12.08.2016

Characters and Spaces

THIS POST WAS WRITTEN, BUT NOT PUBLISHED, OVER FOUR (4) YEARS AGO. IT'S PAINFUL TO READ, EVEN IF ITS COMPLAINTS ARE EVER MORE RELEVANT.

There is a plenitude of happening.

(Somewhere, anyway.)

That last bit was written in jest. (Ingest.)

I actually don't think that I can disclose the primary details for legal reasons, but I can barely wait.

While I do feel like a pollutant in an already-filthy lake, it's been a good couple of days. That means that the more-quizzical aspects of life-and-living can receive some oxygen and be like an algae bloom.

My street--blighted by the calculated woes of the day, yet verging on redemption--is confused by its inhabitants. I can relate to that, for I am puzzled by the minuscule cross-section of larvated humanoid-apparatus material here in the center of the newly diagnosed "13th-Best Small Town in America" (according to Smithsonian magazine). In their little paragraph about why it's so great here, they make no mention of anyone unaffiliated with Bowdoin College or AARP.

When considering where I live, and at the risk of sounding prudish, I must make a confession: the public appearance of topless men (in any climatic idiom) is profoundly unsettling, especially when they're mired gauzily in some state of crapulence. Journey's Don't Stop Believin' blares from a mysterious nearness, and I never started believin', and my skull fills with bilious badness. Cars on jacks, cars on blocks. If you stick around for long enough, you'll encounter a ribald sexist "quip" from someone that absolutely knows better (they're inured to my vocal disapproval of same). The distilled aroma of stagnancy. Oh, humanity. To these gentlemen, and with constancy, I issue my secret plea:
Keep wearing your clothes, please. All of them.

Then I wonder when, or how, slovenly decrepitude became normalcy. Yeah, I know that we're primates and everything, and we've always been kinda gross (we were, after all, made with the crotches of our parents), and I understand that. But that's not what I'm talking about--I'm talking about a kind of dissipation of dignity. To hear it told by elders, people were once less obstreperous and less unraveled than they are today.

(I have a VERY funny story, marked with an asterisk, to tell you. After my soapbox sinks into quicksand.)

That is not by any means to say that there was nothing wrong in the past, but is instead to express my confusion. You might think that, given greater understanding and awareness of the world, a greater social consciousness and/or conscience would emerge. But the violence of speech is unbridled! So much xenophobia, and so little critical thinking. It's dangerous.

(You know, like how you'd assume that thespians, specializing as they do in character studies, would know how to keep themselves in check. Some do, but the ratio leans heavily toward the opposite.)

I grew up, in large part, among rednecks. The place--Frederick, Maryland--used to be a "farm town," but the 1990s saw its population quadruple. (I still have an essay that I wrote about it in 1999, and I'll use it as my next post.) The arrivals, though, were (in large part) of a different stripe--upwardly mobile, fast-food-fitness-club, Isuzu-Rodeo rednecks. I don't use the term redneck to indicate worker (according to its origins as an epithet, founded both in and upon an appalling classist disdain for manual laborers)--that, I assert, is precisely why we have the term worker.

The redneck zeitgeist is an anti-cultural embrace. Untelligence. Volitional and categorical dismissal of any concept that fails to directly and explicity uphold dominion politics. Which would be fine, if their ideas were theirs. But they're parrots, and they like it that way, and if you can't see the total sense in exceptionalism to its core (i.e., I can sin free of consequence, but THEY're all gonna go to hell, or Americans are God's people, which means that whatever we do is God's will), then you're instantly on the wrong side of the us/them binary, which would also be fine if we weren't such a precious, scared-shitless conglomerate whose enacted laws have no objection to ruining anyone.

I am absolutely horrified by America's cultural and economic imperialism, by its disdain for human rights, by its unbelievably stupid (mainstream!) views of other cultures and religions, by the insane arrogance of thinking that they want to kill us because they're jealous of our way of life. Whomever "they" are, we can rest easy and assured that any animus is not an issue of jealousy. It's an issue of not getting their arses handed to them by jock-strap America with its clumsy, catastrophic bravado. Because this country launches unprovoked attacks, with predictably heinous consequences.

Oh, and so on. I could go on for days, but the gist is that the backslide continues apace. It's only growing in urgency as it becomes clearer that humans need to respect each other and listen to each other and be willing to take responsibility for the enormity of our privilege.

12.01.2014

Modernizing Manners

That title is unrelated to the contents of this post, but I've really been wondering who's gonna pick up the mantle of naming conventions and standards of conduct to suit this brutally insipid age. Chapters would include: Misspelled Tattoos--Should You Say Something?

But it's December, a sure as any vomit burp, so I guess that we all can in earnest begin discussing this year's superlatives, and admire (with the skills of reflection that we possess as Homo Sapiens Sapiens) how much we simultaneously 

ballyhoo the unremarkable ("Best Hangnail of 2014", "Most Epic Flossing Fail Ever"), 

minimize the cosmetically momentous (landing a camera on a comet, the Pope calling hell "a literary device"), 
and 
manufacture a retrospective sheen of non-existent distance from ongoing crises of ineffable impact and enormity.  

Oh, yes--and the inevitable slideshows of "Celebrities We Misplaced in 2014." 

I would like to add my own sets  superlatives, but I’ll wait until 2015 begins—you know, after the ball drops. (By the way, it never bounces, that ball.)

2.10.2013

Triumph of the Won't, a.k.a. Old Is the Older Old

This is not new. What isn't?



Do you think that Benb Gallaher would ever do community service voluntarily?
Y
I guess that I would, but it’d have to be unstructured, like when I go out with Desmond to pick up litter. Passersby look at us as if we’re atoning for an undisclosed (unspeakable?) deed or spree. I guess that we are, kinda, but I just dig picking up trash. It’s not a fetish or anything, in case you’re a pervert who’d think that. But why do they have signs that say “Put Litter in Its Place”? The only place for litter is, by nature, an inappopriate place for refuse. So, the public is merely following the sign’s orders. The signs should change to “Put Trash into Trash Containers”, but no one actually cares because nothing actually matters.

Do you think Benb Gallaher prefers Coke to Pepsi?
N

What an awful question to countenance. The short answer is “NO,” because I find them both disgusting. If you ever want a real soda, try the Cream Soda from Squamscot Beverage Co. (http://www.nhsoda.com)
0o you think Benb Gallaher is good with kids?
Y

Our children like their mother much better than me, but \who wouldn’t? She’s absolutely wondeirful.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is dumber than Jessica Simpson?
N

Y’all are some kinda mean-spirited for asking a question like that. Even though it’s been suggested that I’m intelligent, I am treated on a near-daily basis like a hapless and bumbling fuckup. I don’t enjoy it.
Do you think Benb Gallaher shops 'til they drop?
Y

‘Til I drop what? My belongings? My purchases? My self? The act?
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is greedy?
N
I’m not. It’s true.
Does Benb Gallaher have a nice smile?
Y

I am smiling RIGHT NOW for whomever suggested that.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher can eat more than 3 Big Macs at a time?
Y

Several years ago, I could have done so very easily. I have an unidentified friend that would only eat ice when we were teenagers because it was low in calories. I decided, one day when I was 17 or so, to count a day’s caloric intake. You know, just for kicks. The total?
8.000.
Have you ever missed seeing Benb Gallaher?
Y

I’ve certainly missed seeing and being seen. People tend not to realize how resident they are in my heart.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is tone deaf?
N

What if I was or were?
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is a poser?
N

Most of life is posing; just reflect for a moment on how often you’re obliged to care about things that are utterly unimportant to you. The boundary between what something what something means and what that thing actually is, is nebulous on a good day.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has ever failed a class?
N

I have failed several classes. Some of them I’ve failed more than once.
Is Benb Gallaher fun to be around?
Y

That’s outdated information.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has ever smoked?
Y

Yes. And I would if
Would you blow a kiss to Benb Gallaher for fun?
Y

This person clearly likes to have fun, and I think that that’s just great.
Do you want to give Benb Gallaher a high-five?!
Y

I tend not to suffer high-fiving. It’s unnatural. My lack of depth perception leads to its being a rather protracted slapstick routine.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has ever fantasized about you?
N

That’s good, because I am sure that I've not ever done so. Anybody that isn’t Molly is as attractive as, say, a stapler.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher voted for Obama?
Y

I did—joyfully, but I expect that I won’t.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher would turn you in to the FBI if they asked?
N

I would not want to make their lives any easier. Those people are so sure that they know things about things that I feel sick to my stomach almost as much as I feel embarrassed for them.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is cute?
Y

I think that one of my parents answered this. And it wasn't even my mom!
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is funny?
Y

Looking.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher would ditch a date?
N

That’s true, especially that I only date Molly F. But even before, I didn’t get my license until I was 19, so I would’ve had to walk home. I was never really a “dater,” though. Especially given that “dating” has become a euphemism for sexual intercourse. The perceived need to sexualize friendships is offensive to me; I see promiscuity as being tantamount to consumerism.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is a good friend?
Y

I’ve missed many of my friends so deeply, and for so long, that I don’t even know what. And I remember tedious details—like the ID on Sam Zebovitz’s license plate (VBF 920), or Colleen Flanagan’s phone number from 2002 (860.729.7221), or Andy Fisher’s grandmother’s birthday (November 17), to name just a smattering—that do little to abet the process of staying in touch. Sorry, everybody—I thought that it would be different.
Would Benb Gallaher ever dress up in a mascot outfit and run around?
Y
That really depends upon the cause and the costume. Additionally, I was unable to run for about seven years due to hemiparesis from MS.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is a good friend?
Y

Then come on over! Shit!
Have you ever fantasized about Benb Gallaher?
N

Well, that’s good, because I’ve never fantasized about being the subject of a fantasy.
Would Benb Gallaher ever hit a girl?
N

Never. I am inflexible about the respect and equality to which all people are entitled in every relationship.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has ever smoked?
Y

I have, but many people that I meet seem not to believe that. I think that it’s because I wear neckties so often
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has ever played beer pong?
Y

Actually, I have not. What is it?
Do you think that Benb Gallaher could key a car for revenge?
N

Yeah, no. Strictly within the purview of “the weiner people.” Entitled moronity, straight up.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has ever punched someone?
Y
Not since being led to believe that it was the only way to function as a male specimen. So, not since my age was a single digit. And I’m clumsy and cataplectic, so I don’t really know how to inflict violence.
Do you think Benb Gallaher is cool?
Y

People are free to make their own determinations.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has ever stolen from work?
N

I am going to say nothing except this sentence about that.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher thinks wine in a box is classy?
N

For which class?
Geometry—Yes! (It’s cubic.)
Shop—Most assuredly not.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher still wet their bed in 6th grade?
N

My bedroom was the one closest to the bathroom in my house. And I had a window out of which I could pee if ever an emergency were to occur. (I didn’t mind peeing out of windows—in fact, back in 8th grade, I peed out of the window in my 6th-period Math class. Mrs. Botker would not let me go to the bathroom, quipping at my pleas, “No, you can’t go to the bathroom. But you can fix those drapes over there.” She gestured flippantly toward the window. Our class was on the third floor [Room 302?] of West FrederickMiddle School, and we had these dauntingly massive windows. I had to climb up on some shelving to adjust the drapes. Once I got up there, on my knees with the window open, I really had no alternative but to do what I did. This deed was not a cause célèbre until later on. Having to pee is a state of being whose “airtime” is not commensurate with its relative ubiquity. I had better bladder control then than I do now.) So, no.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is cute?
Y

Well, I think that YOU’RE cute, screen.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is socially awkward?
N

That’s all well and good, but I swear.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher can cook?
Y

I love to feed my people, but cooking is an entirely different story. So, the official answer: Not really, and not well. Too critical of self. I am in therapy.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is an underachiever?
N

This is a loaded question.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is religious?
N

This is correct, although that question is inspiring me tp recall that I had a dream last night featuring Desmond Tutu.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher likes blue eyes?
Y

Not especially, actually.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has ever failed a test?
N

Most tests that I’ve taken in recent years have garnered scores that would’ve disgraced me in the past.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher would bail you out of jail?
Y

Of course I would! Do you know where I can find a job?
Does Benb Gallaher have a nice body?
Y

Yes, yes. I spend my time watching it age, expanding and contracting with the seasons like a doorframe.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is a good kisser?
Y

Certainly, a good kisser named Benb was not to be found in the 7th grade after-school bus queue. After severai minutes of calling for him, we dertemined that he did not exist. Still, the crowd at least 60 people formed around me and Bridget Moore (my 5th grade love; we broke up then because I depressed. I was medicated inappropriately for it [i.e., max adult dosage of the powerful trcyclic Imipramine], but that was because our crooked family physician was receiving incentives from the drug company. Never mind that I would suffer projectile vomiting if ever I missed a dose, or that I can't really remember three years of my life. I'm pretty sure that they were dismal, anyhow).
I always promised myself that if I had any chance to regain her favor, I would never falter). The kiss was strange, and it sucked, but people were screaming and applauding up in our faces. I was so freaked out that I had to break up our relationship. She’s an excellent person, and I’m very grateful to know her. We’re still incredibly close friends.
She’s Desmond’s godmother (should that be capitalized?).
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is a tree hugger?
Y

I’ve hugged many—some out of utility, some out of sympathy (not only are they stuck to the ground, but they are subject to the vagaries of both the elements AND other species), and some as a proclamation about everything.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher still sleeps with a teddy bear?
Y

Ha. I sleep alone, because I’m impossible.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is smarter than George W. Bush?
Y

Everybody is as smart as everybody else. It’s the fucking truth. Sometimes it can be more obvious, and sometimes it can be less obvious.
Does Benb Gallaher dress poorly?
N

I’m wearing clothes that were outgrown by a dear friend’s teenage son in 2004.
Would you trust Benb Gallaher with your life?
Y

I don’t know that I trust me with my own life, but I certainly advocate living for everyone.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher would look good in a mini-skirt?
Y

I like the way that this answerer thinks. I love to wear clothing that diverges from the monochromatic monstrosity that is men’s attire in this culture. These big, capable men are afraid of color, or of anything that creates a sense of humor or warmth about what they project. I will concede that mini-skirts are seldom warm, but someone among you must understand what I’m trying to say here.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has ever stolen money from their friends?
N

True. Where’s the fun in that?
Do you think that Benb Gallaher puts 'hoes' before 'bros'?
N

It is an illusion that they’re necessarily different. (I bet that one'll rankle some relatives.)
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is cute?
N

Mean either.
Would you want to see Benb Gallaher dance like Michael Jackson for money?
Y

It wouldn’t be a thrill, because I tend not to trust my movements (though I think that that is on the verge of changing because I care a lot less, or at least no longer have the energy to care). What kind of money are we talking about here? Sone people would pay out the wazoo to see an intermittent cripple shake a tail feather.
Do you think Benb Gallaher has ever pulled an all-nighter?
Y

Yes. For much better and for far worse.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher would do anything to succeed?
Y

Whomever wrote this obviously does not think highly of me, and that is their prerogative. I have no choice but to respect their answer, even if it's far from true.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher has a funny looking nose?
N

Opinions. Distilled. I think that this one, too, might be a parental answer.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is tone deaf?
N

Man, it’s those tones that are deaf! How many times do
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is an underachiever?
N

If I knew the first thing about achievement, I likely would’ve done it by now.
Do you think Benb Gallaher drives too fast?
N

Everybody defines things differently. Would you think that I drove too fast if you knew that I was blind in one eye AND had Narcolepsy?
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is socially awkward?
N

You have no idea of how much I could swear that I am in an eternal underwear dream.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher is hot?
Y

To the touch, definitely. My internal temperature is conspicuously low—95 or 96 degrees Fahrenheit—and I am famously exothermic. I sleep alone because of this.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher would ever betray you?
N

Dear Friend, I do hope that you don’t see my having posted this anonymously attributed question/answer as constituting a betrayal of any kind, because it’s not intended thus. Besides, I don’t think that you can change your answer, Sucka.
Do you think that Benb Gallaher grinds their teeth while sleeping?
N

I am an incorrigible bruxist. Dentists hate me, but that’s okay. It’s generally mutual.