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In The Middle Of Our Street

There is nothing funnier than my family when they are running late for something. It’s a known trait on my fathers’ side, because he has OCD. He’d take legendary showers, half-hour to forty five minute events while everyone else wondered what he was doing in there. His showers were full of guttural nonsense, vulgar ways of saying vulgar words like “sonovamother” ” or “hooyoobitch” (these translations may not be completely accurate because I am accessing a directory that is about 25 years old) but let’s just say noise was made that I never heard in my life when my Dad got under the water. He never made it to work on time, consistently late almost an hour but he had seniority so it was no big deal. The guy worked nights, babysitting gigantic magnetic tape machines that kept a massive shipping company float in New Jersey.

These things weren’t funny then-it caused many other anguish producing memories that I cannot talk about here yet, but watching my own family’s disastrous and confusing escape from the house(save for me) helps loosen some heartstrings,as Miles Kurosky says. The only one not ready is me. That is because I don’t get to go out, I have to buckle down the house for the family’s reentry. Which, I must remind myself, is a job that has no ignominy attached to it.

Family Dinner Rules

There are no rules. It’s like being in the middle of a revolution, people shouting at each other and passing things through an irritable crowd. Your kids hate all of the food because you took your food stamps to “Earth Fare” instead of Wal-Mart. Tough, shit, kids, mommy is serving the best shit on the planet and I will not let you go about it like a God-Damned-Idiot. Nosuh, nosuh, we eat like kings do and we are grateful to Georgia’s generous EBT program. We’re it not for you, we po’ folk couldn’t go get the best. I only hope that other families can get the best from their food stamp system and remember that bad food is killing you and some good food is affordable.

Anyway, I have to listen to their endless zombie talk, how we were dead before we were alive, and all the other stupid shit kids say because you are half-dead, 39, kinda losing it with not a cent to your name.

Now you are listening to my zombie talk.

Fuck it. Read someone on the blogroll.

Acting Like A Dick

Is what I do. So much so that I would like to share something art-worthy that I found.

Penises and plaster are the material.

That’s right; someone used to cast penises, usually famous ones and uh, I don’t know what she does with them and it is not my job to ask.

She does breasts too!

But seriously, folks, Congress included, let’s stop acting like dicks. I done did it today by acknowledging yet another anchorgal crush on this site(see below). I also have space in a future harem for Hala Gorani, but will you SHUT UP RON thank you muchly and continue saying neat things about art, and being funny and gay and laughing all day at shit that ain’t funny.

I think this lady is hilarious. Go see her stuff if you are Chicago-bound, bless you on your pilgrimage.

Idiots Go To Hospitals

I did. A really good one, yesterday. Had me in and out of the ER in two hours with my entire family in tow.

Wife: You’re going to be kept, you realize that.

Idiot: Yup.

Wife: You are really worrying me now.

Idiot: I know!

That’s how much she likes me. Idiots go to hospitals-men go to their wives for the facts.

Vindicating Myself As An Underappreciated Trendsetter

Roy Edroso hips me to the fact that Fox might dust off some of Peter Bagge’s old work and put it on Fox as a TV show.

It isn’t going to be Hate, I’m sad to say, but it looks like The whole Bradley family will be getting the treatment. I can’t tell you how many times I saw poor me in the Buddy Bradley strips, with all of his zits and his booze and his music, and wondering if anyone cares about anything at all. Sad time in my life, the 20s.

I have to ask myself…would I watch it? Would it tank? I guess I would watch it, at least record it, maybe buy it when it hits the supermarket. Art, like wine, has to either chill or be left open to breathe, and I tend to treat every piece of art this way. When the public breathes its nasty germs on it, is that good for the work? Typically, never. Art must repel and be repulsive these days, with a few exceptions like Kate MacDowell whose work compels interest.

I gotta go for now, but good luck, Pete!

What Happens When A Bipolar Goes To Treatment?

This should be a funny joke. Regrettably, you have one default option when you get put in stir with a bunch of other patients.

1. You find out you might be God.

This smacks of bad idea-dom. Because everyone else on the ward is already firmly convinced that they run the ward and are God as well. Or the devil, a druid, a Jehovah’s Witness, a distant relative, perhaps a djinn or wendigo might show up and tell you these terrible things.

If recovery for bipolar disorder means this plus the happy drugs, then the bipolar community might want to rethink its steps to recovery. I don’t have a community yet, and do not think I want one since I have a psycho ward on my hands called a nuclear family.

That ought to keep me busy for a little while. But damn, it’s really not a good idea to put bipolars in the general population, because they will find other bipolars, playing some other religious characters or some stupid shit like that.

The thing all bipolars must understand is that those are only bit part players. Oh, they’re there to color in the drawings, and make pretend people for you to bump into. For the sake of gentleness, we’ll say that we all wound up at that stupid hospital for a reason, one or another. DO NOT extrapolate anything out of this phrase.  Stay away from people who say “everything happens for a reason” whenever they have tried to cheer you up. That person is up to no good and you should not, uh, trust anything they say because “their” reasoning is even worse off than yours is. Nothing happens for some invisible reason that concerns YOU as a little monkey.

Sounds like I hate religion-quite the opposite. If you had to give me a name, I’m still a skeptic, or some sort of Gnostic, still above all an atheist so I can remain critical and not biased. But anyway, getting religion was a perquisite for the honor of being stuck in the basement floor with a bunch of civil war reenactors and people in diapers. I handled it well.

So; here’s how to treat a bipolar, so I can be straight here: You treat a person like shit because they think they are God, and then you tell him that he is God or he is in him/her somewhere.

It’s your conundrum, idiots, not mine.

I Thought People Liked The Sun

Evidently, I am incorrect. There is a whole bunch of balderdash on the Internet today, and all it makes me think of is how nice it is outside. Metaphors abound, songs keep running through my head like cackling ghosts who just flew out of a closet and now they don’t leave.

All because people are freaking out about better days ahead. I have a few explanations, but that’s all I have. I am guessing here when I say this, but I think we simply have a spatial anomaly on our hands that is mucking with what the Earth usually likes to do. I have guessed so far that the poles of the earth have shifted, thus accounting for the weird way the night sky looks. I don’t have a big problem with it; it is unique and these eyes have never seen such a thing. Time magazine is thinking Betelgeuse is the culprit, and so far I have no reason to argue with them because extra gravity from a nearby star will definitely cause us to wobble a bit. But, essentially, the earth is still doing what it does, what is has been doing for a while, bouncing and wobbling underneath the forces that are around it.

I’ll be generous and call this a metaphor for a family. Your barking dogs, slinking cats, your utterly fascinating, frighteningly tuned-in and keyed-up children, your beguiling wife, and of course your sick mother and your weird dad, and all of the siblings you know doing something else because they are second children and that appears to be what second children do. I can only describe my own, because these are the only terms I am entitled to. You all have your own, and I am pleased with this. Unfortunately, there are strange stories everywhere, and people are reacting like their hair is on fire. That’s not a good thing to do, because fire has a tendency to enjoy itself immensely when you do this.

I am used to being displeased with people when they run around like this. It’s like I almost want you to have a good day, for a change. Certain people will not get off so easily, and I deal with them when I have the time. But for now, all I have is sunshine, and I like it.

I’ll find out a way to upset someone, but it would appear that literally, the stars will not let me today. I feel like I am having some sort of a “birthday” hangover, when all I have is an actual one, to be quite honest. I’ve had plenty. I will probably make more, but sometimes hangovers will make you unable to do stuff. At 39, with two bad legs, a lost mind and a chip on my shoulder, I can’t argue with the way things are at this moment. Grrr.

Scary noises from this old man are a sign from him that you should go make someone else’s day. I hope I have made yours, whomever I have tangled with for good or bad today. In the unlikely event that this mood continues, I will return here with a full grouch on.

I must see you then. I’m sure something needs doing around here, because I am sure I am still the same God-Damned Idiot that I was yesterday and am most likely in trouble for something I am not aware of. That might be beguiling in and of itself. Bounce and wobble a little. That is how the game, whatever it may be, is played.

My House Is Full Of Enemy Combatants

Does any other male feel this way?

Like, when you tell your wife you are cold and she says “Would a shirt help?”

I have to put up with this every day. I believe my house has been filled with enemy combatants-they’re not hostile, but they are a threat and should probably be detained to make the world safer.

I want to take a bath after a long ride in the car. (I’ll get to that shit later). So my wife hands me a flowery thing and says, “Here, try these on your feet.” She proffers what looks like a green flower, like the ones you would see on the “Laugh-In” set.

“What is that?” I ask innocently.

“I got these for your feet…for Christmas, remember?” I remember no such thing, but I take the foot scrubbie. It weighs as much as a toaster. Not knowing what else to do with it, I drop it into the filling tub.

Thunk.

My wife thinks to herself, “I could have married a turkey sandwich and been better off.” Then she tells me to get the bottle near the shower head. “Use this”, she says.

“Honey, this thing says shower gel.”

The turkey sandwich floats across my wife’s mind, probably thinking it is time to eat and leave this poor bastard in the bathroom. I only want a bath, and apparently, I have to re-learn how to take one.

After I am done rubbing the thunky-thing on myself for a while, I dry off and exit the bathroom. The seven year-old flies by me. “Who are you?” it questions, then disappears down the hall, not waiting for an answer. I think I deserve a chance to explain after 38 years, but the seven year-old does not have time for my pathos. If I tried to explain, he’d just say something like “You’re dumb!”, or “Hey, cow!” and then leave again.

I have to cut my losses after the trip I just took.

Some of you know this trip as “Christmas at Grandma’s”. My wife probably refers to it as Riding In Cars With God-Damned Idiots. The trip up is fine…I think. I’m a God-Damned Idiot, why would I remember any of it? All I know is I forgot my driver’s license for a three hour trip. The kids fell asleep, which would explain why I don’t have any remembrance of the trip. I almost fell asleep on the trip, and I was driving. So my wife gets to chauffeur the three God-Damned Idiots around. We get to Grandma’s. We eat, and eat, and open presents. All cool so far. I say, “OK! Who’s ready for home?” after two hours of food.

“Meeee!” says the seven-year old.

“I think I’ll stay with Grandma”, the eight-year old replies, who thinks so much about everything he couldn’t concentrate on his lasagna. I say sure, why not? The kids could use a break from each other, and that is one less God-Damned Idiot that my wife has to put up with.

So we go. Rain begins to pour in sheets half an hour out of the gate, and it is getting dark.

The seven year-old has many questions about this. “Why does it rain? What’s a cloud do? Does it keep a lot of rain? Why isn’t it thundering? What’s a meteor? Will one hit us?”

I attempt to answer each successive question, feeling like I am dodging bullets in a comedy movie, holding on to my unstrapped helmet and doing a high-step. I thought I was doing ok, but apparently not.

“Why doesn’t the meteor hit us?” he asks.

“Because it gets really hot before it hits the ground.” I reply confidently. Nope. I am a God-Damned Idiot, and it is time for both God-Damned Idiots to go to school.

She began rubbing her hands together. “See how your hands get warm? That’s friction. That’s what happens when millions of air particles rub on the meteor, it gets so hot it explodes.”

“Do the little pieces hit us?”

“No, Waltie.”

He’s satisfied with this. My wife says to the child, “Daddy hates it when Mommy gets something right.”

“Hold on a minute now! I never say anything when you get something wrong.”

“I’m still waiting for you to get something right“, she chuckles to the God-Damned Idiot-In-Charge.

We have to stop for a pee break. My son and I go in. He pees. I pee. He says, “Daddy, someday I’ll have a big pee-pee like you do.”

First nice thing anyone has said to me all day. “Heh-heh, yes you will!” I am so glad my wife is not hearing this conversation, for obvious reasons. I will be cut down like a sapling in a wood shortage otherwise.

We finally end this debacle. The dogs were frightened that we had left forever. You know how a dog is; if you leave for groceries it assumes you have died. We take them in. My bath begins. It ends. My child is playing a Wii game that is scientifically engineered to piss off an American parent. I fall into my pillow, not wanting to move anymore for the day.

The enemy is not hiding in a cave. They are living in your house, driving with you, teaching you to navigate your own bathroom, and asking existential questions that would make Immanuel Kant shit himself.

Mothers: Because We All Have One

While I wait for the contents of the helix to unwind, I thought I would begin my re-re-re-introduction of myself with a small piece on mothers.

Awesome creatures, aren’t they?

I am in partial ownership of three of them. I only have to live with one. That is why you can find me in places other than the obituaries of the local newspaper. I know many, many mothers, for better or for worse. A lot of them are the reason why you all hate yourselves so much, but that is not my concern at the moment. Those of you with shitty mothers already know you have one, and there’s no reason for me to pick at you until you come here and tell me you don’t have one.

The first mother in everyone’s life is the mother that they come out of. There’s a whole lot of other mothers that bring this about, and a great deal of sons who contribute. But there is no one like the one that allowed you to come home and live with her. That’s the one you should marvel at the most. No one on the planet was dumb enough to take you from the hospital that night but her.

What needs to be understood here is that this is why your mother is a very sick person who needs your help.

This is not the person you think it is. She may have praised your schoolwork at once. She may have put out cereal for you. She can teach you to tie a shoe. What she cannot do is realize how sick she is for being a mother. Her husband is utterly useless on this count as well. He allowed her to take you home, what does he know about mental illness? That he enjoys it? That he enjoys being a part of fostering it? Clearly, this is not the type of person you should be asking about anything beyond football plays and lawn care techniques. You mother knows this already about him, that’s why they stopped talking and probably why you had a speech delay then and a bad career today. He doesn’t know anything about anything. All he really knows is one night, he found someone who was sicker than he was, and that was the woman who tried very hard to understand that “men have needs”.

She’s even sicker than we thought, isn’t she? Anyone who tries to understand men is very unbalanced, or very bored. I am a man who has enabled a mother. All I really know is that this woman sitting on the couch with me is the same person who keeps the designer pillows around so that one day, she can suffocate me without having to reach very far. But your own mother is the sickest mother of all.

Mine is a born-again Christian, which doubles her sickness in the same manner that AIDS does for physical sickness. It’s the type of personal choice a mother makes that gives anthropologists and biologists cold sweats at night, wondering how they will have to come up with a new classification of organisms to explain it properly.  Nietzsche was wrong. Super “Man” is not the next step. The Uber-Mother would slam Nietzsche’s dick into the door jamb and sing Disney tunes. What makes the Uber-Mom so dangerous is not her awesome destructive capabilities, but that she looks like the rest of us. And acts like us too, until her peace has been disturbed.

Case in point: one day, when I was thirteen or so, I was supposed to go to born-again church with the family one Sunday morning. I had already had enough with church at that age.  I could even tell then that it was full of the same type of assholes the rest of the world was populated with, except that these assholes thought God liked them more than the rest of the assholes He made because they were better dressed and were marginally better at reading their Bibles than the Catholics. By the way, I have spoken to God without my medication. He is not impressed with you, trust me. He has been impressed that I got so manic a few times in recent memory that I managed to get his direct line by drunk-dialing him in a serotonin stupor, but he is not impressed with any of you. Anyway, I did not want to go. My father, the man with needs, felt that getting the family to church was a very important job of his.

Fathers: this is not an important job of yours. You’ve already made enough of a mess, get your priorities straight.

So I said: I don’t wanna go. Yelling back and forth between my father an mother began. My father, the guy with the priorities and the needs, told my mother it was HER fault that she couldn’t get me to go to church.  This was a poor strategy to get me to go to church, because suddenly, no one was going to church. This is because my father had done the equivalent of mixing together all of the cleaning products under the sink and pouring it into my mother’s skull cavity.  The reaction was instantaneously toxic and suddenly, the thin gold necklace I was wearing to look cool at school became a murder weapon in my mothers hand as she strung together every curse word she had ever learned in her life.

“ARE YOU HAPPY NOW, BITCH BASTARDMOTHERFUCK? HUH, BITCH BASTARDMOTHERFUCK!?!?!?!?!” was what I could make out during this time period.  She said some other things, but they might have been in Sumerian, channeling something that even H.P. Lovecraft in his most fevered dreams would not have been able to describe. She shook me like I was made from teddy bear stuffing. She probably shook the neighbor’s wall. I may have also temporarily removed myself from consciousness briefly, so I can’t tell you more.

But today, I am 38, living near her, not with her.  She is a nice, unassuming, charming little lady with a country house and a dial-up internet connection, who doesn’t want much from me except for my own children.  She can have them; I’m not crossing her again. But it’s cute the way she comes to see me online sometimes, asking me what my shifting Facebook icons mean, and if I could please watch my language.

Have I made myself clear? Your mother is a very sick person who needs your help.

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