’re too lazy to get out of your fucking car and knock on a damned door then just text or call the person you’re there to pick up and stop shattering the neighborhood’s serenity with your annoying-ass horn.

Stop being assholes, people. Please, be considerate of others.

The Racist Register

Once upon a time, in a retail store not so far away, I was working the customer service desk of a major retailer. I was a manager at the time, but the store was busy so I was helping out at the service desk.

The company (let’s just say its name rhymes with Y’all Fart) for which I worked had just started cashing payroll checks just a few short weeks ago. A woman walked up to me and handed me a paycheck from Staples (yeah, we’ve got that) and told me she’d like to cash it.

Now, the way the check cashing worked is we had to run the check through the register so that the check reader could read (duh) the check number and determine if the check could be cashed. I have no idea what criteria were used to determine whether or not a check could be cashed; all I know is that the register determined whether or not we could.

So I accepted the check from her and ran it through the register. It was declined. I tried again thinking that maybe the check wasn’t read correctly. It was denied again.

I inhaled sharply (as bad news never goes over well) before I informed her that I wouldn’t be able to cash her check. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but the check has been declined.”

This (obviously) dampened her mood.

“I’ve had a check cashed here before.  Now all of a sudden you can’t cash my checks?” she growled.

“I apologize, ma’am, but the register has declined your check and there’s nothing I can do about it.” I explained unhelpfully. There really was nothing I could do. We were forbidden from overriding the register’s decision to decline a check.

“Is it because I’m black?” she asked angrily.

Her accusation hit me like a punch in the gut. I was shocked. She could see perfectly well that the register had declined the check because there was a display facing her that said so. I had never been accused of being racist before. I’m not a person who’s often at a loss for something to say. I have a quick wit and a sharp, sarcastic tongue. But her question straight dumbfounded me. It would never even occur to me to deny somebody service based on any physical attributes a person possessed.

“Ma’am, I assure you that the register has no idea what color you are. I apologize again, but if the register denies the check there’s really nothing I can do,” I tried again.

“I wanna talk to a manager,” she demanded.

Now, at this particular time, the managers at the store I worked at had a choice between wearing a dress shirt and tie or wearing a polo shirt underneath a company vest.  I hate (fucking hate) dress shirts and ties, so I always wore a polo shirt and a vest.  I can see how that might be somewhat confusing, but the name badge I was wearing clearly stated that I was a manager.

“I am a manager, ma’am,” I informed her.

“No, you’re not. You’re wearing a vest. Managers don’t wear vests. Get me a manager,” she obstinately commanded.

I didn’t quite know how to argue with that “logic,” so I gave her a look which clearly asked, “Are you fucking serious?” but she didn’t budge. I left her stewing in her anger and found a manager who hadn’t made the mistake of wearing a vest to work. I explained what was going on and was rewarded with the same, “Are you fucking serious?” look I had just worn a few short moments before.

“I know,” I said, exasperated, “but she refuses to believe I’m a manager.  Can you go tell this woman we can’t cash her check?”

Now, this other manager was running a register because, as I said, we were busy. So I had to find someone to take over for him so he could come tell this stubborn woman that we couldn’t cash her check.

After I had found someone to take over for the other manager, we both headed back to the customer service desk where I stood behind the other manager and stoically listened to her tell him that I was a racist. The manager explained to her that I was, in fact, not racist and offered to try to cash the check again for her.  He signed on to the register and ran the check through. It was denied again. He explained to her the same thing I had. The register denied it and there’s nothing we can do for her.

I braced myself for a toddler-like outburst. I was ready for us all to be declared racists and the entire company a phantom branch of the KKK. Even as ready as I was for her rebuttal, her response still shocked me. She said, “Okay,” grabbed her check, and left the store.

That other manager was just as white as I am (I actually think he was whiter) but why was he not accused of racism? He didn’t do anything differently than I had. Was it because he was taller? Was it because of his kick-ass mustache? (Seriously, this guy’s mustache could give Tom Selleck’s mustache a run for its money.) Was I just the target of her initial rage upon learning she’d have to go elsewhere to cash her check?

Sigh…

People suck. This was but another brick in my wall of misanthropy.

Why I’m Angry

"Marvel's The Avengers" ..Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)..© 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2011 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.
“Marvel’s The Avengers” ..Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)..© 2011 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2011 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

I knew all along that this ending was a likely probability. We’ve tried and failed so many times. I’m not sure I would say it wasn’t worth the try. I longed for the days when we were together and happy. Evidently you did, too.

So we tried. We got along great, which is something we could never say of our entire marriage. But something was missing. There was no spark. No passion. No fire. We were more like a couple of friends sharing a place, albeit friends sharing the same bed. But friends nonetheless.

We finally acknowledged the leviathan elephant in the room. We agreed we felt the same way. We also agreed that we would continue as roommates since, essentially, that’s what we already were. No big deal, right?

Wrong.

When we spoke I told you I wasn’t ready for you to date yet. I said that because in the past you’ve made yourself available to other men literally the second we were done. I know you and your need for attention, but despite the fact I didn’t necessarily want to be in a relationship with you I was also uncomfortable with the thought of you being with someone else. Is that selfish? Possibly. Is it out of my control? Entirely. It makes no sense to me that I feel thus even though I no longer harbor romantic feelings for you. But there we are. The heart is a confusing, twisted bitch. I also confessed that I knew this wasn’t exactly a fair request, but it seemed reasonable enough since I was willing to make the same concession.

The following weekend we had two outings. We took C to the zoo and the Out of the Darkness walk. During both events you had your head buried in your phone and your fingers furiously flying over your keyboard. You ignored our son most of both days while you stared at your digital ball and chain and texted back and forth with Lord only knows who.

I’m not stupid, although unreasonable minds may differ. I knew what was going on. I knew there was some dude at the other end of your conversation. I confronted you about it. I was hurt. I was irate. I was done.

You have always been, and will likely always be, a horrible liar. You didn’t see anything wrong with having “conversations”. You told me you liked to hear that you are beautiful (I highly doubt you were in an intense conversation with your BFF in which she was telling you how beautiful you are). You told me not to worry and that you’d never bring some man home. You told me it wasn’t fair for me to expect you not to move on. You never once explicitly denied you were talking to another dude. All of those things allude to you either seeing, or trying to see, someone. Couple that with your past behavior and I’m now convinced you’re doing, or trying to do, the one thing I told you I wasn’t prepared for.

I stopped talking to you. You didn’t seem to care that what you were doing was hurting me. Your lack of compassion for my feelings and your refusal to be honest ignited an inferno within me. It got to the point that being in the same room with you burned my nerves. I was short with my children. My patience evaporated. I was agitated, irate, red in the face, and ready to lash out. But I didn’t. I also didn’t like feeling the way I felt. I desperately wanted to honor our agreement to stay roommates, but I was consumed by my rage.

Unsure how to quench my fury, I turned to a neglected friend: alcohol. Not the best choice I’ve ever made; not by a longshot. But I figured, correctly, that being drunk beat being pissed off at the world 10 different ways to Sunday. After about four straight days of that, however, I realized that this wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle for me. I had no desire to drink every day. I had no desire to live in a constant state of rage that could only be abated by spirits. I had no desire for my children to see me using bottles as an escape route from my misery. I had no desire to keep pretending in front of the children that I couldn’t fucking stand you or your fraudulent ways.

So, for the sake of my mental health, I asked you to leave.

And you did. No longer do I have to face you after a stressful day at work. No longer do I have to fake a smile for our son’s sake when we’re in the same room. No longer do I have to seethe as you try to talk to me as if nothing is wrong. No longer am I reaching for bottled demons just to escape a cage of anger. Just…no longer.

Yes, I’m angry with you. I’m also, however, angry with myself. I’m angry because, for the fifth time, I tried to fit a square peg in a round hole (or is it the other way around?). I’m angry for believing you when you said you’d changed. Again. I’m angry I let my desire for that which is unattainable make a choice that was unhealthy for me.

No, I didn’t discuss my anger with you. I tried and you refused to hear – really hear – what I had to say. You rationalized your actions and dismissed my feelings. That, dear, is why I’m angry. That is why we’ll likely never truly be friends. That is why I asked you to leave.

Every Day is Halloween

Every October 31st millions of us dress up in costumes, make-up, or masks and pretend to be someone or something else. Most of us think it’s fun to pretend to be something other than what we are. What are we saying about ourselves, I wonder, when we think it’s fun to not be ourselves?

The fact is, Halloween is a superfluous holiday. All of us wear masks every day. All of us pretend to be someone we’re not every day. All of us have parts of us we wish to hide.

I’m just as guilty of this as anyone. There are parts of me I don’t share with anyone. There are things I’ve done I want no one to discover. There are feelings and thoughts I have of which I’m ashamed. I try to be as true to myself as possible on a daily basis, but there are still parts of me I keep tucked away.

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I don’t like Halloween. I don’t like dressing up. In a society where most of us are already uncomfortable with truly being ourselves, I can’t stand a holiday that encourages us to be something we’re not.

Very recently someone I’ve known for almost a decade lied to me. Repeatedly. I don’t know if this person’s motivations were to spare my feelings or if this person knew they had done something morally questionable, but the fact remains that this person shielded the truth with a mask I know all too well after all this time.

And I’m tired of it. I’m tired of this game we all play with each other. I’m tired of deception. I’m tired of us pretending like none of us sin. I’m tired of us all wearing masks and costumes and being ashamed of who we are. Not a one of us is perfect. All of us have lapses in judgement. All of us make selfish decisions which hurt others. What makes it worse is not acknowledging those times and attempting to hide them behind cloaks of lies.

For years here beneath each post it has said “Always genuine.” I have always been truthful with what I’ve written here but I’ve not always told the entire story. There are feelings I’ve had which I’ve omitted because I’m too ashamed to admit I’ve had them. I’m guilty of shielding certain parts of myself, too, but at least I can say that I don’t make shit up to cover up the parts of me I don’t like.

I’m done with Halloween. And I’m done with people who continue to dress up for Halloween every day of the year. If we can’t respect a person enough to tell them the truth then we don’t respect them at all.

My Own Worst Enemy

I’ve never had the courage to do what’s right for me. When facing a decision, I always choose to make things easier for others even if it makes things harder for me. My current misfortune is a result of one of those choices.

It started with the best of intentions. It always does, though, doesn’t it?

I had a huge decision to make. I had just left the twins’ mother and I had to make a decision on the house we had bought together. Was I going to force her to sell or would I agree to let her stay there on the condition she refinance the house to remove my name from the loan?

When I thought about it I remembered all the times I moved as a child. I remembered all the new schools. The new faces. Never having friends because I never knew anyone. I remembered refusing to make new friends because I just knew we’d be moving. Again. I remembered all the pain. The anger. The tears.

And I knew. I knew I couldn’t do that to my children. I couldn’t make them change schools. I couldn’t make them move. So I agreed to let her remain in that house on the condition that she refinance the house.

It’s been all downhill ever since.

Not long after I left her, the twins’ mother decided to quit her full-time job to sell Mary Kay products. I cannot fathom what convinced her this was a good idea, but somehow she thought she was going to make a living doing this. Then she got in a car accident that fucked up her knee pretty good and completely sapped whatever income she may have been making. Consequently, the mortgage on “our” house didn’t get paid for almost an entire year. In turn, that fucked up both our credit reports and made it impossible for her to refinance the house.

I discovered “my” horrible credit when I attempted to buy a car. The salesman informed me that my request for financing had been denied because I had defaulted on my mortgage. I kindly informed him that I no longer lived there and that mortgage was no longer my responsibility, but the bank didn’t care about that and was telling all three credit reporting agencies that I was a dunce who didn’t pay my bills.

So I got a lawyer and took my ex back to court. Sadly, the only thing I got out of that was a court order saying that I was not legally obliged to pay any moneys on that loan. The option to force her to sell the home was not viable because she had trashed the house, and it was no longer worth what was owed on it. The judge was also not legally able to order the bank to remove my name from the loan.

So I was stuck.

About a year later, my new bride decided to declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy because she brought almost $25,000 worth of credit card debt into our marriage (yes, that was a red flag I shouldn’t have ignored). I decided to file with her to have the house removed from my credit. That was the only way I could conceive to have a chance to repair my credit.

During 2008, 2009, and 2010, we owed the state of Kentucky taxes at the end of each year because Superbitch’s employer refused to withhold Kentucky state taxes from her paychecks (she worked in Ohio at the time). After consulting with our bankruptcy lawyer, she told us that we could addend the case to add the money we owed the state. We simply needed to pay the court costs for doing so. We eventually forked over the $150 court fees for doing so.

Last night I came home to find a collection letter from the state of Kentucky chilling in my mailbox. In it, the letter says that our bankruptcy case has been closed and the stay lifted, and that now we have to not only pay back-taxes, but fees and interest, too. They want almost $2250 from my empty fucking wallet.

The stay lifted? What fucking stay?

I immediately emailed my bankruptcy lawyer and asked her, “What the fuck?” Her response was, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Sorry, can’t help ya. Work out a payment plan or something.”

What. The. Fuck. Thanks for nothing, bitch.

All of this, years of financial torment, because of one fucking decision. One that, knowing what I know now, I’m not sure I’d make again.

Frankly, right now I just want to run away. I just want to hide. I am so fucking tired of shit going wrong. I am tired, just so fucking tired. With all the thousands upon millions of people fighting their way into this country illegally, all I want to do is get out of it.

But I can’t run away. I won’t run away. My children are depending on me. They need me.

So I’ve got to man up and somehow find my way through this and ditch the urge to run.

They say that you should make lemonade when life hands you lemons, but what if the lemons that life hands you are rotten?


This has been a

Finish the Sentence Friday

Post, where writers come together

and post endings to the current sentence.

This week’s is “I’ve never had the courage to…”