I am the 1%

___

I worked for CBS.
I was paid minimum wage. I worked long hours.
Six days a week.
I got married.
I got into debt trying to make it.
I worked for Guardsmark.
I was paid decently, but treated like crap.
There was nowhere to go.
My marriage broke apart.
I was left with $10 000 debt and no job
I moved twice to find work
Had to leave the country
Now I’m working two jobs
My second job netted me $1000 for 6 days work
Tomorrow’s 5 day job will net me over $800
My first job owes me $165
When I finish my current assignment, I’ll get another $165
I’ve already paid down $500 on a overmaxed credit card
I have two cards overmaxed
I’ll have my credit card debt paid off in six months tops
I have a employers clamoring for me
Setting me up for work next year

I pave my own way
I don’t try to blame others
I bust my ass
I manipulate the system
I don’t try to change it.

I don’t like corporations
The economic system is geared for political connection
But, you don’t change the world with signs
You don’t change the world period, unless you’re armed
So…

I am the 1%
And I’m smarter than you Occupy Wall Street retreads.

Vicarious

***

I was never really in charge. I was never the dom that I thought I was. I was the slave holding the leash. I was the dog walking itself. Things happened because she wanted it. She got the best side of the beta and then walked away.

Five months of hell I walked. Five months of hard work and emotional breakdown and hate and love and pining and attempts to change and no change and friends, good friends. Five months of temptation and control and loss and loss of control and shit shit shit shit shit. Five months of months going by like bullet trains. Months lost to monthless moments. Months gone, never to return.

One night. One day. One kiss. One reason. One godless world run by godless heresies. Her ass in my crotch. Her intoxication. Her disposable body. Her sad face. Her smell. Her taste. Her eyes. My realm.

That was me in those eyes.
That was me in control.
That was me focused and on fire.
That was me in charge.
That was me on her tits.
That was me with her hips.
That was me.
No one can take that away.

“You’re your own man now,” said my uncle, smiling at me.

“My own man, for once,” I corrected.

I had told him I wasn’t going to leave his California home that he welcomed me in to for as long as I wanted. I had told him that I decided to cut my trip short and stay. I wanted to stay. My friends, my old co-workers, told me of the gold of being your own boss. He fired, she quit. On their own. Making what they could, together, free. I wanted to feel the sun and the breeze and see the peaks and the palm trees and drink up the dystopian paradise that is California. I couldn’t help myself. My being had given its ultimatum. It wanted the gifts of human delusion. It wanted the juice of self-deception. It wanted the command of the unaware and the unprepared. It wanted it all, and I decided to give it what it wanted.

For the first time, even while the tears streamed down my eyes, staring out at the blue-orange-red sky above me, sitting on the swing bench, I did something truly, fully and inexcusably for myself. The hate and the time and the worthlessness came out.

I no longer had to hate her.

She no longer mattered.

She was the dust blowing above me.

She was gone. Disappeared. Dissolved.

Amen.

Start With A Strong And Persistent Desire

***

It was his first full day with me in over a year. My dad sat across from me, grey in his hair and beard, but not a moment under young. Fifty-one, three kids all now of legal age, a long marriage and a job that calls him up even when he’s helping his son, he was still smiling. I wasn’t. I was tired. The day after he flew in to calm down the overwhelming mess the move and pack was becoming. The small bedroom room was full her shit. Everything strewn on the floor. It looked impossible. That’s why my father came down. “The hardest part is always starting,” he told me. By the end of that first night he was there, the day of my final shift, we had all of it packed and most of it stored. I had run on short naps and caffeine. That night I collapsed into sleep.

We were at IHOP. The good one south of where I lived. I got coffee, him just water. He had lost a about three toddlers in weight and kept it off for years. He wasn’t going to change just because we were going out to eat while he helped. Fresh eggs, no cheese, avocado, fruit. I had the full omelette with bacon, cheese and the works. I still ran on anything. I wouldn’t be able to do it for much longer.

Our waitress, Alexis, was a looker. Blonde, skinny, cute face. Very friendly. She woke me up a little before the coffee came. I could feel the urges begin. I wanted to game. I had comments and smiles and moves ready. I looked for rings on her fingers. None. I watched her as she walked away. Yes, this would be a good one to work with. Then, the genetic gift, the man I had doubted in previous manifestations of myself, came to the front. Years of being away. Years of indoctrination and bias and hurt and angst burned away like mist over Los Angeles in the morning sun. My dad spoke to her, naturally, in a way I’ve tried to do for years. Socially extroverted. Assertive, but so subtle the ticks in her brain were unnoticeable. I’d think of something to say when she came over and it was already out of his mouth with his smile bookending the neg or the compliment or the simple observation. My dad is happily married to the woman of his dreams. My dad isn’t doing this because he read it in a book or, like myself, trying to improve his pick-up. This is my father. This is who I can be.

During that breakfast of insight, he asked me about what I’ll do in television when I get back to Canada. Immediately out of my mouth is a lack of ambition. “I can just be a runner,” I say. He shakes his head with a stern “No.” As he’s about to speak, the man underneath years of middle ground pipes up and mentions writing. “I can write,” I say with a stronger voice. His nods says that’s a better answer. We talk more. He talks about the current show he’s working on and the wannabes who are screwing it up. He reminds me that I have a complex of hating my bosses, calling them all idiots. I acknowledge this. I tell him it was never my job to question or hate them. In the last day I’ve realized I don’t need to try to change anything. I just make the money. Do what I’m told and tell others. Things are changing fast, but they are changing correctly.

The next day, he’s dealing with problems with the crew while we drive around. He gets a call and his voice changes from father to boss in a split-second. I listen in. I used to listen for amusement. This time I listened for lessons. Subtle, unspoken lessons I ignored before because I rode the wave of mediocrity. As he chewed out a inept man, a man who’s nose is browner than the dirt, my brain caught fire. I could feel it burst with electricity as I took it all in. I sat quietly and listened. I heard tone. I heard words. I re-programmed myself with his movements of the air. Things get done his way because he does his job. Things get done because he sees the big picture. Things get done because he says so. He’s hired to make people money. These replaceable people are put in their place. This isn’t important work to the rights of man or the environment or politics. Its television. They get their perspective readjusted.

Beaten and broken for months by a woman, he’s rebuilt me in days. He put the focus in. He returned his legacy to the man he saw once in a while. I’m sorry I ever doubted him and his personality. I blamed everyone for what was happening to me, while in the end, it was me. My weakness and my biases and my outlook. Even while figuring out what needs paying off, and she left a lot to pay off, he tells me point blank that it isn’t fair. It isn’t right. She needs to pay off. I still try to explain it away. That she locks up and gets stubborn. He reminds me I have the code for the lock on the storage shed we rented. I smile, the manifestation of him in my soul laughing the loud chuckle of my father.

We’re allowed our weak moments. I’ve had my quota.

Thank you, Dad.

22: The Death Of All The Romance

***

The best way to kill idealism is to shine the light of reality upon it. Then, when exposed to the world, it crumbles and turns to dust like old parchment from under the Holy Land. Lost is the thoughts and ways of idealism, but in the end what does it matter when it can’t survive? What does it matter if reality is too much for anyone or anything?

This is the plague of our generation. We live in a world where everything is subject to the light, but what’s exposed is seen through the darkest of rose colored glasses. Great political revelations are turned on their head, protecting the powerful. Realities of war and culture are suddenly subject to the rules of the game, rules that previously were never enforced. Everyone has a say, yet fewer and fewer people are allowed to speak.

The internet, the great savior of free information, is anything but. Memes, the fads, the virus videos; they prove what has been said countless times: we are a stupid people. We are entertained by shiny objects, small things of no importance. For years, I found myself staring into the screen, deeply entranced by cute cats, laughing babies and odd animals. Hours spent taking myself away from myself. The world of the insane more interesting. For that is what the internet is. The mind of a madman, the human condition, our condition, allowed to be freely accessed. We are entertained by our own decadence.

I come home to an empty apartment slowly being torn apart by my own two hands. Old possessions sold or tossed. Always a mess. Bags full of junk. Sometimes I get excited that I’m going back to my family, settling down from this ride and just resting. Other times, I grab the sides of my world and shake it, hoping for something that makes sense to fall out. The human psyche isn’t a strong thing. Powerful men are taken down by the slightest of personal bruises. Its all about how much you can take and how much you want to come out the other side.

What is the other side? For many, its restarting the whole thing, like the Matrix. Once they come from the darkness, they see the same black cat. Over and over. Failed relationship after failed relationship. The mistakes they made mattered not. They’ll get back in. They’ll find that true love. The ideal will live on. These people are the sad souls. The broken zombies we see at fifty or sixty years old. The ones lost to nostalgia. The world was so much better when they didn’t have to deal with it. The world was so much better when the wool was snug and comfy.

For myself, it can’t be. It just can’t. Like a child allowed to stick his fingers into a socket, shocks like that stay in my memory. Red flags fly higher and brighter than ever before. Clues once ignored for ideals sake are now noted and logged. And, when the mystery is solved, I have the evidence before me. I can walk away knowing I didn’t lose a good thing. Good things should never make you doubt yourself. Ever.

As I return to organizing the end of a chapter, I take note of how much I’m throwing away, and I take remember how distracted I had to be during the whole thing. I remember how I hid or ran or wanted it all gone. I remember that I stayed for the ideal. The promises. The hope things would change.

Things are just that. Things. They are only as important as the value we place on them.

And, as it turns out, the most important thing I have is my diginity.