Americaphiles

The Story Of My Fucking Life

Archive for December, 2008

Thirty-five

Posted by ilbebe on December 30, 2008

New Year’s Eve Eve. People love or loathe holidays, or have a mixture of the two feelings, and New Year’s Day has got to be one of the best, because all it celebrates is a demarcation in the calendar that’s supposed to represent something. In the lunar calendar, the turning over of th months actually means something, like when you can expect to stop bleeding or when you should plant tomatoes or something, but in the Roman calendar, New Year’s Day means only what you make of it. Honestly, I’ve been celebrating the coming end of this accursed year since New Year’s Eve Eve Eve. I got drunk in the middle of the day while hanging out with my friend Shawn while he painted, came home, made ramen, and passed out on the couch around nine. Now it’s four-thirty in the morning and I’ve had a full night’s sleep. What to do?

I sold my car yesterday for just enough money to cover January’s rent. Later today I’m going to take transit out to the suburbs to visit an old friend who’s in town, the trip will take about two and a half hours to cover a distance I could have driven in fifty-five minutes. When I get out to the suburbs, I’m going to borrow my Mom’s car to go and see my friend, she said she wants to go to a local bar to see if there’s anyone there she knows. Shit, hopefully I can convince her how astounding it is that I’m there. ‘Former Salutatorian Seen Driving Minivan, Drinking St. Ides’, what a headline that would be. I’d love to be at the center of an incident in my old hometown that would have people saying Gosh, You Never Think That Sort Of Thing Would Happen Here. Hopefully nothing violent, just mind-bendingly strange…

When I woke up on the couch an hour ago, I read for a while and came across another instance where one of my favorite writers described the main quality he admired in his favorite writers as fearlessness. Good thought. Honesty is to be revered, certainly, but not worshiped. Bravery is definitely sexier. On Sunday I went to the horse track with the foolish notion of winning big and not having to sell my car to pay the rent. I picked one winner, a horse named Liver, no joke, it came in two lengths ahead but it was one of those fucked-up races where they run a one and a one-a horse, so Liver as the one-a only paid off at seven to five. Twenty-two bucks on a ten dollar win bet. I should have gotten another twenty-something dollars for an eleven to one that showed in the sixth race, but when I went to redeem my ticket it turned out that the rat bastard who took my bet gave me a ticket for a race happening in southern California, not the one happening in front of us. Que sera, sera, eh? As it worked out, I lost eighty bucks that day and left with four dollars in my wallet and seven left in the bank. More specifically, I lost sixty dollars and spent twenty on admission, a program, a hot dog, and fourteen one-dollar beers. I left fantastically drunk.

When I sold my car I couldn’t stop thinking about taking the cash to the track and trying to double it for February’s rent, that would give me some breathing room to wait for my income tax return, but luckily it’s really fucking hard to get to the track without a car. No buses go there, perhaps there’s some higher logic at play. What’s important is that I took the cash from the sale of my car and got a cashier’s check in my landlord’s name for my rent, and I’ve still got about a hundred bucks. It’s a quarter to five in the morning, about fifty degrees outside, and I’ve got time to shower, eat, and get to my favorite six AM bar in Oakland right about when they open. I enjoy getting in there around dawn and being the only patron who’s buying pitchers of beer instead of coffee. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. It’s down the street from the hospital, so I should be good.

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Thirty-four

Posted by ilbebe on December 28, 2008

As with many things associated with so-called hippie lifestyle and culture, I had to leave Arcata before I could appreciate anything about the Grateful Dead. My mother had their album American Beauty, and I had listened to it a few times in high school and liked it, but when you see one too many SUV’s with those multi-colored dancing bear stickers adorning it cutting you off in traffic, you’re forced to re-evaluate how you feel about certain things, amongst them, Truckin’.

But in the summer of 2005, a radio host whose taste I greatly respected played Attics Of My Life as I was laying in bed in my basement sublet, and it really took hold of me. He followed that up with Up On Cripple Creek, and at the mike break explained that he was playing his mother’s favorite songs in tribute to her, as she had died earlier in the week. By December 30, 2005, I had a copy of American Beauty of my own, and I was en route to Lake Tahoe for the evening with my friend Shawn and my girlfriend. We were going to be spending the night in a cabin that my friend Mike’s then-girlfriend now-wife had rented with several friends, and I was pretty excited. Casey’s mother was in a hospital in Vallejo, and I planned to be back in Oakland for New Year’s Eve so I could invite Casey out for a night away from his vigil.

The night was a blast, and I woke up the morning of New Year’s Eve as dawn broke to reveal beautiful flurries of snow spiraling down. I started drinking can after can of High Life, and around eight we turned on the TV to confirm the fact that all the highways out of town were closed. At ten the power in the cabin went out, and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to drink myself into a stupor. When we got word that the road into town had been plowed around sunset, we went out to the parking lot to find that Shawn’s car had a flat tire. It was while we were fixing the flat that I got a call from Casey, and over a lousy connection I broke the news that we wouldn’t be home until the following day. He took a long pause and then asked me to call him when I got back. As the new year approached, I was freezing and wishing I had never come up to the mountains.

On January 2, 2006, I was at the hospital in Vallejo as we all tried to wrap our minds around the fact that Casey’s mom had become brain dead thanks to a trachea tube that had slipped loose and caused her lungs to fill up with blood. A group of us stayed up until the late hours of the night drinking in the hospital’s parking structure and throwing bottles on to the pavement a few stories below. I passed out in a friend’s truck, got a ride home around six in the morning, and went to work at eight-thirty with an awful black feeling around my eyes. A few weeks later, my roommate Claire found me passed out on my bedroom floor in a pool of spit and woke me up. I explained that I’d been having a hard time reconciling filing papers in a law office and thinking that was a hard row while my best friend was waiting for his unconscious mother to die in a hospital. After a while of venting and crying, I asked Claire if she’d listen to a song with me, and I put on Attics Of My Life. Patricia Rose Gallagher died on February 1, 2006.

On Christmas Day, 2008, I invited some friends over to my mother’s house in the evening, and as we lay around joking and talking, I played her old vinyl copy of American Beauty. The next morning I drank coffee and smoked a cigarette on the back patio, considered the frost on the ground, and thought about Patty. When someone is gone from this physical realm, we can do as we wish with their memory, and in mine, Patty’s spirit achieves the unknowable and the impossible. When there are no dreams, I dream of her.

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Thirty-three

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

On Friday, October fifth, 2001, I awoke around seven am and went straight into the shower While I was dressing, I heard my roommate Tom get into the shower, and just as I was headed towards the kitchen to eat a bowl of cereal, there was a knock at the door. This was before Tom and I had unofficially instituted our ‘just come on in’ policy, but the early hour made me suspicious. I peered through the peephole and saw a medium-sized fellow standing there with his hands in him pockets. I cautiously opened the door, and the man asked if Tommy was home. I said yes, but he’s in the shower. The man identified himself as Tom’s Uncle Tim, and asked if he could come in. I said sure. He was no sooner in the apartment then he asked for some coffee. Neither me nor Tom drank coffee, so I directed Tim to the gas station a block away. I felt my stomach tightening into a knot.

When Tim came back ten minutes later, Tom was still in the shower. I asked what brought him to town, and he confirmed my fears. We sat there in an uneasy silence for ten or fifteen minutes, I think the only words spoken were “Man, Tom sure takes a long time in the shower,”, to which I replied, “Heh.”

When Tom finally came out into the front room, he gauged his uncle with the same suspicion I had, and warily said “Uncle Tim, what brings you to town?”

“Tommy, your dad killed himself yesterday.”

“How’d he do it?”

“Shot himself.”

Tom just sighed. The three of us sat there for a while longer, then I excused myself to go to school. I broke into tears as I passed the liquor store near the footbridge and wandered aimlessly around campus for a while before the tears ceased. Later that night we had a great party at a neighbor’s apartment while Uncle Tim slept on our couch and Tom stared at the ceiling above his bed for hours. It was one of those rare parties that start with four people hanging out and turn into a bonafide party after everyone you call to come actually shows up. I went home with my girlfriend and disappointed her when I was too drunk to fuck. She started berating me for being a drunk, and I was able to shut her down by saying Look, It’s Been A Long Day. We Got The News That Tom’s Dad Killed Himself. Fuck I wish I had no excuse.

The next day Tom flew up to Seattle and Uncle Tim drove his truck up to begin clearing out Tom’s Dad’s apartment. I was able to get it up in morning, then left my girlfriend to go play in a drunken kickball game. Tom came home a week later with a death certificate and a long face. I don’t know if he’d cried yet. He had his Dad’s glasses, and he said that the lawyer said he’d mail the bullet to Tom later, after the matter was all settled.

When I worked in a law office a few years ago, I had the pleasure of working with a living saint named Glenda, who one day told me that her mother had died when she was seven, and her husband had passed when she was just twenty-five and he twenty-six, drinking, both of them. Glenda said that her mother’s death had created “a hole in [her] life, a hole you can never fill in”.

In the autumn of 2008, Tom found himself in the midst of a bizarre situation where his roommates had some strange ideas placed in their heads and started suspecting Tom of hiding all sorts of completely nonexistent secrets. It took a few months to straighten everything out, and it was tempting, really Goddamn tempting to go up to Arcata and scream at those assholes, scream “The ONLY thing Tom’s guilty of in this world is missing his father!”, but I didn’t, because I realized it would be pointless. They wouldn’t have understood, they weren’t there to hear the news. They didn’t have to read Tom’s father’s Social Security number off of his death certificate to switch the phone bill into their names. They probably never felt weird watching a copy of the Godfather that had once belonged to a man that shot himself in the head.

The worst part is that they could have been friends with a fucking great guy. Their loss, I suppose.

Tom, I’ll never leave you.

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Thirty-two

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

I had a great conversation with a guy last summer in which he made the statement “It’s an amazing thing when you realize that your parents might actually have something to tell you.” This piggybacked on to my earlier bon mot that it’s a fascinating day when you realize that they weren’t kidding, you parents actually were once your age. It would be physically impossible for that to be untrue. That thought was probably borne out of my friend Benji’s comment when facing the prospect of moving back in with his parents for the summer after earning his BA, “I’m going to try and spend as much time with them as possible, because they have, you know, skills, that they could, you know, pass on to me.”

However, I can recall several specific instances that convinced me at younger ages that my parents had nothing to offer but shelter and rides to places. My Dad was fond of doing work on the house and in the yard on Saturdays starting shortly after breakfast and continuing until the mid-afternoon, when he would invariably fall asleep on the living room floor with the TV tuned to the Discovery Channel. Just about the only thing that could awaken him from his slumber was changing the channel, which would snap him out of his reverie with a scornful I Was Watching That!

Shortly before my twenty-third birthday, my Dad called me to ask if my apartment had a number or something like that. It was one of those moments where you move the phone away from your head and stare at it for a moment before responding, and then look behind you for some hidden camera crew waiting to capture your response to such a ludicrous question.

“Uh, yeah, Dad, it’s apartment C, same as it has been for the past three years.”

“Shit. Well, I’m sorry, I overnighted a birthday card to you, and I was in a rush to get it in the mail and forgot if there was a number or not, so it might get there a few days late.”

“Eh, that’s fine…why’d you overnight it in the first place? You know I don’t really care if cards and gifts arrive on time.”

“Look! I tried, okay, I’ve got a lot on my mind!”

“That’s fine, I understand, I’m just saying, how did you forget that my apartment had a letter? You’ve been mailing things here for three years…what kind of apartment doesn’t have a letter or number?”

“LOOK! I’m SORRY! Happy BIRTHDAY!”

He hung up on me.

I got a parking ticket in Berkeley a few weeks before I was going to move up to Arcata and start college, my first one. I was pissed, sure, but there was some sort of excitement about going to the gas station and getting a money order to pay it, as if it were a demented rite of passage that would get far less exciting on subsequent occurrences. I figured the situation had been addressed until I received an angry phone call from my father the first week of school.

“You think you can just run around town getting parking tickets and I’ll pay them just because you’re in college now? THINK AGAIN, PAL!”

I was baffled. I had no idea that some cities mail out courtesy notices after you get parking tickets, as I mentioned, this was my first run in with the Draconian forces of municipal parking enforcement bureaus. My first car was registered in my father’s name, and apparently when he got the notice in the mail, he paid it, even though he hadn’t been to Berkeley in months. The phone call ensued moments after he realized it was for my car. I explained that I’d already taken care of the ticket, which enraged him further.

“So now you’re telling me I wasted MY money on something YOU already paid for?”

“Um, yeah.”

“Well, that’s just GREAT. How am I supposed to get my money back?”

“Well, Dad, I don’t know, and frankly I don’t see how it’s my problem…”

[Insert rant about having put a roof over my head, bought that fucking car for me, etc…]

“Well, all of that’s true, but why didn’t you call me before you paid the ticket? Then we could have avoided all of this.”

“Well, I didn’t REALIZE it was YOUR ticket. I thought you were RESPONSIBLE!”

How does one respond to this sort of logic? Wouldn’t the fact that I had already settled the fine establish the fact that my father was, eh, CORRECT in thinking I was responsible? I attempted to end the conversation by going on the offensive and asking who was eighteen and who was a grown-up. Strangely, that didn’t work.

It is significant to note that this conversation occurred a few days after my father and mother had given up trying to reconcile their marriage and file for divorce. They had separated for six months, and then my father had moved back in for three months over the summer of 1999. A few days after dropping me off in Arcata, he moved out again, and that was it. Days shy of what would have been their twenty-first anniversary, their divorce was filed, and the slow machinations of law began determining the financial future of their relationship, giving no heed to fact that they still had hearts, and some feelings for each other, and four children.

Given that, I can see why my Dad flipped out over something so trivial. There are things to be learned from our parents that if we only take the time to listen to might save us years of grief. No one is perfect. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and give people second chances. Tread lightly in this life, and keep your head up and eyes open.

And fuck parking tickets.

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Thirty-one

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

You know when you’re about to throw up and you get all that warm spit in yr mouth, and it feels good, but you know it’s only there because something bad is about to happen? I got that feeling a few minutes ago, but I suppressed the puke. Last night I was not so successful. I threw up several times in a garbage can in the back room of a bar. It was a great night.

“Search and Destroy” is a fucking great song. It might be the best song of all time, but lately I’ve also been into “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon, and obviously anyone who is trying to compare and contrast those two songs is someone whose opinion means nothing, so I won’t. I will say that I have not yet come across any music that be completely discounted. If it moves someone, anyone, one fucking person, it has merit. If it doesn’t move anyone, it probably isn’t even music. Master P, I’m looking at you, you money-laundering bitch.

I feel like I could live the rest of my life inside the opening chords of After The Gold Rush, the live version from October 1978, SF, CA. There is majesty there, and a soft place to sleep when it’s time to dream. There is a dense forest populated by creatures both adorable and terrifying, and I’m sure that no one misses a meal in the land of those chords. They make me cry, but I think we’ve established that that’s not hard to do. Let me say then that they give me a feeling.

I had a strange experience in Seattle a few months ago with a girl who gave me a fake name. She was of the opinion that we come into this world alone, and we leave it alone, and I guess on a factual level that’s accurate, but fuck the facts. Have you ever hugged someone? After the hug is over, there is a memory, and that memory will leave this body and this world with you. Hug as many people as possible, you might need a fucking ocean liner to take yr memories with you, but it will be worth it. Don’t spend the rest of yr life worrying about where yr going to scrape up the cash for that ocean liner, it will come. There will be free sodas, and live entertainment in the lounge, and you might a warm feeling in yr mouth, but it won’t be puke, it’ll be memory.

Make yr memories good.

9:52 AM 12/18/08

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Thirty

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

After I was released from a night in a mental hospital in February, 2007, I was entered into a series of group therapy sessions. I had an insurance plan through my job, and this particular insurance plan didn’t offer individual counseling sessions for suicidal people in Oakland. This came as a shock to a roommate of mine who had been seeing an individual counselor in San Francisco for almost three years before they realized she had moved from SF to Oakland. She had to go to group therapy for the first time in her life, and almost suffered a complete breakdown, and only then was she given some sort of waiver to go back to her old therapist in SF.

The group I went to was called Intensive Outpatient Therapy, or IOP. Each session was begun by going around in a big circle, stating your name, how you were feeling that day, and what had put you in IOP. It was here that I was first introduced to the strange phrase “intrusive thoughts”. “Intrusive thoughts”, in psych-speak, are thoughts you cannot seem to shake, no matter how illogical or negative or unlike your true self they are. Almost everyone in the group had suffered from intrusive thoughts. I had never felt that way. But then again, there had been those nights where I lay in bed in tears, silently screaming SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP at myself. In the past, I had used, of all things, an Everclear lyric as a window of explanation; “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired”. I now realized that some things were out of my control.

There was a fellow, he called himself Benny, he was a successful dude, he had a Bluetooth earpiece, and he had tried to kill himself. There was a dude whose name I can’t remember who had tried suicide because he hated his new boss, who was years younger than him and didn’t seem to respect him. There was another guy, I forget his name, he was seventeen and a fucking smart kid, and he wanted to die because he couldn’t handle the pressure that had been placed on himself by others and his own self. I felt for all of them, and I offered my most sincere testimonial, and I wished them well.

There was another guy whose name I don’t remember, his hands had been mangled in an accident in his youth. I remember we were waiting by the water fountain before the session started and he told me an intriguing story about a woman in a documentary he had seen who had never in her life left an eight-square bock section of Harlem. This made me think about the limits we placed upon ourselves.

By the end of one particular session, I was ripped apart. There was a fellow who I think was named Michael who moved fine art for a living, but who had become so depressed he had a hard time playing with his young daughters. He showed us some pictures of those daughters, and they were adorable. He was in tears. The really bright guy who had tried to fail out of high school and then, failing that, kill himself, started bawling. Decorum prevented a group hug, but fuck, something was built that day. Large and straight, straight up to the fucking nose of the last person who said you weren’t good enough.

The last person who got to talk about themselves in that session was the guy with the mangled hands. He talked about his fear of the future, and his remorse of the past, and I saw a hawk flying through a New England forest, searching for nothing, looking at everything. I offered that I had started keeping a diary, and suggested that he do the same. My rationale was that by archiving my time, I could occasionally read back and see that there HAD been a time I felt this low, or sometimes this high, and get a more level sense of, well, to put it crudely, same shit, different day, ha ha.

He shed a tear or two, then laughed, and said that his job had been trying to get him to use some new voice-recognition software for transcription. He looked me straight in the eye and said that maybe the urge to journal would get him to learn it. I felt a brisk wind, a lift…

The walls collapsed, and there we all were. The sky was bright and there were several intriguing clouds which lent themselves to endless interpretation. Our friends and families and loved ones were milling about, eating potato chips and playing checkers, or tag. We were the changelings, and we wanted nothing more than the moment at hand.

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Twenty-nine

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

About a half-mile south of Laytonville, California, there is a barn with a message painted on the north side in two-foot tall letters: “Don’t Forget The Magic”. I first noticed this barn and its message the first time I was leaving Arcata, in March of 1999.

I got good grades. I played basketball for a year, golf for a year, and ran cross country for year. At the beginning of my junior year of high school, my friend Garrett and I started the Facial Hair/Rock n’ Roll Appreciation Club, mainly as a way to have ludicrous announcements placed in the morning bulletin. That all ended when we claimed Frank Stallone would be lecturing our club at lunchtime about his career in adult films, and by the way, have you ever heard his song ‘Bad Nite’ on the Over The Top soundtrack? It’s fucking terrible.

My parents wanted me to go to college, and my Mom insisted that we piss eighty bucks away applying for Stanford. Since I had been a freshman, I had wanted to go to UC Berkeley, but that all changed when my parents separated in December 1998. In January of 1999, I stopped doing my homework, worked twenty-six out of thirty-one days at my stupid job at Papa Murphy’s, and was rewarded for all of this when my girlfriend confirmed my suspicion that we were broken up the day before the Super Bowl. Thus it was nice to get out of town on spring break and head up to Humboldt County with three of my dearest friends, all of whom were intending to attend the Fall semester at HSU.

We drove Stephanie’s parents’ car, and listened to Josh’s London Calling. Garrett had a milkshake in Leggett and started farting like an elk. We stayed with Greg Young off of School Road in McKinleyville, and I missed his I-am-told scathing critique of the HSU Journalism department because I was in the bathroom for while. We drove into Arcata that night to have a burrito and see a movie, and after driving two blocks the wrong way down G Street, the movie was Rushmore. There were probably at the most ten or fifteen other people in the cavernous Arcata Theatre, and it seemed as though the movie had been written and filmed just for my pleasure and benefit. I still hear the phrase ‘Semper Fidelis’ in a Scottish accent thanks to that film, and I think I am stronger for it.

Over dinner a week later, I told my parents I wanted to attend HSU with my friends, and my Dad said that would be a prudent decision, financially. My guidance counselor almost choked when I told her that I could give a shit that I didn’t get into Berkeley, which I didn’t; with the UC’s bias against people that live within fifty miles of the campus, I just didn’t pass muster. I was a salutatorian of my class, and I spoke for half a minute at the graduation, thanking the advisors of the FH/RnR Club, two girls who asked me to be mentioned, and everyone who gave me Otter Pops and didn’t wake me up while I was sleeping through class. I promised everyone that I’d keep them in mind as I slept my way through college, and that’s one fucking promise I kept.

There I was, lying in bed wishing for death the night after Stephanie saved my life by rolling me over so I didn’t choke on my puke. There I was, standing on the Sunset Road overpass, looking at the asphalt below and the cars traversing it. There I was, shitting in a field that had been cleared for a subdivision then stumbling into the food court where my friend Jenny worked to get some free egg rolls. There I was, lying in bed on New Year’s 2003-04, 3:30AM, listening to the wind howl and considering how shitty it was that I had to be at work at four-thirty in the morning. There I was, breaking my friend Kat’s heart, over and over and over again.

There I was, sleeping in a rented 1998 Ford Escort off of Harris Street in Eureka, five days after Thanksgiving. That was ten days ago.

But here I am, with a clean hat and steady blood pressure, writing it all down.

Don’t forget the magic.

Don’t you fucking forget it.

12/12/08 8:35AM

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Twenty-eight

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

It’s Thanksgiving.

I was reminded the other day of the case of Steve Burgess, an old neighbor of mine. The neighborhood my family moved to in 1994 was not unlike many suburbs, in that we never really got to know any of our neighbors, except the people directly across the street. The fellow to the right of us was an older guy who mainly sat in his garage and whistled. The family to the left kept their yard immaculate, and I hardly ever saw them. The St. Pierre’s, directly across the road, were the only people anyone in my family was actually on a first name basis with, and it was their oldest daughter who came home from a late shift one night and saw that the side of our house was on fire. After being woken up, my family rested in the St. Pierre’s living room until it was safe to go back into our home.

Steve Burgess and his family lived just around the corner, down the block. I doubt I ever would have known him if his sons hadn’t been in Boy Scouts with me, or if my sisters hadn’t played softball with his daughter. I remember going to the Burgess home for an end-of-the-softball-season party and having the most delicious homemade ice cream I’ve ever come across. I also remember sitting behind the scorer’s table next to Steve at some middle-school basketball games; I was the scorekeeper, and he ran the clock, gobbling through tootsie pops in an effort to quit smoking.

The reason I mention Steve is that he used to run a hardware store in Brentwood. It was downtown, and he had everything. I came to him when I needed eight-inch carriage bolts to repair an old fence for my Eagle Scout project, and he asked me How Many? and then gave me fifty percent off because the bolts were for a Scout project.

The final nail in the coffin of the Olde Hardware Store was the opening of a Home Depot at the edge of town. I didn’t live in Brentwood at the time, but I happened to be home at my Mom’s house, and I read the news.

The Burgess’ don’t live around the corner any more, and I have no idea where they live now. I don’t imagine that they lost their shirts, they probably just moved to a different house, a newer one. This is a common practice in economic boom times, the same sort of climate that brings a Home Depot to yr old hometown and shuts down a place where people who have any fucking clue what they’re talking about can help you find the hardware and tools you need.

Steve, I hope you’ll understand: When I am in sour moods, I dream of burning the flag.

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Twenty-seven

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

Fucking cars. What a headache.

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Twenty-six

Posted by ilbebe on December 24, 2008

At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are with your loved ones. Safety and security pale in comparison to this necessity, and so does health. Think of it this way- if you are in a position of poor health, what will ultimately bring more solace- safety and security or the presence of a loved one? And in the same fashion, if your safety and security is threatened, will improved health bring more comfort than being surrounded by family and friends?

In the modern United States, I feel that far too large an emphasis has been puton safety and security, an emphasis so large that it dwarfs what I feel people should pay more attention to: maintaining close ties with your extended family, and building new friendships and expanding existing ones. I am fucking tired of not being to able to see my friends because they are tied up at work. I value money slightly less than processed cheese food, which may not be the best analogy, because I actually sorta like processed cheese food, but I think you catch my drift.

My girlfriend is flying in tonight, and I can’t wait. This notion about being near your loved ones was borne out of thinking about her in an airport, waiting to go through the security gate, but it progressed beyond that. I offer this posit: if you want to feel safer, remain in the constant presence of friends. Stop fearing strangers, stop voting like a racist. Open a bottle of grog and pass it around, if that’s your thing. It’s tempting to say stop being a Mormon, but what would I be if I couldn’t appreciate that faith’s emphasis on family and staying unwavering in your relationships with your friends, family and associates?

I believe in human intelligent design. I want to see the great deciduous forest that used to blanket much of the East Coast restored at the cost of dismantling all the Wal-Marts, but I am just as concerned as ensuring that no one is fearful of this change. Washington Mutual, and its parent company, JP Morgan-Chase, put 1200 people in Pleasanton, California out of work today. Fuck them. A shitty used clothing store in Berkeley, California, which will remain nameless, fired my friend Miles a few days ago. Miles was jumped and robbed and beaten by four men a few weeks ago. He’s down on his luck.

I prescribe to those 1200 freshly unemployed people in Pleasanton the same thing I am trying to give to my friend Miles: love and support from people you care about. Love cannot flow as power does, from the barrel of a gun. Love is all around us if we can stop counting our money long enough to see it.

Think about it- LOVE!! is ALL!! around!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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