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.

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

The Ever Rising Tide

You’ve seen this before, I just thought I would throw my take into the fire I suppose, I have nothing else to do, so I thought I would analyze my mental health for the internet. I have worse things, so at least this is something I am vaguely interested in.

There are no trigger warnings needed here, I am not going to talk about the Bad Dark, just what the face of it all looks like.

Any of you who have ever met me know that I love to both laugh and make others laugh. I am not particularly funny, I know a stand-up comedian, that motherfucker is funny. I am self-deprecating and I suppose that is humorous in its way. I digress, however.

Even when I am in the middle of the deepest laugh I can have, tears streaming down my face and various floods being ejected from various orifices of my body, I am still very, strongly, deeply, clinically depressed.

When I am walking around the supermarket with my new bandana face mask necessity and I am breathing in my self-produced humidity and I am smiling at the pharmacist and the cashier, I am still having a panic attack that I will crash into. Not when I get home, not until much later when I am alone and it is dark. Then the panic will wash over me like waves that bring it higher and higher until I choke on it and curl up in a ball and simply submit to it all.

When I am sitting in my best friends living room, a human being I trust more than nearly anyone who has ever lived, I know the exits, I know how to get home with no money, I have an exit strategy because that is what I have always needed and you don’t shut off decades worth of paranoia, if it were rational, it wouldn’t be paranoia.

You’ve seen me finging right? You know, fingers finging? Tapping the tip of each finger against the tip of my thumb. Sometimes I count, other times I multiply, sometimes I do days of the week or some other repetitive so my brain can match the absenteeism of my hand movements, trying to fight back the things I don’t want just then. The migraines, the panic, the agoraphobia, claustrophobia, or a thousand other things.

I can be talking to you, laughing with you, lifting you in a hug I never want to let go of, kissing your forehead, drinking with you, eating my best friends food, holding the woman I love, sitting with my kids on my lap, or I can be alone in my bedroom.

It will never leave. It is dark when the light goes off, the eeriness of quiet in the city neighborhood, the shock and awe of a thunderbolt.

It is there.

It is always there.

IF I Were A Betting Man, Which I Am In The Worst Possible Way, I Imagine I Would Be Seeing A LOT Of Posts From the Overly Caffeinated Bear Today

It’s funny how many people are doctors when you are afflicted with a thing they believe they know more about than you do. As awkward as the timing is of me writing this, this has nothing to do with the current COVID health crisis, know it is the usual rant that we are going to go into today.

It’s not just a headache. It has never been just a headache. It will never be just a headache. It is not a take a Tylenol and suck it up buttercup situation. It is not something that I can always just power and pose my way through until I get to the safety of my bathroom floor or bedroom darkness.

In the last couple of months, I have been getting a lot better at not retreating like a turtle when it hurts at a certain point. I am. However, when all you can think of is vomit and death, maybe that is when you need to go and lie down for a few and see if you can reset the cranium case to a vaguely normal level.

No, I will not go into how bad it hurts, or any of that. You have ignored me for more than a decade, I think perhaps you would have got the point if you were going to get it by now. So, instead of shaming you and educating you like I have been doing all this time, I am going to pivot in my head, stop writing about this and tell you a plan I have.

I am getting 18 bottles of wine tomorrow because that is what awesome is experienced as by us lowly motherfucking mortals. Terry ordered some bad-ass cheeses that came in just the other day and I am going to act all fancy and shit and have a fucking cheese tray with sweet, literally and otherwise, ass wine for dinner tomorrow night and there is nothing you can do about it because I am a motherfucking adult and if I want to have wine for dinner I fucking will.

The next morning, I will be recording my impressions of the wine in a jovial and light-hearted manner and there is also nothing you can do to prevent me from doing this because that would infer I give a fuck about what you think in regards to my recording preferences.

In addition, like a Warrior Princess I know, I am all up in a Serial Killers podcast and am horrifyingly and yet refreshingly surprised that there are as many of them as there are. That and all sorts of other shit I have been meaning to listen to for goddamn years and for some reason my unemployed ass thought I had “no time” for. Fuck all of that shit in its shiny metal ass. Notice my proper lack of apostrophe use in the last instance of “its”, yeah, English bitches.

In case you hadn’t notice, the goddamn caffeine kicked in about paragraph five and it is fucking on now.

I talk to all of you that I can damn near every single day. Every single one I can. Yup, I forget to message you sometimes, or sometimes I have some shit going on, but most of the time it is me messaging you because that is what I do and anyone who has ever smiled at the stupid RAWRZ! I send every morning makes my motherfucking day. I never actually expect anyone to respond right away, I mean, you are busy people doing busy people things, I GET IT, I do.

Lonely Island is an awkwardly awesome motivator, but now I am on to Lil Jon and LMFAO with Shots so it is on, in all the best ways things can be indeed not off. A hundred some-odd decibels of music an inch or so from your eardrum is probably bad, but you only live, well, however many times it is now, right? It will be Confusion by New Order with that sweet Remix action.

Oh yeah, to get back to the beginning. Yes, I still have a fucking migraine, but in the spirit of doing my life a little differently, I am ignoring the best I can and enjoying my goddamn morning to the motherfucking fullest.

RAWWWWRZ

There Is So Very Little I Do That I Don’t Open Book About, Welcome To One Of Those Things, I Mean, Kind Of, A Little, I Think

I pray a lot. Well, pray might be the wrong word for it, but I think for this it will do just fine.

I do not pray for things, it always struck me as odd to ask an all-powerful, or even very specifically powerful, entity for…stuff. Don’t get me wrong, you do you boo-boo, but if I am going to ask a Power of the Universe for a thing, it is going to be for more than a touchdown in a game that most of the world doesn’t watch or for a shiny kind of metal statue for music that a computer did most of the work for. Do you know what I mean? It seems a little south of stupid to me personally.

That having been said, it is not that I have always been the holder of this particular belief, I was very Catholic for a very long time and Catholics ask for a LOT of stuff from the Bearded One North Of The Clouds, as he is colloquially known by those who eat and drink his kid on the regular.

Since I found a new path to walk, I kind of saw the selfishness in asking things from a being whose schedule is pretty busy as it is and, since I am fairly certain there are a great many who do not share my belief paradigm, they have the extra burden, if one can burden an omnipotent being, of listening to Wicca Wanda ask if she can totes have eternal magicks to impressive Wicca Will and they can have little Wicca Wayne or something like that.

All I talk to my Goddess about, and I suppose it is talk as opposed to prayer now that you want to split hairs on definitions, are the hopes I have for others and I try to put my power into the Universe to see if I can help and love them any more than I always do. Call it the power of positive thinking with a little extra something.

Now I am not going to sit here and describe my ritualistic practices in detail because I know there are a few people in the world, he said sarcastically and somewhat caustically, that really want me to go ahead and die because I am not best boys with J-Dawg and the Collar Posse anymore. That is your karmic burden and I leave you to it, the only reading this is to try and wash the taste of what I wrote earlier out of my brain.

It is a peaceful place for me you know, talking with my deity of choice. I always find calm in my heart there and that is when I know, well, what I know. I can close my eyes after the fact and feel, for lack of a better word, cleaner than I was than when I started the whole thing.

Someday I will try and put into words things that I only have pictures for in my head, but for now, I think I have said what I am going to say on the subject and I am going to let it go for the day. Well, I won’t really, I just have a hand cramp and I need to stop writing for a little bit so I can get ready to say other meaningless things that are all see-through attempts to explain the rising panic.