Take Your Medicine

I’ve been on a wild ride these last 6 months; I left a job that made me miserable, I started a job that I actually liked, I started going to a real college, (there’s also this whole “pandemic” thing going on as well), but the biggest change was that I didn’t take my meds for the first time in years.

It seemed like such a simple thing to do: call your doctor and have them send your prescription to the pharmacy 10 minutes away from my house. That’s the shitty thing about ADHD; things that should be easy are cripplingly difficult. Every time I tried to call in the order, I was put on hold for half an hour because some dumb-dumb who had bad Chinese food last week thought they had the ‘Rona, called their doctor, and clogged up the phone line so people like me who have no patience for phone calls would get angry and hang up.

This continued for months, and as time progressed, I started to notice subtle differences in my behavior, which is wild because I don’t usually notice changes in anything, let alone my own life. My working memory is terrible, if someone put a gun to my mother’s head and asked me what I ate for dinner a week ago, I’d have to say goodbye to Ma Dukes, because I can barely remember what I said a minute ago, let alone a week ago. This is where medication comes in handy. Without it, my brain is in complete control, and instead of doing normal people things, it keeps me up at night thinking about things like “Did people in Star Wars use cotton to make their clothes, or is it some other sci-fi space material? I was up until 5am thinking about this last night. Take your medicine.

I finally got my prescription filled, it took a whole hell of a lot longer than I’d liked, but it’s done, and that’s all that matters. The shitty part is what’s gonna happen after 6 months of not taking my meds is suddenly interrupted by an infusion of the strongest amphetamines science has ever created. I’ll probably be up until 5 again tonight, but for much different reasons. Take your fucking medicine.

A Letter To High School Me

Hey Dipshit,

It’s you, 8 years in the future, and I’ve gotta say: you suck, and I’m glad I’m not you anymore. You had all of the opportunities in the world, but you squandered them because you thought smoking weed before practice made you cool. It didn’t. You had all the time in the world to figure yourself out and decide what you wanted out of life, and what did you do? You got stoned and played Fallout 3 for 600 hours instead of learning how to be a person. You have ruined so many things for us; we could’ve done something worthwhile, but you just HAD to be cool, you just HAD to convince other people that you knew what you were doing, and you don’t.

I want to say that things got better, but I’m pretty sure you know that’s bullshit. You always had to convince people that you were okay, and you aren’t, and literally everyone can see that you’re not okay, so stop joking around all the time to try and hide the fact that your miserable. It only gets worse.

I found our senior yearbook, and just, wow. You really blew something special because you weren’t satisfied with what you had. That girl is waaaaaaaaaaay better off without you, you should’ve noticed that nerdy artsy girl that was always into you, she would be perfect for you, but you’re still too busy being a shallow prick to realize that. Why are you the way that you are? Why do you wear band shirts for bands you don’t listen to? Why do you think that goatee looks good? Why do you think you can get away with not studying or doing any homework? You’ve gotten lucky your whole life, and you haven’t done anything to deserve any of the things you’ve been given.

Now, you’re not all bad. I genuinely think you have a bigger heart than I do. You definitely are better at talking to people than I am, you have a much less jaded view of the world, and you would give the shirt off your back for the people you care about. Enjoy it while it lasts, along with your hairline, your iPod touch, and your faith in humanity. You lose them all in 2 years.

Begrudgingly,

You.

Purgatory

I feel like I’m in purgatory. I’m not advancing in life, I’m in the same place doing the same things with the same people. I feel like there has to be something I need to do, something I missed that will let me leave this place.

I’ve been slowly descending into exile, I don’t like doing things anymore, I spent the whole day just watching TV and existing. I’ve barely eaten, but I’m not even hungry. I don’t sleep too well anyway, so each day just keeps getting longer and longer.

I feel like I’m stuck in the tutorial level in life, and all the work I’ve done won’t translate anywhere else. My parents have gone to Maine for the month, so I can pretend I’m a real adult for awhile. It’s not much, I’d be dumb to think that I’ll have a house like this with the cool gadgets my parents worked their lives to afford, but in the meantime, it’s better than nothing. I wonder what I need to do in order to get my shit together and get out of this place, I’m tired of being here, I don’t know how much longer I can stay in this little town without permanently hindering my progress. I don’t want to be one of those people who looks back on their life and regrets never leaving. It’s hard to keep pushing through when the whole world feels like it’s crashing down on you, the only thing that keeps me going is that faint hope that things will be better someday. I hope I’m right, but I also know that I’m usually not.

The College Experience

I’ve been in college since 2012, so you could say that I’m well-versed in the college experience. It’s all bullshit. I’ve been to 3 different schools, and all three of them were practically the same. The shitty truth is this: college isn’t that hard. I’m a terrible student; I don’t like to study, I don’t do it every day, or even every week, and I get straight A’s. This should scare the shit out of everyone paying $30,000 a year for a piece of paper that I can recreate in Photoshop.  I’m not even that smart, there are tons of people far, far smarter than I am, so how is it that I get better grades than them?

First and foremost, colleges are businesses. If you own a restaurant, you want to ensure that your customers are satisfied when they leave your restaurant so they tell other people about it. College is the same way. If everyone who attended college failed, nobody would go, so I think the administration put pressure on the faculty to ease grading policies to ensure that not only do their students get to brag about their GPA, but also to keep a steady flow of uninformed 18 year-olds with student loans coming through their halls.

I’m not trying to brag, I’m just some uninformed asshole on the Internet spouting my opinions, so do your research before you sign your life away to some loan company that will actively try to take advantage of your financial illiteracy. Student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, as far as I know, so if you aren’t 100% certain that college will help you get to where you want to be, don’t waste your time fucking up your credit score.

If you are dead-set on college, don’t be stupid: go to community college first. It’s not as sexy as spending freshman year blacking out on cheap vodka and Blue Gatorade, but it will pay dividends in the end.  Community college is like an extension of high school, but you’re not pumping hormones 24/7, and you don’t have to spend your days there, so it’s infinitely better, and you save money. Make sure your credits transfer though, nobody wants to go through all that work just to find out that your credits from “Intro to Microbrews” don’t transfer.

If you’re not gonna go to class, don’t go to college. I’ve done my 10,000 hours of partying, I’m a professional, so when I tell you it’s not worth it, IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Yeah, it’s fun, yeah, you’ll think you’re the shit, yeah, doing drugs is fun (allegedly), but is that worth tens of thousands of dollars? No, the fuck it’s not. If you’re going to be that person, do the world a favor and don’t go to college. Just stay in your home town and sell drugs like a normal piece of shit.

Full disclosure: I’m not 1000% certain that I’m right, you’re experience might be different than mine, you might’ve had a completely different experience and think college was the best years of your life. I’m not you, I’m just here to tell my story and hope that somebody gets useful advice from my ramblings.

The Luxury of Time

I know that many people are stuck inside, and that they might hate it, but it’s a blessing in disguise. You have time now, and time is the most valuable thing in existence. Everybody dies at some point, but not everyone uses their time wisely. I think that we should use this time to explore ourselves and overcome our issues, I know I am.

As fucked up as it sounds, I love this. I love being stuck in my house, and I love not having to make excuses about why I don’t want to go places. I’m also using this time wisely, but I’m also enjoying myself with it. Time is the most valuable natural resource there is, it’s the only thing we can never get more of. (Almost) everyone gets the same amount of time in their lives, the difference is where we choose to focus our time and effort. Let’s look at some famous people: did Einstein spend his time binging Netflix and chasing girls?  No, he was locked in his room making mathematical discoveries that I still don’t understand to this day. Think about where your life would be if you focused your time and stopped fucking around.

I’ve been spending my time realizing all of the creative ideas I’ve brushed aside these last few years, I’ve spent at least 10 hours making videos on Premier Pro, I’ve transcribed all of the ad ideas I’d written on receipt paper into my idea notebook, I’ve worked out my swing so that I’m not rusty for my first day back golfing, I’ve been crushing my schoolwork to the point where I’m a month ahead on my studying, so life’s pretty good for me right now. I’d be a lot happier if all this didn’t come at the expense of thousands of innocent people.

 

My Musical Journey

As I’ve said before, I think music is a wonderful thing that influences us and helps make us who we are. My musical journey started when I was young, and hopefully won’t stop until I’m dead.

The first memory I have is listening to “Born to Run” on one of the first trips up to Maine, and to this day I still love it. I’ve always had a soft spot for classic rock, it’s what my parents played in the house, it’s the first genre I delved into when I started to get interested in music, and some of it’s still in my rotation today, but I like to ease off for a while and get that nostalgic feeling that comes with it. I was that weird kid in middle school who thought that today’s music sucked, and that 60’s and 70’s music was the best there was. I was kind of a pretentious little shit back then.

Toward the end of middle school up into high school, I started listening to some more contemporary music, things like Metallica, Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, and Linkin Park. These artists spoke to me more than the artists my parents listened to, and I felt like they understood what it was like to be an sad, angry suburban kid in the 21st century. I don’t really listen to most of the albums I was obsessed with back then, I revisted them recently, and a vast majority of them suck, but they still meant the world to me, and those feelings I had when I was 13 make up for it.

Toward the end of my sophomore year of high school, I was looking on YouTube for something new, and I stumbled on an Eminem video. This was my introduction to rap. I was blown away by The Eminem Show and the Slim Shady LP, but my parents hated it, which made me like them even more. As I listened to more and more Eminem, my YouTube suggestions lead me to discover artists like Ice Cube and Cypress Hill. I didn’t even smoke weed yet, but I still loved Cypress Hill. I remember seeing tickets go up for a Cypress Hill show nearby, but when I thought about how my parents would react when they heard their music, I reconsidered going, which was probably for the best, since I don’t think a nerdy 14-year old white kid from a small farm town would fit in with the weed-smoking 90’s rap fan.

I really don’t want to admit this, but when I first started smoking weed, I was obsessed with the Kottonmouth Kings. I was 16, and convinced that they were better than Eminem and Dr.Dre. I’d play Long Live the Kings and Rollin’ Stoned for my friends, but they were still into hardcore and metal, so while it wasn’t really their thing, I have to give them immense credit for putting up with it and soldiering through.

My music tastes started to really evolve when my friends and I started partying. Nobody wants to here “A Little Piece of Heaven” at a party, it scares the girls away. As we met more people, we listened to their music too. One of the first people to expand my rap knowledge was our friend/friendly neighborhood weed guy Tom, who introduced me to some of the most important artists in my life, people like Mac Miller, Logic, J.Cole, and Kendrick Lamar. He also introduced me to a lot of garbage that I can’t stand to this day. I related to these people, mostly Mac and Logic, because at the time I was partying a lot, looking forward to college, to getting out of my town and making something of myself, and I looked up to these people a few years older than me doing exactly that.

As I began college, I was still listening to all of the music I’d always listened to, but as I went to frat parties and hung out with douchebags, I started getting into people like Jay-Z and Kanye West. I was blown away by the production, I still am. As college proved to be a really tough environment, I started using music to cope with the fact that sometimes I couldn’t get out of bed or do anything else. Specifically, Watching Movies With the Sound Off was my soundtrack, and it’s still one of my favorite albums, but hearing certain songs like “I’m Not Real” and “The Star Room” brings back memories of smoking joints by myself at 2am, thinking about how bad my life was getting.

I was stuck in a funk for a long time, leaving college because I was failing classes because I was either too depressed to get out of bed to go to class, or because I was too hungover to do my homework because booze temporarily made me feel like a person. This lead to me coming back to that sleepy farm town I’d worked so hard to get away from. I started working at Dunks, and with that, started having time to kill, so I filled it by listening to albums. Now, at this time I was working 10 hour days 6 days a week, so I had a lot of time to listen to new music. This period of time is when I discovered a wealth of new music that I adore to this day.

The first album I heard was Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and it blew me away. I’d listened to Kanye in college, but it was usually just the older album and the hits, so when I heard “Runaway” for the first time, I was blown away. I’d never heard so many good songs on one album before, back to back to back, and I finally understood why people put up with Kanye’s shit.

During the Dunks Period, I started to branch out my tastes, which lead me to discover Anderson. Paak. I was blown away, it was like the music I used to listen to as a kid got a makeover, and became fresh and relevant. Malibu was my entrance to soul music, albeit in a modern sense. As I dove into soul music, I started listening to jazz and big band music, and started to value live instrumentation in all forms of music, especially rap. I discovered Avantdale Bowling Club, a project by New Zealand rapper Tom Scott, and I was blown away. It was everything I’d been looking for in an album: it had great rapping, it had live instrumentation, it had a message about coming home and growing up that spoke to me on a material level, and it was a cohesive piece of art. Hell, I’m probably going to go play that record right now, it’s one of my favorite in my collection.

As time went on, I started to get bored with listening to the same ol’ music all the time, so I looked for something new to scratch that itch. I found myself listening to a lot of indie music, Speedy Ortiz, Portugal the Man, Bright Eyes, Beach House, Gorillaz, The Internet, Tame Impala,and many more. This new influx of sounds and ideas really hooked me, and I still love all of the music I discovered back then, and I’m super looking forward to hearing the new Bright Eyes album.

Recently, I’ve gotten more into jazz, specifically modal jazz, from people like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Duke Ellington. I like the creativity and musicality involved, no structure, no limits, just artistic expression. It does make me feel hella old and lame when I put on Frank Sinatra songs in the car with my friends, but fuck them, they can walk if it bothers them that much.

I like to think that the music I’ve listened to shaped me in a way, made me a better, more rounded person. I’m still immensely curious, I’ll listen to just about anything, except for EDM, because I’m not a 20-year old frat kid on Molly, but anything else, I’ll probably give it a listen. I’ve been collecting records, not only because they definitely sound better, but they also serve as a sort of time capsule for me so when I get older I can look back at these records and remember what it was like to discover them, and how different life was back then.

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.

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.