Archive for the Please…. Category

Frankentrump..

Posted in Drum Roll, Please...., The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/19/2017 by Angel D. Vargas

So. What happens tomorrow?

Whether or not you can accept that the Forty Fifth President of the United States is none other than Donald Trump, truth is, he’s set to be inaugurated tomorrow in what is sure to be both a momentous and contentious event in U.S. History.

If you’re having a hard time with this fact, that’s okay. I’m having a miserable time grappling with it myself. I fought with myself and my poor memory for years old passwords just to regain access to a blog I’ve not written in for more than a year in order to express that.

Than again, maybe that’s not good enough for some people. I’ve heard it all before. “If you really believed, you’d be out there in Washington for the Million Women’s march,” or I’ve heard “well then, you should have put your vote toward Bernie like all the other cool kids.” The best one I’ve heard yet is “man, our votes never counted anyway, fuck all this happy horse shit. Life goes on, bruh. Life goes on.”

Yes, life goes on, and so often, the best lies we’re told are rooted deeply in the truth. All of the things I mentioned hearing from people in the last paragraph are lies. But they are pretty good lies when you think about it. The power of hindsight lets us all suddenly don our wizard’s hats and wax like Albus fucking Dumbledore about our country’s future. But the reality of it all is that every last one of us is scared of losing something deeply important to us in the coming four years. LGBT rights, women’s reproductive rights, access to healthcare, racial equality, and so many other things seem to be up for grabs in this brave new world of uncertainty.

I once heard some advice from a respected writing mentor, and it’s something that I still keep in mind even when I’m blogging. “Your writing works best when you write what you know.” When I heard that bit of wisdom, I didn’t like it, especially as I was struggling to become a legitimate fiction writer. I still read and write fiction, but nobody can relate to a good piece of writing, fiction or otherwise, if they can’t find something that reminds them of their own lives and experiences. At least, that’s how I’ve experienced success in my own writing.

Funny thing about me is that I only know what I see, hear, and feel.

On January nineteenth, 2017, the night before Donald Trump’s inauguration, here is what I have come to know.

People are angry.

I know that because I can feel the tension in the air when I walk past the Apollo Theater in Harlem to get to work in the morning. I hear it in the words of the young black man who accuses me of not shaking his hand because someone who looks like me would “never shake the hand of a black man in a million fucking years.” I see it in the looks of disgust on other people’s faces when I go outside with my girlfriend dressed to kill, and people give us accusing glares. I know what they’re thinking because they’ve shouted it in my face, or whispered it in not too quiet voices to their friends. “He voted for Trump because he’s white.” or “Look at the handsome white man who don’t give a fuck about the black man.”

Would you prefer it I went out and protested? Can I stand next to a crowd of black people and proclaim that “black lives matter?” Because I know they do. I’ve always believed that, even if you can’t see that unless I pull out a knife like a “typical Puerto Rican,” or curse you out in the Spanish you didn’t think I could rattle off with such a Caribbean flair. Only an idiot would judge a book by its cover, but I beg your pardon if I want to dress a certain way, or walk down the street with my head held high because I finally like who the hell I am. Do you know what a struggle it has been for me to even get to that point in my life? Oh yeah, I forgot. You really don’t want to know that, do you?

You’d rather be right than be happy.

But let me share what else I’ve discovered in my own quest for the truth. I’ve been to at least one community meeting that begged the question of “what next?” I’ve signed numerous petitions, written letters to government officials, and plotted out what to do if I witness sexual or racial intimidation or violence on the street. But none of these things are going to change the fact that the Donald is taking office tomorrow. I made my voice heard in my own way. I have two weapons available to me in this fight now. My fists and my words. I can be lethal with both. Unfortunately, it may come to the point in this country where I can be arrested for using either one.

That sound okay to you? It doesn’t sound okay to me.

Here’s something else that doesn’t sound okay to me. Nuclear war.

You can pound the streets demanding rights for every American, legal or not, and none of that will matter when you see a mushroom cloud in the distance, and you begin to feel the heat as a great wall of super radiated air rushes toward you and you begin to shit your pants.

Are we okay with that? Has anyone else been thinking about this, dreaming about it and waking up in a cold sweat? Well I have. So don’t come to me with your judgmental bullshit because of the way I look or dress. I don’t give a damn about Donald Trump, but now I’m forced to hope that he changes his tune rather quickly when it comes to foreign policy because I don’t want to have a nuclear bacon sandwich for breakfast.

And before you ask, I loathe the idea of protesting. I’ve hated it since college, and I went to a liberal arts college quite known for protests. But that’s just not me. I don’t want to pound the pavement and shout until my voice is hoarse. I don’t want to get arrested either. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that my father is a retired law enforcement officer and I already know too much about that side of things.

And who am I kidding? I may not be a pacifist, but I’m fucking scared. I’ve heard enough rumors and seen enough evidence of the tension building in my own city that I can believe that things are about to go from bad to worse. The return of the subtle racist is already underway. I’m not about to ask my gay friends to get back in the closet to protect themselves, and you’re never going to get me to believe that the Donald “didn’t mean that shit” he said about Hispanics coming to this country and bringing their problems, or “not being the best their countries had to offer.” I bet that racist douchenozzle wouldn’t even know I was Hispanic until he read my name on a resume somewhere, or mistook me for a member of the press.

But there’s so much more to this man’s presence that affects me on an everyday level that I can’t even escape when I go home after work. Every night, my girlfriend and I end up talking about what might happen when Trump takes office. And every single time we speak of him, it’s in these harsh and bitter tones, like we created a doomed experiment in a science lab and set him loose upon the world like a fucking Frankenstein. Too bad we all know that Frankenstein hates fire.

Donald Trump can’t even handle a twitter account. How strong could he really be?

That’s just what I know. If I wanted to write another book, I could start writing about the shit I don’t know. But I’m already writing a book of fiction that I’m pretending has nothing to do with what I truly know. Look for it one day. You’ll know it when you read it, I think. And even if you don’t, I hope you like it.

Young Frankenstein – Puttin’ on the Ritz

 

 

The Dichotomy of Life ..

Posted in Please...., The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/28/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

This post is fun, but it is NOT suitable for kids..or even for most old people. You have been warned! Don’t come crying to me if you’re easily offended.

Now, on with the show!

I feel like an old warrior who belongs on a tribunal. I sit and I listen calmly to the debates of others. Sometimes I am called upon to settle disputes. Other times, I grow weary of the circular debates around me that can quickly become full-blown arguments.

I don’t always want to feel as though I must tread in a burning building, particularly if my friends are in the same edifice.

I’m someone who has carried the burden of being the listener in my own family. I was the one to whom many would turn when they needed to get something off of their chests. I have heard things, much of which I should not have. I worked in mental health for many years as a counselor of some sort.

While I enjoy listening to others, I like to hear myself as well. Heheh. go on..laugh ūüėČ

What I’ve been reminding myself of these last few days is that there are at least two sides to everything that comes to me in my life.

Political discourse is a very good example of this.

We can talk about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado in many lights, for instance. There are those who would entertain the notion that the killer is indeed mentally ill. It’s admittedly difficult to believe that the footage of him wearing an orange wig in court epitomizes mental stability. Yet there are those of us who wonder if race and ethnicity have some part to play in the perception of him as a mentally ill person who “lost control.” It would be all too easy to believe that if he were a black man, he would have been dismissed as a thug, and perhaps even shot dead at the scene by police. I can’t relive the footage of the Rodney King incident in my brain and not wonder if this is true.

And yes, I think O.J. was guilty. Sue me.

But in yet another light, because of our “War on Terror,” what if the gunman had been of Middle Eastern descent? Would we be viewing him as a terrorist with potential ties to Al Qaeda? Would we be demanding to see his birth certificate?

Would his middle name have suddenly become “Hussein?”

When I think of these possibilities, they all make me shudder for different reasons, not the least of which includes our utter intolerance as a nation.

I want to see the good that can come from things like this. Much like so many others, I wanted Christian Bale to visit with the living victims of the Aurora shootings. For once, I got what I wanted. For once, Batman really wasn’t the hero of this piece.

I’ve come to the realization this week that books are also very strange.

When I was a child, I was taught to revere the book as a source of information, inspiration, and pure joy. The fundamentals of reading became the foundation for much of what I do today. Even when I began to work at the local Barnes and Noble, I came to the job with the notion that many of the books I touched might be written by authors whose name I’d seen in print. There’s something fascinating about that, especially considering that I stalk so many of these writers on Twitter and Facebook ;).

But then there’s the book called Hip snips.

This book, written by one Pablo Mitchell is officially called Hip Snips – Your Complete Guide to Dazzling Pubic Hair.¬† In case you’re wondering what this book really is about, I cracked it open and took a look at some of the chapters. The gist of the book is this: Men and women, gay or straight, can impress their lovers with the way that they physically style and arrange their pubic hair.

I had to stop and think about this for a few seconds before I realized that this does, in fact, occur in our culture. Would women be able to name the Brazilian bikini wax without batting an eyelash if they weren’t essentially giving their pubic hair a makeover?

However, I have never heard of men styling their pubes. If that’s a subject that was ever touched on in my childhood, I guess I was absent for that particular class.

Granted this is a short book, I got the notion that all the author was going to talk about was two or three different kinds of styles for men and for women, their origins, and the nature of their use in cinema (aka – the porn industry).

This book surprised the hell out of me.

First of all, there are at least 30 chapters, all together spanning about 110 pages of pure literary genius. The beginning of each chapter provides the name and a pink and black illustration of the style. The names of the styles, drew my attention. Tell me something, what comes to YOUR mind when you think of names like “The Bea Author, The Chewbacca, The Donald Trump,” or “The Shatner?” Do you want to know what the names of these styles actually resemble? Umm .. massive comb overs and speech impediments are attractive somehow .. down there? Oh wait a minute. Does my penis suddenly have a television show where he gets to point at unsuspecting other penises and fire them in the most obnoxious way possible?

Ahem. What the fuck is going here?

If you want more titles that will bake your noodle, so to speak, have a look see at the index at this link. If nothing else, it will put a smile on your face.

You will NOT believe this. And this book is published by Random House. Fitting, isn’t it?

Secondly, I want you all to read the introduction and the blurbs to this book and ask yourself one thing. How much free fucking time do you have on your hands? Wasn’t it bad enough when the rage back in the day was to check your stool to see what came out of the other side because you were eating a high fiber diet?

Now I’m not going to sit here and say that people DON’T pay attention, to some degree, to how their genitals look to their lovers. I personally won’t lie to you and say that I never wondered if size really did matter to the average woman. But this book has actually found ways to accentuate the length and the girth of a man’s penis based on how much hair he has in his nether regions and how he’s arranged it. Are we really going to go there? Does a woman have to look at her man’s penis and attempt to identify which style he used to make it look more attractive? Does she have to be afraid to muss his hair down there if she’s busy giving him a blowjob? What the fuck? Does she have to wonder if he used hairspray or teased it with a comb? Is she about to ingest Vidal Sassoon or Cool Water?

Whatever happened to the days where it was simply a good idea to be hygienic? It’s a great idea to wash yourself. to check yourself for lumps and unnatural formations. Ladies, I will attest strongly the notion that prior to cunnilingus, you want to be clean or your man WILL gag or throw up on you, and this, of course, would constitute the most embarrassing of rejections.

But how far should we be going with this? Do you want to nullify the effect of pheremones? That’s a natural, biological method of attracting mates, whether we want to admit it or not. Sometimes the smell of a woman is the ultimate turn on for me, plain and simple. Do I know why this is so? Not really. But I don’t question it. A woman who has chosen to douche, to snip her hair up into something that looks like a lightning bolt, or to cover up her natural smell with way too many man-made chemicals will probably find me unwilling to do much in the bedroom. I don’t want to smell vinegar and to count the prongs on the antlers that she decided would look cool on her vagina.

If there was anything that this book taught me about the nature of life is that there are two or more sides to everything with which the universe presents me. There is always something to be learned from the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to bed. But I guess I have to remember something else too.

Nobody promised me a fucking rose garden .. anywhere.

To Be Informed ..

Posted in Drum Roll, Please...., The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/12/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

“One sticks to an opinion because he prides himself on having come to it on his own, and another because he has taken great pains to learn it and is proud to have grasped it: and so both do so out of vanity.” – Friedrich Neitzsche

This recording is more than 12 minutes long. It is an opinion piece. It has strong language unsuitable for small children. Enjoy!

I have an opinion to offer here about the welfare system. Let me start this piece by saying this. I can already tell that this will piss people off.

Before any of you continue to either read this or listen to it as it is recited in my dulcet tones, remember this. Everyone has the right to their own opinions. I will always welcome the honest discourse that can come from controversial issues. Emotions are likely to come into the mix. I have to accept that, as does everyone else.

But the one thing that I do NOT have to accept is that your version of events is the only one that matters. Aside from the fact that it isn’t true, the very idea that you can force your opinions down my throat is the epitome of rudeness. So do yourself a favor and don’t bring that assumption to any discussion that follows from this post. All I’m going to do is ignore you. I haven’t the time or the energy for your misplaced anger or your unproven rhetoric and propaganda.

That being said, I’ve got a bone to pick about a recent post on facebook.

This is an opinion I made the mistake of reposting on Facebook. But make no mistake. I can only say I agree with what I believe the sentiment behind the post is ..

This is the post. Link to it if you want to, but you’re going to have a reaction.

A bunch of users on Facebook did. I shouldn’t have been surprised seeing as it’s such a controversial issue.

But there were a couple of ways that this discussion could have gone. I am not happy with the direction that was chosen. Many words were exchanged. Many opinions were given. I’m going to be honest here and say that I don’t believe that any of the opinions, including mine, were completely informed.

Let me say that again for those who didn’t catch it the first time. None of the opinions that were offered, INCLUDING MY OWN were completely informed.

But allow me to give you my initial impression of the words in this post.

We are talking about the issue of drug testing for welfare recipients. The idea now exists that welfare recipients will need to be tested for the use of illegal substances in order to receive government assistance. The people who read and reposted this on facebook may have had any number of reasons for doing so. The only thing that I can tell you that they all had in common is that they supported the notion of doing it in all fifty states.

I reposted it. it sits on my timeline today. And guess what? I am NOT taking it down.

Perhaps I’ve drawn a line in the sand over this because of the discussion that followed. I’m not even sure that I can call it a discussion. I’m not going to say that the things that I expressed as part of the plethora of commentary were based on more than raw emotion and experience. But what I will say is that I am extremely sad that someone felt the need to question my friendship with them over the issue. A statement was made that anyone who reposted the post should just “unfriend” the person.

I refuse to do it.

To have a friendship be put at risk over an argument in which we can easily chose to agree to disagree doesn’t seem right to me. Perhaps emotions were running extremely high. I can attest to feeling more and more anger as I kept having to defend my own position in this matter. But this person laid their cards on the table for everyone to read.

I think it’s my turn to show my hand.

I will not lose a friend over an issue about which nobody has a complete understanding.

I was given so called “facts” about this issue that were based on some study in Florida. In my opinion, the results of studies that are simply spewed in the media are of no interest to me. There are two reasons for this. One of them is that I took behavioral statistics in college, and if there is one thing that has stuck with since I finished that class, it is that the data and results from such studies can be skewed according to the agendas of whomever presents the information or funds the studies in the first place. The sources of information matter here. Of course, any of you can fire back on this issue and wonder where I got the information to inform my opinions. Do yourselves a favor and take a course in behavioral statistics, or statistics of any kind before you choose to engage me in this issue. Form your own opinions after you’ve had to DO your own group research. Go ahead and formulate a hypothesis, gather the information, crunch the numbers, obtain a P-value, and then try to interpret the meaning of the p value in the most scientifically objective way possible. You may come to the same conclusion that I did.

The data are too easy to manipulate to fit your own mood.

A number is supposed to be a static value by its normal definition. But the means by which a P value is calculated vary slightly depending on how the data is gathered, how many test subjects there are, etc. If any of you have taken multi variate math, you are well aware that the math can become complicated fast. The more variables need to be accounted for in an experiment, the more complex the methods for gathering the data become. Results need to be interpreted in as objective a way as possible. But here’s the catch. Even after you gather the data, crunch the numbers and try to present your case, you’ve got to remember who funded the study, don’t you? Drug companies are notorious for making sure that the results of their studies are presented as though they are irrefutable proof of success. As far as I know, the way ensure that results of an experiment are sound is repetition. Simply put, the same exact experiment must be performed by different scientists who are exploring the same hypothesis.

Now, knowing the variability of the human condition, how easy do you all believe this is?

Forgive me, therefore, if I scoff at the notion that your certainty about the national effectiveness of such a policy can come from a single study from a single¬†state. You can’ t tell me that the results from one study in Florida would be the same as they would be in New York, In New Jersey, Minnesota, or any other state in the union.¬† I would want to see the P values that were obtained, know the number of subjects who were included in the study, and I would simply want to know if the experiment was one that could be repeated. In other words, if this policy hasn’t been implemented in other states yet, you have no basis for knowing that it would not¬†work in the rest of the country.¬† Therefore, you may need to reassess your assumption that it would be a national failure.

But in the end, this is part of my opinion.

The SECOND part of my problem with the Florida study has to do with personal experience. Simply put, I’ve been though much when it comes to government assistance programs, unemployment, partial employment, and the notion of welfare applicants who are willing to cheat the system. For those of you who mentioned it, you may be absolutely right to believe that the government has wasted far too much money, and that fat cat corporate asshats have abused the system to the tune of billions more dollars. What they’ve done is so far beyond my scope of experience that I can’t even begin to fathom the assbeating that I would give one of them if they were to show their snotty little faces in my direction.

But that will never happen, folks.

The truth is, as someone that has ALSO had to navigate the murky, shark infested waters of poverty in this country for nearly a decade, I have no sympathy for those who would chose to cheat the welfare system so callously when there are so many other poor, struggling individuals (including ex convicts) who are trying their damndest to make an honest living. What do we tell the ex convict who gets out of prison about the meaning of honesty when we can’t guarantee some sort of regulation of illegal drug use among welfare recipients? I’ve seen way too many assholes stroll through the Fred Meyer at which I used to work during the first of the month to get their hands on alcohol using their food stamps and SNAP cards. That’s just for LEGAL drugs! I’ve seen too many others who use the money to buy and sell drugs. I’ve worked with too many mental health patients in my time who are busy bucking the system to give a good God DAMN what some study in Florida says.

I’ve also had to accept government assistance while being both unemployed and partially employed. For those who don’t know, let me enlighten you. At least in Oregon, the system¬† doesn’t encourage you to work as hard as you might think. You will have to be careful who you talk to, you must keep careful records, and you are held under the thumb of some serious number crunching as you try to match the hours that you work (if you’re lucky enough to have a part time job) with the funds that the government will give you to you to help meet your weekly or monthly expenses. If you work past a set amount of hours, you will be cut off from government aid. Believe me, when someone like me wakes up in the morning as has to ask myself what the fucking point of working is, the system really IS broken.

I’ve lived with and seen these things for myself, and it has made me furious beyond belief. So yes, I am admitting right now that my opinion is based on emotion and experience.

But that’s what an opinion, is, isn’t it?

I think the real reason this may be getting under my skin is because it takes me back to my days at Macalester College where I was continually called out for my not wanting take place in campus wide protests regarding things like the World Trade Organization, global warming, recycling, and other such talk. There was even one protest that got confrontational when students organized a takeover of one of the campus buildings and essentially refused to allow the normal functioning of the administration if it could be helped.

My reaction to these events is the same as it was when people took over Wall Street in my own city. What the fuck do you know about any  of it? For that matter, what do I know about any  of it?

I literally asked ten students who were protesting the WTO all those years ago on campus. I desperately wanted to understand the furrowed brows, the rasied voices, the gritted teeth. I don’t even remember what the protest was about. Perhaps that’s because none¬† of the students I asked could give me a cogent explanation for their actions. They simply jumped on the bandwagon, but in the other direction. Neither bandwagon gets you anywhere, so why spew rhetoric and propaganda for either side?

How do these events affect you as an individual?

Anyone can tell me where they were during September the eleventh 2001. The event clearly had a pronounced affect on the American populous. But can anyone tell me why it happened? Can anyone please enlighten me as to why 3000 people had to die in front of my eyes that day? The answer is a resounding no, and we all know it!

Were any of the protestors on Wall Street bringing attention to an issue?¬† Of course they were. But they were also annoying the hell out of potential employers, many of whom I’d applied to work with. And I’m sorry to say it, but it seems to me that some of the ones who protest the loudest over certain issues are the ones who have the time and the resources to do it without real consequences. While you all were sitting and doing various things on Wall street, I was busy looking for a fucking job. That was my reality then, and this is my reality now.

This entire facebook discussion reached its peak during my lunch break from the only job I was able to land in fourteen months.

Please don’t tell me what to think. You will not like my response.

Too Many Goodbyes …

Posted in Please...., The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/22/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

We have to wonder about where life takes us.

Those of us who have had dreams shut down or otherwise denied in our lives will know the pain of losing a part of our souls.

But the question I have to pose to all of you in internet land is this: Is this loss permanent?

Does the loss of our dreams need to leave permanent scars on our hearts?  All these scars can do is scab over.  Some fester if they are repeatedly opened.  Most of us understand how emotional scars can be revisited in the presence of certain people.

I just want to know at what point I will hold myself sacred.  I desire to treat myself the way I would want to be treated.

I know what I’ve been posting lately has had a very personal nature. But that’s the path that my writing always takes. ¬†If anyone were to ask me what inspires my blog posts, I don’t know that I could give a simple answer. ¬†Life sort of does. The pains and pleasures of living can lend themselves to some of my most powerful and heartfelt words. But whether or not I wish to accept it, blogging is writing.

I am writing right now. That does lend me some measure of happiness.

While it’s true that my dream is to write, the bigger picture for me is that I want to live my life well. ¬†I want to be able to recognize opportunities when they strike.

My goal in life is to view the world from within a state of grace.

Life has presented me with yet another challenge today. I will need to meet this goal faster than I ever intended.  I will need the force shield of my grace to help me fathom what I just heard and saw.

It is said that alcoholism is a disease.  It is said that people are the victims of alcoholism.  The DSM IV offers this array of symptoms as a way means of diagnosis:

maladaptive alcohol use with clinically significant impairment as manifested by at least three of the following within any one-year period: tolerance; withdrawal; taken in greater amounts or over longer time course than intended; desire or unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control use; great deal of time spent obtaining, using, or recovering from use; social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced; continued use despite knowledge of physical or psychological sequelae.

But as a mental health worker, I’ve worked with alcoholics. ¬†As an adult, I have had to watch several people I know succumb to “the disease.”¬†I cannot sit here and pretend that I don’t know what alcoholism does to families, to friends, to loved ones.

Someone very close to me is an alcoholic.

The painful part of this discovery is that it’s taken me nearly two decades to fathom what this has meant for my own family; to understand what the effects of this disease have been. ¬†It has rippled into the hearts and souls of everyone around this person. ¬†She has alienated me and everyone that has ever been close to her as a result.

She is slowly destroying her marriage.  She has abused people in more ways than I care to admit. She continues to wreck her own life and blame it on the rest of the world.

I will not lie.  I feel a great swell of pity for the woman, but I cannot love a ghost. She has chosen to remove herself from this world and to live in a reality induced by the head-spinning, caleidoscopic effects of her drinking.

Did you read what I just wrote? ¬†It’s my ultimate understanding of this so called disease. Somewhere in the pathology of this disease, there is always a fucking choice involved.

I’ve learned that there are moments of clarity that shine through for most alcoholics. It is in these moments that some claim that the light of god may shine through the clouds, or the spark of pain may shoot through their hearts. I really do understand the nature of addiction. I quit smoking years back, only to take it up again two years ago when I broke up with my ex. That kind of thing happens. People fall off the wagon.

But I don’t recall beating a child into near unconsciousness because of cigarettes.

And I don’t recollect any time when I decided to alienate my lovers because they would not wake in the dead of night to purchase a pack of smokes for me. If it was really a concern for me, I would have simply smoked less per day to stretch the cigs.

College living taught me that much.

I don’t even know where I’m going with this post anymore, so I’ll leave you all with this.

I hate having to say goodbye to this person over and over again, so I don’t think I’m going to waste my breath. ¬†I’m going to try to live the rest of my life. ¬†That’s all that’s left for me to do in this case. ¬†I don’t have it in me to be a rescuer, especially for someone who does not seek to be rescued.

I have learned a harsh lesson tonight.  Life is replete with those.  Fortunately, I have started work within the last three days.  It distracts me from all this, and like my writing, it is a step in the right direction.

Things can only look up from here.

Goodnight everyone.

Just a word…..

Posted in Drum Roll, Please.... with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/18/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Want to hear something creepy?

 

I know you do.

 

Come closer. ¬†Closer … Just a little further .. that’s it!

 

have fun with this…

 

 

And do yourselves a favor. ¬†Check out Bay’s End¬†by Edward Lorn. ¬†You won’t regret it.

 

 

Vagina!

Posted in Drum Roll, Please...., The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/16/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Okay. Why does a 32 year old man who wears an Aikido uniform with cat ears on his head think he has the right to hurl the word “VAGINA” at his audience at a quarter to three on a Saturday afternoon?

That’s a good question.

Here is my answer.  Why the fuck not?

Strap in.

Let me be crystal clear on something.  I do not have a vagina.  I happen to like vaginas.  But I also understand a couple of key things about them.

1.  I was passed through a vagina the day I was born.

2. My mother, my female cousins, and several of my best friends HAVE vaginas.

3. More than half the world may in fact HAVE vaginas.

Do you notice something? ¬†I’m writing the word ‘vagina’, and I am doing it without shame, with no regret, and with zero remorse. ¬†Why is this happening? ¬†Because people I love and care about are waking up in this day and age in this country and wondering why a part of their anatomy has undergone such raw scrutiny. ¬†They are pondering an old white patriarchy and its influence on their very existence.

Do I need to repeat myself? ¬†Here’s the situation.

A Democratic Michigan representative by the name of Lisa Brown had the nerve to make a speech in front of her colleagues demanding that a controversial piece of abortion legislation be abandoned for the farce that it is. ¬† Never mind the fact that the focus of most of her speech was actually about her relationship to Judaism. ¬†Forget about the fact that we’re still not one hundred years past the fact that women were only given the right to vote in this country in 1920. ¬†I am not going to go into details about the nature of the legislation. ¬†My answer to anyone about the abortion issue is going to be the same as it would be for someone who would want to nitpick about gay rights and what the Bible has to say about it.

I don’t give a fuck. These people have a choice and that choice really doesn’t affect me as a straight man.

I would have a seriously hard time explaining to a rape victim that they were not allowed to control what happens to their bodies after their power was already taken away from them by some scumbag who thought it was okay to beat and humiliate them while abusing their vaginas (among other things). ¬†I would also have a difficult time asking a woman who’d undergone the procedure what it was like to abort. ¬†I simply wouldn’t get it. ¬†I can be a sensitive, sympathetic man when it comes to that subject area, but my hypocrisy, like a woman’s vagina, ¬†only stretches so far. ¬† I don’t have a vagina, I don’t have a uterus, and I don’t, therefore, have the right to dictate what a grown woman does with her body. ¬†Period.

I’m not the brightest bulb when it comes to women sometimes. ¬†Why is it that I seem to understand this as simple common sense, but lawmakers who are supposedly older, wiser, and way more qualified to pass legislation regulating American life are so obtuse about this issue?

What are we really saying here about our nation’s women? ¬†What are we saying about ourselves?

It sickens me to no end that many of the fundamentalist Christians who claim to be anti abortion/pro lifers happen to be old white guys who would never dream of something as simple and as effective as contraception. ¬†Too many of these people are the same assholes that walk up to youngsters like me and complain that there are “too many people in the damned world.” ¬†And I admit, I get hung up on the fact that we’re still not dealing with enough women in politics. ¬†I’m still going to have to remind my future daughter that equal pay for equal work doesn’t always apply to her, and that a woman’s role in certain vocations can still be limited.

But where are the women in this latest fight?

They’re probably too busy trying to make a living in this shit hole that we call an economy. Many of them are single parents who are too busy trying to love and support their kids to stop and think about how stupid their elected officials can be, especially when it comes to the issue of SEPARATING religion from legislation. ¬†And, oh yeah…some of them are gay, too. ¬†These women get to have double the fun, don’t they?

I want to meet a gay, black Jewish lady and ask her how she feels about our country today.  Just a thought.

And yes, there are going to be women who are pro lifers. ¬†There are going to be women who would say that life is life, and many of them would be happy to point out their Christian perspectives on the matter. ¬†That’s okay with me, as long as they got to make that choice for themselves.

I’m going to ask you all one question.

How easy is it for you to say the word vagina? Can you talk to your little ones about vaginas without blushing or turning away in shame? You’re going to have to learn if you can’t. ¬†Let me see if I can help….

Come on, now.  Sing it with me, people.

I want to send this song to the people who banned Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum for having the brass ones to say what they felt. ¬†Better yet, I want to organize an official protest where a group of choral singers gets together and sings this song in front of the White House or IN Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. ¬†I want someone to explain to Lisa Brown how they completely ignored her points about religion and just decided to focus on her vagina, her hoo ha, her snatch, her lady parts, her (insert word here). ¬†They just proved her point, didn’t they? There are many words for vagina that are far more offensive. ¬†It’s not like this woman walked up to any of her colleagues, dropped her panties and screamed “kiss my clit!” She might have accomplished just as much that day if she had. ¬†That is the saddest part to me about this whole debacle.

Come on! ¬† In this day and age, isn’t that like saying you’re not allowed to call Oprah Winfrey black because she’s too famous?

As a writer, I have to be fascinated by people’s distraction at the word “vagina” in this case. ¬†But I’m going for the ride, as it were. ¬†I’ll say what I have to say about vaginas and let you all comment about it. ¬†All comments to this post are welcome. ¬†Intelligent discourse is a good step to getting past this kind of idiocy.

Advice on Dreams..

Posted in Drum Roll, Please...., The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/15/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Sometimes, it’s easy to believe that I will be forever young.

I never thought I would find myself giving advice to young people.

I had a job interview today for a place right across the street from me. ¬†I had to wonder what it would be like since I hadn’t had a job interview in almost 4 months, and I had not had a job in fourteen months.

Fourteen.

It was hard to be late for the interview since I live right across the street.  I had fun strolling in with my dress pants and purple striped shirt (sharp dressed men never lose), and I thought I would have some fun checking out my competition.

All of them were either sitting or standing in the middle of the store in a living room -like setting, surrounded by books. ¬†They had all been waiting since about 2:00 pm for a group interview that was supposed to start at 2:30. ¬†I had to wonder why. ¬†I’d read an article on Yahoo.com just a few days ago that suggested that interviewers don’t like when interviewees show up more than ten minutes early. ¬†According to the article, interviewers then get the impression that they are rushed, and that you are desperate.

The person who wrote that article never had to deal with the pains of public transportation. ¬†Even in New York City, you’ve got to plan as though one train or bus will get you there too early, but ¬†the following one will get you to your destination just about five minutes too late. ¬†That seems to be the norm EVERYWHERE in the country that has public transportation. ¬†You plan accordingly if you’re a strap hanger like me. The interviewers are just going to have to deal, especially if your interview is taking place in the winter or in the summer, and you don’t feel like waiting outside in the elements..

I was thinking about all of this as I stared at the other applicants, all of whom were beginning to show signs of impatience. ¬†And then I realized that strolling in “with two minutes to spare” from my apartment across the street was only the beginning of what set me apart from them.

I am older than anyone in the group by at least ten years. ¬†I wrote that in the present tense because it’s not like they’ve all aged twelve years each since we last saw one another. ¬†Funny how those kinds of things come up in writing.

But I digress.

It didn’t take me long to strike up a conversation with a young Asian man who was standing next to me. ¬†It was clear to me that he was losing his patience. ¬†Much like many other people in college, he was trying to determine the course of the rest of his life. ¬†And, much like the rest of us, he had been looking for work for a very long time.

“I need this job,” he said.

For a moment, as I stared at him and I peered at the other young people with whom I was situated, I had to wonder if I was making a mistake. ¬†I had forgotten, of course, of the retailers’ penchant for the group interview. ¬†This occurs when a group of people are called in to meet with a mysterious store manager or human resources person. ¬†They are herded through one area where they are “registered” or branded like sheep. Then they are corralled into another area where they all wait their turn to bleat their answers in unison to some basic questions.

My ex used to write about this for job fairs when she began her career as a teacher. ¬†She used to preface each of the aforementioned steps with increasingly bored or frustrated versions of the word “Moo…”

She was absolutely right..

I looked around again at where I was and who I was with, and I realized that I too needed a job; that I was one of the 99 percent.  And I simply refused to leave (as though anyone was actually trying to get me to leave in the first place).  Way to take that stand!

But as my conversation with the younger man continued, not only was he smart enough to claim I looked more like a 20 year old than the 32 year old that I am, he reminded me of what awaits anyone who is about to enter “the real world.”

It was once thought that there were certain areas of study that college students should stay away from if they wanted to garner “gainful” employment in the job market. ¬†Philosophy majors could go on to think deep thoughts about being unemployed. ¬†Sociology majors might become social studies teachers. ¬†You only became a psych major if you wanted to be an underpaid social worker or you really needed to figure out what Freud and Skinner had to say about you and your “issues.” ¬† Conversely, at least when I was attending college, there were certain majors that were considered “cash cows.” ¬†You were going to do alright if you were a math major as you could probably get some wild, completely esoteric papers published before you learned to use your riding crop to turn your future college calculus students into your little bitches. ¬†And if you were a computer science major, the sky was the limit, especially in the heyday of Silicon Valley.

Now I could sit here and compare and contrast my own lifestyle to that of all of my friends who graduated from the same college with different majors. ¬†But as I stood there today talking to this bespectacled Asian student, I listened to his concerns about “looking professional,” and I wanted to shake my head. ¬†But then he mentioned the word that has been the bane of my existence for the last fourteen months. He mentioned the “economy.”

“With the economy as bad as it is, it isn’t like I can do what I want to do with my life.”

And that was when I got on my soap box…

Me- “With the economy the way it is, now is the best time to follow your dreams.”

Asian guy – “Why is that?”

Me – ¬†“Because you’ve got nothing left to lose at this point. ¬†Why not go for yours?”

Asian guy – “What do you do?”

Me- “I write things that will scare you and your children. ¬†It took me ten years to get to the point where I gave myself permission to pursue a dream. ¬†This economy has utterly convinced me that life is too short to put that off. ¬†Don’t listen to what unhappy older people tell you about the real world! ¬†If you don’t have dreams, you don’t have a soul..”

I meant every word.  Still do..

Of course, when you venture out into it, the real world sort of makes you wonder if you can survive the Blitzkrieg. ¬†You have to learn to balance your checkbook, make sure you can pay back your student loans if you have them, pay your bills, your rent, etc. ¬†If you’re in a relationship at all, other things may or may not have to be considered in your long term plans. ¬†But all too often, we’re told if we work hard in school and graduate, everything will sort of fall into place. ¬†But how does one bear witness to that when one wants to balance living in the real world with the fulfillment of one’s dreams?

Ten years of holding one strange job after another has caused me to conclude that all the work in the world is absolutely MEANINGLESS without a dream to pursue.   People who tell you that you should be okay for the rest of your life holding down some boring ass nine to five job without having other dreams are people who gave up their own.  Sometimes, they feel like they had no choice because they had kids too early.  Other times, they had people around them who were less than encouraging.

But what happens to people who don’t pursue their dreams?

They grow older, less happy, and then they may tell others to live life like they did.

That’s not the kind of person that I want to be.

My dad often talks this way, and then follows it with a private conversation over a beer or two about how much he might have given up because he had kids too early. ¬†He forgets that he’s having these conversations with his oldest son. ¬†I love my dad. In many ways, he is what is best in men. ¬† But I WON’T live a life that causes me to have conversations like that with my own kids. ¬†I am going to pursue my dreams.

So I told this young Asian man the same thing I’ll tell anyone who ever asks me about the pursuit of their own aspirations. It’s going to sound a lot like the advice a friend of mine just posted the other night.

Just shut up and do it.

I went on to kill in the interview. ¬†We’ll see where this goes. ¬†They want me to come back on Tuesday at 10 AM with a social security card and a state issued I.D. ¬†My own personal battle was won today. ¬†Now it’s time to continue to the fight for my own soul. ¬†It’s time to renew the pursuit of my own dreams.

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