Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our Facts are Losing Their Truth

Why would I trust science? Why would I put my faith in people who believe “the building blocks of life” magically sprang up from nowhere and accidentally created everything? The same people who once told us Earth was the center of the universe, the liver was responsible for circulating blood, and heavier objects fall faster than smaller objects.

Scientists pretend to search for the truth, when in reality it’s all about proving themselves right. If they were really searching for the truth, they would have realized DNA was important back in the 1800’s when it was discovered by mistake. Many important discoveries have been mistakes. Hopefully they will stumble across a cure for cancer soon. 

Oops, there is no such thing as reptiles and Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. Katharine Sanderson, of New Scientist magazine states, Chemistry is a much fuzzier business than we thought. There is a reason why ice floats on water, and it is called the hydrogen bond. Whatever that is.” ( Whatever that is? Seriously?

In the 1950’s biologists agreed that genes were made up of a DNA sequence that gave instructions for making a protein: molecules that make up all living things. Now, “Such harmony has vanished” Says Michael Le Page, and “What defines life's building blocks? It depends who you ask. A single "gene" can consist of dozens of distinct DNA segments that can be combined to make thousands of different proteins.”  

New Yorker report:
The test of replicability, as it’s known, is the foundation of modern research. It’s a safeguard for the creep of subjectivity. But now all sorts of well-established, multiply confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if our facts are losing their truth. This phenomenon doesn’t yet have an official name, but it’s occurring across a wide range of fields, from psychology to ecology. (

Our facts are losing their truth? If something is less true today than it was yesterday it was not true to begin with. Science is not truth. Science is a guess and nothing more.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Anton Lavey and the "satanic bible"

Anton LeVey (His real name was Howard) is the author of “The Satanic Bible”. He "borrowed" (plagiarized) much of material in order to write the piece of crap book for Avon Books in the late 1960’s. The book has never gone out of print (1 point: Satan).  Rule 9 of the 11 Satanic Rules of Earth is: Do not harm little children… that doesn’t sound Satan approved (1 point: God). There’s a rumor Anton (Howard… such a dork) had an epiphany on his death bed, realized he was going to Hell, and pleaded with God to let him live (1 point: God). The debate continues to the validity of his deathbed confession, but over 1,000,000 people have learned about it on youtube (1 point: God).  So, that’s 1 point Satan, 3 points God. God wins, again. Howard filed for bankruptcy in 1991 and lived off welfare and handouts from “friends” and family until he died on October 29, 1997, just 2 days before Halloween, which would have been a way cooler day to die, all things considered… 2 bonus points: God. Rest in peace Howard, or not- whatever.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My thoughts on an article I read about sainthood at

You can read the whole article here:

"Case of Boys Town founder shows long road to making a saint."

...“To be recognized as a saint these days, it may cost upwards of $1 million,” said Steven Wolf, the lead volunteer and president of the Father Flanagan League Society of Devotion. “You essentially need it to pay for a good lawyer and an expensive multi-media campaign.”

My research found that the Bible actually considers all Christians to be saints and that saints are here on earth and not in Heaven.
Information about praying to saints:
Information about praying to saints:

... “You need splashy videos, a social media blitz, a website, prayer cards and podcasts, not to mention we need to find a couple of miracles,” Wolf said about the sainthood process. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

Bible verses regarding humility:
Who can perform miracles?:

..."The Vatican granted the rule change, clearing the way for the next step: The Omaha archdiocese must assemble a tribunal to gather evidence that Flanagan was truly holy."

Catholic church changes:
Information about Indulgences:
Information about Martin Luther:
Link to movie about Martin Luther:

..."Wolf hopes at least one of the reported miracles will stand up to church scrutiny. Several local doctors will have to testify that there is no medical explanation for someone’s cure. The person who has been cured will have to testify, too."

What the Bible says about talking to the dead:

..."That testimony is scrutinized by top doctors and scientists hired by the Vatican –and examined by the pope – before it can be considered a miracle. At that point, a sainthood candidate is beatified. That’s what happened to Pope John Paul II last year, after the Vatican ruled that the case of a French nun who prayed to him and was cured of her Parkinson’s disease was a bona fide miracle.

Info about Papal infallibility:
Info about Papal infallibility:

..."Then the whole miracle confirmation process begins again, with a second miracle that has transpired since beatification."

(((There seems to be something missing for this article. The same thing that is missing from many Catholic dealings: JESUS. Use your logic. Does this make sense? Does this sound like something Jesus would be involved with?)))

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Like Skanky Men! … and other things not to say at a job Interview

I didn't realize how good I was at job interviews until I became the interviewer. Little did I know, all it takes to be better than some is to take a shower, show up on time, make sure my face isn’t bleeding, and try not to say things like, “I hate working with people who are smarter than me”. Yes, folks, that’s all it takes to ace an interview: show up and act normal. Do yourself a favor, pop a breath mint, don’t wear a lot of perfume, and don’t come in smelling like a cigarette. A waft of cigarette smoke is like saying, “Hello, I’m lazy.”

I work in the mental health field and have primarily interviewed people for entry level direct care positions. I have also had the opportunity to interview people for management positions. Level of education and amount of experience seem to have no bearing on a person’s interview skills. The fact that most everybody is an idiot should give you hope. It makes your chances of getting a job better, or at least it should put your mind at ease. Don’t get too cocky just yet though; I’ll explain about that later.

Perhaps the most overused piece of interviewing advice is to give a firm handshake. People practically crawl across the table to shake my hand. If you have to move furniture or contort your body in any way, just let it go. The handshake is not magical. I know you want to and you know you should- let’s call it good. If a manager greets you in a waiting area and walks you to a different room, shake his or her hand, but don’t move mountains to touch everybody in the room, that’s just creepy. If you can’t help yourself and must reach across the room, please at least try not to gouge the interviewer with your wedding ring, watch, or gaudy bracelets. And seriously, who where’s a watch these days?

When you go to the movie theater, there is usually a short reminder before the show that tells you to silence your cell phone. At an interview there will not be a funny reminder, so try to remember on your own. If Funky Cold Medina starts playing during your interview, that’s a bad sign, so shut of your phone and make sure your obnoxious ring tone doesn’t become the defining moment of your first impression. If your phone rings, immediately apologize emphatically and silence it. I was interviewing a candidate who looked excellent on paper, but during her interview, her phone rang, not once, not twice, but three times! The third time she excused herself from the interview to take the call. An interviewer takes everything into consideration. Sometimes the little things end up meaning the most. Behaviors and statements that show bad judgment are hard to justify. An interviewer will not correct you, because they want to see how you handle the nuances of human interaction on your own.

Know something about the job you applied for. If your cover letter says the wrong job in the subject line, you will most likely not get an interview. The interviewer will ask you how much you know about the job and the company. Thanks to the Internet, there’s no excuse.You should know something about your employer and the job. If you don’t know what job you’re interviewing for, the interviewer will think you’re a moron, and you stand little chance of recovering.

Once you figure out what job interview you’re at, there will be questions. Yes, questions! Can you believe it? What will the questions be about? I can tell you what they won’t be about: your family problems, your finances, your romantic life, and your personal belief that you are the coolest person in the universe. Almost every week I have an interviewee clarify that I’m looking for an answer related to work. “How do I handle conflict? Do you mean work related conflict?” No, I mean the fight you had with your mom last night about who’s going to clean the cat box. YES: work related- always. Don’t say this: These questions are hard. Or this: I hate these questions. Or this: I don’t usually get out of bed this early. This sucks.

Your strengths and weaknesses: know them, make a list of them, and practice saying them out loud. Don’t say: “I don’t really have any weaknesses.” Claiming to be perfect is ridiculous. You might as well say your weaknesses are grandiosity, poor insight, and lack of planning. When you talk about your strengths, be specific and relate your answers to the job at stake; be prepared to answer follow up questions. “I’m really good with clients” and “I get along with everybody” are weak statements. “I have the ability to motivate clients well by using active listening and humor” and “I use my peer group well for support and maintain good working boundaries” are stronger statements.

We all have past supervisors who were less than wonderful. I have had supervisors who only knew me as “Boy”. Another of my previous supervisors once asked me how to delete his web browser history because he’d been watching porn in his office. Your future boss doesn’t want to hear you complain about past supervisors. Even if your complaints are valid, don’t go there. The more you bash your previous boss, the less chance you have of the interviewer becoming your next boss. Nobody wants a crybaby.

There is a lot more to it, but let’s be honest, anybody who really needs this advice isn’t going to read this. Most people who don’t get hired will never understand why. Here are a few other things you should not say at a job interview:

Don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I drink at bars to cope with stress.
Sometimes to relax I just stare at the wall and I feel better.
I miss working at the radio station. We always had cold beer in the cooler.
I managed the relief effort at the super dome after hurricane Katrina.
My mother was a raging alcoholic, so I understand what these people need.
I got written up for being late, but I kept doing it, so I got fired.
Client’s that are difficult for me?… probably the blacks.
I really love working with kids (this is for adults) Yeah, adults are ok too I guess.
I got fired from my last job because I was accused of bending a client’s hand. Nobody saw me do it. They can’t prove anything.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why Be Smart?

I was thinking today, as I often do, and I thought to myself: “Why do I learn new things? Why do I study? Why does anyone strive to be smart? What does it mean to be smart?” I have come to several conclusions. People expand their knowledge base for many reasons, myself included. For example, I went to school to learn specific material related to the career field I wished to pursue: learning for profit. I desired higher rewards and therefore acquired the skills needed to obtain a job that required the skills I had learned. Experience lends itself to higher intelligence, yet work experience is merely an extension of learning for profit. As we all know, schooling and experience does not equate to higher intelligence. Intelligence refers to a specific type of smartness. I have known many highly intelligent people who were ostentatious jerks, and, in my opinion, very stupid. So, although schooling is all fine and good, it does not produce smarter people, it produces higher skilled people who make more money. If you went to college, and did it right, you should know what I’m talking about: it wasn’t all about the books. Which leads me to ponder how self-discovery and the ability to relate to others blends into the multifaceted subject of intelligence. Once again, I’ve known many people who related wonderfully to the world around them, and most of them were not very bright. Humans can be gullible and predictable. People who merely relate well are sometimes nothing more than clever manipulators. A person who learns certain facts and figures simply to impress others is not smart in my opinion, even if they know a given subject inside and out. A good example of this can be found with religious cults. Cult leaders often know the Bible cover to cover, but what do they actually know about the Bible? Not much. Many “smart people” seem to be missing the point these days: the obnoxious Christian, the holier-than-thou Doctor, the above-the-law lawyer, the hypocritical parent. An important aspect of true intelligence is using what you know for the purposes it was intended. A past coworker of mine once questioned why I was memorizing soliloquies from Hamlet. “Because I’m super-smart,” I replied, sarcastically. “Memorizing stuff doesn’t make you smarter,” he remarked and walked away. Do you see his mistake? I believe truly smart people continue to seek out knowledge because we thirst for truth, and truth can only be ascertained after radical contemplation of massive amounts of information, hence the need for knowledge. Settling for anything less would be stupid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don’t Blame the President

You agreed to settle for lesser products in exchange for lower overhead. You put it on plastic while your bank accounts remained empty. You decided to be a liar. You placed appearances above truth. You bought a house and car you couldn't afford and blamed your losses on the cost of higher education. You agreed to eat garbage and called it a value. You created, supported, and passed corrupt legislation to advance your selfish wants and needs. You let your family and marriage take a backseat to financial gain and self absorption. You made life into a television show and chose to believe the lies it fed you. You became impatient and hateful. You agreed to pay at the pump. You forgot the working poor. You submitted to the rich and powerful in exchange for anonymity. You diluted religion until it fit your needs. You made enemies you cannot defeat. You repeated the mistakes of Rome. None of this is the President’s fault. You have only yourself to blame and now you’re totally fucked.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In My Mind Vol. 2: The Anatomy of Random Writing

Just because they go there doesn’t mean they should. No one ever asked about the taste. What if it was more than palatable? What if it was tasteful? Curiosity and morbid taste full of tired bywords and meaningful rhetoric is not enough here (pointing, always pointing. Pay attention!). Here you will get no answers. Here you will be forever lost among the turbid plumes of a mortal’s threshold for thought and dream. Don’t assume you can unveil what lies beneath. Even if you arrive primed with ten pair and one, you will be too late- will you not? Sanctions are lurking, and yet you trifle on a crusade for things better left unsaid. Follow me for a circuit whilst I show you the worlds within worlds, within words, within worlds, and suffer my affections: In the dark there was a craven crow and in his heart there was a box and in this box there was a key to a house made of what? That’s the question I ask myself everyday. Quite trite I always say. What’s the diffidence? Who would sacrifice themselves to be lost? Usually such tasks are left to fate, or stupidity, if there is a difference. Don’t ever forget: just because I don’t, doesn’t mean I can’t. And grey is still a color, strictly speaking. Don’t pine for me, don’t mourn for me, don’t cry for me, don’t speak for me, don’t think for me, don’t wait for me, don’t question me- I take that back, question me frequently. The fractions of this you recognize speak only to your knowledge and logic. Wisdom and truth, beauty and love, death and life are what I seek.

The Anatomy of Random Writing

I will now attempt to diagram some random writing and explain the meaning line by line.

In My Mind Vol. 2

Just because they go there doesn’t mean they should.

“They” referrers to a set of people, two or more, who engage in an activity, either literally or metaphorically. They could be physically going somewhere, or going there in slang terms, which would mean they were altering social conditions, perhaps undesirably. “Doesn’t mean they should,” equates to shouldn’t, which is a subjective word used to judge right from wrong. In this case, someone is judging the aforementioned set of people. We don’t know who they are, where they are going, or who is judging them at this point. Are they going to McDonalds and you, the reader, think fast food is gross? Or, are they breaking informal social constructs that offend social norms, and society as a whole is judging them? Or, are they being judged by a higher power?

No one ever asked about the taste. What if it was more than palatable? What if it was tasteful?

The next few sentences are a play on words and shed light on the first sentence. Unlike the first sentence, these sentences have an actual author-dictated meaning. The taste the author is alluding to is that of the fruit from The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Knowing this, it can then be assumed that they are a man and a woman, not a group of people, and what they are doing is probably not a trip to McDonalds. But what is it they are doing? Palatable means food that tastes good, but it also means palatable ideas: acceptable or agreeable to the mind or feelings. The word "tasteful" adds the idea that whatever it is they are doing might possibly be in good taste as well.

Curiosity and morbid taste full of tired bywords and meaningful rhetoric is not enough here (pointing, always pointing. Pay attention!).

Where is here? Here is in the mind of the author, hence the title. Again the author uses the word “taste,” only this time in a negative context, possibly hinting at an outsider’s psychologically unhealthy curiosity. To whom this sentence is addressed is unclear, but it can be assumed it is either the female mentioned above, or society in general who sits in judgment of them, or both. A byword is a proverbial phrase, like saying, “Man’s best friend,” instead of, “Dog”. It also means an object of notoriety or interest; the object in this case being the author’s mind. The phrase “meaningful rhetoric” as an oxymoron is intended for the judgmental public; however, it also has a positive translation which is intended for the female. The parenthesized words, “pointing, always pointing,” are for the public, and the short sentence, “Pay attention!” is for the possibly distracted female. The author is saying to the girl that his mind is a complicated place. He is also warning the public that their negative opinion of his relationship with the female is probably incorrect.

Here you will get no answers. Here you will be forever lost among the turbid plumes of a mortal’s threshold for thought and dream. Don’t assume you can unveil what lies beneath.

Again, here means the authors mind, where there are no answers. Answers to what? I don’t know, hence, no answers. A mind with no answers is probably full of questions, which could cause someone to become lost. The atmosphere of the author’s mind is seemingly unstable and not completely coherent. He warns her that she will probably become another set of questions rather than the answer to anything. Turbid means cloudy, murky, or muddy; it’s what happens when sediments are stirred up, which is possible, metaphorically, if she starts poking around at the, “threshold for thought and dream”. What ever it is he is truly hiding, she will probably never find it, especially since he most likely doesn’t even know what it is to begin with.

Even if you arrive primed with ten pair and one, you will be too late- will you not?
Sanctions are lurking, and yet you trifle on a crusade for things better left unsaid.

Primed means to be ready and it also means to be of high quality. Ten pair and one would equal 21, which is the age of the girl, who, although in the prime of life, is too late. Too late for what? Here we get the idea that the relationship between the author and the girl could have been more had the timing been right, but apparently he has moved on, is much older, or is committed to another woman, which would explain the previous judgments by society. Sanctions can be permissions or punishments depending on the context. In this context they could be both. The author could be saying that certain permissions will be granted, but that these permissions may lead to negative consequences.

Follow me for a circuit whilst I show you the worlds within worlds, within words, within worlds, and suffer my affections: In the dark there was a craven crow and in his heart there was a box and in this box there was a key to a house made of what? That’s the question I ask myself everyday. Quite trite I always say. What’s the diffidence?

Despite all of his ambivalence, the author decides to take the girl for a spin. The words within worlds are what make up his reality. He knows she will not understand, but shows her anyway with a riddle. After the riddle, for which he gives no answer, because, again, there are none, he then seems to fall apart into word play that suggests he may not be as interesting or as confident as he seems.

Who would sacrifice themselves to be lost? Usually such tasks are left to fate, or stupidity, if there is a difference. Don’t ever forget: just because I don’t, doesn’t mean I can’t. And grey is still a color, strictly speaking.

These lines are pretty clear once you understand the previous sections. The author is surprised at the female’s audacity, and warns her again about the risks of their relationship, but ultimitly decides that what ever it is they have is acceptable.

Don’t pine for me, don’t mourn for me, don’t cry for me, don’t speak for me, don’t think for me, don’t wait for me, don’t question me- I take that back, question me frequently. The fractions of this you recognize speak only to your knowledge and logic. Wisdom and truth, beauty and love, death and life are what I seek.

This is the author’s final disclaimer and stipulations. We see that although he shows resolve, he also obviously lacks it, possibly because he has feelings for the girl; feelings that he doesn’t totally understand, yet is judged on anyway. In the end, the author has noble pursuits that do not include deception and seduction. It's important to remember that all of this takes place in the author's mind, which, as we've learned, is not always clear. That's why we can only use our knowledge and logic to figure it out.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A toy and a weapon: Why I like to write

Me and writing
I was seven when I wrote a series of illustrated children’s books. I published them under my own (pretend) publishing company, Big Box Books. Among the titles: The Hunter and The Bear, The Bear and The Bees, and The Adventures of Mr. Peabody.

In fifth grade I wrote an epic love story based on real life events around the classroom. It was fifty hand written pages long and included a hand drawn centerfold of a limousine.

My fifth grade teacher was awesome. She taught me the mechanics of writing, and, perhaps more importantly, the process. I had writer’s block so badly one time that I broke down in tears and couldn’t finish the assignment. She was a very compassionate person and always did her best to meet me halfway. I wish more teachers understood the value of support and encouragement. It’s not always about the finished product or the grades.

By eighth grade I was passionate about writing. I liked to read, but I loved to write. Of the many short stories I wrote in eighth grade, two still stand out in my mind. The first, Too Many Deer in the Mall Bathroom, was a story about a boy who slips and falls in a mall bathroom, which causes the bathroom to morph into a forest. More and more deer pile into the bathroom, and after a short adventure or two, one of the deer instructs him to wake up. He awakens in a doctor’s office, recovering from a mild concussion, and despite the fact he had not been outside that day, his pants are grass stained. The second story, The Dangers of Being a Frog, was about a teenage frog who becomes lost in the big city, where he experiences a series of misadventures. He is captured and kept as a pet for a short time, but escapes, and, with a much greater appreciation for his parents and the comforts of home, he makes it home in time for dinner.

Formal writing took a backseat during my high school years, although I did write over 300 pages of notes to a girl- a girl I eventually won over and married. My love for creative writing would have died completely if it hadn’t been for one of my English teachers. While my other high school English teachers lectured on how I would always work for someone else and never become anyone important, this teacher took the extra time to try to understand me as an individual.

I grew to hate high school. It was corrupt, superficial, and pointless. The last formal assignment I completed in high school was to read The Catcher in the Rye. I identified with the main character, Holden Caulfield, and found the story eerily familiar, with many lines I had said, would say, or had thought:

"I'm six foot two and a half and I have gray hair."

"I passed English all right."

"He started handling my exam paper like it was a turd or something."

“You don’t have to think too hard when you talk to a teacher.”

“I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life. It’s awful.”

“He was pretty handsome, too- I’ll admit it. But he was mostly the kind of a handsome guy that if your parents saw his picture in your Year Book, they’d right away say, ‘Who’s this boy?’”

“I told him I wasn’t going to chuck it at anybody, but he wouldn’t believe me. People never believe you.”

I have read the story many times since then and I am still struck by the similarities between myself and J.D. Salinger’s creation. If you want to know about me, read about Holden.

I dropped out of high school during my senior year and got my GED a year later. I didn’t write much of anything until 2002, when I started school at the University of Maine, at age 23. I was incredibly nervous about returning to school. It had been a long five years. English 101 was my first class. The professor was exceptional. The class met twice a week for six weeks. I was required to write an essay for each class and memorize a list of vocabulary words. Class time was spent learning all of the things I had missed in high school. I learned more during that six weeks than I thought possible. By the end of the six weeks, I was tutoring other students and was often called upon for advice. There I was: a 23-year-old high school dropout, who hadn’t passed an English class since the tenth grade, giving advice to people twice my age, some of whom already had degrees and careers. I was shocked when I realized how difficult writing was for most people. I had always taken my abilities for granted; I figured everyone could write well.

I aced English class and most classes thereafter, earning my Associate degree in mental health in just over a year. I had always told myself my failure in high school was voluntary, but it was nice to finally have proof. I loved college almost as much as I had hated high school.

Writing papers for school reignited my love for writing. I retrieved my old journals from storage and started writing stories based on the entries. Over the course of a year or so, I posted several short stories online in my blog at At the time, I had many “friends” on myspace, because I was also making short funny movies with my friends. My written blogs received a lot of positive feedback, while my movie-making days came to an end. I removed the blog entries, deleted my fake friends, and began to write a book about my teenage years. I finished the rough draft of Mr. Anjela about two years later. I am currently in the process of editing the 320 page 100,000 word document.

Why Writing?

It may seem cliché, but I think of writing as painting with words. The canvas is the reader’s mind, and the paint is the words, or more specifically, the meaning behind the words. One of the many things I find fascinating about writing are the possibilities. There are infinite options to describe the same thing. Good writers merely find new ways to say the same old things. Whatever a writer is conveying may be new to you, but the actual building blocks are the same as the ones that make up this crappy sentence.

I like writing because it is the ultimate form of communication. It has been said that I picture is worth 1,000 words. It is not worth 1,000 thoughts, or even 1,000 more pictures: it’s worth 1,000 words. When two people make an agreement, they put it in writing. They don’t paint a picture or sing a song. And, even if they did sing a song, what would they need? Lyrics. Which is? Poetry. Which is? An artistic form of writing. Everything comes back to writing.

Writing is superior to the spoken word. Verbal communication is convoluted by nonverbal communication and other external factors. You can never say the same thing twice. Writing is deliberate and calculated. The writer has unlimited time to think about what to say and how to say it; that’s why people write love letters instead of performing impromptu love confessions. When you put something in writing, it is undisputable (if written well enough). People tend to remember the gist of what was communicating verbally and forget the actual words, which leads to miscommunication and false memories. There is no possible way to prove what was said once the sounds evaporate. A written document can be retrieved countless times and it will always say the same thing. One must use caution when putting thoughts into writing. One-hundred years from now, no one will remember anything you said, but they’ll know what you wrote, word for word.

Writing demands attention and has power. Reading a book is like no other experience. You cannot multitask while reading. You can multitask while on the phone, while driving, while watching TV, but while you’re reading, you can only read. You might read a line, stir a pot, and read a line, but stirring the pot while reading a line is unwise. Audio books are a crime against writing and should be abolished. An audio book is like getting a hand job from a robot instead of having sex with your wife.

As an author, I am able to get inside your mind. Not even the television has figured out how to get where I am at this moment. I am in your head right now, and we are sharing a unique bond. I have the power to make you think whatever I want. Think about a dog. Think about a shoe. Not everyone will see the same dog or shoe. But wait, I also have the power to control what you think about what you think about. Think about the dog again. If I wait too long before explaining further, your dog will change or fade without my approval, so let’s continue. The dog is a German Shepard, black and tan, sturdy and brave. He’s wearing a red and white striped hat, like the one The Cat in the Hat wears. Odd, don’t you think? Why would you think of such a thing? Usually people don’t stop and think. It is a fluid process.

A writer changes the angle of things you already know or understand. You will never read anything new. Much like how there are only so many notes a piano can play. You will never hear any new notes, but you will hear them arranged in new ways. Also like good music, good writing is timeless.

If I write, “The man was angry because his wife left him,” I am simply telling you something, but if I write: “Robert stood at the window in the darkened room, clutching the divorce papers in his fist. The storm outside slatted leaves against the rattling panes, only to rip them away to places unknown. He took a swig of whisky from a nearly empty bottle, wiped his mouth with his sleeve, and pitched the bottle at the bed they had once shared. The bottle skimmed the mattress and exploded against the wall. Shards of glass littered the neat folds of the comforter. It would never be the same again. “Sleep well you fucking bitch.”

Did I say he was angry? No. Do you know he is? Hopefully; the author never knows for sure. Why do you know he’s angry? Because I showed you. I left some things up to you, like, which fist the papers where in, what kind of leaves hit the window, the brand of whiskey, and the general size and layout of the room. Most people will put the papers in the man’s right hand and the bottle in the left. The leaves that hit the window are maple leaves in my mind, and the brand of whiskey is Jack Daniels, or at least an amber colored liquid. The more abstract the situation or idea, the more details are needed. You have probably never seen a Beckerlabazzer and have know idea what it is (neither do I, because I just typed that at random). I would have to describe it in much more detail than a bottle of whiskey, which most people in my target writing population have a general idea about. In the end, it is always the reader who decides the meaning. The best stories are the ones where the writer and the reader are on the same page (Ba-dum-dum-ching!).

Another thing I like about writing is almost anyone can do it. Not everyone’s great at it, but at least they can do it. I would love to write music, play an instrument, or paint a masterpiece, but I can’t; some people can, because they have been trained or are gifted. Nearly everyone is taught basic writing, and if the emotion and the story are powerful enough, basic writing skills are all you need. The meaning is vastly more important than the parts used to convey it. Take Mark Twain’s poem, Warm Summer Sun, for example, which he wrote for the funeral of his daughter.

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here;
Warm southern wind, blow softly here;
Green sod above, lie light, lie light;
Good night, dear heart, good night, good night.

The actual words are very simple, but the emotion is deep.
When couples fight, a common phrase is, “It’s not what you said that upset me, it’s how you said it.” Writing is the same way. How an author writes is much more important than the topic. One of the best essays I wrote in college was about my bathroom. Writing is like photography in this way. Some of the most beautiful photographs are of mundane things you see all the time. But when you see it the way the photographer sees it, it becomes interesting, because it is given new meaning.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Commuter

        “Write about what you know, and you can’t go wrong,” my old teachers would tell me. I’ve gone wrong lots of times, and had I stuck to their golden rule, I would have run out of things to write about by now. But now that I’m 30, I know a few more things, and can return to the old rule for a moment. One of the things I know about now is work. Like most people my age, I’ve spent the last twelve years of my life making other people rich. People I’ve never met: people I don’t want to meet. I don’t intend to shove my résumé down your throat, so don’t get all excited about it. Actually, what I intended to do is share my commute with you.
        I don’t get up at the crack of fucking dawn, like the radio jocks imply all day. FM radio was made for nine-to-fivers I guess; FM radio is dead to me anyhow, so what the hell do I care? I start out at noon, and it’s not ‘cause I’m lazy. I happen to work nights. The most I ever hear of the peppy “Lunch Bunch” set is maybe a syllable of a Jolly John used car ad, which, if you’ve ever heard one, you know is more than enough to make you want to kill yourself.
        So, like I said, I leave my place at noon. I drive by the old lady with the perpetual yard sale, the house with the barking dog, and sometimes, depending on the weather, the old man who spends all day making love to his vinyl fence, with Windex. Shit, imagine Windexing a fence. I’m morally opposed to vinyl fences. Pretty soon even Tom Sawyer will be Windexing the fence and nobody will remember what paint is.
        Every so often the people who own the dirt road I live on pay a bunch of rednecks to come and fill in the potholes with dirt. Last spring, the owners sent a letter claming that the new dirt was “special” and would last longer. Special must mean more expensive, because my lot rent went up by ten bucks a month too. Ten bucks don’t sound like a lot, but that’s 120 bucks a year I could be spending on better stuff than dirt. The special dirt, by the way, didn’t last any longer than the regular dirt, and the potholes were back, bigger than ever, by mid summer. Shocks and struts are two things I could be spending that 120 bucks on.
        The road to the main road isn’t bad; it’s all downhill and not much happens there. You’d think I would know the name of the damn street, but I don’t. One day I hit a cat on the hill that goes to the main road. I stopped and looked around for the owner, and all that came of it was practically givin’ an old man a heart attack for no reason when he thought it was his. Turns out, it was nobody’s cat and I ended up leaving it in the woods behind a dumpster. I didn’t know what the hell to do with it. What would you do with it? I’m sure you have some great ideas now, but at the time, you wouldn’t have known either.
        Anyway, down at the stop sign, at main road, there’s enough room for two cars to stop side by side: cars turning left across traffic, and cars simply turning right. I turn right. I’ll be damned if every day I don’t get stuck behind some jackass who sits in the middle and waits to turn left. To make things worse, people turning left off the main road sometimes try to pull a Mother Teresa and wave on the person turning left from the stop sign. The only trouble is, they don’t have the authority to say when it’s safe, because cars are rushing past them while they’re waiting to turn. I’ve seen some close calls at that stop sign.
        After the stop sign, I drive passed a pharmacy, two gas stations, and a McDonald’s. The line for the drivethru at McDonald’s sometimes spills into the street. You know you’ve got problems if you end up in that line. How fucking stupid is that? - Blocking traffic so you can get a fucking Happy Meal. I don’t eat that garbage at McDonald’s, but I do get a coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts.
        Before I turn in to the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot, I count how many cars are in the drivethru. If there’s three or less, I join them, but if there’s any more than that, I go inside. There can be as many as fifteen cars in the drivethru and it never occurs to any of them to go inside. On days like that, I go inside, get my coffee and then drive by the line outside to showoff my coffee. I don’t always win at Dunkin’ Donuts though. It’s a gamble either way. The other day I spent 17 minutes behind some prick in the drivethru who thought it was cool to order a dozen fancy drinks. I swear, some people order the wrong shit on purpose just so they can have something to bitch about. I get the same thing everyday: medium coffee with cream and one sugar.
        My next stop is the gas station. Everyone’s bitching about gas these days, but not everyone has the right to. If you’re stupid enough to buy a big truck or SUV, suck it up. Ten years ago, gas was around $1.00 a gallon. Now, it’s $4.00 a gallon. That’s a 400% increase. So, when I’m 40, I plan on paying $16.00 a gallon. I don’t know about you, but my pay certainly hasn’t quadrupled in the past ten years. If I make $8.00 an hour and my car gets 30 miles per gallon, I’m spending $8.00 an hour to drive at 60 mph; I’m spending more to drive my car per hour than I’m making at work per hour, and that doesn’t seem right.
        The first thing I see once I’m on the highway is a line of shiny blue State Police cars, sitting in a row in the “authorized vehicle’s only” strip between the lanes. There must be half a dozen of them, waiting like cowards for people traveling north to crest the hill. I push my car to about 100mph for a mile or so after I go by. I see more shit on my ride to work than they’ll ever see sitting there. They could spread out and actually do some good, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s all about money. They steal it from the public so they can buy more shiny blue cars and make more money. Law enforcement is a business, not a service. I’m not on either side though. I don’t like the shitty drivers either, but at least they don’t usually cost me money, except for when they run into me.
        I put my car on cruise control, around 75mph, and watch the show. That’s what I call it, The Show: young drivers with loosely connected heads, old drivers with bad depth perception, dick heads with no patients. I watch it play out like a bad physical comedy. I don’t care enough to play their game. I just laugh at them and roll on. They will all get what they deserve; most of them are getting it already and don’t even realize it. I don’t have any control over any of that. I don’t care if they know it or not.
        After I get off the highway, I race up through a bunch of lights and usually make it to work on time. Sometimes I have a few minutes to sit the car and shuffle though my mail before I go in. Other times, I button my shirt on the way through the door. It all depends on the commute.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

When God Speaks

        I have been a Christian for 25 years and prayed many prayers (I’ll skip over the disclaimer about how I’m a “real Christian” and not the kind from your propaganda-poisoned mind. If that's you, the stereotypes you believe and the judgments you impose have already caused you to stop reading this). I believe God communicates with everyone, through different means, on a regular basis. My thoughts are often directly involved it the process of communicating with God, as is common with many people who are led by the Holy Spirit, but this was different. Never has God spoken directly to me in my own tongue. It was not an audible voice and really was no different from the sound of my own thoughts, except that the words did not originate from me- I am not crazy; I know the difference. Although, up until that night, I didn’t know that I would know the difference between my thoughts and God speaking words directly to me, because it had never happened before. If there is any question in your mind whether God has spoken to you in this way or not, he hasn’t, because it is undeniable.
        I was angry one night before bed. The day had not gone well. Things were not adding up. Life itself seemed trivial, and all I wanted to do was complain and go to sleep. I have been aware of God’s existence since I was a young boy. I do not have specific times I pray or meditate, except at church. I typically talk to him on a regular basis throughout the day- he can seem quite annoying by the way. My stream of multidirectional thoughts ran deep in the recesses of my mind. The exact path I followed is untraceable. Like an overtired two-year-old, I angrily rattled off many different questions in my mind as I turned off the kitchen light and made my way into my bedroom.
        “Why would you even bother to create our realm, our universe, our planet, and us? If you have always existed and are all-knowing, why would you suddenly decide to create mankind? Were you bored? Why create life?” I had just shoved my head onto my pillow and covered myself with blankets when my mind abruptly quieted and God spoke three words to me: Because it’s beautiful. I was deeply humbled (beyond anything I can explain) and began to cry softly, not only because of the answer, but also because I was even given an answer. Let’s be clear: God does not have to explain anything to me. But for some reason he did, which only adds more to the list of things I don’t understand. I don’t think I am special or more deserving. On the contrary, I do not feel worthy of this experience. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, especially to people who don’t believe, but I’ve never cared too much about what other people think.

It’s the same deal as everything else: take it or leave it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ode to my Daughter

You are just seven years old and I am so afraid of losing you. Sometimes I don’t know how to show you how much I love you. You force me to be stern. You force me to correct you. On the outside I am strong. On the inside I am so weak. I live in amazement of you. You are beautiful in ways that most people do not know but someday will. I see myself in your eyes and it frightens me. Many of my lessons were learned the hard way. You have it in you to be good, to be wonderful. The dark forces will call your name as they call mine. My only wish is that I can somehow muster the strength and find the power to teach you how to choose well. For now, you are my little girl. You are compassionate, loving, and imaginative. You are cunning, manipulative, and stubborn. Time will pass and I will lose you; I dread death less. Silly rhymes and storybooks will no longer be enough. Your laughter will cease. My head will turn and you will bear the scars of life. As long as my body walks this mortal plane, I will wait with open arms for your return. I will love you, always.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pet Peeves

not checked for typos yet

It’s snowed about a foot in the last day and I’m stuck inside with nothing to do. I killed some time by fixing my resume and cover letter for a job I’m applying for and then I browsed my friends’ profiles at myspace. That got boring, so now I’m listening to music and typing. I have a video game to play, but I did that already. I should be working on the book I’m writing; I should be doing a lot of things I guess. Today was a good snow day though. My snow tires work well. Now I can get going but I can’t stop, because I need brakes. There’s always something. I’ve been smoke free for just over 2 weeks and haven’t eaten meat for about the same time. Calculating the difference between the time I quit smoking and the time I stopped eating meat is getting really annoying, so from now on I’m going to say I did it at the same time; so, I’ve been smoke and meat free for two weeks. Anyway, I feel great. I’m finally able to really relax and it feels good. I don’t mean “finally” because I haven’t been able to relax since I quit. I haven’t really relaxed since I became a smoker (1995) because there is always the underlying internal clock that defines time by ability to smoke. It's actually very sad and I feel stupid for smoking as long as I did. I very very rarely feel stupid. I have few regrets, but smoking is definitely one of them. So far… I think I probably have about 5 regrets. If I continue at this rate and live to 100, that’s less than 20 for a whole lifetime. Most of my regrets turned out to be milestones or at least learning experiences, so in the end, I have even fewer major regrets… smoking may turn out to be on that list as well though. I thought it would be fun to make a list of pet peeves. Anyone who knows me at all knows I don’t like much of anything. On the other hand, I am passionate about the things I do like. I have a sort of all-or-nothing personality I suppose.

Just some of my pet peeves in no particular order

Cream cheese packaging: seriously, is it really necessary that it be so complicated?

“Gangster” rap: What the hell is wrong with you? It’s so stupid, all of it.

Spare tires: Why can’t they all just be full size? And why do I need an aerospace degree to figure out how to get at it?

Racism: from both sides, all sides, whatever. Get over it you losers.

Double-sided sticky tape: tape just wasn’t meant to be sticky on both sides and then it never sticks right anyway!

Prepaying for gas: Just put an “in” before “convenience store” and get it over with, you ass holes. I wasn’t the one who stole your precious gas. You should have enough money to cover it since you’ve been gouging me for years.

Rich people: fuck you and fuck your fucking problems

Junk mail: I’d like to think everyone throws it away without reading it, but someone must do it. Do the world a favor and read the glossy rifle ad and slip into a deep depression.

People who ride motorcycles without helmets: yeah, you look really cool. Tell me all about that personal preference thing… once you learn how to speak again. I worked with a patient who thought it was cool to ride without one. He could tell you why you shouldn’t, but wait… he died after suffering for months with traumatic brain damage which caused him to become paranoid and delusional.

Drunk drivers: you wont have to worry about jail time if you kill someone I love, because I’ll kill you

Advertisements: Especially television and radio. I don’t think any ad that has 30 seconds of fast-spoken disclaimers and warnings should be allowed. Who is buying all this shit? And with what money? Get a grip America. You may want to send your kids to school or even retire. Stop buying shit you don’t need. Advertisements are just pretty lies for shitty products with miserable services.

People who don’t listen: what makes you think it’s ok to talk so much? Shut up. Please!! Shut up.

Cocky bicyclists: Don’t think you can hog half the friggin’ lane and then NOT stop at the red light. You can’t have it both ways!! Either you’re pretending to be a car or you're not!! And take off that ridiculous lycra, you're not in the tour da france.

Censorship: People have the right to be really really stupid and to try to spread their really really stupid thoughts and ideas. If God gave us freewill, I don’t think it’s fair for the Government (or sexually repressed housewives with nothing better to do) to take it away. The shame should not be on the sender, but on the people who are receiving it. There would be no supply if there wasn’t a demand. Hypocrites.

Teenage drivers: You suck; you might think you don’t, but I bet you think a lot of things don’t you? Superficial, rubber necking, egotistical, morons. You and your loser generation are the only ones who think you’re cool. I will run you off the fucking road.

DVDs: I can’t remember a time when had to stop a VHS movie and interrupt the movie because of a flaw in the VHS cassette. DVDs are a corporate ploy so people will have to rebuy more frequently. Letterbox: WHY? I don’t give a shit if the movie is in its original aspect ratio!! I can barely see it now anyway. Why do some movies offer full screen and some don’t. Is it really that difficult?

Cell phones: Just stop. It’s getting ridiculous. It’s just an extension of your obnoxious personality.

Cars: Your car payment is how much? And NOBODY cares except you. Isn’t that cool?

Generation “Loser”: Prove me wrong kids. For the future of this country and the world, prove me wrong.

American values: It would almost be funny if it weren’t so sickening. Drugged up clowns with no deeper thought than their pockets, which they borrowed (with interest), from the unstoppable machine of broken finance, built in a sand pit of lies and images of ideals that don’t even exist!! Too ashamed or tricked to admit it’s too late. It’s too fucked up to fix; not that anyone will bother to fix it anyway, because they’re too busy perfecting their own private lies. The solution: blame it on the war, blame it on Bush, blame it on something that can’t be proven so there will always be a chance it’s not our fault we committed suicide.

Easy-open cans: was it really that much work to use a can opener?

Automated customer service: What a joke. I’d like to speak to a human, and can you at least speak my language please?

Current industry: You took my job and money away and now you expect me to find a way to buy your products and invest in your stock? That system is fatally flawed. I’m left to serve in an informational capacity. When times get rough, the products that really matter are the ones that actually exist!! How’s that for some information?!

Guns for protection: You’re not Rambo. If your gun is locked up properly, it will not do any good against intruders anyway. There are plenty non-lethal protection devices. Each year, over 200 kids (under age 18) are killed unintentionally by guns. If you own a gun for protection, you might as well walk into your local school and blow away someone’s son or daughter, because that’s what you’re doing.

People who start calling me by name before they really know me: It doesn’t make you seem more personable, it’s just creepy.

Lack of perspective: Where do you get off thinking you’ve got it so bad? I’m sick of all the moaning. We all bitch and complain sometimes, which is completely understandable, but some people have such a limited perspective, which doesn’t seem to extend any further than their mirror. I’ve meet some people who have something to bitch about and they weren’t you. And what makes you think you’re better? Your what? Untouchable? Invincable? It could be you. It could be you tomorrow, so suspend your judgment long enough to find out.

Legislated values: First of all, this problem steams from the fact that the only people stupid and boring enough to care about creating ridiculous legislation are uptight, pompous, windbags with nothing better to do. Daddy actually worked to make the money; you just know how to play with it. And play they do. I was floored the other day when I read a proposal to ban smoking in private vehicles when kids are in the car. I shouldn’t have to type this next part, but I stopped assuming people were smart a long time ago: smoking in the car with kids is not smart or good, or healthy, or any of that. One could argue that it is morally wrong to expose your kids to the harmful toxins in secondhand smoke and I would agree. HOWEVER; we can not allow the government and law enforcement to become the guardians of private moral and ethical issues. Public health is one thing. The public domain is created and controlled by laws and politics. People’s private lives must remain their own. The freedom we enjoy in America allows for stupidity, mistakes, and downright wrongdoing. You have the right to do the wrong thing and choose to ruin your kid’s lungs. Maybe that kid will go on to become a smoker or maybe he’ll go on to become a strong anti-smoking advocate. Either way, we must protect our right to create our own future. It should not be molded by authority figures. This isn’t Russia. People can not be forced into morality. Cart. Horse. Get it right America.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Mortality: the condition of being certain to die eventually

Thoughts of mortality sting my heart by night. I lie in bed and stare into the darkness of my room. The problems of another day have passed, yet I remain troubled by the transitory nature of it all. We named it time and it destroyed us. As sure as your heart will fail you, this world will falter, be it by the hands of man or the hands of time. Billions before me, billions after, and every song ever sung will be forgotten in the vacuum of space and time will cease. I have watched my hands grow old. My hands were once smooth and strong; jagged scars and painful joints now remind me of my past and future. I am broken.

I wonder where my piece of cold earth waits. Have I walked among my kin? Have I passed by, oblivious? No, I do not enjoy this illusion. Death has been with me always: on the playground as a child, in my reflection as a teen, watching from the office as I work, and sitting beside me while I pray. As I frolicked and played, I suffered deep sorrow and regret. I have seen the future and it haunts me. Mankind haunts me. As a ten year old, playing in the school yard, I saw myself at age 20, 30, 50, and beyond. I witnessed my own death and stood among my mourners until they too had passed. The stained lining of my casket gave away, the ground reclaimed my tomb, and the world went black. And from above I felt the power of God.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Parking Meter

        This parking meter represents another step toward a fully automated society and the destruction of the human race. If they (the Government, corporations, etc.) can replace you with a machine, they will.
        It started a long time ago in the manufacturing industry, people were replaced by machines. Make no mistake: corporations only care about their bottom line. They don’t care about the individuals who work for them and they don’t care about the economy as a whole, unless the economic tide affects them directly. Some corporations claim they care about keeping products affordable for their customers. That’s almost as sick as the advertisements they cram into your brain every day. When was the last time you noticed prices going down or even staying the same? They try to blame higher prices on inflation, overhead, “quality control”, or whatever, but the truth is, prices go up because of greed, greed on the part of corporations, and greed on the part of consumers. The consumer always gets screwed; if you’ve ever bought anything, you know this by now. 10% of the population controls 90% of the money. You and I are glorified slaves. My real concern, regarding what I call The Robotic Revolution, is not money.
         People are quite egotistical to start with. Many people think they are always right and believe they are better than everyone else. People are also incredibly entitled. Where do these gross miscalculations of importance originate from? I can’t say for sure, but I do know that I see it every single day. People walk it, drive it, talk it, and show it in their actions. If accused, some would deny any feelings of superiority, because it goes against their overblown self image. Most people don’t even care. And that’s where my real concern is. Automation eliminates human contact and interaction. It promotes self-indulgence and nurtures self-centeredness. Automation leads to demoralization, lack of values, and lack of social imagination. We will end up with entire generations who don’t know how to relate. Maybe they are already here. I believe this is only the beginning. Don’t be fooled by advances in electronic communications. Text messaging and social networking websites don’t exactly fill the void, they replace it with a cheap imitation.
        So, excuse me if I don’t feel like using my credit card at a parking meter and then receiving a text message when my time is running out. The trouble is, someday I will be forced to use it. Just like how I’ve been forced to use the self check-out at Home Depot. Am I the only one who thinks having a robotic camera take pictures of my license plate when the time runs out on my parking meter is not right? Where’s the life in that? What about the part where you see the meter-maid, sprint toward the car, and hope you get there first. What about the personal interaction, where you try to talk yourself out of the ticket. What about the simple thrill of being able to park illegally and hopping you don’t get caught? Where do these learning experiences go when an automatic parking meter is installed?
        The solution for illegal immigrants is not to build a wall. The solution for teen pregnancy is not to hand out contraceptives at school. The solution for stopping crime is not to add more police. These are merely reactions to existing problems. This world’s solutions start with you, by how you act, how you relate, and how you raise your kids.
        Honestly, I believe it is too late. I believe the world will continue to spin out of control until the day it is destroyed. I will not go down without a fight. I will not bend to the ways of a broken planet. Others will continue to live however they choose. I truly believe they will get what they deserve- Garbage in, garbage out.
        Next time you use a self check-out, pay at the pump, use the ATM, send a text message, or even park your car in Vancouver, remember the price you are paying for your added convenience.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Pain of Love

I recently left a comment on a friend’s blog. She says she’s in love. I warned her regarding the “gut-wrenching pain” that goes along with love. She asked me to elaborate. And so…

I’ve been in love with the same girl since the age of 14, in 1993. We’ve been a couple for 11 years and married for… 8 of those years. Our anniversary is today oddly enough. As for the gut-wrenching pain; Love, all by itself, is very simple and wonderful; Being “in love” is a much more complicated state. Staying in love is an active process, or to put it plainly, it takes a lot of work- and not the starry-eyed, music-in-the-background work; No, it’s the old fashion kind- hard and sometimes painful. When you are in love with someone, you must realize the risks you are agreeing to. Some of the potential causes for pain are merely possibilities, others are almost guaranteed, and one is inevitable. Not all of these lead to a break up. Experiencing pain in a relationship is not a maybe. It will happen. Sometimes you will feel as if there is no hope. Sometimes there really is no hope and it ends, but other times, it is just a feeling that passes.

Here are just 15 of the potential causes for pain when dealing with love. All of these categories have very intricate frameworks. Each person attaches his or her own meanings and emotions to all of life’s dealings. Every person is unique, every couple is unique, and time constantly changes everything. Similar events at different times create unique actions and reactions.

1. Cheating

Old school, but it still hurts like hell. People have written books about each of these topics, so my short blurbs are only a taste. Cheating is usually a symptom of a larger problem, or a problem that was not addressed in time. Unresolved problems grow into a larger problems, and thus… the pain. The pain from cheating is multifaceted. The cheater is often riddled with guilt, the partner is wracked with insecurity and the other party is left cold. There are many more possible outcomes of course, but all lead to pain for everyone. In cases where breaking up is the best solution, cheating can eventually lead to a positive resolution for one or more members. It is important to remember that cheating does not always refer to an outside relationship with a person. Cheating is one of many ways to achieve deception. Some people have affairs with other people; some have affairs with alcohol, drugs, gambling, eating, shopping, money, or any other activity that results in lying.

2. Growing apart

Life changes all the time and people change with it. Chances are, the person you fell in love with possesses certain traits that are different from your own, and this factored into why you fell in love with them in the first place. When you first meet someone and fall in love, there are typically many common bonds: You go to the same school, you have the same classes, you work together, or you live near one another. You share the same interests, like the same music, and enjoy the same leisure activities. In addition to these factors, chances are, you probably found each other physically attractive. If your relationship is going to last beyond the time that these factors change, (school ends, you move, you acquire new hobbies, you age) the maintenance process must begin and continue. You’ve probably heard people say something like, “Love isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.” They say things like that, because real love takes real work and real work isn’t fun. At the very core of a loving relationship is the most powerful, indescribable force known to man, yet it is not enough to simply have love or be in love. To make it work, you must take deliberate actions to stay connected with each other and find common interests and activities. Someday you will run out of stories to tell, and then it’s up to you to make new memories. This may seem obvious, but life has a way of pulling people apart. Love is magical and mystifying, but it is only the source of the power behind a successful relationship. It is the responsibility of the people involved to stay connected and not grow apart. Have you ever heard a divorced couple state that they will always care for the other one, but it just didn’t work? The love is still there; the source of the power remains. If love is real love, it does not end. It can change from being in love to simply loving, but it can not be destroyed. If you’re wondering if you were really in love with someone from your past, you only need ask yourself if you still are and that will answer your question.

3. Growing bored

Growing bored is almost the opposite of growing apart. Growing bored happens when people don’t grow apart enough. Growing bored is also commonly called a “rut”. The relationship becomes routine and mechanical. Even sex can become routine. You get to know the other person so well, that it seems nothing new is happening; thus, there is nothing to talk about, and bad things start to happen when couples stop communicating. Undeclared emotions tend to fester and grow out of control. It is vital that each person retains their own individually and has extra curricular activities outside of the relationship. It is a balancing act between growing apart and growing bored. Nothing is perfect, and these two factors will emerge many times over the course of a long term relationship.

4. Unity

A long term relationship is a business. It’s an emotional, social, and economic partnership. Unity is extremely important. Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” He couldn’t have been more right. Life is all about survival. You have no chance of surviving if you and your partner are not united. This does not mean that you must agree on everything, that’s silly, but when life throws shit your way (and it will), you’d better be on the same page. This topic is especially relevant when you have kids. Like most things, this is not a static process and will require continual maintenance. This topic is huge, but I’ll keep it short. There is no room for self-righteous power trips in a successful relationship. Sometimes it’s better to be united, even if what ever it is doesn’t work, because the power of two is always greater one. Each person will have to give in and join the other side for the greater good every now and then. There will be cases where you go and do your own thing, against your partner’s wishes and everything turns out great, but this can lead to animosity in the other person. You need to ask yourself what you’re really working towards. Sometimes it’s better to fail together than be successful apart. No goal should overshadow the foundation on which it’s built.

5. Kids

There are two types of people on this planet; people who have kids and people who don’t. People who don’t have kids are unable to understand all the ramifications of having children. It’s a little like trying to talk to a teenager about “real life”. No offence intended to people without kids, I was one once… although I don’t remember it. Having children is a double-edged sword. Having kids will bring you to places you didn’t know existed, both good and bad. Raising kids and having kids are two different things by the way. Anyone can have a kid or make a baby (look around, they’re everywhere). Raising kids will test even the most rock-solid of relationships; it changes so much, so fast. Life before kids is so different than life after kids that many people can’t take it. Sometimes it only takes a year, sometimes it takes years and years, but eventually many couples fail because they failed to adjust. Many people simply don’t know what they’re getting into, but once you’re there, you don’t have much choice. The potential for pain while raising kids is almost a guarantee.

6. Breaking up

Unless you stay with the person you’re with right now until one of you dies, there will be a break up. I don’t think I need to say anymore about this. Break-ups are painful. Someone who once ranked very high in your psyche falls from grace, and vice versa. Feelings of failure, embarrassment, fear, and many more, are not fun. Also, there can be financial, housing, and social problems associated with a break up.

7. Divorce

Divorce differs from a simple break-up. Divorce is a legal process for one thing. It can also lead to more pain than a break up, because there was a formal, public agreement that you would stay with this person forever. Money is painful all the time, but during a divorce, former lovers can become excessively cruel and greedy. And then there are the kids again. Custody battles are painful. All the same painful feelings of a normal break up cut deeper because the commitment was deeper.

8. In-laws

When you agree to be emotionally hitched, you also agree to be connected with your partner’s friends and family. You already have your own crazy family, and now you have theirs as well! That’s twice as many people to commit to for social occasions, twice as many people to deal with on a regular basis, twice as many people who have twice as many problems and concerns. What were once only your partner’s problems are now yours too: family drama, family tragedy, illnesses, birthdays, economic needs. Not all of this is bad, but there is inherently more potential for different kinds of pain when more people are involved.

9. Money

Need I say more? Unless you’re “well off,” money will be a major factor once your finances become joined. Usually the issue is that there isn’t enough of it, but there are many other ways money can become a source of pain. Again, I don’t feel I need to elaborate on this topic. Money = pain. The trick to solving this issue is to take the power away from the money. Money itself is practically nothing; the beliefs people have about money is what causes the problems.

11. Work

Again, unless you’re well off, you will spend a large amount of time and energy at work. Depending on what you do for work, there are several different ways work leads to pain in a relationship. Scheduling is one of them. How often do you see each other? Are you spending enough time with the kids? Are you taking care of your household responsibilities? Are you making enough money? Who makes more? Who pays what? Who manages the income, and are they doing it correctly? Work is closely related to money, but it is also closely connected to growing apart, cheating, and unity. Work can become a monster problem in several different ways. For example, if you hate your job, you might always be frustrated and angry at home, or on the other hand, if you love your job and find it rewarding, you might spend too much time at it and lose touch with your partner. “Juggling” is probably more accurate than “balancing”. The important thing to remember is that love should not be in the mix of things you are juggling; love should be the force behind why you are juggling.

12. Illness

The person you fell in love with may not always be exactly the same as you knew them and/or you may not be. Accidents and illness are probably second, only to kids, in testing a relationship. When you emotionally bond yourself to another person, you are taking great risks. Their pain becomes your pain and vice versa. Are you ready to see your partner broken and sick? Would you love them the same? None of us are really ready. We don’t expect to get cancer or become mutilated in a car crash, but these things happen, and it might not always be someone else they happen to.

13. Sex

Chances are, you find your mate attractive, and at some point will have sex with him or her. Thanks to the media, which represents the average stupid person, we are saturated with sexual content. Commercialized and exploited sex is not the type of sex I’m talking about; that’s the kind of sex horny teenagers have. Anyone can do that. I’m referring to the ongoing sexual relationship between committed couples. It’s much different, and better I might add. The sexual relationship changes and grows along with the couple; however, if the relationship is not progressing, neither does the sex life, which can lead to a whole gamut of problems. The act of sex is simple. Sex in a long term relationship is not. Again, all of these factors are closely related and do not stand alone. All of these potential sources of pain interact and create countless actions and reactions.

14. Religion (faith)

My views on this topic are, what the typical person would call, too bias, because I am a Christian and have my own beliefs on this subject. All I can tell you is that the Bible, in 2 Corinthians 6:14, says believers and unbelievers should not get married. For the sake of a relationship, I think people should at least match up with someone who shares the same beliefs, even if the beliefs are, what I would consider, incorrect. Be prepared for your partner or yourself to change spiritually over the years. Sometimes these changes are easy and sometimes they are painful.

15. Death

Pain will come one way or another. In the words of Billy Corgan, “And great lovers will one day have to part.” The point of this piece of writing is not to avoid the pain, but to expect it and accept it.