life

IT’S TIME TO TAKE A STAND!

Just heard about the terrible Santa Fe school shooting that resulted in the loss of ten lives, ten, innocent lives. Shooter was a student there, 17 years old, a Football player–stuff like that’s rough to hear.

My brother’s going into high school; this next year he’s going to be a Freshman. Is this the kind of world he’s going to have to grow up in? Is there any way to prevent it, or at the least, drastically lessen the chances of more shootings occurring?

That’s two major school shootings, Parkland, now Santa Fe, within the span of three months. Those are the major ones, too; I haven’t mentioned the countless other shootings that haven’t made the news for one reason or another. That shouldn’t be an increasing statistic; in fact, it should be non-existent: NO MORE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS WHATSOEVER!

I’ll tell you this, too, I don’t believe guns are the answer. Anyone with the motive to harm another human being is going to do whatever they can to accomplish that. Take away guns, they’ll use something else–take away that thing, and they’ll find another and another and another.

It’s a matter of mental health. These kids and adults that shoot up these schools are either mentally disturbed or in poor social situations. Now, I’m not saying what they did wasn’t wrong, but we need to look at their root causes: what is driving them to kill?

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (Columbine): Bullied, Poor Family Relations, Mentally Unstable.

Nikolas Cruz (Parkland): Bullied, Poor Family Relations, Mentally Unstable.

There are clear similarities between all of these school shooters, and those are what we should be focusing on. Prevention and early detection are key in these situations: but little is being covered about them in the media.

So we need to take a stand and say something about the avenues we should take. There is no definite answer, no miracle solution, to anything; however, we can examine these possibilities and work towards creating a better future for America.

Human lives come above all else.

Stay strong, Santa Fe; measures will be taken.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

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

 

Mountains

Sometimes I feel like I just want to go into the mountains, say “Fuck it,” and just stay there for the rest of my time. See it as some kinda therapeutic practice–some bullshit excuse for not wanting to deal with all the stress of everything; and man, I dunno, but college is a hard fucking thing.

It doesn’t get easier, that much I know is true. It’s not even fun half of the time. Is it supposed to be? Am I missing some great answer; this grand illusion is obscuring all that I can see?

What am I supposed to be, a nicely dressed, nicely combed college student who swears up and down all of that scholarly shit that’s not even truthful half of the time? What the hell’s with people nowadays, anyway? Half the time, they’re preaching stuff I doubt they even believe; the other half the time, they’re complaining about the truth of the matter, leaning in favor of the candy-coated, cherry-on-the-friggin’-top version.

Truth is, it ticks me off. Oh, yeah, you think I’m into that? Hell no.

I don’t wanna feel like I’m pretending anything, either. It’s like we gotta wear masks everywhere we go in this life, switch them out for different occasions; it’s a load of crap, man, I tell you.

Be who you’re gonna be. Yeah, Barbie sang a song about it, so maybe she’s got the right idea.

Be who you’re gonna be regardless of what people say, think, or do, ’cause the only person it matters to is you.

Sounds easy. It’s not. I’m sure most of you, if not all, know that, might even have trouble with it on a day-to-day basis.

Keep fighting the good fight, though. It’s the best you can do in this world, just keep your head up; but I know most of this will go over most of your heads, as we only listen to the advice that sounds good to us.

Right? Wrong? All of the above?

I dunno.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

Stranger In A Wasteland

Saw this couch in a field in Falcon. Someone’d left it there; it was all ratty, torn out from the inside. Foam crumbles surrounded it, and there were droppings beneath its springs.

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Strange, is all. You don’t typically see couches left in the middle of nowhere; I didn’t want to touch it, either, scared of what might be on the fabric. If anything, it was surreal–facing out to rolling hills, houses in the distance.

Then I came across this quilt–

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Beautiful quilt, yeah? Who chose to throw it out? Looked to be holding something, but I didn’t want to unwrap it; again, safety’s priority number one out there.

Stranded objects in a wasteland, each of them with their own mysteries, perhaps a story or two.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

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

 

 

Sitting, Relaxing, Reflecting…

Today I decided to eat my lunch on my front porch–why? well, I’m gonna tell you.

I made myself two sandwiches, ham and cheese, threw in some Tostitos chips, too; and I put it all on a napkin. Then I went outside and sat and ate and observed.

A question came to me: How often do we notice the small things?

By small things, I don’t mean the rabbits that occasionally pick at our back lawn, nor do I mean the birds roosting in our trees. The small things, to me, are the aspects of a usual item we often neglect after a certain time.

I was sitting on the porch, listening to dogs barking, wind whistling, when I looked over at the stucco lining our house. Now, this house was built a year before my family moved into it, and we’ve lived here for over eleven years; so it’s expected for the house to age a bit. It’s only natural.

The stucco lining was cracked apart, as if a sledgehammer had slid across it. Cracks spiraled in every direction, and there was a large white space where the stucco used to be.

In over eleven years, I hadn’t noticed this.

I took a bite out of my sandwich, studied the wall, wondered how long it took to deteriorate, why it deteriorated. I’ve already given the answer. It’s age. The stucco grew so brittle, so fast, it gave way.

Chilled, I took another bite out of my sandwich and looked at the sidewalk beneath my feet. It wasn’t broken, but it was grimy; dirt filled the cracks, so much so even ants didn’t want to traverse the terrain.

‘Nother victim of age, of life inevitably having its way.

Around then, I finished my sandwiches, started in on my Tostitos chips. Bite came after bite, and I couldn’t get age out of my mind. It frightened me, made me reflect on all those times I’d walked past the stucco and the sidewalk without the least consideration for their appearance.

I got to thinking about my life and how I’m halfway through being eighteen; my, what a fast ride it’s been. Pictured myself as an old man sitting on the front porch of his own home, wondering where the hell the time went.

Maybe I’ll be a grandfather. Maybe I’ll be alone.

If I’ve learned one thing so far, it’s that life doesn’t work in predictions. You can guess all you want, but every event is determined by how you approach it firsthand. So, fortune telling’s bullshit.

I hope I won’t be alone, and I hope I don’t pass by this short life as if I were walking past a section of cracked stucco. That’d be sad. Worse, it’d be a waste of each day and month I remain here.

I try my best, though, cherish the small things. Hard work’s gotta count for something.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

Photo Cred: M.C Escher

What’s Next, Then?

So, heh, got a funny story for you folks.

Okay, now get this–

I work three nights in a row as a dishwasher at Great Wolf Lodge; wait, that’s not the funny part, don’t laugh yet.

I work those three nights, and now that I’m on break I choose to work several more nights, ’cause why not? As of now, then, I am working Friday through Monday next week, which means I miss New Year’s Eve and Day. Well, I sort of miss the day, since I’m at home in the morning, but whatever…

You guys aren’t laughing. Did you miss the punchline? Was I not clear enough?

Alright, alright, I’ll say it again. Wait, what? You’re bored of it now?

Fine. I’ll move on.

What are we moving on to, though? I’ve been asking myself that question for a while, tossing it back and forth in my head; if you were wondering, no, I haven’t found an answer yet, so stop bugging me.

I’ll be working on my novel or washing dishes or lying in bed, staring at my gray ceiling; and the questions will creep in unwanted: What’s Next? Is There A Point To It All? Am I Spinning Fruitlessly In A Circle While Life Slips By Me?

I like to think those aren’t true, but, gee, what is or isn’t true nowadays? Our own perception of truth is clouded because we’re surrounded by so many falsehoods. One minute we’re learning about the Emancipation Proclamation, and the next we hear Abraham Lincoln was abducted by aliens at seven years old.

I mean, c’mon, people, everyone knows the Emancipation Proclamation was totally faked.

Just like the Moon Landing.

What I’m trying to say is that if we can’t count on the legitimacy of all this external stimuli, then what’s to stop us from misconstruing the truths and lies about ourselves?

People insult me; they say I’m gay, but I know I like girls and I’m just getting confused.

Well, what do you think? The only way to be sure is to confront the question yourself; those others have no justification in claiming one thing over another.

I feel like I’m swimming in a fucking abyss, tidal waves crashing over me so much I can barely breathe. But I tell myself I’m fine.

Are you? Don’t jump to conclusions. The worst thing that could happen is that you end up believing in the wrong answer…which you don’t want. Look in a mirror and ask yourself honestly if you’re fine. Again, the truth can only come from you.

This bleak and dismal stuff can get depressing, but I think it’s a fair topic. There’s too many times I find myself stuck in a dull mood because my future is unclear; although, let’s be honest, folks, who the hell has a notion of how their life is gonna turn out?

From our first step to our last breath, we’re all a little mystified, aren’t we?

Don’t know about you, but I am. Ahead is sometimes foggy, and the past, oh, the past, is always so visible; God, if I tallied how many times I looked back on the past in nostalgia, or as in most cases, for fulfillment, I’d be at a thousand…maybe two thousand, and a quarter.

The present is a tricky dude. It’s satisfying for a few seconds, then it descends into oh-no-how-did-I-not-predict-this and I-thought-I-could-see-the-friggin-future-darn-it.

Yeah. Tricky. Slick. Slicky.

By the way, that’s tricky and slick combined. Just saying.

Still, the best we can do to combat it is to hold fast to the handlebars and not fall off the ride; since, even though it gets bumpy, there are occasionally a bunch of flashing lights and stage performers to entertain us during its slow parts. Then you gotta deal with the lines at the end, as well as the parking lots–

Sorry. Got off topic there; then again, I believe I’ve said all that needs to be said.

Guess there’s nothing left than to wish you all a Happy New Year’s, and to hope you keep an optimistic outlook on your futures, too.

It can be difficult, but it’s worth it.

Think daily,

A Southpaw

 

 

This One Stressful Day

Ever have those times when you have to stop and wonder how you got into a certain situation? It’s not what I’d call a moment of reflection, nor a Oh-my-God, how did this happen situation; it’s more of a what the hell did I do to bring me here of all places?

I had a time like that. Yeah, it was today; in fact, it’s still fresh in my mind, like a tray of cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven.

See, it started with my brother asking me if I had used his bathroom. ‘Course, why would I use his, when I have my own, right? So, my answer’s no. He doesn’t like that for an answer, and he goes storming off down the hall, raging about his toilet flooding the bathroom, swimming crap included.

For all those who just lost their appetite, allow me to let you know I am eating ice cream, so if anyone is losing anything, it’s me–then again, I could still be happily eating while writing this; all bets are off.

I sigh, look back at Netflix, since I am a lazy college kid on break, who only works three days a week; yes, yes, I’ve heard all the criticisms. Then I realize I’m an adult, and as an adult, I have to deal with said swimming crap.

“Josh,” I call, “show me this bathroom.”

I’m expecting turds hanging ten on toilet waves, a piss monster rising from the shower, but I do not have these expectations fulfilled. Rather, I see a sticky floor with food crumbles scattered all over the tiles, and it stinks, too, which makes it worse.

My brother and I then grab the bleach and pour it all across the floor. This makes an even worse smell, but by now, who honestly cares? I emerge from the bleached bathroom, unscathed, save for a burning sensation on my shins; as it turned out, some of the bleach had sprayed onto my skin.

What luck.

I look at the bottle of bleach, read the warning about getting the stuff on your skin, and   I groan. Apparently, if it got on your skin, you had to spray the affected area(s) with water for fifteen to twenty minutes.

So I tell my brother to leave the bathroom alone and enter my own shower, fully dressed, and take down the shower head and spray my shins for fifteen minutes.

About then, I start wondering what the hell did I do to bring me here of all places? It’s 1:00 in the afternoon, and here I am standing in a shower, washing my legs free of bleach, while toilet water slowly sinks its way through to the kitchen ceiling.

Life. I swear I don’t even attempt to understand it sometimes.

I ended up burn free, and the bathroom was left alone; however, our house now reeks of bleach.

Hooray for toilet problems.

Think daily,

A Southpaw