Posse & Clique: Surviving Ostracization

YOU ARE UNIQUE! You are special because you have some identifiable characteristic and I don’t mean a nose in the shape of a Doritos chip, ridiculously large ears that would make Dumbo cry, or having Tourette’s episodes in the middle of religious sermons. What I mean is that everyone in this strange world is trying to achieve something in their own distinctive manner whether it is to have a great job, a picture-perfect, lasting relationship with someone, or an exceptional education.  Sure, there are people who have unpleasant traits about them such as never showering or showing up to funerals wearing thongs and nothing else. Someone could also be a recluse; a total anti-social, introverted, bitter individual but that’s not the case with what I’m trying to put forth here.

Some people, for unknown reasons, won’t fit into any clique. Political or religious differences are stereotypical explanations why they would not be welcomed within their posse. These manifestations are observed in every culture around the globe but what if this phenomenon transpires when you’re a child or a teenager? Let’s use an example . . .

I went to a small private high school where essentially everyone’s parents were established professionals.  I met a few guys that became lifelong friends. These friends did not belong to any external circle of friends and if they did, the group became inconsistent. Years passed and social media became the quintessential place to congregate with old friends and schoolmates. I discovered that the same high school cliques were still active and new memberships were still unavailable. In the past, I arranged class get-togethers with “cyber” help from other classmates and even though these were successful reunions, I still didn’t get my “personalized V.I.P. pass” into their cult-like posse. So . . . what’s the problem here? It can’t be the race because, for the most part, we were all the same race with the same customs and culture with the exception of TWO black students in the whole school. Is it personal wealth that determines whether you would be ostracized or not? It is a possibility but I doubt my classmates are still anticipating their “Hey, you are now mature” notice in the mail. I will admit, I was a hot mess in high school skipping three out of the five days of the week and not caring a bit about my grades but, again, is THIS a legitimate reason?

I have come to the conclusion that perhaps these individual have detected that I am a shapeshifter and they are not at ease with such beings. If only they knew that it was I who transported them to Earth in an intergalactic, flying Ford Galaxie many centuries ago after I rescued them from a faraway planet where the inhabitants (they) fed on their own regenerating toes and had a habit consisting of discharging internal methane through their nostrils while doing ritualistic belly dances in the presence of sixty-three foot space crabs prior to their bedtime.

But seriously, I believe it’s just a matter of perspective. It is THEM who are blemished and impaired possibly from pre-pubescent peer pressure. They have limited themselves to socialize exclusively with their kind . . . somewhat like an incestuous tribe. Perhaps that’s why their children looked slightly suspect with their oversized heads, hindered speech, and unusual blood types K squared or TX+3/4. This act of ostracizing could even be considered bullying in some strange circles.

Just remember that you are much better than them. You don’t have scruples and you are not biased. You are not pretentious by worshiping your magnificent home, vehicle, children, and profession to others. Chances are everything they boast about is a fabrication. You may be standing over their subterranean meth lab if they ever lower their guard to invite you to their incognito soiree. And once you’re there, avoid the bowl with the Little Smokies. Those hors d’oeuvres being served may be their best friend’s severed toes.

 

Advertisements

Oceanic Adventures

I haven’t been feeling all that well lately. It’s been the beginning of a head cold, wild blood pressure fluctuations, tired bones, over exhaustion, and so on. All of this could possibly be linked to lack of sleep which I am a “blue ribbon” winner in this category. I say this because I feel great on nights when I sleep over six hours. I’m not too worried about this because I spent the first twenty-three years of my life being awake at night and taking short naps during the day. Once, I even had some dumb kid walk up to me with a lollipop while I was napping on a tree limb. What nerve waking me up to ask me how many licks it took to get to the center of his stupid candy. I showed him! I guess I wasn’t too refined in those days. They’re making us look better these days by being helpful and informative. We can sell you cheap eyeglasses, find you hotel deals (cheaper if you room with roaches), and even persuade you to buy medicine which would probably expedite your demise.

But I totally got off subject . . .

Late last week, I was involved in a soul-searching, karma cleansing, self-pilgrimage of epic proportions. In other words, I went to the beach . . . alone . . . at sunrise. Now, you may think: “Big deal. Who hasn’t done this before?” However, this beach was completely empty. I mean, this is the perfect place to be if you want to be abducted by aliens in broad daylight. This might be a good idea if you owe too much in credit cards, alimony, child support, and unpaid I.R.S. taxes. The experience was beyond surreal. There were NO cars in the parking lot and not one person anywhere on the beach for as far as the eye could see.

I haven’t been to this beach in ages and it has gone through many changes since the last time I visited. All the trees and picnic benches are gone. Back in the day, there was no formal parking lot. You would park your vehicle between trees on their roots. I guess the ecologists became infuriated. The actual beach has also been cleaned up. No more submerged huge boulders where assorted fish would congregate and tickle your legs (visual, please) as you walked by in three feet of water. There is a trail with heavy brush on the sides that lead to the sand. I AM SURE there are some exotic and, perhaps, extinct animals living within the dense greenery because I heard sounds coming from there that I last heard while having a nightmare where Timothy Leary and I were walking through the Brazilian rainforests. I will admit: I sprinted through the trail twice because one thing is to have aliens conduct a procto exam on you and another thing is to be swallowed alive by a nefarious emu/sasquatch hybrid with a preference for writers. (There’s an obscure document on a cave wall written in hieroglyphics at Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna, Florida, which states that the emu/sasquatch hybrid prefers to boil writers before eating them in a huge pot to create alphabet soup but I, personally, don’t think it’s true.)

Rapidly, I submerged myself into the salted, fish-urinated sea a total of five times and walked out. As I was drying myself, a security guard on a golf cart materialized. The older man smiled, slowly waved at me, and drove away towards the parking lot. I believe my mental RPMs slowed to a minimum because it reminded me of the scene with the fire truck/fireman at the beginning of David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet.” Was I going to find a human ear in the sand? Was I in Lumberton? This happened again as I was getting into my car except, this time, the older lady in the golf cart said “good morning” as she, too, gave me the hand wave on Quaaludes.

In conclusion, I don’t know what came over me but I felt invigorated after the quick dips. It was an awkward experience but, I believe, I left behind something malevolent at the beach. Perhaps this is what the emu/sasquatch feeds on until the capture the right specimen to consume.

PS: I took a few pictures of the creepy beach and the trail. They are posted on my Douglas Lynn Facebook page for your enjoyment.

On death and marsupials

Death is one of the few unsolved mysteries of the world. It surprises you most of the times unless you’re diving off the Verrazano Bridge, shooting up liquefied phencyclidine, snorting Mount Everest, or trying to deceive the IRS. Some other people cannot handle the reality of growing old. They feel they’ve become inadequate, unattractive, or have simply given up on life after recognizing that they’ve failed in mostly everything. Death is not supposed to be enthusiastically anticipated as you mature. “Old” is in the mind. Sure, the physical body throws hints at you periodically to remind you that you’re not the “brick house” you used to be but this shouldn’t derail your mission in life. You are never too old to try anything new. Start doing whatever you desire now because thinking about it is as good as anticipating Harry Potter ringing your doorbell on Christmas Eve and gifting you with his virtues. If you really think this is plausible, re-read the second sentence of this post.

This interruption of your timeline becomes an even bigger burden when you come from a family where “kicking it” has occurred more often than not prior to hitting the big 5-0. An example would be my own family and this is one of the reasons why my address is a post office box. The reaper would have to go through the inconvenience of activating my antiquated GPS tracker implanted under my skin when I was born to look up my street address. This would greatly delay “it” (we must consider the possibility that the reaper might be female and potentially my ex-wife dressed in Goth). Chances are “it” won’t find me because I would have been notified by my undercover lemur friend residing within my neighbor’s Surinam cherry tree. Once I get the marsupial tip, I’ll use my ticket bought in advanced from SpaceX to vacation around “green (cheese) land.”

But seriously, this is a complex topic to openly blurt out to friends, family, acquaintances, sensitivity readers, frail shrubbery, and peers. It is an actuality and ignoring it won’t make the inevitable go away. Much of the world’s population find comfort in what religion teaches them: “When you die, you go to the heavens and Saint Peter will be there to direct you to the land of rainbows, unicorns, past family members, yellow stars, pink hearts, orange stars, green clovers, the pet turtle you flushed down the toilet when you were five years old, and Glenn Miller and Amelia Earhart sitting in a tree (don’t ask what they’re doing there).  You also get a reduced cable TV and cell phone bill along with complimentary celestial wings.” Umm . . . no! Doesn’t work that way but if it’s going to make you feel better prior to “hanging your sneakers,” then, go for it. Just remember me when you’re writing your will.

Some others believe in reincarnation but the problem with this philosophy is that you cannot foresee the transmogrification. What if you return as a deep angler fish and you’re afraid of depths, darkness, and the sea? Or maybe you come back as a deformed Chihuahua because you had a massive collection of Frito Bandito erasers when you were a child. Finally, you may come back as an inanimate object . . . like a septic tank or a fire hydrant.

The point is that everything you hear about death may be true or it may all be BS. There’s no way of telling. We do not get injected with religious faith and eternal wisdom prior to being born (but we are slowly inoculated with life-altering, GMO poisons subsidized by some big corporate establishment and supervised by an advocate of the aforementioned dark entity since the day we’re born.) Stop worrying about things you have no control over and don’t let this bring you down and, most importantly, don’t let any manipulating, false prophet restrict you from doing whatever the hell you want to do. Remember that those who preach about the things you should and shouldn’t do aren’t any smarter than you. They, too, will eventually become worm meat or ashtray contents too (or lemur food if they’re around my neighborhood).  So, enjoy yourself! It’s later than you think!

Interview with Douglas Lynn

Recently, I was interviewed by Fiona Mcvie for her AUTHORS INTERVIEWS blog site. Get to know the strange man in his strange world! It is available at :

https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/here-is-my-interveiw-with-douglas-lynn/

Again, I must reiterate that my blog and my independent writing are very different from each other. The blog mainly displays my humor which has been referred to as slapstick and extreme. My stories are the more serious and bizarre side of me.

“The Psychopomp”, mentioned in the interview, is a novelette on the surreal forces of good versus evil with both being the same entity at times (a recurring topic in my stories and past songwriting). It should be published this autumn along with some other short stories and flash fiction.

And then came June the 15th . . .

Situation:

Car #1 – Needs two back tires

Car #2 – Needs back brakes

The unpaid bills

Landscapers M.I.A.

The local weather

 

So it’s Friday and all is fun and joy because it should be. Most of the times, I would be chillaxing with my wine and getting ready for the weekend. This is not one of those times.

I start the day with my morning stroll which is usually 10,000 steps. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am on a diet . . . again. My fitness hours are interrupted today because I have to take car #1 to a new tire place. If you’ve ever gone to Goodyear or Firestone, you know you will have to shave your 5 o’clock shadow before they’re done. These are sloths in disguise. They work slowly and periodically turn towards you and smile. This new place, however, promised me that their work would be done in half an hour or less but I must get there when they open. So, I drive the car with the bald tires to them and, lo and behold, they kept their promise. The tires were quite inexpensive too . . . suspiciously cheap. So I skip a day of megawalks.

Next thing on the agenda is paying bills. I have it set up in which most of my bills are due on the 15th. No problem. However, I remembered a few other tidbits I had to take care of. By the time I’m done with these, it’s time for lunch. This is the one meal which is crucial since my breakfast is a towering cup of coffee with my beloved pumpkin spice creamer (Yes, my local Wal-Mart takes care of me and it carries this flavor year round). Lunch consists of a non-soy, veggie burger and eight ounces of grapefruit juice. I went back to the computer to pay the bills. The phone rings. The mechanic is coming over in a few hours to change the brakes. I realize I have four (yes, 4) pennies in my wallet. I have no cash and he only takes cash (Does he report it? Don’t know and don’t care. Not my problem). Off I go on car #1 with the new (possibly black market) tires to the ATM and get some cash. The Freon is leaking so I have no A/C. The sun and the heat are punishing but I make it back home with only one-seventh of my skin melted off.

I make my second attempt on paying the bills now keeping in mind of the 5 PM deadline. There’s a knock on the door after I had paid a couple of the utilities. It’s the mechanic. I have a friend who is also a mechanic but he can never get here because his vehicle is always broken. Figure that! He had bought the brakes for car #2 a while back. Well, guess what? After the “new” mechanic took the tires and old brakes off, I give him the box of brakes and he tells me that those don’t fit. Now, mind you, I had asked the mechanic how much the labor would be and I took out the EXACT amount from the ATM. So, car #1 with the suspicious tires is blocked in by car #2 on a jack. The mechanic’s car is full of crap reminiscent to Fred Sanford’s home so I cannot go to the auto parts store with him because I don’t fit in there and it would be a frosty day in Cameroon when I lend him my credit card. He tells me he will get the correct brakes and I could pay him later. He leaves and soon after, the landscaper parks his truck in front of the house. By the way, he is scheduled for Tuesdays but lately Noah has been picking that day to go sailing on his ark so he couldn’t come. I walk to greet him and tell him to be careful on the driveway because the mechanic left car parts and tools close to where he works. The guy who reminds me of the Doobie Brothers’s Patrick Simmons looks at me as if I had a platypus’s bill growing out of the side of my head. Luckily, he understood. So, Rodney the mechanic (I call him Rodney because he has a striking resemblance to the late Mr. Dangerfield) goes on his merry way to find the elusive brakes. Mr. Simmons and the rest of the landscaping Doobies finish. Apparently, Rodney was abducted by the big-headed, 55-eyed aliens from the planet Sumadre. What else can go wrong? Oh, yeah . . . we have new thunderstorm warnings for the vicinity. So it starts raining and I worry the car parts might wash away and find their way to Noah now doing the limbo with disgruntled giraffes somewhere north of Cyprus. Once I saw the first of the raindrops, I called Rodney to find out if the aliens had finished the rectal examination. I guess they did because he answered and assured me not to worry because he was on his way. And, like stepping on roadkill while trying to impress the new neighbor with the string bikini, I remembered the bills. Oh, the damn bills. Screw it. I pay after the 5 P.M. deadline and hope for the best. I finally finished paying them all at exactly 6:15 P.M. and, just then, Rodney finally shows up. It is now 8:30 P.M. and he’s still out there working in total darkness. I see some movement so either he’s working or a battalion of insects are feeding on him.

Well, there’s always Saturday. I’m sure it’ll be a better day after I have my coffee with pumpkin spice creamer and dispose of the carcass the insects left behind.

PERSONAL PARADOX VOL. 384: PROSE VS. MUSIC

There’s an overused saying that goes “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” which is considered good advice by many. This is not a rule, though, since there are exceptions. Some people play two-hundred lotto tickets every week hoping the more they play, the greater the chances of winning. Others would spend their well-earned money by playing different games, i.e., Powerball, Fantasy 5, Mega Millions, etc. Logic would dictate that diversifying increases the chances of winning. If only life were this easy . . .

My dilemma this wonderfully overcast evening is on the similarities I’ve encountered with this philosophy. My conclusion is that prose and music can be handled in the same exact way and the end result will most likely be devastating. As far as prose, it came to my attention as I was checking my stats on my blog. There are times when I post a blog and receive a respectable amount of likes while, other times, I post on the same genre and you can hear the chilling sound of a dead June beetle’s dehydrated exoskeleton withering in the wind around you as you take your post-dinner, nightly stroll around the community park. What exactly does this mean? Does it mean that I should either 1) stick to one genre exclusively 2) post at the exact time every time I post a blog 3) find a more diverse audience perhaps out of the country? Obviously, I’m doing something wrong and I haven’t pinpointed the problem.

Here’s when the overactive brain takes over (or the ADHD decides to become an a-hole once again). Diversification should not be limited to social or cultural applications. It should be a general rule which enhances your quality of life. So, I “diversify” in prose genre or style and I get nailed. The same happened to me with music many years ago. I would write and/or produce a track with a distinct genre in mind. Luckily for me, the very first track I wrote and produced became a hit within its genre and almost crossover to the pop charts. For the second release, I changed the genre thinking I could maximize my audience by catering to a different market. The point is that every release was different from the next one and the glory days ended unexpectedly quickly. After all, who want to be pigeon-holed, profiled, or typecasted into a specific label?

So . . . my quandary is: why does this happen in these fields when diversification applies to practically every other asset of life with success?

I would like some honest opinions on this post whether they are good or bad. Should I stick to one genre, one style, a hybrid, a timeframe, an audience?  Maybe videos? More pictures?

Television is the devil, Bobby Boucher!

After a long day at work, most people sit on the sofa and enjoy television. Sounds about right. Take a day off from cooking and order a pizza or some Chinese food and, of course, have it delivered. However, television is a bad drug with very little benefits these days. Sure, you have 20,000 cable channels to choose from but how many do you actually watch? Most of these channels play reality shows which, if you’re into this, you have sunk to lows never imagined when you were younger.

So . . . let’s see what else is on the telly: sports (you get upset when your pro team loses but they don’t care because the players, owners, and networks are making millions), game shows (for more than six decades, people watch other people competing for prizes which would be sold in a garage sale within weeks), news and politics (the left against the right, the right against the left, fake stories, true stories of no importance, calamities in your neighborhood, and a meteorologist that ALWAYS gets it wrong), crime dramas (just watch the news), nature programs (yeah, because I just love to watch bears eat free salmon while I have to pay big bucks for it), beauty contests (sorry, beauty is skin deep), educational channels (can’t be too accurate if the information is for free), movies (exactly how many times do I have to watch “Ferris Buellar’s Day Off” in this lifetime?), Spanish-speaking channels (que?), the Grammys, Emmys, Tonys, Oscars, Golden Globes (you’re REALLY not considering this crap, are you?), late night talk shows (see politics; nothing funny past 11 P.M.) So what’s left?

My TV viewing is limited to the Weather Channel because there’s something very surreal about their broadcasting. I really don’t know how to explain it.  It’s also the best channel to have on if you’re having problems going to sleep. Another channel is the ID channel. Why bother to watch fictitious crime dramas when you can get the REAL thing. But that’s it! If I want to watch a movie, I just pick one from my 2,000+ DVD collection in which I will always find complete seasons of “American Dad,” “Archer,” and “South Park.” I also have the “Complete Monty Python Flying Circus,” “Faulty Towers,” and “Keeping Up Appearances” box sets.  DONE!

But let’s face it: no man is an island so you HAVE to have cable TV at home and they (the cable company) knows it so you get exploited (look at the pic on top of the monthly cable bill). What can you do? Everything is digital. No more UHF/VHF or rabbit ears and I’m sure you don’t want to watch a TV show or movie on your iPhone or Android (I have a $20 off coupon from Lens Crafters if you do this). The philosophy is insane and equivalent to “what the point of eating if you’re going to ‘get rid of it’ in twenty-four hours?”

This is a good time to end this blog post. As you see, it’s become excessively weird. Go to the boob tube and enjoy your now cold egg foo yung.

Keeping My Day Job

Poetry is definitely not my forte but I did learn the importance of punctuation, positioning, and choice of words. This is my first attempt working with detached sentences and clauses and tricky punctuation. Let me know your thoughts on this androgynous and existential utterance.

 

UNPARALLELED

 

Strolls the acquainted thoroughfare undetected. Wears

incongruous attire,

Sulks at mailbox graffiti and fragmented public phones near the

Window-shopping

downtown:  COLOSSAL stores going-out-of-business sales.

Walking back home,

stops at arches.

Sits next to restrooms,

watching people; dirty trays.

Inside the mid-century modern house:

They kiss.

Embrace.

High Ethics: Truthful since pep rally decades ago.

When evening falls . . .

Climbs ladder on side of house and

sits on roof to count stars BELOW.

BARN-born, Wyoming-bound and withered in ‘Burbia,

those faraway reveries.

Infinitely. Infinitely. Infinitely . . .

Softly hums a catchy melody and

beams and

eyes . . . Close.

Last Month, Macon; This Month, Bacon

First of all, Macon is mentioned because it was the last stop on my last road trip in which I ate like a pig.

A year ago, I was proudly saying that I had shed forty-seven pounds in five months without signing up to an established diet plan or going under someone’s knife. It was quite simple too. Reduce the carbs, count calories, and do cardio. The most helpful item was my antiquated FitBit which I never take off except for showers. The cardio involved walking a minimum of 10,000 steps a day. I also cut all sugars but that was the easy part since I hardly like anything sweet. Sodium is a no-go also.

But then, tragedy struck. Hurricanes, intensive school courses, a couple of small illnesses and, before I knew it, I began gaining the weight back. I matched my all-time high last month and the red flags came out. I looked in the mirror and my nose was replaced with a pig snout. It’s time to become proactive.

Weight is one of my biggest fears because obesity runs (and kills) in the family. Everyone thought I was the exception when I was younger to the point in which I was nicknamed “the bat” because of my very thin appearance. Perhaps the reason why I was always so anemic-looking was that my selection of foods was very limited. Not because we were poor but because there was never any fluctuation in the family menu. My first marriage introduced me to fatherhood and eating well. Never had I tried so many different foods from so many different countries, my favorite being Mediterranean. This was the first time I became concerned with weight. Well, that didn’t last long. There’s no better diet than divorce or death . . . and, I think, I’m still alive!

So, today I started my routine again: the 10,000 steps, the calorie count, and the minimal carbs, sugars, and sodium. This time, however, I’m taking it further with a more healthy approach. This includes substituting eggs with egg whites, no red meat, vegetables (avoid fruits), and loads of hummus. I have cut almost all soy products since it interferes with the male libido, or so they say (I’m not taking any chances). That means no more tofu, Morningstar Farms, Boca Burger, or Gardein products. I had started trying substitutes and found Quorn products though they don’t have the extensive selections as the previously mentioned. I am not endorsing any of these products and you should always look into these alternative foods . . . especially Quorn (mycoproteins).

I will keep you posted on my progress unless last year’s pattern repeats or I become a sixty-three-foot crab overnight from all the new mysterious food products I keep trying.*

* I will be posting about GMO’s in the future. This is one of my biggest pet peeves.