30 going on 60

I feel like a man twice my age. Exhaustion all the way down, in my bones, into the marrow. My cells are slacking and slumping through a prolonged terminal phase. I sleep in reverse, waking up more tired than the night before. Everything in me is old, everything is the same except for the pains.

Each day brings a new grimace. Fresh aches, novel soreness. A different spot where something hurts. Is it bone, muscle, joint, tendon, ligament or an organ. My feet and ankles throb all the time. They don’t stop hurting when I sit or lie down. They feel as though I’ve just finished stomping bare footed on unfinished concrete for six straight hours.

I need special shoes and socks. Custom, padded, indestructible insoles. Intelligent socks programmed to massage my feet at regular intervals. Ankle wraps, knee wraps and knee braces. Support for my hips, maybe a replacement. I need to replace myself with plastic and styrofoam. Upload myself into a computer.

There’s no thinking, only fuming. My thoughts are black gas clouds, thick smoke, the vapor of unrest. Every now and then I have an intelligent idea or a hopeful attitude. Mostly it’s just grunting over garbage emotions.

I neglect my body and agitate my mind. I have to ask myself why I seek out hurtful information, why I continually swill soul draining data. Every day loading up my broken back with the weight of the world’s idiocy. People are so dumb they can’t fathom or accept other people’s stupidity, and this hurts me. I’m one among the dumb.

It’s stupid to fight against stupidity, to be aware of obliviousness. There’s no reason to know what most other people think. Civilization is built on masking thoughts and feelings, on playing parts that protect us from each other. All of this is coming undone. We’re being led into a trap. Tell us what you think. We want to hear your opinions. 

I watched a video of an old white woman being a racist in a walmart. If you call someone a nigger in public, you’ll end up on CNN. The world is aghast. We were all shocked when an old racist white woman in Arkansas says exactly what we would all expect her to think.

But right thinking people of the world wouldn’t let white supremacy get away with this one. They had to resist the towering, implacable yet sneaking, invisible, covert white power that allows pampered, cushioned, old white walmart shoppers to call people niggers as they load up their carts with cheap foreign junk before hobbling back to their ramshackle hovels.

So people from all over the world gathered into a mob for another electronic lynching. Thousands and thousands of scathing comments and shows of support for the assailed minorities followed. Some on the right think these displays of anti-racist animus are driven by the desire for status or distinction. This is a mistake. People don’t denounce racists to stand out, to signal something special about themselves. They do it to blend in, to lose themselves in a group.

The individual, the one who stands out, is the target of the group’s rage. It feels good to isolate and punish transgressive individuals. It’s an ancient instinct operating at full power, even in sophisticated, worldly people like our dedicated, progressive, individualistic anti-racists.

Ostensibly, it’s the old white woman who enjoys an expanse of unearned privileges and comforts, while the poor mexicans and blacks face unending hostility and aggression from a callous, white majority society. But what happens when those poor mexicans and blacks capture a racist outburst against themselves on tape?

Masses of uninvolved, unconnected people trip over themselves to defend the victims. The racism that was formerly confined to the attitude of an old white woman towards two other walmart shoppers explodes into a globe spanning hatefest. The buzzing, swarming coalition of crusading anti-racists directs its frothing disapproval in one direction only, against the white offender, the lone individual with all the systemically supported power.

A local, minor social disturbance takes on immense significance because we live in a technological milieu of cheap, easy, instantaneous transmission and amplification. First the local environment is disordered through community destroying economic and immigration policies. And then the resulting tensions and conflicts between incompatible, desperate people are broadcasted, magnified and distorted out of all proportion. The ensuing, remote, rapid fire involvement is effortless and addictively gratifying.

Many of the comments in response to the video were interesting. Racist piece of shit, white trash scum. Just another racist redneck. Donal Trump made this okay. We should take legal action. Get her fired. Find out who she is. I wish I were the one she called a nigger.

That last one is particularly revealing. And it’s not just black people that wish for such things. There’s a type of character, narcissistic and passive, who fantasizes about being wronged in an obvious and offensive way so that they finally feel empowered to act, to strike back and get revenge.

As you can see from a small sampling of the comments, people who gathered online to condemn this old white woman don’t see racism as a pervasive manifestation of irrepressible group conflict. If they did, they’d think twice before calling a white person a redneck or white trash. They might restrain their own response to an event that doesn’t concern them.

They’d see this woman’s racism as an expression of her own in-group loyalty (rude as it may be) which doesn’t differ fundamentally from their own. The old woman prefers people like herself in appearance and culture, as most people always have. But these people only think of racism as something that whites impose on nonwhites, and mostly blacks and mexicans at that.

So when they call an old white woman white trash, it’s not their own racism acting up, it’s their activism. Only whites are racist, and only blacks and mexicans can be victims of racism. And since racism is the ultimate modern evil, and humanity has clawed its way to the apex of enlightenment and glimpsed the glory of a faded white, mud mustard future, no tactic or term is too ugly, mean, or unfair when fighting the evil enemy in this cataclysmic clash.

Millions and millions of views, hundreds of thousands of comments, all just, all automatic. I don’t think a single person expressed any sympathy for the old woman. It would be one thing if they caught a white robber baron calling a mexican a spic, or an NFL athlete calling a lisping reporter a faggot.

Then the harsh reactions would be more understandable. Far from a superstar athlete or a slimy executive, this was an old woman shopping at walmart. Did it occur to anyone that this woman is probably poor? Maybe even on disability? She could have mental health issues. Any number of possible explanations come to mind that would increase sympathy for her plight. I thought we took pity on the poor?

Liberals are proud of their sensitivity. And they are cunning sophists when it’s time to make excuses for the bad behavior of the downtrodden. They come up with plenty of gymnastic reasons for why De’trayvius isn’t to blame when he burns down a korean owned liquor store. When minorities commit crimes and engage in anti-social, destructive behavior, liberals draw on an inexhaustible reserve of sympathy and compassion. They see the other side of the story, the side of the oppressed creature.

A pack of paki’s abducting and grooming white children for sex slavery? Not their fault. Grubby somalians assaulting and groping german women on the streets? Not their fault. Blacks and hispanics underperforming across the board in all academic categories? Also not their fault.

An old, racist white woman impotently acting out in a Walmart? She’s fully at fault. Liberals become exacting, uncompromising judges when examining the behavior of racist whites. Then it’s no excuses, no compromises, and no sympathy.

Another thing liberals like to do is mock christian hypocrisy. They smugly remind christians that Jesus preferred the company of sinners. How could christians judge or exclude the suffering, misunderstood homos and whores? Jesus hung around hookers, he accepted and loved everyone.

Well, the most violently condemned,  forcefully excluded and socially approved targets of life destroying shame in our society are white racists. I would think if Jesus were casting his lot with the sinners of today, he’d be chumming it up with the poor racists. If liberals are going to pretend the behavior of jesus was worthy of emulation, shouldn’t they be humbling themselves before the truly abject outcasts of our society?

No matter how old, fat, and poor you may be, if you’re white, no one will make excuses for you. No one will come to your aid, give you support or try to understand your point of view. There will be no advocacy on your behalf. They will tear you apart out of love for the other. You’re never the other, so you will not be pitied.

As for me, I’m poor, white, and feeling way older than I am. I’ll be sure to stay out of Walmart. I’ll get my chinese trinkets online, where I can make racist comments anonymously.

The song remains the same

Another terrorist attack in formerly Great Britain. A suicide bomber detonated a bomb at an Ariana Grande concert. Children and teenagers blown to pieces, bled out on the cold concrete. Cries of agony and fear filled the air. Devastated families and ruined lives. Mutilated and maimed youth, lifelong physical and psychiatric therapy.

Pop music is about fun and forgetting. It’s comfortable catharsis. You go to a pop concert to release energy and feel free, uninhibited, and careless. You dance and sing along, you submerge your identity in a thronging mass and release the pressure of being a self. And then you return to your normal life. You go home with memories of a few moments when everything was light and fun, unlike the world.

The world is heavy, it’s dense with tragedy and misfortune, teeming with corruption and malice. We don’t want to think there are people out to get us. We don’t like the idea of violent ideologies preaching our destruction. There’s no way one group could be inimical towards another because people in general are good.

There’s no such thing as evil. There are only misunderstood, excluded individuals, failed by the system. When they lash out, it only means that we need to try harder to include them, to open our hearts and love them.

Terrorist attacks should be understood as natural disasters. They happen the same way a tornado rips through a trailer park or a tsunami washes away an entire village. The price of modern, urban life in a western country is an occasional nail through the frontal lobes.

But don’t worry, there are stats to soothe your fearful soul. Did you know you’re far more likely to die in a car accident than a terror attack? In 2016, 1,180 people died in car crashes in the UK. Way fewer people were killed by terrorists. Nothing drastic needs to be done; a show of solidarity is enough.

We don’t want to live without cars, so we accept the risk because the convenience is worth the possibility of pain and loss. We like to drive, even if it means that every now and then one of us will drive into a guard rail or an oak tree. Just as we bravely drive our cars, so we should bravely ignore threats to our safety and invite more resentful aliens into our lands. The key to dealing with terrorist attacks is in the way we view them, and what we say or don’t say about them.

We must become more stoic. When we’re powerless to change the course of things, we must change our thoughts and feelings. We can’t stop earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, car crashes, or terrorist attacks. These catastrophes are all the same, all inevitable. We must not give in to fear.

Or hate. Never, ever, under any circumstance should we feel a flicker of hate. Terrorists attack us because they want us to hate and fear them. Murdering our children is just strategy. Their game is making us feel negative emotions, and we’re not going to let them win.

The real danger whenever terrorists dismember our sons and daughters is right wing reaction, of course. If we should fear anyone, it’s the extremists on the right. They use natural, normal, unavoidable events like terror attacks to whip people into fits of destructive rage. We won’t say that right wing extremists are evil, but they are sick and ignorant.

They feel genuine, deeply embedded, long-standing human emotions when hostile foreigners with alien, murderous ideologies target their families and lands. And that’s unacceptable. That’s not who we are. We allow feelings of sadness and grief, but we’re not going to stop going to pop concerts or change our loving, slaughter inviting way of life.

The only thing worse than a pile of British corpses is a muslim man feeling uncomfortable on a train. We must be vigilant and denounce islamophobia with every breath. We must come together now to expel hateful bigots from our ranks. People who are more concerned with protecting their blood than assuaging the feelings of foreigners should be censored and silenced.

—–

Pop and rock concerts are symbolic targets. These events represent western excess and decadence. A mass, materialistic society without spiritual mooring needs a constant supply of spectacles to stimulate and energize a disaffected, degraded populace. Entertainment fills in the hollow core of our lives. What we consume is more important to us than self preservation.

So the terrorists strike at our celebrations of meaningless distraction. And we react by saying that we won’t stop distracting ourselves, because we refuse to hate people who want to murder and enslave us. The terrorists can incinerate our children, but they’ll never take our amoral, crass entertainment.

For a suicidal, corrupted west, the show must always go on, free from hatred for poor, murderous minorities. We won’t stop loving diversity, even if it means getting eviscerated by shrapnel to the tune of drivel.

Another day without another dollar

Rent is due and I can’t pay it. My last check was pathetic. Over the last two weeks I worked a couple hours a day setting up a new cafe. There was no service, so there were no tips. When you work in a high volume cafe, the money you make from tips is substantial. You need them to survive.

Tips add another 6-8 dollars an hour to your hourly wage. It’s the difference between eating well and going to bed hungry. I’ve been eating one big meal in the afternoon to save money. Or sometimes I have two small meals, one in the morning and one before bed. For much of the day I’m tired, foggy, and weak. I don’t go to the gym or workout anymore.

I don’t go because I hate the gym, for one thing. For another, it would be a waste of time even if I enjoyed it. I have no strength, no energy, and no focus. There’s no fuel. I don’t eat or sleep well enough to do anything productive with my body.

Finally, going to the gym is another expense. Everything is an expense, and I’m not a master of saving and scrounging. I don’t have a box of coupons or a costco membership. I’ve taken uber rides to work because I overslept, and I’ve ordered delivery because I didn’t want to walk a mile to a restaurant or grocery store.

My poverty is a combination of circumstance and bad decisions. On one hand I’ve made been making less money while living in one of the most expensive cities in the US, and on the other I haven’t been smart with what I’ve made.

I could eat nothing but coco puffs bought in bulk. Wake up early enough to take the early morning negro bus to work every single day. Donate my blood, plasma and sperm as often as possible. Every day selling a new fluid for bus fare and flavored noodles.

I could pick up another job. Two more jobs. I wouldn’t be the first person in this country to work themselves into a gnarled nub for the privilege of not sleeping on a park bench.

Except I’ve never been able to balance more than one job at a time. I burn out. When I was working two jobs, I made enough to pay rent and eat full meals. But I had no time for anything else and I rarely slept.

Money or sleep. Food or hobbies. Clock time or free time. These are the exclusive disjunctions that make up a life of poverty. One or the other. But always solitude. Whether I have money or not, I’m alone. At best, I’m talking to loved ones on the phone. The bloodless, cold consolation of texting and writing. Keeping up a virtual facsimile of friendship.

When we tell people to stay in touch, we indulge in poetic license. Moving 800 miles away means there will be no more touching. We need more than another person’s words pressed through a digital medium. A spectral signal bouncing off satellites and into our ears is a poor replacement for presence.

We need physical closeness. We need to not only hear the words of loved ones, we need to see them speaking to us. There is no substitute for physical closeness for as long as we remain warm blooded mammals designed to thrive in small, hierarchical groups.

All these academic, inadequate definitions of man. A rational animal, an economic animal. A calculating individual, a war of all against all, a noble savage born free but living everywhere in chains. A creator of values.

Almost always an individual first. If we don’t glorify the individual, we sanction mindless conformity. Man is either a free spirt or an unthinking insect swept up in the swarm. If I don’t flesh out my idiosyncrasies, I might disappear in a faceless mass.

Many thinkers begin by misunderstanding the social dimension of human life. Social behavior isn’t a byproduct or accident of the individual. There’s no such thing as an individual without essential links to others. The existence of one person presupposes the existence of at least two others. We are born into a world already structured by relationships, with responsibilities and roles awaiting us. And our development hinges on our fulfillment of these responsibilities and roles.

So obvious and yet so easy to overlook. So easy to forget the physical foundation of our well being, our need for touch, closeness and belonging. Insisting on individuality at all costs gives rise to a host of pathologies. Weaker links between individuals create weaker individuals. And weaker individuals give in to pressure and negative stimuli much more readily.

Think of depression and addiction. When a person withdraws from society, their buffer against hardship is reduced. Their physical body begins to break down and their personality shrinks. Compulsions reinforce the isolation, and the isolation feeds back into the compulsions.

Not that I know what any of this is like from experience or anything. I’m just living the dream here in DC, waiting for another slick service gig so I can guide a transient population with disposable income to their perfect drink. That’s what we all need.

I remember thinking how fun it would be to live on my own and answer to no one. But I missed the moment for it and now I’m too old to be this poor and alone. Maybe it works when you’re twenty, but I don’t want to live this way anymore. I need roots, family, stability and security. Touch and warmth. Now I only have fingertips on a keypad.

 

Wasted opportunity

We all make mistakes. And when we make those mistakes, we tend to blame other people or events outside our control. It was a conspiracy to bring us down. A plot to steal what’s rightfully ours. It was shadowy figures and colluding enemies. We failed because something held us back or snuck up on us. Structures of oppression were involved, or the stupidity of the masses.

The impossible happened and no one saw it coming. Our experts were right but reality was wrong. When we fail, it’s always complicated and we never deserve it. We’re the good guys, and the good guys are supposed to win.

A simple explanation won’t do. If it makes sense then it’s suspect. It can’t be that we miscalculated. It wasn’t that we ignored the warnings. We didn’t arrogantly dismiss legitimate concerns or push an alienating, elitist agenda. We didn’t insult the people we needed or desert the people who needed us.

When you make a mistake, you can correct it. When you don’t know something, you can humble yourself and learn. There’s no shame in being wrong if you want to make it right. Most people are forgiving when the apology is sincere. I’m talking about normal people now, not vindictive progressives.

I would go so far as to say that making a mistake, apologizing for it, and then correcting it is almost better than never making a mistake in the first place. In the restaurant world, your most loyal customers are the ones you initially disappoint. But if you stay with them, if you correct your mistakes and make them feel as though you care about doing a better job, then they’ll be your customers for life.

It’s a humanizing, endearing progression. We love to watch a fall from grace and then a climb back up towards decency. Admitting you were wrong and promising to do better next time builds trust. You set yourself up for future successes. We love winners but there’s a place in our hearts for gracious losers as well.

Democrats lost the last election and they’ve been anything but gracious. What went wrong? Everything that wasn’t their fault.

Russia hacked the election. A foreign country interfered with our democratic process. It’s a soothing ointment of an excuse and democrats are greasing themselves up and down with it. The only trouble is that it makes no sense.

But they repeat it again and again. They say there’s no doubt about it, that everyone can at least agree on that. The only question is how deep does the conspiracy reach. Was it Russia acting independently or were they collaborating with Trump?

Democrats weren’t wrong, they were wronged. And now they’re going to get revenge. Not by fixing themselves, but rather by smearing, defaming, and ejecting their enemies. There will be no self reflection or change of priorities. Instead the strategy is slander, violence, scandal mongering and gossiping.

They want to impeach Trump because they think he broke the law. Except they have no proof. Some of them pretend to objectively concerned. This is about the law, the constitution, and love for a great nation. This has nothing to do with politics, says the politician.

Politicians and journalists whose sole purpose in life is to remake this country now care deeply about the constitution. The modern left loves the founding fathers when they can use them to destroy the descendants of the founding fathers.

Moment by moment, a fresh, tantalizing promise of impeachment emerges. This time they have him. No really, this time they mean it. Guys, seriously this is it, start the countdown. One flaky narratives after the next collapses, but they remain committed to the cause.

The zeal and persistence of the press, the democratic party and its cobbled coalition of freaks and deviants is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. In their frenzied determination to bury Trump, they dig their own graves. The American people are rubbernecking as the pileup continues. What desperate, baseless claim will these losers heave up next?

The democrats could have played the long game. They could have worked to rebuild trust and win the confidence of the working and middle classes. If they believe Trump is incompetent, why not let him show it? Why not take the next four years to build a genuine, grounded movement as Trump blunders left and right?

Political fortunes are ever shifting. The silver lining of losing an election is that you can blame the winner for everything bad that happens in the next four years. People grow tired of their picks when they don’t pan out. Campaign promises are broken and people change their minds. Losing one election isn’t the onset of Armageddon.

Overreacting makes a bad thing worse. And the resistance to Trump is built on overreacting, not as a special case, but as a matter of course. The people trying to bring Trump down have habitual trouble controlling their emotions.

But look at how they deflect attention from their own failings. Trump is a loose cannon, he’s incompetent, he’s unpredictable. He’s breaking the law and undermining our democracy. This isn’t about politics, this is about law, this is about our country. 

They need to be reminded that regardless of Trump, no one likes them. No one trusts them. Take Trump out of the picture and people still didn’t like Hillary Clinton. People still don’t want open borders, free trade, outsourcing and inner city violence. They don’t want multiculturalism, identity politics, warmongering, and corporate meddling in government.

If Trump is so evil and bumbling, so nefarious but also devastatingly stupid, then how are the democrats not asking themselves how they could lose to him? How are they not looking within themselves and saying, wow, we’re such pieces of shit that people prefer Donald Trump to us. 

They do have their reasons for why they lost. Russia interfered. James Comey. White people are racist, sexist xenophobes.

Stupid white racist nationalists enlisted the help of formerly communist Russia to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton. People who love their country had to break its laws to protect it from another group of people breaking its laws.

My advice: think of the long term. Don’t get lost in the day to day. The democrats and their cohorts are making fools of themselves. They refuse to correct themselves and reach out to the people they insulted and dismissed. But their loss is our gain, and we can learn from their mistakes, even if they won’t.

My own private utopia

One spring day, DC turned into the sahara. Walking down Florida Ave in the midday heat, I hear the voice of David Attenborough. Nothing can survive on the surface of the desert for long. 

It’s just me and the dung beetles out here. The sun cooks my skin. The heat blurs the horizon. My throat is caked with dust and I struggle to swallow. So much for spring.

I’m running on 4 hours of sleep. My gay roommate was up all night coughing and stomping. Repeatedly banging the toilet seat up and down for some reason. His cough cuts through walls. Even when he’s sick he’s an unholy nuisance. This man was made in a lab. He was scientifically designed to be as obnoxious as possible.

I will have children to spite homosexuals. My ultimate revenge on this man will be passing on my genes into the future. And not just replacement level reproduction. Mexican catholic family, west african or indian level. There will be unending pregnancy and child rearing for my dutiful wife.

I’m going to get married to a white woman and have as many white children as I can. We’re all going to live in the same house where I grew up. I’ll teach my children to never apologize for being white or heterosexual. We’ll have a lush garden with kale, lettuce, and tomatoes. A chicken coop and a ready supply of free range eggs. Maybe a goat or two.

A big yard for children and chickens to frolic. My chickens will be named after chapters of the bible. And my children will have plain American names. George and Frank. Sally and Mary. I’ll tell them I love them everyday and that they come from a long line of decent, middle class, midwestern people.

They will not watch television or have iphones or androids until they are 16 at the earliest. 18 would be better. We’ll have shared meals, quiet conversation and silence. No needless noise. They will fear and respect me. Their brains will take shape without constant input from mind frying entertainment. They’ll be capable of forming thoughts, using logic, and reading books without fidgeting or checking for inane texts and emails.

A family isn’t a democracy and children don’t have the same rights as adults. As a father my word will rule. The kids will be free to have their own thoughts but I won’t follow their fancies. Some things I’ll let slide. I’ll demand modesty and teach them gratitude. They’ll love learning but despise pretension and hubris.

There will be books to read and things to build. They can work with their hands and develop their minds with wordplay and conversation. I’ll support their interests but refuse to indulge their excesses. They’ll play sports and love healthy competition. I’ll show them grace in victory and defeat; how to learn from setbacks and profit from loss. I’ll treat my wife with respect and show my children how they should one day love and honor their future husbands and wives.

My children will understand the value of loyalty and the importance of trust. The need for belonging, for being a part of a larger whole. It starts with the smallest sphere of the family. Parents and children together, living for each other. Then it’s on to the next circle, the wider neighborhood made up of other families. Then it’s the larger community that encloses the neighborhood. And then finally the nation. When it comes to humanity, there will be a misty appreciation. But we won’t be sacrificing anything close and familiar for the sake of the foreign.

They’ll respect the best in institutions and authority without blindly obeying or submitting. They’ll learn when to lead and when to follow. When to speak and when to remain silent. And when it’s time to fight and when it’s time to walk away. They won’t seek out violence but they won’t deny the reality of conflict either.

Music will be a treat but not a constant. They can play instruments but they won’t be making noise all day long. I won’t tolerate trashy or abrasive songs glorifying rampant, unfeeling fornication and violence. Religion is a tough one. I haven’t figured it out for myself yet.

At the very least I won’t condemn religion. I won’t be sarcastic or glib about man’s best efforts to deal with death and answer haunting questions. Science is no substitute for a higher truth. I won’t abandon their souls to a cold, meaningless universe. They might not be devout but they won’t think religion is for rubes. They won’t be sarcastic in front of the sacred.

When they’re old enough they’ll rebel. Hate me and their mother and think they know better. Pity me and my narrow minded ways. Forget their past and disown their ancestry. The world will encourage their youthful delusions. I’ll be out of touch, uncool, or worse. In their eyes I’ll become bigoted, a fossil, dead weight holding humanity down. They’ll deny everything they were taught and wish they were raised differently, with more freedom to be themselves.

They’ll leave and rarely visit. Call and count down the seconds until the conversation is over. Yawn during holidays and smoke weed in the basement. My boys will lust after women who waste their time. My girls will want boys who break their hearts. They’ll have fun but feel a deeper yearning that remains unsatisfied. Something will be missing but they won’t know where to find it.

And then they’ll come back. I’ll have grown old alongside their mother and it will be the first time they see it. My face lined and loose. Their mother falling asleep on the couch in the early evening. But an old, tired couple still loving and devoted to each other. Happy to have their children back. Still tending to the biblical chickens in the backyard.

My adult children will see their father and mother closer to death, as mortal beings nearing the end. The fragility and transience of life will shake them. They’ll know why their parents gave them the gift of life without being able to explain it in words. The love they felt as children will return, strengthened and matured.

They’ll realize that life is bigger than their thoughts. More than their desires. And that we must live for something other than ourselves. They’ll become curious about their ancestors. They’ll return to their roots and reclaim what they formerly disowned.

Then they’ll hate annihilating death with the power of a renewed love. Rather than longing for extinction, they’ll refuse to accept it. There must be something more, something beyond. They’ll start with children of their own. And caring for the people that cared so deeply for them. Then they’ll consider an afterlife, a genuine eternity. A reunion of everyone connected through blood and severed by time.

All of this will happen because I lived a year of my life with a homosexual man who annoyed me more than any other living person ever has. I was a slumping nihilist without a future until hatred showed me how to love. For all of you in despair, there’s still hope.

Anti-style

I slept six hours last night. My eyelids aren’t heavy but my face feels worn. I haven’t showered in a long time but I’m not ashamed. Bad hygiene has a storied literary past. Hemingway was a filthy slob and he turned out fine. All my clothes are dirty. They sit in a dank closet, growing mustier by the moment.

I’ve been avoiding laundry. It’s not that I’ve been busy. I’m barely working right now. I’m working around 4 hours a day but I don’t want to wash my clothes or my body. I don’t want to do anything that isn’t reading or writing. There’s not enough free time. No matter how short my working day is, it’s not short enough.

When I first started writing, I’d only write for an hour every three or four days. Sometimes I wouldn’t write for a week or two. There was no editing. I wouldn’t even look twice at what I had written. I wanted to get it out and then move on.

Now I sit down to write in the afternoon and I don’t leave my desk until dark. And I edit. It’s tempting to say editing is painful but I’m going to resist. Editing isn’t painful. It takes focus and time but it’s nothing like real physical or emotional pain. People who write need to calm down when they describe what they do.

Because I lose my days in writing I forget to wash my clothes or get food. When I realize I’m on the verge of passing out from hunger I walk down to the 24 hour subway with the bullet proof panes. This subway is in a former crack war wasteland, so the owners put up bullet proof glass to protect their migrant sandwich artists from getting riddled with bullets as they squirt mayo on turkey subs.

Meatball marinara footlong. Tastes like rubber and salt but it cements my stomach. They put material from exercise mats in the bread. At least I won’t go to sleep hungry.

I went to pick up a check from my old job today. It was tense because I quit without giving a notice. Well, I told them I wouldn’t be coming in the night I quit. Wrote an email saying if I found myself pulling decaf shots of espresso at 11 pm one more night I would lose my mind.

So I lost my job to save my sanity. Fair trade. But I left one last check behind. It was 75 dollars. Now I can eat and take the metro for another week. My pants have holes in the crotch but I can afford express sandwiches. There’s a roof over my head. Life isn’t bad.

I should be memorizing cocktail recipes. New shop opening soon. The restaurant industry is out of control. You need a doctorate to serve people now. They make you take tests. I should be grateful; I should be a good worker and learn the material.

They’re paying me to make cocktails and fine coffee. Tell a story about where the coffee comes from and how the climate influences taste. Give detailed tasting notes and guide the customer to the perfect cup. Work with sophisticated instruments to achieve perfect extraction. There’s also a food menu filled with precious dishes. More like ornaments than meals.

The science of coffee sends me to sleep. And I don’t care about cocktails. Or gazpacho blanco. I have the palette of a yahoo. But this is my job and I should do it well. I do believe that. So I’ll study and play my part until I leave this place. Soon enough.

It’s hard to concentrate because I’ve been thinking about writing. Have to keep experimenting to find the right voice. Sometimes bad writing inspires me. Makes me want to get better. Sometimes I hate eloquence and ornate prose and want to strip my style down. Fewer metaphors and adjectives. Create a mood and tell a story using only the essentials.

I wonder what that would look like.

Reading the paper and retching

Read a free DC paper today. The Washington City paper. There was a theme. I don’t know if it was intentional. Maybe I’m imagining patterns now. Seeing my one or two interests in everything.

The first story was about a new luxury apartment complex in the Shaw neighborhood. I keep writing about these things because they’re popping up everywhere. Even in the small college town of Bloomington, Indiana. When I visit home there’s always a new, ugly apartment building with a street level gym. It’s always where an old waffle house or pet store or soup kitchen used to be.

There’s nothing to do in Bloomington but cater to east coast assholes who send their ape spawn here for school. There’s no industry, no way of making a living unless you’re working for these people. You can staple stacks of papers for the university, cook, wait tables, or work in the luxury apartments.

The old industrial side of town no longer exists. It was a ruin for years. Burnt out husks of abandoned factories. Rusted sheet metal, pieces of broken equipment. Overrun with weeds, bugs, and scurrying small mammals. It was a reminder of the grim obsolescence stalking our lives.

Walking through the eerie expanse of wreckage and neglect took you back to a different time. A time not long passed but already so distant you can barely make it out. When you could work in a factory and make enough to send your kids to college where they would learn how to hate you.

Those quaint old days when you could support yourself and your family without needing 4 or 8 years of additional soul numbing indoctrination added onto the legally required 12 years of new soviet man education. It’s difficult to grasp now that for most of human history, people provided for themselves and their communities without extensive formal educations. Without credentials and diplomas, batteries of tests and performance evaluations.

Somehow they learned from people around them, they learned from the people doing what they’d end up doing. It’s almost a default that just being around people being useful turns you into a useful person as well. But now we have a different formula. We created a new way. Now we educate people into a state of servility, helplessness, and retardation. Sophisticated confusion.

It takes an intense, prolonged, tax fueled, time sucking education to make a modern individual properly useless. Good for opining, consuming, and drifting from one meaningless encounter to the next. An epicurean idiot.

Anyway, back to the story of this DC apartment building. It has a gym and a grocery store like any self respecting upper class compound. But where it sets itself apart is the roof. There’s a waterfall and grotto. And a boardwalk. I don’t know how a boardwalk works on a rooftop but then again I’m not a creative designer. My imagination is limited.

The rooftop of a two city block spanning apartment complex in the heart of an historic black neighborhood where crack wars used to rage also has a Steinway grand piano. As well as a swimming pool. And an obsidian altar for sacrificing infants.

Groves where masked socialites perform unspeakable acts of debauchery on each other away from the prying eyes of the populace. Hidden alcoves where elites practice their ritualized pedophilia. Goats blood and trafficked cambodian children. Drugs you’ve never heard of, psychedelic viagra.

Caligula is a real estate developer. Property management companies are run by sybarites and impudent urban planners taunt the gods with their prideful designs. They live to top themselves. So far as they’re concerned they haven’t yet gone far enough.

The apartments in this obelisk of exclusivity range from a $2400 a month studio to a $12,00o a month penthouse. You can’t afford to live here. You can shop in the stores on the ground floor, but you won’t be using the gym or playing Burt Bacharach on the roof.

When people have money, they segregate themselves. They tower above the masses, swimming leisurely laps on their rooftop pools. That’s the appeal. Seclusion, exclusivity and comfort. They sell life in this building as convenience, but the rich buy it on contempt. The more wants and needs I can satisfy without leaving my estate the better. Fewer common folk befouling the air around me. 

There’s a quote in this story from one of the developers. It becomes this place where you really don’t want to leave.  I don’t know about you, but that statement screams community to me. Sounds like the kind of place that will bring neighborhoods together to create a warm, open environment. They’re building this up to be a place where people stick around and establish themselves for generations, where people with different histories can mix and forge a new, shared future.

Now, when they talk about this being a place you don’t want to leave, they don’t mean the area, they don’t mean the neighborhood. They’re talking about the building. Lock your doors and close the gates. We have everything you need in here. Whatever happens around you doesn’t matter because you have the resources to leave whenever you want. You’re invulnerable to the consequences of your transformation of this public space. 

The first story in this paper is a matter of fact exposition of an obscene pleasure palace in the middle of the city. And then the next story is about another set of apartments under a different management company. Terrace Manor in the Southeast quadrant, owned by Sanford Capital. In case you were wondering, southeast DC is one of the last undeveloped poor black parts of the city.

And in poor, black, southeast dc, no one builds penthouses with grocery stores at the bottom. Not yet anyway. Give it five years. Right now it’s post apocalyptic. Sanford Capital is currently in court over the conditions of their properties. The writer of the article describes it as deep disrepair. That’s one way to put it.

Terrace Manor is overflowing with raw, human sewage. It’s a waking nightmare. Diarrhea bubbles up into resident’s bathtubs. The carpets are soaked with liquid poop. Pipes break and toilets explode, sending shit and shattered porcelain everywhere. There are gas leaks. Bugs and vermin roaming unchecked.

Floods of feculence spilling into living rooms. The concentrated stench of exposed human waste stinging eyes and choking throats. People are getting sick and going to the hospital. The air is dense with the fumes of curdled turdwater. Sometimes it takes days for anyone to come and fix the broken pipes and toilets. Sometimes no one comes at all.

One resident was shitting on the toilet when the ceiling fan fell on his head. His towel rack broke and a team of mongoloid maintenance men destroyed his wall trying to fix it. Another woman’s refrigerator stopped working and the management company gave her another one. It was used, dirty, wet and full of bugs. She wouldn’t store food in it.

The article just ends. Sanford Capital didn’t comment. We talk about the shitty lives of the poor, but sometimes it’s not just a colorful description. Southeast DC has turned into India. Proper waste disposal is a bare minimum requirement of a civilization. There are people living outside of civilization not even ten miles from rooftop piano parties and hot yoga classes.

And finally, the last article is about the futility of small business ownership in DC. Most small business can’t keep up with the ever rising rent. They almost always fold within a couple of years. The writer of the article interviewed the owner of a boutique clothing store in Northwest DC on Connecticut Ave. For those of you not in the know, Connecticut Ave was one of the few safe, rich white parts of DC prior to the massive gentrification that began around the first Obama term.

If a boutique clothing store is going to make it in this city, it’s going to make it on Connecticut Ave. But this place is shutting down. The owner can’t pay the rent. His proudest moment was earning the patronage of Kevin Spacey, who walked in one day and spent $1400. Later, when Spacey returned to the store, he was disappointed to hear that it would soon be closing.

You can put your high end clothing store in one of the whitest, wealthiest parts of DC, and you can snag Kevin Spacey as a repeat customer, but it won’t be enough to save you. People other than Kevin Spacey will walk into your store, take a picture of something they like, and then walk out and order it online.

It will be a little cheaper that way. Not much, but just enough. Online retail is destroying physical space. And given that we are physical beings, and that our deepest needs are ineluctably connected to the physical world, to our bodies and the space we inhabit, we are destroying ourselves.

For the sake of what? Efficiency, convenience, comfort, and privacy. The grinding, moronic drive to optimize, streamline and standardize every function. Replacing all natural bonds with contracts and laws. Everything unconscious, organic and fertile must become conscious, engineered, and sterile. This is the fulfillment of the modern project. First man dominates nature with instrumental rationality, and then instrumental rationality dominates man.

It’s just easier, cheaper, and faster to shop online, says the morally, physically and emotionally drained humanoid living in his futureman bug colony studio apartment. His embodied contact with the world reduced to retinas and fingertips. Contracted pupils in the radiance of anonymous, disembodied transactions.

Small, local businesses can’t make rent and get replaced with mega chain outlets. Urban spaces come to resemble each other and lose their distinctive characteristics. Where you are becomes meaningless. People without attachment to a particular place can be more easily controlled, moved around and manipulated.

Luxury apartment buildings radically transform urban space into disconnected, discontinuous zones of short sighted spending and bidding. The wealthy construct inaccessible private enclosures which redound on the market value of surrounding properties, sending prices into the stratosphere and making it next to impossible for anyone else to live or do business nearby.

These living spaces attract people with money, mobility, and the desire to be secluded from the rest of society. The designs of their buildings are based on short term, low commitment, high cost habitation. They never have to confront the negative, unforeseen effects of tampering with delicate urban ecosystems to suit their overindulged tastes.

So once the high rise apartments with pianos on the roof price people out of their neighborhood, they’ll move to the overlooked and underserved districts, into filthy hovels near ruptured septic tanks. They’ll choke on the accumulated ass vapors of the entire city while they spend what little money they make shopping online. They can’t afford therapy, schooling, or job training, but they can ease the pain of living in broken down outhouses by clicking themselves into a state of virtual contentment.

It was a hell of a read.

Peddling poison

Dialed in coffees for work today today. Drank more than I should have. This is caffeine poisoning. An overdose. Has coffee ever killed anyone? I’ll find out; no one dies from coffee. Last year a couple of people died from caffeine pills and energy drinks.

So I won’t be dying but death would be a relief. This is torture. I’m coming apart, my molecules are leaving en mass. I can feel it happening. I’m sweating underneath my skin. Intestinal distress. Holes in my colon, bladder bursting pressure, stomach in a vice.

My eyes are raisins, tight and shriveled. There are bolts in the back of my head. My mouth has an oddly metallic, tinny taste to it. Heart is thudding, rocking my rib cage.

The feeling in my skin. I could peel myself raw. There are ant colonies inside me. Everything is covered in a fuzz, everything is brushed with grey. The world is losing its definition. All my senses converge on a paralyzing panic.

It’s a chemical imbalance. It’s all about the chemicals. The balance, ratio, proportion, mixture. It’s all matter and mass, interaction of matter. You’re made of a bunch of stuff stuck together. That’s your life, you being alive is dependent on your stuff staying together.

Well, at a certain rate of speed or in a certain relation to time at least. We’re always changing, losing and gaining parts of ourselves. But we stay alive, we maintain our organic form because we change slowly enough, at the right rate for stability. If you change from one state to another too quickly, you pass from a living organism to a body. Pass back into matter, disorganized stuff.

A dead body is uncanny. Why do you have a body when you’re alive and then become a body when you’re dead. Why is it so hard to look at the dead body of someone you knew. When a person is alive, they are an image, a screen, an immaterial spirit. They’re light enough they could float away. And then they become an object, a piece of matter. Solid, inert.

It all comes to down to chemical proportion. Imbalance. They say chemical imbalance when talking about mental illness. But chemical imbalance describes everything that disturbs or breaks down the relations between your component parts.

Your whole body is made of smaller bodies made of smaller bodies. Those smaller bodies compete, cooperate and die to keep your body together. Then your whole body plays a role in keeping an even larger body together. And you will compete, cooperate, and die in turn.

Anything healthy and functional is appropriating one thing and expelling another. Every little body at each and every level of scale is made of smaller bodies dying. They are co opted, assimilated, incorporated as a function of a larger body. Every whole gets swallowed up by a bigger whole. But the small bodies get their revenge; they also colonize and break down the bigger bodies.

There’s no safe scale, no manner or mode of organization that can’t be either assimilated or torn down to serve something else. Try to imagine all of this at once. In one moment grasp the extent of everything using everything else as a tool for a temporary existence.

When looked at from the inside, everything wants to be itself forever. Its essence is a desire to persist without end. But nothing persists forever because something else always breaks it down.

Death is in the relations between things. It’s not in the things themselves.

This is why we can’t imagine death. We can’t accept it or confront it because it’s not within us. We look inside and see only life, desire for life, eternal presence.

Death comes from the outside. It visits us. Takes us away from our bodies, ends the desire for the everlasting.

Why this dizzying infinity of little pieces of matter, of atoms, molecules, gasses, rock, wood, water, cells, and flesh. Billiard balls knocking into each other. We can’t imagine death and we can’t imagine life without a purpose. All this stuff has to be for something. We have to be for something.

Reading Spinoza and remembering that we’re part of nature, and nature is synonymous with god. Nothing is accidental or arbitrary. God acts out of the necessity that follows from his nature. So nothing exists for the sake of something else but rather because it was caused by something else, which was also caused by something else before it, with everything being caused by god out of absolute necessity.

Everything that is, has been, and will be must necessarily be as it is because God acts out of necessity. This is supposed to make you feel good. Not elated, not effervescent, but calm, content. There’s no sense in wishing for things to be different. Believing things could be different is foolish. You become passive, a slave to passion.

We comprehend causes inadequately through our senses and imagination. Our feelings and fantasies fail to grasp both our own nature as well as the greater nature of which we are only a part. But reason grasps god in thinking of necessity.

There is nothing to hope for or fear, nothing to regret. Our passions are products of ignorance, of failing to understand the true causes that determine us. Man uses hope and fear to control man, promising and threatening his way to power. It’s unwise to cling to finite things, to love   what you lose.

But there is a higher state of love. We can love God. Not for personal gain, not for the sake of something else. For no other reason than that God is infinite power.

We will, as the specific composite of smaller bodies we are, experience fear, pain, hate, envy and sadness. But we can find contentment in the contemplation of the necessary causes through which we come to be and suffer.

I was hoping this would be enough to counteract my caffeine poisoning. This bad combination of chemicals. I wanted to read Spinoza and follow his propositions to a beatific condition. My organs are decaying and my skin is disintegrating. This is how it has to be. Why don’t I feel better about it.

Watching the watchers

One thing I love about Trump is how people react to him. Everything he does sends liberals, leftists, conservatives, and mainstream journalists into fits of impotent, revealing rage. Their obsession with his every word and move is a case study of arrogant, contrived consensus breaking down. It’s a desperate, flailing attempt to control a derailed narrative. And they’re failing in a spectacular, flamboyant fashion. 

The estrogen soaked consternation, the wailing and whining, the confused, incoherent accusations, the ineffectual, dimwitted insults, and the dizzying inconsistencies make for riveting entertainment. 

But it’s more than amusing, it’s also instructive. Students of human nature have a lot to learn from the Trump effect. He turns people into caricatures of themselves. His enemies let their guard down and hold nothing back. They openly, impulsively display their cowardice, contempt, and pretension without a moment’s humility or reflection. 

Nothing makes a weakling seethe harder and more bitterly than encountering someone who doesn’t suffer from persistent feelings of inadequacy. For the low T brigade, nothing is more offensive and threatening than an unapologetic, masculine man.

Trump draws out the snivelling pseudo-intellectual and makes him look like a tasteless, try hard nerd. The average person desperate for distinction secretly loves having a “dumb” president because it makes them feel much smarter than they are.

People grunt, groan and strain harder than ever now to distinguish their carbon copy intellects because we’ve fallen into the disordered habit of overvaluing a narrow form of intelligence. 

Mass society shits out a surplus of middling, directionless, formless people who tepidly congratulate themselves for not being bigots and nationalists. For the bland, disposable and redundant, there will be no higher honor or greater achievement than thinking the right things at the right time. 

They have no superlative skills or talents. No industry or energy. They don’t have essential roles or functions in society and they won’t become wealthy or famous. But at least they’re educated, at least they know how to think, DAD.

Hordes of people struggle to suppress the disappointment of being less than what their fraudulent authorities, educators, and parents promised them. And then someone comes along who is so much more than he deserves to be, who was given every advantage and, worst of all, seems to enjoy it and feel no guilt over it. 

We don’t like pride in others because it crowds out our own. We’re offended by vanity because we ourselves are vain. And narcissism, well, you see where this is going. But people can’t help themselves; they call Trump a narcissist because he injures their narcissism.

It feels good to call someone a narcissist because it deflects attention from personal stasis and thwarted ambition. Narcissism is sometimes equated with grandiosity for the purpose of self deception. If that guy’s a narcissist, I couldn’t possibly be one…

People compare themselves to Trump and are able to say, I’m not like that, I’m not a monster. I care about other people. I care about the plight of minorities…

But they don’t see how, in their preoccupation with someone else’s grandiosity, they reinforce their own narcissism, a skewed, stunted personality structure that feeds on fantasies of living in a society that pushes them down, that doesn’t recognize their worth or prevents them from realizing their potential because it rewards those show stealing, careless jerks like Trump.

Narcissists are trapped within themselves; they’re dexterously self limiting. They can be self loathing rather than self loving or any mix of the two, but the basic structure of festering introversion, inhibition, and confusion over a weak identity remains the same; cold, withdrawn and rigid.  *

Their supposed empathy, which they often congratulate themselves on, is rather aggrieved self pity projected outwards. It’s an excuse, among many others, for their halting, insecure, passive behavior. They care too much, they tell themselves as they sink into a consumptive, moral stupor. 

Trump, on the other hand, is vigorously extroverted. He gets out of himself to get into other people. He knows, intuitively, how to reach people and move them. 

Many people are, despite what they think of themselves, not persuasive or skilled at building relationships because they are too self absorbed and lazy. To be persuasive and make deals, you need to work hard and forget yourself. You have to leave your frigid, imprisoning concern with authenticity behind. 

Trump is a people person, and people hate that. He’s not an intellectual, but this is a strength rather than a weakness. Trump doesn’t read books, he reads people. He’s comfortable with himself around others. But he’s dumb so it must be easy for him.

People want their intelligence to be the reason they can’t relate to others, when it’s their narcissism and sloth. 

They don’t like to see someone having fun and bringing others together with natural charm, hope and humor. An extroverted, charismatic personality has an electrifying effect; Trump motivates those around him and inspires confidence and fearless forward movement.

Whereas goony, insecure intellectuals tend to bore, disturb and depress. They’ll make excuses for their alienating, unpersuasive attempts to win people over. It’s not fair, they’ll say, that idiots don’t appreciate their dazzling intellects. No one respects the truth. No one loves science and facts. If only everyone cared about policy, if only people appreciated intelligence, if only I knew how to relate, if only…..

Trump is also funny, and most people that hate him are painfully, grotesquely unfunny. They are the type to compensate with sarcasm for what they lack in wit. Snark, their dominant style of humor, is charmless, womanly petulance. It lacks timing and insight, confirms expectations rather than defying them, and only works on the already convinced.  

A relatable sense of humor, like a magnetic personality, is something many don’t have. It’s another inegalitarian trait unevenly distributed.

Envy, on the other hand, is essentially egalitarian, inexhaustible. There’s plenty to go around for all the otherwise deprived. 

 * See thelastpsychiatrist.com One of my favorite blogs, now sadly defunct. I thought his take on narcissism was relevant here.