1. Opinion (2006)

What chance do we have?

With the direction society is plunging in, what chance do we have to live normal, uninterrupted, moral lives?
Interpretation of morality is of course subjective; however I would say that disparaging someone after, or making light of, their untimely death is flatly immoral.

I heard a man talking today about his ex-wife. He was speaking to a few women, one in particular, and casually mentioned that his wife had gotten cancer and died during the processing of their divorce, “making the divorce easy for him!” No remorse in his voice, no follow up statement to make himself sound less arrogant or heartless. Instead, his follow up was to joke, “I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it!”

The ladies tittered nervously, and left abruptly. I wanted to beat him. I wanted to physically punish him for the mental harm that he had just done to me and the others that heard him talking unsympathetically about the death of a woman he at one time loved enough to marry. I wanted him to look at me, dizzy and choking on blood and teeth, and understand that punishment comes in many forms, and on this day, the most primal form had caught up with him.

I had to take a few breaths of reason to not do so, and even then, my feet were exiting the situation while my head was still right in the thick of it.

Read On…

2. Beep-Beep. (1999)

One day I was riding my bicycle down the street when some idiot and his girlfriend in a very nerdy jeep tried to veer me into the cars parked alongside us. It was a perfect east coast spring day- cool and sunny. I had a sweatshirt on, and it must have made me look a bit younger than I actually was. Usually bullies only mess with young kids and old people.

I avoided hitting the cars, not for the lack of him trying, and so as what I thought was a passive retort, I rode in the center of the street making it briefly impossible for him to pass by. I was pissed, but was intent on enjoying my day. I was on my way to a friends’ house, so I was just going to inconvenience him for a minute and then turn off towards my destination.

A spectacular plan until I heard what sounded like a loudspeaker in my ear: “Get out of the road you stupid fuck! I’d love to just run you over but my Jeep’s too nice! Get out of the way you loser!”

What a stupid, one-in-a-million chance. The prick that was veering me into the cars also had a megaphone with speakers set up in his jock-mobile. That alone entitles him to have something bad happen.

Read On…

3. Learn the Hard Way. (2002)

I am at a point where I don’t understand anything, least of all the things in my life that I thought I understood quite thoroughly.
I’m not driven by anything positive, I’m not contributing anything I feel is positive, and I fucking can’t stand to even look most of the people I meet square in the eye.
Those things are a problem.

I am a person that is highly affected by my intentional and unintentional surroundings; I feel as each week and month passes, they become more and more foreign and less and less appealing. I can’t really say why. I think it has something to do with the fact that every time I leave the god damn house I’m reminded how the things that fuel modern society are the very same things that fuel my aversion to it.

Read On…

4. Fatally Flawed. (2001)

In everyone’s day-to-day travels, they probably run across someone that is at least thinking something bizarre or derogatory about them. I guess the easiest way to determine how much of a freak or an asshole someone is could be based on whether they have the gall to say those things to strangers… I’ve met more than a few people that can’t make the complicated distinction between casual conversation and belligerent antagonism.

The most recent was a fanatical gentlemen at the Home Depot in Lakewood, Ca. My friends are building some skateboard ramps, and I was assigned the daunting task of matching the screws they were using to some new ones at Home Depot. I was also responsible for paying for them, carrying the bag to the car, AND delivering them to the builders. All in one day…

Anyhow, I was walking around the worst home improvement store in the free world carrying a screw and looking for the cryptic sign in the aisle that would lead me to its mates when a well dressed, normal-looking thirty-something dude stopped me short.
I figured he may have thought I worked there; I get that a lot at establishments that are frequented by oddballs and older white people, but no such luck.

No question was proposed, merely a statement offered: “You know, those tattoos are horrible, they look awful.” OK, I though for a second, a tattoo purist that found some type of technical imperfections in mine. Constructive criticism, I’m not above it, but again, no such luck.

Read On…

5. The War. (2010)

As more and more time passes after an event or feeling has occurred, the gravity of it having happened often dissipates, or at the least, blurs. I feel this is mandatory in order for many people’s sanity to stay intact.
I often recall feelings from many years back in my life as if they were born today, and while I am glad to have had experiences worthy of strong feeling, if their potency were to diminish a bit, it would make my emotional situation a little more manageable.

Maybe they are yet unreconciled within me; maybe I am just a big fuckin’ baby. Either way, every morning when I wake up and look around my house at some of the things that live there, my eyes well up and my heart drops. Dozens of other innocuous incidents elicit a similar result.

I am quite sad, quite often. I’m not an overtly morose sort, and certainly not one that needs or solicits sympathy for troubles I have undoubtedly brought on myself. I am also not one that thinks being sensitive makes me weak. Quite the opposite. The sadness and ill-ease that keep me warm at night also drive me; sometimes mad, but often times to, through, and past any goals I set or roadblocks that may come upon me.

And maybe if as I wished things softened over time it would be a disservice to the memory. Maybe the honor of enduring the experience is served best by its memory staying sharp and mean, and proving useful in guiding my path for the future.

6. “The Trump Card” (Non-fiction, 1997/ 2007)

This is a story about my personal interactions with Mark Christie, the man that kidnapped and killed four-year-old Kali Ann Poulton in 1994 and killed Viola Manville in 1988. It is a PDF, linked below in red.

The Trump Card.

It is not to be re-posted anywhere without written permission. All writing on this site is Copyright, both the real way and the poor mans way. And, I’ll find you.

7. Flying, pt. 1. (1998)

Originally published inDigMagazine, 1999.

I backhanded a guy on a plane back from LA not too long ago. I was reluctant to tell the story because it could make me seem like some sort of short-fused prick, which really isn’t true, but it is pretty nuts and just illustrates how unnecessarily wacky people can be.

I was sitting next to a very nice, very attractive, upscale woman probably in her early 30’s and much to my surprise, she talked to me pretty consistently throughout the flight. She was interesting enough that I didn’t realize that the flight was arriving late and I only had 5 minutes to reach my connection- when I did realize it I immediately stepped into the aisle and, continuing our conversation, so did she.

Sitting catty-corner from us was a guy reading a book about the ‘70’s TV show “BJ & the Bear”, “BJ” being a man, “Bear” being a monkey, and the series being one of the worst I’ve ever accidentally witnessed. The man bumped his way into the aisle, apparently still pissed about the show’s cancellation two decades earlier, and after being pushed into the seats a few times, my seatmate asked him very politely if he would mind waiting a minute to get settled because he was hitting her every time he moved.

Read On…

8. “Fag in the Pool” (Non-fiction, 2004)

Please enjoy the story below. It is a PDF, linked below in red.

It occurred in Long Beach, California where I was a resident for 10 years. There are swear words in it, as well as disturbing concepts relating to the use of discretion and common sense.

Proceed with caution.
Fag in the Pool

It is not to be re-posted anywhere without written permission. All writing on this site is Copyright, both the real way and the poor mans way. And, I’ll find you.

9. “Higher Education” (Non-fiction, 1995)

As I re-read this story with the intention of putting it on the site, it became clear to me that the moral “hang-ups” I explored in it are things that still challenge me today. Truth be told: even though there is a tone of questioning in the writing, if the same situation occurred today my reaction would be exactly the same.

It is a PDF, linked below in red. Please enjoy.
HIGHER EDUCATION

It is not to be re-posted anywhere without written permission. All writing on this site is Copyright, both the real way and the poor mans way. And, I’ll find you.

10. Going Nowhere. (2002)

During the week, I wake up at seven. On the weekends, I wake up marginally later than that. I’ve been doing a little experiment for the past few months: When I wake up in the morning, I go about my normal routine- eat, shave my head, etc. and then I spend a minute on my couch thinking about what I actually want to do that day.

That’s when things start to get confusing. I don’t want to do anything. Everything I really want to do I can accomplish in my house, with the exception of grocery shopping which I actually enjoy. I’m not unmotivated, just uninterested. When I end up doing what I know I need to do, things move right along. Getting there right now is what is troubling me. I go to martial arts classes on the weekdays. I do enjoy that. Work, necessary. Unavoidable.

Anything else? Nope. Not interested. I think about it as if I could do ANYTHING I wanted to. Especially weekends, when I can. I live in fucking greater Los Angeles- if it’s good for anything, it’s having a cornucopia of things to do.

Read On…

12. Beginning. (1998)

Originally written as the intro to this site when it first went online in January 1999.

What do I believe in?

I believe that you will almost always be let down. If you are not, it is the exception, not the rule. I believe that people are inherently bad, and if you are lucky enough to find a few truly decent ones to associate with, it is the exception, not the rule.

I believe that I will always be disappointed and very seldom surprised; I would rather be negative and surprised once in a while than positive and disappointed all time.

Read On…

13. Motive. (2005)

Many different things motivate people. For me, it’s basically anger.
Not the directionless kind that leads people to screaming fits and road rage, but more a focused disgust for most of what goes on around me and a vengeful motivation to change it.
That is what this is about for me.

I don’t walk around with a constant scowl. I enjoy life. I enjoy my friends, the activities I participate in, my family. The flipside of that however, is that I am never completely at ease, I am never completely content. To be those things would mean that I have begun simmering in complacency, and any progress I have made towards any goals I have set for myself will halt.

Read On…

14. Curse of Awareness, part 1. (2010)

Most weekends I try to go to the movies. I research the times, plan my pre-movie meal, and venture to the theater usually 15-20 minutes early. Almost every weekend, something disappointing or disconcerting happens in the parking lot or the foyer that prevents me from following through with the viewing.
Not lose sleep type things; more like lose interest.

Read On…

15. +/-. (2010)

I am not a corporate warrior
I don’t have those delusions of grandeur
I have scars on my body, and high moral standards
Again and again I try my best in vain
Turns out I am that kind of failure.

16. Time Don’t Heal a Thing. (2002)

I’ve had basically three girlfriends.

The way I look at it I had my proverbial three chances, and in some form or another, fucked each of them up. Now I pay the price with regret. It is completely unhealthy, but I still think of what happened in each situation and dwell on it as if years later that will make any difference or do any good. In a sense, it is a punishment I deserve for being naïve, selfish, or stupid enough to compromise the relationships I had with each.

There are still things I fall asleep dwelling on and wake up uncomfortable about… some of the situations for almost ten years. Even though each situation met an end, I have never been the kind of person that could shake strong feelings I had for someone- friend, girlfriend, even an enemy.

Read On…

17. Through, not around. (2010)

Let the simple have their simple victories…

Our victories of ego need only be over ourselves. Nothing petty need be illustrated with posturing, silly slander or false bravado when you have found and remain on a brave path. Hold yourself accountable for your stumbles or shortcomings, but share credit with the community that supports you for your triumphs.

This sentiment can be applied to something as simple as someone racing to pass you in their car, intentionally inconveniencing you at the grocery store, or transparently poking fun at you in a feeble attempt to heal a bruised ego. All are wastes of energy to respond to, and indulging them in any way will often do more to take away from your daily mission than to honor it.

Simple people fight simple battles. It’s… simple. Skip it.

Be a lion in the path, knowing which harmless creatures to let by, and which to take the effort to devour.

If your intention is to destroy, do so with ferocity and malice.

If your intention is to annoy, acknowledge the triviality of such acts.

18. Letter #1. (2010)

My dear,

I saw you walking tonight in your long grey pea coat. You looked intent, and although the compulsion was almost too strong to subdue, I chose to not make my presence known. It hadn’t been a full minute that you had been off my mind prior to you walking around the flowered corner merely 40 yards from where I first set eyes on you some years ago.

Read On…

19. Letter #2. (2010)

My dear,

Even my dreams now offer no reprieve from thoughts of you. I often look away as I am passing streets or landmarks that taunt me with memories; as of late the effort has been in vain, as the second I close my eyes they are there, ready and waiting.

The recurring dream has been a biblical-type plot- My role as the soul seeking retribution, and yours as that of the executioner. I am saying words I do not mean in an effort to secure a forgiveness I do not deserve, put forth in a grotesque and transparent display that is not fitting of me even in my broken form.

Read On…

20. Disappointed, not surprised… (2004)

God I hate California(ns).

I was about to cross the street in a very upscale shopping area by my house when a really old woman tripped on the curb and fell flat on her face. I mean flat. No hands out, no head turn.

I dropped the bag I was holding, ran over to her, and carefully picked her up. She couldn’t have weighed 75-80 pounds; I have a medicine ball that weighs nearly as much as she did.

She was bleeding from her forehead, nose and mouth, and not doing much else. The area was moderately crowded-I assumed that someone would notice a young person holding a motionless, bleeding old person and immediately offer to help. In the meantime I just stood there and held on to her- I have never held an infant, but I imagine that is what it would feel like. She was light, not just in weight, but in composition. She felt completely fragile, like just-frozen ice. Eventually, people started coming over and several actually asked me what to do. If they had grown up in the same society I had, the obvious path was to call 911 (which a man was finally courteous enough to get off his other call to do). Fucking morons.

Moments later this douche in a jean jacket with the collar up and some haircut comes over and tells me “Uh, I took some nursing classes in college, and you should definitely be tipping her head back to stop the bleeding”. I promptly took my 3rd hand out and tipped her head back while still attempting to stabilize her quasi-lifeless body. Jean jacket then says “You know, you should sit her down so she doesn’t fall over”. We’re on a street corner, not in an auditorium. I don’t know where I’d sit down right here, and I’m not 100 years old and bleeding from my head.

Read On…

21. “London Gospel.”

“London Gospel” by Wisdom in Chains. (Song linked at title.)

“Jesus don’t walk through the alleys. He must have forgot how to find me.
He used to hang around my family. But he never really did understand me.
God don’t come around no more. I don’t see a trace of him in this world.
Poor men fighting in a rich man’s war. ‘Cause God don’t come around here no more.
Too many murders on TV. Too many babies in poverty.
Religion ain’t shit but money. Priest in your pocket like a fuckin’ thief.
God don’t come around here no more. I don’t see a trace of him in this world.
Poor men fighting in a rich man’s war. ‘Cause god don’t come around here no more.
The Devil comes walking softly. He always stands right behind me.
I try to run away but he finds me.
I wish that God would talk to me.
God don’t come around here no more. I don’t see a trace of him in this world.
Poor men fighting in a rich man’s war. ‘Cause God don’t come around here no more.”

__________________________________________

It sounds bleak to say that a loss of hope equals a gaining of confidence, but our ability to find strength in solitude WILL help insulate us when we ARE let down. When we’re struggling, hoping for a helping hand or guiding light usually leaves us waiting for a long, long time; during which we’re often punished for our patience.

22. “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., 1961.

THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren’t quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron’s fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn’t think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn’t think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains.

Read On…

23. Road Hazard. (2010)

You’ll often hear people romanticize the idea of hitting someone as hard as they can; those that have done so, however, would very likely tell you that there is nothing romantic about it. The sometimes sickening noise, the way the impact feels inside your own body and head, the blood… And for most, the feeling of questioning afterward as to whether that level of severity was warranted.

I didn’t feel any anger or post-incident ill-will towards the misguided lot that attempted to steal my bike (while I was riding it…) right down the street from my house. All the animosity I was feeling was completely self-directed. It was also justified, and overwhelming. I needed a break from my brain so badly that I chose to go for a bike ride wearing headphones and listening to music- something that under any ordinary circumstances I would never even think of. My life was falling apart, and it was my fault… if I didn’t distract myself from it all it could easily have gotten the better of me. A simple bike ride, close to home, with a little musical accompaniment. People do it all the time.

Read On…

24. Sour times. (2014)

I visited a Target store today in a suburb of Rochester, NY (no, that’s not the end of the story…). It was my day off, and I could not think of a single thing on earth I wanted to do, so my next idea was to do something totally normal and see if that gave any inspiration. I figured I’d walk around, look at about six-million things neither I nor anyone else needs, maybe buy a shirt and a few apples (they have groceries now, you know…), and definitely buy some expensive hand soap.

Shirts went better than I expected. I got a few OK tank tops, they were on sale (or at least that’s what the sign said) and one of them isn’t even black. After trying them on I went back to grab a second one, and came upon some boys.

Read On…

26. Searching. (2012)

We’re all looking for something; when our sights are set too low or we’re always viewing the next bar as too high, we very well may never find it. When the search ends, development halts, and our true potential looks down on us and laughs, knowing there’s no danger of us catching it…
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I played lacrosse when I was a kid. I liked it, I was pretty good at it, and it made my parents happy. When I was 11 I came across a BMX bike riding magazine at the grocery store, and long story short, everything else took a back seat to the compulsion I had to find out as much as I could about this unique (and at the time, bizarre and unconventional) culture. The imagery was brash and bold, the players in the “game” were wild and looked like people you might be afraid of if you saw them walking in your neighborhood, and I couldn’t get enough. The idea of “convention”, while I probably didn’t define it as such at 11 or 12 years old, changed immediately for me. The stability and simplicity of team sports (and the just-add-water social circle they often create) stepped aside to make way for a path that didn’t make sense to anyone but me…

Read On…

27. Popcorn! (2008)

At least some of my post-work time each day is spent practicing social assimilation… Attempting to appear comfortable in whatever surroundings I’m in while at the same time not letting on that I am very often anything but. It’s kind of a fun game for a while, though no matter how good I’ve gotten at it, after a few decades it just starts to make you feel like a fucking freak.

For quite a while now, 2nd Street in Long Beach, California have been some of those surroundings. The east 2nd Street area has somehow remained clean and docile even though many neighboring it have gone the very opposite direction. Some of the older shops have been pushed aside, as is the way, but enough have remained that the area has avoided the shopping mall feel.

One of the strangest business marriages I’ve ever seen is the small, upscale gym located directly in the center of the shopping strip, and the large Irish pub located directly above. There is an indoor stairway from one to the other, large plexi-glass windows overlooking portions of the gym from the feeding trough upstairs, and- in case you need to get some deep-fried zucchini and a few beers right after exercising but forgot your wallet- your gym membership card can be used to charge food and drink. Maybe it only seems strange to me, but it is definitely curious to watch people finish with one and transition directly to the other. But as I’ve said before, they’re almost surely happier than I am, so who the fuck am I to criticize.

While offering no more cultural significance than a Polish sausage cart, the location of this particularly bland “Irish Pub” would allow it success even if it were called ‘The Non-Elective Russian Roulette Club’… Attractive crowd every night, upstairs outdoor patio- If I’m trying to appear normal, that is where I needed to be. So, I went.

Read On…

Volume I. (Picture- 2014)

“There is no use crying over spilled milk, she often told herself.
She will always be alone, she will always be deviant. Righting the wrongs that are forced upon her is her way of fulfilling her role in society. Of that she was certain. Happiness, contentment… such things were myths of the uninformed, and luxuries of the ignorant. Even if they do temporarily exist, Sarah knew that ultimately, sadness would always prevail. “

28. The Gift. (2014)

I realized tonight, while watching someone receive great news in a movie, that nothing I can even imagine happening to me would elicit a response that might even resemble hers. Nothing. Not winning money, not publishing writing, not saving a life. Those things may evoke some sort of satisfaction, or at least elevate my mood from its current state, but the dancing, carefree, wide-eyed elation that the actress showed- the true joy- has never been and will never be something I experience or understand on more than a theoretical level.

When a character in a movie receives news or experiences something so horrible that they have to channel the worst moments of their entire lives to even appear the slightest bit as disturbed as the situation would in reality warrant- I do understand. Many things in my life have elicited responses that resemble the realistic versions of theirs. And nothing- not winning money, not publishing writing, not saving a life- will ever be able to offset the misery that either choice or circumstance has caused. I can’t even watch movies that feature such themes because my emotional maturity is so stunted that I can’t keep from feeling them as if they were mine.

I can’t imagine being truly happy, and I can’t keep myself from being truly sad. It’s pathetic, and my fault, and though I can clearly identify it, it continues to outsmart me.

Pain is a trick, and the magician is who or whatever we allow it to be.

Fuck it. Fuck you.

29. Drinking Games. (2014)

When I selected my shirt for the evening I’m quite sure I put consideration into the reaction it might evoke- I was likely hoping for curiosity, questioning, and maybe even a bit of intimidation. The music I had gotten into over the past few years made me feel those things in spades, and I misguidedly assumed that anyone in my eventual surroundings would share them. The shirt was either from the band Suicidal Tendencies or Overkill, and whichever one it was, the imagery and language were kind of severe; I was 15, and neck-deep in a somewhat frightening underground scene that I thought was the coolest thing in the world, partially for those very reasons.

We had gone to Buffalo (more specifically, Orchard Park) to visit our aunt, uncle, and cousins, and for me that meant sneakily watching rated “R” movies that I probably would not have gotten to see otherwise, shoplifting prolifically with my cousin at the local mall, or attempting to matriculate with his somewhat uppity social circle. I stood out in demeanor (as well as appearance) at such gatherings however my general pleasantness had always allowed for nice conversations with a few of the girls that tended to be around. The party this time around was at the house of a well-to-do boy whose parents were out of town… cliché, yes, but that is what kids did in the world I was visiting. It seemed like a merry-go-round of traveling social events based on adult absence and availability of cheap alcohol. I didn’t get it, and it in no way resembled my life in Rochester, but I was there and decided to ride the ride.

Read On…

30. Allergic. (2005)

(Here are 35 random questions a popular European BMX website asked me back in 2005. They are still stupid today.)
_____________________________________________

35 Random Questions for Greg Walsh

1. Do you give the peace sign a lot?

You’re joking right?

2. How many Abercrombie polos do you own?

If “Abercrombie” is a French word for “short sleeve”, the answer is 5.

3. Do you always wash your hands after using the bathroom?

Um. Yes.

4. Can you do a cartwheel?

I don’t know… let me check real quick…

Uh, yes, but now I need a new lamp.

5. Would you skate goofy or regular?

All skating is goofy.

6. How many times have you been to the mall this week?

You’re joking, right?

7. Do you regret something you did yesterday?

I dropped my left hand when I threw a cross, and got clocked.

8. Are you allergic to anything?

I think I might be allergic to hippies, and MySpace, and possibly California.

9. Have you ever been tubing?

Is that drugs or something? No.

10. Has school started yet?

Yep. I’ve been dropping my girlfriend off at her high school for over a week.

Read On…

31. Dead dog #1. (2001/ 2011)

At 14, I had already begun to feel like an outcast in both my personal and professional lives. My “professional” life was school, of course, and having recently turned the corner from matriculating lacrosse player into alienating BMX bike rider, it felt like I had disaligned with the prominent, acceptable political party. At the time, the two worlds did not cleanly overlap, and all but a few of my friends from one ran for the hills when I began to prioritize the other.

One carry-over was a popular kid, a sports stand-out, and the son of the football coach. He was a lifer in the conventional system, but had an affinity for the fringes where I now resided. He rode BMX with me whenever he could, and was good at it, and in my opinion him doing so was one of the only reasons that I wasn’t even more severely ostracized.

We got along well- causing trouble wherever we could find it, listening to Suicidal Tendencies on near-constant repeat, and riding bikes like we were being paid to do so. Being a sports kid in a sports family, I believed that things like football and lacrosse must have felt almost like jobs to him, and bike riding (especially with me) must have felt like a nearly-supreme rebellion.

Read On…

32. Dead dog #2. (2006/ 2011)

When I was younger I had a few strange episodes that the doctors called “Complex Partial Seizures”. They would cause me to black out for a few moments, and for a short while after waking up, things were kind of blurry. Immediately prior to the blackout, I would see a strange picture in my mind, or flash back quickly to something from my past. Falling down the stairs of a hotel I was staying in with my parents and brother is what allowed them to learn I had been having them. I hadn’t shared the information because I was approaching 16 and knew that they would (justifiably) never give a driver’s license to someone that randomly went to sleep for a minute.

I was made to wait another year and a few months, which meant that I would be a little over 17 when I got my license. I had had one or two more blackouts in the time since falling down the stairs, but didn’t tell anyone because I was restless and felt I simply had to move my life forward. I had already been traveling pretty extensively for both music and BMX bike riding, but I wanted to be able to do so independently and was unwilling to wait any longer.

Read On…

33. Things I’ve stolen- #1, #2, and #3. (2015)

I don’t consider myself a person who steals, necessarily; certainly not a thief. But I have stolen a handful of non-basic items each from equally unusual locations, and if presented with the option of a do-over, would handle at least a few of the situations differently. In no particular order of vulgarity or priority:

#1: Hedgehog from a pet store in Eastview Mall
(Re-handling: same.)

I worked at the mall for a period of time as a teenager, and while doing so made friends with an interesting girl that worked at the nearby music store (once upon a time there were these cool little retailers that sold almost nothing but music and assorted music-related novelties). She was unusual and, if for no other reason, we got along because neither of us felt any more at home in our weird work settings than we did in our own skin, but we were both really good at pretending in… both.

As we got to know each other and began to rely on the commiseration during our overlapping workdays, no stone was left unturned when it came to addressing things we disliked about the mall, or that which we loved outside of it. One particular conversation uncovered that she had always wanted a hedgehog, and that she found it especially hard to go near the awful pet store near the entrance of the mall because as one of the smaller, oversight-types of pets, they were treated and maintained horribly.

Mall pet stores, even at their very best, are terrible and damnable- and this one was far from a shining example of the species. Not long after our conversation I began investigating, and though until that point I’m quite sure I had never seen one in real life, I decided I was going to liberate one of those poor captive pincushions and give it to her as a gift.
Read On…

34. What would Charles Ingalls do? (2014)

The less sense everything else makes, the more sense that question makes. To me, anyway.

When I take my blinders off and look at where and how we’re living, confusion and disillusionment are never far behind. There is a strange falseness to so much of it, but also a head-shaking amount of reality, and I’m not sure which is more disconcerting.

As I walked out the door of my apartment building today (it opens on to a relatively passive street and is directly between an antique store and a fancy hair salon) a guy spouted off “Watch where you’re going, motherfucker!” In his defense, I think he was partially kidding- though in bad taste- and also trying to impress his friend. It was dark out, and my luck being what it is, I firmly responded with “Watch your mouth. Let’s start over… ” and he immediately apologized and continued on his way.

The problem isn’t that he said it to me– the problem is that he said it at all. Opening that door could have been my neighbor’s parents leaving after having dinner together in his apartment, it could have been my landlord (old, but perfectly able to take care of himself I’m sure), or it could have been a girl that had just moved to the city, and being addressed like that may have really thrown her off.

Hearing a seemingly non-confrontational, preppily-dressed idiot fire volatile profanity at a stranger that he had not yet even seen was just another sad example of how far the little house has traveled from the prairie. Everyone finds their amusement in slightly different ways, but there are some birds that just shouldn’t be allowed to fly.

Read On…

35. Letter #3. (2016)

My dear,

As attraction and hesitation paint their stories with the same blood-soaked brush, my mind is a warm, cold, fearless, timid, dauntless wreck;

The peace and calm I feel are pushily urgent, and the weight of wanting makes my veins feel coursed with something unnatural.

It all rests neatly, for now, underneath a limitless excitement for something I had nearly disallowed, with someone I had clearly misread;

I enjoy my mistakes in judgement, on the rare occasion that they prove otherwise in my favor.
_

My temperature changes before a complete image of you has even formed in my mind;

It is palpable, even though you are miles away, and merely our hands have touched.

It is relevant, because distance lessens force, and familiarity breeds comfort;

We are distant, and unfamiliar, and yet I feel forceful, and comfortable.

Yours,

36. She’ll never know. (2010/ 2016)

Quickly and quietly, the trapdoor had closed on me. My attempts to reflect on things I had enjoyed or loved were immediately darkened by vicious pain and uncustomary confusion. They would not relent, and it felt like there was no escape.

In the span of a few short months I moved back to my hometown after a nearly 10-year absence, watched a successful business we had built collapse in on itself, and in the turmoil allowed a lifetime of unmanaged mental health issues get way ahead of me. I pushed away a person that would have loved and cared for me forever, lost the house I misguidedly bought upon my return, and left my brother unemployed during the Christmas season.

For much of that time I was struggling with an injury that left me sleeping sitting up with near-constant pain in my back and legs. The surgery performed to repair it did not do its job, and after the pain and recovery of that process, the original pain had barely changed.

Now I was simply weaker, but no less uncomfortable, and avoiding at all costs becoming drug-reliant to cope with it. All the while I was in the midst of losing my mind, and was somehow good enough at it that none of the right people were asking any of the right questions.

Read On…