Friday, July 26, 2013

I'm Totally NOT Complaining But

I just read this post by Wandering Arbitrator and it hearkened me back to those very special times when Tova and I, just at that breaking point, would just pack a bag, jump in a car and go....somewhere.  Anywhere.  With whatever funds I could steal from my house (I don't think my mother ever realized I was stealing from her purse.  She probably assumed she spent more on lunch than she realized.) 

And drove.

That feeling when you jump on The Thruway/95/Route 17 with no real destination in mind, radio blasting, windows rolled down, screaming along with Pink Floyd ("Careful with that ax, Eugene, AHHHHHHHHHH"), The Smashing Pumpkins ("Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage"), The Allman Brothers ("but I'm not gonna let them catch me no, not gonna let them catch the midnight rider") and countless other open window road songs.

And it's all windblown hair and new-mown grass and teenage angst in the car, as the road opens and the temperature suddenly drops as a summer storm blows through.  The thrill of pulling into a dingy diner and ordering drinks among the very people your parents don't ever want you to associate with.  Checking into a flea bag motel and debating for ten minutes if you can touch anything in the room and pleasetellmetthatstainonthesheetisn'twhatIthinkitis.

But it's also pulling off the road at Tochahowika State park (yes I made that name up) and randomly hiking some trail or finding a lake and just jumping in.  It's lying on a field of grass, maybe under the most magnificent tree you have ever seen, and reading a shitty mystery novel that is just the thing.  It's laying on a short stretch of rocky sand which makes up a "beach" on the shore of North South Lake or wherever you happen to be.

It's about not having a care or worry in the world, at least for two or three days.

These are the things you do when you are young and unhappy and unattached.  When it's you and your best friend vs. the World.  And for once, the World isn't winning.

I miss this. 

I know, I know.  What the fuck Cymbaline.  You are married and happy and you have certainly upgraded your ability to stay in places where the only flea is when the red Hot Chili Peppers are performing on TV. I'm not complaining. really I'm not. 

But that doesn't mean I can't miss something from a different part of my life.

Te other day I wrote about lost youth.  i certainly wasn't writing about my own shitty childhood.  i was speaking very generically.  But when you are 40 and marred with 4 kids, you are still allowed to miss those care free days no?

I have much less to miss.  I don't miss fighting with my mother, indoctrination in school, hanging with the wrong sorts of people, doing drugs or screwing too much.  But dammit, i miss impromptu road trips with my only friend at the time.  And sometimes i miss my only friend too.

Tova and I started talking again.  It's not the same, nor will it ever be.  We are both of us in different places now.  We are both in better places now, mentally and physically.  Our friendship was fed by pain and suffering and with that gone its fire, while still glowing embers, lacks the fuel to become the fiery bonfire it once was.  We both recognize this and I think we are both ok with it.

Monday and Tuesday are big days for us at work.  A 2 month long explosion is culminating.  After that, hopefully David and I will be falling prey to the siren's song of the open road. 

The only difference is that we now book in advance.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Adulthood

Ed's Disclaimer - I am obviously not referring to my own shit ass childhood.  Just a regular, run-of-the-mill one.

Remember when you normies used to wish for the day when you were an adult so that you could:

Be taken seriously?
Buy beer?
Have a voice?
Get married?
Have sex?
Have a job?

Seriously dude, what were you thinking?  (Well except for the sex part)

Being a child is awesome.  You have no worries, real worries anyway.  Your biggest concern is that pesky math test you have next Wednesday.  You get to go to sleep away camp in summer and be with your friends up in the greatest place on earth, the mountains.  You hang out in pizza stores, go to movies.  make out in the backs of cars.

And we trade it in for....what exactly?  Working all day, the stress of an endless cycle of bills, worrying about this.  And that.  Oh and that too.

"Youth is wasted on the young."

Obviously there's nothing more important that having a family (unless, of course you are an elitist douchebag who fucked up priorities).  I get that.  Having babies and raising your kids.  That's the best there is.  The ultimate life has to offer.

The question is, why do we rush to get there?

Recently I've been exploding at work.  Suddenly there are a million things suddenly going on.  There are deals to do, documents to read.  Meetings to attend.  Money to borrow. Properties to look at.  Everyone is running, running.

I can't say I don't enjoy it, because I do. This is what i dreamed it would be like and it lives up to expectations.  But is this really a better life than the one we leave when we enter childhood?  Really?

Everyone spends their lives rushing.  Rushing to grow up.  Rushing through to summer.  Rushing through school.  Rushing to get married.  To have babies.  To get a promotion/ then you look up and you are in your [20's] [30's] [40's] [other] and wondering how you got here.  Where it all went.

I don't want to wonder where it all went.  I want to live out each day better than i lived out my childhood.  i want to know that, in the end, I did all i had to do - lived all I had to live.  Loved all i had to love.  Not in terms of workplace success, but life success. 

But these are just words.  Because I know, despite my noble aspirations, that life intervenes.  That we get tired.  And overworked.  And our babies demand too much of our time and our attention.  That we lose productivity.  That at some point, curling up in bed and falling asleep to the TV or a book becomes more inviting than going out with friends.  I know this will happen (unless of course you are a pretentious douchebag).

So in a nutshell, adulthood seems to kinda suck.  As much as it is the ultimate goal.  It seems so much gets lost upon the road.  But maybe that's the thing.  Maybe we aren't meant to live the life we want.  rather, we live the one we need.  The one that contains the most important things, despite what that might take away from the rest.

Quite a realization to come to.  But perhaps comforting in a way too.  Because you can't ever be at peace until you know who you are.

Now if you will excuse me, adulthood is calling loud from the conference room down the hall.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Devil Inside



Recently I've been thinking about the secrets people keep.  The little devils inside of them which they don't show the world. 


He sits there, clean cut and well kept. He's smart, he's funny, he's successful. He's all that and a pile of poker chips. The girlies all swoon when they see him coming.

Inside...he's a monster.

She's gorgeous and well dressed in her tight clothes and and brilliant, white smile. She's the queen of the ball, the dame of the dance.

Inside, she's a horrific witch.

**********************************************************************

I had a conversation with someone recently where he espoused his philosophy about the existence of a class of people which are just...superior.  Basically, he's a frum Nazi.  Except when you call him on this, he laughs and tells you you are a naive little fool who refuses to see the truth of the world.

The Devil Inside.

We all have one.  It manifests itself in different ways.  But no matter how it comes out in you, the Devil cuts a hole in your soul and bleeds out goodness over time.

Slow, unrelenting time.

The devil's in no rush.  He has many methods.  But the most tried and true is simply to outlast you.  Wait until your resistance weakens, waits until you aren't looking.  And then the Devil strikes quickly, much like a snake.  An unleashing of quick energy, followed by the slow death by poison.

The Devil Inside.

No one's really immune.  I'm not immune.

 Jews call it the Yetzer Hora.  Other call it the devil sitting on your left shoulder.  The bad angel.  Vices.  Whatever you call it, it sings in a siren's voice.  Like water torture in your brain.  It is always there, oft times a low hum, others a thunderous roar.  It wears you down.  Like waves against a deteriorating rock face.  Like Andy Dufresne and his prison cell wall.  Pressure and time.

"That's all it takes is pressure and time."  Eventually most of us break.  Eventually we become the bitch.  Or the monster.  Or that "sin" that you have been working so hard not to do.

Everyone has a devil.  That's just a part of being a human.  Don't fight me on this.  Change the word "devil" to "inclination".  Ah, now you are smiling and nodding your head.  You see it too.  "Oh, so it was the devil who made me finish the chocolate cake last night.  No wonder I was so powerless to stop him."  "Oh so it was the devil who made me check out porn on the internet last night.  No wonder I was forced to...."

The devil comes in many forms.  Most of them are part of the normal course of life.  After all, we all have our battles to fight.

But.

But some of us truly are monsters underneath.  So rotted out inside that there is barely any humanity left.  And it's even worse when they see it.  And embrace it. 

The sociopath does this. 

And sometimes the sociopath lives a "normal" life, gets married and leaves his vicious mark only on his immediate family.  His poor wife and children.

Other times he walks into a school and kills children.

The Devil Inside.

Embraced, ignored or feared, he is always there.  Bearing down on you.  Pressure and time.  Most people don't have the tools with which to fight him.  Many don't want to fight him.

But the worst of the lot are those who welcome him with open arms and a warm embrace.




Monday, July 15, 2013

To The One Who Knows Everything

You are young.  You are inexperienced.

Yet you spout philosophy and world view like a man who actually has some knowledge of these things.  Like a man who has accomplished.

I am no longer engaging you in back and forths on this subject.  Instead, I do what I always do, I put them down on paper.

You say the pursuit of money is a noble goal - the American dream.  I say Bullshit.

You say you want to give women up and focus on this dream - just have some casual stuff in the interim.  Yet you claim to be a pious Jew.  I say you are one of the most full of shit people I have ever met.


Money.
Get Back.
I'm all right jack get your hands of of my stack.

Money
It's a hit.
Don't give me that do goody good bullshit.



Let's take a look at what some of the great ones think about the Pursuit of The Almighty Dollar:

Solomon (Paraphrasing) - Um yea - Tried it.  It sucked. 

My Dad - People who want to make a lot of money always, without fail, want more.  It becomes an obsession.  The problem is, at some point it becomes harder and harder to make more money legally.  So they start cutting corners.  And they can always justify it in their own minds.  It is truly a perversion of Judaism.

Yet who do we remember? 

Gordon Gekko - talking about how greed is good.  And greed works.  And too much is never enough.  Yet no one seems to remember Michael Douglas [SPOILER ALERT] being led away in handcuffs at the end.

Here's how I see you now

You are an insufferable person.  You think you know things.  You think your minor success has made you special.  You are like those asshole hedge fund guys I sometimes have the displeasure of spending time with  who all think their good timing and luck has somehow made them into a pack of geniuses.  Or the Johnny Come Lately real estate guys who took no ones advice and got stuck holding the bag in 2008.  They now own hundreds of thousands of square feet of empty warehouses in Arizona or vacant land in Florida.

But worse.  You hurt people.  You do it under the guise of "honesty" and "saying it like it is".  And to your credit, you have a thick skin.  Because when I say it like it is to you, it seems to bounce right off. 

But human beings - it doesn't bounce right off.  And that's where you get lost.

Money = Happiness.  I'm not saying money doesn't make your life easier.  I'm not that naive.  But don't foolishly believe it buys happiness.  I was born into a wealthy family.  I didn't attain happiness for 21 years. 

But you, Mr. Twister, will simply say I am the exception that proves the rule.

I can't fix you.  No one can.  You will either learn these painful lessons through failure, or you will continue to grow into a misogynist monster.  In which case, it's your wife I pity.  She will suffer at your hands while you believe them to be the tools of Gods. 

It's not too late for you.  There is plenty of good in you.  It is just buried underneath your misguided ideas.  I really hope that one day you come to see the error of your ways.

Money isn't the end all and be all.  It is a means to an end.  But when you make it your life, when all else falls out side your dark cloak of greed, you soul becomes an evil misshapen thing.  And that is the direction you are going in.

Luckily you know it all - so these words are merely those of a foolish child who doesn't quite get you.

Except you know I get you.  Perhaps even better than you get yourself.

So don't do it for me.  Hell, don't even do it for you.  Do it for her.  Your future wife. For her soul.  And maybe, just maybe, you will be able to peer through the curtain of selfishness you have created.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Homage To The Heroine

There are so few of them.

The givers.

The ones who give you every single little piece in themselves, asking nothing in return.

They listen.  They access.  They cut right through your bullshit and give you the answers - and sometimes even the tools - to help you.

And your answer:  "Why would I pay a therapist, I have you as a friend".

Selfish bastards.  Don't they know the price you pay to be who you are?  The soul squeezing pain that is required to save a human's psyche?  Even if they did know, would they care?

**************************************************************************

The heroine knows all this.  Yet she marches on, day by day.  Giving herself to them - at great cost, ye holders on, to herself.  At great psychological sacrifice. 

Living  a life without peace so that others may find it

Others.  Wounded teens.  Broken adults.  She is the great repair-er of broken toys.  Of souls.

Why does she do it?  Because she can?  No, because she has to.  She has a gift.  Perhaps the greatest gift there is.  She can save lives.  She can make the future better. In some ways, she's literally Superman, spinning counter-clockwise around the world and fixing the past.

The Heroine.

Superman.

Fixing wounded souls, one at a time, while rending her own into pieces.

She's currently "on a break" from the saving business.  Focusing on her own family.  Her loved ones.  Lord knows she deserves it. She deserves all the happiness in the world.

But I know.

And she knows.

Soon there will be another broken toy.  Another damages soul.  And the heroine will once again don her cape.  But no mask.  She doesn't toil in secret, but out in the open.

****************************************************************

I don't know where we go when we die.  I know what I'm supposed to believe.  But I don't know.  But here's what I do know. if there is an afterlife, then we will find the Heroine there - laying in a sea of tranquility - surrounded not by the broken toys, but by those who love her truly.  Perhaps even those who have been fixed. 

Paying homage to a true superhero.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

When That Fat Old Sun In The Sky Is Falling, Summer Evening Birds Are Calling

I love the "country". 

I love trees and grass and the warm sun on my skin.  I love lakes and rivers and streams.  I love finding a waterfall in the middle of nowhere and jumping under it, carefree, and feeling the strong massage of its rough hands.

I love summer in the country.

I had almost forgotten how much.  But then he did it again.  He surprised me with a three day trip Upstate.  He brought friends too. 

And we did all the things I love.  We boated on a lake.  We hiked.  We swam.  We climbed.

Sometimes reconnecting with nature is as important as anything else.  We live in a world where its technology 24/7.  Everything we do, even our electronic toothbrushes, seems to revolve around the whirring and beeping and flashing of gadgetry and science.  I am all for it. 

But I'm also all for leaving it.  Three days - no tv.  Little email.  No blogs.  No headaches.  But I did sit under a huge shade tree and read a book.  I did lay back in a little boat, close my eyes and feel the gentle rocking. 

Last minute trip, pretty crappy cabin.  Crappy, serviceable.  Slightly smelly perhaps.  Ideal.  Perfect. 

We built a fire in the fire pit in the front yard each night.  Sitting around it, drinking American made beer, talking and laughing.  With the people I truly care about in this world. 

Staring up into a sky filled with millions of stars giver you a perspective that staring at a screen with millions of bytes just cannot. 

No, I'm not ready to run to Walden Pond, killin' my own food and dodgin' bear.  But I do think that, in some ways, these trips back to nature (including, of course, tropical paradises) give me an emotional and spiritual lift that nothing else quite can.

And yes, when we came home, it felt good to come back into a nice air conditioned environment (the cabin's reliance on so-called "summer breezes" was quite a fallacy).  But that good feeling still pales in comparison to the feeling I get when I jump off a wooden dock and plunge into the cold waters of a beautiful lake, surrounded on all sides by nothing.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wham, Bam, Thank You Maam

There's nothing cooler than being shaken awake at 7:00 am Sunday morning, told to quickly pack, and being hustled out to the car, where your friends are waiting to go on a surprise 3-day jaunt.

Thank you David and Crew.

#HappyAnniversaryPresent

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Rules Are In Place For A Reason

Ed's Note:  Upon my re-read of this this morning (I wrote it very late last night), I find it to be very rambly and dumb.  I'm letting it stay in because I'll want to re-read it one day and feel embarrassed for myself.  Consider yourselves forewarned...

When I started this journal, I found that Blogger is filled with people who want to tell their stories.  Or just to talk.  That is, in fact, the whole point of Blogger. It's Facebook for the verbose.

So I made a rule early (and for those of you who "know" me, I have a bunch of rules for Blog-World) - I am not going to get sucked in and start following a hundred different blogs.  For one thing, it's incredibly time consuming.  For another, I didn't want to have to deal with the politics of it - ergo:

X reads my blog.  I know X reads my blog.  X asks me if I read hers.  I hem and haw and eventually say no.  X is now insulted because, after all, she reads mine.  Now X stops reading mine. 

And so as a general rule, I follow almost no blogs.  Which isn't to say I never read them.  Or that I don't occasionally peruse.  But I do not religiously check and read or follow.

All this by way of introduction.

In my humble opinion:

Everyone has the right to put their thoughts and opinions out there.  So long as what you are writing is offensive to others, go crazy.  You can choose to write whatever you want.  And people have a choice to read it or not. 

But that's the thing.  It should be a choice - not an obligation.  I shouldn't feel bad because I'm not interested in your cute little kittens, the soup you made this morning, how many pounds of torque your Porsche gets or how much weight you gained over the holidays.

Sure, you have the right to write...but I don't have an obligation to read.

I say this because it goes both ways.  I have chatted with people from here who clearly never read my journal.  And it doesn't matter to me.  i never asked if they did and i certainly never asked WHY they didn't.  I don't care.  My journal is for one person and one person only.  And she's writing these very words right now.  (It's me, dumbass)

I admit it.  There is some really great stuff out there.  Some very moving, some brilliant.  Some entertaining. 

But.

But plenty of bloggers can't write for shit.  And they have nothing original to say.  Or they are repetitive (like me!!!).  Or they are sermonizing in every post.  Or they find themselves posting almost every day to keep an audience.  And all of that is totally fine. 

Write dear boy, write. 

Write until your fingers seize up.  Write until the computer tells you your storage capacity is used up.  Write and let your ideas and thoughts flow out of you onto the page for anyone who so chooses to see.

But don't expect people to read.  Your work is out there.  If people want it, they will find it.  Let them choose.  Don't pressure them to.

And for the record, this post isn't about any one person.  Or about how "wonderful" my journal is.  I have had more than a few emails telling me my blog is shit.  It's offensive.  I'm a whore.  And so on and so forth.  (I am a big fan of getting knocked down a few pegs, lest one begins to think too much of oneself.)

What's my point, you ask.  Good question.  As I read this, I can't quite remember - It's sitting there, just little strands I'm trying to pull on.  Ah yes, here it is.  The rules.  My rules.  They are in place for a reason. 

Know in advance that chances are i don't read your blog.  i don't know the name of it and i cannot tell apart your kittens.  I don't religiously refresh your feed every ten minutes to see if you wrote anything new or to see who may have commented.

But does that mean we can't be friends?