Time To Get ILL

I feel like it’s time we talked about something very important. There’s no need for any of you to be uncomfortable. We’re all kind of, sort of, maybe, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head 32 degrees to the left; family, here. I feel like I have enough life experience and in the past 3 days I’ve done two Holiday meals with other members of my families, so, scoot in close to the computer and pay attention.

Do Not Do This.

I see your reaction. You’re all like “dude, I thought you were a panty waist, bleeding heart, half a commie liberal lefty whackadoo that likes the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. Shouldn’t you be promoting that?”

No.

Here’s why.

I don’t think you should spend your holidays talking to your family at all. The right thing to do is exchange pleasantries, smile, make sarcastic remarks, poke fun at your family with inside jokes and one liners that may go over each others heads, then find a comfortable seat and watch football or the least obnoxiously offensive Holiday movie selected by the least obnoxiously offensive relative and or friend. It they choose the overrated pap of It’s A Wonderful Life, talk them into Christmas Vacation or deal with football even if you’re not a sports fan but do not, under any circumstances, talk about healthcare, the new Iran nukes deal, or anything associated with intelligence, nuance and complicated thought.

Trust me.

Yesterday at one of my family’s Thanksgiving dinners (this year we have 3) my Aunt Madison (changed to protect her innocence and me against her lawsuit) asked me about my writing. That was nice. But she was the only one and that likely vaulted her ahead of several others for my favorite person I’m related. But no one I know shares my politics and if you’re reading me, it’s likely no one shares yours. So do not talk to your family about healthcare.

You know what I like about the holiday get-togethers? The fact that no one will discuss anything substantial with me, at all. The Holidays should be about food and gift cards and whoever is getting married, divorced, or knocked up. Sure, some of that flies in the demilitarized zone of healthcare.gov and the current insurance crisis, but smile, wave, and think of something banal to say, be kind, then stare at the television. This is what happy families do.

Let’s be clear. I support that commercial’s intent and design. But those are actors representing rare people who respect each others’ differences. They’re freaks. I like freaks. I’m a freak. But my family members are normal people. And they should have their six weeks of 1950s-like aura of drama-free existence and calorie pounding happiness. I support this 100 percent.

So, don’t talk to your family about healthcare. Shove your face into the middle of a pumpkin pie and let the tryptophan coma of turkey and whatever ham does to your nervous system, blind, deaf, and dumb you to what’s going on to the world.

It’s the Holidays. It’s Time To Get Ill.

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Get a jump start on your Holiday shopping:

Are you looking for something interesting and music driven to read? I have two for you. My books, The Ballad of Helene Troy, an underdog story about a female musician in New York City, and Soul To Body, about an ex-1990s guitar player trying to raise his teenage daughter after the death of his wife, her mother, are available, digitally, on Amazon.com for your kindles, and in paperback from Lulu.com

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21st Century Digital Boy

Like shouting drunks waving their arms in a crowded bar, the advertisements scream across my laptop screen. “Click here for a deal” and “sign up to buy this product” are the most common. My children squeal behind my sore shoulders,  with excitement about shopping. I feel like I’ve failed. This is the season for joy not commerce. That’s the lie I hold onto like an unraveling blanket.

November and December are a dark, mean monolith, imposing its evil will over people who can’t stop purchasing temporary highs.

What do I want for Christmas? I want what I already have. Uncle Waylon was right. The only two things that make life worth livin’ are guitars that tune good and firm feelin’ women. I have both and the latter love to shop.

I know I’m wrong, to most people who will skim this. It’s the times, the world spin around on, that dictate we buy things and collect others. But if you can’t take any of it with you when the final dusk refuses to give way to dawn, then the accumulation, the buying, the hording of stuff, is hollow.

Socks and underwear and cheap cologne have never seemed more special. I hope my kids get me all three, on sale.

****blogger’s note****

This is my 210 word response to Trifecta writing Challenge’s “Hollow” http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/

For Cyber Monday, I implore ya’ll to head to your favorite music purchasing site and help Billy Idol out. His unfairly maligned, not as bad as you think, five years ahead of its time, concept album, Cyberpunk is on sale for as low as $6. Get me a copy too, please. My anti-materialistic rant comes with a theme song and it’s not Uncle Waylon Jennings. Here’s something loud, serious, and punk….Bad Religion’s 21st Century Digital Boy…Ho Ho Ho

>Shimmer in the Sand

I ran away from home for the first and only time when I was 36 years old. It was Thanksgiving, and I didn’t feel thankful. I felt lost, resigned, and alone.

I packed two bags and wrote a goodbye letter. I left it on the kitchen counter of the house I rented from my family. I was hoping they would come by without calling, find the note, and thus allow me to have an excuse for leaving my life.

Two months earlier, I sat in a courtroom and watched who I was, die. When the judge rendered her verdict, I left that person and wandered aimlessly, disconnected, for weeks.

Thanksgiving came quickly and I accepted an offer from a longtime friend, to meet in Key West and do as Ernest Hemingway did when he resided there; drink.

The day I left, my friend called and said he couldn’t make the trip. The person I left in the courtroom would have unpacked his bags, felt sorry for his loneliness, and sulked until something ridiculous came along to distract him. The purgatoried me got in my car, and drove 13 hours.

I stopped at a gas station near the beach in Miami. While my car took fuel, I walked a hundred yards and stood in the middle of the shore and contemplated staying there or even going back home. I realized what those choices would be a metaphor of, so I kept going.

I made it to the Keys. The motel shanty I chose, for price, was pathetic looking. It was dingy and unkept. The screen door was broken. There was a grill outside on the tiniest patio you could imagine. The beach, though, was 30 feet away.

Two days later, Thanksgiving came. I grilled a steak medium rare, which was apropo for my zombie state. I ate while the waves rolled in and the sound calmed my anxiousness. By my third beer, I decided to walk the 30 feet and try the ocean water, despite the 55 degree temperature. Before I reached the tide, I noticed how warm the beach was, so I removed my shoes and socks. I sat down on the berm, and felt the texture of the tan grains. I had a beer in my left hand and I poured a tiny amount into the ground and then ran the pebbles over the wet spot. The symbolism made me smile for the first time in two months, perhaps much longer; I let go.

A little beer, a good steak, a cool breeze, and some warm sand changed me. I changed myself. I went home the next day and tore up that goodbye letter. I’ve never written another one.

I’ll never forget that Thanksgiving. I became thankful for who I was, and who I am.

*blogger’s note* – This is a writing exercise inspired by blogger friends at Sluiter Nation. The matriarch, Katie, has a writer’s blog, called The Red Dress Club – http://thereddressclub.blogspot.com/ I, nor my current wife, have a red dress, but I do have a sand memory. She asked me to write about it.

Today’s song is special to me. It was playing when and on the day this memory occurred. The “she” in the song is what I call my conscience, my morality, my essence. She spoke to me a lot that day. Here’s one of my favorite songs, Shimmer by Fuel…

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