Tag Archives: memory

A walk in a graveyard

This little story happened during my third year in college.  It was the first year after I moved from the small commuter college to the main campus.  I was a standing Junior.  My grades weren’t great but I was passing.  I was a major in both Physics and Chemistry.  Right now to this very day that last statement sounds crazy especially since this university wasn’t particularly strong in either discipline.  It was true none the less.

I had quickly developed what was for me a large circle of friends.  We gathered a couple or three times a week for parties which were largely conversations.  Once though that first semester there had been strong drink.  That last alcohol ridden event happened later than this story.  Those conversations on occasion would turn to things spiritual.  There was a religious/new age flare to this group.  I was the only hard science or math major in the group.  One of the steady members of the group, a girl named Lisa, had a pressing interest in the world of the spirit.  She had a strong personality.  She was also an attractive woman.  My mother once described her as striking.

Almost everyday that year I walked passed the cemetery that was located near the center north side of campus.  The campus had built up around it over the years so that the cemetery was surrounded on three sides.  While it was still warm I would some times walk through following the road that entered and exited through the main drag that ran through campus.  During the warm time of year that road would be packed with traffic but by the time I left that campus through traffic had been stopped.  The problem was too, many drunken college students I think.

That cemetery had a few remarkable stones that dated back to the 1860s.  One in particular whose inscription was still clear to the eye laid flat.  I understood that this style of stone dated back to old Europe.  The stone had been laid that way so as to trap the dead within after all, we didn’t want mom or dad crawling out and wandering around.  Part of the inscription read:  She did not dieth, but only sleepth.  I though it was cool and showed it first to two of my male friends, John and William.  I think they were only mildly impressed, I mean it was just an old stone after all.  But as Halloween approached we got it into our heads that it might be cool to take the girls there, sort of as a freaky spooky Halloween walk.

I guess now that sounds a little rapey but that wasn’t our intention.  Of the six of us only two were dating.  That was John and Debra.  Calling it dating was a stretch though as she was born again and engaged.  The whole relationship would turn out to be a figment of John’s imagination, I think or a hoax maybe.

It was that dark holiday after sunset when we decided to take that nighttime graveyard walk.  It was a small party when the idea was suggested.  The event was alcohol and drug free.  It was festive.  I remember laughter.  I think I was the one who first brought up the idea saying something like “This would be a proper night for a cemetery walk.  It would soon be too cold for out door type activities.”   Someone else, William I think said something like “It is Halloween after all.”  He had this shy self deprecating smile that simply melted most girls hearts.  No one wanted to appear superstitious as we were college students after all.  Right at this second, as I write this, I believe that there were six of us but there might have been seven.  I believe I know that Donna or Laura were there but both might have been actually.

It was a warm late October night and that end of the campus was well lit so the footing was sure.  The graveyard was pretty close to the Quad were we all roomed.  It took about ten or fifteen minutes at a casual pace once we got outside to get to the east gate.  The conversation had slowed to quiet as we approached.  I don’t think there was a leader instead the course was chosen in some way that was quiet and almost organic.  In the beginning we stayed on the paved road that made a safe path through the oldest part.  This is were John had an attack of apoplexy over what he thought was a set of satanic symbols.  I can still here his hushed voice ridden with fear uttering the phrase “Satanic sigil!”  It is comical now but at the time I remember the icy chill that jumped up my spine when he spoke.  It took me about three minutes to cypher, in the dark, that the symbol was an eastern star.  I come from a family with a few masons as members and have a great aunt that was at the time in some sort of a weird dispute with the eastern stars so I felt reassured.  I remember the sound of my voice, the ridicule and sarcasm as I said, “Geez John, that’s an eastern star.”  I regret that tone today.

We didn’t have a path planned.  It was really more of a wandering that an established expedition.  John was at the front with Debra on his right and Laura, I think, on his left when he stepped into the graveyard proper walking in between the plots.  William, Lisa and I followed with Donna I believe.  I have a superstition.  I have had it since my first funeral at the age of 6.  I don’t like stepping on people.  Yes I know they’re dead and can’t feel it but I still don’t like to do it.  I might have said something to the effect, “I hate stepping on people” or something like that.  Being that this was the case I moved a bit slower.  It took time to pick your way through a graveyard with this type of a mind set.  William, Lisa and Donna stayed closer to me as the distance between us and the first three grew slowly.  Come to think about it now, the clusters of three up front and four in the back must have been for security or reassurance.  I think that graveyard walk was a lot more tense that it appeared to me at the time.

The Rec center some 20 or 30 yards to the east was well lighted and the main drag through campus was also well lighted.  This meant that the little road that traveled through the campus end of the cemetery was well lighted through there were areas of dark.  When John decided to walk between the graves and deeper into the cemetery to the north the light became patchy at best.  I mean that if you were walking you could find safe footing but there were lots of shadows.  The two groups, John, Debra and Laura up at the front and the rest of us some 20 feet back were having our own individual quiet conversations.  This created a quiet comfortable human murmur but I wasn’t really paying attention.   I was concerned with the people that lay under ground and not stepping in them.

It was nothing more than dumb luck really with the light like it was and my superstitious distraction.  The light had to be just right and the timing of when I looked up.  It was freaky really even when I think about it now.  What are the odds?  For as I looked up I saw two things almost simultaneously.  The first thing was Debra and Laura.  They said nothing.  They didn’t scream.  They simply turned around and took off at a full sprint.  I have never seen anything like that before or since until the moment of this writing.  There was no gaining speed they started at top speed.  The second thing I saw was John looking over his shoulder with a puzzled expression.  He was in mid stride his left foot heading for the ground.  The light must have been just right for there was no ground where John’s foot intended to land.  Instead there was an open grave.  William and I each caught one of the girls.  It was like being struck by a medicine ball.  If either of us would have been a shade smaller the impact would have winded us.  At the same moment I yelled at John, “OPEN GRAVE!” 

The warning shout was enough and John avoided stepping into the open grave.  He could have seriously injured himself.  He quickly joined the rest of us.  Honestly, at that moment, I don’t think any single member of the group wanted to be very far away from the rest.  That put a chill over the party I must say.  I remember some one saying over and over something close to “Please be empty please be empty.”   This phrase seemed to affect everyone.  She, who I believe was Debra, was pretty upset.  So was Laura but she simply huddled close to William like a soaked little bird seeking shelter from the rain against the bowl of a tree.  A that moment I determined to check the hole out and quickly walked up to it and crouched down and looked inside.  If the image of skeletal hands reaching out, grabbing me by the head and pulling me in just flashed through your mind’s eye that’s okay because it flashed through mind both then and now.

“Its empty,” yelled over my shoulder to the others.

I stood up quickly and walked back to the others before any had the opportunity to examine the grave themselves.  I carefully and quickly informed them again that the grave was empty.  They or We were all shook up pretty good.  Debra and Laura had become obviously quite uncomfortable.  John also had taken a pale hue and seemed suddenly less excited about the whole idea.  I didn’t wait and suggested that we head back to the dorm.  I don’t recall if  that night was ever mentioned again by any of us.  Well except me, right now for I have kept it secret over these last 33 or 34 years and that secret is, the grave wasn’t empty.  Only Meta had heard this story -previously and now you know it too.

Happy Halloween

Battle with Big Mac

Here is a weird little story.  It takes place in a McDonald’s in the fall (I think) of 1988.  This would be the fall after college and I parted ways and a month or so before my mother’s passing.  This would be when I worked night maintenance.  That’s was what the job title was though the work itself was much closer to Custodial.

Generally the shift was third and it started at 11 o’clock at night and ran until round 7 am the following morning.  The company liked to keep two maintenance men on the overnight shift for safety reasons.  This McDonald’s wasn’t in a high crime area.  It was on the south side outskirts of a rural college town in North West Ohio.  In the 1980s this campus had the second highest student population of any university in the state coming just after OSU.

I remember watching an occasional drug deal go down in the parking lot out front of the restaurant.  This would usually happen between 3am and 5am when the cops would head over to a Frisch’s on the east side of town to hang out.  This would be a perfect spot to make some joke about donuts but this was back when Frisch’s still made really good cheap food.  I remember this strawberry pie that was to kill for.  I remember it as “Home of the Big Boy.”

Also on those dark winter nights when I would take the trash out to the compactor there would be on very rare occasion a homeless person or two.  That was back when McDonald’s still used Styrofoam packaging on most everything and when they still had strict practices on how fresh the food had to be.  Once a Sandwich of any kind was produced it could only sit for so long before it was required to be pitched.  I don’t remember if it was 8 or 10 or 15 minutes.  So the food in the dumpster was pretty edible.  Generally when I encountered these people back in the coral where we kept the compactor I didn’t mess with them.  It might be tense for a couple of minutes before it became apparent that nobody wanted any trouble.

Like I said earlier, McDonald’s liked to have two men working the graveyard shift and that is how it was for slightly more than half the time I was working there.  It had one odd feature though that I had not seen since I was a child.  It was a life sized plastic Big Mac.  I think he was supposed to be some kind of a police officer, sheriff or constable.  It stood on a plastic platform that was green and meant to look something like grass, if memory serves.  He wore this English Bobby looking police hat/helmet on the very top of his head.  The whole thing was just a hair taller than I was.  I stood a bit more than six feet and four inches tall.  There was this metal button, really the head of a bolt that at one time, when touched, would cause a recording of the character saying something stupid like “Don’t forget to eat your fries” or some other shit.  I had been told, though I don’t remember by who, that it was broken.

It was during a time that there were only two people working night maintenance so each of us worked the shift in the store alone for two nights a week.  I don’t exactly remember the time of year.  My memory of that time is funny that way.  It could be a trick of memory or a trick of schizophrenia I Have no idea which.  I want to say that it was the fall but it just as easily could have been some time during the summer.  Right this instant, as I right this sentence, I am leaning towards summer.

I was in the store alone, it was late around 4 am in the morning and I was mopping the floor in the lobby.  I had worked there for several months by now and I was very comfortable in the store.  My mind wasn’t on my job.  I had turned my back and was walking backwards across the main lobby towards the side lobby that extended to the back where the bathrooms were located as well as Big Mac.

Somebody spoke.  I was involved in my own mental world so I didn’t here what had been said clearly but I did jump.  I had a strong chill run down my spine.  My first thought was that some one who worked at the place was playing a joke.  The manager would, on occasion, after being out bar hopping, sneak in and up on us to check and see if we were working.  It could have been him or any of the three or four people that had a key.  My second thought was that it was an unknown person with ill intent looking for some kind of advantage.  So I decided to walk around the store with mop in hand.  After making a full circuit what was fear had begun to morph into something more like rage and on my second pass I made sure that I was always between the space I was exploring and the way out.  I was still alone.

This would happen a couple more times.  It would be the second of these times that I would be down by Big Mac washing the windows in the exit door we it would pipe up again.  It said something like “watch out for the Hamburgler,” or some other shit.  I jumped nearly toppling the wash bucket turning and looking directly at the giant plastic Big Mac.  The mystery had been solved.  I moved my hand like I was about to punch the big dummy when I thought better of it.  He looked back at me those three buns and two delicious meat patties forming a dark evil grin.  The two plastic white and black cartoon eyes perched at the top of the sesame seed bun leering and taunting me.  It occurred to me that Big Mac only mouthed off when I was in the store alone.  I wondered if I had lost my mind.  He would only pipe up and sound off one more time after this before I decided to investigate.

One night when Ken the only other member of the maintenance staff and I were together working that I brought the subject.  I said that I was curious and I wanted to ask him a question.  He said that I should and I asked directly whether or not Big Mac was popping off while he was in the shop alone at night.  He said that it had.  Armed with this information I waited.  I didn’t wait for long before Big Mac popped off again one night.  How could such a scrumptious sandwich be so evil?  I told the manager about the incident.  He responded by saying something like “Its your imagination, that thing is broken.”  Ken backed me up with out prompting.  The manager said that he would get it fixed.

The fix didn’t take and Big Mac continued to mouth off.  It was like he was laughing at me.  I told the manager that there was still a problem and he said that he would take care of it.  This went round and round, Big Mac would taunt me and the Manager said  that he’d look into it.  It was getting frustrating and irritating until the last night and the last straw when I was mopping down the side lobby.  My back was to Big Mac the hamburger headed mother fucker when he popped off again.  I swear it said something like “What are YOU gonna do?”  It was laughing at me.  I know it was.  I jumped.  It had happened so many times and I couldn’t get over the fact that the damned thing still made me start.  I caught myself, the mop handle had almost made contact with that great evil hamburger headed monster but I managed to pull back.  That morning the manager was there at open and I told him about the incident.  The repeated that he would have somebody look into it.  I realized that this was a story, a fiction.  I responded that it would be good if he did.  I clearly stated that the next time that thing started talking in the middle of the night the fair manger would find it in pieces in the parking lot when he came to work the following morning.

The next night when I rolled in for work I discovered that Big Mac was gone.  Plastic green grass like platforn and all.  That was the end of Big Mac.  I had won the battle.  I didn’t need to fire a single shot.  Even in the darkest of times small victories always taste sweet and refresh the soul.

One last thing though, Big Mac only every talked when either Ken or I were in the store alone and as far as I know no one else ever had that experience at that specific store.

It is quite strange really.

The Gun Question

I have stated in the past here that I support the second amendment.  I wanted to make sure that this is clear at the beginning.

When I was young, before I started high school there was this thing called a seriel killer.  These were people like Bundy, Gacey and Manson.  They were a new phenomena,  This isn’t to say that this type of thing hadn’t happened in the passed.  It was just that it was so rare as to not be significant.  In the late 60s and early 70s it became significant.  It was a trend.  I suppose there are always predators in our midst.

It seems to me, I have no sources to quote here, that this type of crime began to fall off sometime in the 90s.  I always thought that the Vietnam war had something to do with it and it just took that long for the curse to work its way out.  That war was a war of aggression.  It was about control.  It was ugly and our military was largely conscript.  Of course that could be utter bullshit.  It just as easily could have been due to the presence of lead in the atmosphere.  You know, from leaded gasoline.

All of this is simply prelude.

Over the last two decades there has been a rise in this thing people and the media call Mass Shootings.  Again these acts happened before.  Back in the 80s it was called going postal.  These early shootings most often happened at work places.  Not that schools or churches were exempt.  They were just less common.  There were explanations at the time as to the whys of the event.  They were highly individualized.  It was unusual to hear the term disgruntled employee.  These crimes seemed to be rage related.  A final straw that broke the camels back incident.  I haven’t really researched this so I might be very wrong and or terribly biased.  For simplicity’s sake lets just say that these mass shootings were not only rarer but also different in nature.  This doesn’t excuse the incidents.  We are talking about degrees.  I am also letting you know that I have lived here in our fair country for some time.  I have memory, as faulty as it may be.

This trend in mass shootings over the last two decades though is different.  It seems to be hyper predatory.  Serial criminals were predatory too but their crimes were committed in private.  Their targets were vulnerable individuals like the elderly, those that lived alone, prostitutes, the inexperienced youth.  These were often the kind of individuals that would not be missed.  These new events that the media calls Mass Shootings are more like a spectacle.  Their target looks to be more often than not crowds.  These things are real attention grabbers.  Even those on the internet can’t help but to talk about them.  The targets are often schools, places of worships, night clubs, concerts and other public places where crowds gather.  They seemed to be designed to create panic during the incident and gather the most attention.  They look as if they are designed to cause the greatest possible fear among the citizenry and the media appears to amplify this effect.  The news coverage often describes so political motive or ascribes some type of mental health history.  That allows for the label of terrorism which may be true but I don’t understand it as such.  What effect are these killings hoping to achieve?

There would be a tendency for one at this point to drift into some Conspiracy Theory.  This is understandable as the crimes described are so hard to understand.

Some of these Mass Shootings are so frightening and disturbing to the public that the government must weigh in on them.  Some declare that there is need for more and stricter gun control.  Others insist that there is need for more funding to mental health services.  There is some arguing over which is more important, just enough arguing until some distraction comes along and the disaster disappears from the public consciousness until it happens again.  It seems as if this phenomena is beginning to be accepted as normal which I believe is what is referred to as normalization.  This is not to say that nothing has been done as some states have passed red flag laws.  Still this is nothing more than the treatment of a symptom.

I wonder about the Federal Government sometimes.  It seems to me that as a group, in the most general sense they are most afraid to do anything that would upset the domestic status quo.  That they want to do as little as possible other than cut taxes and increase military spending.  It feels as though their livelihood depends on doing as little as possible.  That actually following through on any statement about possible solutions to this problem might cost them in the next election.

I personally feel that both mental health and simply supplying enough cash to enforce all ready existing gun control regulations would be a good start.  These though only treat the symptoms.  I honestly think that we have not dealt with the cause.  There is this term, Gun Culture.  I don’t understand what it means.  I don’t know anyone that worships guns.  I haven’t heard of any gun holidays or parties you have to bring a gun to.   But the in film criticism there is the term Male Gaze.  That took me two years in which to gain some understanding.  Academics and the academically minded tend to speak in a code that leaves the rest of us out of the conversation.  It could be just a way of stating that we Americans are violent.  It could be that all people are violent by nature.

I don’t know.  Are we Americans violent?

Do we have the right to kill other people and if we as a group don’t have this right do some of us under certain circumstances have that right?  Well. women have the right to choose, at least in most states.  Is terminating a pregnancy violent?  I think in the simplest of terms it is taking a human life.  There fore I think it is violent.  I support a woman’s right to choose but I can also admit that it is a violent act.

What about the death penalty?  Is that violent?  We can say that our death penalty is humane but that does not change the fact that it is a premeditated act of killing or murder.  We can agree murder is violent whether you support the death penalty or not.  I generally don’t support the death penalty but I also don”t actively work against it.  It is like I said with a woman’s right to choose, just because we agree with a policy we should still be able to be honest with ourselves.

Police related shootings are obviously not premeditated but they are violent.  I have felt for some time that the internet has been amplifying the number of police related killings.  That the reality is that they haven’t actually been increasing as a percentage of population.  I don’t know this.  I haven’t done the research.  It is just a feeling.  There is a problem with this feeling though.  The idea that the rate of police related homicides hasn’t increased.  That we simply didn’t know or if we did we didn’t care is alarming.

I think that it is safe to say that our military possesses the largest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction of any group or nation on God’s little green earth.  This fact is a statement about the intent to do something very violent.  Does that massive ever present arsenal create some unknown complex in our national sub conscious?

When we look at our governments foreign policy it is hard not to notice that we (in the national sense) tend to support groups and nations that are engaged in violent activity.  We ourselves, as recent history has shown, willfully engage in the use of military force to achieve our policy goals.  As I have said previously, the individual is free to take what ever position they feel strongest about, this is something like a democracy after all.  It appears to me that the state can easily engage in violence as it sees fit.

This is not the results of some scientific study.  This is just how things look from where I sit.  It is simply a statement of what appears to be obvious to me.  That we are a violent people.  Maybe all humans are violent but I have never lived any where else.  We can have a long conversation about how we got here, to this place.   We can look at the custom of the open hand whether it is over head, at the side or waving a greeting or farewell.  We even offer an open hand in friendship with a hand shake.  These motions, I have heard it said, are a sign that a person is not armed.  That they are vulnerable.  A handshake is an indication that both are unarmed and vulnerable.  I have always heard that this tradition comes from Europe but I can’t say that I know that to be so.  Simply put it is a tradition in my country, America.  The idea that there would be a need for such a thing indicates a wild and violent nature that is in the very least we subconsciously acknowledge.

Whether this violence is part of the nature we were born with or is a thing we have learned or even some combination of the two.  This though doesn’t matter for the point I am trying to make.  People, individuals, are complex beings.  The vast majority of our own minds are unknown to us.  There are impulses and influences that contribute to how we think and how we perceive the world and our role in it.  We often obscure the darker less pleasant aspects of our own self, our own motives.  In essence we lie to ourselves.  Sophisticated people can use this mental habit against us and mislead us.  This is rarely for our own benefit.

If we believe that we are the bestest, the brightest and the most free people, nation, group of individuals but we are not willing to look at the monster that lies with in then we are unaware.  We create monsters out of the others, those that are not ours who are otherwise just like us.  We build enemies out of rage and paper or stand in fear of shadows with gun in hand.  Being moral, even if it is just one moral is hard.  There is risk in such behavior.  Being moral means having less, less money, less food, less medical care, less security and less recognition.  It is a quiet thing.

In the very least, if we cannot admit that we are a violent people.  That this violence sometimes makes up our minds for us, decides our course of action, then maybe we aren’t grown up enough to own fire arms of any kind.

I find this conclusion uncomfortable as I have supported the second amendment my whole life.  I still support it, if we are adult enough to have the right.

I don’t know.  It just a thought.

Have a better than average day.

Giggler

Sometimes when I speak

the words come into the world easily

with clarity

Other times they hit the air in a rush like Jetsam

on a rushing river

and Yet again these statements seem to hit the atmosphere

like a meteor from Pluto

I find as I get older that it becomes more difficult to self censor

It could be a lack of energy

a weird exhaustion

or maybe I no longer care

I don’t think it maters

I’m just a squatter

on this rock

Strange as it maybe I find that I crave silence now more than ever

It was a learned thing

silence

My words out of place

out of step

drew narrowed eyed glances

side wise stares

there was something strange there in those others’ gazes

as if they beheld something alien or irritating

It’s me, I tell myself

my eyes my senses that are the foler

The trickster

Still I try to conform

to simple social norms

Over the years I have gotten better at it

Until

I relax

I speak

The words make sense to me

But for the listener, for the outside there is a shock

They seem as it they had been struck

by a board

the sudden realization

That the label really belongs where it has been stuck

That I am a giggler

I snuck through

camouflaged

But now with age

That thing that caused me ebaressment

that label of shame

now produces cosmic hilarity

I don’t know,

I guess you had to be there

 

Nostalgia

My mind’s wandering wondering eye

Find’s its attention fixed

on dusty archives of life’s long lived lies

Memories’ faded photographs

tales, legends and lore as nothing is ever quite as it seems

countless voices like an over crowded aviary

clutter your thoughts

grandmother, father

grandfather, mother

brothers, sisters, friends and others

viewed through the warped lens of the moment

the foreshadowing of youth’s promised failures

you cannot know then what you know now

you can’t go home

you must make home where you are

find your place in the sun

or the moon

what ever that means

Yet another Adjustment

There is a beginning to these things and this beginning is a type of back story or an ethic if you prefer.   At its heart it the idea of a great quest.  A Great Quest is a concept one might encounter in a common novel of the fantasy variety.  I an sure that it occurs in other places as well but I have no examples that stand out in the front of my mind.

A great quest can be as simple as a journey through dangerous country or saving the princesses from a band of highwaymen and it can be very complicated like building an empire, discovering some long lost artifact or rediscovering some bit of knowledge that has been long lost. All of these are similar themes that run through many a story but the idea itself is not that foreign to our daily lives in a non fantastic context.  It is important to note that the Great Quest is not limited to fiction.  There are Great Quests that happen here and now in our shared reality, maybe not as glamorous as rescuing the princess but great none the less.

For instance, going for a higher education beyond a Bachelors for the sole purpose of gaining insight into a thing that is otherwise incomprehensible to you.  This could take a life time and odds are their isn’t a weekly paycheck in it for you, not that you can’t turn that knowledge into cold hard cash its just that the process is different.  A cashless journey to a far distant land and staying for a year, a life time or somewhere in between, even raising a family and keeping said family together is a Great Quest.  For myself the Great quest was knowledge, it was the world I wanted to understand, the human condition and why reality was the way that it was.  This great quest had two lines of attack, one the hard sciences and the second, the occult and mysticism.

Now that I think of it that probably should have been my first warning there that odd combination of seemingly incompatible fields of study.  To me though it made perfect sense as I had extrapolated them from a quote attributed to Carl Gustave Jung, “Psychology and physics are facets of the same concept.”  To me it seemed only natural to infer that Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, the Occult and Mysticism were all facets of the same concept, in this case human consciousness or humanity itself if you like.  Of course there will be time management issues but I felt as I slept very little that I should be able to manage.  I had contingency plans if something got derailed or if funding dried up or even if I needed to transfer schools in mid stream.  What I didn’t have contingency plans for was failure.

It has been said, by my Action Theory Professor that one cannot plan to fail.  One might argue that a contingency plan is a way of dealing with failure but I think these plans are for foreseeable obstacles and away of planning to succeed.  The Great quest is very much like a horse pulling a load.  Horses in this case often wear blinders.  These are used to keep the horse from being spooked by the various happenings around he or she.  People on the great quest also wear blinders in this case allowing them to concentrate full energy on the goal before them.  The down side to this is that when an event comes out of left field you don’t see it until just a fraction of a second before it makes contact.  This spells disaster and that disaster, in my case, was a mental breakdown.

I distinctly remember the sensation that all of that knowledge in Calculus, Wave Mechanics, Differential equations and Organic Chemistry stood like a house of cards built on shifting sands and when it collapsed it took a great deal more with it.  I was aware that I wasn’t going to be able to proceed into the Masters program right away, that I would need experience so that I might reinforce and strengthen the shaky knowledge I already had but at no point did I think I was crazy.  The thought never crossed my mind.  I entered the work force with out my degree thinking that in time I could go back and finish, the thought of collapse still hadn’t crossed my mind.  The hardest thing was the realization that the goal I had been working on since the age of 12 was now unobtainable.  That all that time and effort had made little or no difference and that not all problems could be overcome or goals achieved through nothing more than hard work.  Reaching this realization though would take some years.  I just couldn’t keep from continuing the act of pounding my head against the wall.  I think it was those blinders that kept me from grasping the reality of the situation more quickly.  In a weird way it was like suddenly finding yourself in prison, through no fault of your own and in this case the bars of the prison were your own mind.

What to do?

Everything had changed.

Rage was beginning to build.

I could plop down in front of a television and booze it up until I died.  Lots of people do that or something a kin to this each year in these days of late.  This is not new, people have been drinking themselves to death forever it seems, now its prescription drugs.  The difference is just the age.  I had to redefine myself.  I had to give up the great quest and turn it it into a hobby of sorts, something of a passing fancy I could dip into on rare occasion.  But that was only part of the solution, I also had to find something to do with myself, something I enjoyed.  This was very difficult.

In reality it comes down to how we define ourselves.  Many of us define our self by the Great Quest, or possibly a job description and even that we are a parent or wife or husband, when we lose this key definition, an idea so deeply entrenched in our minds and for so long that we aren’t even aware it is there.  It is a large part of who we are.  When this is gone it puts us at a loss.  We have a definition of ourselves that has been removed from our existence.  Finding a new direction is practically impossible without first realizing that underlying definition.

I can’t tell anyone how to do this, I don’t think there is an expert out there that can.  This is one of those instances where our individuality is most apparent.  We are peculiar beings.  In the end all I can do is point out that it needs to be done but I have no idea where the guideposts are or what they say.

To anyone going through something like this all I can do is wish you God Speed.  The only advice is introspection and perseverance.  The only wish…

Have a better than average day.

Aether

I walk between worlds

yours, his, hers, theirs

from the wilds to the city

they all belong to some one

or something

Yet I am lost

Home

A shadowy remnant of what was

I have been returned

like a thing without a receipt

broken on the wheel

I have no place but the moment

standing on my own insecurely

But I do have a good view

The whole world to witness

and although I do not belong

I do have a choice

I can get the most out of the ride