Not Drinking is My Problem

Carl visits a shrink.Hi, my name is Carl, and I’m twenty-nine years sober. I’ve been able to abstain from partaking in the communal bonding fluid that assists in releasing inhibitions.

What was once judged a psychological malfunction of naivety is actually an ailment I refuse to experience again. I tried wine this past summer, and in five minutes a sharp pain moved into my forehead, renting the space for three days. This, from the amount you’d take of NyQuil to cure a cold.

My sobriety poses serious social risks, including: Crossing the line between refusing kind gestures and respecting my wishes; being sanctioned for committing a travesty upon a non-existent trust; severing ties that had not been sewn; and breaking bonds that were not bound.

Mixed reactions are expected when one learns I don’t drink. Typically, it is a question that screams I have crossed a moral boundary: “What, you don’t drink!?” I’ve suddenly become an anomaly in the social-acceptance-continuum. This reaction is inevitably followed by, “Why? What prohibits you from maintaining a balanced diet with a three-to-one ratio of fermented hopps-to-water?”

Coworkers don’t pressure me to drink at work and they enjoy my company. My family doesn’t pressure me to drink and they enjoy my company. In fact, anywhere that alcohol is not the central purpose for being there, I am accepted. I can hang out at parties of people I know who are drinking and have no problem. But bars? Forget it.

When someone points out that I don’t drink it puts me on the spot: I’m the poster they pinned on the wall, the center of discussion. Their pressure creates a sense of shame as others look on, waiting for me to give in and give up, or be the stick in the mud. I feel embarrassed because I have to expose myself to the judgement of others, when I didn’t ask for it.

It’s nice to be around people. To have friends. Real friends who accept who you want to be, who you are, what you do and don’t do. It’s okay to offer me a drink, and it’s okay for me to refuse.

I’ve lived with alcoholics. I’ve lived with people who don’t drink. I’ve been friends with people who have been on the wagon, off the wagon, and snarled up in its wheels. As they get older the pressure turns into advice and becomes, “No, you really shouldn’t drink.”

Maybe it’s shame that people are confusing with being offended when I refuse a drink. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’m not judging people who drink because they drink, or why they drink. I judge them for excluding me from being friends because I don’t drink. That’s the real problem here. My Not Drinking is Not My Problem, and it never was.

It’s good for me to get these thoughts out. I don’t dwell on them, it just sucks when the situation presents itself, and there’s little you can do but hope others will accept you. Women are more accepting than men, and that’s a good thing. Other guys just feel a need to pressure, but that’s for a subject of the ego and pride.

Software Engineering Made Me Smarter

I design systems for growth and to solve real world problems. What that means to the layman is, I get the job done, and I do it well. By connecting information, I discover and create tools that enable actions to improve professional and personal lives. Through fifteen years of software development, I’ve gained powerful insight to how people communicate and use the knowledge they gain from information.

This may sound like a sales pitch or a resume, but let me be clear: I am giving you insight into how my mind works; why I am effective in my work; why people enjoy my company. I find opportunities to connect the dots, to see the puzzle’s picture without looking at the box it came in, without expecting a solution to just land in my lap.

Connecting Information

I practice connecting information, in form and context, establishing relationships to bring about meaning. I realized this habit of mine halfway through college, and improve it daily. It’s a habit I’m thankful to have.

When I connect information, the focus of a large picture becomes clearer. I understand why one thing affects another, and why another thing would be irrelevant. This is often generalized as logic, reason, and math skills, that most normal people possess. I think of it as something better: a way to connect people and their behavior for improving lives.

A connected universe, world, or relationship, of actions, that share not only interests, but a purpose. Content and meaning combined in harmony. Realizing this picture for others is what I do to make a living. Each day, I connect the dots as a goal, my reason for work, and to grow myself and those around me.

I can feel my mind growing when I find patterns of related information between two things or processes. It motivates me to find more connections, and put those connections to use.

Creating Tools for Action

Tools that don’t solve a problem are useless. You wouldn’t hammer a screw to get the same result, just as you wouldn’t use an application that didn’t deliver what you expect.

In my work history, I find terrible implementations of otherwise great ideas, and fix them. People who didn’t know what they were doing and staved off getting fired, simply by finding a way to hold their employer by their neck. In IT, you find it happens more often then you’d like. My job would be boring without it.

That’s where I fix things, with honesty and integrity, so my employer can get back to what they do best: solving problems for their customers, and turning a profit. The tools I create have to work well, and by that, they have to be honest, truthful, and allow their users to take action.

If a time clock didn’t capture punches correctly, an employee’s budget will be off. When an employee’s budget is off, they can’t pay their bills on time. When one can’t pay their bills on time, creditors come by, canceling services and taking things away. If, however, that time clock worked correctly, one of two things happens: either the employee’s budget is correct, or we find an employee who has been abusing the time clock, thus abusing their employer’s trust.

Being able to connect information together allows me to create better tools. Tools that not only are fun to develop, but fulfilling to watch in action. I can experience pride knowing my efforts allow a business to succeed, be it to allow customers to place orders or something as simple as showing a raffle ticket number on a large screen.

Connecting Communication

The best, and often most amusing, benefit of connecting information, is when it applies to how people communicate; how they interpret the spoken word vs the written word; how people respond to non-verbal cues; how people feel safer being anonymous, for better or worse.

Spoken Word vs Written Word

People are prone to respond based on the emotion they feel. When spoken, it’s a transaction between the emotions of the speaker and the listener. When written, it’s mostly a reaction to the reader’s emotions.

Consider the phrase, “No way.” Spoken in an even tone, it conveys the message that the person is either saying, “no, I don’t want that,” politely, or “I need more evidence to believe you.” However, when the emphasis is put on either word, the meaning of the message changes.

“No WAY,” where the speaker puts more emphasis on “WAY”, it is interpreted as, “I’m amazed that just happened because I can hardly believe it was real.” (Watch Bill and Ted, you’ll understand.)

However, if the emphasis is put on the word “NO”, as in “NO way,” it means, “That is absolutely not going to happen, no matter what you do.” Rejection 101.

Three different emotions are conveyed. The first, “No way,” is one of a polite exchange in reasonable understanding. The second, “No WAY,” is how a child would react at something new they’ve never seen before, and is thus amazed. The third, “NO way,” is how a parent or child might react, in a means to protect themselves from a supposed threat.

Using this same phrase in the written word, we find that, either way it is written, it is difficult to interpret the emotion the writer wanted to convey.

The emotion from reading is often a reflection of the reader, not the writer. A crafty writer worth the ink in his pen will know how to control a reader’s emotion, often by tapping in to relative experience.

Thus, understanding this connection of how information is perceived, I know for certainty that developing relationships using the spoken word is vastly more effective than the written word. Could be why online dating is filled with guys who don’t know how to write but send endless messages anyway, and women have difficulty finding the “good ones” amongst the flood of terrible ones.

Supporting Others and Myself

A supportive view is what we need when we feel stuck on something. When I design software, and I’m sure it will work, and then it doesn’t, I can get a bit annoyed when I struggle for the answer. As an engineer I can’t run off expecting others to solve the problem for me; my skills would not be what they are if I did.

This insight has allowed me to discover what makes a relationship work: be supportive to help others grow, but never take the reigns from them. In the spirit of the coming holiday season, “Everyone wants to drive Santa’s sleigh.”

I’ve learned to ask questions that reveal connections of information, and when that happens, the solution arrives. The same can be said when supporting your friends, family, or lover. Don’t tell them what to do, help them find the answer themselves. When we arrive at an answer ourselves, we’re more likely to believe it and use it to motivate ourselves to action. It’s ours. We own it. And, those you support, will remember that you were there for them.

The key to any fulfilling relationship is to grow each other through support and sharing in knowledge and experience. So many of us do this in our professional lives, but don’t apply it in our personal lives. Father coming home after work and saying he’s tired, wants a beer, and doesn’t want to talk to anyone, certainly isn’t making many friends out of his family.

The skills I’ve learned as an engineer may seem like they don’t belong in love and relationships, but honestly, they are the best skills you can apply. The ability to connect information, such as one’s emotions with behavior and thoughts, far outweighs any blind trust and hope that “love conquers all.”

I listen openly to others, and I help them connect the dots. This is support at it’s best. It’s giving someone the opportunity to grow, become stronger, and tackle the problem head on without worry, if it comes around again. It gives them the strength that the problem won’t even be a problem.


Embrace connecting information. I do it every day, and it gives me satisfaction knowing I help solve real world problems, by giving the tools and understanding of information that would otherwise be choas.

10 Things I’m Excited About

1. Being creative with my work, hobbies, and interests.

2. Making it a point to learn something new every day, that isn’t in the news.

3. Learning about, discussing human behavior, and helping others with that knowledge.

4. Challenging myself to improve my writing, illustrations, and programming.

5. Cooking something new, even if it’s just a little bit different than the last time.

6. Toning with yoga and a bit of dancing.

7. Seeing and hearing from people I love and admire.

8. I have a job where my innovations and creations are a major part of the company’s business.

9. When I better understand and know myself, through the help of writing and friends.

10. When I remind myself I’m not ashamed of honesty in the face of obscurity and criticism.

Adulthood: A 4th Grade Presentation

Hi, kids! It’s me, Uncle Carl from Carl’s Corner! That crevice where two walls meet where nobody else hangs out. Your teacher asked me to give you a presentation on the wonders of adult life today. If anyone needs to take a shit, now’s the time to do it.

Nobody? Good. I didn’t want to wait anyway.

Now sit there behind your state-issued, lifeless, cold desks with its inoffensive yellow smoothness, and plant your ass on the equally uncomfortable plastic chairs that will give you back problems for the rest of your lives. Uncle Carl is going to tell you what Mommy and Daddy do while you’re stuck here in this prison.

First, your parents told you this place would be fun. Sure, you believed them, when in kindergarten you ran around carelessly meeting friends, painting pictures, and drinking glue. Wasn’t that a special time of your life? I bet you miss it already. Now you’re frozen in line, quiet as a statue, studious and awaiting instructions, from an unbiased textbook written by some loser who couldn’t do anything meaningful with his knowledge.

For some of you, Daddy is at work, while Mommy is taking care of the home. She’s out shopping to buy you new clothes, cleaning up not only after you, but also your Dad. Picking up his beer cans, wiping his crumbs off the dinner table, because her drunk bastard of a husband never learned to eat with his mouth closed.

Don’t you just hate when your parents tell you how to eat? “Chew with your mouth closed!” What’s mom afraid of, having her son emulate his father? She’s already repulsed by one man, the last thing she wants is to see a miniature one, like a midget in a bad holiday movie. Chew with your mouth closed, kids. It just might get you laid.

The rest of you probably have a Mommy who does all the work. Daddy doesn’t have a job. When you get home, I bet the house looks like shit. Clothes and dishes are everywhere, and both mom and dad are too tired from work to clean. Except Daddy isn’t the one who’s really tired; he just acts that way because he wants people to feel sorry for his lazy ass.

Kids, your Mommy’s the real victim here.

You little girls here will learn one day how much men shit on women. You’ll be expected to have a career, be a full time mother, and still pick up the shit stained underwear mysteriously left in the halls of your once beautiful home. On top of that, you’re expected to have a perky attitude about all your contributions, unless you want to be called an ugly cunt.

There’s a word you girls will come to love: contribution. You’re expected not only to be the family mediator, while Daddy’s hot temper gets his fist within swinging distance of Mommy’s tits, others in your neighborhood will expect you to get involved in community activities, unless you want to be judged as a crazy old maid who hates everyone.

Boys, get an education, because these independent, career-minded women won’t deal with picking up after your shit for long. They’ll earn their own money, because in today’s world, women don’t have to submit to being beaten in the middle of dinner because they forgot to pay the electric bill. You know, between making lunch for everyone in the family, dressing the kids, and the father, then cleaning up that orange juice that just won’t come off the table, and somehow making it to work on time, where she’ll have to blow her boss just to keep her job.

Did I mention Mommy works harder than Daddy, and Daddy complains more than Mommy? I hope you boys learn who the real bitch in the relationship is, because I can tell you right now, she doesn’t have a pair of tits and vagina.

How’s the cafeteria food around here? Judging by the burgeoning waistline of 40% of you, it must be pretty good. What are they feeding the other 60%, broccoli and that celery stick with peanut butter and raisins? That’s called ants on a log, a nutritious and delicious snack for people who, later in life, will suffer from insecurity and depression because they’re worried about their body image. Especially you women, who will have those thoughts beaten into you from men and other women who think they’re prettier than you.

I like to think they feed you kids right, but I know they don’t. When I was a kid, they started taking milk out of a carton, and putting it into a bag. A shitty little pouch you punched a straw into and squeezed the milk out, like squeezing a girl’s tits. Some of you will experience that some day, the rest of you boys will just lie about it.

Moving along, don’t they give you some salad, in those tiny cups, already soaked in ranch dressing? It’s not enough. Salad itself is not enough for a kid. They should just give you kids a whole head of lettuce and a bottle of Creamy Caesar from Ken’s Kitchen. Now that I take another glance at you buckets of lard, might want to make it Lite Creamy Caesar.

I can tell by the depressed look on some of you that you’ve been bullied. I got news for you: it never ends. The bullies continue to be assholes well into adult life. Not that you’d notice. There is no Disney movie miracle that plays out where the kid getting his ass kicked today becomes the hero tomorrow.

Bullies just learn new tricks. They like to disguise themselves today as masters of the art of finance, economics, business management, and running technology start-ups funded by their bully friend investors, who earned their money from laundering and bully tactics. Bully tactics, like suing your best friend for five-billion dollars and fifteen years in prison, just for sharing one too many MP3s of Hannah Montana.

Alright, I think it’s time I covered the topic of sex, my 4th-graded individuals. Sex is a three-letter word that sells anything, especially to idiots. Sex is an act of love, lust, and something insecure women do when they’re shit-faced drunk, and some of you will find this out in college. The rest of you will never know what it’s like to have sex with a girl under the age they have to lie about.

That last one doesn’t include you little ladies, as you’ll learn that society has little problem with girls experimenting with girls, and a severe hatred of guys experimenting with guys. Part of that male dominance and double standard you’ll encounter: lesbians are hot, fags should be beaten.

Don’t forget disease, children! When you get to high school, you’ll be reminded by your teachers about how having sex can make you sick, disgusting, and need to lay on a hospital gurney, gripping your balls as you scream out in agony, shouting, “Why did I fuck that whore!?”

One message after the other will be thrown your way that sex, and wanting sex, is a sin. A terrible thing that can get you in trouble, ruin your finances, and turn that prom queen girlfriend into an old hag overnight. Some of you will have the confidence to not give a shit and fuck each other anyway; some of you will be so afraid that you’ll wait until you get drunk in college to wake up and find out you won’t remember your first time; still, others will fuck and fondle themselves, to the world’s freest source of sexual stimulation, the Internet.

Speaking of things that give you bad information, I have one final lesson to prepare you for the adult world: you will endure for the next eight years one terrible message after the other, rooted in a neurotic hatred of life from teachers, parents, and other authority figures.

You’ll be told you’re being prepared for the real world. That knowing the middle name of the sixth President of the United States, and who his favorite midnight mistress was, would help you keep that shitty job as a bar mitzvah clown.

You’ll be pressured to succeed, thereby pitting you against the fear of being impoverished. That if you don’t succeed, you’ll be a bum, wearing dirty clothes, getting drunk every night, and pissing on someone else’s lawn. Then again, a lot of you will be doing that in college anyway. The acts aren’t too far off from each other, just under different financial circumstances.

Most of you will be shown a dream of instant success, too. That tossing that cap and gown somehow guarantees you a job like your mom and dad’s. They didn’t tell you the truth, because they don’t want to kill your ambition, but Uncle Carl will: You’ll have to endure one shitty boss after the other. And the more you take it, the longer it will take you to be your own boss. Better get started now, because it’s a short road to complacency, and a long road to independence.

I hope I haven’t scared any of you little guys and gals from becoming an adult. Have a pleasant journey, and see you next year for 5th grade orientation, where I will introduce the wonders of a political landscape that has such a dramatic and meaningful presence in your otherwise insignificant lives.

32 Honest T-Shirt Slogans

Here’s a series of T-shirt slogans I came up with, that people should wear if they wanted to be honest:

  1. I’ll avert my eyes the other way as I pass you.
  2. I never learned how to fully lift my shoes when I walk.
  3. I’m all alone and I’m with stupid.
  4. I only wear this when I forget to do the laundry, which is every weekend.
  5. I don’t really “like big butts,” and I cannot lie: I just can’t do better.
  6. If you talk to me, I’ll be polite for three seconds, then I gotta get the hell outta here.
  7. Don’t even try. I’ve heard that line ten times today.
  8. I don’t remember why I liked this band in the first place.
  9. I’m a no-talent artist without skills, so I write messages like this on white shirts with colored sharpees.
  10. I don’t actually like “Game of Thrones,” but it gives me something better to talk about than my pocket chihuahua.
  11. If this were last night, I wouldn’t be walking a straight line.
  12. I don’t even know what “White Pride” means.
  13. Under these iPhone earbuds I’m actually listening to “Hannah Montana.”
  14. I’m more afraid to see my manboobs than you are.
  15. The only six-pack I’ve had on my chest is the one I stole from Wal-Mart and stuffed under this shirt.
  16. The only high school I attended was St. Mary Jane’s.
  17. You, me, and a bottle of Pepto Bismol equals the last night you let me cook for you.
  18. I’m as high as a kite! What’s a kite?
  19. I’m raging against the machine and it’s my piece of shit car.
  20. Beneath this tight shirt is a treasure trove of hot, sweaty, muscles covered in acne.
  21. I went rock climbing, in my Jeep, which is equipped with all the modern safety equipment known to man. Essentially, I was a p%#@y in a box.
  22. (Alcoholic): Open: Mon-Sat, Happy Hour – Blackout. Closed Sundays in observance of hangovers.
  23. Want to lift this shirt off my chest? Start with lifting away my self-consciousness. But since you’re too dumb to read when staring at my chest…
  24. I can’t pay my bills because I buy things I don’t need, like this shirt.
  25. Save the trees! Save the planet! Screw it, when it comes down to it, I’m saving myself!
  26. Sometimes I listen to songs with lyrics I don’t actually understand.
  27. The only thing I know about AC/DC is that it’s the name of a band. Now, where can I charge my iPhone?
  28. Beneath this shirt is a heart of gold, a chest of steel, and a set of ribs swimming in barbeque sauce.
  29. If I were a real cowboy, this shirt would be plaid, I’d have a real hat on, and both would smell like a farm, instead of AXE body spray.
  30. My boyfriend never lasts more than 15 minutes, but somehow he can endure hours of Grand Theft Auto.
  31. The words on this shirt are stretched because they have lasted me since grade school.
  32. Wouldn’t this shirt be difficult to read if I had a third arm?

How to Care for Your Car

I come from a family that has owned many cars, most of them a piece of shit. What I want to share today are some simple tips on how you can care for your car, and how she’ll care for you. I’ve owned the same car for seven years, and when people get in it, they swear it must be new.

The first tip I want to share is common sense: lube, oil, and filter. One way to ensure you and your car belong with the rest of the steel pile at the demolition derby is to forget to change the the oil.

Men like to think of their cars as girls. So, fellas: the shafts, lifters, and pistons, need to remain lubricated for a smooth, thorough ride, otherwise, dryness may occur. No girl wants a dry shaft.

The next tip is to ensure you drive her carefully. Don’t rush in and slam your foot on the gas pedal. Unless she’s a race car, which means she’s there only to be driven hard to the finish line, she’s meant to be ridden from a smooth start to a clean finish.

Before modern technology, you had to warm your car up. Let her purr for a bit, enjoy the gentle vibration as she gets ready for the road. Even if you’re just going to the drug store for a late night emergency, it’s good practice to let the old girl get used to the outside temperature; your rear end in the driver seat will warm the interior enough.

Besides, you wouldn’t want your girl to not be ready when you go, and she leaves you stranded on the side of the road, with no lights on, and the sounds of hungry wolves nearby remind you how much you screwed that one up.

Which brings me to my next tip: protect her exterior. She drove off the line shining and pretty, hoping a driver like you would pick her over the other cars, and she wants to shine for her whole life.

Wash your car regularly. If all that dirt is left on to be cleaned off another day far away, you’ll find underneath a rusted bucket of steel. You’ll be stuck with her, and she’ll resent being stuck with you. Nobody wants a rusted bucket of steel, but if you make one, you reap what you sow.

Don’t forget the interior: just because a car is beautiful on the outside, doesn’t mean her insides should be left to neglect. Clean that leather (and, for her sake, make sure it’s leather). Clean it so it is so smooth, that when you get in, you slide down to a comfortable position. Nothing is more frightening than a driver who isn’t comfortable at the wheel.

I consider it sacrilegious to eat in your car, especially while driving. You might be tempted to cruise through the drive-thru on your way to or from work, but avoid it. Nothing says, “I don’t care about my car,” more than any kind of white stains that might just be grease, and the stench of hamburgers that have been sitting under a heat lamp since last Tuesday.

Change your tires before they are worn out. I can’t stress how a new pair of shoes feels on your feet, so why should your girl go without a new set when she needs them? Also, on that note, ensure you get the right size and color of tires and wheels (aka, “rims”), to match the color of your car. Nothing says, “I don’t know how to dress myself, mom,” more than rims that look like they belong on a child’s bicycle.

Don’t drive her crazy, or her suspension will break, and all you’ll be left with is a ride that goes all over the place. Go easy over the bumps; the two of you will make it through it.

Handle curves like a pro by slowing down first, leaning along the edge of the turn, and coming out in fine fashion.

Last, don’t cut people off; it’s rude to you, and rude to your car, should she be the one to get rear ended by the other driver. She’ll hate you for the rest of her life if you damage her rear.

One last tip: the love you give your car can be returned only as much as you give to her. Protect her, maintain her, and she’ll take you to all the places you want to go.

Don’t be tempted to trade her in for a newer model, when all it would take is a bit of polish, shine, and some elbow grease to get her running like new.

Ignite her engines. Let her purr. Go for a smooth, beautiful ride, and you’ll never know where the shared road will take you.

I Feel Nominated

If nominated could be described as an adjective, that is. I like when people mention me in a good light; hell, who doesn’t?

An awesome author I follow recently posted a link to my blog on her Facebook page. That was sweet of her. Check out Shannon A. Thompson’s blog by clicking on her cat, Bogart, below. Thank you, Shannon.

Bogart
That’s Bogart. Inspired by his pose on her Instagram All purrs reserved.
Shannon shared my blog as an Inspiring Blogger Award. And with it, I supposedly should share a few facts about myself, plus some blogs I’d recommend. Clearly, I’m too lazy to think up seven whole facts about me, and then illustrate them. (You should’ve seen that coming!) So, here they are:
shareablog1shareablog2shareablog3
Here are the three blogs I recommend:
IzzyBlog: I like his (or her?) illustrations, and make it a point to check on them every day.
The Return of the Modern Philosopher: Excellent, funny writing. The headlines are quite amazing, too.
Nhan-Fiction: Inspiring words for a happy life.
And here, over at The Troubled Oyster’s blog, you’ll find the rules.

You Should be in a Bad Relationship

In my glorious pursuit of love, people give me advice of their plethora of dating experience. According to these men about town, failed relationships and bad dates provide a steel barrier to deal with the tough shit of being in love. In order to get to the good stuff, you have to sloth through the shitty gritty.

Worse words would have been said. While what I want is romance like a desert rose, I must be delusional: I’m required to lose my mind through a field of cactus pricks.

According to the mentors of everlasting love and lust, I should look to date, fondle, and fuck, one woman after the other, until I’ve had my fill of breaking hearts and hips. Last time I checked, women prefer dick moves to stay in bed.

I’m reminded women put up with shit relationships for a long time. Hope. Belief. Trust that it will improve. Some day soon, right? Leaving women feeling like a Disney Princess wronged, men have confused being entertaining through comedic insults and competition with being a douchebag. How the two get mixed up I’ll never understand: one makes you a dirtbag, the other cleanses the body.

Disney Princesses don’t exist today. They lived in a different age, when men had to be gentle to women, or they’d get the shit beat out of them for even reaching their hands toward places it didn’t belong.

Today, you’re a wimp if you’re a true gentleman. You’ll have a difficult time being in a relationship, and it’s because you won’t be any good at shaking your hips like a monkey with a hard-on. It’s because, if you are a gentleman, then women suspect you’re looking to chain them down to being a wife in a brick house with a white picketed fence.

Today, you’re stupid and weak, for being a feminine woman. Your subservient behavior to look soft and beautiful is an insult to every woman who had chucked her bra off for that one boy in high school who later ignored her in the halls. Shame on you for being strong, confident, and beautiful with grace.

I can’t don’t want to understand how people can believe that relationships are just bad. That they just are, and they’ll one day find someone who gives them a good one.

I’m of the idea that we should seek to give good relationships, not demand them. Who are we to deserve something we wouldn’t give away? Selfish, that’s all. That’s all seeking something so precious from someone else is. We should be willing to give what we don’t have to get what we want.

It’s a creative endeavor that requires will, not experience. Experience is nothing. Will is everything. The will to continue pressing on for what you want. What I want is a good relationship; not a stack of, “Oh, fuck, why did I do that?”

It wouldn’t do for you to have read this far without an answer to how you could have a good relationship, so here it is: right from the mind of a young man who’s never been slapped across the face, kicked in the balls, or been duped into giving himself over to someone who didn’t deserve it.

Rule #1: Do more than just listen.

Any idiot can hear what their significant other says. It takes a lover to hear, feel, remember, and do something about it. Even if you don’t fulfill every wish, every desire, and want, of the one you love, what’s important is that you remember. People want to be heard. They want others to remember them. And it gets more important was we grow older. With other friends having children, careers going in different places, we begin to grow apart. By taking the effort to remember, and try to put into effect, the things your lover wants most, you are validating their existence while what they once thought could never end, is drifting apart due to general course of life.

I can’t say for certainty what it’s like to give much attention to someone. That’s because I’ve never had taken made the chance it happen. I’ve had chances, but didn’t take them, because I’ve been afraid of so many things. I realized, thanks to a good, dear friend of mine, I have to like myself before I can like someone else. Therefore, I had to learn to listen to myself. Now that I am more connected with myself, I feel I can truly connect with someone else. That’s what happens when you listen.

Rule #2: Don’t Stroke, Pet

Most people know how to stroke someone, be it for pleasure, personal gain, or simply to piss them off. Strangely, people have no problem rubbing their hands on their pets. Like a cat that purrs because it is content and comforted with the gentle touch along its back, your lover would be to. Mind you, this is emotional, not metaphorical.

We’re often surrounded by things that are dramatic and intense. It’s advertising. It’s Hollywood. It’s exciting and enticing because our lives are just so damn boring. We’re not super heroes, and it doesn’t take a man of steel to comfort the one we love. Sure, some women prefer a bit of raw steel from time to time, but it can get cold. Hearts are warm, regardless of the temperature in and around us.

Humans crave the touch of another body. It lets us know we’re alive, that we are a part of not just the world in our minds, but that of another. A light touch is better than a rough one. It’s science, baby: nerves are more sensitive with less pressure.

Rule #3: Words Matter. Talk Like a Gentleman with the Art of a Woman.

We go through many experiences in life, and we describe them. In words we understand. In words we communicate to others so they’ll understand. We associate good experiences with the words and sounds we hear with them. We do the same with bad experiences. Take the time to understand what turns you on, and turns you off, with the words you say.

I believe, if one can, one should write. It helps put things into perspective. It seems the art of leaving love letters has been replaced with dropping texts on cellphones like, “Wanna huuk up?” What the fuck is “Huuk?” Apparently, spell check is covering your ass for paying attention. And what a sad choice of words. Sure, some women will want a hook up, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the one to say it.

What I mean, is you should write from the heart. Don’t be afraid to use romantic words. Don’t be afraid to use long, romantic, complicated sounding words. Women aren’t stupid. They learn these words from all their giggling girlfriends as they’re passing through puberty, long before you even became aware of the enticing power of linguistics to a woman’s land down under.

At What Age…

Do we learn to repeat the bad words we hear?

Do we think being dramatic is normal?

Do we realize that nobody is actually watching but we act like they are?

At what age do we start believing that if everyone else jumped off a bridge we should too?

Can we tell ourselves that its okay for us to accept real romance, casting aside our adolescent dependence on fun without deep meaning?

At what age do we begin to ask ourselves “Where did I leave the TV remote,” knowing we should have traded in the tube for a bicycle?

At what age do people stop looking for what’s wrong about us and welcome and embrace the best we can give?

Maybe I’m wishing hopefully here. Maybe I’m not. I live alone. I eat alone. I sleep alone. I’m a regular Harold Crick. I feel in love. In love with the sadness of feeling alone. Alone with the sadness of knowing I am grown up beyond those my age. Alone wondering at what age will the girl I want to love be able to accept that I’m me. I am someone who wants to give love.

At what age will I be allowed to experience love?

I don’t. Not having experienced it yet is making me feel twice my age. Feeling older every day. Can a 28yr old be 56?

Jim, The Old Bastard

Here’s a story about a guy named Jim. Jim don’t give a shit. He don’t give a shit about your kids, your wife, your job, and most of all, he don’t give a shit about you. Probably because Jim is eighty-seven years old and can’t give a shit even if he wanted to. It’s physically impossible for Jim to give a shit. Just ask his wife of sixty-nine years. Or ask his other wife of ninety-six years. Maybe even his third wife, that cute nurse he picked up (or tried to and broke his hip) of thirty-four; that single mother who couldn’t catch a break.

Jim likes to go for a walk each day. Right around noonish, about the time he wakes up from his late-morning nap. Jim once worked his ass off for fifty years so he can sit on his ass for another twenty-three. It has been a thrilling experience for Jim to sit on his boney ass after standing in factory lines, and before a factory boss, and before a factory owner. Then they told Jim to get the fuck out of there and find a real job.

Because Jim wasn’t a factory worker. Jim was a runner. He ran and he ran and he ran some more. He ran until he was sixty five, when he met his eighth wife, Mona, who hit him with her tractor. That bitch. That hot, slutty, twenty-something bitch. She felt so bad about hitting this old man, who was such a charmer, that she couldn’t stand to see him in agony. Her tractor hit Jim about an inch from his crotch. Wow, that would’ve been the end of retirement. One thing led to another, and a typical romance scene ensued (about as much romance as people forty years apart could make), and she had a ring around her finger. Jim also had a ring around his finger, or two fingers for that matter, but it was really something else.

You see, Jim was a sleaze most of his life. Not only did he cheat on his first wife three weeks into their marriage, he never told her about it. The scumbag! At least give her a chance for revenge. But poor old Betty passed around just four years before Jim retired. She caught some disease, or something, because she’s not really a part of this tale so it doesn’t matter. This is a story about Jim, the Old Bastard.

On the day this tale takes place, Jim walked across the street. One his way from one side of the high traffic road to the other, many cars swerving as he passed, he stooped down and picked up a penny. Not a shiny penny. A crappy old dusty penny, with that blue rust that appears all over the copper – you know, when pennies were made of real copper. Jim thought he was rich for a moment, then realized that the penny reminded him how worthless his savings were.
After eighty-seven years, Jim had been married for fifteen times. Some of them never found out, and some of them still don’t know.

Now that Jim was on the other side of the street, he stopped as soon as he heard that annoying as shit blerp-blop-bleep crap that cops make with their cars. That shit that scares everyone around thinking, “Fuck, did I do something wrong,” or, “Something crazy’s about to go down.” Just another passing thought.

And Jim’s passing thought this time was, “Fuck you cop, I don’t have time for your stupid shit.” So Jim turned around from some young punk rookie who thinks life is all about busting people – for anything, and being a total prick about it, too.

“Sir,” called out this dumb fuck kid in a badge. “Sir, may I speak to you please?”

“No, you may not, ya little shit,” thought Jim. He ignored the little pissant who probably smeared his nose up the chief’s ass all day. Instead, Jim attempted to open a glass door to a nearby cafe, but it opened itself. “God damned things. I have arms, ya know. This is why punks like that cop are so weak.”

Jim, still not giving a shit about the young man playing dress-up, sat in a booth and grabbed a newspaper off someone else’s table, while they weren’t looking.

“What can I get ya?” asked a beautiful voice.

Jim lowered the left edge of the newspaper, which he couldn’t read anyway because he left his reading glasses at home. He saw before him a gum-smacking, ditzy brunette with her hair all tied up in a bun. Black eyes, some parts of her skin tanned, some parts pale where she clearly didn’t know how to sunbathe nude (coincidentally what Jim was thinking of when he saw her).

“Hey, toots, get me a cup of black coffee, with cream, hold the sugar, and give me your number.”

“Okay, one, wait what?”

Before Jim could schmooze another young gal into giving him a sponge bath, the crackling, monotonous voice over a radio chirped him. “Oh, fuck, this little punk. Doesn’t he have anything important to do,” Jim muttered.

The multicolored waitress turned away to get Jim’s coffee, or maybe not; who cares; either way, it was just as that young jerk cop came up to Jim’s booth.

“Sir, may I speak to you outside?”

“No. You may not,” was Jim’s reply.

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to come outside with me.”

“First you ask my permission, then you turn and tell me that you’re going to ask me again? God, fucking parents these days. Can’t teach a child how to speak anymore.”

“Sir, step outside with me.”

Jim lowered the corner of his newspaper again and look up at the dumb cop. “Oh, fuck, one of these idiots,” he thought. Jim folded his newspaper and turned toward the lawchild. “Don’t you know you look like a dumbass with your sunglasses on inside? For fuck’s sake, kid, didn’t your mother ever teach you to take your hat off, too?”

“All right, sir, you’re coming with me,” was all the cop had to say to get Jim’s nerves in a knot. This young punk cop grabbed the innocent old man’s arm, pulled him from the table.

“Let me go you son of a whore!” Jim shouted. “I haven’t done anything wrong!”

“Calm, down, sir,” said the idiot man-handling a defenseless old man.

The officer dragged Jim out of the cafe, by the arm, through that damn automatic door. He embarrassed the shit out of Jim, but frankly, in Jim’s opinion, he embarrassed the shit out of his father.

“I bet your dad was fuckin’ pussy whipped, wasn’t he?”

“Sir, you need to calm down,” repeated the young asshole. He brandished from his belt a stun gun.

“Oh, you’re really shocking now, ya fucking pansy. Why can’t you fight me with your fists, huh!?”

Jim rolled his fists in circles back and forth, taunting the young cop. But the young cop was too much of a machine controlled bastard child who couldn’t think with reality. He pointed his stun gun right at Jim’s chest; the sharp prongs shot into the old man’s pectorals, drove into his chest, killing the old man instantly.

Poor old Jim. He would womanize, then talk about children as if they were demons. A bunch of young whippersnappers. And here, on this day, perhaps it was Father’s day, maybe it was Mother’s day, or maybe, just maybe, it was Mother Teresa’s beatification day. We don’t know for sure, but we know one thing:

Some assholes are put on this earth to kill innocent old men for jay walking.