Sunday, February 25, 2018

Dream Rock

I've always liked Chris Rock, ever since I first saw him on Saturday Night Live all those years ago, but last night he really pissed me off.

I suppose I should mention here that I've never met Chris Rock in real life, I haven't seen him on TV lately, and I haven't even thought about the guy in God knows how long.

And yet he walked into my head last night and wouldn't leave until I chased him the hell out.

I was in the middle of a strange dream, which sounds redundant in light of the technicolor skull busters I've experienced in my life, but at least this time it wasn't one of those horror show nightmares I've been known to have.

In this latest psychodrama I was sitting in a doctor's office, which makes some sense as I'm due to see my surgeon this week. However, this setting looked nothing like my doctor's waiting room and I wasn't wearing these godawful leg braces that I'm saddled with in real life.

And then Chris Rock walked in the door.

Yes, he did, and he sat down right next to me. I wasn't star-struck, but I was pretty impressed. We started talking about something which I have since forgotten and at one point I said, "there was a story on NPR about that last night."

"Oh, yeah?" the dream-edian snarked. "I didn't think bald guys from Brooklyn listened to NPR."

What the flaming fluff? I know these delusions aren't supposed to make sense, but even for a dream this joke bombed.

I've been putting up with bald jokes for far too long. Some people seem to think I consciously decided to start losing my hair one day, where in reality in was very upsetting for me. And believe it or not, rude, stupid jokes about it don't make me feel any better.

I recently tanked a Facebook friend request from some ass monkey I worked with 20 years ago largely because he was always making stupid bald jokes. I'm partially to blame here, as I've had trouble speaking up for myself, and I thought I should be a good sport-even though he was being a prick.

A Streetcar Named 'Yo Mamma'

Now I haven't had any contact with this dickwad in two decades and I didn't like him when I worked with him, so why in the five-alarm hell would I want to bring this putz back in my life after all this time? Delete, delete, delete…

In this age where fat-shaming has become a capital offense, and "body positive" has replaced "unhealthy," why is mocking someone else's hair loss is still acceptable? I want to join the oppressed minority and wrap myself up in a blanket of offense.

Don't get me wrong. Fat-shaming is a terrible thing to do and I was most definitely guilty of that in my younger days-something I deeply regret and sincerely apologize for. I just want a little understanding sent in my direction.

But first I've got to straighten out Chris Rock.

"Are you serious?" I snapped. "You're the bigtime comedian and that's the best you can do?"

I got so nasty that this world-famous performer got up and changed his seat.

I know I overreacted but on the bright side none of this was real-except for the lingering resentment I have stored up in my subconscious.

Dreams don't spring out of nowhere, so clearly, I've still got a lot of hostility buried in my psychological bedrock. I haven't figured out the Chris Rock angle, but perhaps my inner mind wanted to shake things up by pulling in a famous person.

The scene shifted and then I was watching very crowded trolley cars pass by me somewhere in downtown Brooklyn. I think I wanted to board one of them, but they were all so crowded I couldn't get on.

This seems logical since I've been watching a German TV show on Netflix called Babylon Berlin, which takes place in the eponymous city during the Weimar Republic. The show has excellent production values and sets, including a street scene with trolleys rolling back and forth.

And by the way, even though the trolleys were all packed to the gills nobody made any wisecracks about my hair.

I woke up, relieved I hadn't insulted a star and that I hadn't been run over by a trolley. I'm going to see my doctor on Tuesday and if Chris Rock sits next to me, he'd better keep his mouth shut.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

American Carnage

Too soon?

That's what we hear every time some heavily armed psycho gets hold of a terrifying weapon of personal destruction and kills innocent people.

While the victims' friends and family are still reeling from the unimaginable loss of their loved ones, the gun lobby and their whores in congress swoop in to make sure nothing ever changes.

It's too soon to talk about gun control, they say, it's disrespects the victims. We can't politicize this tragedy, they say, as if they actually give a shit.

And so the story fades from the news cycle, the dead are forgotten, and the scene is set for the next horrific attack.

But don't worry: these brave souls are ready to take action against the real villains here-computer games and movies. Yes, of course, that makes perfect sense.

Except when you realize that American movies and computer games are viewed and played all over the world and these countries don't seem to have the mass shootings that we do.

Gee, do you think it might have something to do with the guns? Nah….

The latest slaughter was in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday, where Nikolas Cruz allegedly gunned down 14 students and three staff members using the mass shooter's weapon of choice, the AR-15.

Cruz, who was photographed wearing a "Make America Great Hat," espoused "racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views and displayed an obsession with violence and guns."

There's a brief cell phone video of students screaming and cowering in a classroom while the sound of gunfire rips through the air. Looking at this footage makes me ashamed to be an American.

The Las Vegas bump stock slaughter was in October, a month later we had the Texas church shooting, and here we are again with the funerals, the images of the fallen, and the sobbing survivors.

Gun Play

Oh, yeah, and of course, we get the "thoughts and prayers" routine, which for some strange reason don't seem to prevent these slaughters. Hard to believe, right?

The scumbag in the White House-I refuse to call him "President"-regurgitated some dribble about working with state and local leaders "to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health."

Why don't we start with yours?

Putin's hand puppet visited some of the wounded before dashing off to his compound at Mar-A-Largo, probably to play a few thousand rounds of golf and get his marching orders from Russia. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

Making things so much worse was the news that FBI had received a tip last month that Cruz had a "desire to kill," access to guns and could be plotting an attack but failed to investigate.

And that scumbag in the White House is actually trying to use this screw-up to get out from under the Russia scandal. But what's really depressing is that you know there are vast numbers of idiots who believe him.

I would like to think that it's different this time, that the anger has grown to such a level that even those NRA stooges will be shamed into actually doing something in response to all these beautiful lives being snuffed out.

There are a lot of young people who are tired of seeing their classmates being gunned down and they're promising to make some changes.

I want to believe all that, I really do. But we've been down this road many times before and I still believe the pistol-packing pussy grabbers will stall and filibuster until the next massacre.

And then it'll be too soon all over again.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Future World

This never happened on Star Trek.

It was Thursday night and I was trying to attend my most fabulous writing class via Skype, but I couldn't make the magic happen.

I'm still wearing these awful leg braces from December's surgery, so riding the subway to my instructor Rosemary's house in Park Slope is out of the question.

But my classmate Joan, who is in New Mexico, and I were getting all 21st Century so we could join in without actually being there.

Or at least I was trying to join in.

However, I was having trouble getting online and the Skype calls kept crashing with this obnoxious noise that sounded like someone punching a heavy bag.

Rosemary called me to guide me through the process, but all I got for my efforts was another phantom punch in the ego.

Video conferencing has been around for ages, but to a techno-thal like yours truly it's something akin to voodoo and Buck Rogers. This seems strange, since I was such a science fiction fan when I was a kid, but then the computers in the books and movies were cool, not complicated.

I've been forcing myself to stretch my fossilized knees and I'm not the calmest fellow on this side of the ocean to begin with, so this latest run-in with the Internet was twisting me in all the wrong directions. I was seconds away from losing my Shatner.

Where's the transporter room when you need it?

"Just think positive thoughts," Rosemary said.

If only. While I think I've been making some progress with my anger management efforts, there's something about me and misbehaving machinery that just strips my gears.

I guess it's the feeling of helplessness. We're so dependent on this equipment that when something goes wrong we're pretty much screwed.

Captain's Log

And the fun really begins when you call tech support and find your warranty has run out and if you want any help you'll have to crack out the credit card. This never happened to Mr. Spock.

During the last few days I've also been battling with my TV remote and my printer, which decided on Saturday that it didn't feel like scanning documents anymore. It's a good thing phasers aren't real.

I got a rather disturbing example of my computer-driven rage when I was listening to an earnings call webcast and the sound suddenly croaked on me.

Naturally I did the mature thing-hurling F-bombs like they were beads at a Mardi Gras parade. The sound returned a short time later, but I kind of doubt if all that cursing was the cure.

I would've forgotten about my outburst except I was playing back the meeting on my digital recorder to check some quotes when I heard this psycho cursing and fuming.

And he sounded mighty familiar.

"What the fuck!" This freak shouted. "What the fuck is going on?"

Hearing myself freak out like that was unnerving because, honestly, I never really hear myself in a real time temper tantrum. I'm too busy savoring all that allegedly righteous anger.

I wonder if I should get another tape recorder just to keep track of my outbursts-a kind of captain's log where I essentially Watergate myself in the act of being a short-tempered loon. Fred the Shrink suggested a voice-activated device that would only switch on when I flip out.

I suspect that recorder will get quite a workout.

I never did conjure up those positive thoughts on Thursday, but Skype came to life nonetheless and the class was fantastic.

I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to write anything due to the odd conditions but once Rosemary read off her lists of prompts I picked up my pen and wrote myself into a frenzy.

I was so glad we got Skype to work. Of course, my technophobia still hasn't abated. I'm going to take another run at scanning some documents and if the printer doesn't work I'll give that buggy little bugger the Vulcan nerve pinch so hard it'll spew 50 dollars bill.

Did you get all that?

Sunday, February 04, 2018

The Good Life

Now comes the hard part.

I went to see my doctor this week, six weeks after he operated on both my knees, and got a new, more flexible set of leg braces.

My physical therapist had warned me not to be shocked by the sight of my emaciated legs, but I have to say it was quite a jolt seeing these two toothpicks attached to my body.

Still, my PT guy says the muscles will return just as quickly as they disappeared.

As my doctor examined my knees, a stray thought sailed across my mind like a shooting star on a summer night.

I've had a good life.

That sounds rather strange coming from a chronic complainer like yours truly, but this awful experience has taught me a lot about gratitude-or it can, as long as I allow it.

Before the accident I went to work, went to the gym, did some (but not enough) socializing, and worked on my writing. While it wasn't the perfect life-what life is?--I was doing well.

But I wasn't really happy. I was always worried about something, always rushing somewhere, always upset, annoyed, or angry about things in the distant past or possible future. I didn't spend enough time in the present being grateful.

Now that my life has been thoroughly disrupted I can finally see how good things were for me. I suppose it's better late than never for such insights, but I'd rather not live my life looking in the rearview mirror.

Shake All the Blues Away

Part of me believes that if I say I'm satisfied with my life, then I'll stop trying to improve. Last year I wrote in my New Year's Day post that I'm looking to achieve a state of striving gratitude, where I'm thankful for what I have, but always looking to better myself.

Maybe this accident will help me reach that goal.

My doctor wants me to stretch my knees and my PT guy has put me through a series of torturous routines designed to bring me back to normalcy.

I'm trying to do what he says, but I'm afraid of damaging my knees all over again. The therapist assures me that this won't happen, noting that the fear is holding me back.

I've been sitting in a chair for my morning meditation with my feet flat on the floor and it's been a real struggle.

On Saturday morning I was so down I wondered if I'll ever get back to where I used to be. Of course, that kind of talk pretty much guarantees that I won't get back to where I was, but it's hard to be positive when I look at these two wasted pins of mine and feel that agony in my knees whenever I try to sit down like a human being.

I came across an old quote I had posted on Facebook a few years back, but obviously didn't absorb.

It said the "The vibration of gratitude attracts more positive things into your life" and I have to say I am fascinated by this concept of vibration.

"Every thought, word and action carries its own vibrational frequency," according to the website Forever Conscious. "It comes back to the Law of Attraction- whether you 'ask' for it or not, you are drawn to situations, people or objects that are in line with your vibrational resonance."

The post says fear gives off a low vibration while love is much higher. In a list of the top 12 ways you can boost your vibration, guess which one holds the top position-yep, gratitude.

Now I'm going back to work tomorrow for the first time since Dec. 14 and I'm nervous as hell about that. And I'm worried about my recovery.

But I want to drive out these debilitating thoughts and boost the good stuff until I'm vibrating like a two-ton tuning fork.