humor

First Things Last

I worry about a lot of things. Of course, I shouldn’t, but I do. It’s, what, automatic and instinctual? methinks that is the proper phrasing–then again, words are changing so much these days, it’s hard to tell.

Nagging thoughts haunt me, these figmented imaginaries running miles upon miles in Brain-O-Cranium, Ltd. Some are strange, some are stranger than strange. It gets to a point, really, where I’m determining whether one thought deserves a straitjacket more than another oh oh oh oh yes thats right because theyre beyond rational investigation correctamundo!

First things last, junk heaps are actually treasure heaps, or that’s how the saying goes. It was told to me by that guy who was told by the other guy who heard it from the guy working in the soup kitchen where the first guy talked about it over hot cocoa. Now I remember, yes. Forgetting information is my game, and my name is–lemme get back to you on that one.

Three years later, and the same predicament reigns supreme. Who’da thunk it, certainly not me, ’cause I forgot it in the first place. You knew that already, but I betcha didn’t know the Moon is Saturn’s third cousin, twice removed. Few people do, not only because I made it up; however, nobody can tell the difference. Third cousin, fourth cousin. All those planets are related in some fashion. Similarities abound up there. Think about it. Most of them are big-ass space rocks…and that’s all I got.

I never passed astronomy.

I never took astronomy, either, but, hey, man, space is space. Everybody’s got a personal version of it.

Who am I to say there’s not an astronaut hanging out here and now, livin’ for that sweet space toothpaste? If that’s not an incentive to brush your teeth, then I don’t know what is. Maybe we should get all the non-brushing people together, stand them in a line, and hire WWE fighters to march past and rub their knuckles together. It might scare a couple of them, I dunno, worth a shot. It could also backfire and cause the non-brushers to go total Dental Rebellion and declare war on the toothbrushing industry, as if there’s one giant corporation devoted to the practice.

We’ll see if all matters pan out, we always do. It’s human nature. We look ahead and turn around and look back just because. HUMAN NATURE.

“Will worries never cease?” said Shakespeare, I think, but I’m guessing.

Sue me.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

ID 10185556 © Ekaterina Staats | Dreamstime.com

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

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 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

 

Infinite Sonic

Whoo, boy, you guys ever heard of Infinite Jest? Hell of a book; I mean, man, that thing is a masterpiece, even if all masterpieces have their fair share of flaws. Some sections are overlong, and some don’t seem to have any purpose to the overall story. But I will say this: David Foster Wallace knew what he wanted people to feel, what he wanted them to get out of the book. Thing is, there’s no one thing to be taken from Infinite Jest. Like life, it’s a series of ups and downs, good and bad. At the beginning, you think, “Looking forward to this, gonna be so much fun”–then, by around page 600, or the fifth hour of a nine hour road trip, you go, “okay, keep it moving, pal…yep, romance, uh-huh, violence, death, and depression.”

Almost at the end. Eighty pages left to go, and that’s after a period of almost three consecutive months. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a life-changing book, ’cause that’s a trite phrase, but it’s a book that you’ll remember long after you read it. I dunno about you, but when I read David Copperfield, it was an akin experience to this one. Massive book. Loads of characters. Empathy towards said characters. More learned perspective on Life, post-reading. I’m not comparing Wallace to Dickens, as that’s a hard bargain for anyone to push onto me. What I am saying is it takes a good amount of skill to convey truthfully even a small portion of reality in fiction. Writers are always saying we’re nothing but liars, and I disagree. Telling the truth of a story is the hardest part in writing it.

So, why’s Sonic in the title? Why is Sonic there? What the actual hell? It could be that I just got a job at a Sonic, or there’s the smallest chance I’m obsessed with a lightning-fast, blue hedgehog. To save time, as well as words, I’m gonna go with the latter. I’m a Sega fanboy, what can I say? I remember the times when I powered up the old 80’s Sega Genesis–and I’m totally lying, geez, gullible much? I’m a friggin’ carhop, alright? Ya got me.

In the days of yore, I might’ve been a dishwasher, but no longer; I say, NO LONGER! Times are a changin’! Isn’t that right? God help me, I think so, but how can I know? Dishes used to be my friends, but then…then they betrayed me, those dirty, filthy–ooh,  bit repetitive, Boswell, excuse me, those dirty, monkey-brained (OO-OO-AA-AA!) dishes. I won’t go into a convoluted backstory. You get the picture, or you will; I did just mail it out.

Infinite Sonic, heh, me likey.

Move over Mr. Wallace, I got my own Jest to–to jest. Damn. That could’ve been good. Don’t have enough energy to try again, so settle for it, guys. Roll dice, or something, is Rock-Paper-Scissors still a thing?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Cred: Cody Hoyt

 

Our Second Anniversary–A Few Words.

How is everyone tonight? Maybe you’re a bit average, and maybe you’re above average: excellent or enthusiastic or terrific, all those fancy words that lost their meaning the tenth time they were used.

I am doing well; in fact, this long hiatus has done me some good. I am nearly finished with the first draft of my third novel, Society, At Large, and I have got to tell you, it’s one hell of a book. I’m proud of it, as I hope many others will be after publication.

Sophomore year of college, too. Who’d have figured? Comes up so fast, life does, as I’m sure many of you know. Done many things. Met many people. Written many words. Thought about–I’ve thought about quite a bit, much of it good, some of it obsessive.

I’ve learned about the current politics of the U.S.A. Y’know, Donald Trump and Kim-Jong Un; my, that was one historical meeting, wasn’t it? Politics, to me, are so interesting because, with politics, there’s never a clear answer to anything. There’s dozens of factors to consider, people to talk to, and tasks to delegate before making a decision. I question why anyone in their right mind would want to involve themselves in that crazy world seemingly separate from our own.

I’ve noticed they appear everywhere, politics do, especially at college. You can be sitting in the lunchroom, chowing down on a pizza, and hear someone discoursing on the pros and cons of America’s economical situation. I dunno much about the economy, still learning about it; however, I have my friend Adam Smith to help me out. He has one book, but I’ve heard it’s a killer.

What’s my point here? Am I attempting to sketch out the previous events of my life in uncoordinated fashion? Am I reaching for some truth I can’t ever find in life, but which I hunt down so ruthlessly in words? Is EVERYTHING for the sake of, what, a few views and likes? Put it like that, and it makes it sound like a social scam, a ruse I’m putting up for no known reason. Deception is a word that comes to mind, but–

I don’t know.

I don’t know why I do this, why I continue to do it. Call it energy or life blood, either way, it’s not a matter easily settled in a couple short discussions. At the tip of my tongue every time, it feels like, escaping me, and I never find out the truth. It’s always gone before I reach it.

Thoughts of A Southpaw’s 2-Year Anniversary was at the beginning of this month. I missed it, but I’m making up for it now. This anniversary somehow means more to me than the first. I can’t imagine why it would, but as I said, the truth escapes me when I need it most.

This year was interesting. It was fun, and it was sad. It was exciting, and it was depressing. I discovered many things about myself I wouldn’t have, had I not taken a break. There’s so much I want to say and do, make some change in the world, and writing makes feel like I can accomplish all of that and more.

People can talk about empty promises and holding themselves accountable, and they can be absolutely bullshitting everyone. Only I know if I’m doing that, and I don’t think I am. Writing is my power, and I’m learning how to wield it as I grow older. Above all, I see writing as a tool that when used in capable hands, can make ripples in the waters of the world, be they of good or disastrous intent. It depends solely on the person holding the pen.

Perhaps the truth will always escape me. It’ll scurry away whenever I’m close to catching it, and despite my best attempts to stop, I’ll keep going. We all desire some truth, some ideal we hold ourselves to. Don’t be ashamed of it; rather, be proud of your drive and intellect, your spirit and action. Grab it by its collar and shout in its ear, “I’m coming for you!” Feel it shrivel at your will. Whatever power it holds over you is no greater than the power within yourself, that power you control, that you display.

It’s taken me some time to figure that out for myself, and I can only hope it doesn’t take as long for you.

Years will come, and they will go, but time will always remain within your power.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Credit: Emily Lotka

People Are Strange

I finished reading Catcher in the Rye, and I gotta say it’s an odd book, a quirky tale. Holden Caulfield is by no means your average teenager, but he is not an alien, either; so many people hate Holden, y’know, something I don’t understand.

The argument, I believe, is that the only people who can relate to him are mentally unstable. Okay, so Mark David Chapman reads it, then, what, people are blaming the book? Isn’t that a fallacy, or at the least, one of those conclusions people create that make no friggin’ sense?

I liked it. I really did. I liked that goddamn book.

See, look, now I’m speaking like Holden Caulfield: it’s a spiral, I tell you, and it keeps going downwards. Pretty soon, I’ll be wearing a deer hunter cap and chain smoking cigarettes.

People are strange, though, y’know. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from that book, it’s that people are strange. There’s no logic to it–you can try computing an equation all you want, and nothing’ll come of it but a tired mathematician. Call someone else for that, by the way, ’cause I suck at Math.

There’s strange people at work. at the store, at the intersection right before you turn onto your street. They’re everywhere, man; a bunch of weirdos doing their best to give off an aura of normalcy.

The other day, I saw one in Wal-Mart, word of honor! He had on this bulky cloak and a purple scarf; I also think he was wearing sunglasses…at night. Ah, of course, it didn’t register at first, but now I realize he was an avid Corey Hart fan. Nevermind, dude wasn’t strange, just misunderstood. Then again, I doubt 80’s rock was understood even when it was popular.

You can disagree with me if you want, and I’d like that, truly. You go ahead and think Sunglasses Man was strange, I’m not judging, only writing a blog post about the whole thing.

Yeah, he was strange, but not as strange as Holden. That’s where I think Catcher in the Rye is most effective–its depiction of the ultimate, angsty teen has yet to be rivaled. Could you argue James Dean got close in Rebel Without A Cause? Sure, but ask yourself: would there be a James Dean without a Holden Caulfield?

I dunno, haven’t studied enough of that stuff. Gimme an answer, and I’ll praise you.

Let’s think a moment now. We’ve established people are strange, but we don’t know which people. Is there a certain minority devoted to strange folk? is it why we have all these cults? or is it what we’re denying–we’re all strange in our own freaky way?

Gee, interesting concept, huh? It’s like none of us are the exact same, because that would be super boring.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Cred: Wired Reader

AAAHH! I’m Almost A High School Graduate!

I have a calendar in my bedroom. It’s this giant–well, not giant–calendar, I suppose, that  has all my favorite little due dates and events written all across the days; and they are numbered.

I was looking at this calendar yesterday, flipping forward through time to the month of May and thinking about what I wanted for my birthday when, out of nowhere, it hit me: I am going to graduate high school a week after my birthday, on May 27th!

“Oh, Mamma mia,” I said–then I passed out on the floor.

Correction: I did not pass out. Rather, I screamed in my brain–or my brain screamed in me?–and went to finish that darn math homework that I had been putting off for three days. So, yes, I did freak out. Everyone freaks out. But that’s okay. It’s only high school, after all.

Only high school?

I have to find a college!

I have to buy a house! Or an extremely cheap apartment with a dirtbag for a landlord!

I have to cook! And not Hot Pockets or Pop-Tarts!

I have to be a man!

How does that work, by the way? Do I grow a rug on my chest the night after graduation and find myself speaking like Christopher Reeves in Superman? Is my dad gonna leave a pair of boots outside my door with a note reading, “Son, it is time for these boots to be filled?”

High school is slowly slipping away…I think I might cry, tear up a little. I’m being taken willingly away from this minefield of social cliques where, if you have a wayward opinion, you’ll get the shit kicked out of you and be forced to eat it on a silver platter; where the food is–okay, the food is allright. Oh, sob, sob, tear; waterfalls from my eyeballs. Tell my principal to save a spot for me in the lunchroom for when I–oh, wait, I won’t be coming back.

At least in college, or, hopefully in college, there will be freedom and excellent food and magnificent teachers and Shetland ponies…and four quartz diamonds and…a pool shaped like a brain and filled with money?

Sorry, I was reading from the wrong script.

Someone traded me for Impossible Fantasies For When You’re Totally Broke.

Yay, college?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

I’M BA-AAACK! SOUND THE ALARMS!

Greetings, dear People, I have at last returned to this pleasant planet Earth. Been a while, hasn’t it? I dare say, it’s been almost two months; now that’s far too long to be away.

Just so’s you know, I’ve been busy. Not like I went off the radar and ate raw fish in the woods–trust me, the raw chicken’s way better. No, no, I have had college and two novels and work and life and a bunch of stupid excuses no one wants to hear.

Either way, here I am. If you could see me, I’m smiling. Or am I? Wait, am I?

Now I am.

What have I done? Well, lots. I got money, assignments, grades; somewhere along the line, I think I picked up a bit of self-esteem? I dunno. Things happen so much around here, it’s hard to keep up with the tiny details.

I went bowling…if anyone cares…

It was in this real seedy joint, Summit Entertainment–well, okay, not seedy in the day, but at nighttime–

Went with a few coworkers, chatted, encountered a guy who hung out in the girls’ bathroom to give out his number. Typical bowling cliches; I’m serious, nothing special.

I got third place, yes, me, Mr. I-Can’t-Catch-A-Damn-Football-To-Save-My…Or-Someone–Else’s-Life. No trophy, no kiss, nothing–and, y’know, I was looking forward to getting a plushie. Nope. Just me and a few sympathetic claps. Oh, there was one “You go, man,” but that might’ve been the weird deejay.

Wait, he left before then, didn’t he? Went to the bathroom, I think.

Now, Laser Tag was a different story. I didn’t get third place. I got eighth. Also, I almost ended up in a fight with these two linebacker-sized dudes ’cause one of my coworkers decided to flip them off.

To be honest, though, I’d have mopped the floor with them. Of course, we’d have to pass the mop off to one another; you can’t expect to mop an entire building without some teamwork.

I suck at Laser Tag, anyway. Always trying to act like I’m in an action movie, then some forty year old guy gets my chest, and–yeah, no, that’s depressing enough.

Making myself cry here. Didn’t know this was going to be such an emotional experience. Let’s bring it in, guys. C’mon, team hug, okay, not too close, no–ouch, you’re stepping on my foot!

Can cross Bad Idea #10 off the list now.

Ah, who am I kidding? All my ideas are bad! Everyone gather around the bonfire! Gonna burn this mother down!

No, we’re not. You can take off your Angry Mob costumes.

What we are doing is reconnecting, right? Heh…get it, ’cause connections and Angry Mobs, eh?

I have no idea what I’m saying.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

P.S: Feels nice to write that again.

 

Image Credit: Golda

 

From the Standpoint of A Teen…

What’s up, everybody?

I haven’t seen you guys the past few weeks, been hectic with college starting back again. I got papers and more papers. Not to mention, I’m also working on two of my novels, trying to salvage enough time to accomplish all of it.

I’ve been good, y’know, being eighteen, getting used to Life; although, I’ve been getting used to it since I came into this world. It’s not as if once you leave high school, you’re initiated into this Adults-Only Section–and no, I’m not talking about the place where they store the dirty movies.

That ticks me off. Not the dirty movies, just the adults who forget what it’s like to be young, to have a fresh view of the world. I’m talking about the adults who patronize those on the fringes of adulthood: this teeter totter that rocks perilously over either side of an angst-filled abyss.

We don’t have a friggin’ map. People don’t provide one for us, and most of the time, we have to cut our own path through the jungle. Machetes are not provided. Also, water evaporates fairly quickly.

Guess I let it get to me sometimes, which is not so bad as it is disheartening. I think it’d be better if we all shook hands and congratulated one another on our accomplishments–but the world can’t always be so black and white.

We have different perspectives for a reason, yeah? For one, we’d be super bored without them. Imagine having a conversation with someone about Lord of the Rings, and for some reason, the other guy is as big a fan as you are, which should be impossible, ’cause you’re number one, right?

That’s to say we’re all a number one in one area of our lives. Least, I like to think so. Maybe you’re number one at pool or darts; hell, give hockey a shot, and you might end up in the NHL.

Chances, man, take ’em, but don’t get me started on how many times I’ve missed out on publication opportunities because I’ve forgotten the deadline. Yeah, I’m working on that part, getting better, though; y’know, learning from failure.

I know for a fact that the majority of my followers are adults, so, if you’re reading this, lemme plead to you from the standpoint of a teen:

  • We’re not all lazy, and if we are…we’ll work on it, got eighty more years, anyhow.
  •  Getting a job is not as easy as it used to be, but we’ll bust our asses until we find one.
  • Lastly, do you remember when you were our age?

Yeah, yeah, I get it’s called a generation gap, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it; and besides, the best way to get past a gap is to build a bridge.

A metaphorical one, of course.

Think daily,

A Southpaw