Friday, December 16, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

They were always coming for you, ember eyes burning. You can feel their breathing in your chest, just as strong as your own. Maybe stronger. The sound of tooth on tooth is paralyzing. Your teeth begin to chatter, but there is no chattering from them. They sound like someone stropping one knife against another. They smell of terror, hot and rancid. No one else can see them, but you know they are there, waiting. 

They have always been there. 

When you were younger, the adults said you had an active imagination. They bought nightlights and expected them to be sentries. They left the door open. The hall light on. Finally, they left the overhead light on, but you still didn't sleep. Not until exhaustion forced your eyes shut. The few hours of rest would be enough to keep going, but they were not enough.

As you got older, the adults stopped bragging on your active imagination. They started to worry. They sent you to therapists and complained about the bills. They started to call you crazy. Not to your face, but behind your back, quietly, thinking you would not hear. 

The therapists looked concerned; they used bigger words that hurt less than 'crazy' - words that didn't point a finger. Not as much, at least. There was some distance. 

But they didn't believe. 

It was always headed toward death. There was no other way out. You or them. Or them. It had to be somebody. So, you decided to rob them of their sport. You hoarded pills until you had enough. Then, you turned the nightlight out on yourself. 

And on them. 

Friday, December 9, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

The rain has stopped, but it stands in puddles on the ground, regrouping. The sparrows dart in, splash, laugh, pass. The fog and steam hanging over Mt. Diablo are neon with the rising sun. All around, there are creatures beginning their daily search for life, sustenance, gifts from the rain clouds, wrapped up in the dirt and transformed into green energy. The energy that starts the whip on the food chain. 

It all starts with the water. 

There was a time when all of this was magnified. There were more creatures then. Birds that were easy for hunters to kill. Fish that were too tasty and too dumb for their own good. Don't get me started on the Bison. The plains weep for their absence. 

It can be a hairshirt if you let it. It can be the catalyst for your insanity. It can leave you breathless. But you might as well hold onto your breath. The cards have been dealt. No point crying over spilt milk. Or extinction, I guess. 

Sometimes, I wish that my girls could go back forty years to when I was young. There were more insects then. More hatches for the trout. There were more birds of prey circling the sky. It wasn't hard to see a bobcat. A coyote. It wasn't hard to look at the water without thinking of microplastics. 

This is why old men seem crotchety. It's a defense mechanism. It's a way to protect the sensibilities that no longer make sense. You may say, "Get off my lawn!" But you may mean, "Go into the woods. Find a fallen tree. Collect the insects for bait, and witness the majesty of the brook trouts' spots. Quickly, there are fewer native brookies every year, and the stocked trout just aren't the same. They're raised on pellets, not hatches. They don't belong."  

I don't want to live in the dystopian novels I read under the covers in Middle School. I want the Amazon to stay a mysterious jungle instead of Amazon delivering clockwork oranges to me packaged in dead trees. I want to turn back the years. It's sad for a man of forty-four years to be able to see such changes. I guess that's the way it goes. 

I remember when a coke cost fifty cents. 

But you know what? Fuck it. Stare at the puddle. The puddle is life, and as long as it is there, something will remain. Once the earth sheds the oppressive humans who bend her to their will. Once the insects come back in full force. Once the earth begins to breathe again.

Friday, December 2, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

I'm tired of absolution arguments. You don't get to do shitty things and then say that your God knows you're a shithead and forgives you. What a fucking copout. You don't get to opt out of guilt and regret. You eat that shit like the rest of us. Choke it down, swallow it with whiskey, quiet it with pills, but you don't get to just shrug it off. 

It's fascinating in the way that root canals are fascinating. The way that open-heart surgery played on cable channels. And the temptation is great. Of course I 'd like to think that there is some benevolent, loving force who knows I'm an asshole, expects nothing less, and forgives me per a simple request. You see that right, if not the stupidity then the unfairness of it? Even Hitler thought God loved him. 

I don't want to be loved by a God who also loved Hitler. 

So, there's that. 

Look, I know it's hard to be human. It's hard for all of us. You do the best you can, and you try to hurt as few people as possible. 

God doesn't need to have any place in it.