My humble apologies if you’ve been trying to ring me up anytime today. As I may have mentioned, I’m walking a bit of a tightrope these days over the usual foetid and alligator-filled swamp. I do fall off the rope occasionally, but I’ve learned valuable lessons from our squirrel brethren on scampering out of the skanky brine and up the nearest tree or pole so I’m back on the highwire in just a jiffy.
I hope that makes sense. Writing hasn’t paid my bills as much as I’d like it to these days, and even though I’ve been writing a bunch more (see Wednesday’s SN&R for a few items), I’m still a bit behind the eight ball, metaphorically speaking, and so thus I am temporarily incommunicado when it comes to certain communications devices, but not this one. I am sorry. A man has to eat, and some of us have to make choices between eating and, well, other things.
So this morning I got up and rode over to the light rail station, got on at Posey’s (damn you, La Boulangerie, for being sold out of porridge at 9 a.m.), rode the train out to its terminus at Watt and Interstate 80, rode my bike to my destination and did the interview, but got lost first (which was where I discovered that a certain communications device was not working), asked a person of central Asian heritage at a bodega if I could borrow a phone book to look up an address, and got shouted at like I was some kind of bum. I’m glad I’m not a Tea Party Republican, because I probably would have been so livid and butthurt I’d be going back with an F150-load of yokels to burn the place down, but, hey; to him, I looked kinda sketchy, and I can abide that.
Yes, I am a fuckup. This doesn’t make me a bad person, except maybe to some people. C’est la vie.
Anyway, afterward I rode back to the train station, and a woman got on and sat down in the back of the car across from me. She had sores all over her face, a pack of Maverick cigs in her grimy hands, and she mumbled non-stop about some pretty incoherent, angry shit. Meth, I thought. At Alkali Flat she got off. Or she stood at the top of the steps as the door opened and mumbled more stuff about “you can’t come in now.” Suddenly a guy pushed by her, yelled “get the fuck out of the way, bitch!” and bodyslammed her over so a throng of people, or maybe six or seven, could squeeze by, and then he gave her a good shove and she went flying out of the train onto the sidewalk.
“It’s fuckin’ raining,” he shouted, defending his action. The Wackenhut guard outside just shrugged. Minimum wage don’t care. “All these people tryin’ to get on the train, and this crazy-ass bitch be telling us we can’t come on here. Fuck that shit, man.”
Yeah. Still, the poor woman’s brains were clearly baked. The whole ride back to town, I watched her rant while other passengers rolled their eyes before looking away, and couldn’t stop thinking: This person really needs some help, but does she have access to it? Would she accept help if it was offered? And what about the moral judgment of, well, she did this to herself, so tough nut, buddy? At any rate, the whole thing made me sad. That’s one thing about being out and about in public, on the streets, so to speak: I see indignities every day. A warm and fuzzy society, we just aren’t.
Saturday morning, I rode the light rail out to Sunrise Boulevard for another story. I suppose this bicycle and public transport thing makes me a real “green” citizen and all that, but I just do it because I’m poor, nay, destitute, and it’s my best option these days. But I do see some funny stuff. Riding back, a black guy with dreads got on and then he started playing tinny-sounding hip-hop on his cell phone player: “nigga” this and “nigga” that. I heard some grumbling noises and turned around; there was a Walmart-obese middle-aged white guy wearing a hat with a big Confederate battle flag on it — the stars and bars — and if he was a cartoon character, he’da had smoke pouring out of his ears. Man, that was some Acadamy Award-winning pissoff there. Fortunately, I got off before anything boiled over. And it looked like it just might any minute.
Write back if you like reading this blog. These days, it’s the best way to reach me. —Jackson Griffith
I don’t know about you, but I can’t figure out if I’m a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter or a bar of soap. I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s blog, and I’m really confused. And I’m not trying to be deliberately snarky about this; I realize that, as a writer and an aspiring musician, that it might really help me if I could codify my essence into something pithy, something bright and shiny and resonant and, um, slightly irresistible.
Trouble is, I’m usually all over the road like a full-sized American sedan from the 1970s.
But I want to be incandescent, and positive, and incandescently positive, and positively incandescent, too. All four. At once. You know, bright and shiny and upbeat, like taking mushrooms on a beautiful spring morning, dressing up like something out of a Fellini movie and singing along with loudly played ABBA records at the top of my lungs, hoping the birds nearby will join in and pick up the harmonies.
It’s been said that I have a tendency to be a bit of a “dark mofo,” as in, “Griffith, you are such a dark mofo sometimes,” and perhaps the graf immediately above reads like snark. It isn’t meant to, though. I’m just trying to communicate something essential: I want to come across in a way that is understood, and in such away that kindness and laughter and maybe even a little of that mercurial spark of love radiates from me to you and back. I’d like to be a little more Judd Apatow, and a little less Luis Buñuel. I’d like to spark up your sandwich with just the right balance of sweet and savory.
Oh, what the hell am I talking about? It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m posting something here just so that you’ll read it and maybe laugh. I’m posting so that my “blog hits” don’t go into the negative figures, so that you’ll stay interested and maybe you’ll keep reading this blog, because it’s really about the best thing I’ve got going right now.
So, back to branding. Look, I know I’m a good writer. With a little elbow grease and focus, I can be a great writer. And I want to do that; I want to move people. Because I’m kind of aloof out in the world — my favorite personal cliche is that I’m that guy people elbow out of the way so they can hug each other — but because I really do love connecting with people, I know that writing, for me, seems to be the most effective way to do this, so that’s one core characteristic of my brand: Does not play well with others, perhaps, but can reach them and touch them with words.
I’m also a pretty good songwriter, a damned good one, really, but you probably don’t know that. I’m still working on my presentation, and my singing voice, and my guitar playing. The blessing-slash-curse is that I’m pretty creative, like a fountain, so new ideas are always coming up, and I lose the time to go back and perfect songs I’ve already finished. Of course, at age 55, I’m kind of long in the tooth to pick up a guitar and go out and expect people to listen to some alter kocker when this is a 22 year old’s game, but all these Baldy McYogapants pundits of the new paradigm that I’ve been reading keep saying that there are no rules or gatekeepers or anything else stopping me, except maybe club owners who don’t want to book me because I’m past my sell-by date in their opinion. Their loss, and yours, too. But as certain hexagrams in the I Ching suggest: perseverance furthers. I get up every morning, and it’s a new day. My credo, if I have one, is this: Never give up. Ever. So there’s another core characteristic of my brand: That songwriter who never gives up.
Going forward, my brand will be about transparency — what you see is what you get — and generosity. The latter, because so many people have been generous to me, and I’ve kind of walled myself off from everyone else over the years, and used to be a hoarder when I had stuff, and see the folly of that now. So I plan on giving my time and, when I have it, largesse to help others, because that’s how you get yourself into the flow.
I guess I’m not as confused about my brand as I thought I was. Well, maybe. —Jackson Griffith
When I was a kid, I used to be able to tell you the address, and phone number, and the names of everyone who lived there, and what year, make and model of car or cars they drove, and some other random stuff, too, for every house in my neighborhood, and I’m talking about well over a hundred houses. I’d extracted the information from reading the telephone book, and from asking questions, and from general observation. I would hold court at the Village Oaks swimming pool in north Stockton on summer nights, entertaining my mother and the future billionaire’s wife and whoever else was there with my strange gift for knowledge.
I also grew really fast, and I was uncoordinated as hell. People called me a spazz. I’d bump into walls, knock tables and chairs over, break stuff, conk my head on things, and oftentimes I had little control over my limbs. I also caused a little trouble with my mouth, so often I would shout out whatever popped into my head before I’d had a chance to mull over whether that was a particularly good idea. This got me into lots of hassles in class. I thought I was the class clown, but oftentimes my humor was so far outside of what my contemporaries thought was funny that I might have well been doing standup comedy to squirrels in the park.
Over time, I developed the identity of a misfit. I started hanging out with the other neer-do-wells in my neighborhood of postwar flattop houses, which in retrospect was pretty working class; Average man: flannel shirt, lubed hair, work dungarees and boots, drove a pickup truck with a camper shell and radio permanently tuned to KRAK Radio 1140, which played nonstop Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Tammy Wynette. And those guys didn’t like me too much. And if they did, well, one was advised to steer clear of those types.
So even though I was considered “gifted” and I always tested in the top one percentile in school, I couldn’t get my work done in any kind of timely manner, and my desk usually was a laughable, appalling mess. My report card typically had the box checked that said “Does not play well with others.” I had trouble relating to my peers, and those interactions became painful, especially once nascent adolescence fired up my hormones and, thus, my emotional reactions. I began telling my mom I didn’t want to go to school, and I would stay home and listen to records and watch daytime television, not the soap operas but the talk shows, like Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin and Dick Cavett. I developed a peculiar affinity for lounge singers, bad comedians and other random show-business personalities.
Around that time, I’d switched my obsession with addresses to record labels and catalog numbers. I had this thing where my mom — who in retrospect shared similar misfit qualities to mine — would bring me home 45-r.p.m. singles from the shop around the corner from the insurance agency where she worked. I would look at the charts for KFRC, KSTN or KJOY, the three big pop stations where I lived, or KSOL and KDIA, two R&B stations in the Bay, and when I would spot a title on a label whose design was unfamiliar to me, I would call my mom and promise to perform some chore in exchange for her bringing home the vinyl. As I was familiar with most of the mainstream center-label designs, she often would be bringing home singles on obscure R&B labels; three I remember vividly, because the music on these three records changed my life, were “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding (Volt), “She’s Looking Good” by Rodger Collins (Galaxy) and “Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville (Parlo).
I won’t go into the years of self-medicating here, because I’ve covered it elsewhere. Suffice it to say that one of the things I became painfully aware about myself in relation to others was that often there was a big disconnect between us. On rare occasion I would feel in sync with people; on others, it was like I’d landed from another planet and had nothing in common with anybody. Most of the time, that uncomfortable lack of connectivity was somewhere in between — just a bit off, but far removed enough that I’d feel like the odd man out in a roomful of people. I still feel that way quite often, but to a much lesser degree. And I’m much more comfortable in my own skin these days, which I attribute to being clean and sober for 17 and a half years, and being prompted by the resulting emotional pain to do real work on myself, to try to figure out what makes me tick. Oh, and over that time, I’ve discovered certain spiritual tools — prayer, meditation, forgiveness — that seem to help me get in touch with myself, and bring me into better relation with others.
Still, I’m just not quite there. Some days, I’m really out of it.
And lately, as I become more aware of just what it is that makes me different, my soul becomes washed over and drenched with the passing storms of deep sadness. I turned 55 last weekend, and I’m looking back at a lot: Not being able to keep it together long enough to finish school, and as a result, not living up to anywhere near my potential. Then, my broken relationships — a complete wreck of a marriage to someone who was damaged in different ways than I was, and then losing the love of someone I really felt a deep connection with. And my broken friendships — yes, I’ve got friends, but I’m generally just not capable of making a long-term connection with people, and I’m usually on the periphery of circles of friends rather than in the center, and oftentimes my friends just end up drifting off, like they shake their heads and walk away in dismay. And, in the last couple years, trying to keep rolling in a wrecked economy, where I can’t just go off and find some nondescript job and show up every day and hide out until I pull everything back together again, has made things tougher than I’d like them to be.
When I still had health insurance, I’d ask doctors if they could help me figure out what was wrong. A few years into being sober, I got diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, which made sense, and I read a bunch of stuff on that and it resonated, but it didn’t quite answer my questions. So I’m hyper. Plenty of people are, but they get stuff done, and they aren’t so woefully out of sync with the rest of the world. And toward the end of me being covered, I was discussing this stuff with one of the doctors at the big friendly McMedicine HMO I’d chosen for coverage, and this person, after I described all the stuff I listed above, and more, casually said:
“Maybe you have Asperger’s syndrome.”
I remember getting pissed off. “Yeah, right. I’m autistic. My [now-ex] wife calls me an autistic spazz all the time.”
I never pursued doing all the testing that would result in a formal diagnosis, but everything I’ve read since on Asperger’s fits me like a tailored suit. I’m guessing my mother had it to some degree, too. Over time, I’ve been able to mitigate some of the really uncomfortable manifestations of Asperger’s, via the self-awareness that developed, glacially, via a daily meditation practice. I can go to my breath now, and tune into the moment, and read people’s physical cues better, and connect with them more effectively. It’s not perfect, but I’ll take an improvement over what it was like before, any day.
But the tragedy, for me, is that I’m so far along in my life. I’m not working all that steadily right now, so the health insurance that would help me get some further testing, advice and treatment just isn’t available. Perhaps I should have gone to live in one of the civilized industrial nations, one with single-payer health insurance — or “socialized medicine,” for you Kool-Aid enthusiasts. But that’s neither here nor there.
I write this not out of self-pity, but in a spirit of understanding, and to say that I’m still pretty mystified why I don’t mesh all that well with the rest of the world, and to tell you that I really really really want to connect better with people. Fortunately, one of my gifts is the ability to communicate with you via writing, because I’m not getting constantly distracted by your eyes or face or what you’re saying and my brain isn’t rattling and vibrating all over the place and inserting rhythm tracks from old James Brown records in inappropriate spots. I can sit here and think about what I’m saying and type it and edit, and it seems to get a part of me across that doesn’t come through in other ways. So I guess I’m kind of a born writer.
Recently I saw this TED talk by a woman named Temple Grandin, and what she had to say just blew my mind. I’m part of a co-working community here in Sacramento called The Urban Hive, and one of the things they do is get together a couple of times a week to watch videos of talks from the TED website. Community is really important to me, because as disconnected as I sometimes feel, when I have those moments of connectivity, I really prize them. And what’s really cool about the TED events at the Hive are when we’ll watch something and then a discussion arises afterward; sometimes, what we talk about will be directly related; other times, what comes up will be tangentially related.
I’m glad the room was dark during the Temple Grandin talk, because I started crying. Now, I’m a guy who came up in the pre-touchy feely “rub some dirt on it” days of learning proper emotional responses, so I’m trained to shut down whenever the tears well up. Fortunately I was able to wrench myself back to Mr. Spock-style detachment, at least I don’t think I looked like somebody who was about to burst into tears in a horribly embarrassing manner.
What came up in our discussion afterward was the need for mentors. If I’d had someone who spotted what was going on with me when I was a kid, my life might have played out quite differently; instead of getting constantly slapped down by martinets who needed to make an example out of me to ensure the rest of the herd knew not to step out of line, I’d have found someone who recognized my innate gifts, and could have steered me in a positive direction, before I started messing around with altering my not-quite-formed consciousness with certain destabilizing substances. Once a kid reaches that point, he or she has a far more difficult time getting back on course, and is a lot harder to reach, in my opinion and from my experience. I might be a successful artist now, or a filmmaker, or a scientist. My writing might have gotten going much earlier, and I’d have a skein of books to my credit; I wouldn’t be still sketching out my first novel at age 55. Something. Anything. The creative young minds of this world need mentors, or at least the ones who have decks stacked against them do.
Good god, I hope this makes a little sense to somebody. —Jackson Griffith
Postmodernism in blogging: Posting something to tell everyone that you may be back a little later to post something else, but that something else isn’t this and you don’t have time for the something else just right now, so if you’ve been hanging onto your seat waiting for the next big thing in this space, just hang tight and eventually it will show up. Just not right now.
As Tony sez: “We kid each other, but if we can’t kid each other, who can we kid?” —Jackson Griffith
Pretty much every morning, I get up, grab my zafu and the zabuton it sits upon, and walk down a flight of stairs to a quiet spot on the landing. I put the zabuton, a large and thick rectangular mat, down, and then I put the zafu on the center of the zabuton, toward the back edge, so that I will be facing east. Then I sit on the zafu, a meditation cushion that raises my butt above the level of my knees, now folded Indian style, and click the small kitchen timer I’ve brought with me, which is set for 45 minutes. Then I straighten my spine, pin my shoulders back, cup my left hand inside my right hand below my navel, thumbs touching, and then I close my eyes. And then I breathe deeply through my nose, relax, let the breathing find a quiet natural rhythm, and I let go into wherever I am.
What generally transpires is that I notice the ambient room sound, and then I focus my attention on the air coming in and out of my nostrils, and then I notice the quality of whatever thoughts arise in my now-quieter mind. Memories coming up? Note “remembering,” then return my focus to the breath coming through the tip of my nose. Thinking about what I have to do later, or what I want to do long range? Note “planning,” then return to the breath. Thinking critically about something? Note “judging,” then return to the breath. Getting a bunch of images or even a movie screened in my head? Note “imaging,” then return to the breath.
As simple as that sounds, sometimes it’s hard. Occasionally there’s physical pain, especially toward the end of the meditation sit. Sometimes my thinking swerves all over the place, a phenomenon certain Buddhists call “monkey mind,” and occasionally I’m physically tired, and I find myself slipping into a dream state, which although pleasurable is not desirable for purposes of meditation. And sometimes nothing happens except the breath: in, out, in, out.
Eventually the timer goes off, and then I go through a sequence of metta affirmations: “May all beings everywhere, without exception, be safe, and free from all harm and danger, inner and outer. May all beings everywhere, without exception, be peaceful and happy. May all beings everywhere, without exception, be healthy and strong. May all beings everywhere, without exception, be able to care for themselves, and live with ease in this world. May all beings everywhere, without exception, be free.” Then, affirmations for myself: “May I be free from danger. May I have mental happiness. May I have physical happiness. May I have ease of well being.” And then, the same sequence for several benefactors, and several strangers, and several people I’m having challenges with, and a few pet animals I’ve met, and then for the building where I’m staying, and the neighborhood, and the city, and state, and country, and world, and finally for all sentient beings. And then I dedicate the merit of my meditation sit to all beings, and offer gratitude to the three jewels: the Buddha, the dharma, the sangha.
I also pray, a set of prayers I’ve learned in a 12-step group I’ve been a member of for 17 and a half years now: basically, prayers centered around the practice of the third, seventh and eleventh steps, plus a few others, like the Serenity Prayer popularized by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr. If I have to get up and go somewhere in the day before meditating, I make sure I get a sit in sometimes during the day or, if need be, that evening.
Thus constitutes my formal spiritual practice. I write this because, lately, I’ve gone through a stormy period, where the normally quiet and centered part of my being has felt more out of control, and, basically, I’ve been spouting some crazy stuff, or at least it’s crazy for me. As I intimated in one of those posts, it’s because I’m living way outside my comfort zone, and physically I don’t have a real center. Not having a steady job, and losing personal relationships, and then getting to the place where I’ve occasionally even gone through the hardship of not having enough to eat, can destabilize even the most rock-solid paragon of centeredness, and I of course am not that paragon.
On the positive side, however, I’ve learned I’m a lot more resilient than I’d thought before. Part of that may come from the consistency of my spiritual practice: I’ve managed to meditate every day now since beginning Vipassana (Buddhist insight meditation) practice at the end of July 2007, and I’ve added other elements (prayer, metta) and will add even more — generosity, for starters — as I continue to trudge along. The result is that I’ve been able to roll with certain events, experiencing them with a cushion of distance between cognition and knee-jerk emotional reaction, and overall there’s a camlness to my mien that wasn’t there three years ago.
But then I get hit with an emotional storm, like something stupid: A birthday brings up a bunch of old unmet needs, or the visceral perception that my needs aren’t being met today, and there I am back on the dock, flailing stupidly like a fish out of water. So, well, if anyone wants to meet a guy for a little late birthday cake or pie in the next week, lemme know. God, I’m being so stupid here, but it’s old irrational business that I’ve gotta find some way to square away, so I’m taking the liberty of giving it voice. Maybe that will help me bury that old inner zombie once and for all, reclaim the quiet-center part of me and move forward. Or, at least I can hope, right? —Jackson Griffith
It’s not easy trying to dance … with, well, gosh darn it, that engorged tumescent state, with testes swinging ’round like, ahem, two coconuts in a tree or something like that. Which is to say that I just got done seeing Blowfly at the Press Club, live, the kind of nasty-ass tentpole revival that put my musty white buttcrack back on the track to success and happiness. No more of this crinkly fulminating about not getting nobody to join me for no birthday cake or pie (I got issues about that dating from childhood, and I just need to bum some goddamn money and go to Rick’s Dessert Diner tomorrow by myself, flip the bird to you all and bury that stupid little wah-wah of mine for another year with a slice of something sweet), because I am rejuvenated with some kinda thanghood. Kudos to the funky ladies in the audience, too, whose twisted pulchritude brought my flagging lothoreo cookies out of retirement.
And aside from the genius of Mr. Clarence Reid, and with due respect to MC Hipster Baggy Pants Dude, plus the always cool Crazy Baldhead and whoever them Japanese game-show punk-rock bees was, I must also give it up for MOM, who served up something out of Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets as directed by David Lynch and watched by me on mushrooms, but I wasn’t shrooming; it was just really strange and hilarious. Red dress, pink tush, yellow mustard, mutant Norman Greenbaum, weird twist music, spat milk, helium vocals reverbed across the river Styx to the big bad witch’s old shoe house — it was brain-damaged fairy-tale time. “That shit’s gonna give some people nightmares,” one of my friends said to me afterward.
Not me, though. I dream stuff like that, and then wake up laughing. I’m sick like that. —Jackson Griffith
Damn. Ever have one of those days where you start writing, and things just don’t seem to be coming together? This will be my third try at a blog post today. The first two, well, the first was me going off on how the world gives us all feedback and what it’s given me lately, boo 2 tha hoo, is that I’m kind of a total misfit Asperger’s dweeb who does a few things remarkably well but sucks at plenty of others, including friendships and other relationships, especially with women, and that there are times when I seem to be doing okay and even thriving, but that sometimes things fall apart on me kinda quickly and I’m left with the bittersweet goldenrod patina of tears and hurt feelings sullying my otherwise copacetic mien.
My second attempt was a wild stab in the other direction, inspired by chimpanzees, or one in particular, romping about in the first episode of the new fourteenth season of South Park (about 11 minutes in, for you sports fans), which made me think that all my problems could be solved overnight if I could just morph into an insufferable asshole with a fuckload of money, and then I could blithely bang and swerve my way around the planet like an entitled wastrel, spreading tons of wreckage in my wake. Hey, man: Fuck you! Hey, babe: Fuck you, too! Literally!
Which might be fun, come to think of it. At least momentarily.
But the true path lies in what the Buddha called the middle way, and that’s where I’ve got to steer this juggernaut of existence. I need to stop being so self-involved, maybe, and start becoming more outer directed, and sweet, and kind, and gentle. And even though the world has become such a polarized place, with people embracing one extreme or another, maybe that’s not such a great idea for someone like me to skirt with extremes.
Oh, fuck it. I just need to make a humongous amount of cash and have some goddamn fun for a change. I need to repurpose the entire way I position myself in this world — my brand, so to speak. I think I need to become the biggest douchebag this world has ever seen, a fuckstick of Brobdingnagian proportions. That’s it. I’m giving up on the nice guy thing. It’s douche for me. It’s time for me to show the rest of you swaggering alpha-male assholes what a real swaggering alpha-male asshole is about. You know the old joke that asks what’s the difference between a porcupine and a Porsche? Well, here’s a new punchline: With a porcupine, the pricks are on the outside; with the Porsche, I’m driving, and fuck you, get out of my way, you’re wasting my goddamn time and I’m tired of your bullshit. Oh, and before I forget: Fuck you.
There. That felt better. Now to work on my misogyny and morning drive-time toilet humor, along with making fun of people less fortunate than me. Which is everybody.
Gee whiz and gosh darn, Mister Griffith. You sure got up on the wrong side of the bed today, didn’t you? Yep. And I don’t even have a bed to get up on the wrong side from these days, which is about to goddamn change, let me tell you, because I’m tired of my life sucking, and if I have to grow old, I’m gonna grow old by being a greedy, good-times-grubbing prick motherfucker who doesn’t give two shits about anybody else, especially you. I’d tell you to get off my goddamn lawn, but get out of my way will suffice.
Um, all philosophizing aside, it’s Tuesday, and today is one of those days I feel like I just haven’t woke up. Awakened up. Waked up. Screw it. Stopped sleeping. But I’m still asleep. Not to mention that I’m living way outside my comfort level these days, and sometimes I’m pretty cool with that, but there are other times when I’m not.
Today, I’m in a pretty decent mood (no, really, the stuff above is just me venting for a cheap laugh), except for a short stretch of riding along Alhambra Boulevard, for which I shall propose a name change of said thoroughfare to the city, the new name being Clueless Assholes Who Can’t Drive Boulevard. Shoutout to the card-carrying stupidfuck in the Nissan Quest minivan that nearly clipped me while pulling out of the Wells Fargo branch at Capitol, and sounded like it was running on one cylinder: Dude, you damn near ran me over, twice. I’d say learn to drive, but that’s probably not a possibility in your case.
Most likely, I should not post this. Maybe, if I went and got that big slice of devil’s food cake with extra frosting that I didn’t get on Sunday, or maybe some apple pie a la mode, I’ll stop being in such an intermittently shitty mood, and I can move on with life and get happy again and spread happiness like Mister Sunshiny Sunshine. Or maybe I’ll just go see the amazing and legendary Blowfly do his thing, and that will pull me out of this particularly lethargic and slightly dyspeptic Tuesday. Ah, to hell with it. Better luck tomorrow, right? —Jackson Griffith
Postscript: Okay, I’ll stop being a butthole now. Get happy!
Yesterday may not have been the greatest of days, simply because the old ego reared its ugly head. “Feed me,” it demanded, like a spoiled child. “Make me happy.” I responded by allowing awareness of this emotional pain to rise and manifest, if not in full flower, then in large-enough blooming buds to result in some kinda gnarly blog posts. Which I will own; I won’t take them down.
One post, in particular — penned late at night after I came to the semi-shocked realization that no parades in my honor would be forming in this town, and I was left to my own devices to provide my birthday amusement — gave voice to a cranky part of me that normally sits in the corner, occasionally sticking its tongue out. I did make a couple of points in that post that I’d like to clarify now, however.
Do I really think that so-called conservatives should be microchipped, tattooed with a big “666” on their foreheads and deported to somewhere in the desert on the other side of the world? No. Not really. I believe that people should be able to think for themselves, and that opinions that differ from mine are as welcome in this world as mine are. But sometimes, when the so-called conservatives’ ranting and bullying behavior crosses over several lines of civility, it does occur to me that maybe a solution so drastic may not be such a bad idea. However, implementing something like that would violate principles of respect for opposing ideas, And just because so-called conservatives would like to send us into permanent exile, or even death, does not make it a good idea to do it to them.
Do I really think that Rupert Murdoch should be stripped of his American citizenship and deported? Yes. Sometimes, one must not back away from the obvious. This one man has done more damage to America than anyone, he has more blood on his hands than anyone, and he’s certainly earned a spot on the hit parade of American ignominy. The fact that he’s a fellow Scotsman makes it even worse. So send him away, and deal with News Corporation using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, better known as RICO. Bust up NewsCorp, shut down the obvious criminal enterprises and propaganda outlets and well-poisoners like Fox News Channel, and sell off the other parts — 20th Century Fox, Fox Television, MySpace, HarperCollins. Identify the chief rabble-rousers, like Roger Ailes, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and others, along with fellow travelers like Rush Limbaugh, and hold hearings on whether they should be offered chances at redemption or should instead be deported. The collective mental health of the American public demands such a drastic solution.
If my previous post offended you with its profanity, I apologize — to a degree; I probably could have said the same thing with considerably less f-bombs. But I was pissed off, and a little out of sorts because the warm feminine side of the universe was not cozying up to me and regaling me with bountiful hugs and kisses, and so, well, you’re intelligent, and it’s pretty obvious that I was bloviating in ways that Buddhists often term “unskillful.” This post isn’t entirely skillful, either, but what the hey. I just wanted to clarify some things I’d said.
And now for the bright side. We got health-care reform, passed by the House on my birthday. Yes, it has to get cleared by the Senate, but it’s clear that the ball is moving down the field in the proper direction. And after health-care reform, perhaps we can hope that some kind of financial reform gets put together and passed, and maybe we’ll get some media reform, too. One can hope, but hope is an ephemeral thing, and some of us have lived long enough to see hopes dashed many times.
That said, I really don’t mind a little moment of victory occasionally. Especially when it leaves the opposition bellowing like cranky toddlers coming down off a Cap’n Crunch buzz. —Jackson Griffith
File under: You’ve got to be fucking kidding. What’s up with these butthurt conservatives tantruming all over Washington? And why are we continuing to put up with this bullshit? Seriously. It’s like watching your sister’s spoiled teenagers losing their fudge because they didn’t get everything they wanted for Christmas or something, and it’s three months later and they’re still making everyone else’s lives miserable. Every day.
So why do we put up with this childish bullshit? Is it because we’re too meek to stand up and say, look, fucksticks, you and Team Jeebus lost the goddamn election in 2008 because your side looted the treasury and started a couple of wars and gave tax cuts to billionaires and did a bunch of other crazy reactionary shit for eight long years, and we think you should go to the back of the room now, sit down, shut the fuck up and give us adults a chance to try and fix everything that you imbeciles broke or otherwise fucked up, and please don’t give us any of your lip because if we wanted any more shit from you we’d squeeze your heads. So shut the fuck up.
I mean, what the hell? Showing up in Washington with signs with pictures of guns on them, threatening assassination to people who won’t kowtow to their bullying horseshit act? Hurling vile racist and anti-gay epithets at elected officials in Congress that they don’t agree with?
This shit has gone way too far for way too long. So, President Obama, here’s what I propose, beginning by appointing a czar of dealing with rampant stupidity. If no one else wants it, I could use the job. And here’s what I will do:
First, I will round up every last one of these cretins and microchip them like dogs, and I will tattoo a giant “666” on their foreheads for good measure. Then, they will be anesthetized like drunken bears, gathered 40 or 50 to a net, and Chinooked across the Atlantic to some godforsaken spot in the Sahara or the Arabian Peninsula, which shall henceforth be known as “Dumbfuckistan,” surrounded by detectors that will be set off by their microchips if they try to leave, and trained Cossacks or Mongol horsemen will round them up and kindly return them to the reservation.
Second, their propaganda network must be broken, so Rupert Murdoch’s citizenship will be revoked and he will be deported to this Dumbfuckistan region, too, to preside over a special city, Butthurtograd, a Dubai-like paradisical enclave for the wealthy that will serve as home for Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, the Savage Weiner, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and tons of wealthy Republican donors that enable this wingnut tantrumic bullshit, along with the Republican politicians that direct this crap, including they guys running the GOP, along with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, plus Joe Lieberman, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin.
To ensure that things will remain reasonably copacetic, a resort employing a large number of adolescent boys from Thailand and other locales in Southeast Asia will be set up to service the wingnuts, and a dispensary featuring all of Big Pharma’s greatest opioid hits — Vicodin, Norco, OxyContin and more — will be up and running around the clock; don’t want any celebrity junkies jonesing and unhinging on the radio or TV, do we?
Team Murdoch will be allowed to broadcast their mind-numbing and soul-killing filth on a special Dumbfuckistan radio and TV channel, only available within the parameters of the reservation. Outside of the Butthurtograd resort for the have-mores, the peons will live in relative misery, subsisting on Carl’s Jr.-catered strokeburgers and other fast-food toxins, with medical care provided by the same insurance and other corporate jackals who have fucked up medical care in America since the so-called Reagan “revolution.” Crayons and poster paper and other large placards will be provided for the residents of outer Dumbfuckistan to vent their spleens at “libruls” and “Comrade Obama” and other “enemies” of conservative, um, thought.
Finally, the United Nations will station troops around the parameters of Dumfuckistan and Butthurtograd to keep the stupidity contained. It will be in the interest of the rest of the world to keep these idiots isolated from the rest of the global population. We don’t deserve their virulent swill. But no matter how bad we don’t deserve their stupidity, it should be pointed out that I am in no way advocating violence; the new citizens of Dumbfuckistan and Butthurtograd will be treated humanely and even kindly, but contained and kept from infecting the rest of the world with their tantrums anymore.
Okay, you say. That’s a little butthurt rant from you, Mister Griffith, and you’re no better than the clowns you would imprison. Well, yeah. I’m just tired of this crazytown bullshit, and it hurts to see and hear it continue, and sooner or later one of these boneheads will shoot some innocent people or blow up another office building, and people in Murdoch’s employ will continue to ramble about “patriots’ blood watering the tree of liberty” and other fucking malarkey when it should be called for what it is: terrorism, plain and simple.
And maybe it’s because, yes, I am a little wounded, and if I’d had some dinner companions or even a little bit of physical affection to offset this stupid butthurt-on-birthday issue that comes up every year like an old scab over a sore that doesn’t seen to want to heal, then I might not be spouting off like this; I’d be going, oh, the conservatives are riled up? So what else is new? Water is wet? Oh, scratch behind that other ear, honey, and your fingers sure feel nice in my hair now. Mmmmm. Thanks! Can daddy have a big kiss, too?
But no. So yeah, I guess I have issues; they come up every year. It’s idiotic, really, I got more love this year courtesy of Facebook and elsewhere that I should be walking on air. But that’s the funny thing about issues: they’re not rational. And starting at sunup on March 22, I’ll swallow my pride and get on with my reasonably okay and occasionally miserable existence for another year, trudging forward, hoping things get better. And they will. Especially if I stop being such a self-centered little twit and just give of myself to other people.
The difference is, my childish bullshit is over with, right away. It lasts for like one day. This conservative butthurtapalooza just keeps going on and on and on. And I really wish it would fucking stop already. How about you? Aren’t you tired of this bullshit? —Jackson Griffith
Sitting here, looking out the window onto P Street. It’s a beautiful day. The sky is blue, the clouds are fluffy and white, and a somewhat beautiful but slightly hosebaggy woman just walked by with what looked like a midriff injury covered in cellophane and tape bandages, but was just another large and ugly tattoo; she was in the presence of one or two douchey-looking guys. Someone’s tied their two pit bulls up to the bike rack while they’re in the liquor store next door. Skanky! And now somebody’s stumbling by and gargling obscenities like vintage Tom Waits with his testicles hooked up to a hand-cranked generator.
Life is good.
And I’m washing clothes, and wondering where I lost my now-missing yoga pants and my long bike pants, which disappeared this past week. It’s my birthday. I talked to my daughter. I miss her. I miss my mom. I miss having people who call me up and want to get breakfast. I got lots and lots of sweet people wishing me a happy birthday on Facebook, way more than I deserve. Last night, totally impromptu, I was standing outside of Luigi’s Fungarden talking to this stoner artist dude and someone rapped on the window and I watched as Adrian Bourgeois and Ricky Berger sing “Happy Birthday” to me from the stage. How friggin’ sweet is that? And yet I’m slightly butthurt. I want women hugging me, kissing me. I miss having a wife or a girlfriend who makes a fuss over me on the anniversary of me popping out of the chute. I miss getting together with friends. I hate being this slightly disgruntled loner that people don’t quite understand. Sorry, Courtney, but I want to be the shmo with the most cake.
Yeah, it’s stupid. I guess I just want to be loved, to be venerated, even if it’s only for one day.
I’ll get over it. I always forget how birthday afternoons are kinda like sugar-frosting hangovers after too much devil’s food and too many twizzlers and red vines and sodas, that moment when you crash and realize that the bombshell Bettie Page clone or even Chuckles the Clown is not going to jump out of the giant cake, and there even isn’t a giant cake or a party or anything, and you’re sitting around doing something utterly stupid and mundane like laundry, and the only women in the joint are, well, let’s not violate political correctness by discussing size or sexual orientation or even attractiveness, but just say that they are most definitely not your type. Fuck.
So just typing this makes me feel better. Yeah, I’m a big fuckin’ baby, and I’ll own it and rock it, too. Hard. I really don’t give a shit if anyone sees my stupid vulnerable side, either. It kinda makes me more human. Or more dumb. I dunno. Now my stuff’s in the dryers, and once it’s done and folded, I can go hang out at Zelda’s.
Probably time to give up childish things, and take up checkers in the park with the other peepaws. —Jackson Griffith