Thanks, Dad, for an incredible day.

Thanks, Dad, for an incredible day. More connected with you than I’ve felt in memory. Your stories that weaved from place to place—about which I sometimes ask, “what was the point?”—today, the sharing was the point. Maybe that’s always true.

 

Am I focusing on the present because I’m having intensive surgery on Monday?

Could be…

Possibly…

Probably.

 

Right now, I’m afraid. Not of death, but life:

  • What if improving my breathing isn’t miraculous?
  • What if I fail?
  • What if I die?

Death I can deal with. It’s failure that’s unacceptable.

 

I’m donating my tomorrow to high school kids. Teaching, mentoring, engrossed in giving.

 

When I could die at any moment, why do I write for companies I don’t care about? They’re stepping-stones?

  • “But Kid, the best stepping-stones are rock and their own right.”

 

I didn’t think about any of that today. Just talked with you, Dad. And I loved it.

If I die Monday, may my tombstone read,“Died doing what he loves.”

On Monday I go in for Jaw Surgery. If I die, I want my tombstone to read, “Died doing what he loves.[1]

I’ve never seen a footnote on a tombstone. Nor ellipses. I’m updating the medium. The joke makes it more palatable.

I joke because I’m afraid. I’m afraid because it’s frightening. I’ve never been closer to death than I will be on Monday.

I’ve always mused on death. I wrote my first auto-obituary at 13. The same way some people use the largesse of space to decrease their anxiety; I use death to accept depression. When I wake up late enough that I feel grumpy, the phrase “death and taxes” echoes in my mind. It reminds me of two crucial elements – timeliness and humor. One makes today matter and the other makes life worth living.

I’m spending tomorrow and Sunday advising a local high school youth group, and Saturday with my dad. If I die, let it be known I went out doing what I loved.

 

[1] Self improvement.

Okay, cocaine.

It’s Good to be Disliked, A Manifesto.

I probably don’t like you. You’re welcome.* (*: Not sarcastic.)

My fourth-grade classroom restricted its students to bringing identical Valentine’s Day cards for everyone or no cards at all. I found this a problem, as most of my classmates were bland blobs, while a vocal minority were… [people I didn’t like].

Only this year—at age 25—did I finally realize I can choose my friends. Four of my friendships ended this year, and I’m glad they did.

An ex ended our friendship—my first official ending—in July, followed by an old poker buddy in August. I ended one in October—my first initiation—and a different ex ended our friendship on Monday. Every one of these has been a wonderful change, with benefits extending far beyond free time.

It’s common knowledge—and I find it experientially true—that you “can’t please all the people all the time.” Apply that to relationships: Some people won’t like you. Turn that around: You won’t like some people. 

Ending a friendship is therefore an act of integrity. It forwards your values. It makes manifest your soul.

You prioritize your family. You care about your friends. Most people choose a partner to prefer over all others. Having preferences is Good. It’s the foundation of consciousness. 

All my friends have former, now-dead friendships. Most drift apart instead of going out with a bang, but both seem to happen surprisingly often. People grow and change. Friendships die. We can still love what was.

You can hate some people and everything they stand for. You can love with abandon those you prefer. You can express your soul. If someone doesn’t like you, good for them.

We used to make plans.

As a kid, I’d schedule a play date weeks in advance. These days, even when after confirming a reptile festival the day before, I still assume a 50-50 chance my friend bails. When he does, 8am day-of, I’m annoyed. I’m confused. How much is him and how much is changing culture?

I’m not here to tell you, “Something is lost.” It is, but that’s not the point. Instead, it’s simply that some things have changed:

  • We’ve lost certainty and confidence.
  • We’ve gained flexibility and opportunism.
  • We’ve lost reliability and comfort.
  • We’ve gained the more frequent upgrades.
  • We’ve lost security in friendships.
  • We’ve gained the freedom to follow our whims.

If people still lock down plans, I don’t know them. My friends might be outliers, or perhaps the Bay Area’s incessant climbing keeps everyone on the lookout for upgrades. Or maybe this experience is a worldwide phenomenon. Faster communication means more rapidly changing circumstances.

No matter the reason, I must adjust. It’s a tough lesson to learn. Negative punishment can easily become mis-associated. In this case, to self-blame:

  • “What did I do that made him cancel?”

or, worse,

  • “What’s wrong with me that made him cancel?”

I try not to see it in those ways. I try to see it as the new world order. I think that’s accurate, but I’m not sure. Are you? 

One, Two Pizzas

Why did you buy two pizza pies?

You’re only one man, and you have thighs

That will grow fatter

If you eat all that batter.


“They were deep dish,

Which makes me its bitch

When combined with the heaven

Of ‘second pie costs $7.'”


Well, that explains

Your stretched-tummy pains.

Now go and count sheep

You should be asleep.


“I would be! I would!

But it’s hard to be good.

After crunching all week,

I feel so… uh, weak.”


That I can see!

It’s going to be

A much-needed weekend

Spent with a friend.

When people ask “How are you feeling?”, I wish they wanted this sort of answer.

When people ask “How are you feeling?”, I wish they wanted this sort of answer:

I have this…

Deep, rich, weeping.

Eyes tight, throat… Tingling down my back and a dry mouth.

I shiver though I don’t move.

A cold breeze passes through my head.

A cold breath, a dry mouth, a buzz across the back; a tight lower back, furrowed brow.

 

Wide, blubbery second chin.  Dry mouth, fast breath.

Stab right shoulder, under scapula.

Stab throbs.

Furrowed Brow.

Stab sinks.

I’ll test this sometime: dropping in and describing my felt sensations in real time.

 

I’ll test it 6 times in different contexts (because I’ll only get comfortable after the first few experiments).