A lot like gravity.

Force

Hey Gang!

I recently had the privilege of being the best man for my closest friend of nearly 15 years. I wanted to share the speech I wrote. I wrote it because it rang true about he and his wife from my point of view. When I was done with it, I wanted to share it with my gang because I think it is really about what we all want at the end of our story. What follows is the original words I used, with errors, I am sure. I hope you enjoy.

*****

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I love storytelling in any form. I love reading them in books and telling some of my own. However, my favorite story isn’t my story but I will tell it anyway.

I don’t want to take up all of your time because, ya know, open bar but it is a story about a boy and a girl.

The boy was a bit of a troublemaker some 15 years ago when I first met him. We had our own adventures for a long time. We grew up together.

Eventually, the boy went to college here at ISU. We would talk every once in a while and he told me about these amazing characters who sit around me at this table and in this room now.

However, he would frequently tell me about this girl. He always talked about how funny she was and how she was like his best friend. I remember the first time I talked to the girl, it was over the phone while they were at Goodwill and found a picture that be known as T-bear for years. I knew then that this girl meant a lot to my friend.

Years pass and their friendship grew. Like any good story there were the ups and downs, the will they or won’t they get together moments.

Spoiler alert: they did.

They loved each other but then they fell in love. They were in love across town, they we in love from city to city, and their love spanned hundreds of miles to Georgia.

Like any good story, the boy too a leap by writing a few words on an egg.*

Now, we are here and the boy and girl are together as man and wife.

This isn’t the end of my favorite story however, it is just the end of that first book in a series of books.

Like any good story, there is a moral her. And I believe it is this:

There is a pretty famous book that says “love is patient, love is kind” but I think there is something more here. Robert Frost said he took the road less travelled and it made all the difference.

These two unintentionally took all of the right turns, out of billions of turns, to get to one another.

You can call that fate, or serendipity, or kismet. But I like to think there was something more there. A force that made them naturally drawn together. That had to be in each others’ space, in each others’ orbit.

These two people are together and bound with love. I think the moral of the story is that love is a lot like gravity. It cannot be denied. When it happens, you can’t fight it, you just have to fall.

So please, raise your glass with me as I make a toast. To gravity, to love, and to my two favorite characters.

Cheers!

*****

I hope you enjoyed. I got a lot of thank you afterward. Many told me that they cried during it, which was not my intention. I wanted to get across the idea of love being something that is hard to define, merely experienced.

I hope you have experienced gravity such as this as well.

-Chris

*Author’s Note: The words on the egg is a reference to how he proposed. It was on, or near, their first Easter living together. They were coloring eggs and he showed her the one he was working on that read: “Marry Me?” I know, it sounds too good to be true but that is how it went down. As I said, my favorite story.

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The Ass In The Field

Pinwheel, Mallorca, Metal, Wheel, Wind, Wind Energy

Hey Gang!

I was driving home and listening to music at an unreasonably high volume this weekend. I saw multiple things around me that caught my attention: I saw a woman picking her nose, a flock of geese narrowly miss a semi, and the poor mangled body of an old deer. I saw these things and really took no notice expect if they were funny, sad, or cringe-worthy but there was one thing that stood out so strangely to me that I have been holding on to it for the past few days.

I looked to my right and there was this small farm. A large, gated pasture was on the hill as it sloped down beyond the horizon. The sun was setting and it gave the verdant grass a shimmer that was breathtaking. Patched with white and brown, cows grazed looking in different areas. They all had their backs turned towards one central character: an ass, or donkey for the lay person. The ass stood there completely still. His statuesque nature bewildered me. What was he doing there? Among the sea of cows where they took no notice, what was he to gain from being there?

I went home and began helping my mother with moving. Unfortunately, she fell and broke her arm. I called 911 and they took her to the hospital, which brings me back to the days when hospital visits were an everyday occurrence for me. That same sterile smell, the back hall conversations nurses have that you overhear, the way nurses chew their gum like rabbits chew their cud. It was all so similar, yet different.

I sat with my aunt while my mother wept from pain. I tried to be there for her but she has become so different from the woman who told me not to cry when I get hurt, to be tough. Now she is so fragile and I realize that maybe we are who we pretend to be to others but in our depths that surface when pain and pleasure are at stake are the realities.

I wonder when I will break as my aunt yammers on about her issues. It is a repetitive damning thing to visit with her. It is hell at its finest as she repeats the same story over the past five years: My cousin is in treatment for another breakdown, he has tried [insert highly addictive drug of choice here] and is now unable to control his bipolar, she is having a nervous breakdown because he doesn’t think about her and her feelings, her body aches, she is a godsend, she helps everyone, she is a martyr, she is going to have a seizure, she forgets to have a seizure, she lies, she cons, she is.

Afterwards we come back to the city where I currently am and it is a major ordeal. My mother is high on pain meds and wants to drive, my aunt is upset because I won’t chauffer her around the middle of the state to get my cousin as well as drive her to my mother’s new house. My aunt becomes huffy. My mother cries out in pain, my aunt somehow becomes ill as well. She has an asthma attack and begins to dry heave because a breeze blew, or something of that nature.

I finally get home and Eleanor Rigby, my puppy, has violently chewed on my shoes, Blu-ray of “Funny People” and “Where The Wild Things Are”, and somehow managed to turn the house into a disaster area. I believe I saw a guy from FEMA in my back room but I can’t be sure.

The funny thing about “Funny People” is that it was about people who were funny not being funny. People that are supposed to be one thing but violate our expectations and act like someone other than whom we thought they were: funny people.

I get my mother to lay down and she drifts to sleep. I go to my room as well and begin to drift, but I have a realization. I am an ass, probably in more sense than I mean here. I am not an ass, I am THE ass. The one in the field. I get why he was unnoticed by the cows and didn’t do as the cows do. It was because he realized that they do cow things and he was an ass. However, what is an ass to do when there are no other asses around. What happens when an ass is surrounded by cows?

You stand still.

You stand alone.

You think.

You drift.

You lament.

You realize that you completely and wholly exist but outside of this fenced in yard with all the cows that graze.

You just are.

In the middle of the weres and going-to-bes, you just are.

-Chris

The Fabulous Damned (Part 2)

We are all high.

I think there is a truth about myself and about some others. I would like to think, to some degree, that this is true about everyone. I believe we all want to be natural disasters. We want to be seen as beautiful and ethereal and monstrous at the same time. Ladies, call a fella a ‘big teddy bear’ or some other simile. Gentlemen, call a woman ‘dude’ or ‘man’. These terms set us away from that goal of what we want to be. This is not what I want. Cute names and checking boxes on Facebook delineating our relationship status are far from the perfect, proverbial “one”.

This is far from what we want, I believe. We want what the movies refuse to show. Reality. The fact is, we all want to be beautiful and flawed to someone. No god or goddess. We want to be more than an object or a sedative. Who gets high on us?

I think some people, I finally see this in me, want to be the destroyer and the destroyed. The haunter and the haunted. We crave relief from the banality of Netflix and idle conversation. We want someone with the power to destroy us…but doesn’t.

Why? Why would someone with all this power over you not destroy what you have built? Such power is infectious and dangerous.

So, why?

I believe the answer is because they would destroy themselves. You have as much of that “power” over them as they of you. This symbiotic beauty with breaking and regenerating becomes its own drug . After a while these static things: food, sleep, making others feel so that you can, the ability to emote again; all of that fades. Finally, the chasm fades and you are left with two entities that blessed and cursed with each other. That is what it means to find the one in my eyes. When you realize how much it would destroy you if they left and how much you would destroy them if you did the same.

We believe this does not exist but I still sit at my table. I see all of the patrons around me and I know I am impatient but I still wait. I will always wait until she comes. My great disaster sitting before me.

For those whom this resonates with, you know this all too well.

We are damned to wait. Damned to yearn. Damned to wither without it.

Behold, the Fabulous Damned!

The Modern Ape

Image

Hey Gang!

There are three things that one must accept in this world. 1. Sharks are the perfect predators, swim accordingly; 2. Dolphins are able to notice their own reflections, one of two which includes humans.; 3. We are, be you creationist or evolutionist or evolution-creationists, all just animals. We are beautiful, flawed creatures that are incredibly close to the things around us. We go to higher education and think that that somehow makes us better off than the box jellyfish. This fact is actually quite amusing because, take away all of those niceties that we take for granted: shelter, electricity, friends and family; what you are left with is the complete sense that you are alone.

You are not alone.

FACT: Eating a banana is 50% cannibalism as we share about 50% of our DNA with the banana, which is actually a berry.

I bring this up because the other day I remembered something that I had forgot long ago. A simple theory that Nate and myself made years ago, when we were in our teens. I was reminded of it when I was at my desk, wholly frustrated with a project i was doing. Whenever I get frustrated, I play with my Rubik’s cube. I never really have the goal of solving the puzzle. For me, it is about the ability to clearly think one one thing. There is nothing more than the rotating, oscillating form in front of me. So, I almost jumped out of my seat when a deep, kind voice said, “There’s a video for that you know.”

I turned around and saw a lanky, tall man I knew to be a professor staring down at me with amused eyes. I laughed and said, “Yeah, no one will ever solve this thing.” (I say this in reference to an old film called “The Wedding Singer”, it does not compute).

“Yes, they have. I think there is a way to solve it,” he said as he pointed to my computer.

He truly meant to look it up. So, I appeased. We found a video with step-by-step directions and i must admit, the puzzle made sense. He laughed and I finally realized how stupid I felt. THE MAN HAD SOLVED IT MANY TIMES BEFORE! He knew how to solve it and basically walked me through the steps like a small child trying to learn how to ride the bike.

I was insulted and yet, I was elated.

I felt a jolt of excitement. He left but I started looking at the puzzle in a different way. It started to make sense.

FACT: Orcas have an additional portion on their brain that allows for the feeling of more emotions than humans.

A few moments later and I realized this feeling. It was primal. I am guessing this is how humans felt when Prometheus brought them fire. I realized, however, that my demeanor must have seemed archaic to someone who knew the puzzle. The design was there in front of them and I was this grand creature twisting and turning the pieces aimlessly. It must have been a funny sight. I felt like an ape who had just started to figure out what good a tool a club was.

I laughed pretty hard at that as I thought of myself like an ape making calls and hunched over on the ground. I imagined myself grunting at the puzzle when it did not turn out how I wanted it to.

This is when I remembered the theory of “Angry Hot”.

FACT: We too were once single celled organisms, for about half an hour, much like the Gromia sphaerica, or amoeba.

Nate and I contended that there are women out there so hot that it would actually cause you to go into a frenzy. So, attractive were these women that it caused men to go primal. This was a thought process of two 17 year olds but there is actually a precedent. Women are, in evolutionary theory, able to make men more primal. There is a hip to waist ration that women have (.07) that causes men to find them more fertile. The primal act of mating takes over and you get a truly attractive person eliciting a response from another animal. So, “Angry Hot” can happen when other males are around to contest the attention of the female. 

Are you bored yet?

Listen, all I am saying is, we truly are close to that primal self. The one that kept us alive in the cold winters and scorching summers. We are still animals.

FACT: We are made of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen atoms. Hydrogen and helium began our universe, followed by carbon and then a supernova occured and spread out these elements. Every creature on earth has elements of these basic natures. Zinc, iron and more. These make us up and were brought to us by an exploding star. Thus, every creature on this planet is made of stars.

Animals, we are animals. We breath and we fight and we make tools. We do these things and we see ourselves as better than other animals. Yet, I am an animal, as are you. We are all animals yet we have no communal sense. Why hurt this animal or that animal? Why get pleasure out of pain? Why pass by a homeless person in need of help? Why hate another person for their beliefs, values, skin color, or disabilities? Why do all of these things to better your life? That is like poison for a species as amazing as the ones on this planet.

Be animals, not beasts.

We are animals but we, every entity from the cold-blooded to the warm-blooded to the photosynthetic, are made of the same things that bind us together.

Us modern apes, we are all made of stars.

 

-Chris

PS- Good to be back! Hope you enjoyed it!

Universes, part II

 

 (Hey Gang! This is a post that is from another blog that I write for a newspaper’s website. It was unfortunately censored. I decided that I would uncensor it and publish it here.)

I sit here now, talking my brother out of making me into an incidental chat roulette star while I type. I think about a conversation I had a day or two ago. It had to do with meeting women. A friend was talking about hooking up with someone downtown and how he was going to wear this shirt and tell this lie, or that lie. It was beyond me because I have come to the conclusion that nothing awesome ever comes out of downtown.

How many individuals have found “the one” while grinding?

How many have found their soul mate while jersey turn-piking?

How many have found Mr./Mrs. Right white “dropping it like it’s hot”?

My guess, not a lot.

That is one thing you learn with age. You actually want more than a crazy story and one night stand. Conversation because increasingly more of an attractive trait in someone. You begin looking for those people, not in clubs, but in your favorite places. People who share some common interest with you and it is visible. Sometimes you do meet someone and there is a click, mentally more than physically. You may get their number or just hope to see them again but there is always that part of you that is hopeful. More than attraction. Optimism in an emotion. Embodied in something that is not soaked in alcohol or other things.

I remember thinking how great it would be to strike up some kind of conversation with someone at this Laundromat or while walking around Barnes and Noble. Something where you relate on another level. Outside of school or bars or clubs. Outside of your world. Your universe colliding with another. That journey outside of yourself in another is a beautiful thing, I believe.

Your friends may talk about their latest conquest but you have that moment. That one moment when everything was in its place and you met someone, out of billions, that made you stop and give up your time willingly. They gave theirs. It became time for you both. The person may not be the one but they mean more to you in that moment than a night at the club. Being present with someone can be an incredible thing, if you give in to it. Take your headphones out and put the phone away. Pay attention to those around you because they may be paying attention to you.

I may be a hopeless, I would prefer hopeful, romantic but it is truly incredible to meet someone organically and in a place where no one is desperate or intoxicated.

A place of chance.

A place where two people met by random happenstance.

A place where universes collide.

-Chris

 

Forget Yourself

https://i0.wp.com/ak9.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/2996197/preview/stock-footage-subdued-lighting-and-tight-focus-on-the-hands-of-a-cellist-in-action.jpg

 

 

Hey Gang!

So, I have been bogged down with taking notes on the textbook that I will be teaching to students this year. It was a terribly dull and arduous four days of taking in-depth notes but i feel as if I could teach speech to great white sharks in a volcano! (can you imagine?)

While doing this is beneficial, it is also quite dull and sucks the creativity out of me. So, I felt uninspired to write. I did take breaks in between to play my bass. I would play around on the strings as I thumped the E string, emitting a beautiful, warm thud that dissipated. I played strings erroneously.

Then, I moved into my old default: Pixies- “Where Is My Mind”. It was the first song that I learned to play and it has always been my go-to song whenever I need to think. My hands, knowing the song all too well, move on their own. They play the opening warm melody and in my head I can hear Kim’s high, angelic voice ooo-ing.

Then I started to remember a conversation that I had via text with one of my best friends. We started talking earlier in the day about perspective. I told him that I was feeling so much better because I was back at school. I felt like I had purpose again. A place. Something was new.

He told me what I had assumed for a long while. He felt alone and was feeling unambitious as well in his austere lifestyle in the military. I couldn’t blame him.

I kept playing as I thought about that conversation and it gave me this mental picture. I usually try to think of things as analogous and metaphorical as possible. It helps me visualize a problem or an event. I guess it is just the way that I am wired.

I saw this boat drifting in the darkness. Rain poured down and the ocean swelled as wave after wave crashed upon the darkened vessel. It bowed and tilted under the stress of the ocean as it went along aimlessly in the mercy of the environment. Then, ahead of the vessel was a beacon. Bright and warm as it beckoned the vessel back to shore.

For some reason, I just started playing notes on my bass and eventually came up with a song that I entitled “Beacon”. I sent the rough recording to him and he seemed to enjoy it. I hope it made his day a bit better. Maybe he even got a bit inspired to play a bit or pick up a pencil to draw again. Either way, I hope it helped.

This got me to think of the past year and the amazing cast of characters that have stepped in and fallen out of my life in that duration. I remember talking to people and when I spoke of feeling insufficient; so much less than, they would usually have the same response but in different terms:

You need a girl.

I suppose the idea was if I were to be with someone or “be with someone” that my situation would be solved. That everything would be fine.  I see this a lot in the people I have met. Love, or the semblance of, is some sort of cure all band-aid for us. Love is the answer, the drug that satiates some sort of unexplainable hunger. Love is that part of us that needs to be filled for us to be full. To be a whole person.

I wondered for a while, during my little break between note-taking, about that idea. Should I have done that? Should I have just been with someone and let that preoccupy me?

Would I be whole?

Then I answered my own question when I thought about what I had just asked myself, should I let it preoccupy me. Thus meaning that somehow Love, with a capital L, would be a distraction from whatever was the real problem.

I feel like I talk about a lot of things on my blog when relating to relationships but I hardly ever talk about love. Maybe platonic but not romantic. Even if you read Clocks, you still only read about that closeness that I admire and would enjoy. Love is different and more complex than synchronicity.

I have never been in Love. Sounds great but just never has happened. Optimistic it will happen but what I do know about the subject is that it is not a bandage. It is an added attribute, not the prosthetic limb to “complete” me.

No, I know what I was looking for now. There are some things greater than love. They overthrow its throne, in my belief. They are what can take the ship from sea and what has been my goal all along.

The power of self-respect and self-efficacy.

These are what complete us. They complete me. That moment when you look in the mirror and know who you are is brilliant. It’s a symphony that exudes such delightful notes. It slips seamlessly from chord to chord, note to note. It plays a song unique to you.

It’s your song, now just to listen!

Once you understand yourself. Respect yourself. You can be open to the world that is truly beautiful. Let fall to the wayside those who try to break down what you have built in yourself. If you lose yourself, it is only you who can find you.

Hear your song and then, when you gain the power of self-respect and self-efficacy; when you know yourself, you can finally know how beautiful this all can be. The complexity of Love and pondering its meaning as a standalone entity and not a bandage. The revelations of just how close you can get to another when you are you. You are able to be present and live without regret because, in the end, you are doing what you know is true to you. You are true to yourself.

You finally see, with unfiltered eyes, the beauty that is life.

-Chris

 

 

I found this quote today that inspired this blog from one of my all-time favorite authors and playwrights and I hope it helps you as much as it helps me.

Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music- the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasure, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget Yourself.

– Henry Miller

 

The Day John Henry Died

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Hey Gang!

 

What is strength?

Is strength something that comes from within you? Some sort of primal trait we have hidden within us that bursts forth in times of need. Is it something summoned willingly? What is its potential? Where is it coming from? What is strength?

There is this really great old story that I love. It’s the tall tale of John Henry. An American legend who was up there with the tall tales of Billy the Kid and Wild Bill Hickock. In folk lore, John Henry was a steel-driver who would hammer spikes into the ground and then a drill setter would come behind him and drill the hole to finish it out. This was the process a couple hundred years ago to begin clearing the way for railroad tracks. John Henry was the best at what he did and the hero of his peers. One day a salesman came through with a machine that was said to be able to be any man at steel-driving. John Henry challenged that notion and was pitted against the machine. They both hammered and drove and drilled for an entire night before the machine stopped, in some stories it broke. John Henry had won by at least 6 feet but, in the end, the amount of strength and prowess he showed killed him. He and his two twenty pound hammers fell to the ground but no one forgot about John Henry.

 

I was out with my friend a few weeks ago. We hadn’t been downtown together in a long time and even longer since we’d been to the downtown back home. So, we bar hopped and it seemed like we were the only ones there. We drank in so many different bars that I can’t quite remember them all. We came to a bar that was firefighter themed and I decided that naturally I would put my head into the lamp shades fashioned from old firefighter helmets. We roamed around to more bars and became too intoxicated to drive. He wanted to take a cab but I wanted to get money from the ATM. As we stumbled there and I put in my card in, he overheard a girl say to her friend, “I would not fu** either of those guys.”

This offended him so much that he said to me, “Did you hear that? She said she wouldn’t have sex with either of us.”

“What? No way. We were the least hood fabulous guys in there,” I said as I drunkenly tried to use the ATM.

The rest of the night was filled with me trying to get cash from ATMs and us stumbling through the city. We screamed at the top of our lungs things like, “Why are we so ugly!” or “There is no way they were talking to us, we have master’s degrees!”

He even suggested we begin wearing signs around our necks that had our college education credentials on them. I liked the idea at the time.

We eventually get a cab and go to Steak n Shake where I proceed to ask some young ladies on a scale of one to “elephant man” we lay. I don’t remember if they answered and I remember not really caring as my delicious sandwich arrived soon after.

We walked back to my apartment, or stumbled back I should say, as we still lamented about how we need to go to the gym and start doing crunches, we cried out, “why were so hideous!” I began to realize that the sun was rising and it had been an incredibly long, fun and ego-crushing night.

The next day we arose from our blackout slumber and I took him to his car. Then I remembered what the girls were talking about. The one girl was being hit on by two very thugalicious gentlemen. They followed her all over the bar and she even had her friends boyfriend act like her boyfriend to get away from them. The first part of the convo that he didn’t hear was her friend asking why she didn’t hook up with one of those guys at the bar. So, my ego wasn’t quite as fractured as before but it made for a memorable last night out for he and I. We may have thought we were ugly for a bit but we were ugly together, damn it!

You see, my friend will be moving hundreds of miles away soon and my other best friend is out west. We have all been friends for almost twelve years. Hard to believe.

When I think about how much strength John Henry had that day, I admire him but I also feel bad for him. I don’t summon all of my strength from within nor do I have some primal switch that flips. I gather my strength from two guys whom I met in high school. One guy hated me at first but now we have each other on Facebook as ‘brother’ and the other I was jealous of because he got to sleep in class with his hoodie up.

If not for them, I wouldn’t be where I am. They inspired me to lose weight and realize what a healthy lifestyle really meant. Not just losing weight but the amount of happiness you gather from that weight loss. Confidence, resilience and so much more.

If not for my friends, I wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t be writing. My friends have been my biggest fans, even when I wasn’t.

I have my own strength but I know that if it weren’t for those two, my hopes and my dreams and my life as I know it would be right beside John Henry and his hammers.

For all this, to Skober and The Jett, I just want to say, thanks.

 

-Chris

Clocks

three-people-with-clocks

 

Hey Gang!

The other day I was driving around, as I do quite often. I enjoy driving down backroads and through the city because it gives me a chance to think. I have had writer’s block in regards to a story I am trying to put together, so I thought a bit of fresh air would help. It did not.

The rest of the day I kept obsessing about the story and characters. I just couldn’t let it go.

Later that night, I was laying in my bed, trying to go to sleep but failing. I tried to listen to my iPod but then became saddened by the fact that I have officially run out of good music. I took my headphones out and looked to the darkened ceiling, hoping for sleep to stop eluding me.

I heard a noise in the dark room that was unmistakably the ticking of my clock. It was louder than I ever remember hearing it. It didn’t bother me at first but then it continued TICK….TICK….TICK

I tried to think some more about my story but my thoughts became muddled by the sounds of the clock above head. TICK…TICK…TICK

I couldn’t help but curse the clock. I began blaming it for why I couldn’t sleep. I contemplated ripping it off the wall and placing it violently into the trash can. TICK …TICK…TICK

I realized that that was not going to be an option as I had come down with a severe case of laziness. So, I lay there and began wishing that I could stop obsessing over the story.  I turned back over as the ticking continued and closed my eyes. I felt like I was never going to sleep although my eyes grew heavy and stung from wanton sleep, I just couldn’t rest my mind. Suddenly, I hear something a bit off.

TICKTICK…..TICKTICK…..TICKTICK….

At first, I couldn’t believe my bad luck. I thought, “This terrible metronomic device has gotten worse,” but I realized that it was the clock in the living room trying hard to work in tandem with the clock in my room.

TICKTICK……TICKTICK……TICKTICK….

It sounded like they would be out of synch and then back in synch. This yo-yo around each other’s auditory process became mesmerizing.

TICKTICK….TICK…TICK…TICKTICK

I couldn’t help but think about their nature. These two devices made for the same sole purpose, telling time, are not in synch. The wooden clock in the front ro0m gave its loud, hollow tick just before my metallic clock gave its sharp, tin-like tick.

I thought about how one or both of these clocks are lying. I thought about how they are wired and the way they worked. I couldn’t tell you how long I lay there thinking about clocks which is actually ironic but I enjoyed it. Finally, I began to see people as clocks. I thought of myself as a clock and the way I tick.

Have you ever looked inward and thought, “Welp, that’s a flaw. Better fix that,”?

I thought about it that night and realized some things about myself that I need to correct. I have the uncanny ability to write people off. If someone doesn’t fit into the idea of what I believe they are, then I write them off and push them away. I think it’s easier that way because of my nature.

I always think about the story of the scorpion and the toad whenever I talk about nature. It’s an old story that I will paraphrase:

A scorpion is sitting morosely at the bank of a river that he can’t cross. A toad swims up and asks what’s wrong and the scorpion tells him that he has to get across the river and that it is extremely important that he makes it there. He asks the toad if he can get on his back and then the toad can swim him across safely. The toad says no at first because he fears that the scorpion will sting him and kill him. The scorpion reassures the toad that he won’t and the toad agrees. They make it safely across the rushing water and to the other side. As the scorpion hops off the toad’s back, he stings him. As the toad lay dying, he asks the scorpion why he did it. The scorpion simply replies, “it’s in my nature.”

I realized that I am both the scorpion and the toad. That’s just how I am. How I work. How I tick. I have been looking out for myself for such a long time that when it comes to meeting people, friends or women, I have this idea of how it should be. If they don’t fit the model, then I distance myself. In my head, these pieces don’t fit. The clock isn’t ticking the way it should be.

The parts that I think make the perfect sentient timepiece just aren’t there.

I lay in bed and mentally kick my own ass for that thinking. It’s an exclusive way of thinking. I had to really make myself realize that that isn’t the beauty of people. I think the beauty of humanity and relationships is not how their pieces and your pieces form a whole clock. No, I think it’s about your clock and theirs complimenting one another. You tick together; in unison.

The beauty of a clock is limited by how well it works.

That’s when I realized more about me. I just want to find a clock like that. Where there is only one ticking sound as we synch. One beat between two clocks. That’s all I want, now. It makes me happy because, since then, I have been looking at my relationships. Some I can keep but others, our clocks don’t read the same time anymore and it is time to say goodbye. This is a good thing because in the end, how great would it be to have a room full of clocks that simultaneously tick.

I can’t help but want to see how other people tick and if their time reads mine.

I finally drifted off to sleep with the sounds of the clocks fading.

TICKTICK…TICKTICK…TICKTICK….TICK

-Chris

Is there Love in the air or is it just fog?

Hey Gang!

So, I was going to write a second part to the Halloween/scary blog post but I have had a thought over the last few days that has stuck with me. It’s about love. I thought at one point that I was in love but now I know that was not it. It couldn’t have been. It was so tumultuous and the way we were together, or should I say the way I was with her, made me just vanilla.

I use the term vanilla here because I can’t use thesaurus.com and find a better word than that. It was just so plain and we would lie together. She was very sedentary and I am not. So, she slept a lot and I would just lay next to her looking at the ceiling. I looked out as the world went by and then I looked at her and couldn’t see that person. The one who made me smile and laugh and care. I could only see this person before me; my own counterweight.

In eastern asia there is this tribe that use elephants to carry their goods they get from place to place and to do most other heavy work. (excuse me coffee is ready) AHHH! So good! Ok, where was I? Yes, the elephants. You see they use them when they are young and what they do is they tie up these elephants to a huge log at night. The elephant tries to get away and it doesn’t because it isn’t strong enough. This proceeds every night. The elephant is now big enough to toss that log a hundred feet away yet it doesn’t. In it’s mind, it is still that huge immovable log that was their when it was a baby. So, it is chained only by will not by a physical nature.

I had to cut my log before it chained my will. We broke up. I am extremely happy and am back to painting and writing and trying my hand at stop-motion animation. So, being productive. The thing is, lately, I have felt like love is everywhere…and it isn’t a good thing per se.

I wish I could get a straight answer on what romantic love is (if anyone comments saying “love means never having to say you’re sorry” I may have a stroke). It’s such a scary emotion! There are basic facial expressions recognized worldwide and they correspond to our basic emotions. Anger and Fear are easily recognizable. They are simple emotions, though powerful.

Love is complex and usurps all other mental capacities. It causes the sane to go insane and makes people think irrationally. I see people who tell each other they love each other but I am somewhat of a people watcher and I notice that people hate being alone. We hold on to the feeling that we are sharing space. I only say this from an outsiders perspective. It seems true to me though. Whenever I was with my ex and I thought I loved her, I remember always feeling as if I was half of a whole and she was the other half but I realize now that that can’t be right.

To be half of a whole, you have to get rid of some of yourself. I feel whole as a person and I want someone to come with me and be my partner. Not the other half of me that is missing but the whole complementing my whole. I just think that people misconstrue their fear of being alone or being on the outside.

I sound like a cynic! The fact is, I am a hopeless romantic. I still believe in the movie version of love. Not the sappy romantic comedies but the one’s that are real. Where it is tough and it’s a process but at the end of the day you look up at the stars and then turn to someone next to you and think “in this moment, I would rather be nowhere else with no one else.”

Content. I watched “Dark Shadows” by Tim Burton (Not the tv series) and if you look at it, it’s a pretty great love story. Specifically that of the witch Angelique. I can’t imagine an unrequited love like that. It was heart-breaking and I found more sympathy for her in that film than anyone. I digress…

So, I have rambled, my catharsis. Let me just bring the threads together. I believe in a thing called love, just listen to the rhythm of my heart, ok kidding. I do believe that love is there and it is scary. Do I think that I will find it? Hard to tell. My idea of love is skewed by bad relationships and unclear wants. There are a lot of people out there and we are all looking for that one thing that keeps us believing that we are not alone. I hope that isn’t love. Maybe it is something more. Maybe it is something we can’t even put into words and I look forward to that day! Until then, I will sit back and enjoy the ride and the passengers that hop on every once in a while.

Chris

PS- I was looking for a good title for this and came across this quote: You come to find love , not by finding the perfect person , but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly

PPS- Here are my top 5 movies-that-make-me-a-believer

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

2. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (Look deeper into the meaning of this film!)

3. Angel-A

4. Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist

5. Harold and Maude

(These are a select few that i watch often but there are so many more!)

The Times They Are A Changin’

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Recently my brother visited me for four days. That is what inspired me to write this blog. First, as always with my verbosity, I want to tell you about my adolescence.

I was never really the cool kid in school. I was a social butterfly and the class clown but never that guy that went to all the parties and ended up with the best looking girls. No, my life was nothing like all of my favorite John Hughes movies but it was actually fun. Although, I feel badly for individuals who say high school “was some of the best times in my life”. Yikes!

If this were true for me, I have a feeling I would be severely depressed; just all the time. I had a core group of friends who were just as wild and crazy as me. The first two years of our friendship, my two best friends and I used a camera that my mother got me for Christmas and we used it for everything we did. Sometimes we would just be driving and then turn it on and sing along to these songs. Most of those songs were angry hip-hop or rock songs lyrically depicting fighting or talking about women; really this was just an outlet for our teen angst. Then it caught some more extreme stuff.

At one point I had a Nissan 200sx…I’m 6’6″. If you know the car you are probably laughing at me right now and I can say for sure that every time I stepped out of that thing I looked like I was getting out of a clown car. On that car was a spoiler and one night “Mike” decided to jump on to my spoiler and I took off into the night. I remember looking into the rear view mirror and seeing his face light up in the tail lights, it was actually one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen and haunts me even today. A mixture of fear and elation, anxiety and happiness and the lighting making his brow look pronounced and his eyes darken; creepy right? After that we decided to make that a game, so we filmed it the next time. This time with a little s10 and my two friends took turns hanging on the back while I documented it.

During the tape we thought we were rebels and geniuses; people whom no one would ever really understand because we were too complex. “Mike” used to be really into the Anarchy symbols but what he called Anarchy most would call him being an a-hole (sorry for the abbreviated curse! PG right?). I hadn’t seen that tape since we last recorded it 11 years ago and recently I had it made into a DVD. Mike and me watched and we came to the conclusion that we were idiots. We could barely keep a straight face or look at the TV. Mike had an extremely high voice back then and was regularly thought to be a woman whenever we went through drive ups (still happens every once in a while today) and so Mike would ear-muff himself every time he would hear himself talking.

That was a decade ago. Now, Mike is probably going to work with cancer patients and I will eventually try to get into screen writing or teaching mass communications….yes, me a teacher. The point of all this is how greatly it contrasts with my little brother. It was so simple for me. We would be crazy and wild and have fun, simple. Lex came and, as we were driving around, we talked about a lot of things and he was just joking around but then he really got into some inner onion type stuff. Telling me about his sexual escapades, smoking weed, the fact he may be a teenage alcoholic (not true by the way) and he is 17. The entire time he was telling me this I was having a dilemma in my mind

Umm so he is telling me all of these things and I feel like I should call the Betty Ford Clinic or something. On one hand I am his big brother and I am supposed to be cool but some of the things he has done I have never even heard of

(He tells me about his sex life)

Oh God! I seriously don’t want to know about this. This is excruciating! I wonder if he would notice if I undid my seat belt and jumped out of this moving car because that would actually be less awkward.

That thought went on for two hours as he divulged horrors of an unspeakable level. I mean, I am 8 years older than him so I vividly remember his birth. I remember when he used to crawl around and I would lay on the floor and he would climb on my back and drool that cold baby spit on my neck. I mean this kid spit a lot, just a little drool factory but it was gross-cute because he was a kid. I also remember he thought it was hilarious when he was around 4 to chase me around the house after having a bath…while he was butt naked. My mother would be toweling him off and he would be giggling. I took that as my cue to hide in any room. I feared a four-year-old and his nudity. When he did this my mother deemed him Monkey Man. It was terrifying.

Now this child, whom I got into fights with because we matched wills in his “why” stage, when every answered question was followed up by a “why?”, now, he is telling me these things and I feel out of place. What do I do? Well, I came to the resolve that, whether he was telling the truth or not, he just wanted to have someone listen. So, I did. Every last sordid detail I listened to and in the end, I realized that maybe it wasn’t as simple as I thought. Maybe my adolescence is such a distant memory that those types of problems got lost in the cracks somewhere. We spent the next days together and I did feel closer to him….but I would still use germ-x after every time we shook hands.

– Chris