This, Our Grand Establishment.

Oh, man, how about this world? have I told you, or have I not? Funny place, to be honest: I’ve never encountered more humor in so small a frame. Maybe it’s a large one, medium-sized, and maybe these things differ with seasoned years [ha, as if we’re sirloin steaks sitting out on the stove!] Perspective enlarges and minimizes, objective actions without any moral obligations–ahem, to be frank: “neither good nor bad has any proper proper standing in this, our grand establishment, world of wonder and woe.

Take a load off, people say, and you do, then they tell to you take off another one. Ludicrous notions, and it is hereby proclaimed, “how dare the usual strangers submit outrageous propositions within so close a proximity!” Ugh, said the pack-mule before trudging off into realistic delirium where supposedly his cousin, Camel, was doing a photo shoot for a cigarette company. The smarminess of the guy, thinks he’s got skill, talent, know-how, who-what.

If we took half of the world, then, and dragged a scimitar through it, would it spew confetti? Millions believe so, and millions are not wrong–millions are never wrong. Millions walk dogs at sunrise. Millions drink orange juice on trampolines. Millions work in workplaces situated in the work-buildings of Work-a-ton. Millions–ope, no, dozens…Nevermind. The list is blank, and the sun has just mooned us for the fiftieth time today. Turn to page fifty-four for a concise summary accompanied by bright ’50s era sketches designed by an underground hermit named Garth–[say hi, Garth].

At least it’s not falling apart and tearing at the seams and going down the crapper and swimming [swimming?] without a paddle. At least all of the dogs are fine; they’re always so pleasant. As a matter of fact, in recent years, studies have shown, things are supposed to be–whoah, did you see that whale skateboarding?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

An Antidote For Myopia

From time to time, I wonder why I see so many flags flying in the streets. Neighborhoods, institutions, shopping malls; all of them have at least one flag flapping on a pole–if it’s a location for social gatherings, it’ll have another one placed distinctly on a wall, or on another, smaller pole close to the ceiling. People notice them in that familiar manner so especial to drive-by landmarks and panhandlers, considering them for a moment before proceeding on with life. It’s no biggie. It’s a flag. It’s the flag hoisted above them so repeatedly it has little significance other than as “The Object Particular To This Here Pole.” There’s no blame to pass around for the dismissive attitude, as it’s the expected attitude. To think otherwise is to refuse observational surrender, not letting the flag be a symbol unique in its repeated mental onslaught: a national reminder.

Forgetfulness always arrives unwanted, the houseguest to which somebody neglects to not pass an invitation. We wander through life, dreading it and preparing ourselves for its eventual appearance on our doorstep. A slovenly figure, it plops on the porch, trench hat muddied and strode upon by the more abusive few; it has nothing to tell us, as it turns out, and apologizes for any undue intrusion into our “well-off” [spoken in a low murmur] lives. It leaves, and despite the sun’s summer preference, it gives way to hard rain, and forgetfulness raises the face we never see and lets [he lets it] the drops stream across whatever features dare settle into that mystery. Every time, it breaks us–the pain, that is, so sorrowful, and we feel ashamed for not offering a drink, a place to rest. The figure is familiar; we do know him, after all, but for one reason or another, we cannot remember his name.

We succumb to absent-mindedness. Despite our safeguards, we never expect the unexpected: a paradox in itself, as if we daily battle the inevitable. Wandering leads to intrigue and nostalgia, yet it also falls prey to soreness and fatigue. Exhaustion besets the best of us, and we sleep on our feet, still moving, still seeing. Objects are blurs, concepts even more abstract than before. At a time, we fought and found and lived; now all we do is flounder. We are for the world’s taking, its curiosities our binding chains.

We walk and walk and walk some more on roads tarred in tears. Our stride grows lanky, made up of the antique movements inner clockwork deems sufficient ’till breakage–and it emerges without a whistle, gears a-busting, spindles spun to sputters, the clock-face punched out of its trappings and clapping a cold floor. Destruction. Nothing else remains in our minds. Near dark, close to oblivion, yet from out of the spiritual withdrawal flutters a flag, colorful and grand. It beckons us, and we remember.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Third Anniversary [Wow, Three? I Mean…] And Other Splendid Subjects

It doesn’t feel like three years; I’ll say that outright. More and more, whenever I have a birthday, I feel I haven’t been a certain age for a long enough time. That’s no nostalgic woe, just an observation as life passes at an increasingly faster pace. This feeling’s much the same with the blog, since I can look at post after post and recognize my age’s influence on my writing. Eighteen’s a hell of a drug. It’s also one number among a million others, and despite the cultural insistence on its (and others’) significance, it only defines so much in the world.

When we celebrate anniversaries, we celebrate the numbers, to an extent. They’re the cutesy toppers we shove in the double-decker cake, and we’ll say, “oh, hey, love the plastic thingamajig–real lively” before reaching over them to take a paper plate off the stack. The cake, on the other hand, is a glorious invention we cannot stop admiring, mainly because we’re hungry, but also because we acknowledge its crucial presence. There is no anniversary without a cake, the crux of the entire celebration: everything revolves around its assumption of induced delight. Plates heave under its weight, and eyes crinkle at its sight, or rather the imagined sight. Everybody has preferences, but they all agree on what constitutes a proper cake, the ingredients involved, etc. The cake unites them in celebration of its existence.

Put in perspective, three years is a short amount of time, then you look closer and see how much can happen in a single year, and it’s a surprise, to say the least. A life can change in a day, so in comparison, a year’s got a bit more leg room.

People still don’t celebrate for their sake, mainly because toppers aren’t edible, but also because they’re not cake. If we did celebrate the numbers, we’d have specific holidays for them, and aside from May the Fourth, there’s not many to choose from. We celebrate the cake, a variable anybody determines. This memory or that, a shoe, or most importantly, an essence: how we feel about the cake.

I’m exuberant about the anniversary, think it’s fantastic. Therein lies my essence. Like any imagined concept, it varies from person to person. You might share my enthusiasm, and you might not. That is your cake, and depending on its kind, you may or may not be able to eat it.

Celebrations are never identical, either, so what else is there to say? are we supposed to bring out a bouncy house and jump ’till it deflates? pinatas, the way of the future? am I asking too many questions for my own good?

At the least, we should accept a transition from one moment to the next, and the continuance of its original incarnation. In that sense, the cake pales in comparison to longevity and its authenticity. We always count the years in hopes that there’ll be more to come.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

an obligatory post about gun(S)

Talking points: x, a, b, r^3, 4orty 6ixty [important, eh?] and the choir goes, hey!

“As required by the blog-o-sphere rules, and what all, certain opinions must come to light within certain years,” Policy #4435, Pg. 340, Par. 3, Line .01. Blogging, As A Lifestyle, Edition 3, Vol. 1.

I’m here to talk, to talk about guns–oh, it’s time for the definitive argument, as put forth by the most official source in the world. So, to begin, modern times are rife with danger

of course danger is subjective but were all friends here and someones gotta say it right

uh here’s a picture of where we hope to be in six years:

[Insert well-charted map of policies and misc.]

well ok but how about red flag laws and and g_u_n_s?

nothings more important to me but lemme quickly give a personal anecdote

so

once upon a time i met this guy who claimed to know where the world was going in five years i got interested and i listened to him like anyone would because he was dressed in snazzy clothes and spoke in a highfalutin accent and he started off fantastic but as all things go he didnt have anything too interesting to add to the conversation the end

so

thats the general gist and now actions will take place which I unfortunately have no influence upon however as all things go i wont belabor the point too much

Think daily,

A Southpaw

R.I.P Freedom of Speech.

This is a sad story. It’s not sad in a bittersweet, melancholy sense; it’s a tragedy in the making, Shakespearean platitudes abound. We’ve not reached the ending, and I doubt we’re halfway through the plot. Here is the beginning of something gravely upsetting, the Death of Freedom of Speech.

This just in, optimists claim the world is perfect, and the rest of us skim over the headline and sip our coffee. Television’s a mockery of itself, the once bold horizon pressed flat against its blank, unchanging face. The teacher is no more than a microphone to amplify the safe stuff, the okay stuff, and all the students doze off to repetitive drones.

I don’t get out much, bit of a hermit. The world comes to me through media: vast blocs of interrelated events, actions, and contradictions. Sometimes I watch to know what’s going on, and sometimes I refuse to let myself be propagandized. It depends on my mood. CNN, CBS, FOX, ABC; I’ve seen the lot of them, surprised at how, in the scope of things, little a role they play in this tragedy. Media doesn’t create our darkest visions–it merely reinforces them. They encompass a large portion of the story, don’t get me wrong, but one right hasn’t the jurisdiction to restrict another. Both toe a line disintegrating before our eyes, and despite the media’s notoriety, there’s time for their story later.

Freedom of speech is defined as “the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint.” Well, now, have we not a consistent, time-honored tradition of censoring the strange and unorthodox perspectives? A rhetorical question, hope you caught it. As for restraint, no examples should be necessary, but I’ll oblige: any opinion contrary to the widely held popular beliefs. These days, we call it, ‘the wrong side of history,’ or ‘hate speech,’ and I want to expand on the last term. Hate speech has come into the limelight recently, only because we feel we need to redefine it, and through redefinition reach restriction. Although it’s not as simple in practice, in theory, we take the phrase ‘hate speech,’ remove ‘hate,’ and examine it as such. It’s what rights guarantee. It’s what rights protect. It’s what rights allow.

If to speak freely is to speak without constraint, then regular discourse is in a state of perpetual imprisonment.

We claim to be for all rights, save when those rights infringe upon our strongly held beliefs. That conviction is both our greatest strength and weakness, as it builds our character, yet often builds it too high. Online, we view ourselves as Judge, Jury, and Executioner, engaging in Internet trials too aggressive to be practiced in actual society, too artificial to fit anything but the digital world.

We’re far from perfect people, and we desperately attempt to attain perfection through trial-and-error. Some things work out, and others have unfortunate outcomes. ‘It’s the way the world goes’, say the pessimists, but when the world goes one way, we should, by all means, go the other.

This is a sad story. This is a tragedy. This does not have to be the end.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

A Tale Without An Ending

It’s starting to look as though the 2019 Government Shutdown may become the longest in American history, two days away from surpassing the Clinton Administration’s 1995-96 Shutdown. This gives rise to two interpretive facts: one, the stakes on which it rests are monumental in our modern context, and two, this Shutdown may or may not be a satisfying conclusion to a conflict–and an overall story–so raucous on its onset.

Rewind to 2018, back to the beginning where the immigration issue, crisis, whatever you want to call it, hit the fan when multiple migrant caravans began making their way towards Mexico and the United States. Due to many factors, among them the Midterm Elections, it became a largely covered story spanning several weeks. These caravans dispersed, many participants, I believe, settling in Mexico, their government offering asylum, and others coming to the U.S-Mexico Border. Many entanglements occurred, a few of a violent nature the U.S media covered assiduously–and as soon as the Midterm Elections had ended, the caravan stories were dropped as fast as they’d appeared.

Large stakes, widely reported, yet something felt incomplete. In a story format, there’d been an abrupt beginning, a rousing middle, but it had no resolution. The conflict was apparently simple. An assemblage of migrants had left their countries in an attempt to gain access to better conditions in Mexico and the United States, and they’d not chosen to do so through legal ports of entry. It featured key players (main characters), and it threw in some moral questions for citizens to ponder as they went about their lives. A tale without an ending: no going full-circle, and hardly a cute “The End,” or “Fin.”

Things went relatively silent from thereon, and by things, I’m referring to the immigration news. Although, admittedly, the media never relinquished its hold over those stories and kept them undercover in case of future relevance. They released sizable chunks every other week, but as Kenny Rogers said, “you gotta know when to hold ’em.” The conflict died down, the story itself settling into an awkward lump on the floor of General American Reception, (G.A.R), the Twitter megaphone no longer a valid mouthpiece.

Onward to 2019, then, and we have in our grasps an almost tangible ending, at least we believe we do. If we’re following the classic style, every story needs an ending, but say we look through a journalist’s lenses and pick up their pen, then it’s a universal fact not all of those stories have endings. For that matter, those existing aren’t happy ones. Through a series of inevitable arguments and debates, a Lady Justice encounter transpires, and we’re tasked to ask ourselves whether it’s far more right or wrong to snatch at the fastest available ending and label it under increasingly complex synonyms for “happy” and “sad.”

We know how the Clinton Shutdown ended, but that doesn’t mean we know how the Trump Shutdown will end. A great quality of stories (traditional ones, that is) is their finite answers to proposed questions. Ambiguity has little place in the world of fables and fairytales, a sharp knock to reality. What’s not often so praised in those categories is the desire to explore, to innovate, look beyond the printed words; and I suppose what this whole situation comes down to is the question of whether we want to close this storybook once and for all, or leave one sentence unwritten and return to it when the inspiration again strikes us.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Pynchon Photographed

Starting to read some Pynchon, that’s new. I’m attempting Gravity’s Rainbow, that notoriously complex Post-Modern tome. It’d be real cool to meet the guy–Thomas Pynchon, that is, though he’s the reclusive equivalent of two Salingers.

You ever seen his picture?

It’s strangely iconic, since, for one, not many authors’ photos are iconic; I am, of course, excluding Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Faulkner from that category. Pynchon’s got a sallowly narrow face, and the photo gives it these rugged contortions (grains, black-and-white specks) that have no bearing on his sharp gaze, the kind looking across lands and oceans from an at-first-glance stagnant P.O.V.. The Academic in full, albeit noticeably coordinated, exposure. He’s the P.M God chugging along an intellectual legacy with as many bumps in its cruise control as there are abrupt dips giving rise to its lengthy leaps. A lapel’s barely visible in the frame, but it’s enough to solidify his title and open imaginative capabilities as to whether he’s rocking elbow patches or chalk dust. Harvard or Cambridge, those locales rumble through the mind and have no business there. Neither of them. More like Cornell U. Something about the picture’s content/context; it makes you want to jump to the uppermost ranking, top of the charts of those charts. Pynchon. Winner of the National Book Award. It should fit together, Ivy League and literary achievement. At least, those are the connotations I’m faced with, wonder about yours–and wouldn’t you know it, but connotations aren’t more than rigidly set opinions set forth by categorical majorities more or less agreeing on stereotypes.

I’m doing that. So are you. We’re both participating.

Should be a good book, Gravity’s Rainbow. I haven’t started, but it’s next on my list. I’ll get around to it, after I’m done examining his photo.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

December Reflections

Well, it’s been a while; I’ll say that much. Monthly intervals, really, which are understandably long times, are long times. Who knows if that just made sense or not. All I know is, I don’t have an online grammatician checking on things, but maybe, someday…

Life’s been pretty crazy for me, and I wonder if it has for all you guys. This does have worldwide reception, right, so how’re things going in China or Egypt? How’s life treating the Brazilian readers of this blog? See, now, I think about things like these, then I start to wonder: “well, why don’t you just watch the news, you nincompoop?” and okay, fair point, which I will interject with another point: “the news doesn’t tell us everything about everyone from everywhere.” It never has, and that’s the way the system works. 

Random question. What’s your guys’ interpretation of the current topical affairs? Ah, allow me to alter the topic sentence to random and vague question. It’s almost impossible to answer a question phrased as such, wouldn’t you think? I’d have to preface it with a whole bunch of other randomly placed facts and assertions–then I’d just be going off the deep end, to use a cliche. 

Let’s refresh here. 

First off, I want to say a blog is something incredible, a unique connection to the world. 

Second, I’ll reiterate the first comment. 

Third, there’s times, I think, when the world stops making sense, and these times can be frequent in occurrence; I suppose, too, this third comment is the whole premise of this post.

Stated premise: I’m sitting here in the basement of my parents’ house, currently finished with the first semester of Sophomore year at UCCS, and I’m writing this post at 8:30 PM on Tuesday. I’m nineteen years old, almost twenty, and I’ve had Thoughts Of A Southpaw for almost three years. By nature, I’m an antisocial guy who reads and writes and runs for fun [to some, a cocktail for destruction]; now by no means is this an informational profile, though it’s written as one. What I’m doing here, what my main intention is–express to the world who I am and why I write stuff so often. 

I’m A Southpaw, but I’m more than that, and that signature’s become a weird emblem to me. I like it, really do, and I’ll confess my favorite part of writing these blogs is signing them. It’s as if I’m validating them as some other personality, as A Southpaw, not as simply Will Boswell. It’s something exciting to embrace, but something which I also fear. Makes me think of The Dark Half by Stephen King for some odd reason; although, it’s not so odd when I stop and seriously think about it.

Maybe all I do is rant sometimes, and what the hell do I know about some of the things I write about? It’s cathartic a lot of the time, writing is, as I’m sure it is with many of the people reading this. It’s both incredibly relaxing and heartrendingly lonely, but that’s the definition of about anything worthwhile in our lives, I suppose. I never know what I’m trying to say, and I’m always writing like mad for an answer–and maybe that’s my problem. I look too much and rarely find anything worth telling others about, thus most of my blog posts.

It’s not like I’m lost, though it’ll sometimes feel that way, and it’s not like I’ve got a map of all the answers, either. None of us do. I’ve come to realize that. Good to know those things, keeps you on your toes.

I want to address things, but I don’t want to say too much. 

Closing remarks, then. 

We all live in fantastic times, what a moment to be alive, huh? I hope everyone’s able to see them as fantastic, but I know that’s not possible [wait,  says every teacher, but it is!]. Times, then, are determined by the perceivers, not the perceived, and that’s all there is to it. Just like the news, isn’t it?

Funny, I still don’t feel as if I’m finished.

And yet…the world spirals onward into infinity.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

An Attempt To Define Fall.

There’s something so strangely satisfying about Fall (or Autumn, if you’re a particularly fancy person). I can’t define it here; I don’t think anyone can really define it, too much of an immense task, in my opinion. The best I can do is throw a few sharp adjectives its way, hoping they stick–let’s see, uh: bittersweet, mildly fantastical, slightly spooky, cold, warm, loving, abrupt, careful, dangerous, joyful, magical. Ah, now we got something concrete, magical? Magic’s a complex concept, isn’t it? Well, sure, if you want to make it that way. For the sake of this post, K.I.S.S, or Keep It Simple, Sally. HA, and you thought I was gonna say stupid! Tricked you.

Fall is magical. How so? Gee, that’s a tough question, but only the hardest hitters…make the target? Yeah, smooth move, X-Lax, real intelligent, as if targets have anything to do with Fall. But maybe they do. I can’t say definitively that they don’t, so, as they say, the jury’s out on that one–and, y’know, I just talked to them, telling me they’re gonna be out for the next five hours, so, hey, that’s cool.

Now, I’m gonna stop pulling my swings (or is it throws?), and go all out. Fall is undefinable, BAM! whoah, how about that big dose of Truth, huh? but, and I want to preface this, if I may, with the concession that although Fall may be undefinable, it’s not entirely abstract. When I think of Fall, these thoughts proceed: carving Jack-O-Lanterns in the blistering cold, with a mug of Swiss Miss hot cocoa and stomping into carefully raked leaves, hearing them crinkle and crunch beneath my feet and pressing my gloves over my numbing cheeks to still the wind-inflicted pain within them and watching fog settle over an empty field, slithering around every grass stalk and tumbleweed in it and admiring a waxing, orange moon, a centerpiece in the sky’s constantly revised canvas and grasping handfuls of wrapped goodies out of plastic pumpkins and jittery animatronic hands and gathering around a food-laden table to just get a whiff of the pumpkin pie’s creamy filling, its flaky (and occasionally imitation-concrete) crust and being fulfilled and being pleased and feeling as if the weather can, like, channel your mood and sitting on a bench in some lonely place and watching leaves snap off tree branches and glide in a see-saw manner to the grass, crumpling.

It’s not perfect, Fall. It’s not even many people’s favorite season, but it’s Fall, guys, and how often do we get as much out of a season as we do this one?

Not often.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Division, The Disease Afflicting America.

The Year TWO THOUSAND-And-EIGHTEEN, An Insight:

I believe there’s a disease in America, and I believe this country’s been sick with it for the last thirty or so years. It’s not a contagious disease, mind you, nor is it an acute type. This particular disease is chronic, and most importantly, it’s confined solely to America. We’ve  tried treating it with all sorts of fantastic medicines and social revitalizations; what we’re unfortunately not realizing, I believe, quickly enough is the ineffectiveness of these so-called “cures.”

I call it, Division, Latin Name: divisiona americo, and it’s a systemic ailment. It’s not confined to New Hampshire or Texas or Ohio or California or Wyoming or Rhode Island or Kentucky. It’s nation-wide, and let me tell you, when something this critical has such a  wide-reaching net, then it’s difficult to immediately diagnose its symptoms. Doctors (not necessarily all MD) have worked tirelessly over the many decades to isolate a possible weakness, some kink in its mechanistic armor. Division has no cure. Its symptoms are wildly inconsistent, and they pop up in the least expected occasions, EX: rallies, fairs, supermarkets, restaurants, the office building at which everyone seems reasonably peaceful and similar-minded. Division is hard to detect. It is both airborne and seaborne, and its greatest (and strongest) form of transportation, Socially Spread. No expected resolution is anywhere in sight, and millions and millions of American citizens are either contracting it, or they’re in slight fear of being affected by Division.

Division spread itself over America a number of years ago, and at this current moment, it’s at one of its highest peaks in over eleven years. Citizens who contract Division are defined by the following symptoms:

  • Unaccepting of other people’s opinions.
  • Agressive diatribes against one another.
  • Rhetoric, with the sole purpose of angering other citizens.
  • Over-exaggeration of extremely rare instances of the previous three symptoms.
  • Cruel, bully-like actions used to serve self-interests.
  • Violent outbursts, otherwise defined as Mass Shootings.

As you can see, there’s several symptoms of varying intensity. Citizens rarely experience all of them, only one or two–and it will be an extremely unfortunate day when all citizens experience all symptoms, which, by statistics and common sense, is 99% impossible. That doesn’t mean Division isn’t a relevant issue; in fact, it’s tearing America apart. If any other diseases wanted to afflict American citizens, there’d be no greater time than now, and it’d take a long time to find a cure to them.

Division by itself is quite harmless; in fact, it’s only as bad as it is because American citizens continue to spread it. Talk about not washing your hands, these people aren’t following all the regulatory Health Guidelines of resting up and finding ways to lessen the effects of their ailments. It won’t be long before WHO sets up a National Quarantine and declares Division an epidemic; they may be already working towards such actions as we speak.

To those in foreign countries around the world, Division may seem a trifle compared to your much more significant issues, but here, it’s a large problem, and no one is willing to step up and find ways to combat it. If no one does something about it, it may spread and grow, becoming more than America can handle. Then what? Then what?

As long as Division continues its harsh reign, many of its symptoms will ingratiate themselves further into places of American society, possibly the rest of the world–although, the latter is unlikely.  It’s no wonder, then, that millions of American citizens currently suffer from Division and its ravaging effects. People are content in their sickness; they see no problem in it–and therein, as Hamlet might say, lies the rub.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Credit: iStock.