It Had To Be On Memorial Day, Didn’t It? Goddamn It.

I have what I believe is called a conundrum on my hands today. I had a very specific thing I was going to write about today and yet, as I sit down to write about it it seems callous to write about such a thing on a day set aside to honor the fallen. I will not say I found a way to squash the two together, for I have not, I will instead be honest and say that the honored dead will be honored in my mind and heart every day of the year, today’s event occurs but a singular time a year. It isn’t a fair thing, what I am doing, but I felt the need to express it in some way before I plunge into the myriad of shit that will be what I write about today.

So, today is my dad’s birthday.

I will go ahead and tell you he was born in ’45 in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a few miles outside of Arnold, California. Family lore says he was born nearly nine months to the day after my grandfather returned from serving in Iran during the Second World War. After the war, and possibly before as I do not know exactly, my grandfather was the ranger for the park and was for at least a decade or so after my father was born. They moved down to Los Angeles sometime in the mid-’50s and, well, that is all the autobiographical shit I am going to include because fuck him is why.

I am not writing about James Nealon the person today, I am drilling a little deeper and talking about James Nealon, the father.

He wasn’t good at it.

That may sound childish in its form, but why not use Occam’s Razor? He was a shitty dad not because of the booze, sadistic wife, PTSD, and his parental issues, but because some people should simply not have children, and he was one of those people. It doesn’t say a lot of good about the potentiality for future generations I know, but if I could have put it another way, you know I would have.

See, dad was in the Army, a Beret in ‘Nam and the whole hero thing. Never once have I spoken ill of his service and I will not now. I cannot fathom the choices and obstacles he had to face on a daily basis and if there are people who are equipped to do it, it is not his pacifist, hippie, crystal loving, oldest son. The Army changed him, as it did so many thousands of people before and since, and it was not for the better. He became, at least according to the stories I would hear from my grandad and grandmother, a harder and different person. I will not speak on the horrors of a thing I have never experienced, I will speak on the horrors I did.

He was terrified a great deal of the time, loud sounds, helicopters, gunfire. Mind you, we lived in the barrio outside of Los Angeles, to say that these were common noises in the area is putting so lightly as to be invisible. When he got scared, he got mad, when he got mad, well, I’ll let you go ahead and draw the rest of that logic branch.

My mother was the downfall of him I think, they were married in ’76, my sister came along in ’78, me in ’80, Andy in ’83. My mother was an evil thing, anger and violence were here bailiwicks and she was so very, very good at them. She would be in the same room as him and you could see him change into her in this terrifying process that involved immense amounts of Jack Daniels and irrational anger at the smallest thing.

There is no point. I know a few of you are looking for it. There isn’t one. Every year I have to say something about him, today it just happens to fall on Memorial Day.

I can tell you that he beat us and abandoned us and knew the darkness that was my mother and did nothing. I can tell you he taught us all how to lie and had this chaotic desire to move every so often that got pretty annoying by the time we go to New York when I was 10.

He died in ’98, on the bed he shared with my mother, weighing less than my Elder Duck does now. He asked me, and I gave, the Last Rites to him the night before. I knew he wasn’t seeing me when he asked, he was talking to someone long dead in a river thousands of miles away from where the apartment in Hamlin, NY was. It was the last thing I did for him. Of all his sins and evils and faults, I sat with him in the middle of the night on a Friday morning and I forgave him the things I could, and I buried the rest so deep I had to get married and have children of my own before I realized how wrong some of his transgressions were.

Again, there is no point in it, all is senselessness and chaos.

The War Is Waged As It Must Be, At Least I Tell Myself That Every Time I Feel The Knife Slip Deeper In

So I lied, I’ll write another one today.

It’s a little bit before four in the afternoon and it is deceptively warmer than you think it would be outside. Mind you, I would say that and have said that, when the temperature dares to go past 55, but I mean, we all have our likes after all. I am working into what I want to say, so this is the small talk/foreplay section of the writing for those of you unfamiliar with the rambling, half-assed way I make a point I want to make and don’t want to just call someone a cunt or something.

There are things in this world I will never understand because they are not mine to get. There are other things that I will never understand because I think what I am trying to understand is broken somehow and I am never going to get the gist of the thing because it is not presented as it should be.

I love pretty much everyone at first blush. Not quite bromance/sismance/theymance kind of love, but the deep, respectful love I feel that you should have for your fellow human beings kind of love. I love you until you give me a reason not to love you, and even then I will forgive you eleven times out of every three. I hate not having that feeling towards people so, sadly, I have a massively developed White Knight syndrome wherein I feel the need to save people from being in the least bit unhappy in any way. It doesn’t matter most times if they don’t want me to “save” them from the situation, my mind is very task-oriented at a certain point and the only thing left is The Goal. The Answer. The Fix. The Thing.

Yeah, it is that bad.

I know, logically, that there are simple problems, even those that I can, do, and am asked to help with, that simply don’t have answers as easy as the scantron during standardized tests would have you believe. However, logic is often the first thing I cast aside so that I can feel my way to the root of the problem and rip the poison from the source.

This isn’t based on gender, age, or any other kind of descriptor that people like to apply to themselves and others, this is something that I do for anyone and everyone.

Therein, of course, layeth the rub.

You know the old saw about pouring from an empty cup, right? I am more of a fill everyone up with what is my cup first, you know, to tide them until *I* find the tea that goes into their cup. I never think of myself because, well, no. I don’t do that thing, except of course for the glaringly humiliating examples of me doing only that scattered throughout my lifetime. I want everyone to be happy, through this, you betcha, I get my happy.

So, as I sit here desperately trying to find a way to do precisely what I should not be doing for a person I love more than family, I am trying to balance loyalty over sanity, friendship over needs I do not want to acknowledge, and of course, love for myself over love for others.

It is not going to end well, no matter what, but sometimes you have to burn the motherfucker down and see if you can pull some phoenix action out of your ass after the fact to see if there is anything left, or them or I, to salvage for the next day, the next thing, the next battle of the Internal Fear and the External Gifting.

Returneth From The Drudgery Of Isolation, In Isolation, I Isolated Myself In.

Let’s try this.

Writing is hard. Not currently, that is a completely different beast. I mean in general. To look into the depths of your stewing think box and extract the exact right verbiage for the situation and to connect over and over again. It is a thankless process too, nothing in me feels an endorphin rush if I do the thing I want to do, it is more knowing that I did the thing that will release me from the panic that slowly starts to build as the words pile inside of me like grain in a silo that is just about full and no market to send it to.

It is not completely without merit mind you, knowing that I have placed a thought, especially a happy one, into someone’s head is a delight for me. I write in a very particular way that people seem to humble me by enjoying, so I try to do my best for myself and them and produce that which I feel would make all of us the happiest we can be with the situation.

You’ve heard the half-hundred metaphors I have used for the words and stories in my head. From the ever-popular airplanes to the less spectacularly worded ‘fuckton-o-things’. They are always there and when they are not pressing against me like a surging tide, they are slowly gathering more and more of themselves so the next wave of them might just break over the lip of the wall of my brain and end up just like the ones you are glancing at now.

I am overly wordy, it is a choice and not a curse. I always have felt the need to say in fifty words what could be said with a non-verbal nod of assent or even an extended middle finger on both hands, preferably after a clever pun about turning something up. I like to see words flow across the page and enjoying them like a multi-course meal that finishes with the perfect dessert of point, or a comical lack of one. It is not for everyone and to them I wish fair feedings at a restaurant that serves their choice of fare, this is mine and I will serve and enjoy what I like, no exceptions.

This morning, which I am fairly certain is a Sunday, the children I call waterfowl are quietly entertaining themselves and the grumpy old man has yet to come down from on high to impart sagacious wisdom on the youth of the world whilst simultaneously telling them to extract forthwith from his front grass patch. Given the state of affairs, it is going to be the same day it has been for months now, and I suppose it is okay because trying to make it anything else is a catastrophe waiting to happen.

My head is firmly attached and, with a little help from a Dragon I know, even shrunk a little. I got a fairly decent amount of sleep so I even feel vaguely human for the first time in a fair bit. Now mind you the cocktail of medicinal powders and tablets I consumed last evening cannot, at all, be repeated for at least another 10 hours, so let us hope the facade of mental and physical health holds up to scrutiny for at least that long.

Speaking of cocktails, while it is a little early for one as I am writing this, mayhap I shall treat myself to one this evening if the pain has not escalated to biblical, don’t look back, proportions. If it has, well, there are always the days that end in Y that come after this one to look forward to.

Tomorrow, with a lot of caveats, I am going to try creativity again and see if I can produce something that I am vaguely happy with. I will try a new thing, as I am wont to do because there are no expectations if I start with a blank canvas.

I’ll also talk about the other thing tomorrow is other than Memorial Day, a very, very not-so-good thing that I need to talk about from time to time.

One thing at a time though.

RAWRZ

Flectere Si Nequeo Superos, Acheronta Movebo. Sorry Princess, Latin Says It Better Without The Translation

I have been up pretty much as long as I normally to tell you the truth.

Got up a little after 5 to get the Elder Duck ready to do the things he needs to do (that means I am the dad that gets him up early so he can play video games before giving up my room all day for him to go to school) and then, normally, even if I don’t fall asleep, I lay in bed for a few hours and gradually acclimate myself to the soul-shattering fact that I need to go a whole day and not be asleep. Sometimes little dude comes up and crashes with me for a bit, which is adorable as it sounds of course.

That was the plan this morning when the power went out.

Now, there isn’t a real reason I couldn’t have stayed in bed, my bedroom is not only cold because I like it that way, but it is also the only room in the house that gets absolutely no direct sunlight into the bedroom proper. It stays cool in there even on the hottest of days, which we are definitely at yet to be sure.

No, the reason I couldn’t stay in there, other than the little squirming child next to me who was bored all of a sudden, was because there was absolutely no noise. I can’t go with absolutely no noise. It freaks the shit out of me and I just don’t do perfectly normal and quiet. Hence the sound machine, the fan when there was one in there, the air conditioner, the diurnal things I listen to. I can’t be absolute silence, it brings up memories of things that I don’t want to have memories of and, regardless of the skills I have learned, it always flips that particular switch.

So I am tired.

Know what else I am?

Soul-crushingly fucking tired.

I don’t have any of the spoons and fucks anymore. There are too many squirrels in my head and I am not going to last much longer if I don’t do anything about it.

So here is what I am going to do.

First, this will be the last thing in here for a bit. Feeling guilty over not writing things that I like to write is idiotic and I refuse to continue on that particular pathway.

Secondly, I love you.

Thirdly, let’s hope this ends sooner rather than later. I do not do myself or any of my people favors when I fo into hermit mode, and I am feeling a pretty strong itch to lay in a quasi-comatose state for 19-23 hours a day with occasional breaks for the food and the bathroom. We all remember what happened the last time I got stupid like that.

So if you know me, text me. If I don’t answer, I probably still think you are awesome?

The title says it all, let’s just hope we can do the former before the latter, yes?

Rawrz

If You Know, Well, I Love You and I Am Sorry

Jamey, Jamey, Jamey…

You know there is something in the wind, don’t you? You can smell it if you take a second and put down the weight of your crippling self-hatred and self-pity. There is a change coming and you need to make sure that it is the one that is be3st for you, not the one that is best for everyone around you and yet you are stuck in the past while everyone else moves forward…again. You give them the shirt off your back, yay for you, notice how many of your fucking shirts they have now? The best of them wash them, fold them, and hand them back to you with a hug and a smile. The worst of them rip them to shreds and feed the ends through bottles for wicks of the firebombs they attack you with.

The pandemic. Yes, yes the pandemic. Yes, it is a horrible thing being managed by horrible people that has resulted in tens of thousands, soon to be hundreds of thousands, of people dying in this “land of the…” whatever we are now. You’re not the violent overthrow of the government kind of guy. They have a few details about you that prove that remember? Yes, now you do. You’re more of the launch of the subversive website from your living room and encouraging kind of a guy. That is wrong that is not going to get talked about now, however.

Yes love, I know it hurts more than it used to. I know that it is a maddening thing and if I could take it away I swear I would. There is nothing “character building” about any of this and I hope you will keep those appointments that you made when this thing gets to a reasonable level of chaos. They may not be able to fix you the way you want, but they may be able to make you get to a place where you can fix yourself the ways you want.

You are listening to songs that remind you of beautiful women. I applaud you are doing this with none of that “what if” mojo that burns so incredibly strongly inside of you. No, this is just music, and occasionally a face flashes across your heart and you smile and keep listening to the song.

A demon you had been meaning to give a hug to for a very long time has been taken care of and once again you can smile when you think on simple things.

Hai person reading this.

Most people look in the mirror and do the positive self-talk thing, or maybe they don’t need it and for that I am happy.

If I write it down it is a record that at least for these exact moments, I felt good in the ways I have listed here. It doesn’t mean I am “okay” it means that at the moment, for these things here, I am, not not okay. I am clinically depressed, my anxiety is at a near all-time high and I am pretty sure there are some disassociation issues that I desperately need to talk to a psychiatrist about at the soonest possible opportunity.

There are things to be glad for however, not all is sorrow. My Elder Duck is going to end this year with a damn near 100% average in everything across the board, including the arch-nemesis that is the English language. My Connorface smiles brighter every day and my little guy can learn more in an afternoon than I did in my teenage years.

So no, not all darkness, just a lot of patchiness.

What is that is the Persian Sufi poets said?

This to shall pass?