Monday, April 6, 2020

Softening My Image


Virus
Part 6 of 30

These viral times are indeed trying times. I went out to mow my yard for the first time since winter and it took 30 pulls at the handle, nearly to no avail till, finally, it turned over and started. I was starting to sweat from embarrassment, not wanting the neighbors to see me in such a state of futility. Then there’s the virus, and children perhaps in all kinds of trouble, I don't know the full extent of the danger, but, forget about it, it's not good.

But it's not all bad. I give thanks for my neighbor, one of the Pavlona sisters from the old country. She used to travel quite a ways, not just around the three county area but out in the pretty far flung areas in a carriage. Her dad was one of the good old traveling minstrel types who could con the gullible out of their life savings, a fascinating thing. So Marie's one of the few neighbors I trust intrinsically, because she was totally upfront about her scheming thieving past and said indeed it was past. I put a 5 dollar bill on my dresser once in a while to test her, but of course she’s on to that old ruse.

These are the people, some of the neighbors -- the children and Marie Pavlona -- I have in my heart in these depressing days of this terrible virus. The children, naturally I want them to walk freely and to run and play freely. And Marie, she holds me in her prayers, she says, and someone with such a checkered past, if she says she’s praying for me, I believe it. That’s really the way it goes with folks like her. They may lie through their teeth when it comes to conning someone, but when they’re your friend they’re as good as gold. And kids can be the same way, usually conniving little monsters, but these kids, her extended family -- they’ve had nothing for so long -- they’re simply good. But offer one of them a fudge brownie and you better have one for the others! Fudge brownies are always a hit.

I mention all these children and Marie not so much for their own goodness, etc., but to soften up my image for you the readers. A few of you, according to the comments, think I appear to be “cold and aloof," I guess when it comes to stuff like that, and things about the virus, which I do take seriously. I have a mask, true story. And I want to assure you and put your mind to ease that I’m really an old softie. Which you about have to be when east European Roma are your friends; they’ll do anything for you. And then, naturally, the kids, every one a born thief but lovable as pumpkin pie.

Anyway, in these sad days of the virus -- dire days! -- it’s good to keep your friends close, etc., and look out for one another. Remembering, it should be remembered, to wash your hands and use about a gallon of antiseptic on everything they touch. It’s actually better to keep the kids outside or at least at arm's distance, wiping down any touched surface and all the rest to keep them from infecting me. These are things I’ve learned at the grocery store, which just recently put up an industrial strength plexiglass wall between the cashier and the customer. Prayers for them too.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Politics Rears It's Ugly


Virus
Part 5 of 30

For such a tragic affair and life as we know it up in the air, it was wonderfully inspiring to know that some things are locked in place, secure, and just as we knew them to be. Part of the inspiration is having certain things we can count on, no surprises, the foundations we take for granted securely set.

After all, what would it be like if we couldn’t count on anything staying the same? It’s hard to imagine, really, that anything could be in such disarray that all of our suppositions would be in question. The facts of life as we know them. Were it that bad we would’ve given up, thinking there’s nothing we can do about it, the foundations have crumbled.

But as it turns out, we needed not fear that all hope was lost. Those among our betters came through just when we needed them. Throwing off all restraint -- and they could’ve been so tightly held down as to be unable to breathe -- they muscled their way through the pain and suffering toward, perhaps one last, free-for-all for their most ardent supporters, not to mention themselves, putting Number One ahead of all and reminding us how things stand.

This was great, because the crumbling foundations -- aforementioned -- might not have held long enough for their great task to be accomplished. And to think of them going at it with the diligence they had, we’re reminded of what a potential sacrifice it was to muscle their way through -- with all the stick-to-it-tiveness of baby pigs seeking those life-giving nipples of the mother sow that their nourishment should not be denied. I used to see it at farms in the neighborhood, actually to great extremes. Did you know that if you slip in a pigpen you can be eaten? It’s true, I lost two classmates like that, a downer for the birthday boy who had us out to his farm for the party.

But when you have a party -- getting back to our topic -- that’s when you can really have a party. “These are desperate times! If we don’t act now -- and I mean with everything we have -- it’ll be too late.” And God forbid anyone get in their way. If the confusion of a viral plague isn’t enough cover to suck up whatever there is to be had, there will never be cover at all. This is the time to rise up, and with everyone’s sight obscured from the confusion of seeking shelter, managing the ins and out of quarantine, and scheming to get just one more roll of toilet paper, the time is right for government to quench their thirst (temporarily) for more more more.

Stand back, there’s more incoming, a turgid blast, nothing held back, obscuring the way, and like we said, providing cover for whatever rapine there is to be had, basically whatever is left to claim.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Still A Dangerous World


Virus
Part 4 of 30

I’ve given a lot of thought about what a dangerous world we have, and that was before the virus. And if this wasn’t the only thing we had, I’d say check out Option #2. That's what they used to do when they got sick and tired of where they lived -- Columbus. They sailed off to find something better. The big trouble with that approach is that after you've found everything here, there’s nowhere else to look.

I watch a lot of space shows on YouTube and there’s literally nowhere else to go, with a couple caveats. There’s the moon, which is essentially uninhabitable unless you want to live in an 800-pound spacesuit, with one advantage being the gravity is so horrible 800 pounds is manageable to get around in but completely lacks comfort. And there’s lots of other planets, but they're all so far away that just getting there is pretty much a death sentence. Our hopes of a space federation, a federation of planets, at this point is just crazy talk.

Even if we found a decent planet, and gone so many light years away to do it, it’d be the 100th generation of the people who left earth who’d govern and inhabit it once the mission was complete -- they’d no doubt be pining for the green green grass of home they never knew and spend a hundred generations getting back. I myself am already past my prime and couldn't make it. At this point I’m just a fizzled out nothing, barely able to crawl out of bed, especially with this virus creeping around The Big City.

So outer space is off the table. The best we can do is settle back into the local vibe, the things of earth, and tune into it as best we can, with the mystic OM underlying the whole thing, and the ever-fascinating mother and father the earth has been for millennia. If it weren’t for this virus, and the last virus, and the virus before that, and the virus we’ll have a few years from now, it’d be paradise. But it gladdens me that we’re doing our best. At least I hope this is our best. If we could do better but we’re not on purpose, that’d be sabotage, and I don’t know, we’re not going to get anywhere that way. Try harder, people!

Think of our society as the folks on that that exploring boat. They needed a common goal: “We’re going THAT way. If you’re not going THAT way, we’re going to throw you overboard, and save our provisions, including toilet paper.” The dangers of the world when it comes to sea serpents, monsters of the deep, and all lurking monsters of any size, even microscopic, like viruses, are such that we need the same spirit. Because viruses are not discriminating when it comes to trouble. But I'm sure we'll all make it! We hope for the best.

I guess I’ll say no more on this doctrine, a form of government among the more dangerous elements. (It’s not really a doctrine but a riff.) You’re on this mission to outer space (even though we’re staying here), get with the program, or … Next Stop, The Deep. You must have known the terms when you were born here. You stepped forward and made that decision. Again, get with the program.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Perfect Strangers

 

Virus
Part 3 of 30

So far we're early in the virus coverage and I don’t know anyone personally that’s succumbed to it. I don’t even know anyone who’s had it, at least that I've heard. But the fear is always that someone you know will show up, coughing, hacking, and complaining of it. Or you yourself.

I’m like everyone, just trying to avoid it as best I can. But I see the statistics on TV like everyone and know that most of those people were also responsible people. They weren’t doing stupid things, the equivalent of running into traffic without looking. They listened to the advice of how to watch out for it. They were probably avoiding as best they could people who might breathe on them and all the rest.

I don’t even remember all the rules. I just figure if I get in a situation and it raises red flags, either this, I’m too late, or if I make tracks and might still be free and clear. To the extent that common sense will make a difference, I have some. But mistakes are hard to avoid. With many thousands infected, with the numbers going up everyday regardless of precautions. I’m technically not any better than anyone else, although I have massive paranoia generally speaking. I’m banking on some of that helping me. Anything that takes 5 minutes could be done in 3 minutes which could probably also be done in 1 minute. Time is of the essence. When your paranoid red flashers are going off, listen to them.

But they’re even having trouble in Congress! Suddenly it’s going to be hard to get a quorum, if that’s an actual thing. I’d guess it’s like everything else, the rules always stretch pretty far if it’s a terrible danger. But if even Congress is in danger, what hope is there for the rest of us? The carts at the grocery store, infected. The door’s are automatic, so that ought to be OK. You have to touch the debit card machine, and I haven’t seen anyone wiping it down. The old gold hoarders and cash guys were right after all. But cash might not be that safe, unless someone’s cleaning it. Just thinking of it’s scaring me.

So far, though, so good. I feel fine, cough cough. Nothing seems to be running completely amok, just a little throat-clearing. There’s a few dead birds on the porch, but are we susceptible to avian flu? And … other problems … up the yin-yang.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

When Disaster Strikes


Virus
Part 2 of 30

I’ve gotten a lot of nice messages from you, the readers, and I thank you: “Stay healthy, Mr. Slump,” “Hope Grandma’s OK during this challenging time,” and the number one comment, some variation on “If there’s a scam for making money on this thing, cut me in,” that sort of thing. First, I’m not a Slump, that’s my mother’s side of the family. Second, Grandma died years ago of unrelated causes. And, third, any “scam” you may be thinking of, I’d never be part of any such thing. I learned my lesson during the chlamydia scare in the '80s and I swear I’ll never sell another brass wristband. They send you away for stuff like that.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not “dissing” any of you or “pissing” on your hopes for a quick profit. So don’t be so sensitive. But if there's any value in diseases and viruses it's to bring out our compassion for one another in suffering and pray to the saints that we don’t catch it. There indeed is a certain built-in economic thing, but it’s not for questionable sideline businesses to spring up to take advantage of it, only necessary things pharmaceuticals to make good medicine, etc. You could be helpful, though, if you see any of the big pharmaceuticals selling brass wristbands, let me know. But I seriously doubt that'll happen.

Instead of hoping to profit, I hope all of us will have the kind of feelings that do people good in the days of disasters. That’s what I hope for. I haven’t taken that path yet -- I’ve spent a lot of my time studying up on the issues in order to give you good counsel through these blog posts. Between now and the end of the month, I hope to put enough good information out there that perhaps -- just perhaps -- can help save the world and do a lot of other good, no strings attached. It’d do me a lot of good to hear our brave leaders -- and I accept tweets -- letting me know it was these posts that pulled everyone through.

So that’s what I mean when I say, "When Disaster Strikes -- It’s usually someone else’s problem." That’s true. The average citizen steps back and lets “someone else” take the lead. And we think that’s always effective, useful. But what if “someone else” doesn’t show up. What if “someone else” is busy feathering his own nest? Or what if “someone else” is in over his head without a clue in the world? That’s when we need a different “someone else” to get the job done, and hopefully not be up to his nuts in graft while doing it.

So join me in wishing the world well in these tough times. Of course it’s a disaster, and of course it’s someone else’s problem, but what if I catch it? I’m not Superman, it could happen. Like everyone, I hope not.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Follow The Light


Virus
Part 1 of 30

Everyone knows nature doesn’t mess around. When particular combinations of things come together, there’s consequences. In many cases, the combinations are great for us or OK or adequate, fair to middlin', and sometimes pisspoor. Beans, sauce, and chili powder make chili, the prime example of a combination that’s great. Put in a little hamburger and it’s to die for. Then there’s a whole range of OK or adequate combinations: Stripes and solids in clothing, air and lungs in breathing, pencils and pens in schools, and steves and dores in loading or unloading ships.

Our lives depend on good combinations of things coming together in a good way. At Grandma’s place we used to go out and manually pump our water and bring it in the house for everyone to drink. Back then we either didn’t have viruses or were just too dumb to realize we did, but everyone drank with a common ladle out of the same bucket. It’s still interesting to me that no one ever got sick or died. But who knows? If the wrong person had come in and taken a drink, then died, they might’ve sued us big-time. (That was the same house I later lived in with Grandma, but since then it’s rotted away and was hauled to the dump and now I live in the Big City. But one day I was back in the old ‘hood and the pump’s still there, now as a decorative item.)

The combination of things we’re interested in these days involve the virus and making sure we don’t come into contact with it. Certainly no one’s drinking from the same ladle. We’re a lot more careful now, and no one more so than me. Now, I'm a huge germaphobe -- virus or no virus -- but I wasn't as a kid. But a guy gets a little bit of knowledge and it makes a huge difference. Anytime I’m with anyone I’m very watchful of them. If they touch something, that registers. Not so much because of the virus, but that’s just how it is. But now with the virus, of course I'm more mindful. I hate going to the grocery store or really anywhere. I don’t mind taking a walk, but if I meet anyone, or see them coming a mile away, I’m busy making preparations for how I’m going to get the hell out of there.

One of these days, though, whether the virus is still around or not, there’s going to be something, hopefully just internal normal stuff and not a combination of good and bad that could’ve been avoided that’s going to take me, your faithful scribe, out of this good old earth. But don’t worry, I’ve got enough life insurance for a fit burial, a small combo, trumpet and kazoo, the best cardboard urn money can buy, and incongruously a few phone numbers for the most economical crematories, with their great mottos: “We Put The Ashes in ‘Ashes to Ashes’” and my favorite, “This Ain't Hell, Just A Cremation.”

Later, the soul is busy flitting its way to its reward, upward and onward! Ride like the wind! All a guy has do is “Follow the Light, They'll Get Me There.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

My Dog Safe With Buddha


When they came out with the latest virus, naturally I was concerned. What am I going to do, drop dead with all the other losers? I always heard it growing up, “Get your exercise. If you don’t, you’ll deserve what you get.” By which they didn’t mean all the girls or boys, but a short life, a sudden death, maybe dangling from a rope.

My concerns are like everyone’s. I came into the world a few years back, relatively speaking. My memory’s hazy on the subject, but there were apparently 15 billion years when I wasn’t here, but which had already completely ended. Then, after that vast span, I popped into the world and since then have hung on for dear life. Saying, “I will not go willingly back into the void. I’m here, deal with it!” This I’ve said through times of war and peace, and I turned out to be such a good draft dodger that I was able to dodge all the charges. With some regret, if you remember my pitiful longing for the service in my post, “The Drill Sergeant I Never Had.”

My big problem with the virus these days is, What’s going to happen to my dog if it happens to me?” My current dog I got on a fluke. Her mother was in the yard minding her business when a smaller dog got through a crawlspace in the fence and consummated their brief relationship. Yielding five puppies, one of which was mine. So it was someone else’s problem and we’ve been joined at the hip now all these years. Had I been a block away, had I not answered the phone that day, we would’ve never met.

But we did, and we’ve had a special bond since then. I’ve seen her through many things, learning to love dog food, etc., and I get her the best. We have to keep going. I’m all she’s got, but with my advanced years naturally I worry what could happen. Now, then, there’s a virus going around that threatens people of my demographic, older gentlemen who breathe and touch their faces. The store’s even out of paper towels, that’s how hard up we are. Because I use paper towels to clean up my dog’s poop. And suddenly they’re more precious than gold.

Anyway, have I mentioned, I can’t die! Because what would become of her? She’d wake up and not get her expensive food, not go out to poop, etc., She’s already kind of upset about the paper towel shortage. This other thing, my demise, I don’t want to have to lay that on her too. She might stroke out and I’d be left alone, with my last roll of paper towels that I was saving for special times, her birthday, the day she was spayed, etc.

Beyond the frills of paper towels and things, there’s the sorrow she would feel if I were suddenly stricken by viruses and died. “Why did he have to abandon me? Was he thinking of the time I accidentally peed on the kitchen floor?” That’s terrible, I don’t want this dog to have one ounce of troubles or sorrows. You might remember, that’s how Buddha started out. His dad kept him from it. Then he discovered, “Shit happens,” sat under the Bodhi Tree and was enlightened. If I die, my dog will have things to deal with, heavy stuff, and might even be found peeing at the base of a similar tree and thereby come to a place of inner knowledge.

So far, though, I’m still alive.

Monday, March 30, 2020

April Series: The Virus


April 1 through 30, right here
In bad taste, but, hey, anyone can get it, including me,
and, anyway, I always used to hear:
"Laughter's the best medicine.*"

*This claim has not been cleared with doctors or the doctoring profession. Laughter is not recommended for everyone nor will it necessarily be of benefit to everyone. If it is, that's one thing. If it's not, that's another, a possibly deadly thing, and we cannot be held liable for death or injuries resulting from laughter, be it falling down the stairs, breaking your neck, the inciting of outbreaks in wild mobs, or choking on chicken bones, foreign or domestic. 

If I should die before the month is out, posts from that day and any future posts there may have been will not appear. In the event of my death I will take it very personally and refuse to do anything else. That's my solemn pledge and my final answer.

Someone's Watching Me

 

Paranoia
Part 30 of 30

The last post on paranoia. I probably should just leave well enough alone and keep my mouth shut. Call it off. But I’ve already said enough for my enemies to hang me “by the neck until I’m dead,” and nothing else I say now will likely make it any worse. But, seriously, it could be that they’ve missed everything so far -- a problem with the internet -- and just happened to tune in for this last post.

I can well imagine what they’re saying, “What have we here?” Then add to that a sprig of malevolence and their attitude takes a decidedly negative turn, “What else do we have here? Hmm, he lives in The Big City, that’s where we live… What if we were to squat in his backyard, put up a tent and pretend to be just guys from the neighborhood. Then spy on his comings and goings to the point of accumulating enough intelligence to blackmail him for the rest of his life!” Oh, no! Spare me from that. There’s other guys somewhere like me, and they're meatier by far, more meat to the bone for you to feast on, and younger too, all of them much younger. You’d have a whole century to torture them. While leaving me to an early death. And currently it's 9:46 a.m.

Anyway, that’s all a bridge too far for me to take, and this being the last post, a bridge too late to worry about. As soon as I hit the last button, I won’t be home for a day or so. Not just to let the place cool down, but to watch out for the guy I just pictured. The way imagination works, it’s exactly like that, you imagine it, then it comes true in some sense, and often times worse than you banked on. Putting me in an unenviable position, everyone will agree. And hashing it over doesn’t do any good, in fact just makes it worse.

That’ll be my resolution, even though it’s not New Year. Anything that might be made worse by my focusing on it in a paranoid way, I have to avoid. The way I’ll do it -- I hope -- is the first threat I see, after seeing that it’s not an active threat but a possible future threat just waiting to be manifested -- is not dwell on it. Let it pass. I’ve heard of letting things pass. I’ll work on letting it pass. Don’t make it a concrete threat by writing about it, don’t even take notes on the subject. It can only lead to a worse outcome. Instead, here’s something to try, close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it slowly leave you by a prolonged thoughtless exhalation, and say, “Whatever it was I was just thinking, let it pass with this breath.”

Think that’d work? I don’t either. Because in not making it a concrete threat, now it’s nothing but concrete, a hard thing to avoid. I’ll be checking, checking, checking on it. Did it pass? Is it right here right now? Is it in my head? Is it real? That throbbing of that vein by my ear! That wasn’t there yesterday! Did someone slip me a micky? I never drink in public for that very reason. It could’ve been done at the source, the water pipes leading into the house. So they must be watching, they are! If I step out of this house, I’m a goner. I’ll just take a minute and think it over.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Mr. Big Personal Loans


Paranoia
Part 29 of 30

I really really really feel sorry for anyone out there who’s been caught up in loans. I’ll edit that word out later, and probably go with something different, something they won’t be searching for, with the purpose being to squash out do-gooding guys like me who might cost them beaucoup bucks.

These are things a guy like me needs to keep in mind, since I appreciate living and breathing. And there's forces in this world big enough and ready enough -- the executioner’s finger’s always on the switch -- to take out pipsqueaks like me. I don’t know if I can go on here, I certainly know I shouldn’t. But if I watch my step and encode my words, like saying “apple sauce” for “dollars,” and “purgatory” for loans, and focus on keeping this subterfuge under wraps as much as possible -- I’m not calling for their eradication, if that’s what you’re thinking -- I just might be OK.

How’d we ever get in this trap? We didn’t used to be! But back then I got some real low-down from my family on purgatory. They (purgatories) were something definitely to avoid. But going to the bank where you had your accounts and taking out a purgatory on something like a car or house was good. Just getting down in the weeds, though, with purgatories for everything else was a definite no-no. You may as well have been asking to be shot on sight. With the cause of death being your own stupidity. Because if you were not able to pay the apple sauce back the guy issuing the purgatories would be on you like Dillinger or Capone.

Remember Dillinger and Capone and all those bad asses? (If any survivors from their extended families are reading this, no disrespect against your forebears.) Although if I had my way, not only would they have been strung up from birth -- if we only knew -- but the taint of their seed would’ve been wiped from the earth generations back, just like if we get sick we cough it up and spit it out. Presumably to evaporate on the ground since there’s very little practical value to it beyond our good health. But purgatories, you should know, once they're out of control, you will know nothing about a healthy future -- maybe healthy for the purgatory guy but definitely not you.

And I see the signs they put up everywhere around The Big City, Mr. Big This, Mr. Big That. You’re tight on money this week, stop in! My advice would be to stop IT. Because miracle upon miracle, you’ll still be tight next week, something you want to stop. See the pattern here? Then the next week even, dammit, you’re tight again. Stop in for a quick purgatory. It’s simple, the apple sauce’s flowing easy. Week four they’re bringing out the paperwork, none of the terms in your favor. Week five they’re scraping up whatever is left of you once Mr. Big’s dog (reportedly a wolf) has eaten all he can choke down.

Finally Mr. Big's dog passes a big one, the your remains.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Is Susan Really A Bat?


Paranoia
Part 28 of 30

I feel like I learned something like this at the state university, although it’s been so long ago that I can’t remember the details.

There was a theory or speculation questioning whether what we see is reality in any real sense (whatever that’d be) or if the things we see are completely different, right down to shapes being utterly different, etc. If you think about it a while, it makes sense, but we’re very resistant to it because "reality" appears to be a given. Our hands feel something, we jump to conclusions. Like the story of  the blind men feeling up the elephant. He has tree trunks for legs, a necktie for a tail, and a sturdy windsock for a nose.

The theory -- a naysayer’s dream ever there was one -- is that every assumption is to be questioned, because we can’t be sure what reality is. I would’ve taken the professor on, but my vocabulary was pretty limited around smart people. But I still could’ve gone out on a limb: “Uh, professor, I notice that you express your thoughts with the same words we use. If everything is to be questioned, don’t you think you ought to come up with a vocabulary that isn’t part of the same farce? And your clothes appear to fit your body as though it’s shaped in such and such a way?” Where should the questioning begin? "What do the clothing know about your body that my eyes are missing?" OK, enough of me flaying the guy to no profit. Because I actually flunked that class because of other issues; honestly, I skipped all the tests on the theory that the tests, though required were actually not required. Which would be more true to the spirit of the class. But according to the professor -- against his previous scruples -- the tests were actual tests in the traditional sense!

Our guy in the graphic has something of that mindset going on. And probably all of us have been there a few times. It hits me occasionally, out of the blue, that I think things are the complete opposite of whatever everyone else thinks. It might be tricks with my eyes; I can’t make out what’s right in front of me. For me it's a serious side effect of paranoia. Your senses just go wacky, or perhaps they’re indeed fine tuned according to what reality really is. Even if that's the case, I’m still happier when reality goes back to its good old false self. Because I have most of the rules of that reality memorized and anything new I'm forced to "learn" I’m automatically against. If not because I can't accept its reality, but on general purposes, I'm just too mentally exhausted to accept new things.

I know I’d hate it if someone mistook me for a bat. And Susan here must be the same. “Look again, Buzz, does it really look like, does it really feel like she has a furry face like a bat and little beady eyes and a bat-cave that she returns to every night? You know where she is, right by your side, not hanging in a drizzly cave with the occasional bat flitting by.”

Friday, March 27, 2020

We Need Our Thinking Hats

 

Paranoia
Part 27 of 30

This tells in a nutshell why I never go to the hospital, unless it’s something simple like showing up for a flu or virus shot. And there hasn't been a virus shot to get yet. But even when there is, admittedly, something conceivably could go wrong. The syringe machine sees someone who’s on to it, someone knowing the hidden truth of machines, and so decides to boost the dose, or worse, to start shooting us so full of chemicals it’s like we raided the grocery store and ate meat. Ah yes, imbibing growth hormones, reverse trichinosis and full steam ahead mega vaccines...

It’s not the medicine I'm afraid of. I’m a big boy and get strictly big boy tummy aches. It’s the possibility that a machine somewhere, having a grudge against human beings for so long holding it down -- We’re The Man -- wants to squash us like bugs, sees what we do to bugs and turns the tables on us, a full-frontal attack.

What I see in that is horrendous, worse than I’m willing to tell. That’s how afraid I am to rock the boat. I may not have many years left and I’d rather wisely use that time to undercut machines and machine-like behavior in my own devious ways, never head-on. Machines have a tough time with asymmetrical counter-punching. I can handle that very well, but the machine could still get me. Because I was tested as a kid and am allergic to a full laser beam. My mom told me if I ever got wind of one my eyes would turn green and not from envy.

So… Where's that leave us? When you see machine problems and you’re against them, you need to put on your thinking hat (with the better qualities of a machine but more a psychological device) and let it pull the most necessary thoughts needed from your brain to combat those evil machines. Like Yoshimi with more prominence for thinking hats.

I honestly think that's a good way to do it. It’s very humane. It’s almost like going at it humbly, like I could be trying to convert machines to my way of thinking, and, I’m not going to cry… No, I’m going to cry if machines start killing themselves. One, big boys don’t cry; and, Two, when they do they contradict my statement that they don't. Then throw a machine or two in the mix and we could easily die from the dissonance.

So, no, I don’t want machines thinking for me. And if I have to keep a whole stack of thinking hats as high as the roof on the barn, so be it. We will counteract the modern trend toward machines-this and machines-that. Like beating spears into plowshares, we’ll face the dehumanized machine head-on, and hopefully regain our sanity and defeat paranoia. My computer says everything on this post is spelled right, so the next step is to post it.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Few Missed Bills


Paranoia
Part 26 of 30

You’d be suffering extensive, great, and persistent paranoia, too, if it cycled through your mind day and night, everyday, how things could still work out for you. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt 100% secure, but these days are ridiculous. It bounces up once in a while, but it always nosedives a little, with a strange nosedive that levels out before the final disaster, as though they're toying with me, stringing me along, never allowing me to get a firm grip on security and yet allowing me to keep enough hope and success so hitting rock bottom is that much more painful.

Naturally, winter’s the toughest time of year for picturing in your mind what could happen. I’ve been staying in my own place -- things aren’t terrible -- but any one of many different scenarios could burst on the scene. I’ve known guys better off who’ve had it all yanked away from them. They were foolish. They thought they had security, but I'd have the whole experience, security gone, knowing the depths a guy can sink. And it doesn’t necessarily get better. There’s no rule that things have to get better.

Let me tell you this, too, I have responsibilities, number one being my dog. She’s never been in the lap of luxury, but she’s never been hungry either. The day I took my dog from her mother’s teat, I promised her, “Underbrush, you’ll be all right with me. Put 'er there, pal,” and we shook on it. Which is a great trick she taught me, since I’ve long had a fear of touching animals or people. It goes back a long way, when I heard you could catch germs from everyone. Changing me from the gladhandiest kid to being completely mentally stoved up adult, tight as a tick. The dog also loosened me up quite a bit on that front, presenting her papers proving she’s had the next 50 years worth of shots.

Of course there’s no explanation other creatures really understand -- I barely understand it -- about money and being hard up. How can we be the so-called crown of creation, creatures of intelligence and sense -- and allow ourselves such a worrisome frame of mind, cutting off the legs of one another, our fellow citizens, our brothers and sisters. The country brags about what a great country it is, while half of us goes to bed nervous, teeth-chattering, having nightmares about our shots? Could their dog eat them tomorrow?

There’s a grove of trees up the street, I’ve mentioned it before, when some homeless folks were living there. Then they came and drove them off and put up a sign: “This property is monitored by satellites in space.” You see that and think, “This little two-bit sliver of land has its own satellite eye in the sky?!!” I laughed at first, then thought, “Where would I go to escape the satellites? I need a decent night's sleep...”

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Deja Vu, Did I Say Deja Vu?


Paranoia
Part 25 of 30

Actually, I thought I already wrote this one. But I’ve been through all my files, the various drives I keep spare copies on, my email where I always send a spare back-up to, and the various checklists I keep, and I even checked the toaster, and despite all that and the power of prayer I can’t find it anywhere.

But, really, I sort of remember seeing it. The browser crashed but it popped up on the screen big as life, but I had to jump up and go check the sink -- where the garbage disposal was running for the last half hour to get rid of the week’s garbage -- and when I got back it was gone again. OK (looking around) I’m not blaming this on parallel worlds or dimensions -- not yet -- but I heard the neighbor lady leave for work about a half hour ago but her car’s back in the driveway. No, wait, check that, it’s gone again. I definitely don’t see it. No, it's there.

Regardless of all that, here I am writing this again, which, maybe by now is worse than it was; it does seem to be a bit heavy with process. You do anything and there’s process and results. You crack a nut, you eat the meat of the goodie, no doubt the nut was cracked. But, really, what would you do if you had the nut still in your teeth and the uncracked nut was still on the table? I’ll tell what I’ve done before, I’ve marked the nuts, 1-2-3, etc., and charted them on grids on certified real paper, then just let the magic fall where it may. If I take the dog out and the nuts I ate are still there when I get back, I check to make sure the neighbor’s kids haven’t sneaked in the back door to fool me.

The back door, though, now, has a super deadbolt. So even those kids -- each possibly with super powers rivaling Houdini -- couldn’t be changing out the deadbolt and replacing it with my own bolt so easily. I’m sure I’d hear it rattling around, or the dog would bark, or something. Oh yeah, the neighbor guy moved out a few months ago! And yet there’s always activity over there, or maybe he just decided when he’s away to leave the lights on, probably on a timer, and that seals the deal, settles that case with a happy ending.

My big question on this stuff is, Could there be something wrong with my mind? I hate to think it starts with me, because that would be a terrible flaw. Could I bear it? I’d about have to, keeping it Top Secret and doubling up my monitoring of the door and certainly the windows. Why are people so comfortable with windows? They’re great for peeping out, but that door swings both ways, they’re also great for peeping in. Although, if there’s anything worth peeping in for -- a quick glimpse at my personal effects -- I always have the lights off. With only the fear of infrared glasses remaining. Or ghosts.

I can identify with the Old Judge. I’m sure if I were a cartoon, drawn and disposed of, redrawn and disposed of -- a bad artist at work -- that I’d be flummoxed a bit if I found myself doing the same things as the guy at the counter, over and over.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

My Invisible Nuts, Her Cleavage


Paranoia
Part 24 of 30

Remember yesterday when I concurred with holy writ as to the creation of woman from a rib? That’s pretty good, since women are essentially beings to be worshiped, and if you're not prepared to go that far, they should certainly be emulated. Which is not a dirty word, by the way.

I can think of my parents, what they were like, one of each. With the man having certain distinctives also, including his caveman consciousness. “I push together rocks [ala the Flintstones] and have a home. In home I keep my rocks safe. And get them off in the privacy of my humble abode. Which I’m abode to do right now if Wilma doesn’t hurry up and get home. Her loss, my loss! But there’s always tomorrow, where I am, way back in the past.”

It all relates to paranoia. Existence is never just equilibrium, it’s always driven by paranoia. But paranoia, being part of the whole, also acts as equilibrium. So in this obscure, cockeyed way of looking at it, existence truly is just equilibrium in action. Catch that, it seems contradictory but really it’s symbiotic. Like if you get sick and need some biotics. They work together in your body to make you well again. Like clockwork the perambulator goes back and forth, measuring the seconds of time and eternity. They then meet in the middle and that’s your life. There’s the spark at your conception then your demise, with the whole middle part being our now. How could anyone not be paranoid? Because they haven’t tasted of the fruit, generally forbidden.

Note: If anyone makes up a religion based on that paragraph, I need my cut. I'll settle for a piece of the holy literature.

Lets take a look at this balance thing, and if it clears up any obscurity in our study so far, I'll be completely surprised. But what else do I have to go with? All the really good explanations of paranoia, gender, and getting your rocks off have been taken. Everything in science and literature are on a first come/first service basis. And there was a lot of coming and service before I even showed up, so I’m working really with the off-scourings of feeble minds.

The device is a combination balance and weighing thing. You can see which thing is heavy (perhaps most important) and which thing is lighter, the opposite. And good grief, what do we have here, a little happiness for the ladies, I’d say. At least two bags full, and I’d make the argument with those hips and the hanging-from-the-hips part, she’s got the whole package! Then there’s our friend, First Father, the caveman with his invisible nuts, weighing really very little. Yet instead of building a shrine to her, he carves out and worships his own representation. But the tide might be turning on that in these latter days. I know just looking at it -- while it causes a certain amount of terrible paranoia to say it -- the side I’m going to take and like a double-barreled chest holster, support.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Caveman Meets Cavewoman


Paranoia
Part 23 of 30

I've got it going on a few days with the caveman, today accompanied by a beautiful blonde cavewoman, thrown in to soften up the place and give her the satisfaction of existence, such as it is. No matter what, I'd say just having her around would definitely make the toughness of life easier to handle. She'd be great to share life with, the ups and downs, conversation, and whatever followed from a quality relationship. She's got it going on.

But -- easy come, easy go. Anything you receive something (or someone) you can just as quickly lose them. I mean, I'd never do it to someone else. And full respect to everyone trying to cope. If you had something, unless you took it from me first, I'd leave it with you. But not everyone's so kind. I was just at the grocery store yesterday and someone stole a sack of groceries from me, true story. Which was weird, because she must've thought I had caught her, so she acted like she wanted to help me if I was missing something. I thought it was kind of weird, but figured she was just being friendly. Then I got home and was missing a sack of groceries, the items, and figured out the whole weird story. I'd never do that to anyone.

I want to examine this situation a little closer. Pretty decent curves, huh? The face, a very friendly look, like 'I'd never do you an ounce of harm!" And "I'll be right by your side, come what may, whatever enemies we might face..." And that's just the dinosaur, the woman would probably mean well for me, too, making the three of us a force to be reckoned with. She seems to be pointing, not quite, to the pile of lumber the Creator stacked up for the caveman, to build a cabin or carve out a cave.

The situation then turns a little sour. This has happened to me. If you think there's the slightest security -- smooth sailing from here on out -- you realize, no matter what, security's shaky. One day of happiness quickly overbalanced by three or four years of misery. There's karma, then there's Super Out-of-Balance Karma, the terror of unmerited discipline every time you think you've gotten a foothold on the future. In reality, it's more like a footHOLE, something to trip over, stumble over, and sooner rather than later fall into. If the hurt doesn't kill you, the embarrassment of it will.

Then you get a few neighbors. They see your weakness and move in. "This guy won't mind if I park my carcass a house or two down." Then he sees my hunting and fishing techniques, steals all my patents on things, the Anti-Pterodactyl radar, etc., and finishes off his victory with a brand new relationship, a certain blonde with a fickle heart.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Evolutionary Line Dancing


Paranoia
Part 22 of 30

After 20,000 years of steadily climbing out of the muck and mire, I regret to say that these current days -- the years since my birth -- have taken a decidedly downhill course. Is this all my fault? My answer to that important question tends to skew toward “No,” then goes for a quick U-turn and says, “Hell, no!,” before reconsidering the possibilities that indeed it could be partially if not wholly my fault.

Which I hate, and damn the luck, that I out of all the generations -- and I hear the 1700s were particularly great, thanks to men wearing wigs -- we had to pick now, my time, to change course so terribly.

It sounds like I’m admitting a lot, but, please, don’t take it that way. I’m trying more to reconcile the situation, that no one generation is responsible for anything unless it’d be to forego breeding all together. Which would have to be across the board, since obviously the current generation is more than me, myself, and I. I have relatives, some of whom I used to see when I was welcome at family reunions. Then, I don’t know who it was that started the rumor that I supposedly said, “This family be damned!” Whatever it was I said wasn’t really all that bad. Everyone has a bad day.

I really wouldn’t mind going back to the dawn of history and having a talk with Ugg or whatever his name was. And to let him know from my point farther down line we believe he had it easy. He had no one really to satisfy, no one to impress. Which is the way it had to work: He was born from someone, but there was a quick break in the line, be it continental drift or the family scattered after bad crops, and he was on his own. Once separated, they never rejoined. So everything he did then was easier. No judgment. Which all of us could use at times.

The eons sped on. And as the social web squeezed tighter and there were no completely obscure places to go, the rest of us had to do our best within an oppressive social environment, and that can be beaucoup pressure. You go to a family reunion and the guys have their "junk" draped out for a little comparison/bragging ritual that for some of them is a lot of fun. One cousin has it especially good, and they were always kidding him about it: “Hope you spool it up at night so no one trips over it!” He pats himself and with a sly grin says something modest, like, “It’s usually too busy for that, if you know what I mean,” before sneaking off with Cousin Agnes to Lord knows where, I guess sharing recipes.

In terms of honoring and shaming then, some guys get all the breaks! But, hey, take another look. I have a decent head on my shoulders -- who am I kidding? We haven’t had a reunion for 10 years, but I still know they’re talking about me, and laughing. They might have set a world’s record for it by now, this constant terrible laughing, leaving me absolutely no break in my imagination. And I’m frankly sick and tired of it.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

From Cave to Bungalow


Paranoia
Part 21 of 30
Yesterday had a caveman theme, today too, maybe a few days of it

That’s actually pretty hot, what the caveman’s saying, dressing down modern man, because he can, being a caveman and not one of our modern wimps, which includes me. You tell him, Ug!

But watch me bait Ug: “You wouldn’t say that to my face!” Then he starts to slow-speak it, the intensity of his eyes becoming enormous. Enough fire to consume a vein of coal. “Turn -- around -- wimp -- and…” By this point with his slow-speaking, I’ve gathered up every ounce of precious paranoia I have -- and I’m stoved up with it most of the time -- and I’m burning a hole in his forehead with the hot gaze of my suddenly glowing head.

Suddenly the caveman goes silent and drops to his knees. With my glare cooling off not one single degree. Then I’m taunting him: “Did you have something to say about spitting in my face? Didn’t I hear a hurtful spiel about you whimpering to Mommy?” His spear has fallen to the ground. And I burn my fury home, as only I can do: “You know my Mommy’s dead!” Suddenly he sees the real grudge I have. “You filthy caveman! You will not even THINK of my mother, let alone SPEAK of her! She was better than you'll ever be, in every respect…” He’s clutching his neck as I amp up the watts.

And launch into My Soliloquy:

“This vulgarity you spout from your filthy tongue -- what is that, a never-laundered skin of a bear that died of natural causes? -- about ‘my Mommy,’ I called her Mom, and goddammit, I oughta pull that cursed tongue out of your vile mouth and throw it to the jackals! But one thing I hate worse than any insult against my mother is the thought that jackals are even in the picture!” He’s then begging for one drop of cool water.

“My mother was a tougher woman than you can even dream of. With more fight in her little finger than you have in this whole mess you call a body. O the big tough animal-skin man! If I’d’ve been here the animal would’ve won, and he’d have your naked skin as a coat around his whole fur and thankful for respite against the rain. Although I don’t know, your skin’s pretty thin, and yet you’re the last to know it!” He seeks mercy.

“No, no, no, Ug, there’s no mercy for one as vile as you, not yet! Grovel, you half-baked monkey. You might not know this but I embody my mother! Can you conceive of that? Wherever I go, she goes! And my many brothers and sisters feel the same way. When she died, she didn’t really die, she was transfigured, and each one of us received of her strength. I used to be paranoid about my own shadow. Because I was a 98-pound weakling and I knew the kids were looking for every edge against me: ‘Hey, everybody, look how skinny his shadow is!” But you know where I got strength? Hell, you don’t know yet!? From my mother.” I suddenly feel like kicking him to death, but -- wouldn’t you know it? -- the spirit of my mother descends and my leg is calmed.

As Ug crawls away, I ask my mother why I’m so paranoid, and her answer was --- Aww, who am I fooling? None of this happened, Mom hasn’t been back forever. I slink away, again myself paranoid as crap.

Friday, March 20, 2020

When We Invented Rationality


Paranoia
Part 20 of 30

Here’s my best guess on the nature of consciousness. Not in the sense of being not passed out or awake, but in the sense of a mindset above the jungle, being uniquely human as opposed to our former animal nature: Man was ranging the veldt everyday for centuries. After a time, centuries, he realized he’d been watching nothing but gazelles leapfrogging everywhere, then put two and two together and thought [I’ll spell out what were only caveman grunts]: “Without the veldt in my way I’d be able to see farther than ever.” Up till then he had the view of tall grass in his line of sight to the point of distraction: “I missed the last gazelle being slaughtered when I was no more than 10 yards away.”

See that? The consciousness bug bit him! And he never looked back, but instead took upon himself the first task, to father as many children as he possibly could and teach them the new science. That happened, and 500 years later the veldt was as transparent to the eyes of man as if it’d been glass. Clear glass, no runs, no tears, no ripples, clear as a bell. And once you make that kind of progress, forget about it! You don’t go back. Just as the clear-eyed gazelle traverses the surroundings in leaps and bounds, so it was with consciousness. Man put his finger to his temple and recited: “I’m smarter now, I’m wiser now, I have the wherewithal to see for miles, and it has heightened my other sensibilities, giving me the ability to tell the future, learn about mapping, stow food away for the winter, fish with dynamite, fit saddles for horses, and take coffee breaks.

I'm kind of feeling for our friend the elephant or mammoth there. And not for the usual reason, their inability to slip inconspicuously out of parties. That’s a talent I have, although it’s usually overridden by my ability not to show up in the first place. My feeling for the largely-challenged animal has more to do with having to exert so much energy on their tasks that they truly feel used. We foolishly think,"They don’t care. They’re big lummoxes anyway, they’d feel bad if we didn’t have them working like the devil all day.” But look into the eyes sometime of these gentle giants -- and you about have to look into their eyes one at a time, that’s how big a head they have -- and you’ll see a lot of sorrow. For what, we may never know. My advice, give them a peanut and pleasantly point them toward their work, “There, there, work hard and there will be another peanut in it for you.” They don’t actually care.

And maybe they’re better off. Look how miserable we always are with our great consciousness. Because paranoia is everywhere! Which could be a part of the evolution into consciousness. We’re not quite through evolving. The next step being to overcome our paranoia with even greater consciousness. That’s what I’m looking for, and hoping (maybe against hope) that the paranoia won’t be even greater yet, with bigger and more horrible levels/types of consciousness, say, over the next 4 million years, leading to ever more virulent, unending, horrible paranoia. In that case, Lord, thanks for nothing...

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Neighbors Talking About Me


Paranoia
Part 19 of 30

If you’ve been with me so far -- and I don’t suppose you’d tune in midstream since it's seven years bad luck -- you’re probably afflicted with an above average case of paranoia. Which is another way of saying a below average disposition, because -- I discerned this by a show of hands at the last meeting -- none of us is particularly proud of it.

Just to show you that pride is a non-existent thing for the truly bereft in the attitude department, the day these people hushed themselves -- a congeries of whisperers -- I went home and hung my head in shame and cried till I was howling. Which got my dog in on the act so I softened. I thought, “Oh no, not the dog, too.” But she nodded her head, then let it hang low, the exact technique I’m known for. And immediately howled up at the basement ceiling and I joined in, saying affectionately, “From one old dog to another!” We high-fived and I poured her a little dish of beer, saying, “I know you’re only 3, but in dog years that's 21.”

But probably most of us hate being talked about like this, so it’s always better to avoid crowds and making a spectacle of yourself. But, again, thanks to the dog, I always have to be out and about. I try to hurry up the process but some things are hard to hurry, dogs and their cycles being one such thing. Then what? You haven’t got a crowd surrounding you, but there’s no question they’re out there in their houses, wherever. And with communications being what they are, free phone calls, unlimited messages, blogs like this, it’s indisputable that they’re talking about me wherever I am: “He’s out with the dog again! Yes, the same dog, he only has the one!” Or, “Look what he’s wearing, a sweatshirt and insulated jogging pants.

Here’s a little free advice, neighbor folk. You’re a bunch of brainless simpletons, locked away in your idiotic houses getting your jollies, getting your rocks off worrying about me and my dog. How about keeping your mouth shut? Such an easy question, how about an answer, as Elvis once sang. And hold down the Elvis jokes, because I’m sensitive in that area too. Although in this context, him singing “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog” would be apropos, except you as neighbors don’t even reach to dog-level, mostly scoundrels. And I’ve helped most of you before, too, picking up litter. Speaking of dogs.

I don’t want my misery to become your misery, OK? Assuming you’re a friendly sort, and feeling naturally sorry for me and my dog, I thank you. Anyone who discounts this torment, though -- you, I can’t even say it -- Come on, buddy, walk a mile in my shoes, OK? Yes, they’ve been chewed by the dog, but try your best to walk in them. Betcha can't!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Dear Earth Souls Of The Past

 
Part 18 of 30
Paranoia

I had a great time finding and arranging faces of all these dear earth souls from the past. I went back far enough, I think, that no one today will be able to say, “Yeah, I knew him personally, quite the guy.” And certainly they were remarkable persons at some point, but they’ve made the passage -- the old ticker fizzled out -- and if they’re conscious at all, it’s merely the huge ultimate amalgam of confused, indistinct non-specific Consciousness with a big C. Happening automatically by eternal life abilities, flitting about in the afterlife.

The hopes and dreams they had -- and the fears and heart-crushing paranoia they experienced -- are all past. Of course there’s people in our world today, and this is true for many generations to come, who are related in some way to most of them. A little research and you’d find great connections and be able to say, “This guy on the left with the stereotypical Old West mustache, my own nephew takes after him.” Or the three-headed lady bottom left, “Spittin’ images of my three-headed cousin! Who always hated the jibe, “Hey, Six Eyes!” Wonder what she had “where it counts,” going at it in shifts or just one hodge-podge V-V-Vector of mutual pleasure, and perhaps inspiring the first utterance of the now common question, “Was it good for you?”

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum -- undefined -- “Death Grips Great Mind.” Looks more like the kind of personality who would be coexisting with Old Man Bitter Paranoia himself. And if there’s any death gripping, it’s his hands around someone’s neck, gripping the very life out of them. The kind of guy I like to avoid, although I might brag a little on myself and say I have a few psychological trips up my sleeve that have allowed me to withstand more than one mass murderer. My trick is based on the story “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” The perp gets his filthy hands around my scrawny, completely worthless neck and I open my eyes wide the other direction, exclaiming, “Look at guy over there so much plumper than I! I’ll bet he’d be funner to kill, you could pop him like a pimple...” And there he goes while I’m ducking out, exit stage left. I have a deal with paranoia that allows me to run really fast. I chop the air in front of me to cut down resistance, and going 30 mph, in an hour I’m 20 miles away, only seldom having stopped to catch my breath or pee.

The nude woman next to the dartboard, I’ll just mention her in passing. Whatever you may have heard, she and I have never been anything more than friends. She showed up at my place once only, buck naked, doe naked, fawn naked, the works. I was overwhelmed with paranoia of a different brand from two voices, the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Strangely, the angel said go for it. But the devil said, “Don’t you dare!” That’s a dilemma! But I’ve been paranoid so long I even have a paranoia diploma and knew in this case the devil was right. The angel has a quota, trying to off as many people as possible to fill heaven with cheat grunt labor, those too sick to resist. But the devil knows if you keep your health, he might end up with a healthy soul to torment, a worst fate.

In this case, I resisted her charms, which I always do. I already know I’m going to heaven, so I didn’t fall for the devil’s selfish schemes. I’ve always been a fast typist and my heavenly reward is to type and retype huge lists of the worthy and the trash among us. Get on my good side and you might be something. Paranoia of a very rewarding sort.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Electro Robot and Sparko His Dog


Paranoia
Part 17 of 30

I’m letting Electro stand not just for Electro and his faithful dog but the whole computerized world, which as we know has taken over and has us marching in lockstep to do its terrible bidding. We have developed a horrible dependence on all this stuff, which is so bad that I’ve already given in to temptation three or four times in the last 10 minutes to check my Facebook. Someone may have “liked” my latest post about upgrading to a better Electro; Model 3.2 is out in case you hadn’t heard!

There would be a definite improvement in my life -- as I perceive it -- to tell my dog her services are no longer necessary and replace her with Sparko. I could argue that Electro has a hole in his heart when Sparko’s not around. And with an actual dog, nature has given them a wacky software, meaning they need to poop and pee more often than my own software wants to handle. In that way Sparko would be an real improvement. But just to keep myself in the good graces of pet fans -- if there are any -- I'm not taking immediate action, as I continue (reluctantly) to take my old-school dog out, so far still under 50 times a day. I even bag most of my own groceries just so I'll have enough poop bags and so far the store hasn't imposed a limit on the bags I can use.

But Sparko and Electro so far are just a dream not come true for me. Plus, I’m actually reluctant because, Do I really need something else to consume my time? And none of my neighbors have one either, so there’s no pressure to keep up with them. Really, the world has settled down quite a bit from the excitement of getting computers, hard drives, etc. I was looking at some of my blogging from the mid-to-late ‘90s, and my graphics were about the size of a stamp. They had to be small enough to fit on a floppy disk. We're never quite there... So it probably pays to wait.

Now all my floppy disks are gone, I don’t know what happened to them. Must’ve been when they quit putting the drives on computers we just thought, “What’s the use? Just move on.” The key thing to note here is that whatever you have now, it’s crap compared to what is to come. The old Electros will be sitting in the dump, configuring themselves with satellites above to wreak vengeance on us, and we’ll deserve it.

This is where the sad side of Sparko enters the picture. Small enough and well-programmed enough to do Electro’s bidding, he’s also on important missions for outer space masters to destroy our infrastructure. One mechanical dog against the world! But they’re faithful, if not objectively good, so what Electro wants, Electro gets.

If this doesn’t make your head swell with paranoia, I guess that’s OK. Once they take you out, as in terminating you as their so-called master, that'll be that much more space for me to stretch my legs and relax, to the extent relaxation’s even possible these days.

Monday, March 16, 2020

George Washington's Poisoned Peas


Paranoia
Part 16 of 30

And speaking of assassination attempts, what about George Washington’s brush with the poisoning of his peas? I certainly didn't see that coming and I doubt if he did. But obviously a certain Thomas Hickey not only imagined it but carried through with his devious thoughts. I haven’t looked up the details, not because I’m frugal with my time, but to avoid knowing anything more about it. I get something like that in my head and my paranoia's worse. So many times I've thought of things just to see them happen! Now this I've thought of -- poison peas! -- but I just brushed with it, so hopefully I won't have any worries.

But on a deal like this -- ha ha -- knowledge might be power. And the last laugh should be mine, because I don’t eat peas in any real sense. I never buy peas, no one I’ve ever lived with except my Mom, who’s now passed, even liked peas. Just having them in the cupboard made them the most secure food in town. None of us except her had any desire whatsoever to eat them. If pea farmers were waiting for me to keep them in business, they would’ve been bankrupt a long time ago or would be selling carrots.

Now that I think of it, though, sometimes there’s occasions where a few peas will be in something. You go out to eat, get a salad, and there’s a pea or two in it, since they’re supposed to be good for you. And -- I’m raising my hand -- I am guilty of eating the occasional pea in a salad if it happens to be there. Just so they’re not together by themselves in a huge quantity. Then it’s out of the question.

And now that I’ve heard this story about George Washington, it only demonstrates a hidden layer of wisdom to my life. I was already anti-pea. I never heard of his trouble with peas before. But somehow I knew to avoid them. I had to have been thinking there’s something about these that could be poisoned. Even though we honor Washington for whatever it is he might’ve done -- crossed the river once -- we’ve never been that excited about him surviving poison peas. Now, though, that’ll be the first thing I think about him in my remaining years.

It would’ve been great to have known that in school. The teacher calls on the class to enunciate a few syllables about George Washington beyond cherry trees and a desire to always be first at everything, even the presidency. I shoot my hand up, the other kids are about to laugh because I’m about to say something completely stupid, and out pops from my mouth this most important thing there is to know about the Great Man, “He was almost killed by poisoned peas, and I’ve got my eye on the lunch lady!” The lunch lady’s called forth and hanged by the neck from the gymnasium rafters until she’s dead. Then we cleanse the land.

Looking closely, they even have the perp’s name, Thomas Hickey, a Tory agent, But that’s a Tory for a different day. Next we consider that George Washington had a death mask, put it on and faked his own death, then got the hell out of there on his Early Limousine. And the Secret Service still hasn’t lived it down!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Target For Assassins


Paranoia
Part 15 of 30

It'd be a terrible, strange, not-very-nice feeling to be marked for assassination. I can see it from every angle, me in my innocence walking along minding my own business, then from the shooter's scope with the hairline bullseye, the gun barrel letting him discern the precise bearings. What a dirty skunk he is to want to shoot me, the most innocent do-gooder and go-getter in the world! Before me the world was basically lost in a jungle of misery and confusion, then with a few run-of-the mill blog posts enlightenment came to the masses. It only happened relatively recently that I went to a hypnotist who helped me give up all reticence when it came to writing and just puke it out. Since then the world's been a better place. I hardly recognize it.

But there are cases where even if you're a great guy you're still an assassination risk, and I suppose they could mistake me for someone else. Some people say I look like Einstein, some say I remind them of Martin Luther King, and others say I resemble Butch Smith, a childhood friend. So if I thought long enough about it -- that's long enough -- I could get really paranoid. To think, a mob boss is out there somewhere hiding in my humble neighborhood. There’d be no better cover. Then he goes out seven or eight times to walk his dog -- like me -- and the sight of me humbly picking up dog poop is so offensive that he wants to make me a victim. He radios to the gang: “I'm going for a head shot." That's terrible!

So without professional security, I have a lot of bases to cover. My next defense might be plastic surgery. They operate on me with plastic knives and forks, no clinking of metal to alert the assassins at their rendezvous nest, full of vipers. An eye-tuck here, a nose-tuck there, next thing I’m barely recognizable to myself in the mirror. Even my mother wouldn’t recognize me, although she's passed on.

Even if there aren’t any actual assassins gunning for me -- and this is where the real value to my schemes reside -- there are lots of attacks on other people, guns blazing, knives coming down at a 45 degree angle, people poisoned, you name it. The other day there was someone shot out of a cannon and he landed on the interstate and 12 cars ran over him trying to avoid him. That's another cause I promote: "Avoid Distracted Driving." They’re screwing with their radio, reaching to the glove compartment for make-up to apply on the trip, lipstick, or trying to hit the kids in the backseat, or just putting it on cruise control and drifting off for a catnap. It’s far too easy to imagine 12 cars running over an assassination victim if he's crossing the road.

Despite the risks, I still need to go out today, pick up a friend from a medical appointment, and of course tend to the dog, her business. If you should comment on this and I fail to answer you, assuming you deserve an answer, please call the police and let them know: "A guy from your area has just been assassinated. Please send help and a body bag. What's he look like? Sort of like his old friend Butch Smith. Or try Einstein or Martin Luther King, Jr."

Saturday, March 14, 2020

They'd Peck Your Eyes Out

 
Paranoia
Part 14 of 30

I think this one might be a little sensitive for a few of you. Because you value your sight and the thought that it could suddenly be gone, it’s right up there with the most frightful traumas. As for me, I typically shun anything that seems to be that traumatic. I mean, I’m as paranoid as anyone, but some things are so bad I totally exclude them from my thoughts, really not even allowing a consideration of them as a possibility. Out of sight, up shit creek.

So I don’t know if I can even consider these things. This one's approaching prime nightmare country for me. If I go on -- and boldness seems to be getting the better of me; I guess I live to impress with my boldness -- it could be such a stimulus to karma and you-know-what might happen. I’m not even going to say it! Obliteration.

But it’s happened to others, I don’t know why it couldn’t happen to me. Which I didn’t say, my only surmise hitherto being that it could happen to me, and I want to exclude that as a thing, whether a likely thing or a long shot. But long shots are real. Someone just out of the blue -- and I’m going to be looking at assassins tomorrow -- could pick me off. Fade to black? No! Don’t let it happen...

I may as well say it, I completely know that I’m going to die someday. And someday’s getting closer all the time. I may be feeling pretty well today, and I’m more or less on top of my game, but there'll come a day when I’ll wake up screaming: “My legs, they don’t work!” (I hope it’s not my legs.) Or, “My eyes, they don’t work!” Or, “My entire body (excluding my mouth), it’s gone completely haywire, totally whack, it’s defunct, I need a total being-makeover, I can barely breathe, my lungs are dripping into my legs, my butt’s cracked, there’s toe-jam from the soles of my feet to the nape of my knees. Get a doctor STAT and send for the undertaker, one who’s willing not to charge me if I accidentally live!”

This is a paranoiac’s feast, the full spread, an endless panoply of every terrible dish, and this time we didn’t forget the gravy! My leg as a stew-bone, it could happen! Right down the line from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, someone could do anything with it. Get enough of us together, worthless bodies, and we could end global hunger. Cannibalism, why waste a crummy body like mine? At this point it’s more than paranoia, it’s acceptance.

You’ve all been trailing me these many years. Even when I was 22 or something, they were saying, “This guy can’t hang on much longer. But look how young and supple he is! We’ll harvest his organs for transplants and end hunger with the rest. Blah blah blah blah, see that my tongue’s already ceased functioning, and my fingers have forgotten the feeling of the keyboard... Asdfghjkkl, send help!

(Doesn’t it look like Asdfghjkkl sounded out would be “As a dignified jackal”? Do jackals even have dignity? I think not.)

Friday, March 13, 2020

Piano-Players' Paranoia


Paranoia
Part 13 of 30

One of the things I never learned was to play the piano, and really all it is is a typewriter that sings. I had a guitar I kept on my back. I got so used to wearing it I'd forget it before sitting down. Then one day I decided I had no talent. But of course I found myself able to hammer out a few chords and ended up playing three or four songs for some folks in the nursing home one time. None of them shrieked bloody murder and ran out the door, but they would’ve if they could’ve. Even today the survivors are still talking about it. I'm just guessing.

We actually had a piano where I grew up, along with a chord organ. But no one in my family ever learned to do anything with either one. I remember trying to figure out the chord organ and having my finger on the button a little too long and my Dad shrieked bloody murder and hollering up the stairs, “Play a different note!” That was a setback for me. But he didn’t run out the door, so I kept trying to up my game. It turned out I was never good at it, a disaster. I’m not sure if Einstein was ever a great piano player either. But we both probably could've been.

So it wasn’t my fate to be a musical genius, which I wanted to be. I heard a line about a particular guy though, who ate beans and was considered a musical genius. Something like that is true of most of us.

I’m going to propose something for myself, and see how well I stick to it. Every time I’m at a place and someone starts playing the piano or organ, I'll just throw up my hands and mutter, “It’s all been done to death,” and walk out. It really is true. I may not know how to play, but I know how to hear, and it’s the same old boring grind time after time. They start somewhere in the middle, they toss in a bunch of lower notes, then a bunch of higher notes -- the area of the keyboard supposedly meant for flair and flourishes -- and you’re supposed to sit there and take it. So you lightly applaud, then grasp your stomach, “I think I’m having an aneurysm,” and run for the door, “Get me the hell out of here!”

Things that have literally been done to death are my kryptonite, the source of a lot of my paranoia. If you’re going to play the damned piano -- how boring -- at least acknowledge that you're not the first and probably not the best. Otherwise they'll just think you're showing off.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Therapy For Paranoia (Dangerous)


Paranoia
Part 12 of 30

Of course there’s therapy for paranoia. Although I’ve forgotten the details from the many times I've looked into it. The idea of showing up for therapy in anything -- while I guess it’s a good concept -- is something I’ve never actually done. Why? I'm afraid it’d incriminate me if I said why, so I won’t go into too much detail. But just leave it with a vague, “To each his own.” I don't want to be incriminated, having something like that on my personal record.

So that's it, count me out. As long as it’s a matter of your own choice, I’m good. Although if this is truly a picture of it, it might be tempting. Just looking around the room, everyone seems to be definitely zoned out in a positive way. There’s old Madame Grimaldi at the switch. Then young Flora, Fauna, Frizzy, and Weedette zoned out. With -- what have we here? -- his sleeping bag rolled up and stashed behind him and zoned out in his own way, Danny.

Leading to a question I’ve asked myself many times, When you’re trapped and strapped down in a paranoid fit, is it better to take proactive measures against it or is it an important part of your life that you shouldn’t miss for anything? I know I’m in the minority here, but I think it’s important not to miss too much. There are exceptions, which, if I can keep it together in this moment I might sketch out. Eh, what the hell, let’s get to that first: The exceptions would be if you pose a threat to others.

In this case, if I’m reading Danny right -- and as dull as he looks his condition’s still clear as a bell -- if he scooched one inch closer to Grimaldi, or moved in any direction toward one of the sleeping belles, I’d be on him with the burliest attendants I could rouse. Safety is first and foremost, saving the victims and going as easily on the perpetrator as we can. But as we all know -- any newbies, please step out, this is an advanced course -- sometimes we have to reinforce a perp’s paranoia with a strong response. Taking him out … of the room with all due prejudice, then freeing the victims and getting them safely back to their rooms.

And I don’t like the arrangement one bit. Look at the short straight line between Danny’s dull eyes and Madame Grimaldi’s soft exposed neck. I see a serious threat of displaced identity in his eyes, which can only manifest itself in agitation and a quick lunge. He looks calm. But most wolves look equally calm just before they spring and tear the throat out of their prey. Which is nature’s way, no doubt, with no possibility of institute-threatening lawsuits. If there’s no chance of lawsuits, or inconvenient damage to property, I suppose, let him go. But a real threat, you simply have to take the perp out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

My Dog Safe With Buddha


(Not part of the Paranoia series)

When they came out with the latest virus, naturally I was concerned. What am I going to do, drop dead with all the other losers? I always heard it growing up, “Get your exercise. If you don’t, you’ll deserve what you get.” By which they didn’t mean all the boys, but a short life, a sudden death, maybe dangling from a rope, depending on the crime.

My concerns are like everyone’s. I came into the world a few years back, relatively speaking. My memory’s hazy on the subject, but there were apparently 15 billion years when I wasn’t here. Then at the end of that vast span, I popped into the world like clockwork and since then have hung on for dear life. Saying, “I will not willingly go back into the void. I’m here, deal with it.” I said this through times of war and peace, although I didn't serve in either. With some regret, though, because I think it would've been great to serve in the war. Maybe you remember my pitiful longing for the service in my post, “Sarge: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

My big problem with the Corona virus these days is, "What’s going to happen to my dog if it happens to me?” My dog I got on a fluke. Her mother was in the yard minding her business when a smaller dog got through a crawlspace in the fence and consummated a brief relationship. Yielding five puppies, one of which became mine. So it was someone else’s problem and we’ve been joined at the hip now all these years. Had I been a block away, had I not answered the phone that day, we would’ve never met.

But we did meet, and we’ve had a special bond ever since. I’ve seen her through many things, learning to love dog food, etc., and I get her only the best. We have to keep going. I’m all she’s got, but with my advanced years naturally I worry what could happen. Now, all of a sudden, there’s a virus going around that threatens people of my demographic, older gentlemen who breathe and touch their faces. The store’s even out of paper towels, that’s how hard up we are. Because I use paper towels to clean up my dog’s poop. And suddenly they’re more precious than gold...

Anyway, have I mentioned, I can’t die! Because what would become of her? She’d wake up and not get her expensive food, not go out to poop, etc., She’s already kind of upset about the paper towel shortage. This other thing, my demise, I don’t want to have to lay that on her too. She might stroke out and I’d be left alone, with my last roll of paper towels that I was holding on to for special times, her birthday, the day she was spayed, etc.

Beyond the frills of paper towels and things, there’s the sorrow she would feel if I were suddenly stricken by viruses and died. “Why'd he have to abandon me? Was he thinking of the time I accidentally peed on the kitchen floor?” That’s terrible, I don’t want this dog to have one ounce of troubles or sorrows. You might remember, that’s how Buddha started out. His dad kept him from troubles and sorrows. Then he discovered suffering and found out, “Shit happens.” He sat under the bodhi tree and was enlightened. If I die, my dog will have things to deal with, heavy stuff, and might even be peeing at the base of a similar tree and come to a place of inner knowledge. I hope to impart enlightenment to her, but so far my attempts have been met with resistance. She'd rather play with dog toys than meditate. So I just breathe and wait.

But so far I’m still alive, so Buddha can meditate and keep his gentle arms and hands folded until that day, if ever, when I'm not.