Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's like high school, but worse.

I'm about to become that much lonelier. The reason being that I am starting to realize my neighbors are, for the most part, children that never grew up. They stopped maturing mentally in the middle of high school, and lost sight of the bigger things in life.

I'm a nice guy. An honorable guy. I want people to not only play nice, but to see past the little bubbles that represent their lives and care about others. I seem to be all alone in this aspect of life. Like high school, rumors have been coming back to me about me, and I find myself stressing over the stupidity.

For example, after chatting to my neighbor, Kim, about the idiots who live on the floor directly above us, I learned that I am considered "the neighborhood snitch." Why? Because I'm the one seen going into the office to complain about people treating our apartment complex like a college dorm. There are plenty of people who blast music in their apartments without opening their doors to disrupt the whole neighborhood. They have friendly gatherings that don't offend anyone. Occasionally, these kinder people get a little loud, but nothing worth complaining about.

Then there are those who constantly act like children, such as the neighbors upstairs. I now believe they are pounding on the railing with the sole intent of irritating me. The same applies to the blasting of their music, shouting all the time, and other childish behavior. And now to discover that there's a lot of "he said/she said," with me at the center of the rumors. It really is like high school all over again.

It doesn't help that I'm the sickly, nerdy guy who is incapable of fighting back. What am I going to do? Threaten them with my cane? Yes, I'm sure that'll go over well. In my mind, I hobble over to confront them, a fight starts, I black out, and before I know it, either I'm standing over several badly beaten people or I'm waking up in a hospital.

Yes, I could probably leave some people badly beaten. Adrenaline can do some amazing things. Back in 2001, I got into a fist-fight with a housemate in a boarding house. It started with him throwing punches at the back of my head when he lost his temper with me. While he threw punches, I calmly took my glasses off so they wouldn't be damaged, and then I turned around to take him on. The next thing I knew, I was shaking his hand and saying, "Good fight." I had no marks on me, while his neck was red-raw and his knees were skinned. According to him, we were on the ground, him on top and laying into me, when he says I flipped him! Then I climbed on top and started choking him. He told me that when he gasped that he couldn't breathe, my response was, "I DON'T CARE!" The incident left me terrified, and was a reminder that I really have to keep my anger in check.

It doesn't help that I received one lesson that makes fighting me all the more dangerous. Disabled or not, I have the habit of aiming for a target beyond the one I'm hitting. I'm not proud of this, but I once broke a man's ribs after he attacked me.

I suppose that's one thing of which I can be proud. I have never started a fight, but I've certainly finished a few. Been a long time, though. I'm probably not up to surviving such an altercation. To be honest, I never want to have such a situation arise.

And so I am abandoning the high school aspects here. I'm going to stop talking to a lot of people, as I simply don't need the nonsense resulting from so much as chatting with someone. I have enough problems without idiots adding to it. I won't bother them if they won't bother me. And I still won't bother them. I'll leave it to the apartment management or the police to handle the confrontations for me.

G-d, I hate my life.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I want grenades.

It's a sign that things are bad when a pacifist wants explosives. Specifically explosives that send shrapnel flying in all directions to cause maximum damage. I no longer want to confront my neighbors about the noise they're creating. I simply want to throw grenades at them, ending their existence on the planet.

This all begins over a month ago, when new upstairs neighbors arrived. The woman moved in with her 19-year-old daughter, who is extremely good looking. Slobbering, sexual fantasy-inspiring kind of good looking.

Looks, however, do not a human being make, and the young human female proved as much within a few nights of moving in. She and a bunch of friends chose to go swimming around 1 AM, making entirely too much noise. The pool is right outside my apartment, so they had woken me up, and I opened the door to tell them that the pool closed at 10 PM. I received a rude response from one of the boys swimming with the group.

Hope was handed to me the next day when the mother brought her daughter to me to have the daughter apologize. WE chatted, and I actually thought these people might have simply made a mistake, and were being kind enough to apologize...

But I was wrong. Without fail, every single day, someone from their apartment has banged into the railing above me. This produces a loud BONG that reverberates. They play music very loud and make it their business to keep their door open to irritate the world around them. What's worse, it's often not music, but (c)rap. With the bass turned all the way up to make sure all windows in the area are shaking.

All of this comes after their apology and a visit I made to them. I thought they were friendly. I chatted it up with them, pointing out that people who treated this apartment complex like a college dorm tended not to be welcome. As proof of this, when I went to complain about them, I discovered that I was not the only person going to management to lodge complaints. I have been told they've received numerous warnings...and yet they are still here.

Today is the end all be all of disturbances. The music is loud, they have guests running around, shouting and shoot pellet guns, and acting like irresponsible children. I have complained twice to the office. My next step is to call the police. There are noise laws here in Arizona, specifically when it comes to the welfare of people. My PTSD is causing me to lose control physically and emotionally, to the point where I've had to take a dose of Xanax in order to remain calm.

Of course, a little homemade justice would be nice. Just lob a grenade at the offenders and be done with them. I have a low tolerance for people who demonstrate stupidity on a regular basis. I'm not people who qualify as "special," where brain damage or a birth defect prevents them from acting properly. I'm talking about humans who can't see past their personal bubble, and don't care about those around them. A part of me would like to try and talk to them, but it seems that after the false apology, any promises for improved behavior would be them lying to me to placate me until they can act like idiots again.

Anyone with access to military surplus should e-mail me. Thanks.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

They don't even put the "fun" in dysfunctional.

For the last few days, a neighbor has invited me to join his family for dinner. I sudden craving for red meat was fulfilled last night when he said they were grilling up some burgers. Not those pre-fab burgers that you can buy in boxes of 40, but lumpy, hand-made, filled with all kinds of veggies kind of burgers. By the time dinner was finished, I realized I had stayed for the food, and not the company.

Let's start with the guy that invited me. We'll call him "L." Pros: Nice guy; honest; takes no BS, gives no BS; can make a meal out of the most bizarre elements around the kitchen when money is tight. Cons: Crude to excess; wanders both his apartment and the apartment complex in just his underwear; will interrupt the most serious conversation to add some kind of perverse joke.

Then we have his wife, "D," mother of four kids. Pros: Frequently doesn't wear a bra, and one is granted a generous view of her cleavage. Cons: Frequently doesn't wear a bra, and one is granted a generous view of her cleavage; thinks acting cute makes her cute to everyone; would like to lose her kids in the desert so she doesn't have to be a responsible adult...ever!

Live-in baby-sitters, Mork and Mindy. (Their real names start with M, so they might as well be the fake names I've given them.) So we have Mork first. Pros: former addict getting his life in much better shape; good taste in music; good sense of humor; easy to talk to; is about the only man on earth I feel comfortable calling me "brother" that isn't actually related to me. Cons: Just isn't around enough, and when he is, his focus is thrown all over the place. Mindy, pros: Is a giant child that knows when it's time to be an adult, despite her dislike for needing to be responsible; takes no BS; loves to laugh. Cons: sometimes goes overboard with the "big kid" act; not so much selfish as she is forgetful to remember others; while taking no BS, sometimes hands out extra portions of it.

Other neighbor-friend, "Big T", mother of two. Pros: smart; sense of humor; reading fiend; easy to talk to. Cons: her weight is a perpetual cause for my concern, and I fear stress will eventually lead her to a heart attack.

D's kids/L's step-kids are, as I often call them in real life, John, Paul, George, and Ringo. "Ringo" is their only daughter, and the oldest. Pros: absolutely adorable; Ringo is smart as a whip, and could well become a doctor or lawyer if she so chooses. Cons: the boys have the attention span of of a gnat; John, the youngest, is five and seems speech impaired...when he asks for a drink, it sounds like he wants a "sink."

Big T's kids, K and M. Pros: adorable; both have killer eyes that grab your attention. Cons: M will be a lady-killer, and will get all the women I was never able to, which makes me envious; K whines we she doesn't get her way, and is entering the throes of puberty at full-throttle at only age 10.

Okay...With the exception of Big T and I, add alcohol to all the adults. The cons, where applicable, increased tenfold. The worst of it was D, who thought that shouting she was "a good bunny" was amusing. Images of Bugs Bunny pulling the shotgun from Elmer Fudd popped into my head, with Bugs saying, "Screw it. It's Rabbit season. FIRE!"

Add to this the moment when men lifted the shirts of their respective women to flash breasts at me, primarily with the intent to make me feel awkward. Mind you, I have no objections to seeing feminine parts. But such behavior had my moral hackles on end. Thank G-d the kids hadn't been called inside for dinner at that point. The little ones range between ages five and ten. What went on amongst the adults was embarrassing.

I didn't want to be the odd man out. I tried to joke along. In the end, however, I found myself eating, staying long enough so as not to seem rude, and then fleeing home to the peace and quiet of my studio apartment. I didn't actually have any fun. The highlights of the evening's activities were sharing some riddles with the kids, as well as a little chat with K, explaining to her that good behavior lands unexpected rewards.

I just needed to vent, kids. And from now on, I believe all invitations to dinner at L's place will be answered with, "No, but I appreciate the offer."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave.

With a little banking business to attend to, I was able to indulge myself in a chat with my favorite security guard, David. I must freely admit, here and now, that our conversations are tainted with a sick and sometimes gruesome humor. But then, such things cannot be avoided when speaking about...JUSTICE!

Yes, dear readers. We spoke to some extent about the United States legal system, the laws that run our nation, and what constitutes true justice. Of course, I was able to slip in my various jokes about becoming Dread Lord Emperor of the United States, and this led to some discussion about taking a backward step from that which is considered..."civilized."

For example, the hot political issue of immigration. The deterrents that we decided might work better than some silly "virtual fence" included motion sensors and snipers, heads on pikes, and signs lining the fence lines that read, "We defy you to find the landmines buried in the field for the next few hundred yards." No actual landmines. Just a little screwing with the minds of those making a run for "the land of milk and honey."

Therein lies the problem...the misconception that fleeing to the United States is a good thing. David would like to see those who hire illegals lose everything, to the extent of burning their houses to the ground. There's a part of our minds that runs to that extreme and says, "Yes! We should do THAT!" Stepping back and thinking it through, it's just the frustration of the situation that makes our imaginations run there. I JOKE about extreme measures...mostly.

These Mexicans trying to sneak into the States really think there's something better here. If you think the U.S. economy is sinking, I understand that the Mexican economy exists at the bottom of the ocean. So someone wanting to escape that scenario has three choices.

1. Come here legally. It takes a LONG time for that to happen. Meanwhile, their families starve and don't receive any medical care. And in the end, many are rejected for whatever reason. Citizenship is not something we give away in a box of Cracker Jacks.

2. Sneak across the border on their own. Difficult, but not impossible. But once they're here, then what? The laws of the U.S. are racing to catch up with anyone who hires an illegal alien, punishing them with fines for the moment. I sense that if it gets bad enough, they will start shutting such businesses down altogether.

3. They muster what they can and hire a "coyote" to transport them here. ("Coyotes" are not just animals here in the southwest; they're also human smugglers.) Unbeknownst to these people taking this particular route, they are likely landing themselves in a life of slavery. Coyotes want more money than these people can afford, and have to work off the fees, usually doing something degrading and illegal.

There's a lot of bad thinking all around, including what David and I came up with as deterrents. Yes, there's something to be said for lining the border with the heads of human smugglers on pikes, but then there will always be someone desperate enough to risk becoming the next head on a stick.

The head on a stick was a big theme of yesterday's chat. Imagine wanting to become a drug dealer. You think the lifestyle of a "gangster" is the end all, be all of existence. You make your contacts, get your product, and start looking for territory to start selling. Alas, everywhere you go, you find neighborhoods lined with the heads of previous drug dealers. Suddenly, that minimum wage job at McDonald's is look pretty good, especially when the buzzing of flies on rotting flesh haunts your every thought about drug dealing. And there's a side benefit! More room in the prison system.

I'm very much "an eye for an eye" kinda guy, specifically when it comes to harming children in any way. (I'm talking about genuine crimes against children, not arresting a parent for spanking a child in public.) David suggested public executions, televised, to deter this particular type of crime. I went further, suggesting a month of extreme pain, and then the public execution at high noon. And none of this lethal injection nonsense. Nope...we're decapitating these bastards and lining their heads up with the drug dealers.

"And people who text while driving, too!" I added.

Here, David disagreed. Texting and/or chatting on a cell phone while driving...David's idea for people who are so stupid as to do these things and be pulled over by the police was this: the gas is drained from the tank of the person's car, piped into the cabin area, then set on fire with whatever device they were using while driving. On top of that, said person is never, ever permitted to drive again.

"Gee, Rob...That's a bit extreme, isn't it?" No. What's extreme is a train conductor so absorbed with texting someone that he misses a stop signal and causes a collision that kills 26 people, including himself, in California. THAT is extreme.

The question is: Am I serious about these levels of punishment? To an extent, yes. I was 16 when someone asked me if I watched the news, and I said, "I don't need to watch the news; I already know we're killing each other." But some part of me - that part that says I should be a responsible adult and stay on top of current events - got me into the habit of watching the news. It's amazing how the news hasn't changed. The victims have different names, the crimes are becoming more complicated as technology advances, and the locations are expanding as the human race grows. And because we are "civilized," we race to catch up with the criminals.

Sickest and dumbest example on the planet, (and I mean dumb in that it should never have happened in the first place): a fire marshal here in Phoenix was discovered in someone's barn committing an unnatural act with a LAMB! Yes, bestial pedophilia! As sick and perverse as this was, there was no law against it! Not here in AZ. Oh, but we rushed to get one on the books as soon as we could afterward.

Adam's Law, Dru's Law, Megan's Law...All of them created after something horrible had to happen in order to bring about a need for them. Well, what about David's Law? "Kill 'em all and let G-d sort 'em out." I would expect no less from a man with his extensive military experience. A bit extreme, but there are too many humans who are blatantly losing the human race. They're not even trying, and I have moments when I feel extreme measures just might be the wake up call this nation needs. I can pretty much promise you that the murder, theft, and rape counts will drop dramatically if the sentence is manditory death, with judgement to be executed a week after it's made. None of this appeals nonsense, with felons clogging up the prisons while millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted.

You need not start arguing with me. I've heard many of the counter-arguments, and I actually agree with some of them. I'm simply speaking from a standpoint of frustration. I wouldn't be ranting if we could just play nice with one another. Thus, when David is also ranting, I must then turn around, fight to remain civilized, and say, "I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Family: Can't live with 'em.

There's a thread rapidly growing on GitP about family, in which forum members are declaring or revealing family members on the forum. Not that there are any REAL blood relations on the Playground, but it's fun to pretend these people are family. Even more fun is my "little brother," D-D, has taken it upon himself to attempt to build a family tree. Every time I look at an updated version, I want to do one of two things: 1. Laugh. 2. Sit back and let my head explode.

But amidst the fun, D-D claimed that I had already taken the spot of elder brother for him, to which I replied, "You can't have more than ONE older brother? Does that mean my youngest brother IRL has broken a law? If so, can we have him arrested and thrown in jail...forever?"

Barry. I mentioned him way back when in June, in "Pocket full of miracles: Epilogue." If there was ever a waste of human flesh, it's this guy. My need to rant about him has reached critical mass. Be warned that I may quote him, and said quotes will contain objectionable language, as well as racist remarks, and just some of the absolute dumbest things one could say to another human being.

Let us turn back the hands of time to when I was dating a girl whose parents were from Trinidad. She was the most gorgeous woman I'd ever had at my side. An exotic beauty, she had long, lustrous dark hair, big brown eyes, cocoa-colored skin, and wonderfully petite, just the way I tended to like them.

Barry and I got into an argument over I don't remember what, but he retreated to a racial slur about my girlfriend, calling her "a little sand-nigger." The argument instantly became a fight, as I decided the best way to defend my relationship with her was with my fists. Barry won the fight by default, when I fell backward and he went dead-weight during the tumble. His full weight impacted my chest, tearing the cartilage that connected my sternum to my ribs. For two months, breathing in general hurt, and taking a deep breath during that first month was almost impossible. To this day, it will ache during drastic weather changes.

So...The girlfriend eventually cheats on me, and I find a way to forgive Barry for that fight. He moves on in college, eventually getting a degree in marketing and taking a job with Pfizer...the makers of Viagra. He becomes one of those guys who drives from doctor's office to doctor's office, handing out samples galore. Part of his job also involves flying to various conferences to learn more about products, and what's coming in the near future. For all of this "hard" work, he earns six figures, and I'm somewhat proud of him. He'd made a major turnaround in life, from juvenile delinquent to upstanding citizen. He bought a house, and in his off hours would work on building an apartment on/in the house.

Before I go on, I'd like to note that Barry has a tremendous amount of charisma when he wants to turn it on. He could sell prescription glasses to someone who doesn't have eyes. Only those of us who know his true colors can resist. The rest of the world is doomed to fall for his antics. If he used his powers for good, the world would be a better place. But he doesn't even use his powers for evil. He just uses them for himself.

And so it was that Barry convinced his girlfriend to move in with him. Most shockingly, this woman was a Nassau County Assistant District Attorney! Then, because he didn't like all of the flying required for his job, he decided to return to school to become a teacher, and conned the girlfriend into paying all of his bills. (Mind you, the source of this information is my father, who lacks the ability to lie or exaggerate.) Barry would go off to school all day, while the girlfriend would work 12-hour days. And when he came home, he wanted to know why dinner wasn't waiting for him on the table.

Talk about being an ungrateful little jerk! Paying his bills, working her butt off, and then expected her to have his dinner waiting for him when he walked in the door?!? If such a woman came into my life, I would become her slave, and probably take on tasks that would hurt me physically, but were her due. No...Not Barry. He pushed her to the brink, and then shoved her over the edge. He came home from school one day to find that she had packed up and left.

Elsewhere, my father had fallen in love. My step-mom, whom I simply call "mom," is a G-dsend. My Dad was 69 when he married her, and I rejoiced that he'd found someone with whom he could spend his twilight years. (I also joked in private, "G-d bless Dad. G-d bless Viagra.")

I was happy for Dad.

Stu was happy for Dad.

Barry was pissed as hell. Talk about a drop in intellect! The twit actually made a claim that she only married our father for "his inheritance." The rest of us asked, "What inheritance?" Sure, my father has a life insurance policy, but it's not like we'll all become rich when he passes. But this was why Barry became enraged. If my father passed on, Barry was upset that there would be one more person dividing my father's insurance policy.

A few short months after Dad got married, I was released from the hospital and, to the utter stupidity of their system, released into homelessness. Word was passed on to Barry, and his response was one of silence. He turned his head away from my problems, because being disabled and homeless served him no purpose.

Using his savings, Barry completed college, again, was able to stay on top of his bills, and pay for school. Supplementing his income was the rent received from the apartment he was renting. Not only did he have a degree in education, but it was a degree in special education. Here was a job that required great patience and empathy - things Barry doesn't have.

Several things have made it difficult for Barry to find or keep a job. First of all, he's right, and everyone else is wrong. He can fake it only for so long before his mouth betrays him, and he says something that gets him into trouble. He had one job for only two weeks before he opened the big hole in his face and put his foot in it, promptly getting him fired. Word from Stu is that Barry refuses to get a job in the city because Barry refuses to: 1. Commute. 2. "Work with the niggers."

That last statement from Barry is only a small sign of his racism. An even greater sign is that he would rather be penniless than have to have daily contact with someone who isn't Caucasian. It's embarrassing to think this guy is my brother.

So...Dad moves from Florida to New York, from his inexpensive condo to an assisted care facility. He and Mom did this to be closer to family, and Barry is only a few short towns over. Barry's only attempt at contact was to ask my father for money. He hasn't asked how Mom or Dad are, hasn't visited either while they were in the hospital, hasn't made any effort whatsoever to see them. Barry lives approximately five miles away, and could ride a bicycle to see them. But, once again, they are of no use to him, and so he has no need of them in his life.

The most pathetic part of all of this is that he is digging a hole so deep there will be no climbing out of it. That precious inheritance Barry is worried about is, from what I hear, nonexistent. That is, he's been cut from my father's will.

For my part, I regret to report that there is a part of me that wants revenge. The knowledge that he is in financial trouble remains in my mind, and I can do nothing to help him. But there is always the chance that I will manage to sell some of my writing, and I will see a massive influx of income. (From my mouth to G-d's ears.) Word is bound to reach Barry, and I can almost see it now as he musters the testicular fortitude to get a message to me, begging for help. And I will reply with as much aid as I feel he deserves. It will be a penny taped to a message, "For all the concern you've shown for me over the years. Don't call to thank me. In fact, don't call...ever again." Though he may miss it, I will also spend the excessive amount of money needed to overnight the penny to him, thereby spending more on the postage than I did on him.

I suppose I could go on a bit more about him, delving into his teen years and how he almost ripped our family apart with a drug habit...but I'm going to save that. Besides, I've burned more than enough calories being enraged at this waste of human flesh.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The very worst day of the year.

I was living in Center Moriches at the time, a town way out on Long Island. My room was in the basement of a boarding house, and I was lying on my bed, absorbed in a book. A housemate, Tony, came running down and exclaimed, "Come quick! Someone crashed a couple of planes into the Twin Towers!"

The news didn't quite click in my head immediately. "What?"

"The Twin Towers," he said. "They're burning!"

I was on my feet and up the stairs as fast as I could go. Almost everyone in the house that was home was gathered around the television. With the exception of some of the more colorful language that native New Yorkers are known for, the most common phrase on hand was, "Oh my G-d."

Then one of the towers went down. We'd seemed to have lost our voices as we watched part of the iconic city skyline was replaced with a cloud of debris. The second tower wasn't that far behind, and I remember Tony whispering, "G-d, no."

I couldn't watch anymore. I left the house to go for a walk, some part of me praying I could process what I'd seen. My mind wandered to a time when I was a limousine driver, and I had dropped off a client at the Towers. Even as a native New Yorker, one couldn't help but stare upward at the tallest buildings in our city. King Kong has once climbed them in a late 70's remake, and they were often the buildings that instantly defined a movie setting when an establishing shot would focus on their majesty. Now they were piles of rubble, with countless people dead or dying under their collapsed weight.

I walked and cried. I cried a lot. My destination was unknown, and if I passed anyone, I didn't see them clearly, and they didn't comment on my tears. Did they know of the death and destruction that had occurred over 30 miles away? I recall passing businesses that were still open, and wondered how anyone could be going about their day when NY had been stabbed in its heart.

My feet eventually led me to the library, which, at the time, was the only place I could access the Internet. I brought up my Hotmail account and wrote to a friend. I wanted to pour out the pain in my heart. I wanted to rage against the parties that were, as yet, unknown for the destruction. But only a few words came to me, and I was later told they conveyed everything I'd wanted.

Dear Tracy,

They blew up my home today. =*(


Madness seemed to follow, and I'm not speaking of myself. Anyone who appeared vaguely Arabic was attacked. Businesses were destroyed. People across the United States wanted someone to pay for this terrible crime, and they would gladly take the nearest target, guilty or not. Like posters in the old west, signs were posted at bus stops: "Wanted: DEAD! Osama bin Laden. For the deaths of 5000 Americans." (Their numbers were off, but it didn't matter; 5 to 5000, we would have wanted his head.)

Since 11 September 2001, every explosion in Manhattan is first assumed to be a terrorist attack, but is usually revealed later to be some kind of equipment failure. It is a day of mourning across the nation, and some of us feel the pain of that day anew each year. Months ago, a neighbor loaned me The World Trade Center, starring Nicolas Cage. I watched it once, pumped with anti-anxiety meds, and was barely able to make it through. Seven years later, and the emotional pain is still incredible. I'm getting a little better over time, but the tears still come on this day more easily than any other.

Lives wasted, for no other reason than to send a message. Well, we got the message. Left to the average New Yorker, we would have turned the Middle East into a field of radioactive glass and be done with it. Political correctness, however, extends beyond corporate America, and someone somewhere feared other nations would react negatively to such a response. Some of us simply don't care. The situation is black and white. We still want someone to pay.

The madness has passed, and we are not taking our rage out on every Islamic individual we come across. Yet many of us feel catching the villains one at a time isn't enough. The day after the Towers went down, they were dancing in the streets! They celebrated while we mourned. And so my reaction is unlike that in any other situation. The pain in my heart produces a kind of numbness, and I would be one of the people to line up to press a button or grab a phone and give the order. "Wipe the barbarian horde out. Turn their land into an uninhabitable place, and we'll return in 60 or 70 years to drill for oil again."

It's very un-Rob-like, which is only one more reason that makes this the worst day of the year.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Excuse me, but I'm WHAT?!?

As part of meeting some of my needs, one of the first things I did upon returning to Arizona was establish mental health case management. In New York, such management would make sure that all of my needs were met. For example, twice a year they would take me shopping with a $200 spending limit and buy me clothes, toiletries, and whatever else was a NEED. If I pointed at a DVD I wanted, my case managers would shake their heads, accompanied with the word, "NO!" Here in AZ, I ask for help with something, and they say "NO" regardless of what it is I need. If my needs cost anything but time, I'm assured not to get it.

So, today I had a visit from my case manager. It was that time again for me to sign the papers that say, "This is Rob's treatment plan, and he agrees." It's not like I have a choice. This is about the only company in the area that does anything with the mentally ill.

But for the first time, I noticed something in the paperwork that I'd never, ever seen. Said paperwork said I was SMI. No, that doesn't mean I'm a "Silly Moron Incarnate." Those three letters mean I'm Severely Mentally Ill. I paused in my reading, and my case manager and I had the following chat:

Me: Ummm...You do realize that I was never granted status of being SMI by the courts.
Him: If you weren't SMI, you wouldn't be under our care.
Me: So...I could go out and commit mayhem at will and never face a jail sentence?!?
Him: Yup. Feel better knowing you'll never face the death penalty?
Me: A bit disappointed, actually. But...Cool!!!

Yes, boys and girls. I have basically been given permission to begin a murderous spree, bathe in the blood of my victims while singing show tunes, and then spend a few months in a nice institution before being released to start the fun all over again. (Insert evil laughter here.) I feel like a cheerleader. "Gimme an S! Gimme an M! Give me an I! What's that spell? Freedom to commit whatever crimes I choose! Yaaaaaay!"

To be perfectly honest, I think it's silly. To give someone with my high level of functionality the status of SMI...If I had a truly violent bone in my body, I have a built-in insanity defense. I can sing rousing choruses of "Slaughter the World" and mean it! (Look it up on YouTube if you don't know what it is.) I'm not only stunned to learn this, but...but...I'm HAPPY! At last...AT LAST, I can kill all of my irritating neighbors. And when the police arrive, I will turn to them and say, "Whoopsie!"

Nah...I'm too silly to do commit acts of violence. Better to put a sign in my front window, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here...unless you bring pie!" Just goofy and insane enough to show my true colors. Hehehehe.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Skewed Perspective

After a bit of annoyance, I am getting back on my psych meds. So as I prepare to ride the emotional roller coaster that comes with getting back on them, I am faced with the perspective of the world at large. Normally, I use tales from my life to help others through their difficulties. Then there are the tales of others that put perspective on my life, and I realize, "Wow...my life truly is a bag of crap."

As I have mentioned here, in posts that span from last month until now, I need an MRI on my shoulder. There are times when I think I need a full-body MRI, especially on mornings like this, where I wake up with joints in so much pain that I wish I was on a morphine drip. I'm not even doing anything and my left hip is making me want to cry. I'm getting closer and closer to the point where my neighbor exists; his pain meds sit next to his bed, and when he wakes, the very first thing he does, before anything else, is grab then, dry swallow them, and lie in bed for an hour before he can even move. And while an MRI of my shoulder would not make me feel better physically, it would sure help mentally to know what the heck is going on inside my shoulder, hip, and all other areas that hurt.

Then we have yesterday, where quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots took a bad hit and MIGHT have torn his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). This vital "cable" amidst the skeletal structure holds the femur to the tibia. As I've read it, his scream of pain brought the crowd to silence. In a matter of hours, he was scheduled for an MRI today.

Hmmm...Me, with an unclear mystery wound causing me great pain, can't get an MRI to find out what's wrong. Tom Brady, professional football player, gets hurt playing a game, for which he is paid millions of dollars, and gets his MRI the next day. Oh, do I wanna throw that red challenge flag in the faces of those who run insurance companies! "Excuse me! Mr. NFL Pro gets hurt and receives an MRI without a medical review board, but Mr. Handicapped, who lives in poverty, doesn't?!? FOUL!"

But I have a plan. Oh, yes, my friends. I have a glorious plan! I am going to call our football team, the Arizona Cardinals, and ask to join the team. I am going to ask for no specific position, and my salary will only be $1. What I want most is their medical coverage. Then I will walk onto the field during practice, ask one of "my teammates" to poke my shoulder with a finger, to which I will crumple to the ground in agony. The medical trainers will come running, examine me briefly, and I should have my MRI within 24 hours.

This offers other opportunities, as well, as in the future, I can tell of how my pro football career was brought to a sudden end by a terrible injury on the field. I can see it now, when the movie of my life is made, how an actor takes on my embittered mien to speak of how I was set up for greatness, and one little mistake during football practice brought my dreams tumbling down.

Well, it all works in theory.

Other things that work well in theory...

Insulin is actually a highly addictive drug, and "diabetic" is merely a term for an insulin addict. Once you take that first shot, there's no going back, as withdrawal symptoms cause death.

Recently, I came up with another medical theory. My painkillers have been slowing my metabolism, causing me to gain weight. I am weighed every time I go to see my doc, and I haven't been beneath 190 lbs in some time. Looking past this negative effect, I have focused on my slowed metabolism, and have considered asking my doctor to increase my meds until my metabolism comes to a screeching halt. This would effectively make me immortal, wouldn't it?

Again, it works in theory.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I have fallen off my psych meds, and officially blew a fuse while typing a response on the "Get to know a Playgrounder" thread on GitP. People keep wondering why I'm so good. I began typing, and I could sense the mental circuitry starting to pop. As I started to write about how my family's cycle of hatred would not continue with me, the tears started to fall. Tears of rage and depression...because the people who should be the most distrustful and uncaring are the ones who invest the most emotion in me, while most of my own bloodline makes a desperate attempt to forget I'm still alive.

Prior to opening this blog post for entry, I called my pharmacy to refill my meds. I blew another fuse because I was put on hold. So I hung up. I'll call again soon.

Next, I started writing here...and I discovered my thoughts were dissolving into nothing. It feels like my life is a sucking wound of existence. Those "logical" thoughts are being fought at this moment, but they are the same as they have always been. Guilt for my past and present...Utter uselessness and hopelessness...The desire to make room for someone who needs the space.

I need to shower and force myself out the door to the pharmacy. Otherwise, I will continue to feel like a nothing.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lots of people, lots of bars.

Since I'm trapped with little do do during my waiting to see the doctor on Wed., other than attack my fictional blog with a vengeance, I thought I regale the masses with an amusing tale from my college years.

My friends and I were often seated at a set of tables in a cafeteria commonly known as "The Brick." We gathered there daily, doing whatever it was that we did between classes, sometimes blatantly ignoring the classes we were supposed to be in. Fridays were the best, because most of us had only a class or two, and had entirely too much time to kill. Our little group of lunatics usually arranged two tables side by side, and we'd end up with a dozen or so people hanging about.

On one particular Friday, I found Tom sitting alone, the rest of the group having yet to arrive. So he told me a joke:

This traveling salesman walks into a crowded bar in a small town. Having traveled quite a bit, he thought he'd seen it all. But while sitting and nursing a beer, he was startled when another patron shouted, "Forty-four!" The response was equally surprising, as everyone started laughing.

A few minutes passed, when someone else shouted, "Twenty-one!" Again, everyone but the salesman started laughing.

With his curiosity at its peak, he turned to the bartender and asked, "What's with the numbers and the laughing?"

The bartender replied, "Well, we bein' a small town an' all, we've heard all the jokes we have to tell. So we just made it all simple-like and numbered 'em, instead of having to tell the whole joke."

"I see," replied the salesman.

Emboldened by his beer, the salesman decided to give it a try. Over the sound of the mingling crowd, he shouted, "Fifty-seven!" The result was that the entire bar went silent, staring at him. Suddenly worried, he turned to the bartender and asked with growing concern, "What happened? What'd I do?"

To which the bartender replied, "Oh, don't fret none. Some people just can't tell a joke."

I countered his with a joke of my own:

A guy walked into a bar carrying a box under his arm. He sat down at a table, opened the box, and removed a tiny piano, with a tiny piano bench, and a little man about a foot tall. The little man immediately sat at the little piano and started playing. This guy could crank out any tune, from classical to popular tunes. The surrounding patrons enjoyed the entertainment so much that they were soon making requests, and buying the guy who'd carried the box the drinks of his choice.

While delivering the third beer, the bartender finally said, "I gotta know. Where on Earth did you get that little guy."

The man took a sip of his beer and sighed. "I was on a beach, and I actually discovered a bottle with a genie inside. The genie was willing to grant me one wish. What I didn't know was that the genie was partially deaf." He gestured to the little guy, who was still pounding away at the keys. "You see before you what the genie thought he heard me wish for...a twelve inch pianist."

Now, I can't remember who it was who came along next, but Tom and I insisted that they couldn't join us until they told a joke about someone walking into a bar, and the joke couldn't be a repeat. And anyone else who wanted to take a seat had to tell a joke of the same format. We heard old ones, and we heard new ones. Some dirty, some clean. Lots of people, lots of bars.