“How do I figure out this mess that’s me?“

7♣

 

 

 
In 2004, I attached my laptop to my television using an “s” video cable; I attached my stereo to my laptop with a “y” adapter.

 

This had the internet and all my digital music running through both my stereo and my television (which I didn’t watch, really, beyond videos I’d acquired).

 

Every friend I had that saw it was blown away.

 

I was complimented by their reactions but did nothing more.

 

Imagine my crushing disappointment when – a decade later – I’m working for minimum wage in a Target selling Roku and “smart” televisions.

 

 

 

Also in 2004, I was playing D&D with friends whereupon – during a break – I mentioned a hugely successful television program could be low-fantasy so long as it:

 

1} Featured the unexpected deaths of protagonists.

 

2} Had the majority of its budget spent on costumes rather than effects since it’s atmosphere that keeps people engaged with such things.

 

Imagine my complete lack of surprise and utter sense of loss when Game of Thrones became a global phenomenon.

 

 

 

Three years ago I had the idea to start a video series called “The Dad You Never Had”; meant to aid the innumerable young men that would relate to the title more than words could express.

 

Imagine my self-criticism when I heard of “Dad, how do I…?” and its success.

 

 

 

This year, I split with the only woman I’d ever dated that kept the majority of promises she made me.

 

I did so in the hopes that we’d each be able to move in healthier, more positive directions.

 

Such has manifested for neither of us.

 

 

 

I recently took up gardening – in the midst of all of the chaos – to find purpose while acquiring a new skill.

 

Only to find everything dead and rotting despite my best efforts.

 

 

 

Increasingly, my friends have been calling me to bemoan the state of things.

 

I suppose with expectations I’d give them comforting encouragement.

 

My only response is:

 

Load your rifle.

 

It’s the only option now.

 

 

 

Every morning I make my bed.

 

Every day I focus on the few and little things within my control.

 

Every night I hear the black dog baying; calling forth my every error, misstep and failure.

 

An all too familiar cycle.

 

 

 

Ironically, I have myriad messages and memories that prove I’ve helped plenty of men move on to better places in life.

 

Lately, I find myself wishing—

 

I could be one of them.

 

7♣

16 Responses to ““How do I figure out this mess that’s me?“”

  1. I’ve found just putting one step forward towards goals every day to be helpful. Keep the big picture and goals in mind, but focus on the one step.

    On a spiritual note, where are you at? I’ve seen a lot of great mental and emotional advice, but you dance around the spiritual at times, though you’ve mentioned being raised Catholic. I think. I also think you’re in OKC? If so, I’d suggest trying to go back to your roots, only to the Latin mass at st damiens over there. Its a beautiful parish, and the Latin mass is good for… stirring the muddy pains of the soul that they might settle into the rock and stepping stone we need them to be.

    The priests there are solid. I’ve attended multiple times and thought of moving there.

    Just a thought

    • Chad,

      Focusing on the one step is exactly the right thing to do.

      It’s just tough when you see so many of them give the impression they lead nowhere.

      Regardless, you’re absolutely correct.

      As far as religion:

      You’re – again – correct.

      I wrote long ago:

      At the darkest moments, one either runs toward God or away from Him; no one stands still.

      I’m working on running toward, this time ’round (unlike last).

      Sincere thanks for your support and encouragement,

      A♠

      PS: I wrote this not as a “woe is me” but to show readers they’re not the only ones that go through dark times.

      Maybe it’s foolish of me, but – so long as it’s not habitual – I believe it to be useful.

      • I didn’t view it as a woe is me, but as someone having a drink with friends to let their friends know that its not all sunshine and roses, but not to be discouraged.

        Have to head to work. I’ll catch you later and say a prayer. Keep fighting and remember, dirt and blood on your hands means you’re still alive. Take care brother

    • Chad,

      “I didn’t view it as a woe is me, but as someone having a drink with friends to let their friends know that its not all sunshine and roses, but not to be discouraged.”

      That’s exactly how I meant it.

      Thank you – truly – for reading it thusly.

      It’s a gift to me that you’ve no idea how much I appreciate.

      “Have to head to work. I’ll catch you later and say a prayer. Keep fighting and remember, dirt and blood on your hands means you’re still alive. Take care brother”

      Absolutely.

      Take care of you and yours.

      And know I’m praying with you.

      (No need to reply to this; you’ve responsibilities and – believe me- you’ve already done your good deed for the day)

      God bless you and yours,

      A♠

    • Chad, good to see you. Hope you are doing well.

      Ace, if you want to ever reach out, you have my e-mail.

      We are all of us casualties of this terrible war. All of us trapped behind enemy lines, without any clear route to safety. We all have to hope and pray we choose the right path. There isn’t much else we can do- besides maybe offer advice and comfort to those others caught up in the fighting.

      • Donal,

        You’re absolutely correct.

        “There isn’t much else we can do- besides maybe offer advice and comfort to those others caught up in the fighting.”

        Sometimes that’s enough.

        Luckily for me—

        This is one of those times.

        God bless,

        A♠

  2. A♠,

    You are plugged into the Zeitgeist in a way few are. Your hunches proved correct, but somebody else ran with the concepts. I think these aren’t so much ‘ideas’ as ‘messages’. I can recall hearing people saying things I’ve thought to myself, verbatim, not long after I did.

    TL:DR; there’s an undercurrent you’re tuned into.

    Possibly you aren’t where you need to be anymore? If you haven’t put down roots where you’re living it may be time to do so, or start asking God about your next move.

    I’m living in the little town I graduated from HS in, and as long as I’ve been here I still don’t really ‘belong’. But this is where my family is so for now, I’m … here.

    GenX has been christened the ‘Nomad Generation’ by Strauss & Howe. Man, it’s not wrong. There’s a power shift coming.

    Now sure, that’s ‘big picture’. It doesn’t really ease the personal burden of the day-to-day. Believe me, I know. But we’re living in a society that is set up specifically for us to FAIL. To LOSE. To turn over everything good and decent to the worthless and not dare raise so much as a complaint.

    That isn’t going to be me, and it isn’t going to be you. I’m praying for you amigo. That damned black dog has sunk its teeth into me more than once too. New day coming.

    JD

    • JD,

      “That isn’t going to be me, and it isn’t going to be you. I’m praying for you amigo.”

      Without a doubt, your (offline) friendship has been one of the best things that’s come to me from my writing.

      Stay well and we’ll speak soon,

      A♠

  3. I never thought anyone else did this to themselves until Aurini wrote something like this a couple years ago. Now you have as well. I don’t know if you understand the impact your words can have on people even when it’s a quick column like this. Many nights’ sleep has been ruined by rehashing and replaying stuff in my head in the same fashion.

    I’m just a guy with similar tastes in music and trying to walk with Christ as much as possible. I ‘m free to gab as well if you use the email address attached.

    PS. One of the hardest parts about listening to others’ advice is finding someone you trust and respect enough to listen to. Those are tough to find.

    Hopefully the border opens shortly and we’ll get to share that bottle of bourbon.

    • Sean,

      “I don’t know if you understand the impact your words can have on people even when it’s a quick column like this.”

      To be perfectly honest:

      I doubt I do.

      But this comment of yours gives me an inkling that I did not have previously.

      “I’m just a guy with similar tastes in music and trying to walk with Christ as much as possible. I ‘m free to gab as well if you use the email address attached.”

      Much obliged.

      Truly.

      I tend to be very Olde School European and struggle on my lonesome but I may just drop a line when the sun doesn’t seem to shine brightly enough one day.

      Sincerest best,

      A♠

  4. thedeti Says:

    I haven’t been around much lately. But I do check this space for updates because it’s some of the best writing around.

    Ace, I’ve been to the dark places you’re talking about. At 51 years old, life still takes me there sometimes. I’ve considered ending it all as well.

    But there’s this inexplicable hope we humans have. As long as I’m still breathing, I have hope that things will get better. I have a chance to right wrongs. I have a chance to do it better this time. I have a chance to do something different. There is hope. As long as I do something. As long as I try.

    There’s hope. And Grace. And Mercy. And lovingkindness.

    Thanks for keeping on keeping on.

    • Deti,

      “I haven’t been around much lately. But I do check this space for updates because it’s some of the best writing around.”

      From you, that means a Hell of a lot to me.

      Thank you.

      Truly.

      “There is hope. As long as I do something. As long as I try.

      There’s hope. And Grace. And Mercy. And loving kindness.

      Thanks for keeping on keeping on.”

      Co-sign on all points.

      You’re quite welcome.

      And, as I’ve said before:

      It’s men like yourself that keep me going.

      Sincerest best,

      A♠

      • thedeti Says:

        Ace, I owe you a debt I can’t repay. I’ve learned a lot here. Iron sharpens iron, and you’re one of the best sharpening files I’ve ever seen.

        Thanks.

  5. Man, I can completely relate, really. Sounds eerily similar to my own situation (though, at 34, I have gone through less shit).

    I had an idea for a novel about a passenger plane crashing on a deserted island (a twist on the old “lone man washes up on shore” Robinson Crusoe-style stories) that would explore the dynamics of a group, give people the chance to be reborn and redefine themselves in a survival context… one year before the TV show “Lost” came out.

    I had another idea for a novel about one man onboard a long-haul “colony” space-transport carrying tens of thousands of people, waking up from stasis-sleep hundreds of years too early, being surrounded by people but utterly and completely alone, torn by the need for companionship and the knowledge that to wake anyone else up would be to condemn them to the same fate… a decade before the movie “Passengers” (some small comfort that that wasn’t wildly successful).

    I only relate those examples to illustrate that others have been there, to one extent or another, and it is maddening to have an idea first, and then see others profit from it (not merely in a monetary sense) long after you’ve given it up. Try not to get discouraged – if you had THOSE ideas, no doubt you will have (already have) others that are equally fecund.

    Perhaps now would be a good time to delve into some fiction writing? Or perhaps start a series of essays that you would write to benefit someone with the same problems as yourself – be your own guide, by writing to/for yourself, as if you were a reader of this blog. Just a suggestion.

    If you need to bounce ideas off someone, let me know. Happy to help if I can (it would not even put a dent in the debt I owe to you for all I’ve gleaned from this blog).

    • 5k40,

      “Happy to help if I can (it would not even put a dent in the debt I owe to you for all I’ve gleaned from this blog).”

      While you said quite a bit that I appreciate, it’s that line that helps keep me going most.

      All the best to you and yours,

      A♠

  6. Curry Rice Says:

    Hey Man,

    Hang in there. One day after another,it’s all it takes, one step after another.

    We all have and face the darkness, but there is also light, we just have to go through the darkness to get there.

    Thanks a lot for being there for us and I truly wish you better days ahead.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: