If You Like What You Read

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Junkie Girl

"There's a fear there I have to let go. Then I'll be able to quit."

That's what she said as she jabbed the needle into her arm. I said, "Well, you better let it go sooner than later, because if you keep this up there's going to be no you to let it go."

She just smiled at me and pushed the plunger, shooting the shit into the bulging blue vein of her left arm. "Yeah, that's the point isn't it?"

A chill ran down my spine as I watched her face go flush white with the violent pleasure of the smack hitting her brain. I knew it wasn't working though and never would. If it was that easy, suicide would be reality game show on TV. I don't know if she was consciously trying to kill herself, but what's the difference? Dead is dead. And I knew she would be sooner or later if she didn't quit her hard candy habit.

Yeah, so my new girlfriend was a fucking heroin junkie. A junkie girl. So what. She was sooooo beautiful. A real ten, from head to toe. Natural. No additives needed. Very little make-up, but what she did wear was like icing on a great tasting cake, whip-cream on the world's most-delicious ice cream. It was only necessary because it was expected. Not by me, but by the world. She had to take it easy on the world and that was her cross to bear. If the world loved people half as much as she did, heaven would be ushered in immediately. And believe it or not, she held down a pretty good job. A lawyer for a big firm in downtown Trenton who's name shall remain nameless. That was probably causing a lot of conflict in her mind and most-likely tied into that fear she mentioned above. I mean, practicing law is not exactly a career for people with a kind heart. Her curse was that she had a brain to go with hers. But yeah, she was a heroin addict. Relatively healthy, for the time-being, but unable to stop plunging a needle into her frickin' arm every night for the past two years or so. There's a lot of myths about heroin users out there - they can hold jobs and live relatively normal lives on the surface - but one of them is not about the number of deaths the junk causes. So from day one, I was prepared to lose her. I knew I could come home any day and find her sprawled out somewhere in the house, unable to wake-up, dead as a doorknob. I was prepared. And damn if that didn't make me love her even more.

So junkie girlfriend, a.k.a.  Regina The Beautiful moved in with me about nine months after my divorce. She didn't seem to mind the gambling like my ex-wife did. Of course I wasn't spending half her paycheck each month on trying to out-guess the unguessable. So I had a clean slate with Regina for the most part. Or maybe it was just an even one. I mean, heroin junkie and gambling fiend? As far as pissing away money, they're probably about equal, though I suspected she had the edge when it came to pure pleasure. Losing money gambling sucks. It's about the worse feeling I think you can have without being physically sick. Shooting heroin feels great I'm sure. It's the stopping part that's a bitch. So while my pleasure and pain were mixed together, intermittent and often based on how much partying a group of three-hundred pound lineman did the night before their football game, her pleasure was pretty consistent as long as she got her nightly dose of dope. No doubt her time would come and she'd have to pay the piper one way or another. At least my account with karma was kept up-to-date.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Alien Nation

Alienation is not just a bad TV series.

Wondering if these writings are alienating me or uniting me with humanity? Both? Neither? Why even ask such a dumb question? What's the point and who cares if it is or isn't? Get over yourself, man. It doesn't matter.

Or does it? If we already are united it does. Because then I would be fighting against reality if I'm trying to achieve something that's already true on some level other than Channel Z. And obviously it is if you take the time to seriously contemplate the idea. Strip away all the externals and inside we're all the same. United on what we all want. We all want the same thing. Happiness. Regardless of how we believe it's achieved, it's what everyone wants. On that idea we are united. We don't even have to go to the quantum or metaphysical level. It's self-evident.

So we don't have to reinvent the wheel. I certainly don't have to worry about uniting humanity here.  (Whew! What a relief that is.) We're already united. We're one. One thing. One creation. And what we think and do in regards to the One Thing is what we think and do to ourselves, because obviously if there's only One Thing, we're all part of it, whatever "it" is.

What about alienating myself? That seems to be more of an issue. If people don't like what I'm writing, well, they're not going to "like" "me". (Whatever those two words mean.) And what if everyone doesn't like what I'm saying? I'll be all alone. Alienated by my own doing. ...Stupid blog.

Actually though, I'd still be united because I'd still want the same thing everyone else wants, that uniting idea - Happiness. So really it is a dumb question to even ask. Not for the reason I first believed - that I could actually mess it all up and need to be really concerned over it - but only because I imagined I could. We can mess up, but we can't mess up the whole thing, or even anybody else's part in the whole thing, if ultimately we're all responsible for our own part in it. To me, that's strangely comforting and unsettling at the same time.

If the only way to get what we want [i.e. Happiness] is to give it [i.e. Happiness], then the sooner we start giving it [i.e. Happiness], without regard to race, creed, color or hairstyle, the sooner we'll start getting it ourselves. Funny how that works. Kind of how the modern baking system works, as I understand it. Loans create deposits. Only this "bank" has unlimited "funds" and the more we "lend" the more gets "deposited" in our accounts. It's like a perfect design. Somebody knew what they were doing when they created it. And it's something we can put into practice right here and right now. It doesn't cost any money, just the initial effort. I say "initial effort" because I think it gets easier once we throw off the yoke of erroneous expectations and finally grow up and stop blaming circumstances for our circumstances. That kind of thinking just keeps us stuck. It's like a muscle we haven't exercised in a while. Call it the luuuuv muscle.. (No, not that one!)

So nobody's going to come and tap us on the head with a magic wand and suddenly make us happy. And if we don't want to end up eternally blaming our circumstances and the bad people "out there" responsible for it, then we better start taking some responsibility for our current and future circumstances and DO something different, because we all know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I once saw a little sign on a desk that said, "Whatever you wish for me, I wish for you a thousand times more." Sounds pretty good at first glance, but I have some reservations. If what we’re wishing is good stuff, no problem. But what if the other guy has the same sign on his desk and we’re not wishing such good stuff? Gets to be kind of like the mirror-in-the-mirror effect. All this bad shit bouncing back and forth for ever and ever, ad infinitum. How about I just wish you peace, love and happiness regardless of whatever it is you wish for me? Seems like a safer bet.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Numbers Never Lie

It's not like I wasn't making payments to my friendly neighborhood bookie, Java the Hutt, who just happened to be an employee in the same jail as me. (Yeah, you'd be surprised at who works in a jail. Let's just say it's hard to tell who's who sometimes.) Anyway, I was. The problem was, what I was paying out was drastically less than what I was taking in on a weekly basis. And growing disproportionately by the month. (The rational behind such actions could probably fill psychiatric volumes, but that's another tale for another time.) Bookies like to be paid of course, but they like it even more to be paid and owed. That way they can have a residual income. If Joe Blow owes eighty-grand and Tom Thumb owes ninety and they're each making weekly payments of five-hundred, well, multiply the Joe Blows and Tom Thumbs by twenty or thirty, and you've got yourself a nice little steady income. Tax free. Of course when Joe and Tom get in way over their heads and realize they'll never be able to pay their debt off short of hitting the lottery, well, that's when things can, and do, get ugly. And for me, of course, they'd reached that point. Why else commit a felony and risk your own incarceration-damnation? Ugly? Things were fucking hideous. Somehow I managed to owe Java two-hundred and fifty grand. Yeah, a fucking quarter, of a fucking million, of a fucking dollars! I can't believe it either myself sometimes, but you'd be surprise how fast a few grand here and few grand there add up.

Actually Java was not "the man behind the man" that I had to worry about paying, but just one of his slimy minions who sold his soul to the god of chance for his own alleged well-being. Okay, maybe he only rented it. I actually liked the guy.  He was the rec supervisor and a pretty amiable one at that. All three-hundred and fifty pounds of him. He did have a heart. We'd often talk about life and philosophy and even religion sometimes. I could see he actually felt bad for me week in and week out when I came moping up to his dingy little rec office hidden back of the prison gymnasium to make my monthly donation. He told me many times to get out, stop the betting, that it was a fool's game and a hundred other logical reasons not to think I could out-think the unthinkable. He was just doing his job collecting the money and taking the bets. Granted, he worked for Satan, but that had nothing to do with him being a likeable guy. And sometimes I'd listen to him and quit for a while, weeks, even months... but always a new football season would trip me up. Fall would roll around and there'd be that crispness in the air and excitement of another college pigskin season about to kick-off, soon followed by the pros and I just wanted to be as much a part of it as I could, or imagined I could. I loved betting on football. At least at first I did, after a while it just became something to do, and after that... well, let's just say I didn't love betting on it anymore. Or any other sport for that matter. (And if it ain't love, well... what else is there?) I guess I finally just got it all out of my system. I mean, there really were no more "games of chance" left on the planet for me to get "interested" in.

I started young, in high school, where I'd skip class with a buddy and sneak in under a broken chain-link fence to Liberty Bell race track in northeast Philly and bet the stupid buggies. Man, I'm sure those things were fixed, but no matter, I was not picking many (any!) winners there, fixed or not. Or at Keystone in nearby Bensalem, where the thoroughbreds ran. They were at least beautifully athletic animals and if anything, I got to watch them do their thing for my dollar. (Numerous dollars.) From the ponies to the casinos I did no better, and when Atlantic City opened it's doors for suckers back in the late-70's, I soon learned I could in fact, do worse. Many a long ninety-minute drive home on the AC Expressway in the middle of the night, tired and broke, convinced me there had to be a better way. Yeah, it took about thirty years to find, by I finally found it. Who'd have thought, like Dorothy, it was right there underneath me all the time? (And over, behind, in front of, in back, below, above, inside and out, up and down, and in-between.) Sports gambling was the last and greatest hurdle though I guess. Not just in terms of money pissed away, but more-so in terms of finally understanding the nature of all such doomed activities. I mean, it really doesn't matter... dice, cards, wheels, balls, numbers, digits, horses, dogs, men... What's the difference? The form doesn't matter. They're all just a means to manipulate events in such a way as to get people to give other people money in hopes that they'll give them back more in return. Of course it doesn't work that way. The House never loses. That's why it's the House. Yeah, individuals get "lucky", from time to time, but from the House's point of view, there is no time and there are no individuals. Just numbers. Mathematics, if you will. And in the big picture, over the long haul, numbers never lie. At least they never did for me.

gambler  n. 1. One who believes he can predict the future.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

If You're Not Happy Now You Never Will Be

future  n. 1.   An imaginary land of peace, love and prosperity, often unconsciously linked to another domain, the past. An equally fictional realm of regret, sorrow and despair.

I don't want to die. I mean, who does, right? Yet some belief systems believe that's how you ultimately achieve true happiness, or heaven. (Yeah, that's what belief systems do, they believe.) Anyway, that just doesn't make sense to me. You have to do something very unhappy to achieve happiness. Seems like a conflict of interest. In any case, I don't want to "go away", if that's what it means. I want to love life here and now. I want to be happy here and now. Not in some far-off-promised future. "Tomorrow never comes." Not that I don't understand the need for patience and time-bound earth operations, but when do we get that prize on the end of the stick they told us about? How long does it take? How many lifetimes? Is there a shortcut? Do we really have to die for it? I mean, physically? And just what is the prize anyway? Well, whatever it is, I want mine now. Not that I'm impatient, but the older I get, the more I realize there is no other time than now. I mean, technically-speaking, it's always now. There just isn't any other time. Dying isn't going to change that fact. Past and future are just illusions of the mind. Mere thoughts. Even when you're thinking about the past or the future, it's still now that you do it in. Hence the saying, "If you're not happy now, you never will be."

What?! My what you may ask? (Or you may not.) What though, is my prize? The one I mention above? What will satisfy me? Specifically. No beating around the bush with pie-in-the-sky nonsense about world peace or some mumbo-jumbo about heaven. What specifically would make me happy? Fair enough question. The way I see it is, if we just get rid of whatever it is we don't want in our lives, lose whatever it is we don't like, whatever is left over will be happiness. So no need to go into specifics or details, though it will contain both. But it's different things for different people. One life is just as good as any other. Multi-colored strands of multi-fabric yarn all magically interwoven into one big beautiful ball of kitty-cat fun. (...Well, even better than that I bet.)

But what it all boils down to I guess is suffering and what to do, or not do, about it. That would be the thing mentioned above that everybody wants to get rid of, the thing we don't want in our life. Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus, isn't this what they were talking about? An end to suffering? I think most other reasonably-minded people would agree, suffering sucks, and they'd do away with it if they could. Well, first step in my mind would be to loathe it and not wish it outright, or even subtlety upon anyone (myself included) ever again, in any way, shape or form. Let's keep it in the movies, where we can tell wise stories about how to avoid it. [Like this one I'm tellin' here. And these here.] After that first step, well, just act accordingly. And if the wish for ill against anyone rears it's ugly head, dismiss it with the loathing you feel for it yourself. Let loathing work for you, instead of against you. If we have to loathe something, why not loathe suffering? If we truly don't want something why hang on to it? We have the technology to end suffering world-wide, at least stuff like basic food, clothing and shelter, but we don't have the will, that's the truth of the matter. So far. But that doesn't mean we still can't do it. And we will, once we get our priorities straight. It's never too late to do the right thing.

Or not. What do I know? Either way, suffering sucks, whether it's our own doing or not, and whether we believe we can end it or not. In any case, I vote we get rid of it as much as possible, in ourselves and others as well. And it's not about blame and finding fault either. The "blame game" always falls short, so to blame ourselves or others for suffering is not going to work and in fact only adds to the very suffering we're hoping to relieve and avoid. Blame itself is part of suffering, so it has to go also. Yet how does the idea of self-determination fit in with that bit of understanding? Not blame, but responsibility? People do do things that cause themselves and other people to suffer. If I push a button and a bomb falls from the sky on your house, the reasons and justifications are secondary to the fact that I'm causing suffering. To say the homeowner is just as responsible as the bomb-dropper seems a bit of a stretch to me, yet to believe he has absolutely no say in the matter is to believe in mere chance. Somehow they're tied in it together, the bomber and bombee.

No doubt the ego creeps in there somewhere and leads us back to the blame game whenever we first try to inquire about the truth of the matter. You can't really blame the bomber because in his mind he's doing the "right thing". Yeah, it's crazy, but "blaming" him won't stop him. Only reason can do that and he's got to want it to see and believe it. In any case, the fact that the bomber believes the suffering to be justified still means he believes in suffering, albeit with "conditions". The reasons don't really matter, he still believes in the idea of suffering. Does the bombee believe in it also at some level? Does he bear any responsibility (not blame) for it happening? Could his prior belief-based actions or in-actions (days, weeks, months, years, lifetimes beforehand) have somehow contributed to the situation? Could he have an unconscious belief in suffering also? If you believe in something, it applies to yourself as well as others and the only way to not come across as a total hypocrite would be to split your mind into separate compartments (sound familiar all you ex-CIA/FBI guys out there?) or some other kind of psycho-mind-fuck-self-trick where the idea of suffering (take your pick as to what kind or variety, they're legion) applies only to others, but not to yourself. But you can't imagine or rationalize away suffering. Yeah, pain is an illusion, but it still hurts.

So is it actually the unrecognized belief that suffering has some great purpose that keeps us all suffering? What could the purpose of suffering be? To teach us a lesson? When do we learn the lesson? How much suffering do we need to learn the lesson? Who decides how much? What is the damn lesson anyway? And isn't there any other way to learn it? Seems to me, if suffering has any purpose at all, it's to get rid of itself. Only a masochist could think otherwise.

pain  n. 1. Guardrails on the highway of happiness.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Luck Be A Lady

Okay, back to the story about how I helped the guy escape from jail... It was really pretty easy now that I think about. Not that it wasn't extremely nerve-racking to say the least, just before, and especially while it was actually going down. But once I left the building, and consequently the state, and then of course, the country, things quickly returned to normal. Well, sort of. Except now I was living in a different country, going by a different name and a was a lot tanner than I would normally be in December in New Jersey. A lot tanner. Anyway...

The original plan was for me to leave just before McMullen, but that somehow got reversed, and I had to stay in the jail for about ten excruciating minutes longer than I wanted to while McMullen made his way out. Talk about a sinking feeling in your stomach. This was more like a sinking feeling in your entire body, with your balls flying up through your stomach and out your esophagus and then out your mouth and onto the floor where they lay vulnerably exposed for anyone to carelessly tramp on, all the while knowing that if somehow he got caught, I might not ever be leaving the one place I hated more in the world than any other. Oh yeah, I might first get to go to some courtroom for my proverbial "day in court", and maybe a little bail time on the street, but for the most part, for someone in my position, helping an inmate escape jail will probably get you 10 years, which in essence for me would be a lifetime, which in essence for me would be a deathtime. But no matter, it's all over and done and everything is hunky-dory. I do still jump sometimes when there's a knock on the front door though, but not as high lately.

So McMullen made it out and I left the last gate clanging behind me for the last time about ten minutes after him. I thought I saw a red Mercedes drive off in the distance, scooting away from the place as I left the building, but was more concerned with the black Honda rental I was going to occupy and drive immediately to the airport in. In any case, we were both gone and only one of us was going to be missed. Committing a felony on the day I retired wasn't something I ever though I might be doing, but hey, shit happens. Especially in the last two minutes of an NFL football game you have three grand riding on. Shit you wouldn't believe could happen in a million years, but yet was still there happening on your TV screen in all it's sucking glory nonetheless. Like your quarterback fumbling the football on the opposing team's ten yard line with a just few seconds left in a tie game, thereby giving away a sure game-winning field goal that would have won you seven grand, as almost immediately afterwards in over time the opposing team drives down the field like a hot knife through butter and kicks the game-winner, and instead cost you three grand (a net loss of ten I might add) as you watch speechless, and for the most part, numbly resigned to fact that you're playing the devil's game, in his house and by his rules. "Luck be a lady?" Yeah, right. Fuck you, Frank. Luck is a no-good, two bit, lyin' cheatin' whore. 

The rest of the money McMullen owed me was in the trunk of the Honda though, just like he promised. I knew I could trust the guy and for some strange reason wasn't worried at all that he'd stiff me, though he certainly could have. I mean, there he was driving off to parts unknown and there I was, well, fleeing the country. He would soon become a distant, and legally-advisable, foggy memory. What could I have done if he didn't put the remaining hundred grand in the trunk before he did? But he did. And I had my cool quarter million. At least till I paid off Java the Hutt. Then I'd have nothin'. Except my life back. Which, if you think about it, is really something worth having and well-worth the two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars.

I felt "lucky" as drove off to the airport, but I knew it wasn't luck that released me from luck's bondage. 

gambling n. 1. An improvident activity in which winning gleefully proceeds losing. 2. The saddled process of chasing one’s losses or blowing one’s profits. 3. Chinese finger cuffs. 4. An insatiable itch erroneously believed to be satisfied by scratching. 5. The willingness to ask chance for certainty.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Big Hollywood Movies Producers Please Call Me ASAP

[Note to World: "It's up to me how I see you." ]

{sigh}

Some serious consequences there, if that statement above is in fact true. That means I have to look into myself and see what's REALLY bothering me. And that can scare the bajesus out of you sometimes, like you're drowning out in the middle of the ocean, struggling for your breath.... but the air is there. The air is always there. The air is God. The air is God because the truth is either everything is God or nothing is God. And if God is the former, then even nothing like air is something. Yep. God is air. He's the space around the air, if there is such a thing. God cannot be outdone. "He already outdone the outdone, bein' outdone by Himself numerous times on the 'count of His infinitudity." (Grandpa Kengal) And that's okay. That's a good thing, because that means we can relax. We don't really have to worry about anything. He's got our backs. And then some. Just gotta have a little faith sometimes, that's all.

Does that sound like a big deal? Maybe it's not such a big deal at all? Maybe all that initial realization above does is to help change one's "direction of will"? Will is still will. You can't get rid of it. Even if you will yourself just to sit there and do nothing, there's still will involved. You're just willing yourself to sit there and do nothing. So you still have to will, or work. And I mean "work" in the most general sense here, as like "to operate", to function, to be, to exist. Willing is not an option. We have to will one way or another. It's the nature of our will that'll be different once we start to grasp the idea above. On the surface, all willing still looks the same though. We'll carry on as usual. "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

I suspect one way, our will will be fruitful, profitable and enjoyable and any others not so much. It's not a matter of direction though, as far as our will goes. Direction as an idea is over-rated. Just my opinion, but I think most people are prejudiced to the directions of "up", "forward", "ahead" and "outside". I just don't think directions like "down", "backwards", "behind" and "inside" get their fair shake. Will is an interesting subject in and of itself though, which I'm sure ties into the concept of "purpose", which I'm sure ties into the concept of a thousand other things if the first paragraph above says anything at all. If it doesn't, then nothing really matters anyway. In any case, on we go. Thankfully.

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's Never Too Late To Start Doing The Right Thing

Okay, going to back off a bit here... I certainly don't want to come off the grumpy old man-type, or any old-man type for that matter. I'm not bitter and I know ultimately it all falls back on ourselves as to whether we're happy or not. I mean who else could it depend on? It's a decision though, a conscious decision. Do I want and deserve to be happy? If we answer "yes" we will automatically be pulled in one direction. And if we answer "no",  we will automatically be pulled in another. That's just the way it is, I didn't make the rules, but I'm sure as hell not going to keep ignoring them at my own peril either. A martyr I sure don't want to be. Of course, some people believe there are no real rules and we can make up anything we want, which is certainly true to an extent... but... if it's in fact true that there are "roooo-ules", and we can only "imagine" (i.e. dream, believe, think, suppose, pretend... whatever word you want to use that means "try to make-up all by ourselves") things otherwise, then the sooner I come to understand the rules, no... to learn, absorb and incorporate them into my very being, to be one with them, the better off it seems I'll be. To me, anyway.

Do others try and convince us otherwise? Do we try and convince ourselves otherwise? Of course. It's the human condition. We get scared, loose understanding, feel threatened and we act - defensively to an imaginary unreal threat, but hey, we act. We "do" something, because everyone knows that do-ers get things done! The wrong or right thing doesn't matter. Just get it done! And then we can move on to the next thing to "get done". And as long as we keep "getting things done", we won't have to stop and see that we're actually not really getting anything done. We are more just going round and round the same circles with basically the same old problems, with just new names for everything.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cops & Robbers

Real rehabilitation. What the fuck is it? If you measure it by the recidivism rate it's apparently a mostly-fictional occurrence. Unless you consider a thirty-percent success rate acceptable, then hell, you’re rehabilitating people just fine. Other than that, it’s just one big meat-grinder that seems to go on and on for all eternity. The same twenty year-old kid keeps coming into your classroom, only his name has changed from Tyreek to Tyrone to Tyshawn, or from Luis to Pablo to Jose... It’s still the same kid from the same town doing the same crime. Camden. Newark. Trenton. Jersey City. Paterson. These are not cities, these are farm systems for prison. Why can’t they see the game that’s being played? Or maybe they do and it’s me who can’t see the game? In any case, cops and robbers gets old real fast once you realize you’re not playing the game, but just watching from the sidelines. Anyway, what do I know? I'm crazy! Ha-ha ha ha!

The next entry in this sorry tale is here.

A Bad Boss

My definition of a bad boss is one that wants you to break the rules for him (or her!), but god forbid you ever break the rules and benefit yourself. He (or she!) cannot allow that. Now, you may say, no one should break the rules for anyone. Fine. To which I'd say, rules were meant to broken and eventually done away with. Well, maybe not "meant" to be, but they get broken anyway. They just do. Sometimes it's intentional and sometimes it's not, but they are broken nonetheless. And when they do get broken, a little forgiveness would be nice, especially if the broken rule was a small, rare occurrence that had no ill-effect on anyone. But a bad boss will nail you for a little gaffe like being five minutes late for work and then later on expect you to help him (or her!) out with some rule-breaking of a much greater magnitude, just so his (or her!) day can go a little smoother. "You risk all for me," he (or she!) secretly thinks, "but I risk nothing for you." I'm sorry, but you can't have it both ways. Either we're stuck-up pricks to each other or we help each other out. I'd much rather the latter. Those are the only two choices as I see it. Friends, or master and slave. And guess what? Homey don't play that game. I don't want to be a master or a slave.

So, change your heart, change your mind, is what I say. It’s very simple really. Are you here to fuck me over the first chance you get or are you here to help me make sense of things and move into the *ROEBB? Because the truth is we can only go together, so if you aren't willing to grasp that ultimate little fact of existence, at least a little bit, well, it’s "Sayonara, Senor!" (Or Senorita!) in my book. So hit the pike and stop reading this before your little mind explodes into tiny little fractals of light or something like that... or something... I don’t know. Not that we're not allowed to make mistakes, but they should just be stumbling stones and not frickin' wooden crosses.

[*Realm Of Existence Beyond Belief]

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Am I Nuts?

And what becomes of our mind,
And it's thoughts,
Once we realize we are
Blessed with eternity?
Or for some,
Perhaps cursed? 

The particular thought above crossed my mind some twenty-odd years ago while standing behind some prison bars waiting for them to open. You do a lot of that in jail, whether you're an inmate or an employee. Standing and waiting. And thinking. The saying in jail is, "Hurry up and wait." The bars are closed. You stand. You wait. You think. No matter who you are. Or think you are. Bars are closed? You stand. You wait. You think. My thinking now (prayer actually) about bars is, when they do close, just let me be on the right side of them. I encourage others to think and pray this way also, because the truth is, jail is hell. No matter how many amenities they may or may not provide you with, jail is hell because jail is loss of freedom. Now, loss of freedom may be better than loss of life, say starving or freezing to death, but that doesn't make it something good. It just makes a bad thing, better. A better bad. Loss of freedom is still bad. Hell is bad. Loss of freedom is hell.

Not that time has anything to do with the matter-at-hand, but is that aged thought above about "minds and eternity" a normal thought? I mean, do other people have these kinds of thoughts? Was it put there by some alien force, some mind far greater or maybe eviler, than my own? Was it me? My higher mind, asking me a question? Is there such a thing anyway? A higher mind? And if so, aren't we all just kidding ourselves? Playing a child's game we all decide to play together and pretend it's real? Am I really just my higher mind pretending to be something I'm really not? Am I really just my higher mind fucking up? But how could a higher mind fuck-up, if he's so "higher"? Stupid higher mind.

Answer to all of the above is: I don't know. I guess it's just me fucking up. Higher mind or not. But why haven't I been able to forget the strange question above all these years later? Is it a question worth remembering? Why do we ask questions? Should we even ask questions? And if so, should we really expect answers? And if so, answers from where? Am I nuts?

Read on to find out... then we'll both know.

Who Done It?

Obviously, there were and still are other "play-ahz" out there in this crazy, yet wildly plausible caper. They will be revealed shorty. None except one who knew what the hell was going on though till it was all over. And for an agonizing split-second, I thought that one would blow the whole thing wide open and send both myself and McMullen up shit's creek (more like raging river) without a paddle (more like arms) and my whole life would pretty much end as I know it. Believe me, it's one thing to work in a jail, but to actually be confined there for any extended period of time? As they say in the joint, I'd probably "hang up". And we're not talking about ending a phone call either. Unless we're talking about the phone line that connects us to this world. ...On other hand, an extended period behind bars would give one more time for the solitary soul-satisfying activities of reading and writing. No matter. I'm here. It worked. We succeeded. The only thing left now is to enjoy and brag about it.

So the fellow in question above, the one who could blow the whole thing sky high, was one Rasheem Bigsbee, Inmate #1357531D. Bigsbee hated McMullen. The kind of hate that on the surface looks like love, but underneath looks more like... well, hate. Bigsbee looked up to McMullen though. For all the wrong reasons, but up, nonetheless. So when those reasons were exposed to the light of day and an intelligence beyond the 3rd grade level, well, it was going to be easy for Bigsbee to put the ol' knife in the 'ol back of his "good buddy" McMullen.

"You know he's got mad money?" Bigsbee revealed to me one day, referring to McMullen's drug dealing days. "He stored mad money and still gotz it."

"Oh yeah? How much we talking about?" I said casually, correcting some classwork, like I didn't really care. And to be honest, at the time, I didn't. This was well before McMullen asked me to help him escape, maybe a year or so. And before I owed Java the Hutt & his "constituents" nearly two-hundred thousand dollars for the privilege of watching football games turn out the exact opposite of how I thought they would. A lot can happen in a year though.

"Mmm, maybe half a mil. Maybe more." Bigsbee responded confidently, waiting for my reaction.

I raised an eye from the paper I was correcting and nodded my head, pursing my lips as if to say, "Not bad." but didn't speak. The figure sure stuck in my head though. ...Half a mil. Maybe more.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

An Unacceptable Shitty Job


The only problem with putting people in cages is, someone has to watch them the whole time they're in the cage, to make sure they stay alive and relatively healthy, so they can stay in the cage for whatever arbitrary time-period deemed appropriate by the all-knowing and wise-beings who decide such things. Then, after staying in the cage for this arbitrary period of time set by the all-knowing and wise-beings, they are then allowed to leave the cage, never more to commit such cage-deserving acts. (We hope.) Now, no one person could do this "watching job" 24/7, as the person responsible for doing all the watching would, in effect, be incarcerated himself, making it a very shitty job indeed. I'm sure there's some wise saying about this very realization, but I can't remember exactly what the hell it is, so I'll just stammer on here the best I can, trying to explain why, for the most part, I'm against locking people up in cages, at least for any extended period of time.

Basically, I think it's hypocritical. I'll try to explain why, but obviously, as evidenced by the reality of the prison system today, far many more people don't, and believe locking people up in cages is a good thing and "are all for it". However, they’re "all for it", as long as someone else performs the aforementioned shitty job of watching the people put in the cages to make sure they stay alive and in the cage. If they had to do the watching all by themselves... well, they simple wouldn't. It's kind of like a war, many people believe in sending someone else to go fight it, but when it comes to going themselves, they're not so enthusiastic about the idea. Any ideas of punishment, correction or even justice are secondary. They're still not going to be the one who enforces any of these concepts, or any other, whatever it might be, that supports locking people up in cages. Someone else is going to do that for them. That's how you get around the hypocrisy of believing in one thing while at the same time doing the opposite. You simply hire someone else to do what you yourself would not.

Even still, as mentioned above, no hireling is stupid enough to agree to do the job 24/7 all by themselves, no matter how much they’d be paid, because obviously if you're locked up in cage yourself making boku bucks for watching people in cages, then it wouldn’t really matter how much money you were paid because, being locked up in the cage yourself, you wouldn't be able to spend it all anyway. It would be unacceptable. It would simply be one big shitty unacceptable job. So what happens? They, the folks who believe in putting people in cages, divide the one big shitty unacceptable job of keeping people locked up in cages into many little more supposedly-acceptable jobs of keeping people locked up in cages. It's still the same big shitty job of keeping someone locked up in a cage, except now it's just broken down into a lot of little more acceptable jobs done by many people, thus creating the illusion of many little acceptable jobs that replace the one big shitty unacceptable job. But if you do the one little so-called acceptable job long enough, sooner or later you come to find it's still the same unacceptable shitty job, a mere holograph of the original big unacceptable shitty job of keeping people locked up in cages. And that’s where I soon found myself, in an unacceptable shitty job.

Have Faith

Faith  n. 1. The belief that there is a way, and that we are on it. 

Maybe I've been doing great and just don't know it?

I'd often thought that my many years working in that shit hole. Now shit hole is a pretty harsh term, I know. But that's what it was. (And, as of this writing, most-likely still is.) Not always, but at the end, just before I left, it was a shit hole. Complete with shit hole temperatures and unhealthy shit hole air quality with asbestos falling here, there and everywhere. Throw in the giant cockroaches, three-eyed mice, some dead birds and their haphazardly scattered *feces and you have a great start on the making of hell itself. Of course, it didn't always use to be that way. At one time many years ago it was a brand new, state-of-the-art, shiny new co-rec-shunal facility. But it was all downhill from there. The history of prisons is that eventually they degenerate and disappear, one way or another. Of course some are now ending up as "historic museums", romanticized by some naïve tour guide while wide-eyed open-mouthed tourists follow them around with the awe of little children. But I supposed they're necessary, prisons that is. I mean, we can't just go around killing and screwing each other over and over, can we? Thank god we have prisons to stop people from committing crimes. If it wasn't for prisons there'd be way more than 543,334,194 recorded crimes committed the last fifty years.

[*Obviously defecated before their panicked and painfully-slow demise. A bird trapped inside a prison is a pretty sad thing. They get in through the thin-slitted barred-up windows and then can't get out, so they have to fly around the joint until they pretty much starve to death. Or land in one of those super-sticky gooey inescapable cockroach traps. You can't pry them out of those traps once they're stuck without tearing their fragile little bodies all apart, so it's best just to leave them there till they die a slow painful agonizing death. I saw an inmate stomp on one's head once with his size-12 work boot, smashing it's head just like it was a grape. It wasn't a pretty sight to say the least, but a mercy killing none the less.]

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dear Ma, Jail Is Really Boring...

On with the story of the guy asking me to help him escape prison... I think I mentioned his name was McMullen. “Yeah, right, sure it is.”, I know you’re thinking. Okay, ya got me. His name wasn't really McMullen, but then neither is mine George Osled. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, or guilty. However you want to frame it. The purpose of this writing though, isn't to protect or hurt for that matter, anyone, living or dead. It's to just to get the truth out there. Tell the real story. Set the record straight. Yada, yada, yada. And to make a shit-load of money in the process. More than the guy paid me to help him escape jail, the guy whose real name is not McMullen. Anyway, I digress...

As mentioned somewhere below I think, Inmate #1369631E, approached me one day and asked me to help him escape Gardenview State Prison, in Nowville, NJ. I think it was a Monday, but it's hard to tell. Everyday is Monday at Gardenview. It's not like most of those reality prison shows you see on TV. Not even close. The place is boring as shit. Which in truth, is actually a good thing in jail, because if anything interesting ever does happen there, it's usually bad. Maybe things are more interesting at some of the other state or federal prisons, where the clientele are more "seasoned", but GSP for the most part is just a huge juvenile delinquent baby-sitting parlor. Don't get me wrong, we got your murderers, rapists, baby-stabbers and girly-grabbers, but for the most part, these guys are not yet well-worn hardened criminals. They're mostly just emotionally-wounded punks who did too many stupid things over too short a period of time and got caught. In many cases, the only difference between some of them and some of the people responsible for keeping them locked-up is the fact that the last two words of the previous sentence don't apply to the latter group. Now the former group could certainly become real deal hardened criminals one day if they work hard enough at it and keep up their current means of interacting with the big bad world, but being young and under the age of thirty for the most part, they can still be occasionally convinced otherwise of their foolish ways. The older we get though, the smaller that window of convincing gets I'm convinced. Not that it ever gets so small it can't be accessed. It's just that the more we paint over it with erroneous beliefs about ourselves and the world "out there", the less likely it is we'll be able to see it and crawl through it. Okay, I'm rambling again, so I'll stop for now.

What A Fool Believes

Edit n. 1. Addition by subtraction.

Does one proof-read what one has written so far, so as to edit what should not be there and add what should? Or does one just plunge onward and worry about the bloody details later? I vote the latter. So on we go.

Why would I, a well-paid twenty-year employee for the once and future great state of New Jersey even consider for a fraction of a nanosecond helping a convicted felon escape from state prison, thereby risking my own incarcerated damnation? On top of the fact that there hadn't been a successful escape in any of the state's thirteen prisons in the last fifty years? And on top of that fact that I'm completely mad? Well, let me explain. In fact, let me do more than that. Let me confess.

It is said, what a fool believes he sees. But what if he sees what a fool believes?

Answer: Then he's no longer a fool. He might still be a crook, but he's no fool.

So the idea behind the whole escape thing was to get the prison-keepers to believe something about a prison-kept person they were keeping in prison that wasn't necessarily true about the prison-kept person they were keeping in prison. That way the prison-keepers would just let the prison-kept person out, no questions asked. Simple. Easy. No questions asked. Yes, the prison-keepers would soon discover the prison-kept person gone. But then, so would I be. Both of us never to return to that hell hole on earth, otherwise know as a jail, a penitentiary, the big house, the joint... the House of the Rising Sun with lousy ventilation and asbestos air fresher.

It was my job to forgive people. The state of New Jersey paid me well for the privilege. But damn, they sure didn't appreciate me. At least that's how I felt after fifteen or so years there in Paradise Lost. Not that appreciation was what I was looking for. It just makes the job a little easier though if you know you're at least not working against the grain. Now, it's one thing to not be appreciated, but it's another thing altogether to not even be wanted, to be, in effect, despised. I can take a hint. Torture is a big hint. If you're trying to torture me, I can tell you don’t like me. It doesn't matter to me if you're conscious of the intent to torture me or not. It still hurts. And believe me, working there the last five years was pure torture. Just ask anyone who did. They'd tell you the same. From the unbelievably incompetent administration to the petty and resentful correction officers, from burnt-out and goofy teaching staff to infantile inmates who could give a rat's ass about education, to the mind-numbing daily routines and endlessly redundant mountains of useless paperwork... it simply sucked big time.

So the plan was made to help one Jerome McMullen, age twenty-nine, escape prison. He’d soon be sent to Trenton State, where he’d do the next ten years of his sentence in the big house with hardened criminals. Men, who for the most part didn’t give a shit about changing directions anymore, but simply looked to survive by any means necessary, where the strong dominate the weak in a most unholy pecking order.  Not that we weren't a real jail, but for the most part we had a population under thirty years of age and one that still might be able to change the course of their ill-chartered ship. Being a teacher's aid, McMullen was one of the few inmates his age allowed to stay on a Gardenview, where the education and vocational programs were more prevalent and better than any of the other state's twelve penal institutions. But even his teacher's aide status wasn't going to keep him from soon being transferred to Trenton to finish out the remaining twenty years of his thirty year sentence for a double cop homicide in a drug deal gone bad he swears to this day he never committed. Trenton was hard core and for the most part, a grave yard for any hopes and dreams one might have of turning things around and having at least half a decent life.

But that wasn’t McMullen, that name not being the real name of someone who wanted to change his life in the most real of ways. And that’s ultimately why I helped him do it I guess. Or try to do it. Can’t give away the ending in the beginning, now can I? Anyway, I eventually found him to be innocent (in my view any way), and in need of some assistance, as well as myself in need of some assistance in the form of some ninety-seven thousand dollars in cash and (soon to reach six-figures) growing faster by the day. So, it was a way out. For both of us. It was the only way out. For both of us. At least the only one I could see at the time. I mean, what else could I do?

The Second Coming of Common Sense

Twenty years is a long time to get to know someone, not that you ever can fully know anyone one-hundred percent completely, especially if we're ultimately infinite beings just having alleged finite experiences. I mean, no one can know infinity, at least in an intellectual-sense, anyway. Not that we can't be "one" with it. Which I personally think was Jesus' main message. Apparently that upset some folks a real lot and they told him to shut the fuck up or they would basically kill him. Well, he just couldn't shut up, because he knew the truth, and once you KNOW the truth, once you actually SEE it, the truth that we're all one people, one divine human, part of one great being-ness of everything, one infinite-IS-ness, which no one or no thing can ever be outside of, because nothing can be outside of infinity... Once you know this, well, you see it would actually be detrimental to your own health and well-being to deny it. I mean, you'd be denying your own self in essence, because obviously if you're part of the whole shi-bing-sha-bang, whatever you believe, and consequently do, to the whole shi-bing-sha-bang, you'd be believing and consequently doing to yourself. So Jesus just couldn't do that. He was not an idiot. And of course, they tried to kill him like they do with all such people I guess, only this time, they couldn't do it. They thought they did, but we supposedly have first-hand evidence to the contrary that they were, in fact, wrong. "They" being a certain un-accepting mindset. And no, "they" have nothing to do with being Jewish or any other religion. "They", for the most part, are just people afraid of the truth. Since they couldn't kill him, they did the next best thing, they slandered him. They set out to disenfranchise him with lies, damn lies and more goddamn lies till up was down and right was wrong. And it worked for the most part, but it was only temporary, a mere 2000 years of Whisper Down The Lane. But now, the kids are growing up and are no longer satisfied with second-hand information, fairy tales, rumors, gossip and innuendo. They're going right to The Source themselves to find out what's what, the real schism with jism, the whole enchilada, the truth, just like ol' Jesus himself did. The Second Coming of Common Sense. ...We'll get to the miracles later.

But, I think I knew McMullen, despite the overblown bullshit spouted above. He had no reason to lie. Well, except the one about wanting to escape jail. I guess that would have been a pretty good reason to lie. But like I said, it didn't matter anymore. It was now a practical matter for me and $250,000 was what I needed in order to evade a long and painful hospital stay. At best. At worst was dying. If you think that's worse. If not, then maybe you wouldn't have did what I did. But then you wouldn't be enjoying your retirement on some beachfront property right now writing to yourself about how you just committed the perfect crime. Well, not "just" I should clarify. That word implies time and for the most part, these writings are going to be free of that most-convenient concept.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Let Me Tell You A Little Story...

So where to begin? Why at the beginning of course. I started working for the Department of Corrections in the mid-90's. (Wow, what a name, now that I think about it. If anything needed correction, it was surely this department.) I guess I started going mad in the mid-2000's, and by 2010 was ready to commit the perfect crime. McMullen approached me one day, and out of the clear blue asked me if I would help him escape. Of course, my first reaction was that he was kidding. We'd known each other for some fifteen years at the time and, an off-hand joke or jab at the system by either one of us was not uncommon. But when he asked me the next day, and the day after that, well, I knew something was up, something serious.

Now you may be wondering if this is all being written in past or future tense? Hell if I know. It happened. I'm here. Or maybe it will happen. In which case, I'll still be here. I guess madness does have its advantages.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Note To Self

Note to self: Do not eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's Double Fudge Chocolate Brownie ice cream followed by a large slice of beef jerky just before bedtime.

On with the tale at-hand...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sisyphus

I awoke this morning with idea of Sisyphus floating around the bedroom ether. No, it's not a venereal disease. It was probably 5 AM, so I titled my cell phone in an odd direction up against my bedside lamp to help me remember the idea when I finally got out of bed later on. Only I didn't really know the name of the poor sap as I lay there in the pre-dawn hours, damned as he was for all eternity to fruitless, superficial, mindless labor, so the phone was a reminder to look him up first thing once I was out of bed. And no, he wasn't a politician, lawyer, or even a banker, believe it or not, but a dishonest fellow none-the-less. And just not very smart if you really think about it. I mean, who can deceive the gods?

I looked up the name as soon as I awoke. Sisyphus. There it was. Good old Wikipedia. (Why do some folks hate it so much? It's up-datable. It easy to use. It's not written in stone like some older resources.) So, Sisyphus was the name of the Greek loser god doomed to repeat the same old repetitive superficial task over and over, again and again, for all eternity just for getting on the wrong side of some god more powerful than him. Tried to hit the audio file on the site to have a pronunciation, but alas, 'twas mute, or rather, "non-functioning". Anyway, I digress...

McMullen had good reasons for wanting to escape prison. He WAS innocent after all. And I sort of believed him. At least for the first ten years he told me his story I did. The next five it was more than just "sort of". I kind of knew it, but didn't want to fully believe it. The last five it was pretty obvious. Innocent men go to jail every single day. Or so they say. They, being the men in jail usually. In any case, it didn't matter. I wanted to believe him. I wanted out myself and he was my ticket. Good, bad, right or wrong. We had a deal. And even though he was a "criminal", I trusted him like a brother for some strange reason I still don't fully understand to this day.

What's working in a prison for twenty years as schoolteacher and helping a man plan the perfect escape from jail have to do with some Greek god named Sisyphus? You'd be surprised. Or maybe you wouldn't. Either way, read on to find out.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Jail Days, Jail Days, Good Old Golden Bail Days

The truth is, not too many people would pick a jail as their first place of employment, even in today's economy. Alas, somebody has to do it. Not that it doesn't pay fairly well either, but eventually, no matter how well something pays, if it sucks, it still sucks. Money is nice, but soul is nicer. And in the end, you have to choose which one it is you're going to serve. Not that I haven't chosen wrong myself many times. Too many to count, but fortunately I'm finding second chances really are allowed. And sometimes third, and even forth... beyond that you're just being plain stupid. Might be time for the rubber room, and beyond that, well, you're headed for the real hell. A mind is a terrible thing to wastes. Anyway, I digress...

Jails suck and the less people in them the better. Not that we don't need them at all. Obviously some people need to be "detained & retrained", to say the least, but when it becomes a money-making business just to put people in jail, then something's not right. Conflict-of-interest to say the least. But then again, do sheep ever protest?

We (the good ol' U.S. of A.) have the highest prison population on the planet, the most any country has ever had since the dawn of time, since they've been keeping track of such idiotic things. Why? Or better yet, what? What the [insert your favorite swear word here] is going on in this country?

My opinion (somewhere) follows...


Sunday, November 6, 2011

And So The Story Begins...

Can I write my way out of hell? Can we escape damnation by sheer wit? I think not. Not that I'm even offering that. Mark Twain said wit knows that his place is at the tail of the procession. I have no idea what that the hell that means, but figure I'd get street cred for dropping the old geezer's name. I don't know, maybe it has something to do with hindsight being twenty-twenty? In any case, all I can offer is a first-hand account of someone slowly losing their mind. Don't know if that's anything like losing your religion, but the song seems like an appropriate soundtrack more times than not lately about my days behind bars. And don't get me wrong, anyone who writes anything from a cozy little seaside bungalow can't really complain about anything. Still, it might be interesting to review the process of just how one got there.