Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Great Escape






The boy and I went to the Farmers Market last night, walked around and bought tri-tip sandwiches and corn dogs. Sat on the grass and listened to the band play some easy live music, played on the swings and in the bigger kid's playground. Mom met us for a bit and the boy's spirits were lifted by it.

I find myself asking, What next? more and more. There is the immediate plan to just have adventures, but I have never been very good at planning for the distant future. I'm lucky to be able to successfully pull off something over a weekend. I do better when I have more money, but that never lasts. For me to live a life reasonably free from financial concern I would need to make approximately four times as much as I do now. Ping me on LinkedIn if you have any secrets to such a thing.

Ping me. Jesus, what have I become...


Well, no time to solve the world's ailments today. I was going to spend a bunch of time on Facebook being white, you know, criticizing football players for not saluting off-duty stadium cops. 

The Libertarians have stepped out of their way to support Kaepernick's freedom to not stand for the national anthem, but they sure have spent a lot of time criticizing it. Not as much time spent understanding his reasons, only pointing out that he is wrong, wrong, wrong....


One time, many years ago, I was at a baseball game in Yankee stadium. It was the first July 4th after Sept. 11th, 2001. My friends and I got pretty liquored up on whiskey before the game, just as we sat in our hundred dollar seats waiting for the sports to happen. 

Now, there is still no consensus as to precisely what happened next, but the gist of it was that I nearly made my friend shit herself because I criticized her dramatic delaying of standing up for the national anthem. She claims that she was simply pulling herself together to do so, and she is a notorious procrastinator. She ended up not pooping her pants, but that didn't help anything.

In any event, a whiskey argument ensued, she left the game quite upset. 

Afterwards, for a few weeks, as I replayed the episode in my mind, I was repulsed by the unchecked nationalism that I exhibited. I buffered my behavior in all sorts of qualifiers - Yankee Stadium, July 4th, Sept. 11th - but nothing worked. I realized that I was a boorish twat, and didn't believe any of the dogma or protocol that I was advancing, for reasons that I could neither embrace nor internalize. 

None. It was the behavioral equivalent of doctrine, a retreat from thought rather than a willingness to engage. Oh well, I never apologized, or updated my official stance on this specific brand of stupidity. I will reconsider standing for the national anthem. though. When you think of groups of people standing together in the presumed sanctity of honoring their nation then some good questions do arise from it, though none that I wish to answer for anybody else. It is silly nationalism, that one should show standing reverence to a flag. I sit with Kaepernick on this one. 


Though...


Nothing matters. A friend's father passed away last night. After 60 years of marriage, his wife having passed away about a year ago, he retired his will to live - stopped eating, weakened himself in such a way that all knew what was coming next. 

I'd stand to that, and put my hand on my heart to honor that. Anywhere, anytime. It all ends. The most beautiful and complete versions of life and love vanish before us. It is a must, to become what love is then it must also pass. 

It is all absurd without end. Or rather, it is all absurd with end. 






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Monday, August 29, 2016

... see who sleeps






This day arrives, the crest of another week passes in foam. 


Some people are at Burning Man. I want to go, build an art-nest to traditional gender roles, with decorative chicks, to see what sort of weirdos I can drum up out of the dust, if just. I have yet to empty my actual car from the past weekend of camping. Am waiting for a next girlfriend to help me. It is but one of the many arts of manhood. 

Seem capable, needed.

Before it is over, some woman will wish to have my baby, again. 

I'd do it. I have achieved the wisdom of a pubescent. 


I sit now, looking at the imaginary section of days that sit between myself and my next weekend. I understand what it might take to move past this, if only by rote acceptance. Once those days are gone, then they are gone. The ones yet arrived have not yet; they are as gone in distance as all else, disappearing when you place much weight upon them. The future works inversely. The moment is the thing there is. No way to go back and enjoy time, much less the feeling of joy that left its shiny residue there upon the surface. If you think that you wish to enjoy the future then spend your present preparing to make good memories. 

Yet so few fall in love with a song upon its hearing. 

The importantest parts of life tickle the see-saw of time. We tell ourselves anythings, all times. Seconds becomes precious, they unfurl within us as minutes, or as ever, or less than else. 

I don't know. How would I?

Life was dense with opportunity and joy. That might well be how life tricks an object into noticing itself - dim the lights a bit, see who squints, see who cares... see who sleeps.



For those that had siblings, they will often do this infuriating thing to one another: mimic and repeat everything said by the other in mocking childhood tones. It becomes maddening, and yet true to itself. It is a truth which no one should be expected to suffer: the reminding of one's self in another. 

It's why love fails, unless you married the wrong person, then it's just their fault. 


Inevitably, one child will appeal to either or both parents to have the other stop. The imitator must also appeal to have it stopped, giggling as they go, imploring in exaggerated tones the request that would end the torture for one of them. What value would there be in such a thing, at all, if only to give up at such a moment that their echoing efforts are finally being recognized. The moment of triumph!

A real rebel will start to imitate Dad, as that statue lays down the new law. 

There is no better defense to dogma than its immediate proliferation. Only the severest of families can resist the temptation of laughter when dad seems like anybody else in the car. 

Hopefully, Dad feels the same. 


It is occurring to me slowly now, that parenting is little more than this game writ large, stretched out over a generational difference or two. The boy imitates everything that I do, everything that I say, sooner or later. It's maddening in its own way because I am imperfect, and no highest form of flattery will change that. I'll pretend to be hurt when he finds other heroes to imitate. Who knows, maybe I will be hurt by it, or maybe I'll remember this moment, and offer my vanity to the prevailing winds of his interests. 

Anybody with a liquid dose of self-honesty should find some relief in not having a template made from their own behavior, formed deep within the daily behavior of another, that of a child. 

I don't know. I don't know. 

I'm trying subtly to reverse the process, often look to the boy for behavioral clues, have had some success there. He seems happier than me, so why not. Why not? Why shouldn't I be more like him, than him like me. I could use a new hero, too.

I don't know how other people do it, or what they think and feel about such things. I'm tempted to start filling the boy's head with daydreams about Christ's eternal sacrifice, perhaps just to insulate him against any future nonsense in that regard. I promise here and now that I will never tell him about U2. What more is required of a good parent of my age? 


Things can go terribly wrong, as when a parent catches their kid smoking and makes them smoke several, or a whole pack. U2 can't help with that, because they are retarded, and their growth was stunted by success. They are midget Christians. It's awful, but they are doing what they can in their little midget hearts, in Africa, or somewhere else, wherever they are, or will be midgets next. 


To force poison upon a child was the mythical wisdom in the 70s and even the early 80s, at least among the families in suburban Orlando. Now, that would rightfully be called abuse, but you know... things change. It's why The Human League are no more. Kids don't have to listen to U2, now, unless they are victims of Apple stuffing. We were all victims when the field was wide open for making the heinous claims of the effect of others. Victims are the largest and fastest moving demographic, and they are making new ones every quarter.... Thanks, Jobs!

The person telling the apocryphal tale of having to smoke a carton would sometimes be doing so across the fumes of the cigarette that they were smoking,  


I try not to picture my boy with tattoos, body piercings, smoking cigarettes, herpes, simplexes, or worse. But, I look at the young kids in this area and I accept that he will likely appear as they do to me now, once they become his new reference point for coolness, the new standard by which he will gauge himself, if all of my reading recommendations have failed. I give it another handful of years before he'll be wearing rock t-shirts of some sort, locking his bedroom door and not wanting to sit down and talk with me, embarrassed when I discuss pop culture with his friends. 

The cliche exhale when I even ask him to come to dinner, his favorite food of the time, the one that I made him. 

Beleaguered Consumering. 


It seems inconceivable to me now, but so do many things. My 40s were a lifelong myth I gleefully trusted would never arrive, not realizing I had consumed them before they had their chance. 

Whatever time I am scraping off of the walls of the dungeon now are those of my 50s. 

Arthur Miller's Afetr-birth of a Solicitation. 



Such forward slippage of time - a sense of many motions falling, the woozy feeling that something implacable is shifting far underneath, some thing propelling things forward, predictable by pattern, increasing in scope, ushering time and self along with it. To see fractals unfurl within you renders all things part of something else, useless. 

Thoughtful people tried to tell me about it when I was younger. I listened, but didn't quite know what to do about it. Old people are disgustingly disappearing. Why would they vanish otherwise? Age is awful, but death is the reminder of how disgusting is the effort that keeps us all alive. Just watch an old person eat. I would turn against them if there were any left. 


Ah well, ah fuck, ah this, or that, next.



Every now and then I wish to sit quietly, to endure the moment of peace to be had from within, though not for long. I note the occasional breath amidst the mist, to avoid the seasickness of time. 

Mostly, though, I want life to move faster than it is, find myself bored with the collection of diversions that created me, that I will soon be stuck with, as objects of love to pass on; to this with, that with.


I've smoked the whole pack now, still stand, wisps of sinuous smoke rising around a group of dubious non-believers, generously exhaling the poison that I had also been warned of. As if time were frozen and wanted nothing more than me not melting.



These are just opinions - the elongated world of social media has encouraged me to detest the opinions of others - factless, baseless, ubiquitous, insisted upon, then against, full of self, or the emptying of nuanced charm of mind.







A favorite thing to claim, and oftenest will: you must have misunderstood...

It happens. 
If only fact. 

Deflating a well placed misunderstanding. 
Details diminish life, as scurry, 
with promises better
or, best unhurried.















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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Del Valle






Camping for the weekend. There was a lake in the hills on the East Bay, Del Valle. It was all pleasant. I felt nearly normal. I was given a free glimpse of what normalcy must be like, for others. If it had been a three day weekend then I would have cracked, Im sure of it. Some stream of heinous images or thoughts would have found the route out of my mind, through my mouth, then to the ears of an unsuspecting innocent. 

We went with work-friends, though we were able to treat each as being somewhere beyond functional acquaintances. It was pleasant and warm. I mean, we got along well, were loosened up enough with each other to drink and make jokes and play Cards Against Humanity. 

We stayed up past midnight, laughing into the temporary darkness. I played John Scofield and Django Reinhardt albums. We built a campfire and maintained it. The cracking and popping of the wood punctuating the claims of victory and feigned disappointment that made the game what it was.




We hiked a portion of a lake, tested the water temperature here and there. There has been toxic algae in some of the lakes in the region. We swam in an area that had been roped off for swimming. The sailboats and others drifted or motored by. The far shore being only a few hundred yards across, where water met rolling hill upon rolling hill. 

After the sun had gone a generous population of stars appeared above us. We identified the constellations using an app, standing in awe of the heavens and our relationship to them.




The unleashed dogs enjoyed walking along the shoreline path as a group to be herded. 

They would run forward and inspect whatever there was, returning back with what they had found, which appeared only to be the happiness of being. 








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Friday, August 26, 2016

Some Velvet Morning





The world of sadomasochism became too weird for me. I had to ask to be unstrapped, then limped away with the only remaining pride I could muster after the many ordeals that I had been through. 

Speaking of, I had the strangest of experiences a few mornings ago. It was, as far as I know, unrelated to sadomasochism, unless that dark joy was occurring in some subconscious nocturnal capacity. 

Here is what happened: I woke up naked as is my custom and needing to use the bathroom where I found fresh blood on the front of my left leg. I looked, but I couldn't find the source. My hands were dry and there was no visible wound. I was the only creature in the bed at the time. I ruled out misadventure, for the moment. I used the bathroom then cleaned the blood off of my leg. That's when I saw the damage. There was a patch of skin seemingly missing from my scrotum and a reservoir of blood there on the surface. I gingerly treated it with the gentlest of nurse hands. It wasn't too severe, but it was a complete mystery, that somehow in my sleep I was able to damage myself in this way and not be aware of it. I looked at my fingernails to see if maybe I had scratched myself into injury. The nails were trimmed and showed no signs of having been used in this vicious attack. In addition to there being no weapon, neither was I able to establish motive.

I make a lot of jokes on this blog, but this is all true. I woke up with a bleeding ballsack and no idea how it possibly could have happened. Of the many odd experiences in my life this was a significant one. The mind needs to understand how a thing like this could happen. You know... an ounce of prevention and all of that, something about the cure. 


It turns out the scrotum bleeds quite a lot once the surface of the skin has been breached. I have long noticed and pondered the network of arteries and veins found there, believing them to be a map to some hidden pirate treasure, though I have been careless in preserving it until the time was right, and some distances might not remain to scale. 

I had to cut and shave away hair to try to get a bandage on it, which only exacerbated the bleeding, as the skin there stretches and necessarily must to be shaved properly, and also for the bandage to adhere to something other than hair. 

It didn't look right to just shave that one spot, so now the entire oblong spherical regions had to be sheared. That looked even more ridiculous, to have bald balls but also the tuft of reasonably normal kinked pubic hair above them surrounding the other part. The column, if you will. So, everything had to go. Before I knew it I was deeply committed to an entire pre-op process of cleaning and preparing the area for surgery. This mishap was becoming a kind of unexpected fun. In my very early morning pre-coffee haze I documented the entire process with the art of photography and through the use of bathroom mirrors. 

This is when things started to get weird. After I was done removing the hair that only seemed to confuse the purpose of the region, making it seem more chaotic and unpredictable than it actually is, the wound that had been bleeding was no longer there, or it had healed in a tremendous way. Like, Hollywood fast. I'm not kidding. There was a spot there, but it already seemed to have healed, when only fifteen minutes before it was bleeding enough to leave fresh bloody residue on my leg. There were emergency room considerations being made. Not having an explanation has kept me out of the emergency room in the past, but bleeding balls are something that need attending to, expository or not. 

The explanation that started to form was that the blood on my leg had come from elsewhere and had only left some residue on one of my balls, the left one. Having no pubic hair made that fact become more clear, but only added to the mystery.  I looked everywhere. I mean, everywhere, and could not find any spot on my body that might have left that much blood. I diagnosed varicoceles, though if you stare at those veins looking for that then they might appear as such to the layman. I knew the power of the mind when it comes to this sort of examination. There was still an area where blood might have emerged from on my nut, but it made no sense that it had bled so much and then healed so quickly. It was like the miraculous nut of Christ. I wanted to take it to the Vatican to have it confirmed as a miracle. 

I was going to put some sort of bandage on it, but it didn't require that any longer. Most people are like me I suppose and would like to believe that their testes have supernatural recuperative powers, so I started to pull at it, to verify. That was all that was needed to confirm I had definitely found the correct spot. The wound - tugging on it greatly angered my circulatory system. It was as if a cauterized artery had re-opened during a battlefield amputation. A fresh spring of blood red river emerged. I could have counted off my heart rate if I would have had a watch on me and been willing to let the pulses run for 60 seconds. 

If there is ever any question concerning the relationship between the heart and the testes then I encourage you to replicate this experiment. They are connected in the directest of ways, such that only an open wound can demonstrate. The nervous system was in there working also, because my mind was sending me a biblical flood of messages.

Those messages sounded like this: Oh Jesus, fuck, fuck!!!

I patted at it with a series of toilet paper and wet wipes, trying to cap the wellhead, slowing the flow to a near halt. Clearly, this temperamental Venus-like wound was in no mood to be tested. I surmised that the injury might be menstrual in nature. I kicked myself for not having a virgin to throw into a volcano, to appease the gods of bleeding balls. I wrapped the region in bandage and tape, briefly considered a tourniquet, but then put on a pair of shorts that I said one last goodbye to and went back to bed.

When I awoke a second time the only real issue was removing the post-op dressing. Well that, and the horror one feels at taking off the bandages after a self-performed operation of this kind. I was terrified that maybe none of my business would remain, that somehow in my efforts to fix the thing I had accidentally removed it, or replaced it with some cadaver's Frankencock. Who knows. My life has taken a turn for the weird.

Rest easy, ball fans, all was as it should be, or as close to "as things should be" that somehow still involve me. I would have posted a picture to accompany this post, but my better instincts told me that would be too demonstrative, also there is patient confidentiality to consider.








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Monday, August 22, 2016

FOMO






If you are anything like me, after six and half years of writing personal essays on a daily site then you might lose your mind a bit, also. I've reached that point in self-therapy where I'm not quite sure where to go next. There is no apparent cure for what afflicts me. Talking it out only seems to encourage it;  patient self-consciousness in no way resolves it; reckless submission feeds the thing that feeds the thing. 

I should have decided to go to Burning Man, if only to give myself a break from radical self-expression.

I received a series of rapid texts from a friend over the weekend. She had found a ticket and was making her plans, wanted to know what mine were. Mine, unfortunately, included not going. There comes a tipping point in the number of friends that do go in which you start to feel as if you're missing out, that you might regret not going, that you likely will. The ticket and car pass that I passed on are out there haunting me somewhere, in the wrong person's hands. 

In my lustier days I might have went on to discuss the chopping off of the hands of thieves and the difficulties that behavior represents for radical future self-pleasuring, but that angry desert sultan-prince is no more. I am Aladdin-esque now in my middling years, floating on magic carpets, though blonde with blue eyes, like Lawrence but with neither the masochism nor the sadism. 

Well, a little desert breath of each, nothing more. Hopefully just enough to be fun and consensual, not the type that results in the warranting of any formal charges, or inquests. 

I am trying to answer your questions... I never remember him actually touching me, skin on skin, but the leather that he was cloaked in did come in very harsh contact with the skin of my bottom repeatedly, as he was spanking me. The whole thing was glowing pink, the flesh had become very tender to the touch. I couldn't always see his eyes, but that was because of the full leather unicorn dildo mask and body suit he had on, as I mentioned. His speech was impeded, mostly because the red ball that was where his mouth would have been. It prohibited him from forming complete sentences, which was fine by me. He just kept huffing some canister of medicine that he said was for his asthmatic palpitations. He called it "Blue Velvet," though I do not believe that was the brand name. It looked as if it may have been one of those medicines that comes across the border from Canada or Mexico.  

Ok, stop. Enough. 

Mild, playful sexual torture is a lot of fun, as hopefully everybody knows by now, but I should let it go. I've lost some weight, so my old full-leather body suit sags around the midsection and makes me seem comical when viewed outside the strict context of sadomasochism. 

The image of me walking around at Burning Man in the heat of the day dressed in a poorly fitting full leather gimp outfit, handlebars where my ears would be, unicorn dildo hanging in the heat, draped over one zippered eyehole. It's just too much for this morning. I might have benefitted from a few decades less of hard psychedelic drugs. It leaves a series of crevices in the mind where none had been before. 

I can nearly see myself now, wandering in the noonday sun, offering peppermint Tic-Tacs to anyone that will approach, seeing if I can convince any "fellow burners" to drop one in my mouth. That is, if they can work it past the tightly strapped red plastic ball there. I would smile with my eyes, of course, and try to explain using only the motion of my tongue that the many mouthfuls of dust are simply torture on one's breath

I would be known by my playa-name: Gypsophila


Ah well, I suppose that I could just commit to not writing here for a while, though I don't believe that will help the problem. You see, my situation is desperate enough that when I ignore attending to its needs then it only grows in strength. It lurks in the shadows of crevices, waiting to pounce. Then, ashamed when it does, like a roid-rage without the roids or the rage, just a tremendous amount of sexual frenzy followed by waves of soul-smashing guilt.

Maybe I should get into steroids and growth hormones. At 47 that seems sensible and timely. What further evidence is required to complete my mid-life watershed years. I could make that quantum leap into fitness where my body begins to swell up around me like a balloon made of misshapen penises, veins bulging across the surface of the voluntary spasming of the muscle, twitching with glandular discharge. 

If I had not already named my post FOMO then "voluntary spasming" would have won. 

Ok, this exercise is pointless. Any one of my ex-friends has heard or said most all of this before, in a previously versioned telling.  


I will return tomorrow with an attempt at beauty as a compensatory act, perhaps the image of a singular flower as it bends towards what would otherwise be sky. A lily, an orchid, or an iris - an impossible series of delicate depictions meant maybe to suggest the fragility of impermanence and loss; substituting sensuality with what some might see as vulgarity; juxtaposed with a comically exhausted sense of fatalism.





Okay, I swear this: I was going to wrap this verbal train wreck up with that last paragraph, but then I received an email stating that someone recently mentioned me on the failed media platform Ello (I never bothered destroying all of the evidence that I even joined). When I clicked on the email to open it the below image is what I was presented with. I swear it as fact, a mere glimmer of truth mixed in with all that exists above.  


The world is just as weird as you invite it into being.


She seems like my kinda' girl, though she might have thought to make him take the pictures... I'll make sure to tell her when we chat. 






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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Tense Shifts





I made it up the mountain. It was as I knew it would be: painful. I was quite wrong though in my assessment of the neighborhood and the quality of the houses in the neighborhood. When I had visited in the car with the boy I took a few mental snapshots of some houses that stood out as being uncared for, though they are very much in the minority there, that all became clearer once I was cycling freely through these Elysian fields.


As for the uncared for houses...

There was one in particular that seemed to serve as a gated junkyard for old hotrods. The estate looked as if it had been dropped in California from a southern plantation. Easter egg yellow and off white being the one-time color pattern, though the columns were all wrong and the untrimmed bushes did nothing to help. The entire structure was in need of pressure washing, coffee, and a good talking to.

What remained of the lawn had not been preserved in a way that could be considered "cared for" in some time, years perhaps. There were cars in various states of repair and otherwise across the front, also lined along the driveway, perhaps to indicate their present functionality as vehicles. They each looked like they were owned by some failed ex-rock drummer. There was a Bonham-esque sense of abandonment to the place, as if interests in life appeared fully formed though with a mitigated longevity. Some of the cars were orphaned in space and time. Grass growing up from the sides where mowing is just beyond an option. Their state was the result of dedicated inactivity rather than it opposite. The phrase "death by vomit" kept insisting upon itself as I rode by, the entire place a visual hangover.

There were other houses that were not far off, cables hanging across windows without blinds, where somebody successfully installed the internet by themselves, splicing the old coaxial wire and running a new shorter one to a different wall, leaving their victory hanging across the path between the two locations rather than bothering to correct for it, as if MacGyver had once tried to save it from collapse. The front yard, looking like a tool shed had been dragged around the house a few times by a team of local horses. All parts left out to be bleached by the sun, some of them now partly sunken into the earth. A garage sale abandoned by time. I had the impulse to check and make sure that the house was sleeping on its side. 


--------------------


Yesterday, the boy and I trekked into the city to meet an old friend, one who had the temerity to question my memory of our first meeting in 1975's Altamonte Springs, FLA. It was precisely as I remembered it, where facts fade within the amorphous mists of life remembered.

My telling of the story correctly presages his entering of medical school. He claims to have no prior knowledge of what his academic pursuits would become, or none at the age of seven. I insist that my version of the truth is the one to cling to and defend. I have a story of our first meeting. He has only skepticism of my story. Florida is a stand-your-ground state and I am the only witness. So, there is that to consider, my legal defense for telling it. We grew up not far from Zimmerman country. 


My binary family and his nuclear one went to lunch, then to the SF Moma. It was pleasant and uneventful, which is the best you can hope for with the involvement of a four year old. It is nice to have my son meet my friend's children. There is an odd circularity to the feeling. Part of it is perhaps caused by the underlying feeling that I never thought that I would arrive here, on the other side of the things I spent my life mocking. It is not nearly as bad as I believed it to be.

I suppose at some level it is probably just selfish, wanting your child to get a glimpse into your life when you were young. It all seems so unbelievable now - youth - particularly the ones that we enjoyed in the 70s. We spoke of the dangerous, stupid things that we did or were expected to do, all quite spontaneously, as if natural selection itself were not always peeking at us through the crack of adolescence. Somehow, most of us escaped. 


Everywhere we went at the museum the boy wanted to touch and rub all of the art that he could see with his unwashed booger spears. He tired quickly of my admonishments and reminders. When I tried to explain that the art is there for everybody to enjoy, but only by looking at it, and that they wish to preserve it for all time. 

Why? It's all fake.

What do you mean?

It's art, they make it all up. We do this at school.


Worth the whole day. I giggled with satisfaction when he said it, attributing all kinds of outsider status to the boy. I thought of adding Camus' The Rebel to the box of books that I will create for him to hopefully read before he enters college. His newly acquired DIY ethos sat well with me. I had to resist from relaying the anecdote yesterday, though I had hoped that I would somehow make more of it this morning. Some stories are just the dialogue, no need to provide context.

Oh well, mistakes were made in today's post. Good stories lost by their telling.


I tried to go back and read yesterday's post to make sure I didn't use similar descriptions of houses in today's post. I found a number of past-present tense shifts that made no sense and rendered the piece unpleasant to read, a sort of seasickness in time. I winced at the lack of care in what I was trying to convey.

Cato used to copy-edit for me, but he has abandoned that to pursue a life of genuine struggle.


Writing is difficult, was yesterday.








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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Goodbye Cool Whirlpool






After picking the boy up yesterday, I decided to drive up the road that I've been trying to cycle for the last couple weeks, to see how much further the uphill portion is before I can find a spot where my heart and lungs can recuperate before advancing on the summit. Or rather, circling the summit via paved road, on a bicycle. I was pleased to find that the road only has another bend or two and about a quarter of a mile of heartbreaking hill before there is a short flat portion where I could rest and drink water without fear of tumbling backwards down the paved way that I came.

I kept driving up into the western neighborhood that is nestled there in the valley within the larger valley of Sonoma. Once we arrived, I could hardly believe what I was seeing. Gatsby-esque in reflection of the other valley hidden far away on the east side. Poorer, though not poor at all, only seemingly so when held up to wealth. Made by families that worked somewhere, creating their dream homes together, or even through separation and worse. These were not homes made with a swiping of the hand, as if they rose naturally out of the land that they commanded. 

I suppose it could be NYC, or any other American city divided upon lines of wealth between east and west, though to live in the hills at all confers some sort of advantage of resources. The geography and feel of what I found made me to steal a physical form found inside the fictive one. The dual neighborhoods held apart by valley screamed East and West Egg. I imagined locally famous infidelities that must still haunt the present. Cars screeching out of driveways in the night, glass shattering, scenes remembered. The police called, though they just all stood and watched. 


The last new homes that were built there happened sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. Each was different from the others, though same in that they were on a similarly sized lot and built with materials and design ideas that only differed in degrees. Each reflected the stylistic preference or lack of the original owner. Some humble, others trying to say more than they were, even then. Each was of a kind. Homes that represented single qualities - youth, wealth, vitality, cool chic, whatever, even the nest, as if the house was meant to resemble a fancy European cuckoo clock. You could hear the whisper of disco coming through the windows of a few. Saturday night parties that perhaps still get talked about here in our little enclave from the world.  The first time for trying this, or that, or more of that. Some who just stood and watched.

Others seemed sensible, as if the owner believed themselves to be a farmer. So happens that their farm isn't located on farmable land, never was. They neglected to buy the empty lot next door in time, another dream farmhouse popped up too close to theirs, then on both sides. The farmhouse sunk into a suburb of variables. Some had chicken coops or a few rows of grapes, anything to indicate something else, meant to mean the ruggedness and hard work of the inhabitants, perhaps their love of earth. Either that, or their modest alignment with the more glamorous life of the metropolis. The thin vertical windows appearing along the sides of the contemporary houses that hinted of skyline at night, each populated with a similar angle of a similar room. A twist on the idea of a fishbowl. Some houses seemed almost to be dresses as much as buildings, picked out and purchased by those with too little experience in making those choices. Not knowing how, many chose poorly. Aesthetics only considered when gravely below a certain threshold, and too late in construction. 

All of them were once nice. The remainders that could be called such were scattered here and there. Many needed some sort of visible repair, a cleanup or makeover. There was a dispiritedness about some of them, a long absence of pride or care, as if they could sense the decade that they had been built and what they must look like now, and just to hell with it. All of the homes were past the age of bearing more children - the kids that had been had since flown. The nests needed trimming, though few neighbors would likely take it upon themselves to say so. Some of them must have looked much better at night, when the lights buried in the yard were turned on and shining upwards at what used to be flattering angles.


There is a single-home wealth there, nothing like what exists across the valley up in the hills on the eastern mountain line, snuggled into the valley of the skies, where one wonders if this is one estate among how many others, and where in the world. The expanses in the eastern fold seemed to have live-in guests as the norm, entire structures built around the very idea of guests, of owning celebrated friends that currently lacked the requisite wealth but were cared for graciously nonetheless. The structured act of perpetual charity. It is either a pool house or the divorcĂ© chateau, depending on season. 

In the other hills along western ridge there is the sense that almost all guests went home that night after dinner and drinks, some living within walking distance, of course. The others, let loose on the mountain roads to swerve their way downhill, toward their own. 









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Friday, August 19, 2016

Early bird, worm. Get the picture?






Jesus, what is happening to me. I am becoming a different version of myself, already, again. If I had a garage then I'm certain that I would have filled it up with junk by now. Shelves representing layers of years. I might be found puttering around in it at any given time, a ghost of broken devices, all awaiting excavation. I'm becoming a cantankerous tinker, the mutterer of Christmas past. I'll be wandering the hills here soon, sleeping out under the stars on my days off from being a father. 

Increasingly, I wish to be left alone, though there is some invisible thread that will sometimes tug at me from great distances, bringing be back slowly towards the sound of people talking.

I return, usually only to argue a bit, then move on. Some middle-to-late-aged discourse about the paucity of political choices, the increasing price of things as related to our current trade agreements, whether or not sunspots are the actual cause of climate change, or even if there is any. You know, subjects in which it is tempting to be agreeable. 

Climate change, for me, is fascinating and ideal. It reflects more than most any other subject the danger of letting voters get their ignorant little toe inside any doorway to any topic. I don't pretend to be knowledgeable on this subject, only argumentative. That there are unanswered questions concerning the nature of climate change creates just enough space for the American mind to fully politicize it, and yet still discuss it as if the speaker is a well-informed pseudo-scientist. Then, it is an easy enough leap to deny that it is happening at all. Voila', problem fixed. 

Only a liberal would worry about such things.  The real conservative men of science scoff at the preposterous claims of sissies. We'll never know if sunspots cause global warming, we'll only ever be able to tell that man can not change sunspots any more than a leopard can. 

Ah well, what can one do. Talking about it changes nothing except the temperature in the room. 

I just want the world to sustain one more lifetime's worth of happiness.



Every morning for the past week, precisely at 8am, an alarm of one of my neighbors starts going off and will continue for almost an hour before it finally stops. The volume is relatively low from where I sit, but persistent and in the form of an alarm. It is maddening, to know that there is some happy fool sleeping daily through the very source of my misery. I don't mind being unhappy so much, I just can't stand being ignored about it, unnoticed. 

I want to wander around until I find the room that the sound is coming from and start whispering unsolicited life-coach advice in through the open window, though I'm not quite sure how that would fit into my wanting one more lifetime's worth of happiness.

I suppose I could set an alarm to start at 7am and just leave it in my open window. It's precisely what I would have done in NYC.

See? I am becoming a different person, again.




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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Rampant Radicalism






There is a little sushi place here in town that I love, Rocket Sushi. I know the name makes it sound as if it might be all cream-cheesy tempura rolls, but it is not at all. The sushi chef there is great and provides me with slices of fresh raw fish to sustain myself through the long summer nights. That, and he makes miso soup with truffle oil, little tasty mushrooms, and crab. 

Delicious, and all of that is before the cold sake and beer.

I went last night. I couldn't take this feeling that I have had of living a life of moderate restriction for almost four days, so I splurged. 


Speaking of splurges, I may be going to Burning Man in two weeks. I started looking at tickets and a parking pass yesterday. There are still a few things to consider, and I am on the fence about going at all, but the winds are shifting. The sails on my bike are gradually lifting me towards the dry lakebed in the sky. There are many haters, some that would have me reduce my carbon footprint by not going at all... They would deprive me of the pleasure of drinking warm red wine in the sun while sitting inside of a Boeing 747, high on ecstasy. 

Why can't I just be one of the burners that doesn't really give a shit about the future of the earth or corporate non-profits like Black Rock City, LLC? You know, a simple burner that involves themselves in the more spiritual pursuits of intoxication. 

We'll see.

Before arriving at the sushi place last night I tried again to make it all the way up the mountain to the west. Sonoma Mountain. I failed, but my heart nearly burst trying. It must be good for me, that exhaustion that occurs deep in the vital organs. That screaming for mercy that is indicative of a serious circulatory issue of some kind, or organ failure. If you have never tried using a mountain bike to ride up a mountain then you are doing it wrong. Any fool can ride down a mountain. 

I sweat out some of the bad spirits trying to hit the summit. These embodiments of evil leave the surface of my skin in generous cupfuls of man-sweat. My whole physique is an accretion of wrinkled, loose skin, like a long-sleeve scrotum stretched over what used to be my head and chest. It pleases the Roman deities that I also sweat as if I am buried suffocating inside a pair of summer blue jeans. 

I am nearly at my target weight, my goal, my preciousness.... 200 pounds or below. I've been within two or three pounds of it for a week now. It has been almost a decade since I've been below that seemingly unbreakable fat-floor. I expect to be at 170 lbs upon returning from Burning Man.

We'll see.


I've been told that trying to lose weight at Burning Man is dangerous, but that's stupid. Those environmental factors play perfectly in to the needs of a crash diet - intense and unforgiving heat, sandstorms, lack of bearings, mitigated communication, dehydration, wandering from the group, hotbox port-a-potties. All of that stuff will help you become thin and beautiful. If I do go, I plan on giving a series of impromptu lectures on playa survival. It will focus on the spiritual requirements of abstinence and the many variations of sin that can be found in relentless self-pleasuring.

It will be mostly a recap of last year's lectures titled, "Radical Self-Servings (all you can eat)." 








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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Please, not an octopus...






This morning, a friend posted a notice of her anniversary. Five years. I went to the wedding the day before leaving NYC. A nearly last minute opportunity. It was very sweet, a great way to leave on a high note, celebrating both events with friends. Though admittedly the wedding did overshadow my leaving a bit at the time. 

Time is airborne. That was half a decade ago. How many half decades are aloft, how many remain. 

Later that same night we all sat at one of our favorite meeting place bars. There was a going away party. The newlyweds shut the place down. Not even I, the great and mighty, could stay any longer. It was time to go. I had subleased my apartment a few days before that, which lasted exactly a year. The landlord sent documentation that made it difficult to argue. When you buy a house in California you can not easily claim residency in an NYC apartment, also. 

So, I let it go. 

Turns out that apartment should have been kept, at almost any cost. Such is life. You jump and hope for the best. Then, you jump again and again and again, until you are crazy from the jumping. At a certain age, I'm not sure which, you just tire of jumping and you want stability in your life. You have tired of hearing people announce the hidden value of change. You have benefited all that you wish to from uninvited change. You just want those people away from you, happily changing themselves elsewhere. Sometimes you just need a couple years of stasis, to keep from going jump crazy.

Though a decrease in mobility hasn't taught me how to better shop for groceries, and my cooking has only become marginally better. Perhaps I am only romanticizing ideas again. I need an alligator attack to bring me to my senses. I miss the randomness of Florida. You could always expect it to be crazy there - crazy hot, crazy humid, crazy swamps, crazy rivers, crazy drivers, crazy people. It is a state of energized fools. Beware the emptying of the bayou. The sun draws something out from deep within the genetic makeup of mankind there. It oozes out through the pores, a syrup of insanity. You can hardly see it when you're there, can't miss it upon returning. 
  

Oh time, remember?


A friend's mother passed away a couple months ago and in trying to be there for her I realized that I can hardly manage even a slight change in schedule. If something is not an outright emergency then there's very little time for it. I no longer get to decide when I can be free. Or, the cost of making that decision too often is too great. So, you learn to love the treadmill, the semblance of motion. 


I was likening myself to a happy Sisyphus a few weeks back, riding my bike up the side of a mountain. I had disabled the front suspension so that bike was as rigid as it possibly could be. Something about the slight loss of forward and upward motion through downward force applied was bothering me. I recall telling myself that if I was going to push anything up the side of a mountain I wanted it to be a rock, not an octopus, not a marshmallow, but a rock. A meaningless distinction in an eternity of uncertainty; riding melting marshmallows into the sky. 










Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Skate 'Nough




(Ollie over Da' Lub Macheen)


Yesterday I lied a bit again, for the purpose of trying to make the story circular - less oblong or irregular. It was not the guy who committed suicide who pulled me away from the train, it was a survivor. A minor indiscretion, for the sole purpose of dissimulation. 

I often omit facts rather than bother misrepresenting them. The tale relayed yesterday could not bear the weight of another character. There was already the black-hole-like gravity of the self-involved author. Then of course there was the suicide. I had run out of space for other humans in there, within the standards of brevity we all enjoy. 

As I get older, I think less. But also I think less of the suicides that I have known, or been near. I think less of everything. Perhaps I am just thinking more slowly than I once did. The cycle of my thoughts is perhaps in order, it's simply recurring less frequently. My bpms have slowed, even wobbled.

When certain things do cross my mind they spend less time there than they once did, so it is not so spiritual as to be related to oscilloscopes or yoga. 


Who cares. Things change. 

Time passes; love fades. 
Love passes; time fades. 

Love is a reflection of the quality of time's passing. 

Time is a reflection of, etc., etc.


I keep trying to do things. More things. There's no spare tire for it, though I have taken up amateur skate photography. There is a burgeoning skate scene among the kids in mi barrio

Recurring time to have some to oneself, to parent, to work, to occasionally read a book, and to enjoy the burden of a single or dual modest set of ambitions... One must choose. One must shave when you are a man's face. 

I'm lying again, wrapped in a story. It is good for women to shave also. I choose to write a daily blog, one that has increasingly become about me exercising daily on my bike, or the bike that I want; time spent there; observations made, scratching against the surface of the earth, verifying that I am alive. 


I should find somebody to exercise with... I hope that I wouldn't end up resenting them for eating up all of my "me time." It's what happens with love, you know: reminds you that it doesn't have to be there. If two people find new ways to remind one another of that then they should be fine. 

Or.


Before you know it, or just as you know it.... this person that you once wanted to share every minute with took your words quite seriously, even literally when it made sense to do so, and now wants every heartbeat, to the very last. It's the way: to promise love, then to last forever, vow to capture one another's last heartbeat, if only to give it back to the past, if only, to, give, it. 











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Monday, August 15, 2016

Miniature Moments






The season is already changing. The earth is returning again to its tilt from the sun, leaning into darkness. Summer should be in full swing, yet there is a chill in the morning air, a grayness in the skies. There is quiet on days when there should be the sound of children playing. The breeze has begun to move the trees outside the window.


I took the day off from work, for reasons I correctly predicted last week. I was feeling stress and knew that I needed some time to myself. I used to hold months of solitude, if solitude was what I wanted. Now, the weeks are broken up into on-again / off-again schedules of work or parenting or social time, driving into the city or back home again. Rarely a day goes by that I can call my own, or can insist upon it.

Having time to myself is strange and unfamiliar now, as if it is a secret. To speak of it is almost to erase it before it happens. I sit here now, enjoying the silence and peace, worried that if I do not do something with it soon that it will disappear from around me. I will feel guilty for having squandered a thing that can not be saved from squandering. 

There is some cultural guilt surrounding freedom of time. American parents are fucked. There is a competition here to out-parent one another, at any cost. The imaginary escalation of good parenting in this country has destroyed the lives of those it is ostensibly there to improve. Not the kids, but the other ones, the ones who should know better. Everybody is trying to become worthy of a magazine mention. 

Don't get me wrong, some parents are just no good at it, others make it far more difficult than it needs to be. There is an hysteria that surrounds parental concern that prevents anyone from relaxing. It is how you know that this country can easily slide into something resembling fascism, the totalitarianism of freedom. Everybody gets to opinionate everybody else into a corner. It starts with rigid ideas about what is "good parenting" and might end with the faltering of one or both of our two political parties, which is of course already happening. Whatever purports to replace the current system should be guarded with deep skepticism, especially that system which claims to represent the best of the best of the freedoms. America is ready for it. I mean... they're about to experience it. I do not mean to suggest that they are prepared for it. 

My guess is that it will be Libertarianism, or something like it. It is far right wing conservatism under the banner of liberty. If not them, then it'll be the liberals under similar auspices, through the use of the boa-like constriction of liberalism. 


Ugh, today is my day off. I should leave politics for a work day, one that is already tainted with concerns and needs. Today should be a day for stories.



I was reminded of one trip that I took there with a few friends, one of whom committed suicide a few years later. On that visit we were all performing at a big party. Afterwards, we planned a trip to go to Machu Picchu together. We took the helicopter from Cusco, rather than the train. It saved us three hours of sitting. It was an old military helicopter, still painted green. The jungles below were rich, vast, and unforgiving, also very green, nearly a perfect match. Any rescue operation that might have been attempted would have suffered apparent challenges, as would have any survival attempt made from the ground, from a swallowed dot of invisible wreckage. 

I came down with an atypical case of stomach sickness as we were in transit. I ate or drank something with the misguided courage one gets from traveling without consequences for too long. I spent much time in a small room vomiting, and also the other evacuation. I was drained of all excess energy and fluids. What little remained was for survival. The microbes had won. I signaled defeat with every breath, each drop of sweat. 

As we arrived and were walking towards our accommodations, there were train tracks where the passengers whom had come through the jungle would also arrive. We were walking alongside the tracks and could hear the train arriving behind us, its whistles blowing and the metal on metal chaos of locomotion. 

I turned and noted it, but was already too far gone into whatever sickness was going to take me to help myself, or to understand what I should have been doing differently. At what would have been my last moment a friend's urgent scream of a warning in the form of my name made it through the sickness. I stepped away from the tracks just in time to prevent the train from crushing my head from the side as it was arriving at the station. The look in my companions' eyes said much about the proximity of the near disaster, though no evidence was more convincing than the train itself. I remember in my fever turning to face the passing of it, inches away, watching the orchestrated steel move in unison in front of me where I had been walking, larger than any movie, larger even than a train. 

I nearly fell into it from the startle and shock. The friend who later took himself pulled me slowly away from what was happening. There is that moment at the onset of sickness where death invites itself and you are not yet aware enough to fight it off, to devote care enough to stopping it. Such is the confusion of its arrival in the fevering body, the delirium that attempts to replace life.  

I had miscalculated how far away from the tracks I was, how far the train extended beyond where the wheels touched track. My friends behind me had a clearer view of my miscalculation. There would have been very little chance of survival or rapid transit to a hospital, but rather only an unlucky death in the jungle, a crushed skull, or an equally unlucky survival. 


I lived to tell the tale. There are other details, but the sun is making its way to the ground outside, the hills are calling me, inviting me upwards as a river that runs backwards into the skies. 


I have started doing something devilishly irresponsible. When I see an inviting vineyard that appears unwatched then I will ride up and down a few rows of grape vines at full tilt. Exhilarating, knowing that a reasonably good rifle shot can probably hit my head from any balcony in the distance. That I will have never even heard the gun, the sound having made its way to what was me just miniature moments after did the bullet.








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Sunday, August 14, 2016

"I just think I'll go away"





I never left the house today, never put my shoes on. Left my phone off for most of the day. It was glorious, sort of. I've binged watched shows in bed in my underwear, but then I lost them somewhere. They're probably under the bunched up covers, enjoying the momentary peace of solitude, praying for rain, or that I will think they're dead. I have several more pair, but what's the point. There will be no dinner guests tonight. Who needs underwear. I have eaten everything in the house that did not require preparation. Stood naked in the kitchen, the sultan of the fridge. I have dirtied all of the dishes that I could without malice.

I have been enjoying drifting in and out of a semi-medical coma. I've had worse days, those that can not be slept through. When it comes to sleep I want fewer options, none that involve waking.

Between old reruns of Adult Swim series I've been listening to some bluegrass. What tremendously great stuff.

There is type of person that claims to love all types of music, except country. Most of them are too stupid to know what bluegrass even is. It would all be the same to them. You know, the hordes of people who used to be fans of progressive house and would unashamedly talk about the different styles within that genre, but now downplay their youthful enthusiasms and indiscretions with mostly silence on the issue.


I think I pissed a few people off yesterday with my musings on the meaning and misunderstandings of equality. To try to define it, or understand what is meant by its enforced use, is not to argue for its opposite. People simply choose to believe in the concept selectively, and do not wish for anyone to question what is meant by it, or to question the existence of the honored quality within themselves. Equality is a term used to abort both thought and conversation on the very subject it purports to resolve by its acceptance. It is almost a non-sensical term.

If you don't know how to respect people then a bumper sticker ideology isn't likely going to fix it. I'm going to start telling people that Gandhi invented the word. You'll see that fact on Facebook soon, where it can really prove its effectiveness and flexibility as a concept. You know, being the spare change you wish to jingle in the world. 

Jesus, some people really make me wish to die, or kill.


Today was my brother's 50th birthday. I texted, but it may have been too late to reach him. He was part of the reason I developed such a deep love for music, though you might not know that now. He does not seem to have much interest in it any more. Or, if he does then he doesn't talk about it much. I'm getting there. Some of my passion for it has dwindled, probably hiding somewhere with my underwear.

But not today... not with all of the great bluegrass that's still available out there. I would starve the children of a third world country to be able to sing like this guy. Or, first world, whatever.

You know, delusions of banjo.






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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Never discuss equality with me




(Nothing says equality quite like a man's fist)


The feminists I know are not mentioning equality when discussing the Olympics. Or, if they are then they are generally missing the point and don't quite seem to understand what equality is. They may be complaining about conditions or this or that, but they never mention that women are winning *world records.

I can win the *world record for my apartment any day that I wish. No true feminists that I know would question my world record. How could they? It's the world record of my apartment. They are winning the *world record for their gender, or sex.

Stick with this.... I'll try to turn it around. I'm off to a bit of a bad start. 


I saw one Tweet in which a woman was decrying the comparison of Katie Ledecky with Michael Phelps. Why shouldn't that comparison be made? They are both great swimmers. If there was such a thing as equality then they would be able to compete together. Or, at the very least Katie would be able to beat Michael while swimming in the same race, once her handicap had been calculated into her time. 

It is a technical term in sports, a handicap. Why does no one argue for handicapped times? Instead, they accept two separate races and two separate world champions. There is only the difference between these two victories when one considers the actual meaning of equality. One disallows it, the other emphasizes it. 

There is a percentile difference between men and women in swimming speeds and ability. That's right, men and women are different. Women, I believe, are faster than men in longer distances if I remember correctly, or perhaps the differences become more equal at increased lengths, as women enjoy a greater constitutional vitality. It is part of why they live longer, among other advantages. 


Wanting equality only when and how it benefits you is not equality, it is the usurpation of advantage - which is fine by me, and perhaps should have already happened in most every possible way, except wealth - but let's be more honest about it. We bracket the uncomfortable in an attempt to avoid it or make it somehow less bothersome. It's impolite to even mention it, so I must. I must. The only people who do not wish the world to be more flat are those living on the hills. Little matter that they may have struggled to arrive there, or if they were born there. Insisting upon equality forces the conversation to address the idea, something that most people do not want. Just try, you'll see. 

There is only one way to feel about the idea and that is being "for it," even though it can hardly be defined or agreed upon. The evil is to be against equality, which I am not, at all. I am for understanding what is meant by the idea, most of all. 

The same people who look aghast upon the idea of "separate but equal" cheer it on crazily every four years. Or, every time they bother noticing. The Olympics are both internationally celebrated and yet deeply sexist. The competition is arranged and divided almost entirely upon the lines of sex. Anyone that can not see that, or refuses to acknowledge it, doesn't understand what equality is. It is a very simple mathematical concept and represented well with a single icon: =. 

It is a symbolic expression, even when used in this capacity. Equality exists mostly as an abstraction.  

To wit, if men = women (or women = men if you prefer) then let's let that be that as an understanding of equality. If men ≠ women, or women ≈ men, or if any other concept of equality can replace the actual agreed upon one then let's admit that equality is not quite what it pretends to be and use different terms, because the actual meaning of the concept has been lost then, or obscured, for reasons that might also be worth noticing if we care about the idea at all. 

Say this out loud anywhere, I dare you: Michael Phelps would have won twice as many gold medals if he was allowed in all of the races. His gender prevents him from competing in about half of the competitions.

Or say this out loud anywhere: Katie Ledecky did not set a world record and never has. 

You'll see. She actually does not hold any world records. Those are all held by men. Or rather, man. 

Read most any newspaper. They will all mention her world records in an unqualified way. I'll say it again, Katie Ledecky does not hold a world record in swimming. Compare her times to the best times ever achieved and the discrepancy becomes very clear. I hope that I'm right on this. I clearly didn't bother checking this piece for errors, nor running it by my copy editor before going to press. 


Let's have Caitlyn weigh in on these troubling facts. She seems to possess the requisite courage and experience to address the world's many athletic gender concerns. My question is very simple: why are some people prevented from competing based on gender? Once asked, then other questions will need to follow. Why do we give out world records for sub-par times, based on gender? The answer is simple to derive, though very difficult to accept.

That doesn't mean that the questions should not be asked. Most people already have their accepted answers and will guard them with whatever hostility their gender can muster. This is why the continued asking of questions is as important as the conclusions that have already been agreed upon: to reduce the hostility with which ideas are met, as hostility does not defeat an idea, only a better idea can do that. 

The same indignation which has fueled the well justified fight for equality ignores the concept which it ostensibly advances when it is convenient or necessary to do so. That is why I love to argue with those who profess a deep and abiding belief in equality. Most people do not, at all, actually believe in the value and worth of equality. No true lover of ideas would wince from the subject. 

People are taught to be ashamed to admit their preferences, so they embrace equality as a concept, yet still they tend to only fall in love with those that they prefer. A true believer in equality might consider taking up a battle against romantic love, as all that does is herald one person of equal value over others with the same equal value. Silly, right? Then, why do we accept the same argument elsewhere. If we are allowed to express preference then what does that do to equality. Or, where does the boundary occur between them. It is there, in every person, so why don't we have better language for it.

Or, Why don't I? would perhaps be the more apropos question. Perhaps there are those who have dedicated their lives to separating the act of preference from the idea equality, and I am just a rube that has been out of school for far too long. 


I've said it all before, and have received the expected disdain for having done so. I'm very much for watching people compete and have no problems with categories. I don't even mind, at all, that the competition is generally divided between male and female where it makes sense to do so, which is where women generally can not beat men. Perhaps that is the wrong phrase: where women can not effectively compete with men. That is a much better description for what is happening. I find the raised male fist in the image above a very silly symbol for what it purports to advance. 

None of this is an attack on women. Quite the opposite. I very much want a world where females grow up and strive to become great. The very best. I want them to have goals and heroes that they can relate to. I know that I did, and I would wish it for anyone else. I also want them to grow up into a world where honesty flourishes and unpleasant observations are brought out into the light, not hidden from conversation. If we accept, codify, and celebrate differences between the genders then let's not also deny those differences where it is merely advantageous to do so.  

There are a number of examples of how we mainly ignore the concept of equality when it is convenient. We'll see if America soon has young women register for selective service. That is yet another area that people, even the best that I know, waffle and hem and haw when confronted with how they feel and then what they believe to be "right." The idea of both sexes registering for conscription is receiving wide support among both democrats and republicans. Women can now enjoy the federal benefits, so why should they be exempt from the same responsibility that men have for those same advantages. You see, it is easy to understand, yet there is something that troubles even the most mathematically inclined of hearts. It is perhaps a beneficial form of sexism, or at least, a form that nobody minds very much. 

It is only those among the odd-Christian-right that seem to be against it. If you want to know where you stand on the issue then just remember this: Ted Cruz opposes it.

It seems clear enough: Equality is not quite the noble idea that we pretend it to be. Not when defined by terms that can be used to easily define such a complex concept. Men and women may not be equal in all talents, though they are equal in worth and value and should be afforded the same opportunities and rights, as well as pride in status and accomplishment, both shared and otherwise. To deny this means something else altogether. 

If you think that I am now somehow disagreeing with what I have said above then perhaps I have not explained myself clearly enough, or you may be understanding only what you wish to understand, and hearing in what I have said something other than what is there. Sports presents a problem in the idea of equality. That does not mean that we should do away with sports any more than we should do away with competition that excludes one gender, which it does not appear that we are prepared to do. It only means that we should acknowledge what is happening as it affects how we understand ourselves and others. 

Which brings me to my conclusion: Mens' bodies and Womens' bodies are different. 

I will leave the other considerations of difference to each of you, to draw your own conclusions based on your own observations. Start with comparative longevity and then work your way around to the data concerning how many males die in spontaneous abortion. You will find that men and women neither start nor end on purely equal footing. The race between the genders seems to supersede the very lives we live, and the ones we don't. 




Let me see if I can find a passage from one of my favorite social critics, Jacques Barzun. 

I'll be right back...


Here it is, transcribed from the book From Dawn to Decadence, by me, just now. You can see how much I steal from him by comparing what I wrote above with what he wrote below. I was merely trying to equalize us. A true believer in equality would insist upon plagiarism as a rule of law. 


     In arithmetic equality is a simple idea; once grasped never unsure. In society it is complex and elusive. Thinkers who argue from the state of nature find it easy to say that all are born free and equal; but that is only because in that imagined state there are no standards to measure people by and at birth no talents to compare. The equality of souls in the sight of god also depends on a judgement to which we have no access. From these abstractions, the mind moves next to equality in rights, implying "equality before the law," that is, the same procedures for like cases. These can be made visible up to a point. Beyond it come human decisions - as by a jury and a sentencing judge, where equality again is untestable.
     At the third level - equality in social life, business, and politics - the principle is both in force and missing. There are so many facets to the human will and the civilized world that as many good minds have argued for as against the truth, the worth, and the meaning of equality. It was for equality of opportunity that the French revolutionists decreed public instruction. But does schooling provide it? The answer at once shifts to the question of individual ability: "human beings are not equal: see the test scores." To which the rejoinder is that schoolwork is only one measure and a vague one. There follows a list of great figures who were dunces in class. Besides, consider the illiterate guide in the Canadian woods: is he not in his domain the superior of Churchill and Einstein? Finally, if merit is measured by ability and it gives unequal results, is it iniquitous? The sans-culottes discovered this and their radical wing demanded "equality of enjoyments" (jouissances). Today the complaint is that the meritocracy forms an elite: it is aristocracy under another name; social justice demands equality of conditions. Logically, this should mean equal wages for all, but these have rarely been argued for.
     So difficult is it to define equality and nail down its conditions that in dictatorships where it is proclaimed and enforced in dozens of ways, the needs of government and daily life re-introduce distinctions; as Philip Guedalla observed early in the Soviet regime, "some are more equal than others." The paradox reminds us that in international law has no option but to assume, in the teeth of the evidence, that all sovereign nations are equal.
     There is but one conclusion: humans beings are unmeasurable. It follows that equality is a social assumption independent of fact. It is made for the sake of civil peace, of approximating justice, and of bolstering self-respect. It prevents servility, lessens arrogant oppression, and reduces envy - just a little. Equality begins at home, where members of the family enjoy the same privileges and guests receive equal hospitality without taking a test or showing credentials. Business, government, and the professions assume equality for identical reasons: all junior clerks, all second lieutenants, earn so much. In other situations, as in sports and the rearing of children, equivalence based on age, weight, handicap, or other standard, is computed so as to equalize chances. That is as far as the principle can stretch.

   







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