Tag Archives: Anger

Why the long face, Mr. Horse?

“I have a face for radio.”

I heard that joke while trying to fit in the NYC music industry a lifetime ago. The joke was so amusing to me that it has found its way into my current life with the same fresh enthusiasm as which it first started. People have recently told me I should work the airwaves, and I have not hesitated to rip open the flavor seal on that line every time.

Like most comedy, its kernels of truth get stuck in teeth like the remnants of a movie popcorn bucket. My fleshy, dour visage often dominates conversations with twinges of unrelenting disillusionment and disbelief. That’s not TV personality material, nor is it the “good ol’ boy” behavior the average American requires to feel secure in their way of life. That is not happiness, not mine anyway. Happiness may be a frame of mind, but I have yet to find its craft gallery. I understand that is my own cross to bear, but do I not have the right to express it?

For several months, I’ve tried another avenue to grow and succeed. I don’t think anyone has to leave for a new location to change their current situation in life. However, when the chips are down, doesn’t it seem like a great option? Being the personality I am, I take my endeavors seriously and with such dedication and fervor that I could rip apart the mediocre with fiery assertions. The security blanket is flung off, and discomfort chills the body.

…but I’m effective, and that’s why I’m useful.

I also make great personal sacrifices to the ignorance of my associates. While not all of the story, this endeavor has chewed up time to compose new articles to post here. While a path that is wracked with obscurity, I can at least feel a modicum of accomplishment here. A lasting accomplishment.

So, as I sit here, fuming over my current resources (or lack thereof), I wonder what is worth anything. The spurned, desperately trying to avoid misanthropy and bitterness. Maybe it’s better to simply be self-interested and do what I please. Others around me have no qualms in doing such.

“I’m tired of this back-slappin’ ‘isn’t humanity neat’ bullshit. We’re a virus with shoes.” ~ Bill Hicks

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Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

I’ve tried to quit smoking. I really have. There have been several times I’ve torn up a mostly-full pack and thrown away the lighter. Other times I’ve woken up with pain in my ribs, vowing never to light up again. Yet, here I sit this morning after being outside with another menthol.

It’s hard, at times, to accept the root causes for me to do something so dangerous. Other times, I just don’t care. Why am I “saving” myself? After decades of bad timing or poor fits that I’ll find someone I can share this pent-up love? I’ll be wealthy enough to travel the world and not give a flip about paying the bills? I can go anywhere and feel like a friend? As society sits right now, I doubt it. I’m being trampled by other people’s ambition and their human nature.  A nature of all the vices and judgment they swear not to do, yet commit all the same. They call them “rights”.

Smoking is my seppuku. I’ve dishonored my master, America, and not bought into the aggressiveness that wins her favor. It’s a savage thought that is considered “healthy” by her. It’s a ruthlessness that she smiles upon. “Grab her! Take her! She doesn’t understand anything else!” Lady Liberty chides with rusted teeth. “You are animal! She is animal! She demands assertion!” …and so she rewards.

Reserved in nature. Virtuous in spirit. Prudence in money. Controlled in temper. These are all Holy wafers that burn upon the skull of the red, white, and blue madam. They are all treated in suspect and shied away as a Nosferatu would garlic.

I would like to remain positive. I would like to give the people of this world a false sense of hope, as movies and books do. It makes them feel less guilty, less culpable, and they can go back to their business as usual. However, I’m not sure that can happen. Bad things happen to good people.

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Monday, May 19th, 2014

For the past few weeks, I’ve been performing a lot of functions outside of my comfort zone. That is to say, I’ve been practicing networking and public speaking. Some say I do it well, but I have my doubts and continue to feel like I’m reaching around in the dark. Being part of a voluntary organization is a can of worms in my mind. Today is easily further down the rabbit hole.

In addition to the newly-accepted group, I’ve volunteered to write messages to each member of the Ohio congress (some 120+) asking them to support a House bill that would protect our business from a crippling change in regulations. I’ve never considered myself a political campaign vehicle, nor acceptable in the eyes of state-government gentry. I wonder how many of these people have ever been mac ‘n’ cheese/Ramen noodle broke? Unwillingly unemployed for more than 12 months? Renovated their house themselves? Drove their car for 13 years? Sacrificed not having a family to survive?

My cheeks often flush when I think of the copious illusions given to me as a child, when all along “the cake was a lie.” It was, and it simply irritates me when people don’t understand this. If I ever make high society, it’ll be by fluke. I am not welcome there.

On a brighter note, my yard is slowly becoming more respectable with every bucket full of dirt I dump on it. It won’t be too long when I should be thinking of what trees to put in.

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Promulgated

The song “Black Sunshine” was apropos as Marissa floored it down the 10. She couldn’t let a freak storm impede the progress of her Shelby Cobra on its way to destiny. This was her date with death, if it came down to it. Traffic had to go. All this weaving was making for an even more miserable experience. Was she trying to stop a catastrophe for these people? Sometimes she wondered its worth, especially with all the persecution.

Being a manipulator of the forces around her was still a problem for those raised on too many fairy tales. Good and evil always begin in a neutral state. Those who use their mystical attributes take them down that road. Her father, Hogan, would often prance into her study with, “Oh-hoo-hoo, are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Such was his nature to be cheeky, and often used common society to irritate her to no end. Teenage angst, being what it was, would always seem to give him the satisfaction of a reaction to his facetiousness.

Those were easier times for the young sorceress, up in the Superstitions. It was a veritable paradise compared to the current state of affairs. Time was endless and there was always a centuries-old book to crack open. Scribbles could dance with the touch of her fingers even when they were much older than the country she called home. “The trade was eternal,” Hogan would say.

He left when she was 20. It may have been just a matter of independence, a going of one’s own way. That was understandable to a certain extent, but to never get back in contact? She couldn’t think of anything she did to turn him away. A second pair of hands would be well received right about now. There were countless, terribly dangerous users on the isolation planes that could peel the crust off this planet as if it were an orange and with little effort.

Signs were everywhere, but usually explained away with science and reason. Two new moons, sinkholes everywhere, the Flight of the Phoenix, and this unending thunderstorm meant something more sinister than mere traditional explanations. A male member of the tribe was resurrecting himself from suspension. This was a serious Council infraction and whoever it was needed to be put down like a rabid dog. She read no one was willing to return to their assigned dimension.

Turning off on a county road, she skidded left of center and back in time to miss a rig driver laying on his horn for all it was worth. Slick as the road was, it wasn’t nearly as perilous as the destination. A steadiness came over her as she pushed the needle past 80 mph. Everyone she knew, including herself, would be shot to Hell without doing all in her power to get there.

The reception square lay in a remote part of Arizona. Inconspicuousness favored sparsely populated areas. Convicted members would have to rest and regain their strength from such a brazen move. More than likely they would hole up in a cave or derelict house for a few days with their thoughts and motives.

Surrounded by sagebrush and sand, the platform disguised itself as slate rock partially buried in the Earth. Saguaro and yucca obscured it further from the road, but the inter-dimensional charge gave it a light white halo for the trained eye. Marissa was in the right spot; she’d soon find out who she risked life and limb to stop.

The Council of the Dogs was completely unaware of the happenings in Arizona. A New York committee spent that time arguing over the regulations of their charter, which have been known to take years on more than one occasion. She was the point of contact for the desert southwest, which meant little to nothing in the eyes of bigger fish. After three ignored missives, she decided to enforce the will of the Council herself.

 A tall cactus made for the best impromptu cover she could afford. Holding on to the relief of arriving early, rain beat down soaking her to the bone. Through stringy pink hair she surveyed the landing site intently, even though she wanted to fly far away from it. It was too late to have a change of heart.

The glow ceased and the rain gave way as a peal of thunder ripped a hole in the desert before her. A white eye with large black pupil shimmered and curls of darkness gracefully slid out into this world as the passenger came close to the exit. Marissa thought of the old 1950s horror films with their excessive use of dry ice and water. Someone’s science fair project won first place.

A sinister sight emerged from the portal and fell to the ground. Such was the way of  forbidden rituals. Even the most powerful of magicians would be weakened by it. Some fare better than others, but there was always a negative impact on the user. This was her best chance to gain the upper hand. Shouts as good as any law enforcement came forth as she charged the spent figure on the ground.

“In the name of Alexia Oroyo and the Council, I am here to enforce the rules set forth in the tribal charter. Your sentence was to be served as promised, and reintroduction is a clear violation of said promise. No exile is to return from their suspension unless granted explicit permission by the Council itself. Under these conditions, I must either escort you back to your imprisonment or destroy you. That choice will rest with your actions.” It sounded authoritative enough, even if she had no experience with either.

“Are you a good witch?” Inquired the fatigued warlock, “or a bad witch?” He couldn’t quite raise himself up off the floor, but was trying regardless.

Marissa knew that voice. So long had it been, the sound of her father moved her to tears. This was the last person she’d expect to meet at a charter breach rendezvous. Why was he in limbo to start? It certainly would explain his disappearance, but the new question was a little harder to answer.

“Dad! Why are you here? Why were you there?! What’s going on? Tell me! I don’t want to kill you, but that’s not saying I won’t.” Patience wasn’t the strongest of her virtues.

Swallowing hard and gaining moisture back in his mouth, Hogan tried to explain. He wanted to lay out the whole story, but could only manage “needed to see you.” With this he took in slow deep breaths and looked at her for a reaction.

No amount of training could prepare a member for this situation. Sifting through her thoughts she lifted her father and supported him on the way to the car. Many people make poor choices; she was willing to gamble this time. The Council certainly wouldn’t approve.

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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Monday, February 24th, 2014

I don’t like causing too much of a fuss out in public. For one, it’s much quicker to maneuver around low-quality humans than it is wasting time dealing with them. Second of all, this area is small, impressionable and judgmental. You get a reputation, and that’s not always a good thing. All of this is under the assumption you’re not from money. If you’re wealthy, you can do whatever you please. I’m sure many in America know that unspoken rule.

I decided to have a vegetarian burrito at the local Chipotle last night because guacamole is fantastic and I wanted to take a ride to a nearby town for some brainstorming. When I arrived, the line was at least twenty to twenty-five customers deep. It would be roughly a ten-minute wait. Not a problem. I’m patient.

As I approached the counter, the line workers started to run out of ingredients. The making of tacos, burritos and bowls ground to a screeching halt. Cooks were frustrated, the line crew was panic-stricken, and the sharks were starting to circle. By sharks, I mean customers.

As the replacements slowly came in, a person who appeared to be the shift manager said something to the cooks out of my earshot which garnered a tired, irritated response along the lines “I’m doing what I can.” It was at that point a middle-aged soccer mom got on her soap box. She explained how the in-fighting wasn’t helpful, her experience there wasn’t that great, she didn’t want to come back again, everyone was upset about what was going on, and she wanted to see the manager. I tolerated her whining up until the point she dragged me in on it.

Excuse me, lady? Speak for yourself. If I have a beef with these workers, I’ll let them know. I don’t need your help. Thanks, pay for your food and get lost. It would probably be a good thing for everyone involved if you didn’t come back ever again. Heck, I’ll frequent the place more to cover the loss in business. How ’bout them apples?

By the time I got up to the frazzled staff, I was boiling hot. It wasn’t from the workers; it was that spoiled little brat ahead of me. If I was too hungry to be decent in public, then it’s my own fault for not eating sooner. She could have made her own dinner and saved us all the headache of listening to her. These employees have to churn out meals for dozens of people a night. People like her. She needs to get real. Don’t try to catch people coming and going.

I addressed every employee as politely and friendly as I could. If there was an ingredient temporarily out of stock, I’d say “no worries” and find the next best substitute. The irked cook who sparked the woman’s diatribe went so far as to say “I like this guy!” I raised my finger and said “patience is a virtue” without so much as a hint of emotion. It was the truth. It didn’t need to be doctored up. He smiled. The tense atmosphere cleared out and the other customers who were acting like brats shriveled up like Shrinky Dinks. Serves ’em right. I’d also like to believe it got me a tad bit more guacamole than corporate suggests.

We’ve all been in frustrating and stressful situations before. We’re not perfect. We get mad. That’s normal. If you can’t cut people slack for being human, don’t even bother asking for any when you become such. It’s going to happen, too. I guarantee it.

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Thursday, January 30th, 2014

The United States of America is the land of delusion, and take that as one guy’s opinion. There have been many noteworthy events and people from this country, but what’s often left in the background are the millions of average nobodies that aren’t recognized for doodley-squat. As we watch Hollywood, Wall Street, and Washington we see all that glitters is gold and the “might” of a handful of people achieving fame and fortune to insane levels. I’m sure many Americans get jealous of their celebrity status.

What if I told you they didn’t single-handedly do anything to achieve that? What if I told you that there are teams of nobodies poised to make them as great as they are? I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but why doesn’t it sink in? It’s the truth. The President of this country can’t do a blasted thing without his aides. The same goes for all Federal-level political figures. They’ve got faceless staffers to get them where they need to go, write their speeches, and coordinate their lives. Why is this lone-figure icon of Americans still touted as if it were real? It isn’t.

To be anywhere important, you will need the help of many and not just for “moral support.” You will also need to step on people to get close to the summit of the power pyramid. It’s the way power works. It’s not like there’s Power Cake and everyone gets a slice. No, there’s very little Power Cake and you have to steal it from some powerful people. They’re not going to like it! I can honestly say that I have no Power Cake. If I was supposed to, who’s eating it? That’s the way societies work: there will be a small number of people doing their best to hold on to as much as they can. I’ve not seen or heard of any nation that doesn’t have that happen in one form or another.

Back in the Eighties and Nineties, we were told as the youth of America to go to school and get a college education because we didn’t want to end up flipping burgers at McDonald’s for the rest of our lives. What a gigantic practical joke it was in 2009 when fast food and other food service jobs were the only jobs available. I spent thousands of dollars to put myself through college to bus dishes and be a grill jockey? Yeah, I’m not laughing. Even at that I had to take a local university over a more prestigious middle-tier school because I couldn’t afford the tuition.

What I really needed was a social coach to train me in how to deal with others. It’s no secret that people with connections get better jobs and status. All this talk of intellect being the key is just that, talk. I’m smart. There I said it without trying to scrub it with modesty. I’m, at the very least, above-average in intelligence. With the way America presented itself, you’d think I’d be Scrooge McDuck in a vault-like domicile. No. Why? Lack of pre-existing money and affluence. I wasn’t born into money. I had a wickedly difficult time making connections, learning to be outgoing, or rubbing elbows with influential people. I didn’t have those opportunities.

…but that was the plan for millions of Americans all along, wasn’t it? It’s to present the idea of wild success in such a way that makes Las Vegas envious. It completely ignores the country as a whole or what cooperation is needed to make the talent shine. Without the regular people, we wouldn’t have a nation at all.

Let’s put it this way: the reason you hear about rags-to-riches stories is they seldom happen. It’s the opposite of airline news. You don’t hear about the millions of people crashing and burning with the epilogue of buying a cottage in Averageville. My point is it’s not the end of the world if that happens. That doesn’t mean you won’t do great things. It doesn’t mean you have to hate your life. It simply means that you’ve broken the addiction sold to us by the powers that be.

“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”

Yeah… I’d like to see you survive in space, pumpkin.

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Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

I forgot I wanted to write a post about this article from December. It fills me with an impish joy only the antics of my fellow Ohio residents could supply. There won’t be any disagreement out of me, even if the study is a bit flawed. To do Ohio justice, calling large corporations with several layers of a phone system rarely leads to happiness. Not considering such actions provocation on the part of companies is a bit naïve by the survey team. Also Time Warner, AT&T, and Comcast (so I hear) can go play Frogger on I-80. I’ve just finished my fourth calling session with AT&T in the past 24 hours. Do you really think I’m going to be a cheerful bear after that?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear with nine interstates full of out-of-state traffic zipping by me at 80, 85, and 90 MPH?

No, I’m not. It’s hard enough to keep the state’s population policed.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear after hearing the general rage-spit about the 2004 elections, or more recently John Boehner of whom I had no ability to cast a vote against?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear when the coastal regions act like we’re some kind of step down to their genteel way of life?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear, when the industries we worked so hard to maintain are now shipped to China and Mexico with little left to show for it but dilapidated factories and unemployment?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear when my own country deems my area too unimportant to fix health and safety issues on their body of water?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear when the four seasons end up to be Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction?

No, I’m not.

Do you think I’m going to be a cheerful bear when the rest of the country thinks this state doesn’t measure up their standards of courtesy?

The fuck I will.

With all that said, yes, Ohioans are fairly edgy overall.  I think the economic, environmental, and social stressors are getting to them. It has made people a little crunchy around the edges. There are deep divides in the political, religious, and philosophical canvases of which no one is really interested in closing. What else would you expect from a state that gave you William Tecumseh Sherman and Marilyn Manson? It has led to practice of staunch individualism with mediocre results.

I do get mad about the state of which I’ve lived in for over 30 years. I do make insulting remarks when I see preventable failure withing state lines, but it’s more in the form of wanting improvement out of a developed location. Outsiders simply want to make comments to feel better about their situation and birthplace. That’s why you see a seemingly double-standard when it comes to criticism.

If it weren’t so hacked up and shattered, I think several people would have chosen to stay. People get mad at other people. Other people leave to find better people. People get mad that other people left. It’s a vicious circle, or maybe a little like a downward spiral.

Nine Inch Nails… Cleveland band.

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Sunday, January 5th, 2014

The Tubes are as 80s to me as the fake-animal-print clad David Lee Roth, and provide Hallmark wisdom in a way only the era could deliver. I did tip my hand too much in the previous post about the strip club experience. It’s not easy talking about such personal memories, being that the Internet is so vast, but if I were on my deathbed would I appreciate not saying anything? This post isn’t going to candy-coat anything. If you are the type to either be easily offended or insulted, I strongly advise you to visit another day. I’m not the type of person to tolerate bullshit either, and this won’t be up for debate. This is simply a story of how my life played out on one Saturday afternoon in April of 1997.

I was 18, and it was a few days after my best friend’s 18th birthday. His rambunctious mind could only think of one thing, and one thing alone: strippers. He was always after ideas sexual in nature: Playboys (for the articles, my ass), video pornography, John Valby aka Dr. Dirty et al. They revolved around him in an electron fashion, only drawing closer to the nucleus with each passing moment. There seemed a sort of Christmas excitement that ran across his boyish face when he talked about it, and he spoke of it for weeks. I knew that day was coming, even though I already had deep reservations about it. Most people don’t give me enough credit for my intuitiveness, but it’s definitely there. Maybe it’s for personal use only? Regardless, I was being muscled into his quasi-wingman as we ventured to a larger city for the venue.

There was a feeling in the pit of my stomach the whole way there. It was not something that sounded great in the first place, but like usual, I felt coerced by societal norms (e.g. “this is what you’re supposed to be like: dumb and horny,” or “why not? Are you in the closet?”). We ended up in a strip mall in Toledo, where I handed over a matinée price of $7.00 to a short man with greasy ginger hair kept in a long pony tail. The insides were painted black, lit with black lights. UV light accented all the fluorescent materials present with a thin veil of smoke drifting from the seats to the stage. It wasn’t too long ago that people could smoke indoors.

The first stripper was a petite blond with cropped hair to match. Her gaunt figure danced upon the pole to a three-set of Beatles songs. “Sexy Sadie” was her stage name, and the bits of metal from her piercings held tightly to her b-cup breasts, glinting every now and then when she’d spin. After “Helter Skelter” was over, she bounded right up to us. Being that my friend was the cause of all this, I let him buy her the brink which turned out to be apple juice. Even though we weren’t of legal drinking age, there wasn’t any alcohol on the premises. I suppose I could see why. Drunk men and naked women could present a problem. My friend and I were also required to have a drink in front of us at all times, and we chose fountain beverages for the free refills. I still remember vividly how bright and pink my plastic daiquiri glass was. It was cheap, exactly like how I felt.

After a few minutes of light discussion, we were hit up for some additional dancing at the booths across the stage. Fortunately, my friend could not turn the offer down and went promptly over there with her. I was left to watch the other two women perform their sets. I began to fidget, trying to keep a calm exterior about myself and pretend I was enjoying it. There were a few other men around, smiling at me. They were having a good time. I wasn’t, not in the slightest. I felt like I was being used, not only by the dancers but by my friend. He didn’t want to go alone, but I didn’t have that many friends. I didn’t want to cause a rift because I would feel awful in a strip club.

The air felt thicker and denser as time inched along. I felt snake-like coils move around my face and head, whispering offers of faux-affection for $40 a turn. I was even startled when an African-American dancer slid her green-tipped fingers down my shoulders. She approached me from behind. So, I never knew she was there until I was jumping an inch out of my chair. I know they meant no real harm, though. They were just trying to earn a paycheck.

So often had I pined for female ardor, it made for many a lonely night. This sadness brought to me by my peers was heightened with whispers of high school girls not quite out of earshot, providing quite the venue of criticism from weight to attractiveness to creepiness. Everyone did it though. There were several males who would make themselves feel better at my expense, but it always stung worse to hear it from the girls. I could be jumped or clotheslined or socked right in the face, but it was their words that would ring in my ears for years. Admittedly, that day in April was the first time being in the presence of naked women. It wasn’t real though. None of it was real. All of it was a delicately-wrapped lie for a price, a group of women trying to sweet talk me only for what I had in my wallet. I didn’t have a whole lot of it to start. It hurt; it hurt like the Devil. I felt ashamed, and tried to overcome a burning face at the notion of having to buy my affection. What the Hell did I ever do to require buying love?

Were they whores? Were they sluts? Only if you include the audience and me. Whether it was for money, lust, or my desperate need for belonging, we all sold ourselves at some price. My area of interest just happened to be the size of a planet, instead of a Marlboro-tainted skin shop. Those buyers and suppliers were not on my list, as I had other business to attend to. After my friend got his inaugural lap dances, we folded tent and left. Rarely have I ever felt relieved as I did that day, with the slight wind at my face and a drive through the fields of Ohio.

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Unavoidable Exasperation

Well, good people, the Fields has shuffled its way into confirmation bias again. How often does anecdotal evidence have to occur before I’m not “just seeing what I want to see?” That I ask you in earnest, as the Devil if I’m just imagining it all. I’m not. I’m not going mad. Situations like this happen before, and it takes years for people to fess up. Gaslighting for fun and profit.

Of course it’s a dead night here in Hooterville. They’re all dead nights, filled with people either too insular to be social or too vile to be acceptable. I, with such copious amounts of opportunity, head to an old tavern of which I’ve been a patron for a long time. How long? So long that I know all the bartenders and they know what I drink.

As I fell off the wagon (a-gain), I stepped outside in the 1º C night to smoke a cigarette. Shortly thereafter two women, of whom I thought were attractive, enter the patio area to chat. Say what you will about proper first impressions, but your physical being is the first thing I see. There needs to be slack cut in this department. We exchanged salutations and I let them converse as they intended. Not so much a minute more two “men” stepped out, loud with liquor.

Normally, this scene is mildly irritating. Bothersome drunk men at a bar is a common occurrence, however what happens next always cuts me to the quick. The one male that looks like he hadn’t missed a meal in his life starts speaking loudly about his exploits with another woman. He obviously thought he was a comedian, as he tried to deliver it as a stand-up routine. His act included his jest with roofies and about this unidentified women’s threat to toss her rag in his face. I will not clean it up, as the raw statement evokes such a visceral reaction out of me. The hardest, and most painful, part was these women aside the would-be Bill Hicks were giggly and twittering as if they had been taken for a spa day.

Now, I’ve heard it all before:

“Nate, you don’t know the context of the relationships.”

“Nate, some people won’t change.”

“Nate, they’re simply a bad apple. Don’t let it spoil the bunch.”

“Nate, you wouldn’t want a woman like that anyway.”

Good gravy, how much context does one need?! If I’m not meeting any women around here giving me the time of day, or choosing a disgusting human like that instead of considering me, what do I have left? Not a thing. Not a thing is the correct answer. Go pound sand, Hooterville, you rotten town in denial.

On a brighter note, I relocated to a bar in a different city and had a conversation with an architectural student from Savannah, GA. He was originally from the area, and was there for the Thanksgiving holiday. We talked about how Savannah was like the human body in civic planning terms, which was a welcome change of pace.

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On Dealing With Others

This is cliché, but I’m not a “people person.” That primarily has to deal with the misadventures of growing up the wrong way in a public school system. I’m sure of it. Regardless, being “outgoing” or “affable” aren’t my primary traits. Without you all being surprised, I had quite the tongue by the time I graduated high school. I was often hard to handle.

My family says I’ve mellowed out some since then, not much but some. It has taken several years to not instantly berate or rip apart anything that lightly smelled of an insult or slander. I still have my moments where I read things the completely wrong way and think “thanks, <expletive>, you can stick it up your <expletive> and do some jumping jacks.” I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to people more than before. It does help, because it has occurred to me that my wording is a lot more keen than many Americans. When I write or say something, chances are good it’s very deliberate and very sincere. That’s a deadly combination. Others seem to communicate as if they lost their brakes during rush hour.

My hair stylist explained to me this past Tuesday of my “no sass mode,” which apparently means there are times I just don’t take anything from anyone. I thought that was everyday, but apparently I get in a mode. She says she watches my statements and the harder they get the more she knows I’m having a bad day. She and I are friends on Facebook. So, she gets the pleasure of see my blistering comments on everything from politics to the hockey puck that couldn’t understand what “right of way” meant.

This may sound all tough and whatnot at first, but I’d change it if I could go back and do it all over. Far too many times have the lessons of the past scarred my actions of the future. That’s not to say there are events I want completely undone, rather just training to not automatically think the worst of someone and act upon it. History can repeat itself, but it’s better to work on making it not.

It affects my life in all sorts of ways, but my work needs me to approach the public in a different way. This isn’t just the general public; these are people who can’t help themselves. Often less educated and less trained than myself, many have no concept of manners or cooperation or civility. They take what they think is theirs, and feel free to mouth off in any way to get more. Sometimes it gets injurious, and that’s a big tripwire for me. I had one rather wonderful woman tell me “you’re afraid of me. ” What took the strength of a thousand men to keep in was “no, I’m not afraid of you. I’m afraid of losing my cool.”

There was an episode of Law & Order on a few nights ago I just happened to catch at the tail end. It dealt with bullying, and the criminal mastermind was seeking revenge upon his enemy. The police had him in the interrogation room wheedling a confession out of him by saying “the effects of long-term bullying last well into adulthood for the victims.” It’s the God’s honest truth. That stuff doesn’t go away for targets, even when the instigator has long since forgotten all about it. It can’t be wished or willed away, and all of the programming associated with it doesn’t simply dissolve. It take years, maybe even decades, to revise the mind to adjust well with the world around them.

I would like to stay positive about this, even in the face of permanent harm. It appears I have been given a better intellect than many of my contemporaries. Although I could have clocked a much higher IQ in school had I not been held hostage by a vicious community, what’s left is better than average. No matter how painful, I’m better a diplomat than a degenerate.

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