Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes, We Did

Coming soon to a country near you...


Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On Poverty: Invisible Men (Blog Action Day 2008)

In response to this year's Blog Action Day 2008's serendipitously appropriate Poverty theme...

Poverty effects us all at some point in time, and on some level, in our lives, undetected or not.

We can deny it, make it invisible, hide from it, but it is a constant companion; poverty is a human condition.

It also comes in many shapes, sizes and forms both literal and figurative.

It may even oppose its most commonly inferred definition at times.

Indeed, poverty is not necessarily a financial compromise. But, more often than not, it has its obvious and intuitive connections.

Hardly rare is the hand-in-hand-out nature of income hardships and psychological anguish. Their paths often cross punitively ... even amongst the privileged and most well-to-do. Current economic conditions enforce this reality as our cable news screen crawl headlines remind us of violence towards individuals, and those near-and-dear to them, as they struggle up the careerist chain of command.

We are all in this moment.

Together.

Inextricably.

Now, I admit to being personally "impoverished" of late.

I am lacking in a resource called Time.

I frequently find myself unable to write the lengthy blog posts I used to indulge. Thus, I need the occasional aid of others to help fill in for me (similar to when comic strip creator Bil Keane "goes on vacation" and has Jeffy fill in for him... only someone might end up dead in this case...).

Witness below, a sort of "Suicide Note From The Soul" taken from an (*) anonymous chatroom board posting.

Found herein, a bit of insight, summing up at times crassly but sincerely, the 'poverty of the soul' many of us can succumb to as we get overwhelmed with the 'modern day drudgery' of work-life balance and its complications.

It is a periscope, a rant and an alarm, from one person's personal experience with their particular brand of poverty (I am guessing the author a male nearing his mid-life years - appropo as a modern day Jacob Marley, from one's future "passed" to another future's potential).

Despite its explicit nature, and purposefully politically incorrect tone, there are, indeed, some damningly insightful truths here. If you are unsympathetic or disagree with the sentiment the charges should still not ring hollow; most will relate to it as an expression of frustration with hypocrisy resulting in the questioner's despair.

It is not completely without hope...

(* Aside from a few spelling and grammatical corrections I have left the original content of the note in its intended format.)

~~*~~

Subject: Just my thoughts about life, and yes, I am tired of it...

What is life?

Why are we here?

When we are young we wake up every morning to go to school so we can gain knowledge to go to a better school. Then we stress out and study day in and day out so we can get accepted to college, so we can study a subject that 70% of us won’t even use the day after we graduate. Yet we still go to college and we study so hard, trying our best to get the highest grade we can so we can get a job, so we can start learning everything we can in order to be able to work in a corporation.

Then we start to advance, slowly, but we advance, with 3-6% increases in our yearly salary, waking up every morning so we can go to a job that we don’t like, and go on retreats that do not benefit us and that we dread, taking tests that qualify us to do more and not get paid as much as we should for it.

Why are we here?

Are we here so we can go through the daily routine of this dreadful, anxiety filled excuse for a life, so we can buy a house and stress about being able to pay the mortgage?

Are we here so other people can tell us what to do?

I mean no matter what position you have in a company, you will always have a supervisor, unless of course you own the company, but even then you probably have to report back to the people who lent you the money so you can open your own company. What you thought would be the beginning of a great thing, that you will actually have time for yourself and your family has now turned you into someone you never wanted to be. You are now the person that looks at the bottom line every day, the person that you hated when you were working for someone else, that is you now.

You now start to understand the decisions that your supervisors made because you have to make them yourself, and your employees feel about you the same way you felt about your employees.

Now this situation is for the lucky ones who actually get to do what they like, everyone else is either stuck at a job which, if it is not a dead end now, it will lead to one eventually.

Most people don’t even like what they do, so why do they do it?

We live in a society that dictates that you have to have a job, and it doesn’t matter if you like it or not, you must keep it because everything costs money these days, and one cannot be self sufficient anymore.

So let’s start from the beginning and see what happens:

You are born, your parents hope to raise you well so you can go to school and get good grades for the next 12 years, after which they push you to go to a good 4 year college and get a degree, one that will probably end up being useless to you because after you stress yourself and study until your brain can no longer work, you graduate and get a job. When you start this job you will go on an orientation, which is in simple terms, more learning, studying and testing. After this is all said and done you start to learn everything relevant to your position, which involves more late night cramming. You then need to work your ass off so you don’t have to be called into your bosses office, since if you do, it means that you are not doing your job and you might get fired, something that you don’t want to happen even though you hate your job and you can’t wait for the day that the place burns down.

Now you are in a rut, a routine that you hate which is broken every once in a while by a company retreat or a promotion, one that makes you oh-so-very happy because with this promotion you get a 5% raise in your salary, but you also get a 30% raise in your work load, but hey, you are getting an extra 2-4k a year now, so what the hell.

Now somewhere along the line you will meet someone, if you are lucky, you love each other, if not, you just have kids together, either way, there are kids involved, which brings us to another rut.

Now every day when you get home from your daily grind you spend your time at home, running the kids around, making your spouse feel good about her self, pushing your kids to get good grades so they can get into a good college, so they can get a good job, so they can lead a life, well, like the one you hate right now.

So far, am I on the right track?

Well, all of what I am writing right now is based on years of observing, listening, and experiencing this exact same thing.

Is this what we all wanted?

Is this what we dreamed of when we were kids?

What ever happened to those dreams we all had?

Why don’t people do something to change their lives around?

I don’t know why, and I honestly stopped caring a long time ago.

I have given up on mankind, plain and simple.

We are living in a world that those who have nothing will stay with nothing, those who have too much will always have too much, and those who are in the middle, well, if they are lucky they will stay in the middle, but that is not a guarantee.

We live in a world that you cannot confront anyone anymore because if you do you will either get sued, get fired, or get the lovely “American smile” which is the basic “oh no problem, I am so sorry, I will work on it” and then they turn around and talk shit about you.

Another thing that can happen is that if you voice your own opinion people will just hate you.
People don’t like to think that someone thinks different than they do, so when someone like that comes along, they usually shun them away and make them feel like shit.

There is also the sensitivity issue, in which case a person is too sensitive to hear the truth, and all they do is fuck shit up all day long, and when you try to explain to them nicely, they ignore you, and when you tell it to them like it is, suddenly, they are a victim of verbal abuse. And there is usually some idiot who will always come to their help, which enables them to keep acting the way they do and never change.

I am sorry, but what ever happened to the days that when someone did something stupid you could just tell them that they are fucking up and get it over with?

Since when did society become so sensitive?

WHY THE FUCK CAN'T PEOPLE TAKE THE TRUTH ANYMORE!?

We are living in a society that requires you to walk on egg shells, a society that frowns upon people being who they really are because, god forbid (and yes I said god (little "g"...) and if you have a problem with that then you can fuck off) you are different from everyone else, and that you might have an idea that doesn’t conform to what we usually do.

Why do I have to be nice to people that are assholes to me!?

Why do I have to be a different person around people I don’t know?

Is it because we don’t know each other?

Well, what if we get to know each other and the real me comes out and they can’t handle it?

Would it not have been better to be myself right off the start?

At least they would have known who I really am and not wasted their time with me.

Why is it that every time someone tells somebody what they think right to their face, that they are the bad guy, but when they tell them that they are doing a great job and go to the boss and rat them out suddenly they are doing a good job?

Since when do we like liars?

It is complete and utter bullshit that people cannot handle the truth.

I tell everyone that I meet, if it is at work, school or anywhere else, if I do something to piss you off, tell me, I can’t read your mind, and if you don’t tell me I will probably just keep doing it.
I also tell them that I will do the same to them, and they are happy when I tell them that, but when I fuck up they go behind my back and talk to everyone else about it, and when I tell them they are fucking up, well, now I become an asshole.

I respect everyone, but when you disrespect me, it doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, I will disrespect you right back.

For instance, I worked at a restaurant, the owner's wife (at the time I didn’t know who she was, not that it mattered) had asked me to help her throw away a tree that was dead. After looking at the tree, which was green, and far far far far far far far far far away from being dead as possible, I mentioned to her that the tree was not dead. We then proceeded to talk about the tree being dead or alive, and I finished it off by saying, “Look, I work here, I will do what I am told, but the tree is not dead.”

Well, the following day the GM (General Manager) approached me and told me that the subject had come up that I had treated her without too much respect because she was a woman. After hearing this I had thought in my head, “No, I treated her without respect because she was an idiot, being a woman had nothing to do with it, and for comedic purposes, completely coincidental.” (and yes I actually think like that).

Keep in mind that out of the 6-7 weeks that I actually worked at this place, almost every morning was spent with the GM outside talking about things that went wrong (by talking I actually mean lectures of how I am fucking up, surprisingly enough it was something different every time).

About a week after the tree incident the GM took me outside and told me he had to let me go, at which point I told him that if he hadn’t done this today, a week from now I would have quit anyway, and we went our separate ways.

Now, to stick up for the GM, which he is a great guy in my eyes, he got caught in the daily crap grinder which is work. The restaurant was bought out by another company, and since he worked at this place before, he was promoted to the position. He worked day and night (literally) to do everything he could to satisfy his new owners, which took a large toll on his marriage, which I hope that he had managed to fix, since I really don’t wish him any harm what so ever, in fact, I hope that he succeeds in life, and maybe learn to breath every once in a while.

Moving on…

People today have this amazing trait, and I have noticed this with several people, they would meet someone, no matter who it is or where they met them, but they will take their business card, promising that they will call them and do business with them, and never call back.

Now I understand if you meet someone and it is just for the night, hell, we all did that. We are out at a bar, or sitting around drinking coffee, whatever it is that we are doing, we meet someone, conversation comes up, and you talk to them, it is more of a selfish thing since all we really want to do is pass the time. This is completely fine, and again, we all do this.

But my question is why do people feel the need to lie to other people and promise them that they will call them. People, this is a spur of the moment thing, you do not have to feel obligated to call this person just because he is as selfish as you are trying to pass the time until they need to go do something else.

Look, just do what I do, talk to them, be nice, more important, be yourself, and when it is all said and done, get up, say good bye, and leave. No commitments, no empty promises.

Now there have been occasions where I have met someone incredibly interesting that I thought could benefit me as a person, professionally or socially, in which case we did exchange cards and we did keep in touch.

But for the average day to day meeting of new people for the hell of it, it doesn’t matter.

I think that the one thing people hate the most is being disrespected, and being lied to is a form of that, so this is where the whole “do onto others…” thing that our parents taught us when we were kids comes into play.

As far as life goes, I used to hope that people actually try to do something about what they didn’t like in their lives and enhance what they liked. But today, I think I am starting to realize that people would rather be safe then happy.

Most people would rather live their lives in the rut, doing the same things day in and day out, hating every minute of it, just because they know what will happen next.

People are scared to do what they like, or think they like, because it is not what they are used to.

They are not used to feeling content with themselves, and such a feeling of happiness is something that they fear, because it is different then what they are used too.

The fact that people do what they do for a crappy paycheck is pathetic, since they can do something they like for the same amount of money.

Actors say that life is a stage for us to perform on every day, and no matter what happens, the curtains will still go up tomorrow.

Artists say that the world is a canvas, and that we all paint our own picture.

Philosophers say that this is the only life we have, so might as well make the most of it.

Not many people get better lives out this type of advise, but for those select few, I am sure their lives are truly amazing, as for everyone else, I think the least they should do is try, because if they don’t, well, their lives just suck.

And if you ever wanted a catchy chick-flick-type quote from me, well, "the clock never stops ticking, so you might as well enjoy the second you’re in now, because the next one is completely different".

See what I mean?

Pass this whole message on to anyone you know, don’t be afraid. And if it effects anyone, I mean even one person, at least I know that my life was not for nothing other than the daily grind.

~~*~~

We are all poorer because one of us is impoverished somehow.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Exactly What Is A Post Turtle?

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man.

Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President.

The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle.'
Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post
turtle was.

The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and
you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle.'

The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he
continued to explain. 'You know she didn't get up there by herself,
she doesn't belong up there, she doesn't know what to do while she is
up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumbass put her up there
to begin with.'





Thursday, October 9, 2008

Jesus & Mark Wrapped In Plastic


Photograph by Geoffrey Kroll (New York City, 2007) www.krollphotography.com