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Marriage

Marriage does not involve the commitment to have sex with one person for the rest of one’s life. It involves the commitment to refrain from having sex with anyone but that person for the rest of one’s life…or until we get tired of each other.

Red Bird

Have you ever ended an animate life? I suppose nearly all of us have at some point or another. We must appear as gods to small insects. And it is often very easy to end such a small life, be it by accident or intent. I recall an experience from my childhood that changed my perspective of killing in a profound way. That day, I had spent some time walking around my back yard in search of a bird to shoot with my Red Ryder BB gun. After a few frustrating attempts, I decided to post up on the trampoline. The trampoline had a clear shot of my mother’s birdfeeder. After a minute or so of laying there, the feeder in my sites, a red bird entered my focus. I thought, “This is much easier than following them around the yard.” I aimed carefully as to not damage my mother’s birdfeeder. I pulled the trigger and a BB went right through the red bird’s head. It was a perfect shot. I felt adrenaline rush over me. It felt dirty, but tingly. I could feel it in my chest and face. The bird’s weight overcame his now limp grip on the feeder. He rotated backward and fell from his perch. I was so proud. The scene of the bird’s fall played over several times in my mind’s eye as I shared my excitement with my mother. She explained her displeasure with my actions in a very calm manner and asked that I not shoot birds from her birdfeeder anymore. I agreed. Later that evening, the scene continued to play in my mind. I watched life leave the red bird as he feel backward. Over and over, I replayed it. I then began to cry. I sought out my mother and apologized. She comforted me and expressed the perspective that such an act was not in my nature.
You wake to the sound of a loud thump from the front part of the house. The clock reads “2:41”. As a parent and devoted spouse, you feel the obligation to investigate. Do you reach under the bed to retrieve your pistol? If you do, you may be walking around your house with a loaded gun for no reason. If you don’t you might not have the ability to defend yourself against any intruder that might have been the cause for the loud noise. You take the gun and check on your six-year-old daughter. She is still in bed, asleep. You feel relieved she is not hurt, but a furthered sense of anxiety as she was likely not the cause of the noise. Your bare feet gather dust as you step deliberately, slowly making your way down the hall, toward the living area. You grasp your pistol tightly in your right hand and provide support with you left. You hold the gun so the nose is pointed down and away as you walk. As you near the end of the hallway, a figure enters your line of sight. It is no one you know. When do you shoot? Do you talk to him/her first? Do you ask about his or her intent? What if you do and he/she begins moving toward you? How big would he or she have to be before he or she poses a big enough threat to shoot? What if he or she has a weapon? Many would say the life of the child outweighs the life of the intruder. As you have no knowledge of the intruder’s intent, you are justified to shoot first and ask questions when the police arrive. Let’s replace the six-year-old girl with an elderly man. He has lived his life and likely has little more to contribute to society. The value of his life would seem less than the life of the intruder if said intruder were to live a long productive life. Still, to quote Star Trek’s Spock, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” By this logic, we three innocents have greater need than the one intruder. Then again, what if this person were to go on to find a cure for cancer? The needs of the many, in this case, would be reliant upon this one person’s living to the date on which he discovers a cure cancer. How could you know who this person is or what potential he holds? Then again, with unseeable variables, it would seem logical to form the best conclusion possible with variables available. Three is more than one, so the lives of the three outweigh the one. At the same time, the greatest unforeseeable variable in this case is the intruder’s intentions. One’s life is certainly not as valuable as another’s belongings.
What if you are alone in the house? You wake up to a loud thump echoing in the empty hall. You grab your gun and make your way to the front part of the house. The intruder sees you as you near the end of the hall and threatens your existence with his/her weapon. Legally, you have every right to end his or her life. Suppose the intruder has a family. He/she has a six-year-old daughter who is reliant upon him or her for survival. You, on the other hand, have no one depending on you. By the logic we presented earlier, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”, we can conclude your life is less valuable than his/hers. Unfortunately, the understanding of all variables in such a situation would seem rarely fully understood.
I felt remorse over ending the life of a bird. I cannot imagine how the ending of another person’s life might feel. That person is someone’s child. That person may be someone’s sibling or parent. It doesn’t mater what mistake the person is engaging in at this moment, the person could go on to affect other’s lives in a positive way. In a society, we are all connected in some way. My actions affect your actions, which affect his actions, which affect her actions. The butterfly effect theory poses the idea that small actions can result in significant alterations to a system. This is often illustrated by the idea that a butterfly could flap its wings on one side of the world and cause a tsunami on the other. Because we all inhabit the same system, our planet, we may all affect each other in significant ways without realizing we are doing so.
History shows us that one person can change the world. One person may birth an idea that starts a revolution. Any human’s potential to do good is enormous. Even if this person will not affect the world positively on a global scale, who am I to value my life over a life that may mean more to someone else? Since having a brain tumor removed in 2004, I feel as though I am living on borrowed time. I do not suspect my life was spared so that I may end another. Perhaps others do not feel this obligation. Still, it is unfortunate that these kinds of judgment calls are often made in the middle of the night, by scared, illogical people. I am not anti-guns or anti-home-security. To be anti-anything draws a line in the sand and works only in absolutes. If I am anti-something and you are not, we are at odds from the start. If I express a perspective and you do not close your ears to it because you hear something you disagree with, we can discuss the topic until we reach a compromising conclusion or resort to recognizing we simply disagree. In the end, I would encourage consideration of all apparent variables before engaging in an act that might change the world in a significant way. Stop tsunamis! Death to all butterflies!

Dracamup

U: Are you a Democrat or Republican?
I: No.
U: It’s OK if you’re a Democrat.
I: I’m neither. I don’t like labels like Democrat or Republican. Saying I am one applies the ideas associated with the perspective to myself. I have my own Ideas.
U: You have to lean one way or the other. Are you Christian?
I: No.
U: You’re Athiest then?
I: No. I’m not anything.
U: Do you believe in God?
I: Yes.
U: What God?
I: What do you mean?
U: Do you believe in the Christian God or the Muslim God or another God?
I: No.
U: You’re Agnostic then.
I: I’m not Agnostic.
U: Then what are you?
I: Sigh… I’m a Dracamup.
U: I’ve never heard of that.
I: I’m a Democratic-Republican-Athiest-Christian-Agnostic-Muslim with Unique ideas and a Perspective that has no label.
U: It sounds like you’re confused.
I: Sigh…

Dear child 143

Dear child 143,

I’m sorry I won’t be your mentor anymore. We had a lot of fun, but there was still so much more to do. These are just a few things I want you to know:
You are not perfect. You never will be. No one is or ever will be perfect.

You will have troubles. Everyone does. Most of the time these troubles are not your fault.

You can get angry about your troubles or accept troubles as a challenge. Accepting them as a challenge is way more fun.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’ve been too hard on myself most of my life and know how it hurts.

Forgive others. There may come a time when you desire their forgiveness.

You are capable of more than you realize. Do your best. That’s all anyone can ask.

Thank you for allowing me to get to know you.

Sincerely,
Mr. Phil

Discipline

I’ve said before I am afraid of becoming my father. I respect my father more than he seems to understand. At the same time, he seems fairly unhappy. His attitude when things get difficult, in recent years, would seem to have been reminiscent of the tattoo the “big” Lebowski suggested “the dude” get on his forehead: “Fuck It”. I recall expressing the perspective that he was being condescending to me. He then intentionally condescended and left. He no longer returns my phone calls or emails, but this is the case when it comes to his other two children, from what I understand. He has completely disconnected from my mother and his children. Perhaps this is because Mom recently remarried. His actions seem almost like that of a child’s: “Fine. If you don’t like me the way I am then I wont make you deal with me anymore.” Or maybe his words say it better: “Your mom tried to change me (then quoting Freebird) ‘and this bird you cannot change.'”

I have had some trouble training our newest member of the family. Dumascus is a huge dog. But he is still growing. He has the energy of a puppy and has to be kept inside most of the day as he has developed the habit of barking loudly pretty much anytime he is outside. I’ve tried bark collars and a skwert gun as forms of punishment in hopes that this would curb these undesirable behaviors. I’ve also tried positive reinforcement, giving him treats when he is receptive to my direction. Neither of these methods have seemed to yield any desirable result. I began popping him on the nose when he engaged in undesirable behaviors. This caused him to bat playfully at the hand that slapped him and attempt to engage me in play. So I began hitting him harder. He then knew that I wasn’t playing, but did he learn anything? We’ve gotten to the point where he knowingly engages in bad behavior and then cowers from me when he knows he is caught.

I saw myself in him the last time he cowered from me. I was my father. My father only really hit me once in my life. I had been rebellious and his efforts to discipline me had yielded little result. When I took his car when I was fifteen, the next logical step in discipline was the same form of discipline his father showed him regularly. I don’t know if my ribs were cracked or bruised as I didn’t make it to the doctor for the problem, but it hurt to breath for weeks. My father would explain years later that his actions were his way of telling me not to grow up so fast.

I had taken my father’s car. I knew I was wrong. At the same time, my dog proves he knows he has been bad when he cowers from me without any evidence I am going to hurt him. It is so hard just to think of hurting anyone or anything. I should’ve died back in 2004, but didn’t. If I am here for a reason, it is not to cause pain. My greatest struggle in this life has been coming to terms with my own actions. I will make every effort not to give myself something else to regret.

Screaming through cradle doors.
Fighting our personal wars.
We are the generation they say should not be.
We are the products of what we see on TV.
A propped up smile or a poorly formed fist.
I’d have broken my thumb if I hadn’t missed.
Mom holds me close while I swing at her.
And still I can’t say what is the matter.
I am the product of what they watched on TV.
They wanted each other and instead, got me.
I am the reason he will leave you too.
I am a mirror of you.
Staring straight as their words fly by.
Reaching for a phantom in the sky.
Mommy, come save me.
Mommy, come save me.
Pacifier will not return soon
to coddle her emotional wound.
Child, stop picking.
Child, stop picking.

Some Glad Morning

“Some glad morning when this life is over, I’ll fly away…” I’ve sang this song to myself often in recent history. It reminds me that this life is temporary. It also helps fight any doubt of an after life. Nothing is really certain about life after death. We may have heard another say or even said ourselves that we “know” there is a god and an after life, but even the most spiritual people doubt at times.

There was a period after my experience with cancer that I was tempted daily with the thought of ending my life. The physical and emotional pain I was experiencing was too much for me to want to deal with. The choice seemed rather simple: this world of pain or an after life with none. Something always stopped me from fulfilling these desires to leave this world. I believed I had a purpose. I can’t imagine meeting my creator and telling him, her, or it, “I know you had a plan for me and spared my life when I had developed a brain tumor, but I don’t want the life you gave me and you can have it back.” I also suspected this action would induce great pain in my loved ones. I’ve heard it said that a mother dies with her child when he or she kills him or herself. I didn’t want to leave my loved ones in this imperfect world without me. I suspected I was a burden to them, considering I was living with my mother, I had no form of income, and my recent bout with cancer left bills piling up.

Then my mother said something that might have saved my life. I was angered by it at the time, but it gave me sense of duty. She said that she needed to see me happy and feeling better and that I owed her this. I thought, “I owe you? I can’t pay that debt.” I gained strength from this thought. I slowly built the ability to pay my mother back. I slept less and eventually found work. I struggled with depression regularly, but kept my mother’s challenge and my debt to God in mind. My life wasn’t mine anymore. Then it clicked. It never was mine. My loved ones need to see me happy. They need me to survive to be a confidant in this less than perfect world. I know what it is like to loose someone. I know what it is like to have a loved one decide he doesn’t want to share this world with you anymore. I have witnessed the great pain an action like this causes. I won’t do that to my people.

To anyone out there who feels like they are done with this world: You owe me. You can’t leave if I have to stay here and I’m not going anywhere.

Paper Basket

My eyes and ears breath in poison particles which are pushed to my shoulders where they are converted into little metal spheres.
The process burns but the particles cannot be moved until this is done.
The spheres roll down my shoulder blades and into a spiral slide that winds down my spinal cord.
The sphere glow with red heat as they wind around the spinal cord with effortless speed.
At the end of the slide, the small spheres are dropped into a paper basket that hangs by a string from the center of my chest.
The addition of each metal sphere adds painful weight to the basket which pulls on my chest.
Did she break a promise today?
One more bearing down the slide and into the basket.
Will the basket hold the weight it is given?
Each bearing ads a little more strain to the structure.
Do I let it break and cling to a nonfunctional system or do I cut the string and build a new basket?
The paper basket isn’t mine to throw away and the string has become increasingly short over the years.
Then again, if the basket holds and the string doesn’t, I may lose the whole thing.
I’ll keep adding these little spheres to an already stressed basket and pray we built it strong enough to bare the burden it is under.

My Blog

So here I join the pretentious ranks of bloggers, believing my perspective to be one others would be interested in. Well, let’s just hope others believe this to be true. I made Letters From Limbo available on the 19th and have the greatest hopes that my creation, this labor of love that took me 5 years to complete, will affect others in a positive way. It has been said that one idea can change the world. When we consider the fact that we are all connected, that we all define our worlds in large part according to our interactions, the idea that an idea can change the world would seem indisputable. Then again, perhaps my goal isn’t to change the world, but simply as Robert Norton’s character in Death to Smoochy said, to “make a dent”. Life is too short for our differences to divide us. The idea that life is short has held new meaning for me since I had a cancerous tumor removed from my brain in 2004. I’ve been told cancer has had a tendency to reoccur in cancer patients. This knowledge has caused me to attempt to live every day as if it were my last. Still, the debt this world casts upon us is apparent. I will go to work today because I have learned that no work means no money means no food means…