I’m a Comedian, you Cuntbag!

It dawns on me that I may be one of the last from the Sticks & Stones generation. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me! That’s what they always told us. They even told my generation that and I’m still considered young in some circles. I grew up in the gray area where kids were beginning to win a trophy for just breathing and yet were still told to “Suck it up!”

I went through a very harrowing teenage existence where I wanted to kill myself, just like everybody else. I was embarrassed from kindergarten to high school. They called me a little pansy gay boy before I knew what any of those words meant. I fled from society and thought about packing it in several times. At the end of the day I did not kill myself and therefore I became a survivor. The torture I felt I had endured was par for the course. Ultimately, I did not survive because people coddled me. I survived because people told me to buck up, kid.

I ran from the big mean society of high school and retreated to the Internet. I was like any gay boy found throughout the 20th century. They grew up and searched for a terrestrial solution, a private club that would take them in and lick their wounds. Since I didn’t have that outlet or that era I found My Tribe digitally on the Internet in the 90’s. The beat up queers united within this Tribe, just as good as an offline one, and held each other up. When I emerged from this digital gestation I was a blend of my history. I learned that sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Today we live in a coddled world where people take offense to everything. What they now call mean, harsh, abuse, is what I call growing up. These people aren’t exactly wrong. It’s an unfortunate process we all must go through. It would be much easier if we didn’t have to. But it would seem impossible to circumvent that process judging from the way they are turning out it.

Learning to live with stinging barbs and the reality of life is also the breeding ground for a great sense of humor. I grew up with people who hated me and made fun of me. I also grew up around people who loved me and made fun of me. It’s all about the context that it’s said in. We’re missing a lot of context in this 21st century.

I have experienced these children not catching my context all too much. I am now seen as “a big meanie” in the eyes of social justice warriors and special snowflakes. And it’s not all their fault! How can they understand my context when they don’t even know me? Who can know anyone on the Internet anymore? Who can know anyone offline anymore? You’re too busy just reading 140 characters or avoiding eye contact when we’re at the bar.

I’ve never cared about the things people have cared about. While I have always been on the side of the repressed freak unique, I have never wanted to be confused with a coddler. I have sympathy and I have empathy, but I have never told anyone that they should prolong their wallowing. I stand firmly with the fact you need to buck up, kid.

My barbs and my observations are comedy. That doesn’t make them fiction. That doesn’t mean I’m kidding. I’m quite serious. I’m a sarcastic bitch. I want to be the one always leaving the off-color jabs, but I always assume that you know I am coming from a place of love.

That’s the gray area I grew up within. The things said were all about the context of your relationship with the person. (Relationships. Ever had those with people?) I had this amazing friend once who was the meanest person I had ever known. Everything he ever said was insulting and a total put down. At first I was so offended because I had never had a friend who was quite so mean before. Then I got to know him and saw he was just a sensitive soul with a well-crafted comedy. That guy was more loving than most people could ever be and he made love like a lightning rod. There was nothing but love in him and the more comedic barbs he threw your way, the more he loved you.

I find I am walking through a constant winter wonderland of Special Snowflakes these days. They can’t take a joke. They think mean things are mean. They think calling someone black is racist. They think using the word trannie is a slur. They think making fun of girlie men is an attack upon the girlie man. All of which I direct you towards a seminar on context.

If I love you and make fun of your scarf then I’m not really hating you or your scarf. If I call my best friend a trannie hooker that doesn’t mean I feel she’s a slutty piece of garbage. I kid you for I love you.

It’s always been about perception. I’ve always told you that perception is everything. Because, have you seen me?  I’m a man in a dress. I’m a transgender freak unique who has decided to build my house on the fence between everything. If there is anyone who I have joked with more than anyone it is myself. I would never make fun of someone else unless I was doing so with a light heart, giving a sarcastic smirk towards a culture gone amok.

The wormhole chewed me up and spit me out to find that all  of those generic and annoying phrases were true all along. Have a sense of humor. Buck up. Don’t take life so seriously. Sticks and stones, kid, sticks and stones … 

The Artist D

The Artist D

 

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Cavemen with Smart Phones

The people of Earth love to sum everything up into a nice neat package called a Year and label it with a number. Then they like to discuss those years like chapters in a book. They like to say 1999 was a good year or they’ll never forget the 80’s.

Every year in recent memory the people say the same thing to me about how terrible their year has been. I’ve observed that it has actually grown exponentially from a personal “bad year” to a group experience. They used to tell me that they had a bad year. The year gave them personal challenges, losses, and there was no fairy bopping them on the head with a magic wand. These days they say we have all had a bad year. In 2016 we lost David Bowie and countless other classics. We have continued to experience senseless mass killings. We are face to face with very specific discriminations. To a lot of folks we are entering the Dark Ages due to electing specific potential Mad Men into the kingdom.

With every year comes along another person to tell me how bad they have had it. Now they come to tell me how bad we have had it. Every year I respond that it’s all about perception and you make of it what you will. I still believe that, but I do have to take a moment to ponder why people continually think it is always and forever getting worse.

The way we treat our lifestyles has changed drastically from the last century to this one. This is sadly the only thing that has changed. The sociopolitical landscape seems to be exactly the same as it has always been. The players get switched out for more of the same and our day to day doldrums remain. It’s more about how we have reconceptualized the way we treat things. And to sound like a complete broken record I believe we can heap the blame all on top of The Internet.

The technology of the 21st Century has drastically altered the way we treat old stuff. Life is like your average cake. The frosting can be exciting and delicious, but eventually underneath it all you will find the same dry lump of baked substance. That’s where we currently are in the 21st Century. Our problems remain the same, but we have changed the way we digest them.

We are basically cavemen with smart phones. We still brush our own teeth in the morning. We elect dangerous people into government positions. We exist in this weak flesh luggage that can give out at any moment. Buried underneath all of this technological advancement sits the same sad fleshy thing that has been there for hundreds of years. We really are born naked and the rest is drag. Clothing and makeup is drag. Flashy cars, enormous houses, and breast implants are drag. Technology is drag!

They tell me that 2016 was a horrible year for everyone. I remain firmly by the defense of perception. This life is what you make of it. Whether you have or you have not. I have turned a cold can of pork and beans into a lavish event for myself. You don’t need a movie when you have a blank wall and an imagination. Life really is what you make of what happens to be laying around. And maybe the key really is you have to be a little bit psycho to get that picture.

Even so, is it really worse than ever? Yes, we did lose David Bowie this year and so many of our classics are dying. But that’s what people do. They die. Yes, we have corruption in the government and people on both sides are all about vying for their own personal wealth and interests. But that’s nothing new. The people felt the same way about Presidents Franklin Pierce, George W Bush, and James Buchanan (all sweeping generalities throughout time). Yes, people keep killing other people for no good reason. But people have certainly always done that!

I watch a lot of old black and white television. I get lost in and romanticize the 1950’s quite often. I see calm and collected people speaking properly to each other. They appeared happy and in control of their lives. However, they were dealing with the Cold War, communism, and other challenges. They too lost legends due to death, some too soon and others right on time. While I am certainly no historian, I can guarantee that if you pick any year out of thousands and spoke with most people they would tell you that they were experiencing “Big Problems.” I bet a lot of them would also tell you that it was “The Worst Year Ever.”

The Internet is to blame because it changes the frosting on the historical cake. Instead of reading your news once a day at arm’s length (literally and figuratively) you get it right up close in the palm of your hand. The news of the world is on your socializing walls. Your friends all talk about it because it’s all in front of your faces all of the damned time. Instead of coming home to the Nightly News you get the daily news. It can ping you on your mobile device at every release of another headline. The news has been readily available and in people’s faces, but now it has seeped into everything. We used to come to The Internet to get away from life, now we live life on the Internet. Our safe havens keep going away.

We used to have safe havens from the current goings on. Life was compartmentalized because we lacked technology. People had to wait for things and that waiting created special moments away from the madness that was history repeating itself. Remember when you had to fax your manuscript to the publisher in New York? Remember how long it took you to create that manuscript on the typewriter before faxing it all? All of that technological lag created safe spaces. For when you waited you found other things to do. You picked up a book and comforted yourself. You came home at night and relaxed, because you didn’t have everything (literally everything) at the tips of your fingers to fill your junkie brain with until you pass out in bed.

The Internet brings closeness and constant awareness to the same problems we have always had. The problems haven’t changed. The way we display those problems has changed. It sheds more light upon them than ever before. Which is what actually really bothers you. Deep down you do realize that the cake is the same and you’re finally pissed off about that. You’re frustrated that we have advanced in our ways of displaying the content, but the content remains the same. The headlines are the same whether it’s a yellowed newspaper from 1945 or a shiny tablet from 2016!

It’s just like me always telling you that it’s a shame we all still have to go to work every day. It’s also a shame that we still have to go to war. It’s a shame that we have advanced so far and yet we haven’t overcome death. These things people have always taken as part of the story. You work, pay taxes, and then you die. We’re swimming in advancement and yet the mass populace still thinks they have to work, pay taxes, and die. Silly humans …

You’ll never get over the hump until you begin to understand why you are so angry at each passing year. It’s not getting worse, it’s getting the same. We either perceive to take it as is or collectively change it. That’s why I dabble in the arts of perception. I’d rather control my own perception instead of attempt to change everybody else’s. I know that reworking the basic life and social concepts of 7 billion Earthlings is just a touch outside of my capacity.

Originally published on TGForum.com, December 2016.

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The Artist D, December 2016

For Immediate Release

The key is to invent ways to speak into the machine but not listening to what it has to say. That I have been learning within this immediate future.

To release our thoughts into the machine. It’s what we do. It’s what I’ve always done. It’s what you have become obsessed with doing. Your sounding board. Your deafening stick. You keep preaching to your own choirs.

For immediate release. You are ready for immediate release. You should release. Doesn’t that word all by itself sound so delicious? Release. It is becoming of so many things.

Release yourself from thinking that you have to fit in. Let yourself flounder in the steamy pools of insincerity that humanity has conjured. Release yourself into the flow of the universe. Speak into the machine. Do not listen to the machine. You speak to it, it does not speak back to you. DO NOT LISTEN TO THE MACHINE.

The art of releasing yourself from the fear of them vs. you. To pull your hands away from each other just because a stranger approaches. We wouldn’t have these problems if we all talked to each other. I want to see you do more than hold hands in public. Right in front of me. In public.

To release yourself from the employ of the Barons of Normalcy. To put down your fondle pad and remove the ear buds blocking your canals. To call in and say, “I’ve decided to not come in this month.”

May your hair not look the same every day. May you eat banana cream pie with a modified paper cup because you forgot to steal a spoon. May it taste even better because you had to create a spoon.

Engulf yourself with enlightenment by taking the trail which has not been beaten. Take the turn with the sign marking, “Danger – Do Not Enter.” Do not go down their paths. Make your own damned paths. The secret is not on the paved road with all of the people crowding your view. The secret is hidden after the weeds and the trees, up the steep cliff where few have thought to climb. If you are not stabbed by a cactus while getting there then you haven’t gotten anywhere. You have to bleed on your unbeaten path to make it yours. Release yourself. The javelina must circle you in the dark.

Release yourselves to the wild. Release your wiles to the rainbows. Talk to strangers and steal a moment of release with them. Dye, cut, crimp, and straighten. Ferment in the muddy gully until you bring the hypnagogic dreamscape into the known landscape. Release yourself immediately for immediate release.

The Artist D, November 2016

The Artist D, November 2016

For 15 Minutes

You have a new Follower. Someone would like to request to be your Friend. He has 137k Followers. She has 2,145 Friends and an empty photo album.

A longtime peeve of mine is the lack of people whom I would like to call Enjoyers. At one time they may have been labeled consumers, but that is no longer the case. Enjoyers are viewers and are happy with their lot in life. There does not seem to be a lot of Enjoyers out there anymore.

I get a lot of Friends requests on Facebook. I have several Follow requests on Twitter each day. I will approve anyone as long as they appear to be a valid Noun. That is a person, place, or thing actually existing for a reason. That is not a Spam Bot named Jessica Rabbit with nothing but phishing click bait on her feed.

But it’s such a disappointment that the majority, almost 98% of the requests, come from people who are Doers. A Doer is the opposite of an Enjoyer. A Doer wants to do things, get places, and be Famous. They think they have something to say. They are a Creator. They are a Maker. The last thing they do is Enjoy.

The Doers have thousands of followers. They post, they Tweet, and they reTweet in the name of networking. They have usually added me as they needed another number to add to their audience. They hope I will be another audience member or even better, a consumer!

I am a Doer to a certain extent. My Doer vs. Enjoyer ratios are probably different than other people’s. I do not Do for the soul purpose of Doing. I do not create to sell, but I do create with the hope of amusing the Enjoyers. I do want Followers and Friends, but I long for more Enjoyers than network hungry Doers.

Yet I do not see a lot of Enjoyers out there. When a Friend or Follower request comes in they are from fellow Doers. How I wish that I would click through to find Mary Jane, a small town housewife who thoroughly enjoys my writing. Mary Jane likes to read. Mary Jane has no ambition to write. Mary Jane doesn’t want to be famous. She just wants to enjoy the creations put out by another human. Mary completely understands that her talent is in the domestic and raising her little boy Johnny is what she wants to do.

In fact, when I reach out to Mary Jane and thank her for her custom she is thrilled to hear from me. She is flattered that I appreciate her being an Enjoyer. That is the end of it. I am a Doer and she is an Enjoyer. We appreciate each other and continue on.

Reaching out to most people in the 21st Century usually reveals that the Enjoyer is also a Doer. You thank Mary Jane for reading and her response reveals that she actually has a side business. Mary Jane makes homemade candles in her kitchen. Here is Mary’s business card, website, Twitter feed, and Yahoo! Storefront. Mary asks that you please buy her products and Tweet them out to your “many Followers.” And by the way, is there any possibility of Mary getting some free advertisement on your artistic blogging website?

My frustration is not that you Do something, but the fact that it makes you less of a real person. When I arrived to the Internet in 1997 we were all artists and creators, but we were real people. Almost everyone online back then were Doers, but we also had a high quotient of Enjoyer. I wanted to come over to your house and you wanted me to. We wanted to hang out and not always talk about networking or becoming rich and famous. We shared struggles, stories, bottles of booze, and sometimes had a quick passing lust affair.

Today it seems that the 15 Minutes of fame has turned into an angry beast. I reach out to you, the Doer with 23k Followers, and you don’t get my message because you are too busy Doing. You are no longer yourself, but you have become what you Do. This is what makes me wish for more Enjoyers. Because the Doers have been consumed and no longer stop to say, “Hello.”

I was having a conversation with my phlebotomist the other day. She asked me what I Do and I told her all about it. I saw the photo of her three children on her work station and asked about her family. She told me a bit about them, but then said that she was a Mother. She said that was her lot in life. She is here to raise her children to be good people. She didn’t ask me to Follow her on Twitter. She didn’t ask me to buy her homemade candles. She has a talent. Everyone does! But she isn’t selling or networking it. She just does it. She wants to be the best mom. She wants to guide her children to be best people. There was no sales pitch. We were actually two people just talking, like friends.

Everyone does have a talent and everyone can Do. The problem is that is now all they Do. The 15 Minutes have consumed the majority. Everyone has an Etsy store and a Vistaprint Business Card. Everyone is so busy marketing themselves. I just want to talk to you. I do want to entertain you, but for heaven’s sake can’t we just talk?

The plight of the business owner is that they are working 24/7. That has always been the plight of the business owner. And today’s flavor makes everyone a business owner of their own Doer brand. It has consumed them. Which is ironic that the consumer consumes and the Doer has now been tricked into consuming themselves.

The Artist D, October 2016

The Artist D, October 2016

Monday Mourning

I awaken with the sadness. The somber cannot-shake-it dread.

Another weekend has left the building. Nothing interesting to note.

I could stare at a wall all day and it would be better than these Monday mornings.

I’m out for a walk trying to shake it off. It’s dark. It’s 4:30 AM. I just keep walking.

I’m walking and thinking. I’m talking to myself. I’m convincing myself to feel better.

I can’t talk myself out of it.

Thoughts of why it’s not bad at all. Thinking about the less fortunate. The people doing hard labor. The people doing hard time. The sick people. The damaged people.

I’m not damaged.

Keep telling yourself that. As you walk around in the dark on Monday morning.

I take an extra lap. I don’t want the dark morning calm to end. As people toddle to their cars and shoot me dirty looks. I know the sun is just over the horizon.

Sunshine always brings more people. Which I never understood because who keeps a schedule based on sunshine?

It’s Monday morning and I wouldn’t be up if I didn’t have to be up. Sunshine has nothing to do with my participation.

Another weekend drifts into the air with its weekend vapors. I keep exercising and talking to myself.

Forget about it.

Just forget about it.

But I hate when those vapors leave. They were so much fun. The weekend is over before it began!

After today there is only four days until the next reprieve. Just four days. I can busy myself until then. I can wait for it.

Forget about it.

It’s Monday morning.

I can’t seem to stop mourning. For absolutely no reason.

Martian Desert by The Artist D, July 2015

Martian Desert by The Artist D, July 2015

Now What?

I’ve never lived life without thinking about what’s next. We’re programmed that way from the very beginning. Life is all about goals and setting your entire pathway up before it even begins. What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question that should never be taken too seriously.

Each morning when starting out on my journey I think about where I am going. Not really about where I’m going that day, but what I do within that day that is going to take me into the future. I’m very goal oriented. I like a good personal challenge. I will be somewhere by sometime and damn it if I’ll fail!

I have learned that without another “What’s next?” I’m not so sure what’s next. That’s a feeling that shows up after big life milestones. When you’ve really achieved something that brings you to a completely different part of your timeline. We could say that is when you buy your dream home or move across the country. It’s easy to assume that what’s next is obvious. You move to your dream place and then you begin living – again. But it is not that easy for those of us racing from milestone to milestone. Much like a good high, the next step always has to be more enjoyable than the last. One cannot arrive at their dream location and simply begin living. Oh no, they must start living fabulously. Then you have to be more fabulous after that step and so forth. It has at times driven me into hysterics.

As I walk around on this planet I find myself monitoring the tourists very closely. They are a great petri dish. These moments are it for them. They break away from the norm and take some silly pictures with their family. They have a good meal. Then they return to the norm. It’s just like Winston and Julia in 1984. They met in those disconnected places to make love and eat real chocolate. Then they fell back in step with a drab gray existence.

The 1984 existence works for most people. They live from one fleeting vacation to the other with all of this dead air in between. They save their pennies and work towards something. I can’t live like that. I don’t think anyone seeking to truly add pure character and depth into their lives would. We should never sacrifice days, weeks, and months in exchange for a snapshot of truth. Ever!

The key word was “truly.” It would appear from my observations that most people would be terrified if they were to break away every day and truly find their meaning. This could be attributed to the fact that acknowledging your true self can in the end make you unable to fall back into step with the norm. Winston and Julia would never be the same again.

If you are up for the challenge and can truly find the mental stability to face self I would tell you to take the time every day.  We should not wake up in the morning and go to bed in the evening not having done one thing that actually mattered to us. Besides breathing.  We should find the power of pause every day. To initiate a wagging finger towards all of the gray concrete bullshit and say, “No, no, I’m going to be taking a moment now.”

This existence can so easily get lost in the swampy concrete. Be brave enough … be mindful enough … to not lose your place within self.

The Artist D, October 2016

The Artist D, October 2016

Headlight Moon

You lured me to this space. It was early August 2006. We met at the casino. We had a coffee and talked. You seemed enchanted by my rebelliousness. I was intrigued that you were gay and yet had an extremely conservative mindset. There seemed to be a lot in your brain.

We watched The Descent in the movie theater after that coffee. It was a scary movie in that thrilling kind of way. You didn’t seem effected. I pretended not to be.

You stopped to have a burger on your way out of the theater. You really enjoyed that burger. I thoroughly enjoyed your Aryan good looks.

I dropped you off in the parking lot of your apartment. We stood around in that parking spot chatting for a little while longer. The moon was super full and as bright as a headlight. I didn’t know what you thought of me. I was looking for someone to cling to. You looked like a good candidate.

You didn’t invite me in. I went back to wherever I was staying that night. I went home the next day. Wherever that was in August of 2006. I really don’t remember.

Nothing ever came of us outside of a few more months worth of coffee and cigarettes.

It was astonishing to me that over ten years later I would accidentally rent a flat in the same complex as I had dropped you off at that night. Unwittingly not realizing I was in the same place until weeks after move in. I was taking a walk and realized I was standing near the same parking space under the same full moon.

It’s all about stepping out on a limb. It’s all about flowing into the synchronicity to get you in and out of situations. To learn from the situation and then to leave the situation when it is time. To flow.

The Aritst D, April 2014

The Aritst D, April 2014

Ego Addiction

I’ve always wanted to be the star. I grew up at the end of an era where people had to do things to be adored. Hollywood was built by people who worked hard to get to the top. Likewise artists created art before they could be called artists. Perhaps the biggest tail end of an era I caught was lead by the nauseating question, “Are you a published author?”

Back in the day you actually had to achieve something before you could be officially branded into the category. You weren’t an author unless an actual publisher picked you up. You were not a poet until a cheap rag accepted your poetry and printed it. Artists have always been subjective to an extent, but you were a “real” artist if your painting hung somewhere for people to see.

With the dawning of the Internet came a loosening of the rules. I remember the original turmoil and divide with authors. Those who had worked so hard to be published were being shown up by new writers self publishing through the Internet. They were furious. No one knew how to take this, because some of the self published works were just as good as anything out of the old stuffy publishing system. I may remember it better than any other divide as I was one of those new writers. I was thrilled to be able to put out a real printed and bound book all by myself for pocket change.

Likewise, anyone in the music industry can tell you about that cultural divide. Today we can talk to anyone on stage and screen to hear about the Internet making their light just a little less bright.

The Internet has shone a light on every system of elite hierarchy there is. Every industry we have known with kings and queens has been shattered. The Internet has allowed the peasants to immediately hold court if they can attract the right audience.

I am in between those divides. I come from a time where I was taught I had to do something to be anything. All the while I grew up in a world where you could scream anything on a webcam “just being yourself” and suddenly make a six digit income if you stuck to it.

Think of that guy in the 90’s who put webcams throughout his home and setup a subscription service for people to just watch him. He didn’t do anything unique. He walked around his home, ate bowls of cereal, wrote HTML code, and very occasionally had sex with his girlfriend under the sheets. He didn’t exploit his life. He didn’t record porn films. He was simply being monitored and he was a big hit for it.

Those days of webcam novelty have long come to an end, yet now much to Mr. Warhol’s prediction everyone is a star for at least 15 minutes. Today we are wobbling with a society longing for substance, yet being more and more addicted to the art of being. That addictive digital needle is filled with a substance called Social Media. The longing to go viral or get just a few more followers and Likes.

I knew the digital addiction to ego before most anyone else. I had my website and I had my own liking system. Back in that day we used to have to set those up for ourselves! It was far more difficult to get our fix as we did not have computers in our pockets. We had to rush home to check web site statistics, guestbook entries, and open up our email programs to download the latest batch of love letters. But we did it! We were addicted to it. We became hooked further in with every present from our wishlist and next guestbook entry.

The Internet ego formula and platforms have changed to accommodate everyone. After all, the Sheeple absolutely needed it for themselves once they saw what we had. It’s easy now. It’s in your pocket, it streams through thin air, and it’s everywhere. You can get online while hiking mountain trails or taking a shit in the local Starbucks. They have honed the ego machine to please everyone. They have made it an addiction for all because now everybody can get Likes and follows. We can all go viral. The Internet has turned into one big circle jerk.

In a way the Internet had elite just like Hollywood had elite. We started it and they took it over. They take everything over. They make all of the screens smaller. I am the Norma Desmond of the Internet.

For people like me it has been a maddening ride going from the difficulty of receiving Likes to being able to easily obtain an overabundance of them! I used to have to pay hundreds of dollars for my own server space in order to spend two months writing my own code, in order to finally publish my work and get a few dozen feedback messages of Like. The transition from HTML 2.0 to today was like an overdose. They made it so easy. It’s so easy to build your website or your “page” now. It’s so easy to program in the posts to fire 24/7 while I’m out doing more work to create more content. Finally, it is so easy to check the results everywhere from anywhere.

Instead of going home, opening my office door, “firing up” the CPU, I was suddenly able to get my Likes wherever I was. I can check them while sitting on the couch. I can check them from bed before I get up in the morning. I can scroll my wall while eating breakfast. I can catch up straight out of the shower. I post from mountain trails. I can be plugged in all of the time to receive my constant stream of Likes and it was absolutely overtaxing my ego.

Much like drugs the same goes for the Internet’s ego machine. I have been a lifelong addict to anything I get involved with. My genes must be extensively programmed to the Junkie mentality. Throughout the years I have overdosed on food, beverage, drugs, smokey treats, lust, love, and I would likely overdose on air if possible. There is nothing in this life that I have enjoyed in moderation. I have had to learn to moderate every single thing. I have now had to do the same with the ego and the Internet.

In August 2016 I went on a break from Social Media and most portions of the Internet. Indeed we cannot live without the Internet in the current 21st century life. If you have already acclimated your world to it then you cannot go without it. We make money through these circuits. We pay bills through here. We order food, set appointments, and communicate with “the folks back home” through here. Just about ten years ago I could have shut off my cell phone and Internet for 30 days and no one would have noticed. If I did that today I would have been declared dead.

My goal with taking the break was to see what happened when I didn’t have to check on my Facebook or Twitter accounts. I continued to view Instagram and YouTube for my personal entertainment, but I told myself to only do it once or twice a day. At certain times I was so driven to post a thought that I broke my rules and did so, but for the most part I stayed away. The important step was to not go back and look for comments or Likes.

I stayed far away from Facebook and found a lot more time in my day. I was 20 minutes early every morning and my evenings were filled with finding things to entertain Me with. That was when I discovered the key and the point. The Social Media platforms have reprogrammed everyone to entertain each other. There are so many people now doing what they do for others to see that they have lost track of what they might want to do for themselves.

Much like myself, other people have become so busy thinking of what to post and then check for Likes that it’s all they are doing. Look at me! Like me! Follow me! Then just like drugs you have to find a larger dose for the next time. What’s the next post going to be and will it trump the previous? Do I post now to get more Likes or is 2 PM better? Finally, why doesn’t everyone Like me? Because we’ve always wondered that. Social Media has held a mirror up to the caveman traits inside and allowed them to come out. It’s helped people act like spoiled children. It has convinced them to be Liked just by being, instead of doing.

I want to be Liked for what I’m doing. We have too many folks thinking they are simply special snowflakes. They do not need to do great things to be treated greatly. We are deceiving our children into thinking that “just being” is totally OK. That mentality where everyone wins First Place because they don’t want to admit anyone is less than. You should not be able to make it in this world without creating something and showing your skills.

I’m old enough to realize that everything is a farce, nobody gets it, and the last thing we should care about is what everybody thinks. I might as well do what entertains me. This brief Social Media break has shown me that what others think does not entertain me.

My new rules are to post what I do. To post what I think. To share my life as a live it. I am happy to setup all of my posts, pictures, tweets, twerks, and tumbles to propagate to your walls, readers, and devices. But I do not want to be bound into daily checking for Likes, Loves, and critiques. I have to take that needle full of Facebook Likes out of my arm now. It’s holding me back creatively. It depresses me to read other posts and see how lost everyone has become. It makes me sad to see that the content creators have become drowned out by the pictures of dinner and the latest manicure. Something that may be most disappointing is the absolute struggle I see some go through when they do yearn to express themselves but realize it’s no longer the in thing.

If you want to come along for the ride and enjoy the things that amuse me, then you are more than welcome to watch. If you would like to talk to me and have a real conversation (something else that has gone away), then by all means send the message. It’s time to realize that another underground has been unearthed. It’s time to find the next underground. It’s time to go underground again. My people … my people …

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The Artist D, September 2016

Trailhead

When it’s quiet. Like Blair Witch Project quiet. You have walked and walked out into the middle of nowhere and finally found nowhere. Silence. Pure silence. I am in the desert. I am surrounded by dead trees, burnt weeds, and red rock piles. It’s quiet out here in the desert. I piss on the side of a tree and realize that is the only noise.

Really alone. Where you’d probably have to run back through the paths to get anywhere quick, if you had to. I am out here in the middle of nowhere. I have walked for two hours. To be truly disconnected. There is no one here. There is no one to help. You realize this only when it is that quiet. To know that no one is near, anywhere, to help you if something happened.

True silence. And then you feel your vulnerability. That is the loudest thing there. Your own momentary paranoia. But you keep walking. Then it begins to get dark. You think you may come to the other side of the trail, the other side of the forest, the desert, the whatever. Surely it will be soon, but the sun is setting.

That’s when you realize the sun sets fast. It never seems to want to go down when you want it to, but at this moment in total disconnect you begin to miss it. Because you realize that darkness is dark. The only thing to light your way is a starry sky, if it isn’t cloudy. But it’s cloudy. And you didn’t bring a flashlight. This moment into the empty paths was spontaneous. No food, no water, no flashlight, no backpack with provisions. You’d feel better right now if you had provisions. Suddenly you aren’t sure how far away the other side of this space is. You begin to think of night creatures. You start to hear night creatures.

For the first time you realize what all those dumb people back at the trailhead feared. The thing that kept them in the parking lot was that nobody was out here in the middle of nothing. Out where you now are. They were scared. If they were not scared then they were lazy. They didn’t want to hike several miles into oblivion at this time of day. They wanted to go home and eat dinner while watching Wheel of Fortune. In fact that’s where they are right now. The people have folded in their Selfie Sticks and returned to their homes. While I’m out here with the snakes and wild bores. There are desert pigs out here just waiting to trample in snorting packs, I’m sure of it.

I get to the corner of a very large mountain and realize how much farther there is to go. I know this mountain. I’ve seen it before on a map. I know where I am and I’m nowhere near the other end of this thing! It would take at least another hour and the sun has almost completely gone down already. It’s past the peaks of the mountains on the horizon and is sinking faster with every excited hoofing sound my sneakers make. Then I begin thinking about the trail ahead for the next hour. The trail which is getting harder to see. The trail which seems to be more overgrown here than ever before. Is it darkness making it worse or am I really losing my way? I’ve never lost my way. I have an uncanny ability when it comes to finding my way back from whence I came. But I don’t know if that uncanny ability works in the opposite direction. Because I just realized at this juncture that I’ve never done this trail before and I have no idea where it leads. How am I supposed to get to where I’m going if I have no idea where any of it is actually going?

The trail seems covered and the trees seem taller now. The darkness is creeping. The animals are all around me. I need to go back. I have to get back quickly. I begin to run. I turn and run realizing that I had just hiked for two hours. Would it have been smarter to go forward for an hour or back for two? I take the way I know. I run back. I jump over puddles and leap back up rock formations. I run across the ridges and back, back, farther back closer to the setting sun. I am literally chasing the sunset that was just behind me. It’s still slipping away but at least I’m running towards it instead of away from it.

I have no idea how quiet it is anymore. I hear nothing but my breathing and clomping, my rushing through two hours worth of what was once a calm adventure. If I could just see someone else out there hiking and having a grand ol’ time. If I could just run into some people. I’ve never wanted to run into people before, but this time it would just be so nice to see that I’m not the only one. I look around and listen carefully for people to prove that I am not alone. I hear no one. I am alone.

My heart is racing. I just want to get back. I failed in going the full trail. I chickened out for fear of spending the evening lost in darkness without a flashlight and a granola bar. My blood pressure must be through the roof. I feel funny. I don’t like this. Everything hurts. I leap and I run until I find a very familiar space. I come over a ridge to a flatly familiar mountainside rock. I’m a few miles away from where I started, but I’m back to where I know and the rest of the way will be just fine. My pace slows while my heart cools. Darkness sets in as I near civilization again. In the distance some idiot is flying a drone that looks like a UFO. I’m happy to see signs of people again. Signs of idiocy. Warm comforting stupid people doing stupid things, again.

The parking lot is completely empty by the time I reach the trailhead and the night is pitch black. There were many clouds. There were no stars. I stand at my car looking out into zero visibility and think about being out there in this. For a moment I wish I had stayed out there to find out. I chase off the regret that I’m getting back in my car when I could have been out there adventuring through the darkness. I could have still been hoofing it, surviving it, overcoming the unknown conclusions. But adventures like that always look good in theory. It’s another thing when in practice.

By The Artist D, August 2016

By The Artist D, August 2016

Temple

Whenever I take a vacation or remove myself from the workplace I am reminded of what has become of me. If I take a few steps back and observe my actions I am a kin to a shipwrecked person whom has now been rescued.

I jump manically from one thing to another trying desperately to fulfill parts of me that have been completely barren for weeks, months, sometimes years! Just like that starving ship wrecked person will luxuriate in taking a shower or devour several hamburgers, milk shakes, and a side of chicken nuggets. I do the same with my starving mind.

There is a stack of books next to my bed and anywhere else I may sit in my home. I am reading all of those books. Removing myself from the workplace sees my true longing to fulfill the dead zones of my body, mind, and spirit.

It does not take long to realize I am philosophically starving. I will have mad passionate sex for days, with others or myself. I will eat cheeseburgers, French fries, and have Chinese food delivered to my home. I will binge on bottles of wine. I will write in my notebook. I will type in my blog. I will start to read one book and then get so excited by the words that I must immediately move to another. I will then start to think ideas of my own thanks to the ideas that I am reading and I will need to start writing in my notebook. While I am writing in my notebook I will start to think of how epic it would be to share my thoughts with the world. I then rush inside to my laptop and begin preparing a blog.

All the while living out this obsessive starving-man literary display I begin to think of how much I must get to the mountains and walk. I think about meditating on rocks and maybe it will rain down on me while I am there. But I haven’t taken a shower in three days and that would be nice too. I’ll do that next! Then I’ll go to the local cafe and get a coffee. A real coffee, not some watered down Folders Tasters House bullshittery with fake cow puss to lighten it. No! Strong black coffee with saccharin. That’s it, that’s all. I’ll get a muffin too. Baked right there. Not some shipped in stupid organic piece of shit that was stale and unloaded from the truck last night.

Then another blog hits me. Then more notebook writing. Finally I’m in the shower and the windows are wide open. I’m thinking it might rain, so I really need to get going. But the pile of books! I can’t wait to return to the pile of books.

This is a demonstration in the School of Unlearning. This is a true memory of youth before social conditioning. Do what thou wilt and so much more. I stuff my brain with the knowledge of my psychic ancestors. I desperately grab at handfuls of truth like it was a cherry pie and I was a refugee. I fight the sadness of knowing that this is what life is supposed to be and all of that which left me dry must be shucked. But how? I must figure that out. I must buck the system. I must succeed so I can have the handfuls of knowledge, lust, love, poetry, deviation, on the daily. To not would be the worst denial of self one could ever submit to.

Sledgehammer, The Artist D, August 2016

Sledgehammer, The Artist D, August 2016