Safety Blankets

The world is a terrible, cold, unfeeling place. The only thing that makes me feel better are the “safety blankets” that I’ve developed over the years; those things that make me feel comfortable and safe.

Right now, music, whiskey, reefer, and bad T.V are my safety blankets. If I have the right dosage of all 4 of those things, I’ll be alright, and that’s so important to me.

I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ll either go to sleep at 11pm and wake up at 12pm, or I’ll be up until 3 or 4am, and wake up at 3 or 4pm. I’ve been trying to fall asleep sober, but it just doesn’t work. How does anyone sleep sober? It’s fucking impossible. I’ve tried everything I can think of; tea before bed, turning off all my devices and reading before bed, listening to jazz, going to bed early (this one’s the worst fucking piece of advice I’ve gotten so far), I’ve taken melatonin, Zzzquil, Ambien, you name it, I’ve probably tried it.

Wouldn’t you know it, whiskey and weed put you to sleep like nothing else. As I’m writing this, I’ve got a glass of Evan Williams and an edible in my system, so I’m hopefully going to get some sleep tonight. I’ve cut back on my usage though, because it got out of hand for awhile, and every once in awhile I still overdo it, but for the most part I’ve gotten a grip. Reefer is like a sleep cheat-code: no matter what time it is, a few hits off a joint, or a couple bong hits and I’ll be able to drift off into that sweet, sweet restful abyss. I hope there isn’t ever a time when it stops working, I’d be really screwed.

I don’t only need my safety blanket to sleep, I need it to talk to people too. I don’t like it, but I’ve gotten so awkward and anxious around people, so it’s in both our best interests that I have a couple drinks in me. Neither of us is going to enjoy the interaction if I’m sober. I used to be good with people. I used to be the guy my friends would send to talk to people because they couldn’t. I don’t know what happened to me. Maybe it was working at Dunks and dealing with the worst of humanity all day. Maybe it’s because I was always awkward, but had enough self-confidence to muscle through the awkward. Who knows.

Music is the safety blanket that is least harmful to me. I probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the music I listen to, it’s kept me going in the times I’ve been drowning and can’t see the good in anything. Music is one of the few things that actually makes me feel things, which is super uncomfortable because it makes me think I’m dead inside. If I’m ever having one of those days, I have a playlist that’s specifically meant to break me out of it with all of the songs that make me smile and laugh. Music is the biggest help, it’s one of the few things that makes me happy when I’m sober, and that is so important to me. If I can figure out which album I’m in the mood for, I can determine how I’m feeling and begin to process that emotion. Everyone has there coping mechanisms, I’ve spent the last few years developing ones that won’t kill me, so I guess that’s progress.

The Curse of the Cursor

That stupid blinking “|” is pissing me off right now. It’s almost taunting me, simulating a struggling heartbeat, threatening to die at any moment. I’m not sure where this is going, I’ve got a crazy case of writer’s block.  I don’t like being creatively blocked, so I’m going to fight through it with some potentially shitty writing. The more it blinks at me, the more it distracts me, which pisses me off even more. There’s nothing worse than having a million thoughts ricocheting around your brain, aching to get out, and not having the ability to piece them together coherently. It’s like when you open way too many apps on your computer, and it freezes. That’s where I am right now: the brief flash of thought before my brain shuts down and I turn on some brainless bullshit like “Jersey Shore” so I can relax my mind and yell at morons who probably make more than I do.

I don’t like being beaten by a fucking flashing pixel, it’s not real, but it’s causing a real reaction for some reason, which is worrisome. This should probably be one of those posts that no one ever sees, but who knows what’ll happen to it. I like to write when I’m upset and can’t process feelings clearly, so that I can see my thoughts written out, which usually makes me think about how stupid and illogical they are, then that either makes me feel worse to the point where more writing doesn’t help, or makes me feel at ease to the point where I can function again.

It’s getting late, and I have things to do tomorrow, and I’ve been trying to get more sleep, so I’m going to keep this semi-short, just long enough for me to feel like I’ve beaten that stupid flashing pixel. It’s starting to seem like there’s something more to this, do I think that I’ll eventually run out of ideas? Maybe. Do I think that what I have to say isn’t worth saying, much less reading? All the time, but I still write. Do I have trouble piecing my thoughts together in a coherent format? You bet. This feels like something else.

I’m kind of scared to publish personal shit, it feels like oversharing. I know it makes me uncomfortable to read someone pour their hearts out online, so why should I do it? I’ve done it before, but it’s always been while super drunk, and it’s a lot easier to believe in yourself when you’re barely seeing straight. I think I’ll just save this in drafts for now, and wait until I have more confidence in both my writing skills, and myself. It might take awhile.

 

A Losing Battle

Maybe it’s because I’ve been couped up in the house for days, maybe it’s because the world is going crazy outside, maybe it’s because I’m unemployed now, but I feel things getting dark again.

It’s almost funny; I’ve been almost happy these last few weeks, and then all of a sudden POOF, back to our regularly scheduled program of numb annoyance. I first realized something might be up when I started waking up late, like 2pm late. That’s never a good thing. I’ve lost track of what day it is, they all blend together. That’s another thing; the days are short, but the weeks last forever.

I really hate this; getting just a tiny taste of happiness, enough to know what I’m missing, but then immediately slipping back into listening to Bright Eyes records in the dark at 3pm. I know this isn’t the platform to complain about my problems, but my friends are tired of having to prop me up so that I don’t make things worse, so until all this inevitably goes away as all things do, I’m going to write about it.

It’s hard being a burden on people. They will never say it to my face, but there’s always that fleeting look of “this shit again” whenever I get all boo-hooey and bring the vibes down. Usually, I make jokes so I can get that fleeting serotonin hit that my brain can’t make for itself, but now it’s just black. I don’t like losing a piece of my personality, I like joking around and making myself and others laugh, but now it’s gotten to the point where I can’t even tell when I’m joking. Anything just to feel a little better for a moment.

I can usually tell if I’m just temporarily upset, or drowning depending on the music I listen to. When I’m just upset, it’s a lot of angry “Fuck you” music like Schoolboy Q, Nipsey Hussle, System of a Down, etc. When I’m drowning, it’s always the same cast: Bright Eyes, Joy Division, Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt and Kid Cudi. I’ve had all of those on repeat all day, so I’m guessing it’s not just a temporary spout. I’m glad I can recognize when I’m losing it, if I just all of a sudden imploded without knowing why, I’d probably do something stupid and permanent.

I’m in a decent position to get my shit together finally, I have more free time than I’ve ever had in my life, and I know it’s going to be hard to not just waste it getting wasted, but if I’m ever going to make something of myself, it’s what needs to be done. Maybe I’ll set my alarm tomorrow, so I don’t sleep the day away, or maybe I’ll put on Road to Joy and bury my head in my comforter.

Fuck the Coronavirus

I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing this shit too. The Coronavirus is a pandemic, and it’s killing hundreds of people every day. It couldn’tve picked a worse time to occur. I just transitioned into a new job that I really liked, the only job I’ve had in over a decade that I liked going into every day, but when this fucking disease started scaring old white people with nothing better to do than watch the news all day, my place of work started going nuts with their safety protocols, to the point where I spend Tuesday in the ER with severe chemical burns. The sanitizer we switched to decided to eat away at my skin and make my arm look like someone spread guacamole on it. To make matters even worse, when I went to work to drop off my doctor’s note saying that I would be out for a week, I discovered that I would be out of work for far longer than that. Great. Now, I haven’t really had a day off in a few months due to school and work, so this should be a blessing, but I’d rather go to work and do something that I enjoy.

Look, the Coronavirus thing is going to get bad. I’m not a doctor, but all my friends who are look like they’ve been up for days, and all of them have the thousand-yard-stare that veterans usually have, so I’m guessing it’s pretty rough out there. Too many stupid people are still doing stupid people things, I saw a “Lick a Toilet-seat Challenge” on Instagram the other day, so I’m guessing that things will only get worse as long as we’re all acting like everything’s normal. I know that everyone’s going to go crazy as we isolate ourselves and watch TV and do drugs and avoid people, but I’m actually excited: I needed a reason to avoid people, and now I have a great one.  Stay safe out there, don’t go out, stop watching the news before you give yourself an anxiety attack.

Life Before Time

 

The sun hit Danny’s eyes in the worst possible spot, forcibly bringing him back to reality. He looked out the window, saw that it was light out, and began his daytime routine. He made himself breakfast, took a shower, and prepared himself for work.

Today was an important day. Danny had a great job: he was a scientist, but he was struggling to keep up. You see, without a way to measure the passage of time, science is incredibly hard. You can’t test strength, you can’t understand how diseases develop, you can’t know how long your food will be good for, it’s just a mess. Danny’s assignment at work is to create a way to find the strength of certain objects and report his findings. It’s a not a very well run science program.

After finishing his beginning-of-day jog, Danny got in his poorly-made car and began the trip to work. He made it to work incredibly quickly, because without set commute times, people just go to work whenever, and as long as they get their daily duties done, nobody cares when they get there.

As he pulled into his parking spot, he began to feel the familiar anxiety start to build, “How do I fix these problems, I’m not even that good of a scientist, I got my degree online, Hell, I Googled the answers to most of my tests, I can’t actually do anything!” he thought to himself nervously.  Immediately upon entering the building, Danny’s boss, a large, mustachio’d man named Bilson, caught Danny in his sights and homed in on him. “WHERE IS THE STRENGTH TEST RESEARCH ON THOSE STEEL BEAMS DANIEL? I NEED IT ASAP, I’VE GOT A SITE MANAGER BREATHING DOWN MY NECK BECAUSE HE CAN’T START CONSTRUCTION UNTIL WE FIND OUT IF THE FUCKING STEEL BEAMS WILL HOLD UP, SO HURRY UP!”  You could almost see the inevitable heart attack swelling up in Bilson’s chest as he yelled at Danny from across the lobby. “Great start so far.” Danny thought as he stepped into the elevator.

As Danny settled into his station and donned his lab coat, he began to wonder how in the fuck he would solve this problem. The method he had been using wasn’t working, and he was out of ideas for how to determine how strong steel beams were. After using every tool in the lab to try and bend the beams, Danny gave up. He filled notebooks full of things that wouldn’t break steel, but none of those things would be available at the job site, so really Danny was just stalling until something came to him. Nothing did.

Eventually, Bilson fell into a rage-induced slumber, and Danny seized his chance to escape from work.  As he temporarily ran away from his problems, Danny contemplated how he was going to fix this.  He pondered, pacing back and forth around his house, but each idea he had was worse than the last. “Fuck, I’m going to have to update my resume, that’s always such a pain in the dick, I don’t want to have to do that, but I can’t think about anything else right now. Maybe if I lay down and get some rest, it’ll come to me.” he thought to himself while pouring himself another glass of whiskey. Danny couldn’t sleep, even after it got dark and his body was screaming for him to get some rest. All he could think about was how awful work was going to be when he got in. Suddenly, there was a loud “DRIP”. Danny’s sink started leaking, and since he wasn’t a very good scientist, he couldn’t afford to call someone to come fix it, and had to suffer through it. DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP…..DRIP, steadily until it was the only thing on Danny’s mind. He tried to push the sound from his mind, but eventually it was the only thing he could think about. As he continued to be distracted by the “drip”, a thought crept into his mind. “What if I count these?” Danny’s mind sprung to life as he started counting the drops of water from his leaking sink.

The sun rose again, but this time Danny wasn’t sleeping, he was writing. He had spent the whole night counting the drips, until he used what little scientific ability he had to come up with a way to use the drips to calculate how long it would take the steel beams to break. All he had to do was break the sink at work, use the mechanized bending thing in the lab, and count the drips until the beam broke. Danny drove to work excited, he had a solution.

Danny burst into Bilson’s office not wanting to waste any time. Bilson’s office was decorated like a shrine to the God of Douche-bags, with middle-manager motivational cat posters and bonsai trees adorning every possible surface. As Danny came face-to-face with this hulking mass of testosterone and impulse control issues, he began to question his plan. “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT DANIEL? SHOULDN’T YOU BE BREAKING STEEL BEAMS OR SOMETHING?” Bilson didn’t exactly believe in using “Inside Voices”. As Danny pitched his idea to his ill-tempered boss, a change came over him. He began to see the importance in what he had discovered: a way to measure life. He began telling Bilson about how they could use this as a way to keep track of things other than how long it takes to break a beam, this could be the most important discovery ever made. Bilson stared at Danny for a time, taking in the enormity of what he just said. Without showing any emotion, Bilson simply said “You’re free to go Daniel, good work today.” before emailing his boss the same idea, and cutting Danny out of it.

Bilson became the most renowned scientist ever, while Danny went back to his stressful job, always knowing in his heart that his boss screwed him in order to make himself look good.

 

 

What I Learned From The Professor

I just saw The Professor: a movie where Johnny Depp plays a dying professor living the last days of his life after a cancer diagnosis. It’s got me thinking a lot about mortality, so if you’re not in the mood for a depressing read about accepting death, you should probably go read something else.

I think that Depp’s character’s nonchalance regarding his impending demise is commendable; he doesn’t tell his family until the last possible moment because he doesn’t want to upset them, he lives his life the way he always wanted to, without the constraints of society to hold him back. Yes, he’s a hard-drinking, nihilistic douche, but let’s be real here: you would be too.

I think about death a lot, not in a suicidal sense, but as more of a curiosity. I wonder what happens when the light fades from your eyes and you pass on. I’ve wondered if you’re greeted by someone who loves you, or if you have to make the transition to whatever’s next alone.  I’ve thought so much about it, but I’m not in a rush to find the answer. People die. It happens, you can’t do anything about it, and it’s not up to you to decide who goes when, so just suck it up and accept it. You’re going to die someday, keep that in the back of your mind when you’re killing yourself trying to extend your life.

Johnny Depp, as I will refer to every one of his characters, really spoke to me in this movie. He’s been a tight-knit stiff for the majority of his life, but with the end within spitting distance, he goes off the rails and starts living life the way he always wanted to. I wish I had half the balls his character had. He says everything that people are thinking, but too cowardly to say out loud, and part of me respects that, but the other part of me just sees a scared man making sure that he has no regrets when it’s all over. He burns bridges at work, while still keeping his family intact for as long as he can. He bonds with his daughter and teaches her a valuable lesson on love.  He rebuilds his relationship with his wife a little, before leaving so they don’t have to face his impending doom. This movie is about accepting life the way it is, and not how you want it to be. Your life isn’t going to go as planned, no matter how many fucking smoothies you drink or how many self-help workshops you attend. His sense of apathy is almost commendable, he doesn’t let anything get to him, not his cheating wife, his failing marriage, his shallow job with uninterested students, or his impending death. Late in the movie, Depp offers advice to one of his students, advising her to write the story of her life the way she wants, and that stuck out to me. This might not be the best movie ever made, or even the best movie Johnny Depp has done in the last decade, but I enjoyed it, and would recommend it.

Death probably is the end of your existence, but it doesn’t sound too bad. You won’t be conscious of the nothingness, you won’t get bored of the blackness, you won’t see the effect you leave behind, if there is any, so why are people so scared of dying? I think it’s because we don’t think it’ll happen to us. I’ve long come to terms with my mortality, I know that someday I’m going to drop, and the people who love me are going to be crushed, and I don’t like that, but what am I supposed to do about it?

 

‘Tis the Season

Today was the first day of my golf season, and I really missed it. It was nice outside, so I figured that I’d run some errands. While on my way back home, I saw that there were a ton of people at the local driving range, so I decided to stop by and hit a few dozen balls.

Everyone who has ever golfed can understand how badly the first time out goes, but today was different. I usually get two buckets: one to practice my short game, and one for my long game. The first swing felt good, sounded good, but shifted off to the right at the last second, which really pissed me off. “It’s your first time out in 5 months, you’re gonna suck a little bit.” I thought to myself, but I just kept going until I found my groove and started crushing it.

I like to have some fun when I practice my short game; there’s a little stream maybe 75 yards downrange, so I practice shooting balls into that stream. It’s perfect for those shots that fall just short of the green, which is an annoyingly-common problem for me, since my long-to-middle game is hot garbage for the first 3 months of the season, before turning into lukewarm garbage by the end of the season. I sink maybe 15 balls into the stream, refilling my confidence in my short game.

As I pull out my driver, the one club I can never use properly, I started to remember all the little adjustments in my swing that I’d been working on all last summer. The first shot was perfect, 250 right down the middle, with that sexy-ass PING on contact. The second shot went 15 feet. Shit. Good thing it’s only March.  The high point of today was when I Robinhood-ed another person’s ball out of mid-air, which is ridiculous, and probably won’t ever happen to me again, so I’m glad I can write it down so I’ll remember the moment.