Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Beyond My Front Door 3


For part two, go here


I have gone on in length about how I hate having to go anywhere or see anybody. I don’t want people getting the idea that I think I’m better than anyone else, or that I am just a hate-filled cretin, looking to lash out at anything I deem unworthy. Sure, I am probably smarter than you, and yeah, I hate a bunch of things, but ... what was my point?
At any rate, I feel that since I am apparently going to keep writing these things that border dangerously close to being a manifesto, I might as well tell you about myself. My name is Harold. I’ve already told you about my cat, Diogenes, and how I hope that his name perplexes you and makes you feel inferior. Because you should. If you do manage to get it, don’t tell me, because that will just annoy me. Just because you get a labored joke about a guy that’s been dead for thousands of years doesn’t mean I’ll like you more. I’m not looking to form a tribe of disgust-filled pseudo intellectuals.
My mother always tries to get me to go take a class, or find people who share my interests, but why in God’s name would I ever do that? Sharing one common interest with another human being is what gets most people in trouble. We get our hearts broken, end up in hate groups, give power of attorney to con men, or end up in a cult when we mistake a common interest for love or trust or a place to fit in. We are all complex, and one shared interest doesn’t make two people soulmates. In fact, believing in soulmates is the quickest way to make sure we are never “soulmates.”
Yes, even idiots are complex in their idiocy. That’s why you can’t ever make them happy. Relationships, no matter what kind, all consist of a test with no right answers. We will never know the answers because we can’t ever know them. The people administering the test doesn’t even know the answers, that’s how messed up it is. Complex idiots are a thousand times worse than complex smart people, and there are a thousand times more of them.
These complex and convoluted morons bounce around our lives 24/7. They are in front of us in traffic, they are infesting our stores and restaurants, they are ordering the wrong parts and forgetting our dipping sauces at McDonalds, they are sharing fake news and voting Republican. All the while, their motives and comprehension skills are so convoluted and underdeveloped that they don’t stand a chance. And we are at their mercy.
Back to me. I am obviously angry, but I have come to terms with it. Anger can be a tool in the right hands, it can motivate you, it can inspire you to greatness, it can change the world. I have done none of that. I am angry, but nihilistic. I hunger for change, I yearn for world enlightenment, I crave nothing but better things for the planet and all its inhabitants. I expect none of it, and I am happy just to complain and point out all the failures and folly. I am not helping, but I don’t want to. I hate everything, remember?
I think that the human race has basically run its course. We could have been something. We did achieve some pretty stunning technological advances, but every advance mankind made was co-opted by power and money crazed corporations or governments, which are often the same thing, and used for evil rather than good.
The real problem with complex idiots, is that they bully and lie their way to positions of power, and other complex idiots worship or vote for them. Thus, you get kings and dictators, religious leaders and fascists, and of course, Republicans. No matter what you do, no matter what good you have in your heart, there will always be enough uninformed cretins brimming with self confidence to thwart your good intentions. You like to think that there are more of you than there are of them, but chances are that you’re one of them too. If not you, then a lot of the people on your side.
You see, like I was saying, if you base your tribe or relationships on one thing you have in common, you are already dead in the water. Just because people are labelled the same as you politically, they still might be idiots, and idiots are wild and unpredictable and easily swayed. Getting an idiot to your side is not that much of an accomplishment, because they can be convinced you’re wrong in an instant and join the opposition. They can end up hurting your side more than helping it.
There is probably no worse feeling in the world than when you find someone who agrees with you on some topic you deem important. You bond instantly, and that whole “soulmate” thing starts creeping into your head. You think you found a kindred spirit, a fellow traveler in this crazy, mixed up world. Then they open their mouth, and the most ridiculous nonsense spews forth and you look for the nearest exit. That’s why a tribe full of idiots is useless, unless you know how to control them. If you have any kind of conscience or morality, you will find that it’s impossible to corral and control idiots. You can really only do it through deception and brute force, which is why psychopaths are so good at it.
You can be an idiot and control other idiots too, as long as you have no moral compass. People mistake evil for genius all the time, but there are very few actual geniuses. Most of the time sheer audacity and a propensity for lying directly to people’s faces is confused for intelligence. That’s understandable though, because most of the people in awe of these average intelligence psychopaths are idiots themselves.
Notice I don’t call these idiots stupid. I don’t think that most idiots are stupid. Most people have average brains, but even an average brain is amazing and capable of great things. Most idiots have the ability to keep track of vast stores of knowledge. They can instantly quote you obscure sports statistics, movie and music trivia, or the names and attributes of all the pokemon characters. Idiots go to medical and law school and become doctors and lawyers. They are engineers and policemen and scientists, they are actors and musicians and artists. Many of them hold powerful and respected positions that require a fair amount of brainpower to achieve.
And many of them come out with the most idiotic statements you can imagine. They can be top of their field, yet lack self awareness. They can be human computers, yet have no common sense, and be swayed by the most inane arguments, as long as they appeal to a particular prejudice or fear. That is how idiots are best motivated, through fear and insecurity, and nothing makes an idiot feel afraid or inferior than something that’s different from them.
So that’s why you’ll never win. That’s why you are so frustrated on social media. Idiots are everywhere, and now they have a forum to spout their idiocy. And we all think that everyone else is the idiot, when in fact the chances are good that you’re just as big an idiot as the idiot you are railing at on Facebook.
Ah, Facebook. I know that these little essays are about how much I hate the outside world, but now, thanks to the internet, I don’t even have to leave my couch to experience the hell that is other people.
Nothing in the world gives you a sense of accomplishment like arguing with some jerk on social media, and nothing feels more hollow minutes later when you look back on it and realized you accomplished nothing at all. Even assuming you’re not an idiot, you are most likely arguing with one. What do you think will come of that? Yelling at an idiot and pointing out the fault in their logic simply makes them dig in their heels and throw more faulty logic at you. Memes and gifs and stories from fake news sites, all designed to put you in your place. When you point out to them that their “proof” is bogus, they will just resort to calling you names.
Eventually it will just devolve into insulting each other until someone brings up Hitler. There is even an internet adage about it. Godwin’s Law states that the longer an online discussion goes on, the more likely a comparison involving Hitler is bound to happen.
I want to point out that I know I usually make it a point to explain how you probably don’t even know about something like Godwin’s Law, and how I am so much smarter than you for being aware of it. I take any opportunity to rub your face in the fact that I know more than you, but alas, so many hipsters and social justice warriors and Bernie bros have ruined that for me. One of the ways corrupt complex idiots control regular complex idiots is to make them feel like they are being spoken down to by “liberal elitists.” Unfortunately, liberal complex idiots fall into this trap all the time by actually being douchebags who think that they are vastly superior simply because they heard of a particular internet meme, or took a course in sociology at their local community college for a semester before giving up and going to work at Starbucks.
It’s too easy for everyone to know things, so chances are that some idiot is going to have heard of something, whether they grasp the concept or not, and throw it in your face. It’s like years ago, when only a few upper class idiots had cell phones. They thought they were so special and unique, then soon every housewife and minimum wage worker had them, and it didn’t impress anyone anymore. So thanks to these barely woke imbeciles, I now have to be gracious and not flaunt my superiority over others, lest I look like some hipster doofus or dorm room leftist. I might be a douchebag myself, but at least I am self aware.
Whatever the cultural exposure of the adage though, it is true. Hitler comparisons inevitably pop up, and whoever makes them first claims what they believe to be the moral high ground. At that point, arguing with them is pointless, after all, you, or the cause or the person you represent, are now Hitler. Fascists even call anti-fascists Hitler, which boggles the mind. Logic doesn’t apply, though, and once you are labelled Hitler, you face your own eastern front and will most likely die there, cold and hungry, thanks to smug complex idiots who don’t even understand how debates and arguments work.
That’s why whenever I get involved in an internet fracas, I will now immediately call the other person Hitler and leave. If that’s going to be the end result, why not just cut to the chase? If the trump card is Hitler, why not play it first and foremost? Why engage in a war of attrition when you have a nuclear weapon?
The end result in all this is that it is pointless. Idiots arguing with other idiots is not changing anything. Complex as you might be, if you’re an idiot you’re probably not going to grasp any salient points the other idiot might luck upon making. The sad truth of the matter is that to harness the power of idiots, you need to coerce them with their own failings as people, and you can’t really do that one on one on social media. You need to do that with campaigns and slogans, and finely crafted subversive and subconscious appeals to their hatred and hypocrisy.
So I basically hate social media the same way I hate society in general. At first the internet seemed like it was going to open up a whole new world for the best and the brightest to find each other. It would be some vast utopia of free thinking enlightenment and shared ideas, exposing everyone to new and better ways of thinking. It wasn’t to be, and it quickly became a place for porn and buying consumer goods and cats hassing cheezburgers. Like I said, the world is full of complex idiots, and they quickly reduce everything to the lowest common denominator.
Which is why we now have a president who is a public embarrassment. I think that in the age of the complex idiot, there is no better symbol than this cruel and feeble excuse for a human being we have now. This is where we’ve been heading, since we first came down from the trees and managed to avoid being eaten until we harnessed technology to catapult us to the top of the food chain. We didn’t get there because we deserve it, we got there by sidestepping and leapfrogging and cheating our way. There are no shortcuts, so at this point we are simply psychotic apes, handling technology that has evolved a million times faster than we have.
But anyway, it’s not that I have a problem with the shopping aspect of the internet. I am grateful that I can now bypass the mall or superstore and buy things with no human interaction at all. I do this whenever I can, but alas, I have to leave the house on occasion to buy certain items. Mostly food. I know, there are services where you can have the grocery store pack up and delivery your order, but do you really think that I want idiots picking out my vegetables for me? Most people have no clue how to pick a perfect avocado, and there is nothing more depressing than getting an under ripe or overripe avocado. Besides, isn’t the store going to stick me with all the products that are about to reach their expiration date? I would; it just makes good business sense.
I also have to leave the house if I want to go to the movies. Most movies, I will simply wait for them to come to streaming or pay per view, but there are some movies that I feel the need to see on the big screen. And here you thought I wasn’t actually going to get beyond my front door in this edition!
I am a bit of a nerd, and I like big budget comic book movies. Or, I should like them. They are all horrible, ruining the characters or the point of the comic they are based on in the first place. Alas, if I don’t go see them as soon as they come out, I won’t be able to go on reddit and comment sections of pop culture sights and explain how everyone else should hate the movie too. I like other scifi and fantasy movies, and most of those are horrible also. Even if I like the original movie in a series, every sequel or reboot is garbage. If you are commenting on any of these movies and you’re not complaining about every aspect of them, you are missing the point of seeing them in the first place.
So at least I can buy my tickets and choose my seat online. That means the only interaction with theater employees I have is showing them my code on my phone screen and they tell me on which screen my particular movie is showing in. Not like it doesn’t tell me that on the ticket I bought, or on the led display outside the door of said screen. Thanks for the needless redundancy!
It’s not the kid taking the ticket’s fault. It’s the corporation that owns the theater. They pay a lot of money to people to figure out the best way to move along the complex idiots that flow through their doors and not make it look like they are herding them through like the idiots they are. Then they hire some more idiots, and train them how to talk to other idiots and get them to keep moving, and maybe spend more money in the process.
Ah, the movie concession stand. Popcorn and a soda that costs more than the movie itself. Popcorn and pasta are the biggest scams are far as prepared food goes. It costs next to nothing, yet the markup is insane. A plate of spaghetti costs pennies to make, yet it is right in line pricewise with every other thing on the menu. You could buy a trash bag full of popcorn for the price of a small bucket at the concession stand. A bottle of water will cost you five bucks in most cases. They have you hostage, though, and if you want something to eat while you watch the movie, that’s where you have to buy it. Some places even have a bar these days, and service right to your seats. This seems like it would be a nightmare. I can’t think of any situation that gets better when you add drunks to it.
Now, I could try to sneak food into the theater, or eat beforehand. I could just not eat at all, but I am American, so that’s not really an option. So I make my way to the food counter and ordered my edible garbage. These days, you can get much more than popcorn and candy. Nachos, pretzels, hot dogs and hamburgers, all kinds of things. I must admit, I go for the nachos rather than popcorn these days, because hey, I’m not fat enough.
Being angry and aware and cynical, I can understand the prevalence of conspiracy theories. (On a side note, conspiracy theories are the pinnacle of complex idiot behavior. Just stop it, already.) I get that personal information is the new currency, and nothing is free. I rarely give out my email or cell phone number, because I know the information will be sold off to anyone that wants it, and I will be inundated with spam. The theater has a VIP club, which gets you money off on tickets and food, and apparently the only thing you need to be considered a VIP is a cell phone number and email address. In a moment of weakness, I begrudgingly gave them this info at some point to save a dollar on popcorn and movie prices. Most idiots gladly give away all their information to save pennies, but even more of them give it away for stupid quizzes and games on Facebook.
There is a perfect example of a complex idiot. Otherwise intelligent people who give personal information away on a whim, and when you try to tell them that it’s a bad idea, they argue with you and ignore you. That’s where the complex part rears its ugly head again. The complex idiot doesn’t want to hear anything that goes against what they want to believe. Of course, how complex an idiot am I if I know all this, and still sell myself out to save a buck?
The people in line and milling around the concession stand are the worst. Kids and slow moving parents, morons on dates, morons with a girl who think they are on a date but are in for a rude awakening. All in my way, all trying to figure out what they want or how to operate the soda fountain. In an effort to save time and money, theaters nowadays give you a cup when you and expect you to fill it up yourself. Thanks to this innovation, you now have a backup at the dispenser. There is one spigot, and you have to choose between which of 20 different sodas you want to come out. This is pushing the limits of most idiots capabilities. While the powers that be have trained their employees to herd the idiots along, once all the money that can be gotten from them has been gotten, they are set free to wander aimlessly. Once idiots reach the end of the movable rope cattle chute, they are bewildered and frightened by freedom and choice. I plow my way through them.
So I get my discount nachos, fill my soda cup, and head to my seat. These days, theaters have assigned seating, and reclining chairs. It’s nice, but I can’t help thinking that it is yet another sign that we are in the end times. I think of the movie WALL-E, and how humans have become sentient creatures that live their lives from a recliner. Between our couches, our cars, and the theater seats, we are almost there. I sit down, and instantly regret my nacho choice. The box they come in is unwieldy, the little cup of cheese is infuriating small and too big at the same time, and when you take a bite the crunch is so loud. You are sure everyone is hearing you.
As with everything in life, the other people in the theater almost make it unbearable. Screaming children that shouldn’t even be seeing some of these movies, running up and down the aisle, while their oblivious parents do nothing. People talking, on their phones or to each other. Then there are the people who will ask you to switch seats, because they want to sit with their friends or family and they couldn’t get advance tickets next to each other. Because I end up going to movies by myself, people see me as the perfect opportunity to chase to another seat. They apologize in advance, which basically affirms that they are wrong to even do what they are about to do, and ask me to move down, or go to another row entirely.
How dare they? I paid for my seat, I chose it for its location, and now I’m expected to move because you couldn’t find the seating arrangement you wanted, but bought the tickets anyway. What kind of bullshit is that? Now here I was, faced with that situation. A father and his two kids, asking if I could move so his kids, who shouldn’t even be seeing the violent movie they are about to view, can sit together. I try to indicate that I really don’t want to move without saying it in so many words, but this complex idiot is just not getting it. It’s wrong to make me move, I shouldn’t have to do it, but what am I going to do? I have learned that when it comes to public opinion, kids and family trump the sad, angry loser in the minds of the idiots. Besides, even I have a soft spot for kids. They aren’t quite the idiots they will grow into. They are usually jerks, make no mistake, but they are simple and single minded, not yet burdened with the complexities that will drag them down one day and make their life aggravating and confusing. I can’t hold all the sins of the complex idiots against them.
So I called them Hitler, and left to go find my new seat.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Excerpts From A Ghost's Diary, Part 6




June 9, 2008
Hello diary, me again. Still drifting along, still trying to figure it all out. The more I see, the more complicated it all seems, to be honest. People have always confused and confounded me, and it’s no better now that I am dead.
As a ghost, I have the ability to be around people undetected. I can stand right next to them, in their most private moments, and just observe. I get to see all the things that people do when they think no one else can see or hear them. I watch them sing, and sometimes it's beautiful and sometimes it’s off key and jarring, but who cares? They seem so free and happy when they are singing.
I see them write all their dreams and feelings down, and then squirrel it away so no one can see. I see them act out scenes, I see them dance in an empty room. I see them try attempt to see if they are as flexible or coordinated as they used to be, and see bad cartwheels, and muscle cramps as yoga positions don’t work out anymore.
I see people creating things and trying out their talents and whims, and it is kind of inspiring. People are so much more than they let on to others. They have this whole hidden world inside them, and they would probably love to share it, but they just don’t have the nerve. If only they knew how alike and forgiving they all are, and if only I wasn’t a ghost and I could tell them.
At least know that the ghosts are enjoying it, and they think you’re great.


July 18, 2008
So one thing that never gets old is watching people fall down. Not in a way that they injure themselves, but just the inherit clumsiness we all have leftover from the transition to walking upright.
I see people stumble over nothing, try to do too much and get all tangled up, lose their footing on the ice, miss a step and go for a spill down the stairs. Honestly, it never gets old.
It strikes me how most people try to cover up their awkwardness. They pretend that they meant to do it, or jump up and hurry off and make like it never happened. People are so afraid to be human.
The really great thing is when the person that trips themselves up can laugh about it. There are few things as life affirming and joyous as people who can laugh at themselves. They are so comfortable in their own skin that they don’t get embarrassed about things that aren’t really that embarrassing in the first place. So you might as well laugh at yourself, and know that the ghosts are laughing with you.




September 6, 2008
One of the things you have time to do when you’re dead is go over all the decisions you made while you were alive, and second guess them. Not that you don’t spend most of your life doing the same thing, but when you’re dead, there’s no chance of going back and fixing them or making amends. When you’re alive, you can change course, you can repair the damage you’ve done. What you don’t want to do is spend your life caught in inaction, and throwing away the chance to control your own destiny, good or bad.
Eventually you just end up going in circles, and you get frozen. You lose trust in yourself, and you overthink even the simplest of choices. You get to the point where you are afraid to make a decision, so you sit there, like a mute statue until the moment passes you by.
As a ghost, I still get to make some decisions, but none of them really have much effect on me or the world around me. I can decide how I feel about something, but I can’t really talk to anyone about it. I can decide where I float or what I see, but it really doesn’t matter if I’m there or if I see it or not. I am completely ineffectual, and nothing I think really matters at all.
So if you are alive and reading this, make a decision, even if it might be the wrong one. Someday you will be just like me, impotent and drifting in the wind, lamenting the past, and making any decision will be of no consequence to anyone. Why be that now when you don’t have to be? You will have a whole eternity to curse the fact that you didn’t make a choice at all, and trust me, you will.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beyond My Front Door 2

 For part one, go here I’ve already explained to you how much I hate having to go to the grocery store. I mostly hate it because we all have to do it, so you are thrown hodge-podge into a bunch of people that you have nothing in common with and who wouldn’t be there themselves unless they had to be. Well, I hate work for pretty much the same reasons. Of course, there are plenty of people that by fortune(or misfortune) of wealth or disability don’t have to do either, but I’m not one of them. Not that I want a disability, even if it means never having to work again. At least, I don't think I do. Let me preface this by saying that I believe we are all trapped in a society whose rules have been made by the wealthy and powerful elite. We are told that we should be proud to work ourselves to death and thank God for the opportunity to make someone else rich in the process, and so on. But the purpose of this is not to sound like a dorm room communist railing against the system, I just want you to be aware that I am aware of it, for all the good it does. I’m past the point of hoping for a revolution, because they all tend to peter out, or the winners become just like the regime they replaced. I only have two modes: anger or apathy, and when it comes to politics and world events, apathy wins out more often than not. It is sad that today it seems like people are so self destructive that they are finding new and convoluted ways to be stupid and vote against their own best interests. The human race has a death wish, but like all things, they can’t even get something as simple as that right. Some people have a hard time getting up and out of bed when the alarm goes off in the morning. They lie there, staring at the ceiling, aghast that it is again time to get in the shower and prepare for another soul crushing day of labor. As with most things, I am much more advanced than that. I usually start dreading the next day of work as I am leaving work the day before. All night(or weekend, God forbid) before, my brain silently keeps track of the hours until I need to get up and go back to my place of employment. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, my brain is always ticking away the minutes, counting down until it’s time to go back to work, like some efficient and shitty doomsday clock. Work is a lot like high school. You had to go there, and you were stuck in a place with a limited selection of people to choose from for your friends. Not that you couldn’t luck out and find some people you would actually hang out with if you weren’t forced to do it, but mostly you just picked a few people that you could tolerate for whatever amount of time you were locked in a room with them. The other option was if you happened to fit in with some clique, the cooler the better. Fitting into an uncool clique was better than having no friends in some ways, but it also made for bullying on a wholesale level. Whereas a lone loser might disappear into the crowd and evade misery for a bit, the group of losers was easy picking. Either by picking off the lame and weak one by one, or driving the whole herd over a cliff or into a Canyon, like the indians did with buffalo. In case you’re too dense to figure it out by this narrative, I was not one of the cool kids. When you get older, you come to realize that the cool kids were very insecure and picked on the smart or unique kids because they were jealous or intimidated. At least that’s the version we nerds tell ourselves. I did know a couple of kids that were some of the real outcast weirdos, and they didn’t care at all. I envied them, because they wore their oddities like a badge, and they seemed so together and above it all. Now that I am older, I kind of have that mindset, and I realize that it doesn’t really make things a whole lot better, but it does keep most of the idiots away from you, so that’s a plus. They seem to resent you even more, and it is fun watching these morons try to get to you the way jerks did in high school and wonder why it isn’t working anymore. There is some satisfaction watching one of these cretins wander back to their hole like an ocelot with a faceful of porcupine quills. Yes, an ocelot, you bunch of Mutual Of Omaha's Wild Kingdom ignoring assholes. Maybe if you spent more time watching educational TV you would know what I’m talking about and our president wouldn’t be an ego-driven lout with subpar intelligence and the temperament of a five year old. The one thing that brings me comfort when it comes to most of the “winners” in high school is that high school was usually their peak, and now when they get home from work at the car lot or Denny’s, they wonder what happened and how it all went wrong. Not all of them came to such disappointing ends, and we’ll get back to those assholes in a bit. Like all things that involve leaving my house, driving is involved. Nothing is quite as infuriating as driving, which I have talked about before. I could swear that people are dispatched along my route, and as soon as one slow moving troglodyte turns off the road, another one pulls out up ahead to take their place. Like some horrible tag-team relay race where the object is to come in last. I don’t understand why anyone would drive below the posted speed limit. Drive as fast as is legally allowed, and faster if there are no cops around. It’s like extra strength pain relievers. Why would you ever want regular strength aspirin or whatever? “Hmm, I’m looking to get rid of most of my headache, but I still want some pain lingering there.” Whenever I’m behind someone driving extra slow on a secondary or back road, it always seems to be a Subaru. Unless it’s someone that can’t afford an actual Subaru, and is driving some stripped down, base model, cheapest available SUV, perhaps a KIA. Whatever it is, it will have a bike rack on the back, and a roof rack. I assume they are driving slow because they are scouting future sites to go trail riding, or kayaking, or mountain climbing, or spelunking. I am basing that solely on television ads for the aforementioned vehicles, where young hipsters in love, or young hipsters with families where the kids can’t watch TV or have gluten, or some slightly older hipster with a senior dog, is looking to explore the lost corners of America in their hipster car. Never mind that there are no lost corners left, and they aren’t discovering anything, and most of the time they are probably left with the feeling of “is that all there is?” as they trudge back to their car and curse the ad campaign that made them believe that they might find meaning in the woods somewhere. You’re not getting to Walden in a Subaru, my friend. Well, you can in fact get to Walden in a Subaru, but the thing that made it Thoreau’s Walden is long gone. I’m sure that the owners of these slow moving hunks of metal hardly get off their couch, and in fact only use their cars to go get fast food or crappy consumer goods. I base this mostly on the fact that many of them love to participate in 5k runs. They are 5k runs because that is shorter than a 5 mile run, which would probably kill most Americans. 5k is actually 3.1 miles, and it’s funny that the United States as a whole rejects the metric system entirely, except if it cuts two miles off of their run. “Run” is a misnomer also, as almost none of the participants are doing anything resembling running in the slightest. “5k wander” or “5k trudge” is more accurate. Personally, I am hoping that “5k death marches” become a thing, but like most of my dreams, I am not too optimistic. Yes, the road is full of idiots, and to illustrate my point I will explain the most annoying of all things driving. Allow me to set the scene for you. You are driving along, on the highway or perhaps a secondary road. You are coming up on a hill, or a slight bend in the road, but traffic is moving smoothly and all seems okay for a change. Suddenly, due to an elevation change or the aforementioned curve in the road, the sun is directly in your eyes. Now surely everyone is aware that we are on a planet, locked in a heliocentric orbit, which means that the sun is going to appear in the sky at some point or another. Alas, that is not the case, because everyone in front of you will slam on their brakes, and proceed very slowly, apparently completely forgetting about the existence of sun visors or sunglasses. Perhaps it is some evolutionary throwback to caveman days, when our primitive brain was in awe of the sun god that decided to appear in the sky for another day. So you have a whole line of cars, blocking the roadway while their dimwitted drivers flail their arms and squint into the sun. I really don’t understand this, because I wear sunglasses at all times if I am outdoors. Anything that keeps less light, and therefore less sight of the horrors of this world from entering my eyes, the better. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention bicycles in our driving discussion. The only thing worse than the SUV’s are bicycles. Somewhere along the way people got this crazy notion that pedestrians and bicycle riders have the right of way. The several ton weight difference begs to differ, but by all means, continue to ride down the center line like you own the road, or along a twisty backroad with no shoulder whatsoever. I especially love when there is a whole pack of cyclists, taking up the whole lane, with their aerodynamic helmets and freshly shaved arms and legs, like they are getting ready to compete in the Tour de France, but are most likely going to Starbucks to add back whatever calories they burned with some horrible coffee topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate, and an oversized muffin. Hey, they earned it! Okay, I’m done cataloging some of the suicide inducing obstacles involved in getting to work, and ready to delve into the suicide inducing obstacles actually encountered at work. Just walking into the building is soul crushing. I usually arrive with no time to spare, but on the rare occasion that I get there a few minutes early, I sit in my car and try to resist the urge to flee. It is an interesting matter of perspective that I think it’s ridiculous how employers will have time clocks and keep track of every minute you miss, yet I refuse to enter the building early and give them even one free minute of my life. Oh who cares? They’re wrong and that’s that. Like most people, I hate introspection that reveals that I might be even slightly wrong. So if I decide to actually go into the building … I will pause here and talk about the fact that there have been times that I’ve been on the way to work and turned around and went back home and called in sick. I haven’t yet done it once in the parking lot, but I’ve come close. Oddly enough, on a couple of occasions I have come in, sat down at my desk, then decide to go home, but those days I was actually sick. No, usually deciding to bag work after you’ve already left the house involves lots of complex calculations on just how many sick and/or personal days you have left, and what other things you might want to take off for in the future. If it’s been a particularly rough year already, you might be figuring out if you can deal without a day’s pay this week. More often than not, you wind up finding that you’ve arrived at the parking lot at work while you were lost in your intense thought process and now you just resign yourself to the fact that you’re here already and should just go in. So I enter the building and try to make it to my desk without being accosted by idiot coworkers. Like I said, it’s high school all over again as you are forced to be somewhere with people you did not choose to be around. And they all want to know how your night/weekend was since they last saw you, regardless of the fact that 99% of the time nothing of note happened in the least. Usually they are just asking you because they did some God-awful, mind-numbing activity that they want to tell you about, and they aren’t going to wait around for you to ask. So even as you are responding that nothing much happened and trying to extricate yourself from the situation, they launch into a story about how they went to see Rod Stewart or planted a garden, or God forbid, drove to the woods in their SUV. I already bought my coffee on the way to work, so I can bypass that whole congregation point in the breakroom entirely. Just what I want, over-caffeinated people, revved up and ready to talk to me about shit I could care less about. People sometimes wonder why so many will spend so much extra on coffee from Starbucks or wherever, and while some might need it for the drive in or the convenience, I think a lot of them are like me, willing to spend the extra money to save some of their sanity and miss out on more bonding moments with idiots. I’m sure there is some evolutionary comparison between neanderthals and modern humans and living on a hill as opposed to a flood plain here, but I am much too lazy to make it. Leave the neanderthals and their large brows to themselves around the coffee maker. 99.7% shared DNA does not a human make. Ask a chimp who clocks in at about 98.8% about it, and see what kind of a response you get. Once at my desk, I can get to work, or more importantly I can get to looking like I am working. A building full of employees, all pretending to be busy and put upon by the demands of their jobs. Meanwhile, echoes from coal miners and preteen factory workers through the ages scoff at our idea of a full work day. At the same time, the fetid spirits of ancient robber barons bemoan the eight hour workday, and the fact that modern man lives to collect his pension. Invariably, your superiors will descend on you to ensure that you are giving it all you can. They are basically performing their own charade of looking busy for their bosses, but they get to do it by belittling other people. Do you recall when I said to remember the “winners” from high school, and I would be getting back to those assholes? Well, most of the ones that didn’t flame out in their early 20’s became your boss. They are still douchebags, and now they think that they’ve been given some kind of referendum to act like it. They are encouraged to crack the whip, and use whatever means necessary to get those nerds and sad sacks to be productive. So once again, most people that were part of the faceless crowd in high school are again part of it in some horrible, cosmic joke. Forced to trudge to work everyday, only to remain under the yoke of oppression of lesser clods by people they recognize from their traumatic adolescent years. Some people adopt a shiny, happy veneer to help cope, and they fervently tell you that it’s not so bad and that’s how life goes and turn that frown upside down, but it is all a vain attempt to talk themselves into living a life that makes no sense to them, and to drown out the horrified voices in their heads that never agreed to this until they are dead enough inside to keep going. I could further go on to talk about how a whole branch of the pharmaceutical complex has gotten rich off of supplying drugs meant to make it possible for the population to sit in a cubicle and perform their repetitive tasks and get the job done. I could, but I don’t really care. I am not part of the herd, a member of the tribe, looking out for the rest. I am a lone outsider, scurrying along the fringe and scavenging my meals. I never wanted to belong to any club or group outside of Columbia House, and even then I feel I got ripped off in the end. The 12 albums for a penny seems too good to be true, but forget to send a couple of cards back declining the month’s selection and you soon fell behind for Tina Turner or Cher albums you never wanted. Yes, lumping yourself in with the crowd is like paying for horrible music you will never listen to. I care too much about myself to live like that. Even worse than the bosses or the break room or the incessant hum of fluorescent lights and your drab cubicle walls is the projects they assign you. Mostly because these projects involve interaction with coworkers, and not in the same manner where they tell you about some great new fast food place while on break. No, you will have to actually work with them, or depend on them for data or reports. It really drives home how much better you are at your job, or just breathing, when you have to team up with another human being. You think that you have seen the depths of stupidity, the lowest levels of common sense someone can possess and still manage to feed themselves, then you get saddled with a slack-jawed coworker and are astounded all over again. Even if you had high hopes for your project, even if you were determined to do a stellar job and show upper management what you are capable of, it will soon dissolve into a race to just get the bare minimum done so the nightmare can end. It turns out that most workers are deadweight. If you find that you seem to be getting more responsibilities, that bosses are using you as a go between with the cannon fodder that is the workforce, you are most likely reasonably intelligent and feel at least a vague commitment to your employers. Congratulations! Your life is about to become a whole lot worse! It is now easier for your boss just to assign everything to you rather than try to explain it to some uncaring moron and risk having it blow up in their face. You will watch as your workload increases and the other workers are exempted from doing anything complex or important. It is like evolution in reverse, and like most things in life, your better qualities are rewarded with more aggravation. So while everyone else leaves at five, laughing it up on the way to happy hour, you are stuck trying to complete some stupid thing that you know is probably not going to make any difference at all, but you still feel like you should do a good job because …. Well, you’re probably not sure of an exact reason. Usually just a dull needling from some strong work ethic drilled into you by your ancestors that basically marks you as a sap. Thanks, granddad! If you manage to make it through the morning, you get to go to lunch. Usually you can’t wait for lunch, but once you get to eat and head back to the office, you are even more miserable than before, not to mention sleepy. It was like a taste of freedom to make the afternoon worse. Speaking of making the afternoon worse, sometimes I occasionally stop at McDonald’s or some other fast food place if I’m in a hurry. I know what you’re thinking, if I’m so fucking smart, why am I eating garbage? Just because I’m smart doesn’t mean I want to live any longer than I have to. Please afford me the same luxury as you as far as killing myself by ingesting the same poison foodstuffs you partake in. Everyone always expects other people to be better than they are, which is just horrible and explains a lot about the human race. There are a million things I hate about fast food drive thrus, especially McDonald’s. First off, they have two screen ordering, and that only serves to mess up your order. I really don’t understand because usually whatever screen you are at displays the order of the people at the other ordering point. Then there are the people in line. They pull up to the speaker, and then scan the menu like they suddenly forgot what they sell at McDonald’s. It’s the same shit they always have, and if you pull into the drive thru without a clear idea what you want to eat, it should be legal to shoot you, assasination style and push your car out of line. Even after they order, people tend to leave huge gaps in between them and the other cars in line. People can’t pull up and place their orders, while these idiots sit in blissful ignorance of the world around them. If you want to see how self-absorbed people really are, go through the McDonald’s drive thru at lunch time. The thing that really bothers me most about the McDonald’s drive thru is the people working the windows. Most people I know complain about the disinterested teenage workers, that seem to care less about their job. That’s what I basically expect when I go to one of these places. What bothers me is that now you have middle aged or older people working there, because they can’t find a job in their chosen field because most of those jobs don’t exist in America anymore. The problem is, they still have that older person work mentality, and they are striving to do a really good job, so they are extra attentive, and go out of their way to be super pleasant. They talk constantly, they hang halfway out the window trying to put their all into a job that only requires about 10% of anyone’s actual output. They ask you how you are, they let you know your order will be right up, they announce the contents of the bag as they hand it to you, and they have to yell after you that “the straw is in the bag!” while you are driving the hell away from that nightmare scenario. It doesn’t bother me because they are exuberant and attentive, it bothers me that these poor people obviously have a great work ethic, and are trying their best, but they are stuck working in a job that they really shouldn’t have to work at by this point in their life. The country has let them down, the system is broken and the people that are supposed to be representing them are instead watching out for the rich and wealthy. At any rate, having them serve me crappy food from the window on the side of a building makes me sad and angry, and it should probably do the same for you. The only good thing about the afternoon is that most of the people in the building have just stopped trying. They are just ready for the day to end. They want to go home, because home seems so much better than here. Ironically, many of these same people feel the same way about work once they get home. They start to look at work as a reprieve from family life, and so the circle is complete. They spend their lives shuffling back and forth between one dull ache and another, not sure how their lives ended up this way. This is all blended together in one of the most wretched ideas ever conceived: Casual Friday. The intent is to make work seem fun, if your idea of fun is wearing slightly more comfortable clothes. I usually try to make the most out of it. One of my favorite shirts is a black t-shirt with white letters that simply says "misanthrope" on it. Sometimes people will ask me what it means and I'll just say "I hate you" and they seem taken aback, but they don't understand that I've simply answered their question. That makes me hate them more. I haven’t yet had the balls to wear this shirt to work, mostly because I think it will cause more trouble than it is worth. What I do wear is the loudest, most tasteless flowered shirts I can find, with cargo shorts and sandals. I look like something someone from a Jimmy Buffet concert puked up. I do it just to try to showcase the absurdity of it all, but oddly enough it has made me somehow more respected and well liked around the office. Instead of being a faceless part of the tribe, I am now becoming some sort of tribal leader, and that is not at all what I’m going for. People have started dressing like me, asking me if I'm a “Parrothead”, and inviting me to after work hangouts at TGI Friday or Ruby Tuesday and such. Like that is going to happen. These are people that I would never willingly hang out with. I really hate them all. Although, Jerry really wants me to go, and I know he’s been down since his wife left him. I kind of feel bad for him. And Mary in accounting has been sending me evites all week, she keeps telling me that she really wants to talk about some things and needs advice, and values my opinion. God knows, she could really use some life coaching. Her boyfriend is a lout, and her mother needs to stop meddling in her life. Oh my God! Why do I even care? I can’t stand any of them, I really can’t. Sigh. I wonder if they’ll let me into Applebees with my misanthrope shirt on?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Excerpt From A Ghost's Diary, Part 5


For part one, go here

For part two, go here

For part three, go here

For part four, go here

March 3, 2007
Spring is coming, I guess.  You don’t really feel the weather when you’re dead.  You get a sense of it from the what people are wearing and doing, but you never know for sure.  Like when it’s sunny and blue skies, but there’s still a wind blowing and chill in the air.  
You don’t get that weird sensation when you’re a spirit.  To you, that day must be warm, because it looks warm.  Then you suddenly notice that people are wearing jackets and long sleeves, and you realize that you’ve been fooled again.  You feel a little kinship with the folks you see in shorts or t-shirts, that didn’t check the weather before leaving the house, and just assumed, like you did, that it was warm out.  You see them shiver a little, and rub their arms, but they try to be nonchalant about it because they don’t want to draw attention to the fact that they messed up.
People worry about the silliest things.  Ghosts don’t care what you think of them, for the most part.  We are too wrapped up in our own misery, or we know you can’t see us anyway, so why bother?  So the world and it’s seasons go on for the living, and meanwhile, no matter how warm it may be, we spirits never lose this otherworldly chill that is our constant companion as we yearn to feel warm just one more time.


March 17, 2007
Today is St. Patrick’s Day.  Parades are everywhere, and most of the world seems drunk.  I guess people will use any excuse to unwind, and why shouldn’t they?  A lot of them overdo it on this day, though.  Then there is fighting, yelling, violence, and vomiting.  
Many things that start off as an opportunity for a good time often descend into chaos and regret.  I don’t know if it is because people have so much anger and resentment stored up inside and it all comes out the minute we let our guard down, or if we are all just bad drunks.  Maybe that’s the same thing.  I’m not even sure if St. Patrick’s Day is a holy day or just an excuse for a party.   
At any rate, Saint or not, I see an awful lot of people vomiting, and that’s unpleasant, even if you’re dead.


April 24, 2007
As a ghost, you really have nothing much to do but drift through the world and observe.  Perhaps that’s our punishment.  Or maybe it’s a reward, I can’t say.  Whatever it is, it surely gives you perspective.  
As you drift pass the population, you can’t help but notice how many of them are anxious and stressed out.  They are deep in thought if they are alone, brow furrowed, sighing heavily, muscles twitching with nervous tics.  If they are with others, many times they are acting the same way I just described when they are alone, oblivious to those that love them, who are looking on in quiet desperation, wishing they could help.  More likely, their loved ones are sitting across the table in the same state, furrowed brow and twitching along with them.  
Sometimes these agitated people are with friends discussing what is upsetting them, but it always seems to result in the same outcomes.  Either the other person listens dutifully, just waiting for them to finish so they can list their own problems.  Or the other person then offers their take on what’s going on, and the person with the worries thanks them and continues to worry and stress anyway.
Once you are dead though, you realize that a lot of the interactions with others over most of the things you tie yourself up in knots over doesn’t matter in the least.  Most of us just can’t help ourselves, we want drama and misery in our lives because it makes us feel like we matter and it gets us attention.  Not to say that no one has real problems of course, yet the fact remains that  we know the solutions to most of our dilemmas, but where is the fun in that? We must draw them out, poke at them over and over, examine them from every angle multiple times.
So we go on, fretting our lives away in a vain attempt to be noticed and told that it will all be alright, all the while surrounded by wisps of people that were once just like you, and now have no way of telling you what a waste of time and energy it was.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Excerpts From A Ghost's Diary Part 4


For part one, go here

For part two, go here

For part three, go here

September 27, 2006

Fall is underway.  I used to love this time of year when I was alive.  I loved to hear the leaves skitter across the road, and crunch under your feet.  Of course, now my footsteps don’t make a sound.  If you really want to feel useless and forgotten, try walking without ever making a noise, going unnoticed everywhere you go.  No one sees you when you enter a room, no one hears your laughter or sees you smile or grimace, or reacts to your moans of torment.  You are completely ineffectual to those around you.  Other ghosts notice, but as I have explained before, most of them are too wrapped up in their own little world, consumed by some past transgression or unfinished business to care about you and your problems.  So now you pass through the world, undetected by those that are too self absorbed with their own issues to care or those that don’t even know you are there.

September 28, 2006

It’s not even October, and there seems to be Halloween stuff everywhere.  I am even seeing Christmas paraphernalia appear.  What is it with the living that they are always rushing life along?  They never seem to appreciate where they are.  It’s like life is so boring that they can’t wait for some event in the future that they think will make it better, but when they arrive at that point they are already looking past it to the next thing.  Why do we look for fulfilment in things that haven’t happened yet, all the while ignoring where we are right now?  The only chance we have to manufacture happiness is in the moment we are occupying at the time.
I also like to laugh at the people I see loading their shopping carts with Halloween candy on sale this time of the year.  You are fooling no one, people.  If you are buying Halloween candy in September you are just going to go home and eat that candy yourself.  I don’t have to be a ghost to see that.
FYI: I can totally see that. Seriously, I pass through your walls and notice you on the couch, torn fun sized candy bar wrappers strewn all around you.  You know what?  Enjoy your candy.  Who cares what a ghost sees?  You are simply fulfilling that pledge you made to yourself as a small child, that when you got to be an adult you would buy all the candy you want and eat it all the time.  You are simply making your childhood dreams come true.

October 3, 2006

I talked about how I used to love this time of year.  Now though, it just serves to remind me that another year is coming to a close.  If you think time flew when you were living, wait until you’re dead.
Time is relentless. It doesn't stop for any reason. It doesn't care about you, if you're awake or asleep, experiencing unparalleled joy or crushing misery, dead or alive.  Time will steal everything from you when you’re not paying attention, and leave you far behind. True, time heals all wounds, but I’ve come to see that it is not that cut and dry.  Simply waiting for time to make everything better is not enough.  The  wounds that it heals will heal regardless of what you do with those minutes or hours, days or weeks.  You can just sit there and wait for the pain to become a dull ache, or you can get on with your life and help time with its work.  We use the time it takes to forget as an excuse to wallow and feel sorry for ourselves instead of putting the effort into making our own happiness and fixing the damage others have caused us.  All the while, time is slipping by you and somehow dragging you along with it at the same instance.  It is a tricky thing to achieve, but it does it effortlessly.
Time is going to keep ticking away, counting down the days of your life(and later, your afterlife) without flinching. The same trait that puts distance between the events of your life, that brings you closure to pain, or causes more torment and loneliness, is a constant byproduct of its never ending march towards nothing. Time has it’s endgame set on a point trillions of years in the future, and you mean nothing to it at all.  It is not your friend, but a thief, taking every precious moment away from you, even as they are happening.  Take it from someone that has nothing left but time.
By the time you experience any moment of joy, it is already gone, and fading memories are the only thing time leaves you in its wake.


Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Series Of Legal Correspondence With Squirrels

What follows is a record of the legal correspondence between me and the lawyers representing the squirrels that live in my yard.

Joseph Harkles
79 Clover Circle
Coopersville, PA 18064

March 18, 2016

Dear Mr. Harkles,

Let me start off by saying on behalf of my clients, the squirrels that live on and around your property located at the above address, that we are very grateful to you for providing us with copious amounts of nuts, seeds, and corn over these past few harsh winter months.  Without this sustenance, our clients would have had a much tougher time of it, scrounging for food and trying to remember where they buried things last summer.  Ah, summer, it was a heady time for my clients, spent mating, raising children and running around like crazy chasing other squirrels out of their territory.  Oddly enough, the same squirrels always seemed to be chasing the same other squirrels away everyday, but the purpose of this letter is not to discus the effectiveness of my clients territorial disputes.
To get right to the point, your constant supply of food placed on your second floor balcony has resulted in my client’s morbid obesity.  While they are not complaining about the morbid obesity itself, this condition has made it nearly impossible for them to make the trip across the yard, let alone climb the trees and wires to the balcony and get the food. 
It is for this reason that we must insist that you provide motorized scooters for my clients, as well as ramps and any other constructs to make the balcony and thus the food readily accessible. 
I have enclosed copies of the ADA guide, with special attention drawn to Title III: Public Accommodations.  I’ll think you’ll find you are legally responsible, not only for my client’s health issues, but to provide special accommodations to your residence in order to comply with federal law.

We await your swift response,

Jeffrey Abrams, esq
Dunham, Abrams, and Jones
Attorneys At Law
85 Cobblestone Ave.
Pinesville, PA 34550



Jeffrey Abrams, esq
Dunham, Abrams, and Jones
Attorneys At Law
85 Cobblestone Ave.
Pinesville, PA 34550

March 24, 2016

Dear Mr. Abrams,


I am dismayed that your clients would threaten me with legal action after I have provided them with so much free food for so many months.  I feel that it is the responsibility of the squirrels themselves to monitor their own food intake and weight gain, and eat accordingly. 
I am also upset that they did not just come to me with their concerns directly, and had to drag legal representation into this at great expense to both of us.  Of course I have noticed them chattering loudly outside my balcony door, so maybe they did try to address these issues and I just misinterpreted their behavior as a reaction to my cat, who likes to watch them with keen interest.
At any rate, I do not see that it is my responsibility to provide any sort of handicap access for your clients, as
  1. I do not see that obesity is listed as an official handicap. A quick perusal on the internet shows that most courts have rejected “general obesity” as a “disability”, without showing some direct underlying medical condition as the cause,
  2. While I am not a lawyer, I must question whether the ADA actually applies to squirrels
So let me close in saying that I see no reason for me to affect the changes you seek. 

Sincerely,

Joseph Harkles



Joseph Harkles
79 Clover Circle
Coopersville, PA 18064

March 30, 2016

Dear Mr. Harkles,

Despite what you claim in your letter, (which was not really very well written in a legal sense, trust me on that, I did go to law school), you could not be more wrong.  While it is true that some courts have rejected obesity as a disability, there are still many cases in the system right now challenging that interpretation. 
As to whether or not it applies to squirrels, do you really want to spend years of your life and untold sums of money being a litigant in the test case to see if that’s true?  My clients have deep pockets, thanks in part to you and the over abundance of seed and other food stuffs you have supplied them with. There was so much that they managed to sell a lot of it off to other animals in the neighborhood at a tidy profit.  Don’t worry though, they were much more responsible and made sure they never gave too much to any one chipmunk or possum, so there will be no legal cases brought against them. 
It is really up to you if you want to face fiscal ruin fighting this in court.  We are very good lawyers, and we know lots of tricky law stuff to drag this out for years and years. Really tricky, scary stuff, so just build the ramps and get them scooters already. 

Hopefully yours,

Jeffrey Abrams, esq
Dunham, Abrams, and Jones
Attorneys At Law
85 Cobblestone Ave.
Pinesville, PA 34550


Jeffrey Abrams, esq
Dunham, Abrams, and Jones
Attorneys At Law
85 Cobblestone Ave.
Pinesville, PA 34550

April 6, 2016

Dear Mr. Abrams,

I spoke to my lawyer about this matter, and the first thing he mentioned was that he had never heard of your law firm.  He advised me that I probably had nothing to worry about and that I was in no way obligated to provide your fat ass squirrel clients anything in the way of handicap access to my balcony or any other part of my property. 
I then took it upon myself to look up your address on Google Earth and found that it was the address for a Dunkin Donuts. I’m beginning to wonder if you are even a law firm at all.
Please inform your clients that I will not be acquiescing to any of their demands.

Sincerely,

Joseph Harkles


Joseph Harkles
79 Clover Circle
Coopersville, PA 18064

April 12, 2016

Dear Mr. Harkles,

Okay, look Joe.  We are trying to work with you, but you don’t seem to want to this matter resolved in any timely or cost effective manner.  We will be forced to file a lawsuit in the coming days if you do not agree to our demands.
We are a law firm, a very successful and litigious one.  What do you think, we’re just a bunch of squirrels that got a hold of a typewriter or something?  Haha, that’s ridiculous. Who would even think such a thing.  Certainly not us. 
We’re big, expensive lawyers, and we’re also very good at getting into birdfeeders. Not birdfeeders, ignore that last part.

Come on already, just build the ramps and give us scooters,

Jeffrey Abrams, esq
Dunham, Abrams, and Jones
Attorneys At Law
85 Cobblestone Ave.
Pinesville, PA 34550



Jeffrey Abrams, esq
Dunham, Abrams, and Jones
Attorneys At Law
85 Cobblestone Ave.
Pinesville, PA 34550

April 16, 2016

Dear Mr. Abrams,

I’m beginning to think that you are just squirrels with a typewriter.  As a matter of fact, I notice that there is a typewriter missing from my garage at this time.  I bet if I went out and searched the squirrel’s residence in the tree in my backyard I just might find it there.

Joe Harkles



Jeffrey Abrams, esq
Dunham, Abrams, and Jones
Attorneys At Law

April 25, 2016

Joe,

Really, you don’t want to do that.  Seriously, there’s no typewriter there.  Besides, I think you need a warrant or something for that.  How about just one ramp and one RC car from the hobby store and a bunch of batteries?  That’s not asking too much.

Please?

Jeff


Jeff,

I’m sorry, but I’m not about to spend any more money on your “clients”.  How about if I just put the food on the ground so you don’t have to climb the balcony?

Joe

Joe,

Really? On the ground?  With all the other vermin?  We got used to eating on the balcony, it seems so much more refined.  I mean my clients.  Oh, who are we kidding.  Of course we took your typewriter.  Just help a brother out.  It’s murder hauling our fat butts up trees and across wires to get up there. 

Jeff

P.S. I know I already admitted that I’m a squirrel, but my name is actually Jeff, so…


Jeff,

I’m sure you noticed that today I installed a rose trellis on the side of the house adjacent to the balcony.  Hopefully this will make it much easier for you to get up there.  I’m sorry I can’t do more, but I spend more money than I already should feeding the local wildlife. 

Respectfully,

Joe

Joe,

I guess that will have to do.  We really do need to lose some weight anyway, what with summer coming.  Hope we didn’t make you too nuts with all this.  Haha, get it? Nuts?  That’s some squirrel humor.  As a token of our thanks, we will try to resist chewing through your TV cable this year.  

Looking forward to seeing you on the balcony,

Jeff

P.S. Can we keep the typewriter?  We have some angry letters we want to write to some crows and starlings that have really been pissing us off.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Excerpt From A Ghost's Diary Part 3

Part one, go here

Part two, go here

August 12th, 2004
Hello diary.  My only constant it seems in a vague, shifting existence.  It’s summer now, and while I never much cared for the warm weather when I was alive, I do like seeing people enjoying the outdoors.  So alive, out in the light and the warmth of the sun.  Of course, I can’t feel the warmth of the sun anymore.  If I had known how cold the rest of eternity would be, I might have made more of the opportunities I had to get out and enjoy it.  People picture ghosts rattling around in old, deserted places, late at night and forlorn, but for the most part we are right there with you, at the beach, watching you play sports, laughing as you miss that three foot putt.  We surround you as you live out your lives in the light, and we try to live through you, but we can’t fool ourselves.  We will never feel the sun on our skin, we will never feel the touch of another living being.  We just coexist alongside you, and what you think is the breeze is simply our lonely sighs.

October 30th, 2004
Well, tomorrow is Halloween, so I guess everyone assumes it’s a big deal for us ghosts.  It really makes no difference, to be honest.  Most of the other things you associate with the holiday aren’t real.  No vampires, or zombies or werewolves and such.  As far as the ghosts go, I think we’ve already established that they are nothing like we imagine them in movies or books.  I don’t think I ever explained our appearance though.  We are often dressed in the clothes popular to the period we died in.  They change from time to time, did you know that?  I think our outward appearance(even though most of you never see it, we are very rarely visible to the living and much of what you think are ghosts are simply tricks of the light or your imagination) is based on how we saw ourselves when we were alive.  The clothes change slightly as our memory becomes fuzzy, but our appearance reflects how we saw ourselves in life.  That’s why so many ghosts look like hideous monsters.  We are an amalgamation of all of our insecurities and self love or hatred, and the result is rarely pleasing to look at.  Most of us still look the way we did in life, but many times all of our perceived flaws and faults are magnified through our own psyche and we present ourselves to the world as we truly saw ourselves.  Whenever one of us ghosts comes across a particularly attractive and normal looking ghost, we are all jealous and feel sad about the way we thought about ourselves when we were alive.  On Halloween, instead of being frightened by imaginary monsters, be frightened of the way you see yourself.  The you that exists in your mind’s eye is usually the scariest monster of all, and like most monsters, they don’t exist at all.  

March 17th, 2005

Hello diary!  I know it’s been quite awhile since I’ve written.  It’s not easy getting my thoughts together and jotted down.  As it is, I have to write this on foggy mirrors and in centuries old dust that accumulates far from other’s eyes.   I don’t even know if anyone is seeing this, and I don’t remember where I wrote the last part down.  Basically everything I’m doing here is pointless, but wasn’t most of the stuff I did while I was alive just as pointless?  We attach so much importance to so many trivial things while we are alive and we often make decisions while in the grip of fear and uncertainty that we seldom get it right.  The good news is that there are no right and wrong answers most of the time.  Some moves set us back a little, some push us ahead, and most of the time we end up going nowhere.  We just think we are because the scenery changes around us or we get swept along whether we’re ready or not. Being dead only lets you replay it all over in your mind again and again, but the time to make a decision is long past.  Sadly, it seems that the more time you have to think, the more jumbled your thoughts become.  That’s because there is no end game to examining and reexamining a problem or an idea.  If you are afraid of something, the more you think about it the more frightened you become.  If you are confused, the more you think the more confusing angles you will start seeing.  If there is a tiny bit of doubt in your mind about anything, thinking will only ever increase that doubt.  We are blessed with this amazing brain, capable of wondrous things, yet we only seem to use it to torture ourselves with worry and fear.  We all want to imagine immortality, to picture an afterlife that goes on for eternity because we can’t accept that our minds and our consciousness won’t live on.  Well, the good news is, it does. For all eternity, floating around wondering what might have been and realizing that all the time in the world does nothing to erase the fears and indecision you felt all your life.  The only difference is, when you’re dead it doesn’t really matter at all, mostly like it didn’t really matter when you were alive, and that fact only makes it worse.