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Black Rat Snake. Sunning him/her self. About to shed.

Wonder what change will come of it this time…

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I went to see my therapist the other day, and he mentioned how it’s been three years since I first saw him.

BTW, what a ridiculous euphemism, I “saw” my therapist. As if by just “seeing” him his magical wisdom powers would heal me. It would be more accurate to say…. “I whined and wallowed, in the company of my therapist” or “I tried to express into words things that have bothered me but which I find hard to understand, and which I am not completely sure are valid, while seeking his validation and perhaps a path to better understanding”. I guess “seeing” is a much more efficient expression. So I saw my therapist the other day.

By mentioning how long it’s been since my first visit, his point was to express how far I’ve come along. And he’s right. I’ve come a long way. That said, I was in a pretty pathetic state when I first went to see him. So in comparison I’ve come a long way. Ask the worm who was split in half by the shovel and has finally regrown itself, and he/she will say, “yeah, that was bad, I’ve come a long way”.

In one of my favorite moments from my depression, I had a morning appointment with the therapist, it was to be one of the first times to see him. I was in my most low state. Perhaps the worst that I have ever felt. I had spent the previous day… the entire day, in bed, either sleeping or reading. The thought of getting out of bed, even to get help, seemed impossible. The literal act of getting out of bed and putting on pants seemed insurmountable. I was sleeping in sweatpants, and I didn’t want to think about taking them off, so I tried to put pants over them. I struggled to put on a pair of pants, and fell to the floor crying. At the time, it was obviously one of the worst feelings I’d ever had, but now I find it hilarious. Tragedy + Time = Comedy.

As I stumbled out of my shitty apartment and into the sunlight, I knew what it was to be that guy. The guy that looks rough, that buys two, double-dueces of cheap beer at 11:00 am, clearly not for the purpose of planning ahead. The guy who is sitting disconsolately on the bus bench, not really waiting to catch a bus. Just waiting. I used to make fun of that guy. Now I was that guy.

So it’s been three years…. and in that time, my life has been marked by sadness. It is the one underlying, foundational feeling that I’ve had. Even in it’s absence, I wonder how long it will take for it to return. I’ll say, “huh, I’m happy today” and then I’ll wonder how long that will last.

The doc is right, I have come a super long way. But in doing so, I’ve entered into a much murkier territory. You see, when you are severely depressed, there really isn’t a question of whether that’s good or bad. It’s bad. You are not meant to be there. You know that it is not right and that you need to do something to get out of there, even if you don’t know what that is.

When you’ve left depression, but have entered this ongoing state of sadness, you have much deeper and esoteric questions to answer… “is this who I am”, “do I fight it, or accept it”. Those feelings are nowhere near as clear as “this is bad, and this is good”, yet the answers to those questions are in essence, the constant concern. If this is who I am, then do I fight it or do I accept it. If I fight it, how, how will I know when I’ve won, am I meant to win, is it better to accept it and get on with living.

Unfortunately, this line of thinking is not as funny as the thought of me lying on the floor, crying, and struggling to put on pants. But who knows, perhaps in three more years it will be.

I’ve noticed when the humidity is high, like on days when the clouds are really low, yet it’s not raining, I’ve noticed that on those days, every sound is an echo. It’s like walking down an alleyway… tock, tock, tock go your footsteps bouncing off the walls. All other sounds are muffled except the ones immediately around you – those are clear and singular, tock… tock… tock is all you hear.

On these days every sound you make, gets it’s due. And only the sounds you make. Your pant legs rubbing, swatsch, switsch, swatsch. The creek of the shoulder strap on your bag, eeerg, eeerrrrggg, eergg, eeerrrrggg, and even your left shoulder. The one that catches. It just groans, the low grumble that happens, that signals that you have a shoulder that aches. A sound that we wish it wouldn’t make, but it’s your body and you love it.

It was a day like this, but not one of the warm winter days, that reaches 44 degrees and is cloudy and you never see the sun. No, this day had snow. A heavy wet snow. It snowed for hours the night before and the snow did it’s magic trick. The one where the world is clean. Totally and completely clean.

So clean, that that pile of limbs that you need to pick up in the yard… is just a mound of clean snow. The ugly wheelbarrow, the rusted fence, the broken rope swing. Snow makes them whole and perfect again. It is the blanket that cleanses and washes away the sins of imperfect being. Even those craggly honeysuckle bushes that just hog up all the space. That annoy. They don’t actually bar anything from trespassing, they just make everything harder. You have to fight them, dirty. Breaking their limbs. They are not trees. They don’t garner respect. They are a nuisance. Even they… look beautiful in the snow. In fact, the snow is so magical, that there is no bad, or even neutral, only good. The honeysuckle becomes priceless. The landscape would be less without it. Honeysuckles covered in snow are priceless.

On this day. The wet snow hung on every tree, on every limb, on every twig. On every surface.

I walked into the woods. And stood, sipping hot chocolate and bourbon. Listening. The sounds I made echoing back to me. The rustle of my coat and the ostentatious slurp as I took my drink.

The trees, heavy with snow. When the wind blew. They would creak. Loud, like masts on a sailboat. Groaning at the wind and at the ropes that hold them in. This forest dance likely happens commonly. All the time, unnoticed. Today, it was the only sound in the ballroom. The wind would blow and the trees would groan and bend into the pressure, and then release gently back. Back and forth, with every blow. Groooaaannnn, creak. Grooaannn, creak. Groooooaaaaaannnnn, creak.

Segways!

What the fuck is a Segway, already? Segway makes me so mad. my grammar gets all wonky. The Segway WILL become (is) a novelty that we sniggle at 20 years from now. Like the Beta tape, or the Bush Junior presidency (double presidency?!). Or better yet, the technology in 2001: A Space Odyssey #notdesignedbyapple.

Aside Alert
Analog buttons?! Bitch, we all about touch screens now! To be fair, I’m not sure what we were using in 2001, that was a long time ago. As my kids like to say, to my face, cause they don’t respect me, every time I forget something… “Of course you don’t remember” (in unison, and in glee – they will explode in snarkasms by the time they are teenagers). I do know that we weren’t taking trips to moon bases.

Jesus, that movie was odd. Would it have kilt Kubrick to throw in a little more dialogue. I have an idea, instead of once again slooooowwwllly showing the pod creeping the fuck out the door while classical music is playing, how about having a few more lines for Frank and Dave. They seemed like nice guys. Maybe just let them shoot the shit, for a bit. Or more HAL. HAL was badass and conflicted. So human! And what the fuck was the last scene about. If you haven’t seen the movie, sorry. It’s a classic, so there’s that.
Aside Over 

Watch Out Thieves!

Watch Out Thieves!

Nothing takes the teeth out of law enforcement like a fucking Segway. Cop on a horse = classy + tough (and scary, cause… horses). Cop on a bike = fast + modern + badass. Cop on a Segway = Dramatic Rise in Petty Theft and Gross Disrespect of Authority. Seriously, if you catch me committing a crime and you are on a Segway and I’m on two feet, I’ll just, I dunno, go inside a revolving door, while you climb off of your large, metal, half-camel.

Oh to be on a Segway tour. I wonder what that moment is like when you Segway your way up next to a store window and see your reflection… and you notice your bright orange vest and your goofy helmet, riding a machine that makes you look incredibly lazy, while not being at all relaxed… trying not to notice all the people in the store looking at you, smirking. That must be the worst.

Ride on steel ostrich!

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“I’m about to whoop up on some pigeons”

If I had known this was going to be a series, I would have built up to it, I would have started with like the 18th most overrated animal (rabbit, duh) and then counted down to the horse. With each passing animal, you would have been certain that the pinnacle of overratedness had been reached and that we couldn’t go over, overrating. And each time, I would prove you wrong, leaving you short of breath, as your mind would try to comprehend, how it was that I was so good at this. And that would be at like animal #8 (ferret). By the time we got to the end, you would be a sweating ball of anxiety, wondering which animal was going to be next… how was it going to top the last one… and when I would reveal the horse, your mind would explode and you would see tracers for days. Everything would smell strangely of lavender, and not just because you switched detergent. It would be because the violence of my knowledge, would open up new, unexplored parts of your brain. You would question everything, and yet you would understand all things.

Instead, I fucked it up and started with horse. Alas.

I’m going to ask you a question, ready?

Q: What is the fastest animal on Earth

A: Peregrine Falcon.

Well, well look at you? Somebody’s been watching Animal Planet:

Alert
You, should know… I’ve heard of the channel Animal Planet, but I can’t vouch for what’s on it. I don’t own a TV, nor have I ever watched anything on the Animal Planet Channel. For all I know it could be bestiality porn. I’m going to presume it’s about animals and shit. Being a bestiality channel doesn’t discredit it’s ability to edify you on Peregrine Falcons. You could be into that kind of thing. Weirdo.
Alert Over 

People are constantly losing their shit about Peregrine Falcons. I mean they are pretty cool looking and everything, and they eat pigeons, and pigeons are horrible, and if you left it at that, I’d be all like, “Yeah, that’s not overrated at all, not even in the top 100. That animal would never make it on my mind-blowing series”. But people can’t leave it at that, they have to be all like….

Fact: The Peregrine Falcon goes over 200 mph. 

Holy shit, that’s fast. Why is that bad?! That seems so rad.

Until… you do a little homework (maybe while watching some sweet, sweet falcon/human love on Animal Planet) and you realize that to reach such lofty speeds, the Peregrine Falcon just falls.

That’s right, it just flies really high, and then tucks its wings and drops. And not some cool drop, where it amplifies it’s speed with some jet propulsion (ala cephalopods, actual awesome animals), and it doesn’t even do barrel rolls, or anything. It just tucks and drops. Shit, YOU could do that. How the fuck is that a skill?

New Fact: A right whale  is the fastest animal on Earth. You just have to put it in a plane (or hot air balloon, if you wish) and drop it out the door. Suck it, peregrines.

What’s more, peregrine falcons are not even the fastest birds in level flight (i.e. actual flight, not that lazy shit that Peregrines pull). That would be this bird.

Animals, don’t go acting like you are the shit, and getting awards that you don’t deserve. I WILL EXPOSE YOU.

Is your mind not blown right now? Is it not a hot mix of indignation and shock (with a little bit of calamity). Do you see now the power of this series (that I completely fucked up).

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Gentle Herbivore or Menace???

I am going to make a completely forced and sorta confusing metaphor about horses and grass. I am warning you now, because you will be left scratching your head, and you will understand my position no better, than before you started reading this post. I apologize in advance. Ready?!

Grass is ridiculous. Our obsession with it, is weird. It’s not even bad, it’s just weird, like I empathize with you if you are obsessed with having a neat lawn. In pursuit of having a yard that fits our own self-imposed standards, we spend money on lawnmowers, we run loud, smelly machines on the weekends (when we SHOULD be drinking Bud Light Lime), we have to buy gas for the mower (cause it’s always fucking out of gas) and a mower is constantly breaking down. It needs more maintenance than the healthcare.gov website (topical!).

And nobody told us to do this, we do it of our own accord. I know people who are really fucking proud of their lawn. I guess. It’s just grass.

Having a nice lawn (yes, I’m still talking about lawns, deal with it) would be like someone hypothetically getting painful, expensive, invasive injections to enhance a part of your body that nobody really gives a shit about. Oh wait.

Having a “nice” lawn (I don’t know, I’m sorry, it just got out of hand) would be like going to a job, sweating your ass off, missing out on quality Bud Light Lime time, and having to pay to do it. And nobody ever pats you on the back and says, “Hey, thanks for coming in today, things were getting out of hand, even though nobody cared that this job got done.”

One of my favorite lawn-related (sorry… just sorry), sights is driving out in the country and seeing some newer country home, surrounded by corn fields with a huge ass yard… of grass. And it’s a hot fucking July Saturday, and there’s a person out there on a riding lawnmower, just chugging along at 1:00 pm EDT. Why? Why not just let the corn just grow right up to your front door? More corn = more money = more BLL, right? Do you not have enough tractor time Monday – Friday, that you also have to fill your weekend with mechanized threshing vehicles… that my friend is an obsession and you need to get help. 

We are obsessed with lawns. Fuck ’em. 

I’m sorry, what’s that? How are lawns like horses, you say? Oh yeah! Ha ha! I forgot that this was a metaphor. Ready?!

Lawns are things that people think are great, but when you really look at it, they’re not. As are horses.

Look, the pro-horse lobby is really strong. Most people (including Volcano) think horses are awesome. Those people are not thinking clearly. Horses are…

  1. Vapid, have you looked into the eyes of a horse? Goats at least have some mischievous look in their eye. They are constantly ready to fuck shit up but in a fun way! Ha! I ate your gloves! Woo hoo!
  2. Dangerous. If I told you that 5,000 people a year are killed by horses would you believe me? You shouldn’t, it’s 20. But still.
  3. Expensive (you don’t see people in low-income areas, rolling around in horses, just saying)
  4. Divas – OMG they need grain and treats, but not too much or they get sick! And make sure they get brushed, and  you have to clean up their poop (so much!). I honestly don’t know how a wild horse survives without having a personal caretaker (a la silkworms) at all times.  

Most of my rancor against horses centers around points 1 and points 2. Lots of animals in America are dangerous. Horses might be the only animal that is dangerous because it is so stupid (while at the same time being loved). A shark or a grizzly bear, they’ll fuck you up, but they want to, can’t argue that, it’s in their nature, what are they to do?

But a horse will brain you if you accidentally walk behind it. It will step on you. Feed it a carrot? Ha, also feed it three of your fingers! OOPS! 

And the whole time, the horse is like, “Oh shit, did I just kick you? My bad, I didn’t see you back there. Why are you lying down on the ground in a pool of blood? Oh well, guess I’ll go back to chewing on some hay” A horse is the animal kingdom’s version of Lenny.

Any time Volcano wants to pet a horse, I’ll balk at first cause…. good parenting. But if she insists I’ll let her, but the second that fucker moves, I’m ready to grab her and run away. My heart rate is easily 417 bpm during these encounters.

People are like, “not to beat a dead horse…” I say fuck it, beat it, just in case. 

AND Horses eat grass, hmmmm…. there is a connection here. I would explore it but I’m going to drink Bud Light Lime instead.

Le Petite Morte

The little death. 

I first remember hearing about this term in a movie or maybe a book. Or maybe a telenovela. So in essence, I don’t remember where I first heard this. Perhaps I made it up. 

It’s unlikely that I did. I read today that we are producing a quintillion bytes of data per day.

BTW, a quintillion is a real number. It is slightly less than a zillion and a zillion times less than a gazillion, which is just a little bit more than infinity. #math.

If you used it in a sentence, you would say something like, “in the age of ‘Big Data’ we are producing a quintillion bytes of data per day”. Though if you said that, it would be plagiarism, cause I just said that. Asshole.

Instead, you should say something like, “a baby panda is a quintillion times cuter than a horse” (not measurable, but still probably pretty close) P.S. I think horses are overrated. And are stupid. More on this another time.

So given that there is SOOO much information produced daily, it stands to reason that somebody has said this before, and if not, then I am the inventor of it, and thus a genius.

Perhaps a quick look at Messrs. Wikipedia and (his douchey, frat-pledging, less citation-anal brother) Urban Dictionary can help. 

It refers to that feeling after an orgasm. The release of tension, of oxytocin, of vulnerability… and calm…. a little death.

So I didn’t invent it, cause if I did, that’s not at all how I would have described it.

My definition is the distinct feeling I have when I drop off Mischief and Volcano back to their mom. When our brief time is done. When their weight, their smell, their shadow is what is left of them. It is a dream. A fog. The car ride home alone, the picking up of the mess they left behind, the memories of their homework, their laughter, their mischief, their anger… and I die a little death.

I have to close myself off to this feeling, cause it happens 2-4 times a week. It is immense. I feel it and it scares me. If I allow myself to feel it fully, to die fully, then… well, it will be the end of me. 

So I wall it off. Still though, it seeps in, like the ocean penetrates the Dutch dike, the thumb will always allow a leak, there is no perfect plug. With every memory, and mess, and empty car ride. A leak. A small death. 

La Petite Morte.