Monthly Archives: September 2011

things are swell

9/11/11

Normally I’d never post such a bizarrely unflattering shot of yours truly – even though I gave up the quest for cool years ago, I still possess shreds of vanity – but this was too much to pass up. The bug bite (or shrapnel from a Dremel, or whatever the hell caused it) became a staph infection that landed me in the hospital, looking vaguely like a tree-dweller in “Avatar”.

IanForeheadBiteSwelling(bl).jpg

This pic doesn’t show how bad it got eventually got, but for those who know me, you know I don’t fucking look like that. I was quite intrigued about how even small changes around your eyes can make you look like you come from a completely different family.

For her part, Lucy was psyched that I finally looked like her current cultural crush, Bear Grylls, particularly when he got stung by those bees. As long as I’m still cool to the Lulubeans (and don’t lose my Bactrim), I think I’ll be okay.

time’s tide will smother you

9/8/11

Dear September 11,

Yes, I’m referring to you as a sentient beast, because you are no longer a date. You are a bunch of religious fundamentalists, you’re an embodiment of the worst of America, you are a whole ecosystem unto yourself – and this weekend you turn 10 years old.

And let me tell you, as a local eyewitness to your horror – and a sufferer of my country since your visit – you are the opposite of all things good, and I want you to go away forever. A year ago, I plaintively asked everyone to forget you, but I was a year early. I should have known the 10-year anniversary was going to shoot you back into the sky, so that everyone can see the planes vaporize into the towers again, and then the towers vaporizing into the island.

We have sucked since you came around. You may turn out to be the Gothic insult that hastens the fall of our modern-day Rome. It’s not just that 3,000 people died: you stuck us with a President for 8 years that bankrupted our country, both financially and morally. You mired us in two wars still being fought today, with almost 4,500 Americans dead in Iraq, and upwards of 1.4 million Iraqis. As a horse, you’ve never been dead enough to stop flogging, giving us vile racism, bullshit jingoism, terrible legislation and institutional cruelty.

MichelleSaladsArmory9-11(bl).jpg

as if in a dream, I watched my sister Michelle ladle salad dressing for people waiting for news of their loved ones – Sept 12, 2001

Sure, we “came together” when you happened. How long did it last? Two weeks? Now our country is more divided than at any time since the Civil War. While we were taking off our shoes and drinking our own breast milk at the airport, the financial system robbed us blind. Now the USA is the equivalent of a homeless mime: drunk, broke, mute, and jittery.

On a personal note, you sent me to the mental institution and put me on drugs. I have said before you might have allowed me the humility to marry my wife and start a family, but I think I’ve given you too much credit. I’ve come to think more highly of myself in the ensuing years.

In most fiction, everything has a purpose; no plot point erupts without meaning. You, however, are reality, which hews you to no such structure. You just happened, and the damage you’ve done has been both incalculable and worthless. So why are we memorializing you, fetishizing you? Why do we find ourselves in rooms being asked where we were the day you came?

I never talk to people about you, because for so many others, it’s just ghoulish fascination. Sure, I’ve blathered on these pages a lot, but this blog was always intended to be part of my therapy. When you come up at dinner parties, or in casual conversation, I simply listen and nod my head, as I have no compulsion to relive you, or use you as social currency. Frankly, it makes me sick.

You used to be, in Morrissey’s words, “too close to home, too near the bone,” but now you are neither, just an old actor being trotted out on stage to say his dreary catchphrases, riches in embarrassment. You need to be retired, put out to pasture, kicked onto an ice floe.

What doesn’t kill us makes us neurotic. If our country survives, it’ll be despite you. I’m done with it all. Let me use the 10th anniversary to say what I should have said all along…

Dear September 11,

Go fuck yourself.

kafka used repellent

9/7/11

Okay, so, remember when I was talking about being a pussy, you know, one entry ago? I bemoaned not digging wells in Africa because I’d mostly likely get fucking dysentery or some other insult, because stupid random shit seems to always find me.

Upon writing those words, I was bitten on the forehead by some insect in upstate New York, and here I find myself in Los Angeles, with this… THING… getting bigger on my head every day:

IanForeheadBite2(bl).jpg

I went to the doctor, and she tested me for Lyme and put me on antibiotics no matter what because it seems to be infected. So now I’m singing the intestinal glories of Augmentin.

I don’t usually show you people this stuff, but it just seemed all too poetic. Or pathetic. Or bathetic, for that matter.

will you draw my bath please mathersby

9/5/11

I’m reading The Magicians at the moment – a novel that is one part awesome, two parts infuriating – but there was a moment that stuck with me. At a crucial juncture, a girl pushes our protagonist into a completely different parallel existence with the words “you have always been such a pussy.”

Full disclosure: I don’t know the actual words, because the book is being read to me via audiobook. However, the sentiment struck an augmented chord in me, a thought so utterly pedestrian, yet completely profound… why the fuck have I been such a motherfucking pussy my whole life?

No offense to women, cats, anyone’s sexual organs or other pussies, but MAN I’m sick of being such a precious little goddamn flower. Ever since I was 4 or 5, I’ve been flinching from one thing or another, positively incapable of the thought “grin and bear it”. It’s just not in my lexicon. Instead, I have a laundry list that looks like this:

• constant need to conserve energy lest I run out

• pacing myself, resting, pacing myself, ad nauseum

• too hot, too cold, sometimes both

• inability to ignore even the tiniest discomforts

• depression, or at the very least, acute phobia of getting depressed again

• phalanx of shit brought on trips to salve pussy bullshit

• fear of boredom, then bored of fear of boredom, then fear of being bored of fearing boredom

While it is true that I accomplish a lot, it is generally to distract myself from being “at unrest”, whatever that happens to mean. My being a pussy, at best, means those massive Daddo projects that leave Lucy with a life-size pterosaur, but at worst, it means I’m a niggling, nampy-pamby Nancy enervating my wife with my negativity.

IanJumpsuitPaintsTiles(bl).jpg

priming/painting tin ceiling tiles by myself = not pussy; jumpsuit and double respirator = pussy

There are plenty of explanations – maybe, like the studies say, I’m a redhead with the inherent sensory integration problems shared by most of us gingers. Or I have a phantom bullshit virus, or a mitochondrial slaggardliness, or circadian rhythms that sway to vastly different beats. Or maybe I’m just a fucking PUSSY.

Either way, I AM TRYING. I slip all the time, I’m a habitual user, but it’s not like I don’t know it, and it’s not like I don’t fight swimming in syrup every day. My writing a blog almost every weekday is both symptomatic of my pussiness (need for affirmation, needing to be heard) and a way out of it (occasional heartfelt treatises on changin’ my ways, soldiering on despite all other distraction).

I’d go to Africa and dig wells if I wasn’t sure I’d be in a thatched hut made of shit, writhing with dysentery. I’d take a martial art if I wasn’t fairly certain I’d get my nose broken and have to spend six months recovering from deviated septum surgery. I’d get up at 7am with the sun if I knew I wouldn’t walk into walls all day from stupefying fatigue.

But I can start small. I am a pussy, but I’m trying to scythe my way out of it.

put your dogs up

9/1/11

Have an excellent Labor Day, you delightful people. I recommend the following:

• set an alarm and do absolutely nothing for 20 minutes except clear your head.

• spend one day this weekend without any social media.

• from 2:30pm to 3:30pm on Sunday, get that one personal thing done you’ve wanted to do for months now.

• oh, and think of how COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE it would be to ratify a holiday for American workers with today’s apeshit Congress.

see you Tuesday!