ideas

How To Grow A Serial Killer

Meet Bill Sykes, a nice, caring, six-year old boy, who lives in a Catholic-oriented house on the brink of foreclosure, due to insufficient payments.

Bill has schizophrenia, but has never been diagnosed.

Ronald and Rebecca Sykes are Bill’s parents, each of them having fallen out of love with each other since they slipped those brass rings on their fingers.

Ronald is a construction worker who is paid a measly wage of $10.00 an hour. He works on and off, as winter can be a cruel blow of the hammer to his usual routine.

When Ronald works, he works until six at night, at which point he drives the fifteen miles home from the construction site. He gets home, releases the family dog, an anorexic Rottweiler named Harold, feeds him the scraps of that night’s dinner–usually fried chicken bones from KFC–and steals a beer from the fridge and plops in front of the television and watches reruns of Star Trek until he passes out, drunk.

Bill often cries in the middle of the night, has spasms that contort his body in positions extremely uncomfortable for a six year old, has visions of the Devil stalking around his small bedroom with its circus elephant wallpaper.

When the cries begin at midnight, they do not wake Ronald from his alcohol induced slumber.

Rebecca was raised prominently Catholic in the cornfields of Kansas, and was trapped, her whole childhood, within a fierce matriarchy founded on heavy-handed religious doctrines, such as shouting the verses of the Bible aloud while having her bare back and buttocks whipped.

She married Ronald in 2009. It was the definition of a shotgun wedding; and she became pregnant with Bill in 2010, giving birth to him on December 14th, 2011, after a four week delay.

Rebecca is a nurse at the local hospital. She works the night shift, from 9:00 p.m to 5:00 in the morning; and when Rebecca comes home, she strips off her uniform and climbs into bed and recites her favorite verses of the Bible before heading to sleep.

When the cries begin at midnight, they do not wake Rebecca, due to her insistence on listening to the audiobook recording of the New Testament with her noise-blocking headphones.

Let’s take a closer look here:

Bill has had his case of schizophrenia for about as long as he has been alive. The Devil visions are frequent–they worry him to the point of clawing at his walls and knocking his head against his bedroom window.

This schizophrenia is heightened by the religious pressures of Rebecca, who, most of the time, has the right intentions, but is not in the right mind. An ideal evening to her is having both Ronald and Bill read out of their paperback copies of the Bible before dinnertime, shouting at them, threatening to whip them, if one verse is used out of place.

Of course, this frightens Bill; in fact, it frightens him so much that he has nowhere else to pour his emotions but outside, in the woods beside his house. On particularly tumultuous nights, he goes out to these woods and slits the throats of a few rabbits snug in a log, or, in the bushes. He hangs their carcasses on the limbs of the nearby trees and flaps their mouths to the tune of The Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round; this occurs for a number of hours, neither Ronald nor Rebecca care or notice.

Inaction.

Ignorance.

Absence.

Consider what you have read so far. Consider Bill and Ronald and Rebecca individually, not as a wholesome family unit. Consider how each person contributes to one terrifying truth:

Something is wrong with Bill.

Take Ronald, the alcoholic who is responsible for the quickly foreclosing house. Does he know about this future? Undoubtedly. Will he do anything to prevent it? Unlikely.

Here we have bad social conditions, involving a house that is cleaned every few months, and which is in danger of slipping from its owner’s hands.

We also have an alcoholic. Ronald averages four to six beers a day; most of those hours are spent being angry at the world and those around him, specifically, Bill and Rebecca.

Let’s look back at those three words.

Inaction.

Ignorance.

Absence.

Ronald fits into all three of them. He refuses to act on the approaching closure of his house; he is blind to the sufferings of his six-year old child, Bill, who tells his teachers that the Devil has told him to do bad things; and he is off at work most of the day, but the time he is at home, he is unconscious.

Rebecca focuses on her Bible; she feels it her duty to ensure her religious rules are enforced from morning to night, the oppressive mental state of her son be damned. She is more of a mother to the strangers she treats at midnight, than she is to the child she should provide for, care for, and listen to.

Inaction.

Ignorance.

Absence.

She, too, fits into all three of them.

Why is this important? Why focus on the strange hobbies of a mentally disturbed child in a dysfunctional family?

The question we should be asking is, Why Not?

The bit I left out–the piece that ties this all together–lies in the future: Bill’s future.

See, by the time Bill turns 20, he is still living with his parents. No, he is not attending college, and, despite having a powerful enthusiasm for all things natural, as well as an above average IQ, he does not secure a job as a National Park Attendant.

His mother tells him it will take time away from his Bible studies.

At 22, then, Bill headlines newspapers around the country–

BILL SYKES CAUGHT, ACCUSED OF COMMITTING 23 MURDERS

His victims are all young women; however, there is nothing, not hair color, personality, or their names, tying them together, save that they are all nurses.

He strangles all of them.

In court, a few days after the release of the newspaper article, amid masses of reporters, even Bill’s own parents, all wondering why such a kind, harmless young man would commit such atrocities, the Judge asks Bill why he did it.

Bill answers, “The Devil told me to do it.”

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

 

 

Innocence Still Matters.

I’ve been upset about my innocence for a long time–you know, that look in your eyes that just screams inexperienced and optimistic; you haven’t hit the harsh realities of life yet, and instead you’re going along as if everything is doodlie-doo, happy times.

Now, I’m not saying I dislike that I’m innocent, only I am, in a way, aren’t I? Perhaps I’m really tired of people underestimating me, seeing me as a kid who doesn’t know what life is, when, truly, life is what you make of it.

Sure, sounds cliche, but it does have relevance. Life is never the same for anyone; there’s always going to be differences, just as there are no people exactly alike. My life so far has been life. These past eighteen years were not spent in a vacuum, and there is no Real World, once you leave school.

C’mon, people, the world is the world. Known that since friggin’ Galileo’s time, and even beyond then…yeah….

I am innocent. I will not deny it. But am I the lesser for it? No. Do I not have as full a grasp on life as others? Sure. When you’re eighteen, you don’t typically know much; however, you still know enough to be–well, you, and, hell, that’s all you have to be.

No one’s making the rules here.

You are you, and there’s not much to change that.

It seems, though, if someone has not gone through the ringer at least a few times, has not accomplished the necessary requirements attributed to being an adult, then they, or their voices, are not worth the time of day.

Take kids, for example, the people we want to keep innocent in this world–but, that’s it, isn’t it? No one wants to listen to kids, to see what insights they have to offer; and, in doing so, they are missing out on valuable perspectives that could well change the world.

Innocence, and age, for that matter, shouldn’t be this restricting factor, or an inquiring face to turn away; no, are you kidding? Both of them have importance–both of them are crucial to understanding what the hell all us humans are trying to accomplish in these lives of ours.

Everyone matters, not only a few, because to limit is to inhibit further knowledge.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Love?

Jesus, well, this is late, isn’t it? Sorry, folks, was busy with stuff. Can you blame me?

Oh, boy, what are we writing about tonight? College? Work? Nah–I’m kind of getting tired of those things; instead, let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind for a while.

Love.

Fun topic, you could say, even an intelligent topic.

God, what do I say about love? That it can hurt? That it strikes you when you least expect it?

To say those things would be, I think, to state the obvious. Hell yes, it can hurt. Love can rip you apart twelve thousand times, and still be able to pack enough of a punch to send you groaning back to the beginning; however, that’s not to say it can’t also feel great, feel fulfilling.

I had an experience with love once, true as it could be, I suppose. It was that kind of love that brings you to an understanding of yourself, of what you want most out of life–it brought me peace and conflict and heartbreak, all in the same roll of the dice.

See, I didn’t love this girl at first; no, it progressed over time, like all things do. My first impression of her was–well, how do I explain it? uh, impressed and, at the same time, intimidated. Funny how those two can parallel one another, yet still be relevant to a whole.

Yeah, the love didn’t come into play until I got to know the girl, what kind of a person she was–how she inspired me to do better, to be better. By then, I was, as they say, head over feet, or did I screw that up?

She became a person I looked forward to seeing everyday, the someone we all strive to impress by being the best of ourselves, when, really, we probably look like a fool chicken flapping his feathers in the wind of his own turmoil.

I worked at it harder than I have most things in my life; and, in so doing, I do believe I grew into a better person. Out of all the mess, the craziness, I look back on now, there is at least that consolation: I changed, not into someone else entirely, but into myself.

As you can see, to say this love switched a couple things around in me is a bit of an understatement. It did bring me out of a self-contained shell, for a while; and it did open me up to new opportunities in socializing, and life in general. I’ve even gone so far as to talk about it, briefly, in a few posts.

‘Course, if you read those, it will be immediately obvious how deep I was within those waters; at times, I misjudged the deepness, fell short of the ledge on which to hoist myself out of the whirlpool, and I swirled, it seemed, endlessly.

The whirlpool didn’t come about until the latter stages, when I noticed the cracks in the walls I had spent months building, so I could sit back and revel in such a fascinating discovery: love? an event I had thought impossible for me? how could a girl feel the same for me?

The answer, then, was that she did not feel the same way.

I remember how angry I was, and how selfish I thought myself to be. This new world of emotions had opened wide its door, all of its contents spilling over me; what else was there to do but roll around in them and feel sick, right?

Wrong.

I told myself: whatever you think about yourself now is nothing compared to what you truly are. To deny yourself the truth of you, would be to deny all that you have accomplished, all that you have lost, all that you have done, in this life so far.

It helped, a little, but what struck out to me was…how my feelings never changed.

You’d think there’d be differences in mindset, but, I honestly believe that there are sometimes those certain people of whom, when you see them for the first time, or the thirtieth, your impression of them is never altered.

Maybe that’s poetic.

Maybe it’s bullshit.

Truth is, I can’t answer any of those questions. I don’t understand the tiniest piece of it.

So, can I claim to have loved someone if those feelings are yet buried?

The world is a confusing place, my friends.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Creepy.

I try to run as often as I can. Sometimes that may be only once or twice a week, perhaps every other week; still, though, I try my darnedest, and I suppose that’s what counts.

I went on a run today. Three miles. Average. Felt pretty good, healthy.

It’s been getting to be damn hard, though, if I’m gonna be honest. The will of wanting to run–well, it has its ups and downs; most of the time, I am forcing myself to do the deed. Makes it sound like an illegal act, or something, when, in all actuality, running helps keep me sane.

I saw a dead rabbit while running. Its fur was matted with water splashed up from passing cars; and it just lay there, eyes empty, tiny mouth agape. Looked like a ruined washcloth with shriveled paws.

This rabbit was on the side of the road, an empty, empty road. Must have been fresh, since the birds hadn’t taken their pickings yet; but I gotta say, I–I didn’t like seeing the emptiness in its eyes.

It wasn’t petrified–how could it be scared for its life when it was likely taken within a few seconds? It was…just…dead. That’s one of the scariest things to see in life, you know, something that’s had its life snipped at the seam–in an instant.

Blammo. And nothing left.

Didn’t help there were crows watching me from roofs, groups of them circling high in the sky. I remember one large crow, its head appearing as if shrouded beneath this black shawl, talons scratching at the fence post on which it roosted. It stared at me as I passed the dead rabbit. Those beady button eyes stared directly at me; and the rest of the crow made no movement at all. The thing sat hunched there, brooding; hell, maybe it was waiting to swoop across and gut its newfound meal.

I don’t know.

But I didn’t like it.

Birds were everywhere when I walked back home, a flock in one tree, three or more crows perched on roof after roof; and, looking around, all I could see were the birds with their noise and their silence.

Felt like Christmastime, all the lights out upon the houses, twinkling, buzzing; and not a footprint to be seen on snowy streets, nor a fracture of firelight from within one of the houses encroached in shadow, only the winged predators dragging their talons across roof tiles.

I would say it was reminiscent of Hitchcock, but what I can gather mentally from that experience is–

Is that it felt creepy.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

The Top 5 Most Important Questions To Ask In A Blog.

  1. Why do dogs dislike cats?
  2. What’s the difference between drinking water and tap water?
  3. Can you call foul in a game if the whole game is foul?
  4. Is art the manifestation of us, or are we the manifestation of art?
  5. Did this post attract you because it was a numbered list? Or was it the picture?

Think daily,

A Southpaw

The Squirrel

I watched a squirrel for close to an hour the other night.

Of course, I should have been intensely studying for the math test that night, but this squirrel, it was more than a squirrel. It was…well, it’s hard to completely explain in a short number of words.

I’ll start from the beginning–

I was sitting at a table on the college campus, math book and notebook cracked open in front of me. Review mode was engaged–let’s put it that way; and as far as studying for math goes, I thought I was doing pretty well.

Now, to step away from the math–we already know I’m terrible at the concept–I want to introduce all of you to the man of the hour: the squirrel that hopped down from a tree to the right of me.

It’s not as if this was a mutant squirrel; no, it was your average, everyday, acorn-loving creature, nothing much to it. I could tell it had come out to scavenge when I first saw it–why, you ask? it was hunting beneath the various tables for scraps of wasted food.

The squirrel got lucky a few times, found two French fries, and, I think, a potato chip.

I wasn’t too interested in what it was eating, though.

Sidetrack a moment from the squirrel.

Picture: a set piece on which all these types of people are walking and acting out their lives, their personalities, within the restricted boundaries of whatever influence the public opinion has over our confidence.

One girl, two tables away from me, was chatting on a phone while studying for, possibly, the same math test. Truth be told, I didn’t check out that specific detail.

Another guy showed up during the middle of the squirrel’s charade–and take note, this guy is important in this story, ‘kay?–chomping down on a pink coated chocolate candy and pacing the ground before a bundle of spiring trees.

Dozens more people passed and went, walked and skated, talked and reflected. Classes were let out, and those students came through this set piece, only to go onto another one within an instant.

Why are they crucial? Why did I observe them so keenly?

Not a single one of these people acknowledged the squirrel’s existence.

The squirrel here is crawling over and under the intricacies of these tables, grabbing at crumbs; and, to them, it’s a ghost. The French fries disappeared, sure, but to where they went, no one would be the wiser.

I had my eyes fixed on the squirrel, and with each group that entered the set piece, I watched to see if any would take note of it. Surprisingly, as I said, it was as if the whole scene was happening underground, no lights, no sense of what or why was going on in the surroundings.

I had to laugh; of course, who wouldn’t in a situation like that.

Every time I kept thinking someone would point out the squirrel and admire its cuteness, my intuition was proven wrong. Sometimes it is–that I don’t deny; it’s pointless to assume I would have predicted any of the reactions.

Then I wondered…

Why was I so enamored with the squirrel in the first place?

The answer came to me when I saw the squirrel, fresh off its second fry, venture carefully towards the girl chatting on her phone. It would take a few bounds, stop, sniff the ground, and tread some more ground, its tail twitching with each movement.

It reached the girl…eventually–and what did the girl do but stare at it and stamp her feet.

The squirrel retreated, scared, unsure, wrecked in all of its emotional faculties. Had it been looking for food? A companion? Someone to give it a good petting? Dunno. All I know is that it ran from her.

At this point, we return to the guy eating his chocolate candy.

During the periods when I was unable to clearly observe the squirrel, my focus had been spent studying this dude. By all accounts, he looked simple enough, just enjoying his chocolate; he was the guy you’d pass on the street without a second thought–that is…until the group of girls walked by him.

A glance was all it took, and I recognized the panic in his eyes as they tracked the girls, this trio glued to their phones, disregarding the guy without a second thought.

He lowered the chocolate candy, moved to speak; although, by then, they were gone.

I winced.

The guy walked a few more minutes, lost to his thoughts–

During this painful moment, another class stormed down from the hill, jabbering, hopping on their skateboards and scooters; again, not one of them noticed the squirrel that, cowering beneath a table, dropped to its paws and hightailed it to the bundle of spiring trees near the recently heartbroken guy.

And guess what?

As the guy pondered and paced, he stopped a second, looked up; and he saw the squirrel, just stood there in an awe of sorts as the squirrel clamped itself to one of the trees and crawled up the trunk.

What else could I do than be mesmerized? Another of these bystanders had seen the invisible critter; now, it was as real as anything else in that small dining square.

Why do I tell you this story? Why do I waste your time with a little human observation?

To me, that most people did not see this squirrel says something about the state of humanity–of existing.

I forgot to mention earlier, but the whole time I was studying the squirrel, none of those people took a notice of me, either. Like the squirrel, I became a ghost for a short amount of time, free to wander, to act, to do, as I wished.

Maybe it’s ’cause I was silent. Maybe it’s ’cause I simply watched.

Maybe it’s ’cause, for one reason or another, I just didn’t blend.

I put faith in this assumption because of the one other person who saw the squirrel:

The guy who had recently been rejected by the trio of girls.

The both of us were not, by any stretch of the matter, different, per say; however, what if, since the majority of this small society had not stopped to acknowledge our being there, we were then able to acknowledge the presence of the squirrel?

Perhaps existing is more than simply being seen by others. Perhaps, as long as you yourself are confident in what you stand for, in what you think, or believe; then, perhaps,   existing is a matter of whether or not you want to stand tall, or sit complacently with the masses.

Perhaps, at this moment, there’s a squirrel scampering at your feet for food, and you haven’t yet noticed it.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

 

Carpe Diem.

Holy Crap, no one actually told me college was going to be this difficult. I just finished my first week, and already I am stressed out of my young, adult mind–wait, young and adult?

First off, boy, some of these classes are friggin’ long–I mean, five hours long. That’s a long time. A good thing, though, is that some of the professors can lecture so fluently time goes by in a flash. They can start on a conversation at the beginning of class and finish the class on the same topic.

Okay, maybe not the exact same topic…

I’ve made some friends already, which is a constant struggle in college; in that respect, lunch has gone smooth every day since then–but I’ve also been taking some time to venture out into the campus and reflect on life.

You know what I figured out?

All of the freshman entering college are in my position. I’m not talking the exact same position; however, each person is lost and isolated and confused as to what the hell they’re supposed to do after that one class.

We are lost souls, swimming in a fishbowl of our own loneliness. It’s sad when I put it that way, and maybe it’s sad for me to think of it as such; but when you gotta be honest, you gotta be honest.

I’m not avidly searching for people to hang out with–well, maybe a little–because I sorta got a bunch of friends from high school with whom I can connect. It’s just…it’s hard, you know? Stepping into the shoes of an adult for the first time… There’s a need for responsibility, a need to act, everywhere I turn; add on top of that a load of homework and studying and social pressures–it makes me feel like a ticking time bomb.

But, then, I remember. I remember how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to receive this great gift that is education. I tell myself to buck up, get my shit together. Life is hard, but it’s only gonna get harder; and if I have dreams to follow, then I had better go chasing after them as if it was the last day on Earth.

Carpe Diem. Translated from Latin, it means Seize the Day. That’s my catchphrase this year.

Armed with the ambition of wanting to be a writer, to tell stories that change how stories themselves work, I’m going to recite those two words every morning of every day.

When I wake up, the moment I open my eyes–Carpe Diem.

When I sit down to write on a story–Carpe Diem.

As I climb the staircase of knowledge at a university where hard work, and perseverance, will make me capable of achieving my dreams, my goals in life–Carpe Diem. 

It’s the truth as I believe it.

It’s the truth as I say it.

It is whatever I want it to mean, and more.

Why?

I have the ability to do so. I have the freedom to do so.

I’m not just going to sit here and write all of this crap down and do nothing with it.

No, these words are to be acted upon, as all words should be; and they will hold within themselves the truths that I have set forth in this blog post. This is a declaration of action, not inaction. It is a route by which I will travel these long and troublesome years, because I know I can do whatever I want to do–whatever I dream I can do, if I only suffer through the pain and come back out on top at the end.

Life is fair to us if we strive to make it so; otherwise, the chances can be less to none.

I say: Make Your Life, The Life of All Lives.

And never regret it.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

How the iPhone and The Industrial Revolution Are The Same.

We live in the Digital Age, don’t we? We carry mini-computers in our pockets, watch any form of television we want from the comfort of our sofas and beds; hell, folks, we got these strange friggin’ hover boards–honestly, to me, they look like skateboards with an engine. What else? Too much to list? Perhaps. Yes, I would say there is a lot to handle in this generation.

It takes a little bit to get adjusted to the new fangled anything. It’s not because this product is more complex than the next–no, to simplify it to that would be to blatantly deny the past millennia of developments in life and the act of living.

In the early 1900s, America struck it rich with the Industrial Revolution, a Renaissance for the modern times. It was astounding. It was innovating. It was frightening. Don’t any of you think to tell me that any situation in which the old is knocked out of the ring by the new, gleaming, and glorified champion of the world of tomorrow is not the least bit  abrupt.

You can bet there were people, maybe farmers, who wanted to take a piss all over those giant iron machines; or, as I will call them, Crop Transformers. They probably foamed at the mouth cursing out the inventors and the businessmen whose purpose it was to move the world forward.

Why? They got scared.

How on Earth would they be able to support their families–and even if they were alone, themselves? It was like playing out your whole hand the second time round in a game of high-stakes poker. Neither of those scenarios would have an ending that satisfied both ends of the table.

So, the farmers thought, machines. All right, sure, machines could be a pain; but if there was no pain, then would we know calm? Wrong analogy. What I mean is, the farmers started seeing the machines as an asset, a comrade in arms against those pestering weeds, the bushels of grain that took hours to collect.

That was it. Time.

Whoever said money runs the world never took a good look at a clock.

Take the farmers. Harvest was their life; and, not only that, but their purpose–this never ending production–it rose according to the rise of the sun, and it set when that glowing ball sunk beneath their plains. The seasons. In spring, growth, and lots of it. Come summer, their products were spreading across the country; the farmer prepared for that cold breath of autumn and winter in which he harvested and cultivated.

Machines had no sense of time. You pressed one button, and it did the work of three farmers without breaking a sweat. No emotions held it down, nor simple laziness. The machines were the tools of men, used by men to improve themselves and their world.

So, then we had two sides of a coin. Somehow it always leads to those two opposing sides.

Of course, with all coins, it must be flipped; and, in this case, the coin landed on the side of the machines. No, that does not mean Arnold Schwarzenegger finally won the war against ol’ John Connor–it means the farmers settled with their conditions.

Now, cut to the Modern World, or the World Currently Ruled By Apple, All Hail the Mac Computer.

On a routine trip to the At&t store, my grandfather and I went to purchase his first -iPhone, as well as an iPad, because it was a sweet deal. He chose the latest edition–the iPhone 7 Plus, and; of course, who wouldn’t choose the best version, right?

Me, I guess. I still have my iPhone 6. Yeah…

The clerk informed him about almost all of the things an iPhone can do, many of which, to me and my generation, have become common knowledge:

Internet Connection? Psshh, I’ll just use data, suckers.

Games, Games, Marvelous Games. Hit the damn pigs, you stupid bird!

Yeah…I don’t know what the hell a Kodak is, but I’m gonna take your picture–actually, before that, let me find the right filter.

Despite the clerk explaining the iPhone well, my grandfather still looked confused. He was replacing an Android phone; and yet the complexities of an iPhone are a tad more…complex, shall we say.

Then I thought–

Grandpa is not used to the smart phone; in fact, in his time, it was the rotary dial and the pay phone–and, god damn, if I ever see one of those, I am totally reenacting that one Matrix scene.

Grandpa is like the farmer in the Industrial Revolution. The iPhone is a machine created to make his life more efficient. He can carry the basic idea of a pay phone in his pocket!

Whoopdie do dah! Don’t you guys love it when analogies work out in your favor? It’s like peanut better and horse radish!

Then I also thought–

There is going to come a time when I am the farmer.

There is going to come a time when a machine threatens my comfortable existence.

What will it be?

A holographic writer; or, worse, an actual ghost writer?

Nah, it’ll probably be interviews in virtual reality and disposable underwear.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

 

Life–Well, It’s A Cheesecake, Isn’t It?

Life–well, it’s a cheesecake, isn’t it? I’m not talking a single piece of cheesecake, no; in fact, I mean a pie of cheesecake. See, you can say you love every flavor in one of those creamy things, but we all know you’re lying. No one, no one likes all those pieces. There’s always the singularity–the missing link, if you would, that we all wish would get the hell out of Dodge, you know?

Life is interesting for me. It has been interesting for me. I work a pretty fair job in the field of manual labor. I’m a regular blue collar, sweeping brooms and wiping out toilets. It’s meh, to be truthful–and if there is one thing I have learned from this job, it is the sometimes nasty truth.

Drugs, for example, are nowhere on my to-do list. Day in and day out, I see people ravaged by constant drug use. Their faces are old, older than their age; and in their eyes is a haze that never seems to dissipate. I can see the blankness in some of their faces, and it is hard to watch at times.

These folks do this for fun, mind you; and, hell, perhaps it’s to find an escape. But, for me to know what it will do to them in the long run…it can be heartbreaking to see someone throw away their potential like that.

I speak from no experience; and, yes, I might also be speaking from a safer perspective, but I am innocent, after all.

I come from a small town where the craziest thing I have ever witnessed is a bleeding lady taken away on a stretcher after her husband’s psycho ex-girlfriend drove her motorcycle into the back of their car. Before this job, before this peek into another life, that was the craziest crap.

I have seen stuff since then. People who absolutely loathe their lives. Temper tantrums that can get way out of proportion. Worms swimming in some worker’s shit, and let me tell you, that was in two different Porta-Potties.

It is disgusting, but at the same time eye-opening. Would I have experienced this bit of life, this slice of cheesecake, if I had not taken this job? Would I be less of an innocent man than I am now? Would I even be writing this post?

The answers aren’t clear. When are they?

Life is a lot larger, a lot nastier. There are tendrils where I used to see sunshine. Adults can be total assholes, immature for that matter; or, they can be some of the best of the best.

A cheesecake? How about a loaded die? I’m serious. You don’t get to choose what happens in this world. The die is rolled–the numbers are chosen, and you either deal with the unfair, or you get out and do the best you can to force those numbers into your favor.

Win-win, or a lose-lose. No way of telling until you’re standing right in front of it. By then, too, the smell can be so bad, you aren’t sure you want to test your luck.

I say do it, but do it wisely. If you’re dumb when it comes to making those important decisions, you’re going to get landed with a nightmare, one of which you have to climb out of yourself to reach those sweet dreams.

Be smart out there, guys. It will pay off.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

Give It Up.

I want to tell you guys something, something special.

When I was a freshman in high school, I ran Track. I have gone over the sport in an earlier post, told you all about how much fun it was to belt out a two mile an hour after a mile–and I’m sure some of you think I’m being sarcastic when I say that, but, unfortunately for you, I am not.

The team was–well, I wouldn’t really call it a team in the first place. We were the Distance Runners, the Sprinters, the Throwers, and the Jumpers, not specifically a Track team. We had our class sections, too, the Freshman and the Seniors, being the most separated of those ranks.

It wasn’t only the students, either. The coaches didn’t see eye-to-eye on most things; in fact, most talked behind one another’s backs–and so, it transferred to the students, creating a whirlpool of bad attitude and glum that made running not fun at times.

Of course, I was new, had no idea what the team was like; but, even then, I didn’t give a shit about some invisible system run by people who had had it run for them, and them before; and it probably went back and back. Who knows? All I knew was that it felt weird.

I went about my routine for a while, and ran races as was expected during the season, but throughout the whole thing, I was observing and gaining insight on this overbearing atmosphere, not liking it too much. The different events never interacted with each other. If they did, it always turned into an insult battle: who works harder…who has the tougher workouts…

Before I delve further, I want to clarify that I myself succumbed to this attitude for a time , enough to make me sick and attempt to abandon the ideals that had been planted in my young mind. It was a battle progressing into sophomore year, but I at last broke it this year, after a period of self-enforced solitude for junior year.

Anyways, it sucked. Lines had to have seniors leading them, even if it meant stepping in front of the freshman already standing there; the events engaged in horrible arguments, calling names–again, even the coaches joined in, behind the scenes; and there were derogatory comments tossed around from one end of the track to the other, so you couldn’t escape them.

That was what got me. The derogatory comments.

If a senior said openly the freshmen will not be making it to State, I got pissed. So, they thought the team wasn’t skilled enough to carry its talent through the classes, and what exactly gave them that authority? Their experience? Could they see into the future? If so, then my school should have invested in a Clairvoyant course, all psychics to the front of the class.

I hate it when the upper echelon tells the lower echelon what it can and cannot do.

I hate that there are echelons.

Why not join up, be a team, to inspire others with your camaraderie?

Why not, instead of saying, “give it up,” say, “give it all?”

I wish I had spoken up, but I was a freshman who thought his words meant nothing. I sat back and watched, sure; however, I also learned, and I spent time preparing what I would want to change about our team, to make it a team. There were successes, also failures–but I kept striving forward, despite the view of others that the team could not and would not change.

As a senior, it is great to see the change implementing itself–as they always say–slowly but surely. The team is a team, for the most part. There are some kinks here and there, but they have a long time to straighten out the hose.

I only hope it will stay straight.

Think daily,

A Southpaw