something i wrote at work last week

Don’t bring a book if you want to read. Don’t bring headphones if you think you’ll want to listen to some music. Never adjust your routine because as soon as you do, you will regret it. As with almost all the things I write, what I was saying in my head made a lot of sense and was totally understandable. Then I attempt to type it out just as what my brain created, and out comes this drivel. I brought a book to my job today. I didn’t read the book because I had to work at my job. I’m not complaining about that, I’m happy that things came up and I had things to do. However, there wasn’t much on the schedule for me today, everyone was either sick or on vacation or working virtually and I thought I would be in this tiny office all too my lonesome. At the moment I am sitting with a 9-year-old child who is watching something on his mom’s phone, and he doesn’t have headphones. I do not know what he is listening to, but I do know it’s annoying. Granted, compared to the things I hear coming from the holding cells that are near me, it’s not too bad.

Sometimes I go on little getaways, tiny “vacations” with my wife, by myself and I always pack like I’m preparing to be stranded for days on a desert island and will need a way to entertain myself. I’ll pack video games, I’ll pack books, I’ll pack a Kindle, and like, for what? Five hours of round-trip flying. A couple hours on a bus. Why do I think I’ll magically be able to read 1500 pages, listen to 5 podcasts and beat a 40-hour game in that time span? Especially when as soon as I’m on any form of interstate transportation, I immediately fall asleep. Doesn’t this have something to do with a book? Reading is important. It builds something within you. I don’t know what it builds, but I’ve been readin’ for 25+ years now so I want to think it had some payoff.

I didn’t want to feel the need to bring a book to my work. I don’t normally ever feel the need. But when put in a tiny office and awaiting clients that are not showing up (although they sometimes do), it’s a way to kill the downtime when staring at your phone seems even less productive. Except, it’s the times when you think you’ll be alone and doing nothing that the most things start to happen. People are running late so ask you to cover their groups, folx are out and about so you must cover another group. Most of what happened was that I had to cover groups which resulted in me having one on one sessions with clients. Which again, not complaining! I want to work, I want to interact with clients, I want to actually do something! All I can say is that if I didn’t bring this book, don’t ask me how I know, but none of this would’ve happened. The universe saw me carrying a book or two (yes, it was two. I seriously thought I’d literally finish one book and start another all in the span of one workday?) and just knew that it’d set obstacles in my way to prevent me reading even a single sentence.

This is not a blog about my job, now almost two months in, or a blog about anything. This is just a way to finish off the last leg of today’s day. I figure if I can’t read a book, then I can write my own. Though this is not a book, this barely constitutes an essay. This is just a way to pass the time. Honestly? I’m surprised I wrote so many words. I’m both thinking I haven’t written enough words and realizing that I milked this very simple topic as much as possible.

It’s like the second day of fall or something, huh? Yeah, that’s cool. Not a lot of fodder for commentary there. Fallder. Doesn’t make a great pun either. I’m just gonna figure out something else to do for the next 23 minutes of my time. Then it’ll be the weekend and that’s always fun. Until next time, which, as always, I can not predict when that’ll be. So it goes.

i don’t walk out of movies.

I’m going to get back to the title at some point. A couple days ago, I ingested more than the suggested amount of pre-workout and I was stuck with an idea for a post. However, I then decided I didn’t want to write while under the influence of caffeine so I should actually exercise like I intended to. Which I did. And then once I was finished, I didn’t have the drive nor desire to finish writing what I started. I kind of planned to just delete this open tab so I wouldn’t be taunted by the unfinishedness of it all. That was until I had a dream last night.

The song that inspired me while on the pre-workout was from Hamilton. The dream that inspired me to continue what I started was also about Hamilton. Except, I was dead. I don’t know how I knew I was in purgatory, but I was. It was distinctly neither heaven nor hell, just purgatory. I explained to my wife this morning as much as I could remember and I remember even less now. All I can say is that I wasn’t in the land of 1776, I was not part of the American Revolution, I was just part of a stage show. What’s the better word for an extra nowadays? A background artist. I think that applies to movies and tv, not stage plays. I was a member of the ensemble. You could see me in the background of pubs, drinking beer, staring around aimlessly while plans for a revolution were being rapped/sung. I was in the room where it happened, but it wasn’t that interesting because I was aware I was in a musical and I had no escape. I know purgatory is a Catholic idea, and I don’t even know much about it. I know it’s kind of the flux state before you get sent to Heaven, but like, I don’t know why you get sent there, what happens there. I say all this because I barely know anything about it, and yet I was certain I was in it in this dream. I couldn’t escape, I just had to go through show after show, knowing that eventually, I’d be moving on to the next step. Which I think I assumed was Heaven, more so me being optimistic than Hell.

As I just typed that out, it became painfully obvious that this was my brain trying to process my current life of funemployment. Where I’ve been talking to a specific job for two months, have done 3+ hours of interviews, got promoted to the next stage over and over, and still waiting for the finality of it all. Realizing that is so much less exciting than wondering why I was in some between-worlds Hamilton-inspired purgatory. Ugh, self-reflection can be so boring. Plus, hyphenates can be so overused.

I was going to dive deeper into the dream and comment further on it, except what’s the point? I understand the dream, I understand the message. It was more just annoying that I’d wake up, close my eyes again, and immediately start hearing “Raise a glass to freedom” in my brain. Hamilton is a great musical, don’t get me wrong, but when you’re constantly in the background, you can still get tired of the songs. I also write these blogs to attempt to provide myself some escapism from my funemployment woes, and I thought sleep was part of that too. No, nope, it isn’t. Now my dreams are just barely veiled metaphors and parables and fables and blah blah blah that are not letting me get any distance from my thoughts. Let’s move on, let’s address this title.

I am still reading Gogol. I am still reading Barthelme. I’ve spoken of them before, authors of before my time. Gogol especially, Barthelme was alive during my lifetime. I bought books of their short stories because I saw them both (the authors) listed on the greatest short stories ever page. They are surely skilled writers and some of their stories are magnificent works. However, if you hear about the best film of all time, you watch the movie. Do you then watch all the director’s previous and future works? Do you make sure to read every screenplay the writer writes? Do you follow the actor’s career forever hoping they’ll pull off a performance like that again? A better example would be to use a novel by an author because it’s the same context as a short story. If someone is known as writing the greatest novel ever, that doesn’t magically make all their other works seminal. Any work of art should be judged on its own merits, which doesn’t carry over a sheen to be applied to all previous and future works. It might make you excited to read other things, watch other things, to try other things, but it doesn’t guarantee their quality.

I write this because I do not walk out of movies. I’ve seen some real doggone crappy movies. I write this because I do not quit on books halfway through. I force myself to finish them. Why? Maybe a hope that there will be something memorable or worthwhile that I’ll be angry at myself over for missing. Maybe because I’m a masochist who loves to torture himself. Or maybe just because once I start something, I just felt a compulsion to finish it. Eventually. That relates more to literature, if a movie is crappy, I’ll finish it all at once. If a book is lackluster, I might take my time, but eventually, I’ll whittle it down.

Again, all of this is being said to say that just because you write “one of the best short stories of all time” does not mean that every story you write is a hit. However, because I was initially interested in these authors due to their potential as the best, I continue to read their stories in the hopes of finding another story that might be a gem. I’m not saying the stories are bad, or a waste of time. No, to be clear, I’m not saying all of them are. I am saying that some of them are. But it’s that damn title of having one of the best short stories ever that I keep reading and reading because if they could do one of the best, they must be pretty good. Which again, I digress, they are. Except for even the best baseball players bat .350 and that means they’re still missing more often than they hit. That’s how I feel about these stories. They wrote great ones, they wrote bad ones, but more importantly, they wrote so damn many of them. These books of their stories are 400+ pages each. And I can’t stop reading them. I wish I could. I’m nearing the finish line and I’m so excited to close them after that final page and never touch them again. Then one day I’ll tell my kids I read the best short story of all time, and they won’t care. Then I’ll ask them to read it and they won’t even know what a book made of paper is. Then, well, they’ll go back to whatever it is they do and I’ll wonder was it worth it to read that story? And I’ll tell myself…so it goes.

this is 31+1.

Remember when 300 came out? All those cgi washboard abs? the most infamous line and heck, maybe the thing anyone can even remember from the movie anymore is when king Leonidas shouts “this is Sparta!” and kicks a person into a pit. When I say all anyone remembers, I meant just the line itself and not the scene. I’m not sure how I even remember that scene. I remember I saw that movie in Tennessee with my aunt and I saw a double feature of 300 and The Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. Back to back. I learned that day, that no matter how much I love movies, watching two back to back in a movie theater before they installed those reclining seats was a really bad idea.

I was just standing in my kitchen thinking about what I would say here, and let me tell you, recapping a college visit to Sewanee (a cult) was not my intention. I was going to write a list of resolutions that I would actually do as a 32-year-old man because so many of these blogs are just me rehashing the same thing over and over because I come back to this place once every few months. Wasn’t it nice when I was abroad and I was writing this like 3x a week? Nice to me because I actually had original ideas and it felt new and fresh. Now I’m just well. Writing about how I don’t write.

A few days ago, I watched the Martin Scorsese film, After Hours, and I thought about writing a whole post about that. About how it’s rated as one of his lesser works, one of his least popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Then I celebrated one of my best friend’s birthdays last week and we were at a gay bar watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and I looked to my wife and said, “I wish I was half as passionate about anything in my life as this collection of queers is about Drag Race.” And then I thought back to how I was going to write an entire blog post about the 1986 film, After Hours, for no apparent reason and I thought maybe I’m also crazy in my own way.

On a job interview the other day, it was yesterday, they asked about my writing skills. I should’ve diverted them here. Since I’m not likely to get the job regardless, they could’ve had a laugh or something.

Maybe I’ll just quickly list off a few things I aspire to accomplish every year and I fail to do so every year. Hmm, sure, let’s do it. Nike.

Moving on, that list was boring. If I phrase it like that, it implies that I wrote it and deleted it because it was boring. The truth of the matter is that I started to write something (in my head) and it just reminded me of how I have the same dreams over and over and never attain them. So it was more just depressing and sad. I’m also realizing why I don’t write with music or podcasts in my head because it’s throwing off my train of thought. Let me take these headphones out and let’s reassess. Where is my headphones box? Oh no, now I have to find that too. One second, dear reader.

I never delete anything when I write, I barely edit these things. However, I just truly deleted an entire paragraph. It seemed too repetitive even for me. Did I remove those headphones for no reason?

There’s a podcaster who makes jokes about how he used to be a writer but he also sold his company for 200 million dollars so what’s my excuse? No, no, I’m sorry, I said I wasn’t going to rehash old material.

They say constant reading will make you a better writer, but how exactly does that work? I’m reading things every night before bed and all that’s happening is I’m having dreams about being a fighter pilot. The best writers I’ve ever read have only ever made me wonder how the heck did they do that, it didn’t magically make wonderful. I’m putting the headphones back in.

A part of me wants to discuss Gogol’s obsession with noses and coats. A part of me wonders when abstract writing becomes too abstract for its own good and does it hurt the message. But listen, this is about my birthday. This is about aging and the slow (or fast) decline of time and our limited engagement with this ball of rock. Sphere of rock. Rock of ages. Tom Cruise. I just watched Top Gun, Top Gun Maverick, and another Tom Cruise movie in the last week and I’m wondering why I’m dreaming of fighter pilots? It’s pretty obvious.

Just because I have the same dreams year after year, you know what, it isn’t discouraging to me. It’s motivational in the sense that I picked something highly aspirational and maybe I did so because it’s easier to not be let down when you pick difficult goals. A big part of goal making is making small, reasonable goals so they’re actually achievable. Isn’t life all about the struggle though? If I finally have a six-pack, what else do I have to hope for in life? When I write that Tony award-winning musical, what left is there to achieve? An 8-pack? An Oscar-winning adaptation of my own musical? Damn, that’s true. I guess you can do more than one thing and call it quits.

Listen, I just want to accomplish some things this year. I want to read an entire issue of The New Yorker cover to cover since I’ve subscribed to it for so long. Foreign Affairs magazine? Maybe next year. Do I care about a six-pack? No. But I want to rip this shirt off (sexily) and not greet the general public with noticeable love handles. I vow one day to write a musical, but how about a song? Let’s just start with one song. I bought a keyboard during the pandemic, have I learned anything yet? Let’s also go with a song. Let’s learn a song. It can be a simple one. How many other things do I have to list here? Gainful employment is a given, so it’s not aspirational enough. Fluency in Portuguese, that’s also a given, but not a given based on how often I practice. Let’s throw that in there too. I want to have a damn conversation with my wife’s family, that’s not too much to ask.

Okay, I know I should already be finished with this. It’s already too long. And I have a headache, but that’s due to taking too much pre-workout and not writing this. I don’t know how ADHD feels, but I think I took too much where it’s extremely hard to concentrate and it’s making my writing even more haphazard and disheveled. One of my friends called me zany once. One of my best friend’s sisters said I wasn’t cute, but I looked goofy. She intended it as a compliment. I don’t think I took it as one.

I can’t believe I turned 32 this year, this month, this day, and I still can’t grow a beard. I’m going to write another blog sooner than later, not because of my fans, but because I’ve inserted way too many paragraph breaks. What day is it? This song is chanting TGIF and I thought it was Friday. It’s Wednesday. I was born on a Friday though. This song is referencing my birthday. Katy Perry knows it’s my birthday. I appreciate all the love from friends and family, but Katy Perry knows it’s my birthday. There’s not much one can ask for in life. So it goes.

i am not a writer

I have never claimed to be a writer, so I don’t this is much of a big reveal. Granted, I never claimed to be an editor either and that seems to be what I do more than ever nowadays. Not editing my own stuff, not editing anything renowned or “the next big thing.” No, I find myself editing papers that my fiancee is doing for university or editing things for a Colombian friend that I think is for her job. I suppose since I have no employment of my own as of yet, knowing I’m helping assist someone with something is better than doing nothing at all. At the same time, this blog post isn’t inspired by me editing Latin American women’s papers. This blog post is inspired by my book club. I was in a book club once before, we only read a few books, but we managed to meet up in person and get a tattoo to forever solidify our book club bond. I do not think that is in the cards with this current iteration (with new members), but ya never know. I read plentifully anyway, but I’ve always liked book clubs for forcing me outside of my preexisting comfort zones and reading things I wouldn’t normally be attracted to. I think we’re currently doing something where we’re reading a different book from every different continent to escape the western-centric novels that tend to be the support beam of literature. This brings me to the book at hand, The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen.

I am not a writer, nor have I ever claimed to be, but often I think to myself that I could write something. And when I say something, I mean something better than what is being read in the mainstream. I’m not the art of writing isn’t difficult or that I actually could write a novel that isn’t utter shit, but sometimes you’re reading something and thinking this is easy, this is breezy, and even I could do this. Though at the same time, it has to be an art form in and of itself to create a “beach read” or an “airport thriller” or something in that vein. Listen, I’m going to come across as like I’m insulting professional writers and I just want to reaffirm that yes, I completely understand this is only my own ego talking and I do not think I could compare to anyone popular enough to pursue writing words as a living. It’s just similar to a notion when people that maybe create student films, or are aspiring filmmakers see a pile of crap movie with a big budget and think that they could easily do the same, if not better for a fraction of the cost. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say people can tell when things are bad and it’s a common reaction to think you could do better if given the same parameters and support. Again, I’m not defending my egotistical thoughts here, because every person has them regarding some topic at least.

Listen, I am not a writer, so please stop me giving me words of affirmation and praise and saying I totally am in the top percentile of guys who write a blog sporadically named Hank. Man, I really had higher hopes for that last sentence until I took a swig of this sparkling tonic with root beer flavor and that has really thrown me off because this is awful. Probably says a lot about me that I thought a root beer flavored sparkling tonic would have any potential of tasting anywhere near acceptable but that’s a topic for another time. Oh right, The Sympathizer. Just because a film wins a Best Picture Oscar doesn’t always mean it’s going to be great, and by that same definition, a Pulitzer prize-winning novel isn’t always guaranteed to actually be the best thing released that year. At the same time, it does give it an air of clout, and one thinks to themselves, at least in my case, that this isn’t going to be objectively awful at least. Or if it is awful then maybe I’m objectively bad at having any taste. I did book this book for the club, not because I had any connection to it, but because I googled lists of the best novels from Asia in the past few years. Was it already highly regarded, a popular hit? Sure. I’m not trying to unearth undiscovered gems, I’m just trying to read a decent book from every continent, rinse and repeat. All I can say is that I’ve read lots of novels, novellas, short stories, biographies, plays, essays, memoirs, history books, non-fiction, academic journals, etc. I am just trying to say that I’ve read a lot of things throughout my years and I like to think of myself as well-read.

Being able to read well, being well-read, probably helps one be a better author, a better writer, but I’m not one of those, nor have I ever claimed to be. If I was, I’d probably be better with syntax. Or hire an editor to make people think I was. I don’t know, I guess I just really wanted to write something about this book. I’m only about 60% done with it, and my other book club member is only at around 5 or so, but like, all I’m trying to say is that that book proved to me that I am not a writer. It also proved to me how few people are writers, even published authors themselves. Every once in a while, you just read something and you think “Holy mackerel, how did a person come up with this?” It could be a plot point, some characterization, but for me, it’s prose. I have a vivid imagination, I can think of some fantastical things; however, I just can’t craft a sentence that blows the socks off of someone. Though yes, I know all my adoring fans would say otherwise. It’s just damn. Initially, my intention was to write a lot more about this and yet here I find myself 1000 words later and I don’t even know if I hit the purpose I had planned. And that’s okay because I am not a writer. So it goes.

primal fear

“Uh oh.” That’s something you never want to hear from a doctor. It’s especially something you never want to hear from a doctor when you’re a teenage kid because then you’re still full of life and hope and happiness. When you go from avoiding mirrors at 16, to ogling yourself too long at them at 17, you’re thinking you’re at the top of the world. You’re thinking nothing can stop you, nothing will stop you, minus all your insecurities built up until then. However, those insecurities are mental blocks, not physical ailments. So yeah, you think if you’d go to a psychiatrist maybe they’ll diagnose something wrong with you, but you never consider anything wrong could be happening with you physically. Hell, you have the first barely there impression of a six pack. You went on a date with a girl! Half of your fashion sense is Puma apparel. You’re on top of the world.

“Uh oh,” the doctor said while he had my nuts in his hand. When you’re 17, your biggest concern with a physical is if you’re going to get an erection from a medical professional handling your unit and be defined as “gay.” It was the late 90s (or around 2007) and homophobia was still sadly rampant, and looking back, we were a bunch of little insensitive, ignorant shits.

Here’s an addendum three days later. I wrote this on a Friday morning when I was freaking out about the future and my upcoming doctor’s appointment with a urologist. That appointment is today and I’ll be leaving in less than an hour. This post did help me in that it alleviated some of the anxiety, along with me rambling on during long voice notes and voice mails as well. I was going to make a whole commentary about how this topic is far different than the 90s Richard Gere thriller film in which it’s named, and more about the primal instinct of insecurity regarding procreation and blah blah blah. I realize this post did it’s job and there’s really no point in posting it all. However, I did mention to my mother that I’d be writing a post about my testicles and I thought it’d be funny that she might be the only person to read it. It’s still funny and I’m going to think about that instead of this impending appointment. So it goes.

I am not a runner.

Exercise is always used as a suggested treatment for depression, except no one wakes up and thinks of themselves as worthless and that they’re better off not being in this world and wants to take a jog. Healthy eating is way to feel better about yourself, but when your life is just walking around with a constant gray cloud above your head, that’s splattering sulfuric, acid rain on your head from time to time, you’re not thinking about braising a piece of meat, you’re going to order too much food at a Taco Bell drive thru and follow it up with a case of diarrhea. Thankfully, none of this applies to me at the current moment. I’m able to do exercises within the confine of my apartment and make a healthy soup that tastes far worse than it should.

I bring this up because it all applies to running. How you might ask? The how isn’t important. The journey is important. Not the end game. Not the Avengers End Game. I am butchering a quote or idiom or something that doesn’t apply to what I’m trying to say anyway. The point is, even in my most elated state of being, you’ll be hard pressed to see me running. I am not good at a lot of things, but I am especially bad at running. I think it was something I’ve always known I was bad at, since one of my earliest memories is having to run races in kindergarten and suffice to say I was not very good. And that’s when I was young and spry! Today, I wished my fiancée’s old host dad (if you know, you know) a happy birthday, although I was a day late because being late is cool. He didn’t seem to have any idea I had returned to New York City after my traversing around the globe, mainly the Southern Hemisphere, or he said he would’ve invited me to the celebratory beer run that was celebrating his birth. I was relieved that he didn’t know I was in town because it would’ve been tough to craft an excuse to not show up that didn’t involve me saying I was bad at running. Because then you’d get the typical spiel of “It’s fine. We’re drinking, we’re just having fun. Don’t worry about,” because that is what people say when they’re trying to be nice. That is what people say when they think you might be bad at running, but don’t know how truly terrible you are.

Depression was only brought up earlier, because I only speak about what I know. No, I’m not referring to me having a Master’s Degree in Social Work implying that I’m an expert about mental health disorders. Though, maybe I should go with that. I’m saying, sure, I dealt with depression or Major Depressive Disorder or whatever you want to call it. Again, that’s not entirely relevant but I want everyone to know that I do have my own copy of the DSM-V that I’ve at least opened one or two times. Not when my depression was gone, but once it was in a better place, once I felt I was recovering and making progress, I planned a 7 month adventure abroad to recalibrate myself, to do something to get me going somewhere that wasn’t a plateau. Before I went off on this trip, I joined a half marathon training group that was mainly composed of middle aged women. Some of them were my mother’s friends, so she helped me get involved and I joined because blah blah blah exercise good for mental illness, etc. etc. Another reason I joined is that I figured I would smoke the competition. Yes, I’ve stated, I can not run, but I was in my mid twenties at the time, and I thought surely that I could be just as good, if not better than a group of 45 year old women. Looking back, this take was ageist, sexist, and just full of stupidity and arrogance. I couldn’t run when I was 5 years old (young and spry) so why did I think I’d be able to run multiple miles after dealing with the weight of depression for the previous years? The moral of the story? I sucked.

There’s probably deeper morals embedded in there, but they don’t go with the title of this post. I am not a runner and every time I’ve thought I could be a runner, due to my idiotic hubris, the universe has told me explicitly to sit down and shut up. Or rather to jog very slowly and then bend over out of breath while someone twice your age runs past you as three times the speed. If I drop a friend’s dog’s leash and they start running away, then I am a runner. That is about the extent of it. If the sheer panic of losing someone’s dog could be expanded into a race like setting, well heck, they’d be calling me Usain Bolt. Until that happens, I am still not a runner. I really do feel like I should expound upon more philosophical mumbo jumbo, except that this blog was truly inspired by the sheer relief of knowing I avoided a running situation in the past 24 hours. Look, I have no idea what the future holds, but until then, I’m thankful for cars. And planes. And trains. And automobiles. Maybe my next post will be about how I am not a roller skater, or blader, or boarder. So it goes.

musings.

Originally this blog was created to document my time abroad and yadda yadda yadda. Yes, I’m including a Seinfeld reference that will barely appeal to my demographic of voracious Gen Z readers. Since I’m finally returning from around two and a half months from a time abroad, maybe it’s time to pick the blog up again. However, I was prepping what I’d want to write in my head during a four-hour commute to the airport this morning and I don’t feel it’s the time to use those lines. Oh, don’t worry, the references would be less dated than Seinfeld but still about 10 or 15 years past when they’d be funny. Like, I busted open my computer now to put my thoughts into worlds while sipping on this mojito in a can, but it just doesn’t feel right. It’s probably because I’m writing this in Microsoft Word and not just write into WordPress because I can’t connect to internet. Like, I specifically write in the blog directly because I don’t like a stupid computer program to tell me my grammar or spelling mistakes. Half of my charm is that I’m unedited, uncensored, and another u word that makes sense in context. The other half of my charm? My encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture that happened when I was a toddler. Can’t wait to bust out some references to the grunge era and when MTV used to play videos.

I also don’t listen to anything typically when I write and now, I have Harry Styles crooning in my ear and that must have some effect. No, not his solo work, but One Direction. As I was just about to type out the lyrics of the song, I am being reminded why I don’t listen to anything except my own inner monologue. I’m also realizing that lines you think would be good in a blog that you’re thinking about when operating off 3 hours of sleep don’t sound nearly as good when you’re trying to put things onto the page. Is this a page? I did have a typewriter once and other how awful it was to use for typing, it did have the benefit of actual pages being created right in front of one’s eyes and you felt accomplished. Right now? I’m just wondering. I don’t even know what I’m wondering. I was going to make some comment about, jeez, it doesn’t matter, I’m getting annoyed by how much Word thinks it wants to edit me. I already thought I used too many commas bucko and you’re telling me to use more? Have some damn self control. Oh, you’re telling me I need a hyphen for self control? That’s not how I play the game, if I wanted a real editor, I’d hire one.

In other news, I talked to an old coworker, and it seems like half of my former colleagues have either left for greener pastures or just left in general. I planned on writing a series of blogs about my time there, but I didn’t know if sharing my secondary trauma with others was a nice thing to do. Trust me though, those posts would’ve been bangers. Or just me venting in a cathartic manner because if I hadn’t left when I did, I might’ve suffered a mental breakdown. Who wants to hear those stories though? I’m in a better place now! I’m a writer again! A writer who writes, promises he’ll continue, and then takes months off. Rinse and repeat. Ad nauseum. I gotta admit, I was excited to write again. It felt good to sit and plan things while I wrote in a car falling in and out of sleep. It also felt good to not have constant internet access for most of the last few months, so I had time to think about random things, mostly bullshit, instead of keeping myself constantly “entertained” in some facet. Does this mean I’ll have a creative resurgence? Probably not. It just means I’ve had even more time to return my favorite fruits list which is something I take more seriously than just about everything else in life. Will I even keep to my promise to write a second blog tomorrow when I have internet so I can write unfettered and bust out my Talladega Nights lines? I sure hope so. I want to write about Brazil, I want to write about Curacao, I want to write about love and engagements and stomach lining.

Until then though? I’ll putter around and dread this 10-hour flight and ask myself why am I listening to the Glee soundtrack for the 50th time. Don’t call this a reboot, don’t call this a retinkering, don’t call this anything but a continuation of a project I started years ago. Something I think I have a tiny modicum of talent for, so I create a rabid fanbase in my head to give myself motivation to express myself creatively as to not let them down. Isn’t loving yourself all about lying to yourself? Oh wow, what a deep comment. I bet no has ever said that before. I GET IT WORD; YOU HATE MY GRAMMAR. I can’t believe I used that reboot line just a couple sentences ago as well, that was one of the things I planned, but not the bastardized version I included here. Trust me, the next post won’t live up to the hype (the non-existent hype), but it will include the line that I thought of in the car this morning. Will it have a narrative payoff? Not at all. Will I be satisfied though? You bet your butt and isn’t loving yourself all about making yourself happy? Another attempt to be deep and the quotes keep getting less and less cliché and just plain bad. So it goes.

I am George Clooney.

A week ago, a year ago, what is time anymore? All I know is I was drying off from my second shower of the day, brushing my luscious locks like a male Rapunzel and I noticed a gray hair. One could write hairs but I already wrote hair so I’ll stick with that. Except then I kept brushing and brushing as Rapunzel does, since her and I are entirely alike minus that I do not live in a castle and I was not imprisoned by Rasputin. Unless that’s confusing fairly tales because I think he might’ve had to do something with the woman and the sewing or whatever it she did. Regardless, I saw gray hair. Hairs. Flecks of gray! Some may call them silver, the some that are calling them silver is me because that sounds much better than gray. The older sexy men are called Silver Foxes, not Gray Foxes, not Gray anything. Gray is associated with the color palette of the new Justice League cut and those 50 Shades films. Two things I’ve never watched! Although I did read the first novel in the 50 Shade series and it was god awful. The point is, maybe it’s the stress of working an overwhelming job that seems to consume the majority of my mental space. Maybe it’s the stress of living through a year+ long pandemic that consumes about all the other unfilled head space. Maybe it’s due to me being 58 years old and my parents lying about my actual birthdate. Or maybe it’s because I’m the reincarnation of George Clooney.

Listen, I know George Clooney is alive with his Italian wife and billion dollar tequila empire or whatever it is that he does. I am not saying I am the reincarnation of George, for the record I call him George. I know he’s alive making Netflix movies that people don’t watch and those who do watch tell him he should stop worrying about directing his own films and just going back to making good ones. It could be telling about me that I saw some silver flecks in my hair and my first thought was how I was a younger, huskier, handsomer version of GC. Some people see those irregularities in their full head of hair and think off to the hair dye section of my local pharmacy I go. Those people are people that we call losers. People that are unwilling to accept that some things change as you grow older and life decides to punch you in the mouth over and over and over again. Those people don’t turn into George Clooney, those people bring back the toupee industry because they’re the same type of folks who will not come to terms with their impending hair loss and instead wear baseball caps to every occasion known to man. I’ve accepted my destiny, I’ve accepted that I’m the next George Clooney. Or the current George Clooney. If he wants to give up his liquor empire to me, who am I to stop him? If I’m picked to star in Ocean’s 14, then I’ll gladly accept the offer. If they want to reboot ER only 5 or so years after they ended it, with me as one of the star doctors, yeah, I’ll do it. It’s not easy to accept reality sometimes, but it’s so much better if we stop resisting what father time has in store for us.

This is the first in my series of blog posts reflecting my mental deterioration over the past year. Maybe in the next few weeks, I’ll find myself unable to keep a shirt on and I’ll compare myself to a mid 2000’s Matthew McConaughey. Or more like I’ll pick up Scientology and become the next Tom Cruise. Finally, there’s a possibility I’ll have a frame of reference that aren’t exclusively male white actors aged 50 and up. I can only hope so. Until then, be on the lookout for HouseFriends by George Clooney 2.0, my future literal translation of his tequila brand that apparently he sold in 2018. I spent like 5 minutes doing research of his films and tv shows and history of his life to make a hilarious joke to end on and that was the best I could come up with. I acknowledge that it’s bad and I’m very aware. So it goes.

beets

These aren’t by Dre. Or these aren’t in reference to Dwight Schrute. Though they do relate much more to him than the formerly mentioned Dr. Now that I mentioned Dr this also isn’t a post about the misogynistic article written about Dr. Jill Biden by some old man. This is just about everyone’s least favorite vegetable. Is you’ve ever wondered what dirt tastes like combined with the color purple then you’ve had a beet. Does this sentence even make sense? No. It’s asking if you’ve ever wondered about something and then saying that you’ve had that something. I regret that sentence. As I’ve written about previously, I like to show my mistakes to show I’m flawed. I sometimes proclaim myself a living god in these blogs so I like to show I’m fallible. I also think it was only one time I spoke of myself as some omniscient presence but since I don’t have any Broadway shows to review right now, or international adventures to chronicle, it’s more likely that I’ll say it again.

I digress. Do people like beets? Do beets have a purpose? I do not care if there’s an answer other than no, because the answer is no. I had beet salad for dinner last night and lunch today. Did I enjoy it? Do I feel better about my life choices? No. It was a stark reminder of how much you can be hurt by forgetting to do one simple thing of actually checking on your food delivery orders because you forgot about it since they forgot about you and didn’t deliver the week prior to that. So due to you not even knowing if you’d receive food this week (that you paid for), you might’ve forgotten to check on the meals and switch anything out if you didn’t like it. No one likes beets. No one opens a box of food and thinks “Oh my gosh, it’s beets. I’m so ecstatic.” If someone tells you different, they are liars and untrustworthy. If anyone ever says anything positive about beets, they should be by a beet. As I wrote that sentence I apologize for the condoning of violence, but it also reminded me about radishes which are also terrible. Those can be pickled though and used in like Korean cuisine and that’s pretty cool. Some might say that the same can be done with a beet, and I’d tell that person to give themselves a swirly in a toilet full of pickle juice because I think their opinion is full of shit. That was a convoluted sentence with not a lot of pay off. You know what? Not a big fan of pickles either! Except I do have aspirations to become a pickler so I’m not going to go fully nuclear with my pickle takes.

A few weeks ago, I was peeling some beets. I was peeling off the skin that was dirt flavored because beets are just spherical purple dirt particles compacted together. While peeling the beet, I also peeled off my skin and didn’t stop bleeding for over an hour. I thought a good idea would be to cauterize the wound by lighting Q-tips on fire and applying them to my bleeding skin. That wasn’t a good idea and I wouldn’t have had to resort to that if beets didn’t exist. I don’t have an excuse for why I had beets in that meal delivery thing, I probably just happened to forget that beets are awful. I think it’s a commonly accepted fact that people say ignorance is bliss are stupid and use that idiom to rationalize their own lack of knowledge. My point is, ignorance isn’t bliss because bliss is a world where you don’t eat beets. I was ignorant and I ate beets. Sure, I do believe that that wound healed and the burnt Q-tip skin of mine was eventually replaced by fresh, new normal skin. Just last week I started bleeding due to cutting my hand while turning on a light in a bathroom. I could just have weak skin, or I could be suffering like Job. I don’t know much more about Job from the Bible other than he was constantly suffering and that it probably involved beets.

Seriously y’all, there’s no big point here. There’s no hidden metaphor. I just don’t like beets and it’s a very slow day at work and I wanted to rant and rave a little about them. Like even at their best, they aren’t good, they just taste a little less like dirt. But again, that’s not something to be proud of. Oh great, you’re better than me digging into the earth with a spade and eating that. Big whoop. Go take a bow. You must be so proud of yourself. I literally just googled beets and this came up: “What’s more, they are delicious and easy to add to your diet.” Maybe the internet was a mistake. Maybe too much knowledge or such easy access to everything has rotted our brains in some manner. That that is the first thing that pops up when you search for beets is such an infuriating conundrum that I can’t do this anymore. By this, I just mean continue to write about beets. Now I’m an anomaly, now I’m deviating from the script because I’m purporting the truth. The hell is wrong with people? I’m at a loss for words. Minus the previous 900 but those were all pre-googling of beets. I’m in shock. Like what? IT’S BEETS.

In other news, Cleveland Indians are changing their name huh? That’s probably (definitely) long overdue. So it goes.

leonard 2

Here comes the thrilling conclusion to the Leonard saga. Like all good movies that ended with their second, so concludes this tale. I can’t think of a lot of series that concluded at a second and didn’t go to even more sequels that typically worsen as they progress. So let’s just say this is The Godfather 2 and pretend that a third doesn’t exist like in that storied franchise. Leonard went AMA on Friday which means he left against medical advice and self-discharged himself. That’s it. That’s the conclusion of the story. I successfully convinced him to enter rehab and then he lasted less than 48 hours before he bounced. I guess the moral of the story is I still gave him 2 more days clean and that’s better than him not having that. Doesn’t entirely make it feel better or make me feel accomplished, but I gotta look on the bright side somehow. Especially today when another client got kicked out of the program for being an asshole to staff. Is that my fault? No, of course not. And we’ll leave it at that because this is about Leonard.

Now that we’re done with Leonard, let’s move onto something else. As Leonard is a broken man that I didn’t have enough glue to fix, I am a tractor beam for broken toys. Sid, or Cid, or there’s no or it definitely has to be one of those two ways of spelling that name was a character in the first Toy Story. He was the kid that had the Island of Misfit Toys and created weird Frankenstein monster fusion and combinations of them. In either Toy Story 3 or 4, he was shown to be a garbageman which is a surprisingly high paying job and they make a higher salary than me. They also sometimes give children toys and are better liked than me as well. I sometimes wish I was a garbageman. I don’t normally re-read anything I wrote but I had to review the beginning of this paragraph because I didn’t even know where I was going with the whole garbageman spiel. Not all of these masterworks are written in one sitting. Sometimes I go to the bathroom and accidentally video chat a group and wonder why my phone is talking to me as I try to unzip my trousers to urinate. Brokenness, broken arrow, that 90s movie. John Travolta and Christian Slater, directed by John Woo. That’s what I wanted to talk about. A film from 1996 that I have never seen and know nothing about. I’m going to start a new paragraph because I’ve gotten so off track.

Back to Leonard, in my previous opus about him, I mentioned that I broke my couch and I blamed it on him. I seem to be getting a new part for the couch that has still yet to be delivered, but I have high hopes for it. By high hopes, I more mean, I have enough trial and error newfound knowledge as to not physically break the couch again. I didn’t think I was going to break the couch the first time, now I’ll be even more cognizant as to not break it for a second time. Do I blame that on Leonard? I do. I know it wasn’t his fault, and though he might’ve raised frustration in me that led to me taking it out on a couch, it was still my fault. Also because Leonard does not care about my couch and he will not be volunteering to come over and assemble it when the new couch part comes in. I wouldn’t even want Leonard there, and I don’t think he’d be a very good helper anyway. Sometimes I feel that a blog is going well, and other times I do not. This is one of those times that I do not and I feel I should start this over and delete everything. I’m not going to, I just feel like I should. Due to typing this while at work, I’m always nervously switching tabs to appear that I’m diligently working and I feel I’m never completely honed in on what I’m actually doing. Granted, the only reason I’m writing this in the first place is because I have so little to do that I thought it could be nice.

Leonard though. Leonard didn’t deliver my new TV, unless he did. I don’t know Leonard’s whereabouts and now that I bring it up, I wouldn’t be surprised if he delivered it. Why am I painting Leonard as a villain? He was a gentleman who suffers with schizoaffective disorder and he thinks his substance abuse problem is more manageable than it really is. If anything, he was a nice guy who’s going through a lot of mental stress and maybe didn’t make the best decision for his recovery. But to think that he delivered me a broken TV is just plain rude to accuse Leonard of. Especially because I know for a fact he didn’t become a UPS delivery man in the three days since he left this facility. Sometimes you read a book of essays and it has like 75% wonderful ones and the other 25% ranges from piss poor trash to kinda okay. I am in that 25% with this today. The whole point of this blog, this post, not this entire blog, was to just be an outlet for me to cathartically release my anger about my broken couch and broken TV. Instead it’s been me including as many references to Leonard as I can and inventing words like cathartically. Elmore Leonard, Leonard Nimoy. I knew there were other people that’ve used that name in history.

Being delivered a broken TV sucks and what sucks more is not knowing if you specifically damaged it with your handling of it, or if it just came that way. I entirely know that I broke that couch and it was my fault but I need to redact that statement because I can’t have the company reading this. I don’t know that about the couch and I’m going to still blame it on Leonard and associates because I can’t blame myself for everything broken in the world. I deal with broken people already, and I’m trying to at least stick them back together enough so that they can survive a few more days in order to get stronger glue. That’s a metaphor, albeit not a very good one. Like the men I work with, televisions are fragile, couches are fragile (if you spend less than 1,000$ on them.) I didn’t have a follow up to that comment and now it reads like a non sequitur statement. I am not on my A game today. I’m also a little late to the party of the cathartic expressions anyway, wait, that was the last paragraph. I am out of this.

Sometimes I think my brain is frazzled. Other days I think it’s razzled and dazzled. Tomorrow one of the detox employees is going on two week vacation. The senior detox counselor has been on a 5 week hiatus to prepare for further licensure. The other two detox counselors are a woman who hasn’t stepped in the office in 8 months and a woman who just started. I will essentially become the head of the detox department and I’ve spent 45 minutes today just writing over 1000 words about Leonard. I can only hope we go to a virtual schedule soon because I don’t think I can be the sole face to the detox department. I prefer to more work from the shadows than represent an entire department. If I’m already breaking couches and fiddling with broken TVs with just one Leonard, how am I going to manage to deal with 10+ a day? I wonder if that’s what George Washington was thinking when he crossed the Delaware. Delaware River? Delaware Sea? Was the state of Delaware just a liquid mass that he had to cross? I looked it up, it was the Delaware River because of course it was. It obviously wasn’t the sea. All I know is that in that famous painting, there was at least one Leonard. It’s obvious since there are a couple people that are totally doing zilch and yet they got to be memorialized on canvas for centuries. The point is, if George Washington and his wooden teeth overcame that daunting river that only people know of because of that painting, and has never been referred to as daunting before, then I can manage to run detox as a one man ship. Because shit man, George had a ton of guys in that boat with him and he was doing absolutely nothing. Like what the heck? I should’ve referenced like a proud Native American hero who carved a canoe themselves and paddled with just their hands, compared to George’s lazy ass. Screw you George Washington, you’re not an inspiration, you’re the real Leonard. I am, well, I don’t want to compare myself to a Native American because they’ve done more than I’ve ever done. All I know is that I’m better than George Washington.

Okay, before I get too off the rails with that. It does suck to have a broken couch and a broken TV. But sooner than later, those will be fixed and I won’t remember any of this. I won’t think of Leonard because I’ll be dealing with a constant influx of new faces instead and I’ll remember December as the year I supplanted myself as a better man than George Washington ever was. Sometimes you gotta be grateful for what you have, and if my worst problems are a couch that I broke and a TV that I could afford during a global pandemic, then I’m doing pretty okay. We’ll just have to wait and see how I feel in leonard 3 though. So it goes.