To Infinity and Beyond…Then Back Again

April 5, 2012 at 5:55 PM | Posted in Political | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

Just a friendly warning to anyone who may have stumbled here via a tag about faith, religion, and God:  There is some bad language in this.  But it’s real and it’s true and it’s about my struggle, and if you can get past these indiscretions, I hope you will find it an enjoyable, thought-provoking read.

I’m not sure what this has to do with, and I’m fairly certain that this will require extensive editing before it gets to the viewing public.  The reader.  To you.

I am…I’m not religious, in the strict biblical sense.  And I’m not going to go that that tired old “but I am spiritual” route because I’m not a 20 year old college girl exploring her new found freedom by getting piss-drunk and letting a fraternity gang-bang her.
In fact, I might be the opposite:  I’m not very spiritual, but I am religious.  I believe in God.  I’m a Christian.  I believe that Christ is my savior, and everything else that goes with it that atheists and secularists love to make fun of.  But there is something else that goes with it, something that the atheists have been missing out on that I think they are just in recent years starting to catch up on.
My good friend is Catholic, and active in her church.  In fact, I’ve helped her with some functions and events, and some of the catering, and I see something wonderful.  It’s not–listen, you hardcore militant atheist assholes who just want to deride everything church-related and read subtext and subterfuge into everything, no matter how harmless and innocent it is:  It’s not all about fairy tales.
It has to do with the sense of community and society.  The common thread–church and belief–is what brings them together.  But the togetherness–friendship, comradery, fellowship, and sense of community–is an end unto itself.  These things are important.  People seek them out.  Most people, anyway, but I’ll get to that later.
In general, most people want to belong.  Are you with me so far?  I hate to generalize, and there are exceptions, but the misanthropic segments of the population rarely stand together to be counted, or have rallies.  *MOST* people don’t choose to be Tom Hanks in 85% of “Castaway.”

And so, here come the atheists, proudly boasting about their intellectual superiority, their inner strength that has no need of a fairy-tale support system, and the fact that they have never killed millions of people in a holy war.  (Well, to be fair, neither have I.)
But here they come, knocking what they don’t understand.
Don’t understand?  *Don’t understand?* Ha!  Why, most atheists are very well-versed and scholarly and learned in all aspects of all religions.  They have to be so they can intelligently refute and mock them against the ignorant masses of primitive, mouth-breathing believers…
Yeah, I hear you.  You’ve read.  You’ve bowed at Richard Dawkins’ feet.  You belong to several atheist websites.  There really isn’t a way for me to say “good for you” without it sounding sarcastic–but maybe it’s just me.
But you don’t understand faith.  Don’t tell me you do, because it’s obvious you don’t.  If you *UNDERSTOOD* faith, you’d have some.  I’m not wrong.  And this is my essay, so I get the last word.  Get your own fucking soapbox (or blog–same thing.)
My point being is that atheists are missing out on the larger sense of community and fellowship.  Compound that with the fact that, much like homosexuals or Scientologists, their numbers aren’t as great as they like to boast.  So that’s the crux of it:  Atheists, besides having a hole in their hearts where Christ should be, also have a hole in their heart where their connection to society should be.
(BTW–notwithstanding that I am a Christian, I do have a sense of humor.  A biting, harsh, and sarcastic sense.  I phrased that last paragraph exactly the way I did because I am a dick.  If I offended or pissed off any atheists–well, I guess it worked.)
I used to say this, “I know I’m not the best example of a Christian–”
And for that reason I wouldn’t usually divulge the denomination of my church because I am NOT the standard by which to measure.
However, like other things, I have given this up for Lent.  I won’t review all of my sins here because this not the place and they are numerous.  But I think that is the very same thing that makes me a g–
Ha!  I was going to say, “good.”  No, I’m not a “good” Christian.  I’m not a “good” example.  But I am an example.  A real-world example.  The kind that atheists can point to and sneer:  “See?  He’s not living his Christian values and tenets!  He should just give up and become an atheist!”
I’m also the kind of Christian that fundamentalist would point to and whisper about and judge behind my back, all the things that atheists think all Christians do.  The Fundies would say that I have not truly taken Christ into my heart.
But I say to all of them:  It’s not really for you to judge me now, is it?  It’s betwixt me and God.  God and I.  What a great road-trip, coming-of-age, buddy move that would be:  “Me and the Big G.”
I’m not perfect, and have never professed to be–other than to pick up chicks.  I live in the world.  I drink, I smoke, and I cuss.  I fornicate.  I fornicate like a mother-fucker, in fact.  I have, on occasion, lied.  I’ll lie to your stupid face if it’ll get you to leave me alone.
None of these things make me a Christian.  The fact that I believe in God, and the fact that I have taken Christ as my personal savior is what makes me a Christian.  I try to be a better person.  Most days, I don’t try very hard.
But I try.  And that’s the point.

I haven’t been to my Church in a dozen years or more.  I’m what they would term “inactive.”  And since then, I’ve gotten divorced, I live in sin with a woman, I occasionally drink and smoke–albeit lightly, and I’ve had occasion to view a provocative website or two.  Combined with my various other indiscretions, I’m certain that if/when I do go back, I would be excommunicated.  At the very least, I would be disfellowshipped.
I always thought there would come a day when I would go back.  A day when the doors wouldn’t necessarily swing wide for me, but at least they would unlock, and perhaps creak from disuse when I pried them open.
A day when my fiancé’s divorce would be final (I said don’t judge me), and she could make an honest man out of me.  A day when I might quit smoking and only drink in secret.  A day when my browser history might be proudly displayed.  A day when the light of Christ would shine through me and I would stand as a pillar to uphold all that is good and pure and decent.
A day when I wouldn’t have so many dirty thoughts going my mind.  All the time.  Constantly.  Really, it’s non-stop.

Many people that leave The Church or stop going have had some kind of falling out over some slight, real or imagined.  Often, it’s not the doctrine, but rather the misapplication of it by people, or the mishandling of some social situation–again, by people.  People, after all, are imperfect creatures.  Except atheists, of course.  Atheists, ironically, are the highest, most exalted and perfect of God’s creation, who have evolved to a point where they no longer need him.
My own experience was nothing like that, the leaving.  It was just a gradual waning of the light of my faith.  I don’t “blame” God, and I certainly don’t hate him.  Nor do I blame or hate anyone in the church.
I don’t mean to generalize, and of course I can create a lengthy disclaimer–in fact, I believe this entire essay is a disclaimer–if I really need to so that it will protect your delicate baby feelings, but *it has been my experience* that *in general* the *typical militant* atheist is *least likely* to get this:
This is about forgiveness and acceptance.  It was my fault and mine alone, and I accept responsibility for my actions.  I blame no one else for creating the circumstances unduly influencing me.  This is not an affidavit for the admission of guilt of any crimes.  I also acknowledge that despite the atheists’ view, I do answer to a higher power, and while I may have done nothing wrong in their eyes, I know that I face judgment from a higher power.  Even if they think it is my own conscious, there is harm and there are consequences from my actions.
As I am imperfect, I understand also that other people are imperfect as well.  I have forgiveness n my heart for people who are careless with my feelings and thoughtless with their actions towards me.  I forgive people that are too stupid to function in the world and I accept that no matter what I do, I can’t fix them and probably shouldn’t kill them.
Likewise, since I’m not perfect, I ask that Jesus–and you people–forgive me when I’m not as tolerant and patient with all the idiots, dumbasses, fuckballs, assholes, bitches and bastards as I should be.  The world is full of them, and chances are real good that you’re one.
I know I am.

When I was active in my church–
You know, it was a long time ago.  But I remember that it was pleasant.  It was fun.  It was a good experience.  It wasn’t like everyone was wretched and evil but put on a fake face to go to church.  It was more like we were living our lives, every day being dragged down a little bit.  But when we finally made it to church, it was like crossing a finish line.  Made it!  Safe, for another week.  The smiles were real.  Once you crossed the threshold, all the problems of the outside world slipped away, and only the important things remained.  The important things are family, and love, and God.  The rest didn’t matter.
We had activities all the time.  Before we got married, my wife and I gathered with the singles group.  Every week we went out together.  We would meet at church, have a prayer and a spiritual lesson, plan some activities, then play volleyball and go out for pizza.
There was always something going on.  Big Christmas and other holiday plans, excursions, activities for the kids that needed sponsors and volunteers, dinners and other things happening.  The thread that brought us together was our faith.  The Velcro that bound us was the fellowship.

And so now I have a question–a question that I didn’t know I had when I started this, but I think it was inside the whole time, the impetus and purpose of this whole exposition.
First, Given that there is some importance to the fellowship aspect, and I miss that and I want to be a part of something like that again;
Second, as painful as it is for me to acknowledge, if/when I choose to (or feel called to) return to my church, I know I would face some kind of disciplinary action.
And an atheist or just a regular non-church going bloke might wonder why, or how would they know about my misdeeds?  Well, I would have to tell them.  Why don’t I keep my ridiculous pie-hole shut?  Well, that’s dishonest.  I have to tell my [local church authority].  I *have* to.
So what are my possible courses of action?
Is excommunication permanent?  There is also disfellowship, which allows a member to return, after a period of…probation and censure.  Could I ever be re-instated?  If not, would I then be forced to join another church if I wanted to go to church?
Would it be better for me to remain inactive (but still a member, at least on paper) than to go back, only to be kicked out?
Could I join another church, with a different doctrine and different beliefs, knowing what I know and believing as I do?  Would I merely be paying lip service to this new church?  The gist of our beliefs are the same, although some Christian churches are vehement about the differences, no matter how nuanced.  One doctrine from my old church is that we believe in worshiping according to the dictates of our own conscious, and believe that people have that right–let them worship who or what they want, in whatever manner they want, or not at all.  This I firmly believe.
Another doctrine is more of a reminder:  even if we don’t agree on all things, we know we agree on many major things, and let us use those to join us, rather than allow the differences to separate us.  All beliefs possess some part of the truth.  (Of course, my caveat is, “all beliefs…within reason.  I’m sorry, but I swear to God, calling Scientology a religion is like calling date rape a sport.)
Would I be betraying my inner core of beliefs if I joined a different church?  And how firm am I, really, in those beliefs, when I’ve been inactive for so long and not living my life and conducting my affairs according to Church Doctrine anyway?
It’s almost but not quite like I had applied to MIT, and by some fluke I got in.  Then I flunked out, of course.  Of course I did.  Then I hung around the campus and wore an MIT sweatshirt for 20 years, proudly.  But they don’t like a scruffy-looking dropout hanging around, wearing their swag, bragging about the glory days.  If I go to re-apply, they will look at my transcript and say, “Not on your fucking life.”  I’ll end up going to the local community college, where the classes aren’t as tough and you don’t learn as much and it won’t help you get a good job.
As long as I don’t push it, I can still say I went to MIT.  But I’ll never finish–I’ll never get my degree.
So, what do I do?  I think I have myself talked into at least going and talking to my church leader, informally.  And I guess–the thing that should have occurred to me first–I guess I need to pray about it.


Dead Space

December 20, 2010 at 10:48 PM | Posted in Computers and Internet | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

When you come across a website or a blog, or something on the internet–and you can just *tell*.  It has that look.  It could be an obvious sign, like a comment that says “Last updated April 17, 2006.”  Or it could be really old HTML.  Or references to President Bush in the present tense.
But whatever it is, it just makes me sad.  Sometimes it’s eerie and a little creepy.  What if…what if the blog you are looking at is no longer being updated because that person has died?  It’s happened, you know.  I have a few friends online–or had–and they disappeared.  One came back after over a year, just to say she wouldn’t be back…
And another, my favorite, this sweet, young, but sophisticated and artistic Lithuanian girl named Aurora has disappeared forever.  If I had a last name, or something–anything to go by, perhaps I could find her.  I just want to know that she’s okay.
When you stumble upon a website that the owner is obviously deceased…it’s strange.  Morbid.  It’s almost like sneaking into the funeral home at night, popping open their casket before the funeral, and rummaging through their pockets.  What are you going to do, leave a comment?  What can you do?  What are you supposed to do?
For some people–people that are afraid to die, or want to live forever or be remembered, or are just so egotistical that they want their memory to be enshrined (and, by the way, all of those statements do apply to me) forever–maybe the internet is a good thing.  In virtual space, everyone lives forever.  Of course, there are always the sites that are just abandoned because they are no longer hip and trendy.  One of my favorites was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer site.  Well, the show has been off the air for some years.  How often do you think the site gets updated?  2003 was the last time.

So the Internet is an immortality, in a way.  Unless the server crashes without a backup.

Shamans and Holy Men

April 27, 2010 at 12:08 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
Tags: , , ,
  Detroit and I are friends with Joe and Sue.  It’s funny how a chain of people know each other.  Bunny got me the job here at the bank.  Carrie works here, and is friends with Bunny.  Carrie has a friend named Sue, and her husband Joe needed a job, so through networking she helped him out.  Me and Joe work together, and became friends.
  At some bank function Detroit met Joe’s wife Sue.  We had just moved and Detroit was needing a job.  Sue got her one–and Alex, too–at school working in the kitchen.  They became friends as well.
  We don’t get to hang out much, like kids get to do–sometimes you have to set a play date.  Like the other week, when I had a birthday party–it was one big play date, with alcohol.
  The more recent play date we had with them was Friday night, after learning that Sue’s mother had passed away.  Although I had been planning on going to the studio that night, when Sue called Kim, Kim knew that the right thing to do was go over to see her.  Be with her, sit with her, comfort her.  Drink with her.  Bring some wine.
  We brought rum for Detroit and beer for me.  That way she could drink, and I could have a few beers but still drive.  I just can’t drink beer fast enough to get drunk.  We were there for about 3 or 4 hours, and I barely finished three beers.
  I felt like we were doing a good deed–Kim and Carrie kept Sue company, and I kept Joe occupied.  In the midst of her mother’s passing, they were also having some kind of fight.  About what?  Don’t know, don’t care–not my business.  I kept Joe busy, let him bitch, and got him drunk enough to pass out after falling over some shit and crawling across the floor.  He finally ran down, spilled his wine a bit, and eventually passed out sitting up on the couch.
  Then I went outside and joined the others.
  I’m basically sober, with three drunk women.  Yay, me.  They were all happy and sensitive and expressing their feelings…and talking about their wildest sex stories.  Yikes.
  But they did all agree that I am a wonderful person, more or less–aside from the standard drunkenly honest caveats that come out–so that was nice.
  Towards the end of the evening, we were trying to wrap it up.  I had gathered the stuff, hugged everyone a couple of times, and tried to extract Detroit to the van.  Then a most unexpected thing happened.
  Joe and Sue’s neighbor came over.
  Ravenwolf.  The Ravenwolf.  The one, the only.  I had heard much about him, and yet, he was nothing like I had expected.  I had heard he was a musician.  I had heard he was a hippie, and had
his own way of doing things.  I got the impression that Joe liked him
even though he didn’t quite *get* him.  I heard he did some odd things in his house, in garden.  Mystical, pagan things.
  From this and other things I had heard, I thought he would be a 60-year old grizzled-looking half-Indian and half-Scottish Nick Nolte-looking dude with moccasins and bongos and a hookah, and a pet monkey on his shoulder.  I pictured a loud and brazen blues-singer type, taking up everyone’s space, speaking in poetry and snapping his fingers.  Why a monkey?  Why, indeed.  Why not? 
  Instead, the real Ravenwolf was something quite different.  A young black man?  No, not young–but definitely not old.  Even more so than many blacks, he had the annoying ability to look much younger than he was.  He could have been as young as 28; most likely he was close to fifty, if not older. 
  He was definitely his own man, like Brother Todd.  He dressed the way he wanted, and it was unusual enough to be unique without being odd and off-putting.  In my mind’s eye I imagine dressed like a pimp in a purple suit but I know he wasn’t.  Regular dress pants of some kind, a shirt that may have been white, with a vest, and I think there were ruffles somewhere, although that may have just been his aura.  He had on a big leather overcoat, and he wore a hat. 
  Honestly–he was dressed plainly, but his essence sparkled, so it had the tricky thing of making him appear at once both more and less than he was.  It was as though…
  Okay, this will make more sense in the context into which I put it soon.  But it was as if his physical appearance was a disguise.  Not to deceive anyone, but because he wanted to live among us and this was how he did it.
  All of the above thoughts came to me after the fact.

  Sue and Carrie greeted Ravenwolf first, hugging him.  Sue introduced us.  Ravenwolf held onto Sue, supporting her, while saying that he had had a few to drink as well.  He gave her his condolences.  Detroit said to him, "I’ve heard alot about you," as he hugged her, and he brushed it off, remarking something about not being that special–
  He continued to turn the attention to other people, but in a nice way.  He was genuine, and he cared to hear and learn and know about others.  I had started to walk towards the van to put the stuff away, and then come back and begin the extraction process again.  From about 20 feet away, Ravenwolf said something to me loud enough for me to hear, loud enough for everyone to hear, and yet no one heard but me.
  "Are you a Holy Man?"
  Not much can stop me in my tracks.
  I had been walking away, but I had to go back, because I had some explaining to do.  Inwardly cringing from my own embarrassment, I answered, "Yeah, I am–although I don’t really talk about it or flaunt it because I’m not a good example."
  He smiled large at me.  "Who is, brother–who is?"
  "Well, I guess I am, then.  You know, that may be why people come to me for counsel all the time.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing.  But I listen, and people need that."
  He didn’t ask, but stated, "You’re honest."  But more than the words he stated was the image or emotional projection behind it, something that reminded me that I’m honest but I use humor to hide it, or I write fiction and make things up but they hold a higher truth.  All of that came to me in energy from him as he said those two words.
  I laughed hesitantly, startled at the depth of our communication.  "I am that."
  All the while the three drunk women were around us, talking loudly to themselves, us, and each other, but their noise was gently blocked as Ravenwolf and I connected.  As we are preparing to go, we shook hands again, and this time–
  This time, he held on to my hand.  At first I tried to pull out of grip, and he held.  I saw his face.  I acquiesced, and held his hand for an uncomfortably long time…probably thirty seconds.  He was looking at me.
  I’ve said before my psychic ability is somewhat erratic, if I have it at all.  Despite my fiasco with the body work on the car, I really can read people.  In fact, subconsciously I believe that I knew he was going to rip me off and I let him do it anyway.
  And I while I got a read on Ravenwolf, it took me a few days to analyze it.  But at that moment of our connection, I could tell that’s what he was doing to me:  Reading me.  And going below the surface, and reading a little deeper.  Detroit later told me that we had only met for the space of a few minutes.  Perhaps.  But Shamans can bend time and space.  And while I can’t–or I can’t control it, in any event–I can certainly recognize it when it happens.  I had some doors of perception open for me briefly.  He let me see briefly the real him.  His veil was like a dark jacket thrown over him like a costume.  Under his veil, I saw his aura.  His aura was at once a dark and bright purple, with sparkles of energy coming from it.  And under his aura, I saw his Presence.  His presence was of an ancient tribal priest, dressed in loin cloth and body paint, wearing a headdress and holding a staff, performing an ancient dance to the gods of the land, and the wind, and the water, and the spirits.
  I don’t know what he got from me–truth?  The truth is over-rated, I suppose.  I am curious about what the real me looks like.
  Shamans and Holy Men–I believe he is both, because a Shaman is a special kind of Holy Man–we have to…we have a job to do.  We have to teach, and counsel, and nurture the people.  We have to guide and direct them, and give them new ways to think.  We point out new direction, and help remove blinders.
  And we all have different methods of doing it.  Mine is more direct; I grab the spotlight and say, "Come, follow me!"  Others, like Ravenwolf, do it indirectly, by example and suggestion and gentle persuasion.  But we are both–if anything else–spirit guides.

  And this is what Ravenwolf told me, what he communicated to me through our meeting and our clasped hands:  he was reminding me that I am a Holy Man, and I have a mission, and a function, and a purpose.  

Ground Hog’s Day

August 22, 2006 at 4:02 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 1 Comment
Tags: , ,
  You would have had to have seen the movie “Ground Hog’s Day” to get this joke:
I’ve seen the movie “Ground Hog’s Day” only once, but it feels like I’ve seen it hundreds of times. . .
As I sat and watched my car burn to the fucking ground on that brisk February morn, I thought back to the events that led to this day.  If  everything happens for a reason, I was at a complete loss for the reason for this shit.  Irony?It was July, 1993.  Here in the Midwest, it was the year of the flood.  Lots of things happened, and remind me to come back to this and talk about how I ended up in the hospital after being bitten by a cat.  Anyway, *after* I had been bitten but *before* I ended up in the hospital, me and the wife and two other managers from Domino’s and their wives went on a float trip.  I guess I’ll talk about that in the hospital story.
We got back from the float trip on a Monday, and the next day the wife goes to work in the Celebrity, leaving behind the Cutlass Cierra.  I drive the Celebrity, unless the Cutlass won’t start, in which case the wife drives it, and leaves me to fend for myself.  This is only fair, she reasons, since she has the vagina and is in charge of the distribution of sex.  The Cutlass had a problem which was later found to be a bad wire going to the ECM–electronic control module–the “brain.”  It was sometimes just would not start.  No amount of coaxing, fingering, licking, sucking, buying it dinner or expensive jewelry would get it to go.  Let it sit for minutes, or hours, or days, and it would start.  It was a miracle the guy who fixed it found the problem, but that was later.
So, this morning when she had left for work, it wouldn’t start, so she took the Celebrity.  Yet later, oddly enough, it did.  I was off that day, and it was hot, so I stayed in the house in the AC.  They come home (wife and daughter, they worked together), and daughter says to me as I stand on the front porch, “Where’s the car?”  She seemed surprised that I was home.
I laughed and pointed at the neighbors bushes, around which I could not see.  But I had parked it there, and there it sat.  I thought.

  Melissa says, “Yeah, very funny.  Where’s the car?”  I walk out into the hot afternoon sun to view around the bushes and see the spot where the car had been but was no longer.  A tell-tale pile of broken glass lay in the street.
Moth.  Er.  Fuck.  Er… .Shit.
The car had been stolen.  In broad daylight, no less, because they had left at seven AM.  I called the Jennings police (we lived in Jennings–look up “hood” in the dictionary) and they would send someone right out, since it was daylight.  We filled out a report, and the police officer very politely told us that there was no way in hell we were going to get any help on this.  Not really, but he might as well have said it.
  After that I ended up in the hospital because of the cat bite, and we were having problems with the phone.  When I got out of the hospital, I had to rewire the junction box in the basement for the phone service coming in.  But what it meant was we had intermittent to non-existant phone service for a while.
The wife would call the police station every day, using all the charms available to her (???), and inquire about the car.  It was paid for, and we were poor, so we only had liability on it.  We kind of needed to get it back.  Jennings police were award-winningly unhelpful.  They continued to dismiss what she said, and said they would call if they found out something.  Have we called you yet?  Then don’t call us.
That’s what we are trying to explain to you, you can’t call us; the phone is out.
Oh–Oh, okay.  We understand now.  If we hear something, we’ll call you.
We knew we needed another car, and began looking.
In September, or maybe October, I get a call from a towing company in Maplewood.  The guy says, “Hey, yo, I got dis car a yers, ya know?  I had da ting for tree friggin mundts.  So, youse gonna come an get it, or what?”
I said, “What?”
He starts to repeat himself.  I say, “Whoa, there, duder.  You’ve had my car all this time?”
I have to go to the Maplewood police station, show them proof of ownership, get the release, and take it to the tow yard.  The car has accrued 25 bucks per day for three or four months for storage, plus the 58 for the tow.  He’ll let me have the car for a hundred clams.  Okay, then.
But when I get to the Maplewood police station, the cop shows me the report, which I read carefully.  Stolen car recovered in Maplewood.  Reported stolen in Jennings.
Maplewood contacts Jennings, says we have recoved this vehicle, do you want to process it?
Jennings police said no.
Oh, it gets better than that.  It was recovered the SAME GODDAMN DAY IT WAS STOLEN!
The only good thing to come out of this was that since we only had liability, there was nothing to pay back to the insurance company for getting the car back.  So there we are with three cars.  As a bonus, the Cutlass will start without a key.  We get the Cierra fixed, we get an alarm on it, get a new steering column AND a steering column collar–kind of an after-market afterthought on GM’s part, where they realized there might be a problem if a 9 year old can hot wire their cars–and a new window.
This was early December by the time it was fixed.  By January 2nd, I had a window broken out of the car two more times, in addition to a window broken out of my daughter’s boyfriend’s car.  It was time to move, and we did, and that is another story as well.  We moved to Florissant, a decidedly better neighborhood.  In the meantime, I was driving the Cutlass Cierra, and we found someone to fix the intermittent starting.  The wife drove the new Cutlass Supreme, and we gave the Celebrity to our son Michael.  So–this was 94?  Yeah.
Christmas of 94, I got a stereo for my car for Christmas, a present from the wife.  I had it installed in the middle of January.  The car had a different problem now, where it would occasionally run funny.  I wasn’t really sure what the problem was.  It would barely run, like it needed a tune-up, and then all of the sudden it would kick in, and just run like normal.  It didn’t do it very often.  Someone told me that it might be related to some sensor or other equipment on the exhaust manifold.
The car ran funny once in a while, but who cares?  I had a bitchen new stereo!
On February second I was taking my son to school–kindergarten.  Wow.  It doesn’t seem that long ago. . .I could shine my car with all the nostalgia I wax.  Anyway, I start the car up, and once again it is running really rough, really bad.  But it is only a few blocks to school, so  I figure I can get him there and get back, and then look at it.  And this time I mean it.  Ever so slowly, it gets down the road.  It might be making some noise, but I have the stereo on, with one of my favorite discs in the CD player:  Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense.  Kind of an Anthem for me, if anything.
“Some things–sure can–sweep me off my feet!
“Burnin down the house!
“Here’s your ticket, pack your bags, time for jumpin overboard–”
I drop my little boy off at school, and then I leave.  The school is in the back of a small grouping of houses, too small to be called a subdivision.  The street we were on was a direct line from the main drag to the school, with a few short streets off of it.  I stop at the light, and the car dies.
I try to restart it.  No go, but I am hopeful that the smoke is a good sign.
Other cars pull around me, conveniently not making eye contact as they rush around me, leaving me stranded like a guy on a camel in the middle of the desert in a bad joke.
I let the car roll backwards and turn it onto the side street.  Meanwhile, more smoke rolls out from under the hood.  I turn the key off, which turns the stereo off as well.
“Buring down the house!–”
Thinking quickly–yeah, honestly, I was–I knocked on several doors.  No one home, no one home, no one home–
One lady answers the door.  “Excuse me, I was wondering if you might have a fire extinguisher I could borrow?”
Around me she peers cautiously at the smoke, now billowing out from under the hood like a Kansas City Barbeque.  “Uh–why don’t I call the fire department?”
Well, okay.  I mean, if you think it’s a good idea.  It seems a bit drastic to me.  Are sure I just can’t have a cup of water or something to throw on it?  She looks at me, then looks at the car behind me in the background barely visible in the cloud of smoke.  She disappears quickly into the house.
Soon, it’s a party.  A county cop stops by, and I inform him that I am the proud owner, and that the fire department is on the way.  He gets my information, and I thought I was going to get a ticket for having an unauthorized bonfire.  Meanwhile the fire department comes along and douses it with a variety of chemicals and so forth.  People gather in the street to watch my one-car stationary parade.  I throw some candy to the spectators.  A hotdog vendor from the streets of Manhatten arrives, obviously lost.  The mime may have been a bit much.
The cop takes me home, and I arrange for a tow truck to tow it home.  Why?  Didn’t I just have it towed away?  These are the questions my regular tow truck driver asks me.  Yeah, some people have regular doctors, or a lawyer on retainer.  I have a tow
truck driver.
The stereo was fried.  My expensive JVC stereo with all the bells and whistles was toast.  It looked fine, but the heat got to it.  There were smoke marks on it, and it would power up but that’s about it.  My CD ejected, and the last four tracks wouldn’t play.
I had a long go-around with both Best Buy and the credit card company.  Warranty-wise, I was screwed.  The credit card company would cover it, except it was an auto accessory.  Best Buy would have covered it, except for the fire, so they took turns
dropping me on my head.And this–this is why I believe in balance in the universe.  There is only so much happiness I am allowed to have.  New stereo?  No, you can’t have it.  Not for long, anyway.  And so many things in my life have been like that.  If I fix one thing, another thing breaks.  If I don’t fix it, things stay the same, balanced, pivoting me on a spike between moderate happiness and moderate frustration.  I’m not being superstitious–I have tracked this conspiracy against me.  I know.  *I know!*  Things go my way just enough to keep me from going postal, and they go the opposite way just enough to keep me from…what?  Keep me from what?
Complete bliss?  Complete happiness?  Complete heaven?  I can have some, but obstacles must be thrown in my way first.
And it scares me.  What must I lose, to gain happiness?  What next will be taken from my grasp?
The image plays over and over again, in my mind.  My car, burning to the ground, because I sought a small amount of joy.

I kept the burned up car in the driveway for over a year–a trophy, a cautionary tale–until the city made me get rid it.

I Believe. .. .

March 19, 2006 at 11:04 AM | Posted in Personal | 9 Comments
Tags: , ,
Good Lord, I have to be more careful of what I say. My blog showed up as #2 on a beta Google Blog search for “flirt” because I mentioned the word in “Moving Right Along.”  It’s unfair, this powerful, majestic, huge weapon I wield.  I mean words.  Not what you all were thinking, pervs–Kim.
I received something the other day from an unusual source.  It made me think a bit.  Mostly it made me think of where it came from, and the timing of it, it must have been something I needed at that particular time.  Why do I believe that?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  Let me explain exactly what I do believe.
I believe in God.  I used to be much more spiritual.  It’s not God, it’s me–he’s always been there.  He’s got patience out of this world.   My belief system–my religion some might find it odd on the outside.  I did at first, just the idea! But when I realized the why and where-fors of everything, it came together for me.
It’s odd that I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning, not in church, talking about religion.  I used to be an atheist.  That’s because I was young and stupid. Listen, putz, if you’re an atheist, do think, then, than the human mind is the highest development in creation?   I’m sorry, but I have met too many morons, idiots, retards, and solid-minded fucks to believe that.   There is definitely a higher power than this. Especially yours.
Or because you believe science to be the end all and be all? I actually am a man of science, trapped in a technical field.  These same people now who think science has all the answers are the same ones 300 years ago who didn’t know there was air in between us that we breathe.  No matter what science discovers, there will always be more.
So yeah, I believe. And I believe I’ve witnessed a few miracles in my time as well.   These are mostly personal things that would have no meaning for you, and hey would take way to long to explain.  Besides, you would either believe me–or not– before I tell them, so what is the point?
Part of my belief system even covers the whole age of the earth in billions of years versus the biblical time table.  First of all, the Bible is not a history book. It is a spiritual book.   Much of it was paraphrased, retold, rewritten.  It was originally told to savages, so that they could achieve understanding.  They were told what they needed to gain this understanding.  It is my personal opinion that people who think every word of the Bible is the literal word of God and the absolute truth need professional psychiatric help or a swift kick in the ass.  But that’s my own opinion, and my church backs that up (except the psych part and the ass-kicking part–they’re more magnanimous).
But my own thing is this–millions of years ago, the dinosaurs, and all of that jazz?  Yeah it happened.  But it is not a part of our history.  God didn’t use a blank slate to create this world.  Like this: God runs the whole universe, and therefore he runs all the planets.  He has people on many planets, spread all over, all at different times and so for forth.  He wanted to make another planet for people, and he saw this one with the dinosaurs on it.  He said, “Yeah, you know, this has pretty much run its course.  Kinda tired of it now.”  He tosses a meteor at it to “clean it up,” and a few million years later it’s  ready for people.
Then he gets it ready, which takes however long it takes. When you’re explaining it to savages, you might as well say “magic” and “it took me six days, bitches.”
But I have a little something to back that up. I’m a little rusty on my ancient Hebrew, and other dead languages, but what I read when I was a junior bible scholar was that the original word that was translated into “created” in the bible was not the word that meant “out-of-thin-air like magic, bitches”, but a word more closely associated with “construction.” As in, He took available material and made a world.
Of course, that still leaves the whole mystery of the big bang, origin of God thing, up in the air, doesn’t it?  Yeah, well, life is full of mysteries.   You can’t figure out your checkbook, and you want to be handed the answers to how the universe works?  In essence, you’re still a child.  We are all still children.
Someone once asked me, “Well, why are we here?” My first impression was, well, why are you asking me?  But another question occurred to me, that may sound flippant at the outset, but is meant to bring you to really try to grasp what it is you want to know:
“Where else would we be?”
Many different religions have a slightly different take on this, but the core is the same.   We were SOMEWHERE before we were HERE.  We earned, or chose, to come here.  We are here to learn, and grow, and make choices, and experience life and joy and pain, and then we MOVE ON–to the next place. This place we are in is a very special place, an important place.  People (and forces) try to downplay this existence, but it is very important.  Once I was dealing with the unruly teen of a mother I was dating many years ago.  She said, “I didn’t ask to be born!”
I answered gently, “Yes, you did. You just don’t remember.”  These decisions we have made affect our eternity.
Speaking of which, for all of the strictness of my church–and I’m still not going to tell you which one, only because I am embarrassed that I am not a good example–for all of our strictness, we are way more forgiving that other Christian churches. We believe that only the very truly evil will go to Hell. Most people will get some measure of heavenly accord.   Even the slums of Heaven ain’t too shabby.  Godly, spiritual people, true believers, the favorites–they get Beverly hills.  The average schmuck like me, who tries but fails most of the time, and succumbs to weakness, but knows God’s love-gets to live outside the city limits near the railroad tracks–but it’s still better than hell.  People will be judged by what is in their hearts.  Yes, yes, only through Jesus–Jesus is the power through which it works.  But no God I love and believe in is going to send babies to hell.  Quite the opposite:  those are souls who were so good, they only needed to make a pass through here, collect a mortal body, and shove off.
I also don’t believe God wants believers to kill all the non-believers. And If I am wrong, and that is what God wants, I don’t think it’s a God I want to follow. It is my own personal opinion that there is something very wrong at the heart of the Muslim religion. Religion of peace?  Walk the talk first.  I’m from Missouri, so you have to show me.  But I also believe that it is related to the coming apocalypse.  And it is coming, people. Ready your hearts and minds.
Christ in a sidecar– I sound like a zealot.  God is by and large pretty forgiving, but there are a couple of things God doesn’t like, and I’m not talking about the commandments–although that is some of it.  Don’t deny him, ever.  If you know Him, or ever knew Him, you can turn your back on Him, people do.  He will wait for you to return.  Just don’t deny him.
It will piss Him off.

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.