There Were the Four of Us

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There were four of us. We had been hired by a scientist type whose identity was kept a secret. We were only told the basics: that he had been working on a combination of LSD and psilocybin in liquid form. They said he’d originally experimented with just the LSD, but his mission required more of the eye-opening head trip of mushrooms, so he began tampering with a psilocybin hybrid. The important thing was that the substance needed to be in liquid form. That was where we came in.

All four of us went through a strict screening process. First they wanted to know that we were excellent sharp shooters. We weren’t allowed to really exchange information, but after seeing some of the guys in action I assumed they were or had been snipers. We were given test after test of trying to hit a ridiculously small target from a far away distance. After we’d proven ourselves capable at doing that, they looked for those of us who appeared the most harmless and unassuming – no warning signs.

I was a bit befuddled when, on the first day of the job, they handed us all bright neon colored water pistols. They were both smaller and more loudly colored than regular water guns. They broke down to us how they had been modified by military weapons experts to be able to have a tremendous amount of pressure when fired so that the substance inside could be shot a much further distance. The size was to conceal it easier, the color to make sure it would be recognized as a toy. They did a good job. Not only were they absurdly colored, but the physical shape of them also had a cartoonish look to it.

Our mission was to go to places where people who were labeled as ‘corrupt’ were, and shoot the psilo-liquid into their eyes or mouth. The creator had also amped up the potency so that a single drop could do the trick. He believed that a psychedelic experience could be beneficial to those in power, but that there were many who, either through fear of the law or social brainwashing, simply wouldn’t take it.

So there we were: sharpshooters running around political events like kids in the backyard on a summer day. We also attended entertainment events, such as the Oscars, to try and open up the minds of the rich and self-absorbed to see ‘how connected we all were’, as our boss put it, but most of those backfired. The entertainment types seemed to just get off on the high without truly grasping the magnitude of it. A few notable exceptions existed, where the person had given large amounts of money to charity after we’d squirted them, or started up a campaign to help people, but mostly we just had actors and musicians rolling around on the red carpet, laughing their asses off. He tried to further tamper with the formula to decrease the body high and concentrate on the mental awakening.

There’d been other mishaps. We’d all watched with a dark sense of amusement when we saw the stories pop up in the news of politicians locked in their rooms for days, rocking back and forth, babbling incoherently, their staff having no clue what was wrong with them. This would probably all seem like anarchic mayhem if we didn’t have our handful of success stories: the people who actually had their believes changed afterwards, and began fighting for what our boss believed was right. We’d had a senator completely change his mind about gay rights once. It was actually kind of amazing to see, being that I was the one who fired a direct shot into his mouth during a speech.

The boss is still tweaking the formula, and we still have cases of people being sent to the nuthouse, but we’re slowly seeing a change. I don’t know how much I believe in the boss’ vision, or how much longer I can deal with the guilt I feel over seeing people previously always in the public eye devolving into catatonic introversion, but I’ll tell you this: it’s a hell of a steady paycheck.

Let’s Do This

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OK, let’s do this:

You get older and you start to think about things in a different way. Slowly, your thought process changes and allows you to look at yourself with more mature eyes and really break down what’s happening. After a while, you come to a conclusion that really hits home, even though it’s something that’s been said by you and others many times: your work ethic is horrendous.

It starts to truly seep in how lazy and horrible at getting things done you really are. All those times when people got mad at you for not doing what you’re supposed to do seem so on the money now because you experience the feeling for yourself, grasping how much you move like molasses when it’s time to get something done. When you think about how much this hasn’t changed and why, a pleasant realization hits you: you don’t care and it doesn’t bother you.

You realize you really like yourself, just the way you are. More so than that, as you get older and older, you feel a sense of joy as you realize how much you’ve embraced everything you are, and after years and years of school and jobs telling you what to do, you feel like you can finally say ‘fuck it’ to the whole world, and just accept that you’re a little introvert who hates involvement and prefers to stay in his own world. It feels like you’ve beaten the system and grown into your own until you think about another part of yourself.

You’ve always had a leg up on the rest of the world because you’ve always known exactly what you want to do with your life. You have a dream, a passion, a compass that always tells you what you should be doing even when you weren’t aware of it or were too scared to follow it. There is no doubt in your mind what your path is. So committed are you to this idea that you leave your family and friends and move out across the country to Hollywood to pursue it.

This is the crack in your ‘truly happy as a lazy introvert’ attitude. You realize more and more how much hard work and hustling goes into trying to make something like this happen, and the dissonance between the type of person you need to be to do this and the type of person you are and always have been for as long as you can remember is gut wrenching. It almost pushes the confidence and sense of purpose you have away because the two are such total opposites. You’ve seen people be disappointed in your quest out here because of this dissonance, and when you yourself start to fully grasp this idea, it’s worrisome.

Another side crack is the selfish nature of the lazy introvert attitude. You’re probably not going to advance beyond your cashier salary, and even though you’re fine with it and don’t mind having a modest bank account and lifestyle, you realize that you’ll never be able to help out your parents and friends who have done so much for you throughout your life. You’ll never be able to buy them nice things and your mom will still have to scrounge up money to pay for her own trips out to see you.

It gets more confusing. As you learn more and more about perfecting your stage image, you start to see how much everything you are, including and especially these flaws, work so beautifully into the persona. The things that are wrong with you in real life make you soar on stage. Every single little aspect of what you are works amazingly perfect into what you’re trying to create. More so than that, after a life time of studying entertainment legends, you seem to not only be exactly the same type, but have the same flaws. Many quotes haunt you, but one in particular by Neil Strauss stands out as giving you a sense of purpose:

“He possessed two traits I’d noticed in nearly every rock star I’d ever interviewed: a crazy, driven gleam in his eyes and an absolute inability to do anything for himself.”

You have both of these, especially the inability to do anything by yourself, and now you’re left wondering if you’re simply a personality type, and if that type is specifically tailored for what you desperately lust after: being a star. When you think about people like Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Jim Morrison, do you think they were reliable, upstanding citizens who got shit done when they needed to? Of course not. But look at what they became once they turned into entertainment figures: un-ingnorable lightning rods.

This further confuses you. Are you on the right path to achieve your goal, the bad qualities just an unfortunate side effect of these types of people? Should you stick with your original plan of embracing who you really are and let it lead you to where you need to be? Success would not only validate and empower you but also solve the problem of you being able to help your loved ones out. Or is it just an excuse and you need to change yourself to actually achieve this? More importantly, after thirty years of being the same way, is it even possible for someone to change? Do you even want to, even with knowing all this?

You’ve learned a lot and grown a lot, but things still seem to be moving slow. You stick to the areas where you can excel in work ethic, writing and performing, in the hope that the help of friends will get you where you need to be. You have faith in the product, but not necessarily in the person behind it.

But really, none of that is the problem. The real problem is that this entire status update is looping over and over again in your head 24/7…

I Ain’t Mad at Cha

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I totally understand why it’s so awesome to believe in God. It’s because of how comforting it is to put your faith in an infallible entity. The all powerful creator. The mighty omnipotent being, whose will we cannot question. I’m totally jealous.

I’ve had many Gods over the years, mostly dead rock stars and celebrities. While I’m joking, I’ve pretty much tried to find the same thing in these people that others have found in God. Back in high school, Kurt Cobain and Jonathan Davis made me feel like someone understood, that someone was watching out for us. These were the patron saints of the outcasted kids (or at least the kids whose burgeoning hormones led them to believe they were outcasts), and I loved them for it. A KoRn t-shirt was my version of wearing a cross, a way to say to others, “I get strength from this.”

I’ll never forget what it felt like the first time I listened to Bill Hicks. An online acquaintance had dropped the name, and I’d never heard of him before. He told me I would love him. I went out and bought his CD, ‘Rant in E Minor’, put it in the CD player, and had my mind blown. Never in my life had I heard someone talk like that before, talk like I thought. Here he was saying how much he hated humans and telling the idiots to take a bunch of mushrooms and ‘squeegee their third eye’. It was right up my alley. This was my preacher.

But I’ll also never forget how quickly another feeling popped up: the need to hear the other side of the story. I so rapidly fell for Hicks’ vision, and looked at him as such an inspiration, that I desperately needed to hear what someone who disagreed with him thought. I asked my dad to listen to his stuff, because I figured he would be the conservative type who would point out the error of Hicks’ anti-establishment ways. I didn’t really get what I wanted out of the exchange with my dad. It would later be my friend Conrad who broke down the other side of Hicks’ philosophies. Who did it is not important though. What’s important is why I so badly needed an answer.

I wanted the person I believed in, looked up to, and drew strength from to be infallible. Being that they were human, and this obviously wasn’t the case, I needed the next best thing: I needed to be fully informed. I knew that as I sat there wide-eyed, eating up Hicks’ philosophies, there was someone, lots of people, out there, who thought he was an idiot to be dismissed. I needed to know why. I couldn’t sit there blindly worshipping, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Imagine how heartbreaking it would be to run into someone one day, who, upon hearing my devotion to Hicks’, would laugh and break down ‘the truth’ to me, shattering my image of my idol. No, I needed to be in control and ask for this shit and then factor all that information into my adulation.

I simply could not take the idea of idolizing something that was not absolute. I needed what I held sacred to be the incontrovertible TRUTH. I didn’t want to parade around with glee over its message, only to hear other people mocking it. I had to know what the haters had to say and only then could I be passionate about him. It was as close as I could get to the beautiful feeling I wanted: knowing that what I fought for was beyond a shadow of a doubt right.

I write a lot of opinionated stuff on here, drenched in self-deprecation. While it’s a tool I genuinely like, it’s also a wonderful self-defense mechanism:

“Well, I think it’s kind of disgusting to have multiple partners. I mean, do you people have no morals? Then again, I’m just a shy pussy who can’t get laid.”

A person responds: “What? Judging us for our sex lives? You probably just can’t get laid yourself!”

And then I get to fire back: “HAHA! I already said that! See, scroll back up, there it is! I SAID IT FIRST! I robbed you of the power to knock down my argument! I even called myself a pussy so THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NO KIND OF CRITICISM YOU CAN GIVE ME! I ALREADY KNEW WHAT NEGATIVE THINGS YOU WERE GOING TO SAY AND GOT TO THEM FIRST! I AM INFALLIBLE!!!”

I call this ’8 Mile Theory’, even though the concept has been around in comedy long before Eminem won a rap battle by taking all of his enemy’s ammunition and saying it himself.

It’s the same concept. Call it a personality flaw, or just human nature, but when I’m passionate about something, I need it to be indisputable, or at the very least, wildly self-aware. I simply cannot stand to let someone get the upper hand on it. This also comes back beautifully to the same theory I have about girls: how can I give all my undying attention and love to a girl who is simply human? If you want me to obsess, I need a goddess.

So I’m totally jealous of you believers out there, those of you who are convinced that we’d be wrong to ever question God’s will. You have your own self-defense mechanism too: faith. Belief without proof.

You can’t get more iron clad than that. Good luck swaying someone who believes in something without any evidence whatsoever.

And really, if God was fallible, who’d want to worship Him anyway? Obsessive devotion is simply too terrifying without absolute certainty.

So, really, religious people, while I could find bones to pick all day, in the immortal words of Tupac: “I ain’t mad at cha.”

Nothing Is What It Seems…

Today at the bus stop, I walked past a man sitting on a bench who appeared to be homeless. Upon closer inspection, he had a blunt in his hand that he was smoking. I found the image pleasing, so I studied him as I waited. Soon he was laughing. I had headphones on, but the look on his face made the laughter seem so genuine. He looked like a little kid enjoying himself. There wasn’t anyone else on the bench with him. He was talking to no one. He was just sitting there laughing like he didn’t have a care in the world. After a minute or so, I saw him put a stuffed animal that had been hidden next to him on his lap. I couldn’t make out what it was. He had a backpack on that looked stuffed. As I observed him, wondering what adventures he was going to get into with his baked brain, large backpack and stuffed friend, I couldn’t help but think that he was probably happier than any ‘accomplished’ person out there. He may not be, but it was the image I got from my time looking at him, and one that made me happy.