Friday, May 30, 2014

Skewed Heroism

It started simply enough, a new neighborhood, a new friend and new beginnings. I was seven, so was my new neighbor, although he lived on the other side of the block and at least six houses down from me, we became quick friends. We built go carts and bikes together, Mark also introduced me to superhero’s. His preference, Spiderman.
            I remember clearly Mark handing me a trade paperback with at least a dozen stories of the Web Slinger in it, with a reserved attitude as he said “This is the beginning of Spiderman, the greatest superhero ever.” He said it with such conviction, such seriousness and such respect that I immediately began to read the tome. It told the origin story of Peter Parker becoming Spiderman and as I read about the death of his Uncle Owen I cried, and of his victory over the Vulture I applauded and yet I felt bad for Aunt May.
            Mark and I shared many adventures both fiction and non-fiction while he lived on our block and when he moved away I lost my comic book buddy. I still read them after he was gone but I kept it quite so as my new friends wouldn’t rag on me. But that first introduction to comics in Mark’s messy bedroom filled with Six Million Dollar Man action figures, comic books, and pre-adolescent debris I found something that would impact my life even up to today.
            Heroes that come in all shapes and sizes. Heroes that fight for earth, heroes that fight for the lost and even heroes that fight for people like me. Later on in life I discovered the X-men, Alpha Flight, The Avengers, Iron Man, Fantastic Four and my all-time favorite Batman. This of course was in the 1980’s and I really didn’t understand why I still read the stories since I was devouring books by Heinlen, Tolkein, London, Salinger and some new writer named King. I just know that when I read the comics, I felt better.
            Fast forward to the mid-2000’s and comic hero movies are everywhere, the geeks and nerds have inherited the earth and our love for action, super-villians and the heroes that stomp the living guts right out of them have inherited the earth. We are legion and we will not be denied. It’s a good feeling sitting in a dark theatre with like minded folks watching as our childhood heroes do good. Fight the good fight and overcome the evil of the world and universe by giving of themselves selflessly.
            Then I turn on Netflix. You know the site. They stream movies and such for a price anytime, anywhere for anyone.
            Now, lately I’ve become a documentary junkie. I love them. True tales of real people doing good or bad. It’s an addiction to me that is as real as the cigars I smoke and the metal and jazz music I need to get through my day. Just like the daily reading of what is going on in the world of Bruce Wayne. I need these good thoughts to help me cleanse my mind of evil thoughts and believe there are better things out in the world.
            So, where does that leave me on my Netflix list? Simple, there is a documentary about real life superheroes across the landscape of America that are trying to do the right thing for the repressed and downtrodden.
            At first, I was skeptical and thought about how sad some of these people were, living their lives trying to do good in a world fill with skepticism and loathing. Unfortunately as the show progressed with interviews from the heroes, psychologists, and the people they helped I felt a sense of awe over how selfless some of these people were. They were giving out clothes, food, water and most importantly their time.
            They actually helped people. Gave people hope where there was none to be found. It was inspiring. Not enough for me to don a mask and cape and walk around the streets in the middle of the night. Nah, that is just ain’t my style. But I slept a bit better last night knowing that there are people out there in the world who are at least trying to make a better community for themselves and their fellow citizens.
            I still think most of these people need help, but they seem pretty harmless and they are doing good, more good than most. I say, let them be. If all they do is manage to make the downtrodden feel better and give them hope. I say Kudos and Thank you.

            Have a great week.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Assembly or Assumption?

A bloat of hippopotami, a pandemonium of parrots, a destruction of wildcats and a murder of crows, all great, hell even a blush of boys, an observance of hermits and a pity of prisoners are amazing description. But what do you call the jerks and assholes that seem to be popping up everywhere you look, walk, drive and live? I don’t know. I wish I did. Hell, I even went so far to scour the internet to no avail. I’m stumped.
            I mean there is a shiver of sharks, a smack of jellyfish, a knot of toads and dray of squirrels, but no mention of assholes. A nest of snakes, a tower of giraffes and a colony of ants, but nothing is written on assholes. Although there is a pace of asses, but that refers to the four legged ass, not the two legged, walking , talking, driving, breathing excrement that try and sometimes succeeds in making yours, mine and our daily life just a bit more miserable.
            What I’m getting at is this, for the most part I’ve had a really good week, but at least once every day this week a new asshole has made themselves known to me. I suppose they had nothing better to do, like say, raise kids, set an example, work, sit alone in a dark room feeling like the complete and utter loser they are… I don’t know. I don’t care. Now, I’ve tried to be patient, I’ve tried to put myself in their shoes, I’ve tried to convey to them in our discussions that I’m somewhat sympathetic to their plight and that they are not alone. However; they need to calm down, take a breath, and remove themselves from the situation that is making act like an utter and complete lunatic but to no avail.  The calm, soothing words of advice spoken by yours truly fell upon deaf ears and closed minds.
            Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m the problem. The older I get the more I run into them. Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m the problem,  maybe I should turn my observations upon myself. Look into a mirror so to speak. Nah, I don’t need to, I know who and what I am. And yes, I am an ass at times, a jerk too, and occasionally a total bastard. But I know I am not an consistently reliable asshole whom neighbors whisper about behind closed doors, kids give wide berth to when they pass your house, acquaintances duck down store aisles when they see you enter the store.  I know I’m not that guy. I’m close, but I’m not quite there.
            Ya see on Monday, I saw at least three assholes. All at varying times during the day, but I recognized them and I’m sure you would too. Tuesday, at least four assholes crossed my vision and daily path. Wednesday, I think there was an asshole convention in town. I swear I saw some of them standing in an alleyway practicing a secret handshake. Thursday, yesterday… of course I was in a different city, but I still saw several of them walking around, driving cars and busses. Scary it was. Today, I’ve been lucky, I’ve been locked in my office and trying not to interact with the public. Although I know, when the time comes for me to leave work and drive home, I will most assuredly run into them again. It’s like they are out there waiting on me, like birds on a wire waiting for you to finish washing and waxing your car. Or in my case, my motorcycle.
            I do believe we should come up with a term for these guys, we have to. I’m leaning towards an assembly of assholes. There is a particular ring to it, but then again, so does an assumption of assholes. I can just hear myself saying out loud to the asshole who was arguing with the homeless people outside of 7/11 the other night “Hey, your assembly is missing an asshole, you better get over there quick.” Or “Dude, the group of assholes on the corner is one asshole shy of an assumption, you should go help them.” Course, saying that would most likely get me punched, but it would be worth it.

Have a great week.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A day late

Good news is upon us, by us, I mean you and me. I’ve finally succumbed to purchasing a new computing machine. It’s all set up and I’m now just waiting for the Office program to be delivered to my home so I can upload it and begin the never ending journey of torturing not just the machine but you, my dear reader, with all my drabble, my stories and my insights.  It’s something I just have to do and I can’t help it. So I thank you in advance for putting up with me and my ramblings.
            Speaking of which, I’m curious, I’ve been thinking of actually starting another serial from my childhood. The only issue is I have a ton of tales I could go with and I’m just not sure which one to pick. I do enjoy writing these serials. They offer me insight as to who I am now and how I actually got here. Some retrospective soul searching of a young man who at the time of the events in question had little cares and worries about where he would eventually end up in life.
            I suppose you could say that is true for most kids and teenagers. I mean seriously, when we are young do we ever really think about our future? What sort of repercussions our actions will have in our lives? I don’t think so. After all, I can’t count how many times I heard my mother, father, stepmother and stepfather say, scream, yell and frustratingly mumble to me “Think before your act.”, “think about your actions.” “think about what you’re doing.” Et cetera et cetera.
            And unlike the fading eye sight of the aged human and the blurred vision we all end up having, hindsight always becomes much clearer.  Which is why I’m considering doing another serial, because I know my hindsight is a bit clearer than my foresight will ever be. Also, I have numerous things to write about and while writing those childhood tales, it helps me focus on my other writings.
            So, what do you think? Do you want another tale of teenage insanity, debauchery and anarchy? Or, do you just want my weekly drivel?

            Let me know.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Three P's.

Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself repeating the same advice to various people in my life. (Okay, to be honest, it’s been a more than a few weeks.) And, if I were truthful, this advice has been dispensed to more than just a few people. So, after multiple recitations to said travelers on this mud ball, I’ve decided to impart this wisdom upon you. Take it or leave it, this is how I’ve come to realize what it takes to get to where I want to be.
            Where I want to be, is currently right where I am but it was a hard traveled road. A road fraught with perils of small mindedness, jealousy, traps and road blocks, yet, I managed to make it through the travails. Not an easy task mind you, it never is for anyone who goes after something they desire deeply.
            P1…Patience. By far the most important of the three P’s. Simply because if you don’t have it the other two will never come to fruition. For example… If I had simply just ignored the time frame and stayed the course of my employment twelve years ago, I’d still be working for a law enforcement agency. I’d most likely be miserable, divorced and a raging alcoholic. But, I was patient, I took things in stride and tried not to get discouraged. My patience paid off and I got literally a dream job.
            P2… Perseverance. This is an odd one and also the toughest. Simply because of the effort and will power you will expend in trying to complete a goal when others around you want to do nothing but throw up road blocks and the only advice that spews forth from them is negativity. I know, it can be extremely overwhelming at times but if you stay your course, keep your vision pure and selfless, then you will eventually win. You have to. Because people who are negative all the time expend an extreme amount of energy. An energy that seems boundless but is very hard to maintain; while positive energy, pure energy, is a much stronger, deeper and righteous force that cannot truly be stopped. Postponed maybe, but never stopped.
            P3… Persistence. You had to know this was the third “P”. If one is not persistent, then the other two “P’s” will fall quickly to the wayside of life. Don’t think I’m minimalizing the importance of being persistent. I’m not. Others in your life, the naysayers, the supporters and the bystanders all need to know what you plan, how you plan to do it and that you will never give up until you have it. Like a Rottweiler with a fresh bone. You need to make sure your goals are known and that others know about them. Unless you are dealing with politics and need to employ a more subtle and divers scheme, this has been done by yours truly and I don’t like that I’ve had to resort to those tactics. They make one feel cheap, degraded and slimy.
            But, I digress…
            I guess what I’m saying is, that if you have an idea, a goal, a plan for your life or something in which you want to accomplish… it can be done. You just have to stay passionate, which is the unfettered and unspoken fourth “P”. Passion is contagious, it only begets more passion once others realize how important your passion is. So, please, if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the bullshit and nay-sayers in your life, don’t. Stay the course, be true to yourself and your vision. You will find support in your endeavors in the strangest of places and eventually, all the nay-sayers will come around and see that not only were you right, but they can trust your insight and advice.

            Have a great week.