Wednesday, April 30, 2014


I’ve been without my regular computer for some time; I hope by week’s end I will have it back. So, all the blogs for the past few months have been written on an identical yet foreign computer. Now this may not be a big deal to some, especially since I have an identical back-up… but you know it’s not truly identical. You see all my music and a good chunk of my writing is on my primary digital interface. Which sucks since I really enjoy cuing up my own personal soundtracks and try to make sure my fingers can keep up with the tempo that blasts out of the speakers and into my waiting ears.
            So, where does that leave me? Especially since I don’t do spotify and I hate listening to streaming radio? Simple, youtube. For tonights selection I have cued up “Iron Maiden Rock in Rio” the 2001 version. It is truly one of my favorite playlists to write to. And after a night like tonight, a night in which I almost lost my cool. I saw red and was on the cusp of reaching out with my greedy stubby fingers and grabbing a hold of the bloody edges and immersing myself into a pool of verbal savagery that borders on the precipice of physical and mental torture, I was able to step back and hold inside of me the maniac that had rooted himself just behind my eyes and taken root in the pre-historic Cro-Magnon man part of my brain.
            I know, I know, you’re saying to yourself “Skip? What could make you so upset, so angry? So volatile?”
            Simple, I was accused of something I believe and feel I did not do. Now, any one of you who’ve ever worked inside the food service or even the retail service industry know, a person takes a lot of shit from people. Customers, fellow employees and even owners; tonight was such a night.
            It is not uncommon, in the place I work part-time, to get blamed for things that go wrong. Even if you are not there, or it clearly wasn’t your fault, someone always seems to get accused. Right or wrong, this is the way it is. I can honestly say that ninety-nine percent of the time I pretend I’m a duck in situations like this. I just let the water and verbal sludge just sluice right off my back. I don’t get confrontational, I don’t try and defend myself, I don’t demand justice or evidence. I just shrug my shoulders, grin and walk away. Because I know that no matter what I say, what I do, or even what evidence to the contrary I may have, it won’t mean anything to anyone. I won’t get an apology, I won’t get an expunged reputation, and I won’t feel vindicated. I just chalk it up to people who’ve had a lifetime of repression and disappointment trying to make themselves feel superior to others. This keeps me sane, that and the fact that I know my shift is only four to five hours long and I’ve suffered worse mental and physical torture at the hands of trained military personnel.
            I’m not going to go into too many details, since I’ve already given you the gist of the events you really don’t need to know the raw, human emotions. I will say that initially, I laughed the whole situation off. Like I normally do. But after thirty minutes of passive-aggressive backhanded comments made to others I work with and in front of me I finally had had enough. That’s when the red crept into the corners of my eyes. There were four of us all cramped into a five foot by three foot space and I was forced to take a step back in an attempt calm my maniac, to chain him back to the walls of my id so that he would not get the best of my demeanor. After all, isn’t that when your opponent wins? When you lose control. Yeah, that is what happens. They win, you lose. Game over.
            So I took a step back, collect my thoughts and once composed, stepped forward again and with four simple sentences, in a raised but not angry voice and through gritted teeth I unleashed my defense towards my accuser.
            My accuser, looked as if I had just ripped out her heart, taken a big bite of it, threw it on the floor and then squashed the evil, black, festering and rotten thing under my boot. The accuser turned and walked away. The accuser also refused to speak to me the rest of the night. No loss on my behalf.
            I say that simply because I know there are people in the world who always see the negative of any given situation and they thrive on it. The negativity of life is what gives them solace in their own existence. Others misery is like mana to them. They look for it in any and all situations. Someone dies? They look for all the bad things they’ve heard others say about that person and then regurgitate it back into existence. Someone gets fired, they thrive on the gossip of the where’s and whys of the termination.
            The misery of others is what makes their misery more tolerable. I can understand that. After all, I like horror stories and movies. Although I don’t watch too many horror movies these days, I can still understand the psyche of someone whose only happiness comes from others travails and trials. I’m not like that. That is to say, I don’t do it all the time. There are times when a person actually gets their comeuppance and I just chuckle to myself while thinking the great creator does get things right and that while I don’t always believe in karma, it does occasionally happen.
            I know this is not over, it never is. I know I will have to go back on Saturday night and there will be repercussions to my actions. I really don’t care. I don’t often get pushed to the limit of the amount of shit I can take and when I do, I always feel better about standing up for what I believe is right. I do know this though, after all was said and done, one of my fellow employees who witnessed the entire affair said that I had acted in a reserved manner and that she thought I was going to lose it but I didn’t.
            That alone makes me feel better about the whole situation. So my question to you, on this damp night, what gets your ire up? What keeps you from going bat-shit crazy and what is your limit?

            Have a great week.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

So Ends My Radio Silence

Which is not to say that I have been idle, I have not. I’ve written a nice flash fiction ghost tale during these past two weeks. I’ve even managed to write a blog, but, I never posted it. Which is strange for me but where all of this began…
            You see, two weeks ago, after I had just finished what was to be my blog for the week, I got a bit waylaid. Not in a highwayman manner. No, this was more subtle. Subtle in the form of a social life that I’ve never really wanted but now seem neck deep in. Game night, once a month at a buddies house, usually there are six to eight people there. We play “Magic the Gathering”, eat snacks and then play “Cards Against Humanity”. Some guys bring their significant others, most of us though, geeks from conception, adults through age, and wise from experience, know our lady loves don’t dig on grown men slapping cards on a table and talking about wizards, spells, plainswalkers and magical artifacts.
            Matter of fact, the ladies that do show up, spend this time sitting around the living room and surfing internet fashion sites. With an occasional stop by a cute kitty picture site, which to us mages, makes up chuckle. (I’m sure the ladies do their own type of chuckling, hidden behind raised hands and rolling eyes.)
            I’m usually the first to leave since I get up early on Saturday mornings, the rest of the gamers play till the wee hours of the morning. Good for them.
            Also, on the social front, I’ve spent many an evening with the Garage Gang. Most recently sitting around bonfires where I find my mind wandering away from the nothing discussions of the folks around me. Usually I end up in places of my brain that lead to writing and discovery, in those cases, where I’m not over-analyzing but hyper-analyzing life, fire, comfort, friendship and where we all fit in the universe, one of the Gang recognizes this and will jab me verbally with sword of nonsense. Then I snap back into the moment.
            Those moments, beautiful, heady moments of men, women and children in the throes of life’s brief seconds of living. Stationary moments, frozen in my mind’s eye. Smiles, laughter, joy, passion, and a communal oneness that I can’t seem to sink into like they do. Mostly, I feel they, my friends are earth and I’m the satellite moon in constant orbit. I’m two-hundred-thirty-eight thousand nine-hundred miles from sitting in the midst of humanity even though I’m physically two feet from the nearest person. An emotional detachment? No. Physical? No. Mental? No, not that either.
            It’s something different that slows my immersion into the messy, wallowing, mud-slinging, dirty, complicated, hilariously simple world of human relations. Sure, I joke a bit, I answer questions, give my own two-cents when I’m asked and sometimes not asked. But, I always feel as if I’m an observer to some alien species. It’s all good though, they accept me for who and what I am, they don’t even fuss when I leave without saying goodbye. After all, there is only so much one can take of interactions with others. At least in my case that is.
            This seems to be an overcomplicated explanation of why I’ve been absent for two weeks. I don’t think so. I want you to understand I wasn’t ignoring you, instead, I’ve been thinking about our relationship. Me writing, you reading, and for a day or two there, I actually thought about not writing at all anymore. Then something happened…
            Something , someone said to me years ago came true…
            I won’t say who was involved but I discovered that what I’ve been doing, what my words have been doing, have had an impact that I would never have thought. So I shall keep going, keep writing and keep bleeding on whatever keyboard happens to be in front of me. Damn all the bullshit, damn the pain, damn the exhaustion. Just one look, one word, one smile… that’s all I needed.
            So for better or worse, my exile seems to be over and you guys are stuck with me.

            Have a great week.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy Birthday

This Sunday, April 13th, 2014 will be the birthday of one of the most fascinating men in American history. I wish I knew why I have been drawn to this particular character in our history, but I think if I ever did figure that out I would not be so enamored with his life, his views, his insight, and wisdom and yes, even his hypocrisy.
            The man I’m speaking of is Mr. Thomas Jefferson, a man who was an ambassador, governor, president, father, husband, gardener, bibliophile, lawyer, architect, fighter of human rights and a slave owner. Any one of these aspects pursued in this day and age would be a lifelong commitment. Well, except for the slave holder part. I still have a tough time with that.
            Maybe the charm of Mr. Jefferson comes to me in the fact that he was the first person I ever heard of that like me, he did not have a middle name. Then, upon further research his accomplishments in life were breath taking to me.
            You see, back before all the internet and ready informational access, if a person wanted information you had to go to a library and search through the books or the encyclopedias to garner any knowledge. I did that, both at my school and at the public library. I soon found myself surrounded with so much information that my pre-teen brain felt as if it would explode. This however did not detract from what I wanted to learn about this mystery man who latterly lived on a mountain top.
            I learned a lot and I’m still learning, his letters to his friends, confidants, advisors and family are legion. One could get lost for years in those letters. Letters so well written that when one reads them, one can almost feel as if they are sitting in the small letter writing room in Monticello listening to Mr. Jefferson’s quill make slow, precise scratches against heavy vellum as the hand crafted ink is slowly transferred to its dry, yearning fibers.
            So here today, I’m going to post the five quotes that have been posted inside the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in the Tidal Basin in our nation’s capital.
            Happy Birthday Mr. Jefferson, thank you for enriching my life even after yours has passed.
            We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We solemnly publish and declare that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states... And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of diving providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
. Southeast
I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

            God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of god? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that god is just. That his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Establish the law for educating the common people. This is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan.

Almighty God hath created the mind free...All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens...are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion...No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively.

The Dome
I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man

Friday, April 4, 2014

To Suckle.

            And so draws a close to another week. Yes, it has been a crazy week for all of us. Here in the heart of the South, it started out cold, wet and miserable, but it ended, warm, sunny and pleasant. Although, if you are me, it ended up with me standing ankle deep in raw sewage and three hundred people wanting to know why they are not allowed to use a bathroom. Ok, not exactly, since I am ending up on my porch with a tasty Gurkha after said disaster.
            Of course I should mention that the evening also ended up with several city officials on hand making sure the cleanup and maintenance of the pipes was done efficiently and with the utmost care of the public at large. Me? I played a minor role in the fact that I managed traffic flow, calmed nerves of the public and officials alike as well as ensure that a good time was had by all while one of many “fires” reared its ugly head. All in the name of promoting a band, a good time and fund raising for the greater good of the community I call home.
            Now, to say that the week was easy would be to lie. You see, an old shadowy friend came to visit at the beginning of the week, a friend we all meet eventually and there is no escaping our fate from holding hands with. He took someone I care about and escorted him into the netherworld. I didn’t like hearing this news nor was I in a mood to converse about it then and I am not in a mood to converse about it now. But this “friend”, one with whom our meeting is inevitable, cast his shadow over my family in a much more intimate way as well. For this I am conflicted. While I don’t want to see the end come to a family member, I know that the inevitable result will be a joyous one for the hereafter.
            Does this thought comfort me? Does it offer me a sense of peace? Does it give me consonance in my faith and the fact that one day we will be reunited? Nope. Not at all. The way I see it, our human condition that is, is that we are suffering this mortal coil for almost no reason whatsoever with the exception of the ability to make choices and experience life in a way others are unable to.
            We are able to love by choice, live by choice, feel heartbreak, pain, loss, suffering, joy, bliss, ecstasy, free will, hate, anger, virtue, and yes, even friendship in the form of people older or younger than ourselves and learn from them.
            We are the gifted and chosen. We shall not always be here but while we are the dash that separates the date of birth from the date of death on our tombstone is the only thing that will follow us into the not so distant future. We have to make that dash count.
            Whitman said
            “That you are here-that life exist and identity”
            Emmerson said
Thou must mount for love,—
Into vision which all form”
Cummings wrote-
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

Poets are funny creatures, to me at least. They speak of love lost, found and unrequited. Yet they all agree that one must live their lives to the fullest. Seeking out the new, the bold, the untamed in an attempt to fill their dash with as much as they can before the brief existence of their flame is extinguished by the mortal clock we all face but rarely acknowledge.

It is no secret to you, my dear and passionate reader, that I’ve not only held the hands of my fate, but danced the endless dance as well. Yet, for some reason, a reason that seems to escape my addled Polish brain, I still share this spaceship we call earth with you. And, for now at least, I will continue to share breathing room with you. Whether you like it or not. Also, I will be subject to the loves and losses of life’s never ending drama, comedy and adventure story until such time as I meet my inevitable fate.

That being said, do I like, love appreciate and accept the time clock that is placed upon us when we are conceived? No. I do not. I am not a fan of any type of metronomic meter of life and what ones fate is. Because, if we truly do have free will, then aren’t we able, by the sheer act of will, to say when and where it is we are ready to dance our last dance? Sing our last song? Suckle at the marrow of life and the joy, pain, love and loss? I say yay. We are.

            We are in charge of our will. A will that was gifted to us by our creator and a will that can change the course of not just our lives but the lives of mankind. This of course is not taking into account any kind of outside influence. Such as a bullet to the head during a convenience store robbery. But from firsthand knowledge and experience, I know, when the chips are down, when all is lost, when hope is but a fictional word, a person’s will can deliver them from the hand of the one trying to take them from this plane to the next.
We all have it in us. You, me, the person sitting in the car next to you, we have inside of us a well of unfathomable strength that is rarely tapped into. A strength that can bring one back from the brink of nothingness or, if unexplored, goes to waste simply because one has given up and does not want to see the dawning of a new day.

No, I’m not casting aspersions on anyone. I would never be so bold, but I do know what I’ve gone through and the times where saying “Fuck it, this is it for me” was the easy road. But my love for life, the dreams of a better future, the sound of birds in the morning and the spring blooms of flowers and trees have brought me back from that abyss. That love gave me the will to say “NO!, I will not go gentle into any good night. I will fight for this state of being and all it holds for me. I will prevail and I will drink from the marrow of life and experience all I can while I’m still here.”

It just pains me when others give up so easily, especially when I know they could have been so much better. Even when it means you end up ankle deep in human wast.

Have a great week.