life

Are We In Hell?

I’ve given thought to the notion that we are, at the moment, confined to a sadist’s simulation, none the wiser to our predicament. We may hang an ornament in the back corner of a room with no light or concept of space. If so, I hope our caretaker is more pleasant in the coming months. I hope we’re not doomed to a damnation entirely out of our control and laughing at our supposed invincibility.

Though I’ve given thought to it, I don’t consider that a reality; rather, our reality is far more ambiguous. Surprises are our feast, and we can taste them or run from them. At a certain distance from pain, the idea of staring down the unthinkable becomes irrefutable, inevitable even, and until that pain descends upon the ordinary, it is so. We have an immense capacity for courage that is sooner decimated than it is multiplied.

We are in a kind of Hell, something like what Sisyphus has been condemned to, but unlike Sisyphus, we’ve done nothing to deserve it. Our punishment is multi-faceted and so complex that a dozen or more articles/essays cannot explicate our condition–still, like Sisyphus, we reach a thousand lights that are no more than darkness in disguise.

It sounds dire because it is. Optimism goes only so far in deciphering the human condition, and there are some regions of experience to which it should be barred entry. Miracles, if anything else than storybook creations, act here as fantasies we’ve constructed from fear, and the only escape is work of a particularly grueling sort.

Wishful thinking will not rescue us from this Hell, but there’s a chance, in following Sisyphus’s lead, that if we keep struggling at a problem long enough, we’ll crack it.

It’s all to do with our interpretation.

A Southpaw

The Rise of “The Virus”

It would seem that deadly parasites are having a worldwide temper tantrum. Yes, you guessed it. I’m talking ’bout the coronavirus, or scientifically expressed, COVID-19. It is making itself extremely hard to ignore, and its separate names make that even more difficult. I haven’t had a day where “the virus” stays out of my conversations–for that matter, too, my thoughts aren’t safe from its infamous reputation as of now.

This is an interesting moment in history, and like all other such instances, it inspires a greater threat than the daily malaise. When dramatic crises erupt, petty squabbles become just that; it’s funny, in fact, because some local police department released a statement asking that all criminals be conscientious of the growing COVID/corona/virus threat and think before they commit unlawful deeds. If I could find the Tweet, I’d link to it, but alas, it has vanished into the Internet archives. Still, my logic applies. Everybody shrinks from their usual troubles and fears the unknown, and frankly, conflicting sources of information further those fears.

If any of youse were wondering, here’s the most creditable sources from which to get reliable and updated information:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Since I live in the United States, I am not trapped in as dire circumstances as somewhere like Italy, and as a matter of fact, has anybody checked on them in a while?

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/urges-world-test-test-test-covid-19-live-updates-200316234425373.html

Oh, great. Somebody did.

Despite my okay standing in the States, as of yesterday, I have been forced to continue my college semester online. UCCS has shut down for the remainder of its Spring semester, and it is looking as though many other local colleges and public school districts will soon follow in its tracks. Crazy times, I tell you.

Have you seen the stores? Of course you’ve seen the stores; the news won’t stop talking about how people are ransacking them, and this is unfortunate mainly because the at-risk populations are then unable to adequately supply themselves and their families. Some folks I know have lost their jobs and are unsure of what to expect in the coming weeks. Congress can help, sure, but the fact of the matter is that these people are struggling through hardships cropping up to no seeming end.

I hope “the Virus” passes soon. It certainly has set the world afire, and we’re none of us the wiser to where its devastating effects will strike next.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo 173591757 © Alberto Mihai – Dreamstime.com

Important Things To Say.

Hello, hello, hello! It’s a-me, that one guy here to tell the news:

I actually don’t have any pertinent matters on which to elaborate–sad stuff, I know, but the truth is, eh, pertinence is a matter of perspective for those experiencing pertinent events. Significance falls into that camp just as easily, and I’d say it doesn’t matter, save to those who endure significant what-sits and bingle-bogles along the life not so frivolously traveled.

The act of writing a blog post somehow implies a matter of utmost importance. Hm. I may concur, though in more instances than not, I wonder if the (a) post demands importance by virtue of its being written. Imagine that: a run-of-the-mill post foisting false honors upon itself before telling people, “HEY, LOOK AT ME! I’VE GOT FANCY COLORS AND A SPLENDIFEROUS SENSE OF ETHICAL PRUDENCE!” Not to mention, its fonts are, uh, real eye-catchers, Calibre and Arial Black getting ink injections at the local watering hole.

Let’s say this is an important post. Let’s say I’m writing this as a matter of duty to whatever principles swarm my mind for the next few days. You argue that this is an average post, and I respond: “But I said it’s important–look, there’s bolded words and–

–fragmented paragraphs.

You insist: “If it’s so important, then what is it about?”

“Importance.”

“How ridiculous. You can’t write about importance. Importance insists upon itself.”

“I beg to differ.”

I mean, have you even noticed the citations I spent hours knitting together into a neat bibliographical quilt?

“Citations? I see no citations.”

Ah, you see, that’s because they’re at the end of the post, and you’ll have to take my word for it.

Important topics, important topics…maybe I can insert a talking point one of the most trending subjects in the recent three weeks—pssh, three weeks, make it about the last six hours. Certainly an option that is guaranteed to garner massive commentary and platinum ‘viral’ status. Great idea. Now I’ll go scroll through the headlines for the next thirty minutes and steal the more apt sentences, fitting them to my stylistic liking.

First line:

“Good morning, great people, and have you considered how long a dolphin can live?”

No, no. I can do better.

“Greetings, fellow bloggers, I’m writing about ‘such-and-such,’ oh, and I hope you don’t mind my kissing ass afterward in order to get more people on my site, get those numbers up. Season’s Greetings!”

[Incidentally, the post was published in July]

A valiant effort I can be proud of before I go about networking. Gotta make sure they’re all up-to-date and chock full of modern-day references.

As for an ending–well, it has to be memorable and witty and quite concise.

So.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

ID 124500090 © Savenkomasha | Dreamstime.com

Why Does The Sun Set On The Horizon?

Today, I saw a peace sign sticker on the rear window of a car with U.S Army plates. Fourth infantry division, it said; it’s funny how those who experience war are those most desirous for peace.

World’s full of cases like that, you just gotta go looking for them. We say things about things without ever truly experiencing those things, yet experience can land the things in the same piles. Thoughts travel consistent wavelengths.

I–I don’t know why the sun sets on the horizon, and I can’t tell you if it’ll rise again tomorrow. Much of what we base our knowledge on is formed of coincidence. Say the sky turned yellow tomorrow. Would we remark upon the event in educated soliloquies? Would we do much else but go about our days because, frankly, the sky is beyond our capabilities?

We believe the planet is under our control, that everything meant to occur does so only within our observation. Are we arrogant in that? Does our pride determine our power? We inhabit spaces, few of which are ours–and as for the rest–well, does a grassy field warrant immediate proprietorship?

Tomorrow, I’m not sure what I’ll see. Maybe the same thing, but probably not.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Photo Cred: ID 6058275 © Marcelo Poleze | Dreamstime.com

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

Goodbye, Mr. Bittersweet

Hey-BOOGA-BOOGA-BOOGA!

Hey-BOOGA-BOOGA-BOOGA!

Man, y’know, alphabetically speaking, there’s not that many letters in the word, ‘hello.’ What, five? make it six, and you got a winner! seven, you’re pushing the proverbial envelope postmarked in artificial cherry-red ink to Shangri-La. Folks try so hard to dig into mysticism and ulterior/interior meaning, but, hey, it gets them to a point of purposeful inaccuracy disguised as random guesses. Nobody can blame them because they don’t exist. Even if they did exist, they’d be too busy moving from one hotspot to the next to worry about our mumbling attempts to interpret the Jesus-shaped-watermelon-seed-madness currently gaining a following in America’s most populous retirement communities. EVENEVEN if that happened, and for shits and giggles, let’s say it did: well, my friends, there we have the runt of the littered questions strangers sketch into a two-AM sky without any consideration for the time and/or place on which they intrude.

Outrageous, really, how we figure it all combines in a fortune teller triangle, each flap representing our wild, zany, ridiculous predictions–of course, they’re not entirely ridiculous because ridiculous things have some attached meaning. Fry cooks and security guards, the working mill; oh, and we are so unsure as to their roles in the situation, like the hole in the donut. Question of the century, ‘Is It A Finger-Nook Or Just Make-Believe?’ All the same, we eat them, and soon, the donut is itself a hole.

Interpretations perturb the spectacled hedge-trimmers stalking the midnight burroughs of the sane and sound, and BLAAAAAOOOOOPPPPP! goes the elephant trumpet to warn of mental breach. A donkey sits at a porch table and recounts the tale of poor Nobody Nink, Unknown Occupant of Room ###hereitgoeswegoagainupandaroundandsidetosidealongthemerrigoroundoftime

immemorial.

Flying monkeys seem absurd to us because absurdity is naturally unnatural.

In what a world we live to see some truth, in what a world.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

ID 143664990 © Jason Lester | Dreamstime.com

Smells Like Citizen Spirit

It means: “true democracy, let’s vote ourselves.” That is, the graffiti. Interesting choice of words, at least I thought so. They stuck out to me, looked particularly brazen. I wonder who wrote it, some somebody willing to stand out in a public space and deface a wall with their latest brain-picking. Despite curiosity, you never figure out who the person is. You get close, and out of a dozen or so lookalikes, there’s bound to be a trackable progress going in enough circles to convince you you’re getting somewhere good.

As most of you have guessed, it’s French. The “L’s” give it away at a first glance, but that it’s so attention-grabbing and straightforward also points to a French origin. It embodies everything I admire in the French people: a stubborn determination to be heard while retaining their cultural elegance. Nobody fights like them, nobody, because nobody’s got near as fierce a spirit. Spirit flows through all of those words splashed across the wall, and it’s important to remember spirit doesn’t emerge of nothing.

A member of the Yellow Vests (gilet jaunes) Movement sprayed the graffiti. You may not have guessed this, but I imagine the majority of readers had a gut feeling. I’ve been meaning to cover these guys for a while, if only because few people are. Last November, they burst into international attention, and the gamut of media churned out story after story on their shocking antics. Public defacements and mass protesting defined them; of course, the coverage was accurate, in parts. I read most of those stories, understanding the plight of the French workers and wishing for their success. Not two or three months later, all American coverage stopped, leaving me to scramble after foreign outlets for any new updates. BBC had its bits and pieces, but the French outlets either neglected to report the events or showcased them through biased perspectives. Unfortunate, yes, but it was not an unexpected action; it happens everywhere, so we have to sometimes seek out objectivity ourselves.

The movement has lasted for over seven months, and it still appears to be going strong. I can’t speak as to the inner climate. I have no idea what the people are experiencing from day to day–and this is perhaps my most important point, I hope the best for all sides. Too often, we lose ourselves to the inevitable tug-of-war ever festering in these kinds of movements. We focus on the aspect of success so much that we forget our own limits in reaching it. It goes either way, the end, settling in comfortable victory or exhausted failure, with no room for a middle ground.

To me, the graffiti represents an attempted middle ground. People will argue and battle; they’ll break ideological codes to ensure they are on the prevailing side before the whole situation resolves itself in forced silence. Not everyone’ll spray out graffiti, but everyone’ll read the message.

One message means more than a million broken noses.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

ID 140302557 © Ymidio | Dreamstime.com

The Beautiful And The Ugly

On any given day, I’d like to say it’s easy to tell who the good and bad guys are. Creating a dividing line is a satisfying feeling, solidifying the creators’ preconceptions and ridding undue stress from wearied minds. Classification of all kinds calms people down, since nobody (NOBODY) enjoys the unclear and unknown. They may get curious–at the most, terror will set in and evolve into hysteria–but you see, so long as there are names for the beautiful and the ugly, there’ll be moderate peace. Whether it stands or falls is another situation entirely, and it is one unanswerable by that eons-long plight. News flash: it’s lasted eons for a reason, so it won’t absolve itself of conflict within the next forty-eight hours. That is, at best, wishful thinking, and at worst, an acknowledgement of something greater than ourselves: time’s withstanding grudge against human intervention.

Good and Evil. We love them. They taste so nice on our tongues, four sy-l-l-ables capturing the respective epitomes of their concepts; oh yes that is GOOD and those are undeniably EVIL just look at the symbols and words and intentions my my how outrageous! We might as well be loading people and objects into duct-tape labeled, grape juice stained Kindergarten cubbies without a single regard for examination. Words supplanted by bigger words supplanted by bigger words. Then we wonder–we wonder, ‘oh, gee, why are they overflowing? are-are, they are–they’re switching places! how dare they!’

Make larger cubbies, say the pinstriped suit-wearing dude lurking outside the window, who, as a matter of fact, has never entered the classroom.

Cubbies are ordered, sir, say some rag-tag maintenance group no one recognizes–and hell, folks, these guys don’t even recognize Mr. Pinstriped Suit, but that doesn’t stop others from carrying out orders.

Cubbies come in, glorious tidings and champagne bottles for the people old enough to drink. There’s new labels, too, because after several millennium, the letters somehow lost their shine. They gleam in sunlight and blanket themselves at night. Reading them accrues no worth anyhow.

Cubbies are in, sir, and it’s a recorder looping an affirmation. Somebody shoved a box of chocolates beneath it.

Mr. Pinstriped Suit is gone. Some blue birdies are eating spilt seed on the windowsill. They make an incredible noise.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

ID 21632081 © Brad Calkins | Dreamstime.com

A Letter To Washington

On March 28th, 2019, Will Boswell, a sophomore at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, wrote a letter to the late American president, George Washington. His letter aimed to detail current changes in American society, as well as to compare these changes and their effects to Washington’s original vision for America. 

Dear President Washington, 

My name is Will Boswell, and I hope this letter reaches you well.

I’m an American citizen, and that should mean quite a lot to you. Let me add that it is 2019, and I am an American citizen. Despite previous attempts by the British to regain their colonies, we have prevailed, and oh, we’re friends with them now. We’re friends with most of the world, and as a matter of fact, we assist them with their many problems. Some have called us the ‘World Police,’ and the label’s not far off from the truth. That may surprise you, so I’ll throw in another surprise: the United States of America is a world ‘superpower,’ much like the British Empire.

You’re brimming with questions, I understand, but I think you should know I’m only nineteen. I know a bit about some things, but on others, I know too little. America isn’t as open to public knowledge as it used to be; we’ve become more secretive in our practices. In a way, it’s both necessary and frightening. What many see as governmental overreach is interpreted by others as necessary to preserving our liberties. Put simply, this is no small country, as you originally created it; in fact, as expressed before, it is a large superpower, this status coming with numerous foundational changes.

One of the largest changes, to you, may be that in 2008, we elected our first black president, Barack Obama, signaling an incredible alteration of the American perception toward minority citizens. Diversity has come a long way in our country—and what comes to mind are such watershed moments as the 1917 Women’s Suffrage Movement and the abolition of slavery in 1865. Our fourteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, abolished it by way of the Constitution, and this, among other reasons, caused his assassination. It was an unfortunate end to a true American patriot, a man I’m sure you would have greatly respected.

There’s too much to explain in so short a time, so I’ll get to my main points. Mr. President, America has changed. You can interpret that however you want to, and I hope you’ll understand my saying on some days that I feel as if no one listened to you. Due to your slave-holding past, many  American citizens elect to listen to neither you nor your compatriots. You are all a part of a racist past, and while I acknowledge it as wrong, I also believe it’s important to separate the different qualities of a person before judging them according to the values of the time. I mean no disrespect to you, sir, grateful for what you did for this country, but our country’s values, along with our perception of historical figures, have changed—and they have changed for the better.

Aside from this small unification, our country is more divided than ever before. Politics has grown even more distasteful, neither side particularly appealing to the American public. Domestic terrorists have brought the battlefield to our schools and churches, concerts and clubs, gunning down innocent civilians for reasons we can hardly comprehend. As I write this, another shooting has occurred in which four people have been shot, one of them dead, at a synagogue of all places. The American public itself fights over the pettiest issues and at times, it’s as though we can’t compromise on any one thing.

This must hurt you to hear these things, but as you well know, no nation is without its battles. Of these problems, some may become trivial in the future, and some may linger on, challenging new generations to rediscover the national principles forgotten by previous ones. I feel that’s the story of America: a nation where values are constantly taken up and put down, new ones intervening on behalf of the ever-insistent vox populi striving after the solutions and meanings that, though not always the best, are the right ones for the time. It is that America you fought for, and it is that America we will continue to fight for, so long as we have a reason to.

 The United States has come a long way in over two hundred years. I live in the twenty-first century, and I am a college student at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. I’ve witnessed hundreds of changes in my short lifetime, looking to create a few myself, and more are taking place minute by minute. I am astounded at the amount of ways society shifts, and people surprise. 

With our Founding Fathers, a nation awoke, and without them, a nation perseveres. It is not for me to say where our focus will shift next, but I can hope it is in a good direction. We can survive anything that is thrown at us, rest assured of that.

May you rest in peace.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

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