Tag Archives: moderate humor

Harvey

There are two forces which tend to influence my mood in the attempt to get me to take action: the first is the result of an over-analytical mind, which has limited powers of prognostication, and the other is a sense of self-hatred which desires, above all else, that I place my head into the lion’s mouth to boldly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But, because I am a biochemical meat sack propped up by a skeleton, both forces are relegated to a painfully simple vocabulary, The result of this is that, while my gut may be shouting, “Go! Danger!”, I’ve no idea from what I should be running, to where I should escape, or, most importantly, why. And due to the fact that this communication is carried out chemically, on a subconscious level, I have no clue from whom I’m being warned.

I am a  creature of habit, fearing change much as would a germophobic panhandler, and often remain in harmful situations because I’ve come to know that devil, and, for all his faults, he’s a hell of a conversationalist. In an attempt to keep me from the inevitable despair of stagnation, my Hippocamp Nostradamus will begin flooding my awareness with subtle signals of disgust and frustration, in the hope that I will lose control and either quit the scenario outright, or scorch the very earth so that the status quo cannot continue.

This has happened any number of times, and though the process has been painful, I have always landed on my feet, and even wound up coming out ahead. That’s not to say that I am grateful, for I carry the stress of my entire life upon the diminishing capacity of my shoulders, like a mistreated and forgotten Atlas. That, and the extra three stone I carry about within my gut (a nod to the fears of harder times ahead) can make it difficult at times to stand up straight, hold my head up high, and tell the world to just fuck off.

Now, my depression is another matter entirely. In the past, I jave likened it to a sensual seductress, enticing me to fail, or some rotund, alcoholic, and abusive heckler, reminding me of all my failures (including those which resulted in a net victory, but with the redemptive postscript deliberately removed). In reality, such as it is, it is no more anthropomorphic than yesterday’s underwear (if anything, slightly less). That feeling of self-worthlessness is best represented by a hand-stitched quilt (always just a tad too warm), made up of every memory of when I had failed to be the man I know I should have been (every shame, embarrassment, and lie, neatly stitched up embroidered in a dazzling display of craftsmanship), draped over my shoulders to remind me not to get above myself.

Though metaphysical in their description, these entities seem very real, especially to someone who walks the narrow line of sanity to peer into the hidden depths of insight which the human condition may provide.

Now, for the sake of carrying on, imagine these two, not as disparate enemies, one foul, the other fair, but rather, as identical twins, down to the dimple on their left cheek, Got that image firmly in your mind? Good. Now get rid of it because it’s completely wrong.

Neither foul nor fair, nor twins of DoubleMint, this pair of overactive malcontents are, in fact, one in the same. They are a double-headed coin*, tarnished a bit from all the years, yet worn smooth from countless handling. They both despise the status quo, and hate me for who I am. One side would prefer that I live up to my ideals, while the other is more interested in my baser natures. And they can both read past and present to glimpse into the future, and nudge me toward one of their preferred destinies.

This isn’t a campaign waged on a scale of weeks, or months, or years, although I’m fairly certain that they’ve both and endgame in mind for me.

No, these skirmishes within my psyche happen in the beats between the moments which eventually coalesce to become that thing that I call life.

Say “fuck this!” now, and lose out on that promotion they were about to offer, but couldn’t yet discuss because they were checking the financials, but say “fuck this!” now, and miss out on a massive clusterfuck of corporate restructuring resulting in a stagnant wage and overwork ad infinitum.

It’s all contained within the spaces between words, in that anxious moment between heartbeats, and rather than being immediately obvious and clear cut, it can often take months or years to assess the benefits of damages of any given choice.

And that’s just if I am able to decipher the rumblings and pains of my padded tummy enough to make a choice at all.

Then there are the times when it’s just gas**.


* Phew, almost wrote dildo there.

** For the sake of appearances, I’ll not mention into how may existential crises I have launched myself in a response to lactose intolerance.

Intent

Enough with all of the melancholy diatribes. Although a defining factor of my personality, depression is not the sum total of who I am. There are also good things about me, or so I have been told. I’m sorry for putting all of you through my open-book therapy sessions, although I do manage to sneak some decent sentences in there from time to time, so I suppose even the darkness serves its purpose, if only to give depth and value to the light. It’s quite easy to fall into a cycle of self-hatred, and that dead horse is quite good for the beating which I’ve gotten quite adept at giving, but that’s only a part of who I am, specifically, the part of me with so little self-esteem that it verges on unadulterated self-despite. But I’m also in possession of a mighty ego, and while that by itself is not much better than the other, it is at least a springboard into the possibility of writing something that’s not so completely dour and vitriolic towards myself that it is known to the State of California to cause cancer (along with almost everything else). I think that it’s about time to try to say something nice about myself, or at least address why have a such a hard time taking a simple compliment.

Apparently, there are people in this world that have been under the delusion that I am attractive. I am willing to concede that when I am in a particularly viscerally vulnerable and self-destructive mood, I have been known to be quite charming. I would argue the point, but it has been well documented, and I have had more than the sum total of zero girlfriends in my day, so I am faced with no alternative but to admit (mostly to myself) that there must be something that isn’t completely repelling about me, at least in a certain light. But even that is not really what I’m getting at. I know that it is difficult to believe, but there are apparently people in the world who think that I am physically attractive. I literally do not understand this. I am fat. I am constantly scowling. My teeth resemble buttered popcorn more than ivory, and I carry the constant aroma of cigarettes about me like whatever the opposite of an Invisibility Cloak would be, but for one’s olfactory array. Also, I am bald. I know that’s a sign of virility, that I am literally too much man (fat joke!) to be burdened by the more pedestrian trappings of hair care products. On the other hand, I’m easily doing my part to fight the drought in California by taking such quick showers. If I was someone other than myself, I don’t know that I would “think of me like that.” You heard it here, folks: Even in the hypothetical, I have friendzoned myself.

Stop, Tex. You’re slipping back into self-critical humor.

Right. Sorry.

I mean, I have made strides since I was but a lad, in trying to make myself a better man. And there is something quite alluring about self-confidence, which falls into the bailiwick of ego (Great name for Cartwheels Into Oblivion’s first album: The Bailiwick of Ego). Not that this is truly a pressing concern of mine, but the fact is that everyone wants to feel beautiful. Even if you have someone who tells you every single day, that’s still a tiny sample size, and hardly representative of society at large. Sometimes it’s just nice for someone to smile at you for no other reason than they’re imaging the nasty things they’d like to do with/to you. Again, it’s not that I am looking for a dinghy, just that it’s a real boost to see the sparkle in someone else’s eyes. As a man, I have been led to believe that stoicism is the spice of life, and showing emotions (other than manly things, like rage) is something I should never do. Being beautiful in someone’s eyes is foolish; having compliments bestowed upon you is the most shameful of occurrences. Do I try to make myself attractive? Not really. Most of the time I just don’t give a damn. If the beauty standards were reversed, I still don’t think that I’d be caught dead painting myself just to catch a passing glance (please discount those years when I was younger and smoked clove cigarettes and wore black lipstick and nails- that had more to do with how deeply into the trappings of the Goth life I had fallen, and less to do with anything remotely beautifying).

am funny, though. I don’t know that you would necessarily believe it, if you only know me from my written words, but I’m not entirely composed of sadness and grumpy faces. I’ve been known to make some people laugh. On purpose. And as much as I want to say that I’m only good for blurting out exactly the wrong thing, I’m also pretty talented at saying things which people need to hear, at least, according to my ego. I am much more likely to try to build a person up, than to hold them tight on their way down (assuming, that is, that I was the one to topple them). Aside from a very few exceptions, it makes me happy to bring happiness to others. I like to catch someone off guard and goad them into smiling. It makes my day to brighten someone else’s dour demeanor, or use their own momentum to lift them even higher.

Of course, I don’t subscribe to a philosophy of moderation. Once I have forged a connection with someone, it’s hard for me to play it cool, and I think that I end up frightening them away. Those friends of mine who still remain, have seen me at my worst, my neediest, and clingy, and yet they somehow think that I am worth all of that trouble. Tex Batmart: Xtreme(!) Friend!

There: did I say some nice things about myself, and put everyone at ease? I guess that the moral of the story is… Oh, what the hell, I’ve literally no idea. Hang in there? I’m probably worth the trouble? I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine.

The Man Who Couldn’t Give A Shit

To My Muse, wherever she may be…

There was once a man who went through life, untouched by anything around him. People who would pass him by, frequently noticed his loneliness, but he rebuffed all efforts to draw him in. He had no time, he’d say, and even if he did, he had more pressing matters on his mind. In short, he couldn’t give a shit.

His dour demeanor drove everyone away, but he found no solace within his isolation. Somewhere deep inside of him, a raging impotence was burning, but he knew that there was nothing he could do, and so he only folded it all down and back upon itself, until he very nearly convinced himself that everything was fine. He simply couldn’t give a shit.

The years began to pass, and still he drove away his fellow man, with naught but his apathy for company. He seemed in search of something, forever on a quest, but for what he’d never say, for it was known that he kept everything to himself, never even letting a nugget of himself slip away. But, of course, this is no way to live, just walking the earth, never giving even a solitary shit, and soon it was too late.

There came a day when he could finally bear his burden for not a moment longer. He fell down to his knees, doubled over in exquisite agony, and for the first time in his life, well and truly began to give a shit. But as I said, it was far too late. He had waited far too long, and as all his sediment and sentiment passed out his puckered jaws of victory, everything he’d held inside simply ripped the man apart.

The people passed him where he fell, and gazed upon what remained of him, a sadness briefly touching down upon them, but soon the feeling was gone. It wasn’t that they themselves could not give a shit: far from it. They’d their lesson all too well, having watched the suffering of this sad and bitter man. Having taken precautions to prevent such a grisly fate from befall them, they simply had no more shits left to give, and merely walked on by.

The moral of the story: Dietary Fiber for the Soul beats chicken soup every single time.

Three Dozen

In less than twenty hours, I will reach another milestone: three dozen years upon this world. That’s about a dozen more than I intended, but I’ve at least managed to have some times worth living in this enforced surplus I’ve been given. After this, there’s really not another one to celebrate until I hit the big 4-0 (unless you count the Clerks milestone next year, which, sadly, I kind of do). But that’s okay, because this year is special enough to last awhile. You see, I am now She was when I was only seventeen. I traveled into the future (albeit the long way ’round), and found myself… diminished. There may have been a million reasons to hold on to a little bit of anger, but at least I could now tell myself to lay off on some of the little jokes, like mocking her for smoking Ultra Lights, or… Okay, I guess that’s basically it. Nineteen years (well, and six more months away), since I began the Adventures of Tex Batmart. Of all the possible outcomes I could foresee, this was never one of them, at least not exactly. Here I am, a husband, father, stepfather, and grandpa, some dude who works a Regular Joe job, having mostly abandoned his calling in order to pay the bills. I’ve redeemed some part of that last self-recrimination, but it’s still a work in progress, to be sure.

As of 1:44 p.m. tomorrow, I will have been around for 1,136,073,600 seconds (margin of error +/- 59 seconds), and I swear I’ve felt the weight of nearly all of them. Although, and maybe this is just the romantic stirring somewhere deep within me, there were a few that lasted for quite a bit longer than the clock recorded (yet weighing almost nothing in my gravitic reckoning), as I tapped into the wellspring of true happiness and rode the tidal waves of love. Sometimes I feel that I’m just too old to feel that kind of teenage ardor, the hopeless throes of passion that only the young can truly feel (or at least bother themselves to act upon). With every year that passes, I keep hearing that some future demographic is now the “new” (different, younger) demographic. Why are the goalposts continually being moved? Why is it that 36 has to force me back into my twenties? Why can’t the 30’s be the new 40’s? I feel like I’m stumbling up an escalator which is rolling slightly faster downward. By the time that I am dead, I will have only been the “New 21”. Forget that! I want to be all old and crotchety, if I am to live that long. I want to be decrepit and scream for teenaged hooligans to vacate my lawn. I don’t mind the trade-off of truly free and uncensored speech, if the only thing it means is that people disregard me. They’ve been doing so for nearly four decades, so I’d rather just go off on random people, if it’s all the same to you.

So what have I accomplished in these past three dozen years? I suppose that it depends upon what you feel merits the title of an accomplishment. I learned to sit up without being held, and to walk unaided. I mastered the use of indoor plumbing before I ever went to school. I made my career choice before arriving at double digits, and the first time that I ever fell in love, I was the same age as my son is now (my first kiss as well. I am grateful that my son has exponentially less game than I did, which is kind of depressing, from an evolutionary standpoint). I learned how to write by devouring the masters, and very nearly managed to almost learn guitar. I fell in love so many tens of times, that I should probably be nominated for some kind of unrequited award. I owned my own business when I was seventeen, and also… you know, became an adult, in the biblical sense (and I’m not referencing a Bar Mitzvah). I started at the bottom of the lowest rung of the restaurant industry to work my way up toward the top by the time my twenties were half over. I finally got married, and became a dad for real (having practiced on another youngster ten years before that), though not in that strict order. I’ve never gotten fired, having always chosen instead to quit (though once I learned about the ins and outs of unemployment, I began to reconsider the pride that I had taken in it).

But all of those are just things, you know? What have I done to change the world (for either good or evil)? I’ve never saved a whale, nor clubbed a baby seal. I have planted trees, but I also eat a lot of burgers. I have done my part to save the Amazon by selling my soul to the Seattle-based usurper, but it’s a hometown business, so I guess I’m still shopping locally? It used to be enough for me that I would be remembered, and now that I’ve passed along my D.N.A., my legend is almost guaranteed (though I should probably make sure that I can get a grandchild out of the Minkey at some point before patting myself upon the back). But now I seem to be hung up on having managed to accomplish something of worth. It’s like I feel that I must justify my existence, though I never really wanted it to start with. I want to write something of such beauty that it will resist the vagaries of time and pass down through the centuries without ever having been misquoted, I want to do something that will save someone else’s life. I want to reach out into the mists of the unknown with the pain which I have felt, and take someone suffering all alone, and pull them to their feet. I want to find out, once and for all, who it is I really am.

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