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.