Yet Another Brief Treatise on God

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For whatever reason, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about God. It’s possibly a Christian thing — I’m sure some of my very Christian friends also do this. Unlike them, I don’t ponder deeply on God so I can serve Him better.

There are only two things God wants from us: worship and obedience. That’s it. I have only two problems with those two things: I seem to be incapable of trusting God completely, and I’m really bad at obeying His commandments.

If I had to give a reason for why I do something for no discernible gain, I’d probably say it’s because I’m trying to understand who and what God really is. Based on what I’ve read and what I’ve been told I’m supposed to think, there isn’t much about God that makes much sense to me.

In the Bible it says that God does not change. Certain Christians believe this without question simply because it says so in the Bible, and everything in the Bible is true. But from where I sit, God changes every time He appears in the Bible. And that’s what I’m planning on exploring in this installment.

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In the Book of Genesis, we are introduced to God the Creator. He rolled up His sleeves, labored mightily for six days creating the entire universe and everything in it, and then He rested, being well-pleased with all that He had done.

It is written that God created mankind in His image. We are God’s magnum opus,  His masterpiece. That’s what every priest and pastor I’ve ever known has said. And way back in beginning, the pinnacle of human life were two people named Adam and Eve.

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Scholars that aren’t Christian Fundamentalists tend to view the story of Adam and Eve as an allegory, not actual history. Unlike all of the other humans roaming the earth, God formed Adam with His own hands. Then God planted a pretty and cutey little garden, and put the man in it.

Eden. It was a darling place. And in this garden of beauty and fruit trees, God planted two special trees: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And God told Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

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I don’t know if the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil actually exists, but I have no doubt that the Tree of Life is real. If you eat of the Tree of Life, you become immortal. Angels are immortal. And now you know how that got happened.

That’s the only reason Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden. God didn’t want them to have access to the Tree of Life. An angel with a flaming sword guards the approach to the tree to this day, just in cases someone stumbles across it, somehow.

* * * *

Everything was hunky-dory in the garden. God and Adam spent long hours hanging out together shooting the breeze, drinking beer, and God answered all of Adam’s questions about, well, everything.

Why is the sky blue? How many stars are there in the sky? What are those two animals doing? What is sex?

So God had the Birds and Bees talk with His favorite human. And who knows what happened next. God caught Adam masturbating…  Maybe he was having sex with a sheep…  At any rate, God said to Himself, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

According to the story, God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, God took one of the man’s ribs, and from the rib He made a woman, and He brought her to the man.

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Afterwards, God and Adam were hanging out in the garden, drinking a beer. And God said, “So, Adam, how was your honeymoon?”

“Oh, it was okay, I guess. 

“Dude! I’m your best buddy! If you can’t tell Me about your honeymoon, who can you trust? C’mon man, I want to hear every juicy detail!”

“Well, we had dinner, a couple of drinks, did a little dancing…  Then we went to the bedroom. And just between you and me — I’m pretty sure I could’ve fucked her!”

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* * * *

If you don’t know how this story ends, things do not remain all tickety-boo in the garden. Eve ate the fruit of Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and Adam took a bite, too.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked…

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Okay. There are three main reasons why this story is an allegory to me. Adam and Eve realized they were naked. Big deal! These were the two most perfectly sculpted people that ever lived. They were the epitome of natural beauty. They were young, they got plenty of exercise, and they ate an all organic diet.

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See? I told you

They had no reason to be ashamed just because they were naked. Au contraire, Pierre! They should have have taken one look at each other, realized they were both totally hot and naked, then boinked their fucking brains out like lions in heat. And then boinked some more.

The second reason is this: there’s no description of what God looked like. God hung out with Adam and Eve in the garden on a frequent basis.. He dropped in to talk with them all the time. As far as I can tell, they are the only two people that God ever appeared to in person. 

We know God has a physical form — presumably something very much like unto ours because we are created in the image of God, are we not? And there’s this: Adam and Eve hid from God after their fall from grace when they heard Him walking in the garden.

The story of their unique relationship with God — there’s no way they wouldn’t have passed that tale on to their children, and their grandchildren. Hell, they would’ve told it to complete strangers because it’s such a cool story! It’s a story that would’ve been told over and over again by every generation until someone finally wrote it down. And it would surely would have been included in the Bible.

But that story doesn’t exist. So neither did Adam and Eve.

And finally, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God told Adam not to eat from it upon pain of death. When the serpent tricked Eve into eating its fruit, the serpent said, “You will not certainly die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

There’s no evidence in the Bible that God actually knows the difference between good and evil. There is a preponderance of Biblical evidence that even if God knows the difference, He doesn’t appear to care. God does whatever He wants because He’s God, and if you don’t like it, that’s your problem.

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After Adam and Eve, God’s behavior becomes increasingly harder to understand. And evidence of a loving God who truly cares for all of His children…  Well, you’ll have to decide that for yourself.

My very Christian friends believe that all of God’s plans are perfect, and the proof is He is able to work through imperfect tools, namely humans. That might be true, but if there’s no such thing as a perfect person, well, God hasn’t had a hell of a lots of options to choose from, has He?

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The next time God appears in the Bible is Noah and the Great Flood. I’ve written about this allegorical story already (Apocalypse Now). You can check it out if you don’t have anything better to do.

When God next appears, it’s to Abram. Somewhat Mildly Interesting Sidenote About Noah and Abram: according to the Bible, they are both descendants of Adam and Eve.

God first appeared to Abram when Abram was seventy-five years old. Again, there’s no description of what God looked like, so it can be assumed that God didn’t appear to him looking like a human. On at least one occasion God appeared to Abram in a vision — it’s possible that’s how God appeared to him every time.

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I’ve often wondered if God looks like the Great Gazoo…

Initially, God seems to have been Abram’s travel/real estate agent. A couple of decades and a few geographic relocations later, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and promised that he, Abraham, would become the father of nations.

That made Abraham laugh. Yeah, he thought God was a comedian! Abraham was ninety-nine years old, and he and his ninety year old wife didn’t have any children. God wasn’t joking, and they named their son Isaac. Several years later, when Isaac was a young boy, God told Abraham to take his beloved son into the wilderness and sacrifice him to the Lord.

Abraham didn’t laugh this time. He had learned that his God didn’t have a sense of humor. Unlike me, Abraham trusted in the Lord, and did as he was told.

* * * *

Imagine you hear a disembodied voice, or voices, talking to you. Go ahead, give it a try. If you want to imagine it’s me talking to you, I sound like Ben Stein. On Quaaludes.

When you’re a psych nurse, you meet people who experience auditory hallucinations every day. They’re a symptom of schizophrenia, and they have got to be hell to live with. Even worse are command auditory hallucinations. They’re pretty much what they sound like, invisible voices telling you what to do.

These commands can range from innocuous to life-threatening, and they can be incredibly difficult to resist, no matter what it is the voices are telling you to do.

One of my patients at the Minneapolis VAMC was a young man named Lorenzo. He was admitted to my unit after he sliced his abdomen open from his sternum to his umbilicus with a butcher knife in his kitchen.

His brother found him laying on the floor three days later and brought him to the hospital. Lorenzo spent at least one month on my unit, maybe more. His wound had to heal by granulation, and I spent many hours packing his wound with iodaform gauze every day to help prevent infection and promote healing.

And we talked.

I think Lorenzo had run out of meds, and the voices inside his head had worsened. Then they started telling him to slice open his belly, as if he were a samurai committing seppuku.

I fought them as long as I could, but you wouldn’t believe the power they have! After awhile, their compulsion over me became irresistible. So, I walked into the kitchen…  And I grabbed a knife…

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Personally, I have experienced a disembodied voice talking to me only once. I was ten years old at the time, so I know it wasn’t drugs or alcohol. I don’t know what it was, but it was real.

And it freaked me the fuck out.

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I don’t know who God chronologically appeared to after Abraham. If you’re curious, you can look it up. I’m going to jump to Moses.

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Moses isn’t a Hebrew name, it’s an Egyptian name. It means: son of in ancient Egyptian. Ra-meses: son of Ra, the god of the sun. Moses no doubt was originally named for one of the many Egyptian gods, but that name has been lost forever.

Moses was raised as an Egyptian prince. He and Rameses II were brothers. They probably competed against each other when they were growing up. As adults, they faced off against each other in the most serious game of Chicken ever played. It was a game Moses would win, thanks in large part to the Ten Plagues that devastated the land of Egypt, and humbled one of the greatest Pharaohs in history.

God became the Redeemer and Savior of His People. He broke the bondage of slavery and led the Israelites to freedom in a new land.

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There’s one thing about the God of Abraham and Moses that was unique. He was the only God at that time that traveled. Prior to this, gods were associated with a specific location or region. And they stayed there.

God appeared to Moses in the form of a burning bush. And in the form of a thick cloud. He had become the God of mystical majesty we’ve all come to kind of know.

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After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, Joshua led them into the promised land. Remember when I said God’s behavior was difficult to understand? When the Israelites crossed over into the Promised Land, they knew they would be going to war. But their mighty God was with them, and He had a simple battle plan.

Kill everything you see. Man, woman, and child. Even the livestock. Leave nothing standing, no one and nothing still breathing.

There’s a name for this battle tactic: Genocide.

There was only one flaw with God’s plan. Because the Israelites weren’t completely amoral, cold-blooded murderers — they refused to go along with it.

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When Joshua and his generation died, so did the Israelites’ knowledge of God. They began worshipping other gods. Thus began the Age of Judges. God spoke to them and led them to military victories against their enemies. God was the Protector of His People.

After the Judges, God spoke to the Kings, but only two of them: David, and his son, Solomon. Aside from Saul, they’re probably the only Kings of Israel that anyone knows, including me. I’ve read about these guys numerous times. I can’t remember any of them.

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According to the Bible, David was the beloved of God. And Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. According to me, David was mostly a pretty cool guy. And Solomon — he was just about the biggest idiot that ever lived.

There are 613 Laws of Moses in the Jewish faith. Three of those laws are specific to the king. Solomon ignored all three of them, and God only knows how many of the others. There’s nothing wise about that. But who am I to talk? By my own admission, I suck at obeying God, too.

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God remained the Protector of His People, but His People were a wayward collection of tribes and clans, frequently forgetting they had an awesome, and easily-angered God.

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These are modern depictions of some of the ancient Semitic goddesses in the Middle East. Now I understand why the Israelites constantly strayed away from their God…

Because the kings of Israel were essentially a bunch of losers, God started talking to the prophets. There are four major prophets and twelve minor prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible. These guys, both major and minor, were respected as holy men back in the day, but their messages of doom and destruction largely went unheeded. And the results were catastrophic for the people of Israel.

God performed numerous works of wondrous power and what can only be called magic through the prophets. They may have been respected, but were otherwise scorned by the people they were trying to save.

By this time, God wasn’t just the Redeemer and Protector of His People. He was also the chief source of misery for them. God had also become The Punisher.

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Satan the devil is much more of a Christian concept than a Jewish one. However, when it comes to the forces of Goodness and Light vs. the forces of Darkness and Evil, the Jews didn’t need an avatar of malice to torment them.

Their God assumed both roles.

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Elisha was the disciple of the prophet Elijah the Tishbite. I have no idea what a Tishbite is. If you do, leave a comment. After Elijah rode off into the sky on a chariot of fire, Elisha became the most prominent prophet in the land.

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On that fateful day, a group of street urchin boys decided to make fun of him, and they started calling him names.

Elisha left and headed toward Bethel. Along the way some boys started making fun of him by shouting, “Go away, baldy! Get out of here!” Elisha turned around and stared at the boys. Then he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Right away two bears ran out of the woods and ripped to pieces forty-two of the boys.

And now you might understand why I think there’s no evidence that God knows the difference between Good and Evil. Or why finding evidence that He’s a loving God can be so hard to come by.

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The ancient prophets have always intrigued me, so much so that ever since May 10, 1978, I’ve wanted to become one. I’m sure the details of how that happened are stored away in some dusty corner of my mind. I know I was sitting on the grass under a tree on the campus of St. Cloud State University. And I was really high.

That might have had something to do with it…

A lots of time has elapsed since that day. As far as I know, I’ve never come close to being considered for this position, let alone selected. What I probably have is a delusion.

A delusion is a fixed, false belief. And when I say fixed, I mean glued, screwed nailed, stapled, and welded into someone’s head. Other symptoms of mental illness may come and go, but delusions never die. They might fade into the background, but they are always there.

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In the New Testament, God stopped talking to everybody. In His stead, He sent a man from Galilee named Jesus Christ, who claimed he was the Son of God. Jesus said he was one with God the Father, and when he spoke, so did God.

You can think whatever you want about Jesus, but for my money, he’s the prototype for what all humans need to become.

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Religion is the opiate of masses.Karl Marx

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I’m no longer sure religion is a good thing, mostly because so many people have done so many stupid things in its name. Religion will endure as long as people believe in gods, so I don’t see it disappearing any time soon.

Most people believe God exists and works because He wants to make our lives better, and He wants to create a perfect world. I’m pretty sure that’s what I was taught to think about God.

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  Revelation 21:1-4

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Perfect worlds sound cool and stuff, but there has to be one helluva steep price to pay to achieve perfection, even for God. Remember this: Many are called, but few are chosen. If you’re one of the Chosen, you’ve got it made. If you’re not, you’re basically fucked, and nothing is going to change that.

Most of us are never going to see that world.

There’s another thing: I don’t know if this will be a world that’s perfect for God’s Chosen People, or for God. It’s possible it could be perfect for both, but then again…

When it comes to achieving what He wants, God will do anything He has to in order to achieve His goal. Floods. Plagues. Genocides. Man-eating bears. God has already admitted that He killed goddamn near everybody on the planet at least once before. If you think He wouldn’t do it again, you haven’t been paying attention.

God may actually be everything He has claimed to be so far: Omniscient. Omnipotent. Undying. Everlasting and Eternal. I have no idea how any, let alone all of those things can be true…  My guess is God is both more and less than what He says He is.

I am that I am.

What the fuck is that supposed mean?!? God might be many things, but humble isn’t one of them. Again, who am I to talk? I’m the least humblest person I know.

And as far as His purpose goes, a perfect world with perfect people is God’s sales pitch. But much like unto Himself, God hasn’t told us the entire truth about what He’s really up to.

Despite all of my many reservations and mistrust of God, despite the fact that I’d probably flirt with Anat and Semiramis if I ran into them on the street, and despite the fact that I’ve been far better at breaking God’s commandments than I’ve ever been at obeying them — if God offered me the job I’ve dreamed about having for more than five decades — I’d accept it in a heartbeat, even though I’m retired and living in paradise in a gringo mansion with a supermodel wife and and two darlingpreshadorbs kit-tens.

There’s a reason for that.

We, as a race, have proven time and time again that we are incapable of governing ourselves wisely. We have depleted a great portion of our planet’s natural resources. We have turned the world around us into a pig sty. We have all but destroyed the only home we have in a ridiculously short amount of time.

I would give up everything I have to work for an alien life force from another world for one reason, and one reason only.

We apparently need someone who isn’t like us to save us from ourselves.

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The Man in the Mirror

I don’t know what it’s like for other writers, but I have to be inspired to write anything for my blog. My inspiration appears to come from my Muses. That’s what I call them. I don’t know who or what they are, but without them I probably wouldn’t be able to write anything except my name.

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I’ve written about my Muses before. They’re loosely based on the nine Muses of Greek mythology. I sincerely doubt that any of the mythic Muses are the actual source of my inspiration. I just like the idea of scantily clad hot babes frolicking around inside my head.

I have also written about my experiences with thought insertions. These can be fairly random experiences for me, except when I write. As far as that goes, I seem to become a vehicle for whomever or whatever it is that wants to be heard. In my blog. That hardly anyone reads…

I know, right? You’d think they would’ve been smart enough to pick a better vehicle.

Case in point, I’ve been trying not to write this post for at least a month now, but the only ideas I get about writing revolve around a subject I’d rather not touch. In the past, my Muses have tended to throw me under the bus in these circumstances. That’s my primary reason for not wanting to write this. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to be able to avoid it, so I might as well get it over with.

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One of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning is look in the mirror above my bathroom sink. The medications I have to take are in the cabinet behind the mirror.

I take something for hypertension so I don’t have a stroke. I take an aspirin a day to prevent a heart attack. I take Omega-3 to slow the progression of dementia, which I may or may not have. The definitive diagnosis of dementia is done at autopsy, and I’m not ready for that yet. And I also select a variety of analgesic meds depending on my level of pain.

And that’s when the music starts.

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Little Known Fact About Me: I suffer from Involuntary Musical Imagery Syndrome. There is always a song running through my head. This condition is sometimes referred to as an earworm. It’s a catchy piece of music that continually repeats through a person’s mind.

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Today, it’s The Boston Rag by Steely Dan. On the bright side, the DJ inside my head seems to have good taste in music.

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I’m fairly certain everyone has had this happen to them before, but I don’t know if it’s a daily occurrence for most people. Like unto the ringing in my left ear, most of the time I don’t even notice it. I’ve gotten used to it. Sometimes it’s annoying as hell, like the time I had a McDonald’s® jingle playing in my head for over a month.

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Man in the Mirror is a song by Michael Jackson. It was released in February 1988 from his album, Bad. It was his tenth number-one single, and Jackson said it was one of his favorite songs. It’s one of the few songs Jackson recorded that he didn’t write, and it’s especially ironic when you consider just how weird of a human being Michael Jackson was.

The song is about making a change and realizing that it has to start with you.

The phrase …you should look in the mirror, isn’t usually meant to be taken literally. It’s more of an allegory to suggest that you need to take a long, hard look at yourself. You need to do some soul searching. You’re probably going to have to do some agonizing reappraisal. It’s a process that’s probably going to suck. A lots.

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rac·ism
/ˈrāˌsizəm/
noun
  1. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.

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Racism. It’s the other big headline in the news this year. Racism isn’t new. It’s been around since, well, forever. In and of itself, racism doesn’t sound like an ugly word.

Puke. Crepuscular. Smegma. Those words sound ugly. But if you want to make 9 out of 10 people feel uncomfortable in a conversation, bring up the topic of racism. I’m not even talking to anyone, and I feel uncomfortable writing about it. Almost everyone has some racial biases lurking somewhere deep inside of their souls. Almost none of us are proud about it.

If you ask someone from my generation if they’re racist, they’ll probably stumble all over themselves when they try to explain themselves. At best, you might get this response, “Well, I used to be…” At worst, you’ll hear this answer, “Oh hell yeah.”

My dad was a racist. He wasn’t an in-your-face racist, he was more of a behind-your-back racist, which tells me he wasn’t proud of his beliefs either. I’m sure he inherited his biases from his parents, and right or wrong, he passed them on to his children. 

* * * *

No one knows when the concept of racial superiority first emerged, but it appears that pretty much every ethnic/cultural group of people on the planet has at one time or another thought that they were superior to every other ethnic group of people.

The US has been the hotspot for racial tensions recently, but it’s hardly the only place where race is a major issue. The English feel superior to the peoples living on the European continent. The Germans feel superior to the peoples of Eastern Europe and Russia. And the French feel superior to, well, everybody.

I’m sure there have been a lots of studies exploring the origins of biases and discrimination. If you’re interested, you can look it up on the Google®. For my money, they originate from ignorance and fear because that’s where all of mine came from.

* * * *

Knowledge can be defined as information you acquire as you grow. Wisdom can be described as as the application of accrued knowledge. Ignorance is the absence of knowledge. Stupidity is the absence of wisdom. 

These aren’t the actual definitions of these words. They’re my definitions.

* * * *

In the 1600’s, scientific racism, sometimes termed biological racism came into vogue in Europe. At best, it was  a pseudoscientific belief that empirical evidence existed to support or justify racial discrimination. In other words, it was a bullshit philosophy. There isn’t any evidence to support this line of thinking.

Despite that, racism is alive and well on this planet. And it’s not just racism that afflicts the human race. There are a plethora of biases that you can choose from if you want to discriminate against others.

People may discriminate against others based on age, social status and class, height, criminal record, weight, religion, physical appearance, disability, intelligence, family status, gender identity, gender expression, generation, genetic characteristics, race, marital status, nationality, profession, color, ethnicity, sex and sexual orientation, political ideology, dietary preferences, and personality.

See? I told you it was a long list, and the list I just detailed is by no means complete. The most ironic form of discrimination is based on religion. I believe in God, but the idea that the invisible entity someone else worships isn’t the real Invisible Entity is just… crazy. Additionally, Jesus Christ repeatedly said that you should love everyone, no matter what. I’m not sure how some of the people who claim to believe in him missed that integral part of his message.

The Apostle Paul believed that the love of money is the root of all evil. Maybe that’s true, but the misuse of religion is the root of the greatest evil. You can quote me on that. In my opinion, the only people who should be able to discriminate based on religion are atheists, and they’re probably the only people that don’t.

* * * *

I’m not sure who came up with the idea that people with white skin are superior to all of the people that aren’t white, but it’s a pretty safe bet that the person who did –was white.

I see this concept as a combination of Creationism and Evolution — two schools of thought that mix together like oil and water — but it goes something like unto this: white people are superior to everyone else because they’re the children of God. And all of those inferior darker-skinned people — they descended from apes.

* * * *

When I was in nursing school, I met John. He was a patient at the St. Cloud VA. John was an older black man who spent hours in the bathroom staring at his reflection in the mirror. The thing I remember most about him was the look of shock and…horror…on his face as he stared at his reflection.

“I don’t know what happened to me,” he said in a voice so low it was almost a whisper. “I woke up yesterday, and I was…black!”

“Um, I don’t know how to say this, but isn’t that, you know, normal?”

“Hell no it’s not normal! I’m WHITE!”

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* * * *

I went to a lots of Catholic schools when I was young. I received an excellent education, and I was taught to be a morally upstanding person, something that would take decades to take root inside me.

I was taught to love everyone no matter who or what they were. I didn’t. I’m not sure I even liked many people back then. I spent a fair amount of time living in small towns in Minnesota when I was very young, and again after I was discharged from the Army. These were towns where a racially diverse neighborhood meant Swedes and Norwegians lived on the same block.

I was around ten years old the first time I remember hearing the word nigger. I had no idea what the word meant, but I remember I laughed when I heard it. I thought it sounded funny. 

I’m pretty sure I thought all of the common racial slurs were funny. Wop. Chink. Beaner. Kike. Gook. They all cracked me up. I can’t remember when I realized that none of them were funny. All I know for sure is it took a helluvalot longer than it should have.

Once I got to know people of color, I discovered they didn’t fit into the preconceived ideas I had, so something had to change. I’m pretty sure I didn’t meet a real, live black person face-to-face until I was in high school. I hope I didn’t look at him like he was some kind of animal that had escaped from a zoo, but I probably did.

And I hope I didn’t call him a nigger out loud, but I know I was thinking it.

It wasn’t until I was in the Army that I was exposed to a lots of people of various colors, races and creeds. The black guys were all so damn cool. They could dance, and talk shit gooder than anyone I’d ever met, and they were funny! They had a sense of humor and style that I didn’t possess. They didn’t fit into any of the misconceptions I possessed. They actually made me feel inferior to them.

I suppose I could have hated them for that, but I’m not sure I’ve ever felt superior to anyone. That whole not being good enough thing was something I was very familiar with. Come to think of it, I probably still feel that way.

Added to that, it was Basic Training — black, white, brown — it didn’t matter, we all felt a sense of unity because we were all being made to feel miserable, and in the Army there was only one color that mattered.

Olive drab green.

* * * *

Two of my best friends after I got out of Basic Training were Hispanic. Johnny Gonzalez and Raoul Sanchez. They were two of the smartest guys I’ve known, and they taught me so much about how the military worked. I probably wouldn’t have survived the Army without them.

They were so proud of their heritage. Both of them were from Texas, and they took me home to meet their families more than once. I learned to love Mexican food because of them. And I also learned to have a very healthy respect for Hispanic women because of them.

I’ve written a few stories about some of my adventures with Raoul. You can check them out if you don’t have anything better to do.

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The Army taught me that I didn’t know everything, and most of the things I thought I knew about people were wrong. But there was one group of people that I still couldn’t abide.

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For the longest time, I really didn’t like gay men. I didn’t hold any ill will against lesbians, so sexual preference wasn’t my issue. I had been sexually abused by my uncle when I was a kid — that was my reason for hating fuckin’ queers and faggots.

I was probably the most homophobic person on the planet when I was in my twenties. I hated Richard Simmons. I didn’t like Elton John. It wasn’t until I became a psych nurse that my homophobia finally subsided. 

Many of my patients were gay. Because I was their nurse, I had to talk to them. And I discovered that most of them were decent guys. Two of the nurses I worked with at the Minneapolis VAMC were gay, and they weren’t just decent guys, they were damn good nurses.

* * * *

Little Known Fact About Nurses and Nursing: it’s a profession where your performance determines what kind of person you are to other nurses. Seriously. You can be the sweetest person on Earth, but if you’re a lousy nurse, your co-workers are probably going to think you suck.

From my point of view, if you’re not a good nurse, there’s almost a zero chance that I could ever be your friend.

Conversely, you can be an absolute disaster area of a human being, but if you’re a good nurse, your co-workers will probably love you, at least some of the time. In this aspect, nurses are a lots like unto cops. Cops judge other cops in a similar fashion.

* * * *

It was only after we moved to Arizona that I worked in a very diverse workplace. The Psychiatry Department of the Minneapolis VAMC was about as vanilla as it could be. The was one black psychiatrist, and one black nurse. I can’t remember working with a single Hispanic person, but there were three Native Americans on staff.

Everyone else, was white.

Arizona was a whole ‘nother story. I wish I could say that by this time in my life I had gotten past all of my biases based on color. But in all honesty, I’m sure there are times when it still happens…

It doesn’t happen as often now, and I catch it faster, and tell myself to get my head out of my ass.

In my mind, Phoenix and Minneapolis are probably equal when it comes to racial diversity. I’m not sure how to explain the differences in staffing when I compare the hospitals in the two states. One major difference was funding. The Federal Government has a lots more money than any hospital does. As a result, the VA hired only nurses to work the floor. There was no separation of duties at the VA. You were a nurse. You did everything.

The healthcare system in Arizona was vastly different than the system I was used to in Minnesota. All of the hospitals I worked at in Arizona employed Registered Nurses and Behavioral Health Technicians. The majority of the BHT’s were people of color. The BHT’s checked vital signs and basically controlled the environment of the unit while the nurses passed medications and did paperwork. A whole lots of goddamn paperwork.

It didn’t take me long to realize that a good BHT was worth twice their weight in gold, and the color of their skin was their least important attribute. Our patients were much more marginalized than the relatively benign guys I was used to at the VA. It could be a much more dangerous climate in Arizona.

* * * *

Some of the nurses I worked with in Arizona rarely left the nursing station. One nurse didn’t have any idea how to even use the blood pressure machine!

“That’s a BHT job.” she said.

I fuckin’ hated working with her and her lazy-ass attitude. The really weird part about this is I also worked with her in Minnesota, at the Minneapolis VAMC. I expected better things from her.

* * * *

I was seriously injured only once in my career as a psych nurse. I’m not sure I’d even be alive right now if it weren’t for the BHT’s in Arizona. Those guys saved my life more than once. So, thank you Bob. And James. And Anthony. And Devon. And Luis. And Antonio. And anyone else that I’ve forgotten.

You are among the best people I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and you are some of the best men I’ve ever known. I’m a better person because of my association with all of you.

I hope you all can say the same about me.

* * * *

Hatred. It sounds like an ugly word, but the sound of it fails to adequately describe the depth of its hideousness.

If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you’ll know that I do not like Donald Trump. One of my friends went so far as to say that I hate Trump. His comment hit me like a slap in the face because that’s one of the things I’ve been thinking about a lots of late.

Can that be true? Do I really hate President Trump?

My first response was, Hmm, I’m not sure that’s possible…

However, upon further review I realized that I hate Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham — and William Barr — so I’m clearly still capable of hating other human beings.

There’s a reason for that. Those three crepuscular blobs of puke and smegma have bartered their souls to support Donald Trump. There’s no doubt in my mind that all three of them know exactly what they’re doing, and that they also realize the full extent of how much they’ve compromised their principles in the process.

I don’t know how those three cocksuckers can look at themselves in the mirror.

Donald Trump is a racist, sexist, misogynistic, slob of a pig of a human being who is also the most corrupt and criminal President that has ever sat his fat ass in the chair behind the big desk in the Oval Office of the White House. And yet, I don’t think that I hate him.

There’s also a reason for that. I’m not sure that The Donald has complete control of his mental faculties anymore. I think he might have dementia, and because this is clearly a matter of national security, I think the best thing to do is perform an autopsy on him immediately, and settle this matter once and for all.

Come to think of it, we should also perform an autopsy on Mike Pence, just to make sure he actually has a brain.

* * * *

There are over 400 types of dementia, and they all suck. Dementia is a group of conditions characterised by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgement. Common symptoms include forgetfulness, of course, as well as limited social skills and altered thinking abilities that can be so significant that it interferes with daily functioning.

And there’s another thing you should know about dementia. It’s terminal. Yep, it’ll kill you to death and you’ll probably be so fuckin’ out of it that you won’t even know you got dead.

* * * *

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If, and only if the dementia factor is real, then Donald Trump suddenly becomes someone who is more far deserving of pity than he is of scorn and contempt. That said, it doesn’t acquit him of the criminal activities he has committed as President. When it comes to that, I think he knew exactly what he was doing.

Nor does it excuse his inflammatory words and discriminatory attitudes. That’s his baseline. Unfortunately, if he does have dementia, it’s only going to make those qualities worse.

And, he’s also a narcissist. So I’m sure this is what The Donald sees when he looks in the mirror:

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* * * *

I had been working as an RN for about a year when I was assigned to work with my first dementia patient. He was old white guy named Del who spent a lots of time standing in his bathroom staring into his mirror. One day he called me into his bathroom to tell me something important.

“Look! My friend is trapped in there, and I can’t get him out!! You’ve got to do something!!!” Del pointed at the mirror on the wall and his “friend.” And I had no idea what I was supposed to do. There’s nothing in the textbook that covers this.

Seeing how I had no idea what I was supposed to do, I did the stupidest possible thing I could have done in that situation. I tried to explain to Del that he was seeing his own reflection in the mirror. His “friend” wasn’t trapped in a parallel universe. His “friend” was him. And he was looking in a mirror.

While this might appear to be a reasonable response, Del looked at me like I was speaking to him in Chinese. And I was just standing there, not doing anything to help Del or his “friend.”

Seeing how I wasn’t going to do anything, Del reached up and ripped the mirror off the wall with his bear hands. It’s not an easy thing to do because the bathrooms on Pysch Units are designed to withstand being hit by a small nuclear bomb.

That’s when I did something. I took the mirror away from Del and turned it away from him so he couldn’t see his reflection anymore, and pointed at the wall.

“Look! You saved your friend! Damn! That was amazing, Del! Good job, buddy!”

* * * *

I have no idea how to end this post. It’s time to cue the music and let the band take us home. Fortunately, I have a song in mind. Today, it’s Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you’ll know by.
Don’t you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons

Wampeters, Foma & Granfalloons is a collection of essays, reviews, short travel accounts, and human interest stories written by Kurt Vonnegut. He was one of my favorite authors back in the day. He had a wicked sharp sense of what is called black humor in the Biz.

He’s one of the few authors that made me laugh out loud when I was reading his work.

Just in cases you were wondering, a wampeter is an object around which the lives of many otherwise unrelated people may revolve. Foma are harmless untruths, intended to comfort simple souls. A granfalloon is a proud and meaningless association of human beings.

I’m not sure if any of those things are going to end up being in this post. I haven’t been writing much lately. I haven’t even been trying to write. At this point in time, I’m not sure I’m ever going to finish this post. And, of course, there’s a reason for that.

* * * *

I bruised my coccyx on the golf course on May 17th. I could try to explain what happened, but it was a tricksy mishap that involved one golf cart, one wrong turn, and something like unto a ski jump.

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It was like unto this, except I ended up with a golf cart halfway up my ass

Ever since that happened, I sit down as carefully as a hen incubating a nest full of vials of nitroglycerin. I try to plan every set of moves I make, hoping I won’t put any undue pressure on my coccyx. It’s been surprising to me how many movements do. It’s also made writing this post all but impossible.

Have you ever tried writing anything of substance when you’re not sitting down?

* * * *

Another reason that I’ve taken a break from writing is I’ve been writing way too much about American politics in general, and Donald Trump in specific. And that’s pretty much the last thing I wanted to do when I decided to start writing my blog four years ago.

Unlike The Donald, I fact check everything I write when I make disparaging comments about him, or any other politician for that matter. Being an investigative reporter looks like a lots of fun on TV, but the reality of it is much less glamorous.

Research, like unto cunnilingus, is dark and lonely work. And it’s a lots less fun.

And in the case of Donald Trump, it’s probably pointless. His supporters won’t believe anything negative about their awesome leader because their faith in him is absolute. And his detractors will believe anything that puts The Donald in an unfavorable light because their contempt for him is equally absolute.

Nothing really changes. I’m wasting my time, and I know it. But one of the things that doesn’t change is the fact that Donald Trump is the most corrupt President in the history of the United States, and he needs to be held accountable for all of his crimes.

And I cannot stop myself from protesting his presence in the Oval Office. I will continue to voice my opposition to him until he is no longer the President. So I really hope that happens this November.

That said, here I go again…

* * * *

I know I’ve said this before: I don’t understand how anyone can support Donald Trump — unless you’re a rich white man — then, it’s understandable. You can say what you want about The Donald, but he has gone out of his way to take care of that demographic. But the above stated qualifier eliminates probably 95% of the people who hang on his every lying-ass word. Maybe more.

Additionally, if you are a Trump supporter, there’s no sin you can commit that’s too egregious for The Donald to pardon. You can look it up if you’re interested.

But the most confusing group of all the non-rich Trump supporters are women, and the even more most confusing group of Trump-supporting women are white, Christian Evangelicals. These women are not known for their laid-back attitudes about, well, pretty much anything.

Forgive and forget? Forget that! Live and let live? Only if you’re a God-fearing member of the Antioch Baptist Church. All the rest of you goddamn sinners can go straight to Hell where you belong!!

And yet, despite their well documented hatred for everything not Biblically endorsed, they love misogynistic Donald Trump like they love Jesus, their grandchildren, and apple pie.

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It’s too bad she didn’t actually say this. I’d take back some of the things I’ve said about her

By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, white evangelicals are more likely than other Americans to say the term morally upstanding adequately describes Donald Trump despite his numerous marital infidelities and his even more numerous allegations of sexual impropriety.

They see Donald Trump as honest, even though several reputable news organizations estimate that President Trump has made close to 20,000 incorrect statements and outright lies during his time in office. Compare that to Barack Obama who averaged a little more than two falsehoods a year while he was President.

Almost two-thirds of white evangelicals see Trump as at least somewhat religious, despite his use of profanity, his sporadic church attendance, and his evident unfamiliarity with the Bible.

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This is beyond mind boggling, it’s nothing short of mind blowing

* * * *

One of my very Christian female friends posted something on Facebook about the Democrats being absolutely giddy because: the American economy has tanked, unemployment numbers are somewhere out in the stratosphere, and Trump’s popularity ratings have plummeted. All because of the Coronavirus lockdown.

Oh, and we all need to pray for President Trump because he’s God’s anointed — the greatest leader of the greatest country since David was the King of Israel. And Donald Trump has to lead America out of the hazards created by this…plague. So the Democrats don’t end up in the Oval Office again, or something…

* * * *

Evidently Little Known Fact About King David and Biblical Plagues: There are approximately 120 times the term plague is used in the Bible. David was mentioned 971 times, the second most for any person.

Every time God decided to unleash a plague, He did so because He was almighty angry about something and/or someone. Therefore, every time He sent a plague, He sent it as a punishment.

David was Israel’s greatest king, and was known as a man after God’s own heart. He was beloved by God, and this is how many plagues God sent to punish David: Zero. None. Zilch. Nada.

As noted earlier, Evangelicals are capable of ignoring facts whenever it’s convenient for them, so it’s not inconceivable that they could also ignore this Biblical certainty.

* * * *

I doubt that God was paying any attention to the election in 2016, but if the Coronavirus pandemic was sent by him, He’s clearly not pleased with much of anything going on down here right now. And that would include everyone’s favorite President and part-time golfer, Donald Trump. Oh wait, I forgot. The Donald doesn’t take any responsibility for this mess. This is all Obama’s fault!

Let’s reverse engineer the above mentioned Democratic gleefest: the Republicans wouldn’t be giddy if this had happened to President Obama? Yeah, right. I’m going to buy that when American politics has essentially become a partisan team sport. The Elephants vs. The Donkeys. The winner gets the White House and the losing team tries to steal the winning team’s signs so they can get an advantage in the next election.

One of my female friends is not a devout Christian, but she is a devout Republican. She hates all things and persons of the Democratic persuasion. Her comments on my political posts on my Facebook page have been scathing. And, well, stupid.  How we’ve managed to stay friends is beyond me. She said she was planning on coming down for a visit, but now I hope she was just talking out of her ass and never shows up here.

The bottom line is this: the partisan divide is going to be the thing that destroys America. Not the Coronavirus. Not the Great Quarantine. Not Rock and Roll music. Not the hippies. Not the Russians. Or the Chinese. Or even the Mexicans.

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Americans are going to destroy America

It’s so fucking stupid I lack the words to describe the idiocy of it all.

* * * *

Can anyone explain the Folgers® commercial to me? I don’t know which commercial is showing in the States, but here in Mexico we’ve been seeing the one with the woman walking to the shower on Canadian TV.

You’ve got something up your sleeve  Seriously, her expression indicates that she’s planning on doing something in the shower that would make a pornstar blush.

What you didn’t know was you were surprising your father-in-law, Steve  Who just happens to look like he’s in an ambulatory coma. If her husband takes after his father, that would help to explain what she might have had up her sleeve…

So much for Plan A. Thank God that choir of people popped up in her bathroom and poured her a cup of coffee.

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If seeing this doesn’t make you want to buy Folgers®, I don’t know what will

I’ve seen a lots of stupid commercials in my lifetime, but this one just might be the best of the worst.

* * * *

I don’t know what you’ve been doing to occupy your time during the lockdown, but when I haven’t been injuring what’s left of my spinal column, I’ve been randomly watching videos on the YouTube®.

One of them was an educational video about a large breasted woman buying a bra. I know, right! I didn’t know I’d be interested in that kind of stuff either!! Somewhat Interesting Note: women don’t call their breasts tits. That appears to be more of a guy term. Women call them boobs, or boobies.

And there’s another thing I didn’t know: If you have regular sized boobs, bras are beautiful, lacey, gossamer creations with adorable names: The Penelope. The Cassandra. And The Cherub’s Kiss.

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See? I told you

If you have an epic set of tits, bras are utilitarian, steel-belted, substantial contraptions, and the adorable names are gone: The Iron Curtain. The Grand Coulee. And The Arnold.

And a well made bra is not cheap. Given the amount of material needed, they are ridiculously expensive. It just goes to show you never know what you’re going to learn on the Interweb. 

* * * *

Another thing I’ve started watching is automobile restoration shows on TV, which is ironic. I became a nurse because I had no interest in becoming a mechanic. I know nothing about fixing cars. I don’t even know how to check the blinker fluid. But much like home renovation shows, which is another skill I don’t possess, I’m fascinated by every aspect of car restoration.

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🎼Baby, you🎶 can fix🎶my car🎶

Wheeler Dealers. All Girls Garage. FantomWorks. The Guild Garage. I love them all. They almost make me want to buy a whole lots of Snap-on® tools, a couple of welding goldarn things, and build a garage.

Maybe I’ll be an auto restoring/home renovating/rockstar/psych nurse in my next life. I have no idea how reincarnation really works, but it probably doesn’t hurt to do a little planning for the future.

I’ve been really lucky considering that I didn’t make many plans for much of anything in my current life. But you should never rely on being lucky all of the time.

Luck has a way of running out on you, just when you need it most.

Social Misfit

Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings from Mexico!

I wish it felt more Christmassy this year. As I am constantly reminded by every Hallmark Christmas movie, this is a time of snow, family, and love. That’s one of the downsides of living in a temperate climate. Thousands of miles away from everyone in your family. In a foreign country.

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To be honest, I’m not sure anyone in my family would visit me even if we lived across the street from each other. That’s probably my fault. I burned a lots of bridges back when I was drunk all the time.

Some fault also has to be allocated to my siblings. We’re all fairly fucked up, and almost everyone in my family has decided it’s way easier to just keep drinking than it is to try to fix all of those broken personalities and relationships.

That’s just one of the many upsides to living in a temperate climate, thousands of miles away from everyone in your family, in a foreign country.

* * * *

Speaking of burning bridges, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to be drunk to do that. For those of you who placed bets on how long it would take for my Twitter account to be permanently disabled, if you picked December 4, 2019, you win.

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Even I thought it would take me longer than that.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Twitter. It was the domain of mystic poets and nude selfies. I fucking hate poetry and no one wants to see me naked. Including me. Twitter is the social media equivalent of a moral wasteland. I never understood the language of the Twitter, which no doubt makes me the Ultimate Twit.

So? What did you do to piss off the Twitter police, dude?

According to the Twitter police, I was guilty of engaging in a pattern of hate themed speech, which was a repeated violation of the community standards that Twitter sometimes takes seriously.

In the interest of transparency, I am totally guilty of everything Twitter accused me of doing. But there was another person who consistently violated Twitter’s community standards, and he did so without any fear of repercussions.

Donald Trump consistently lied about his accomplishments, blamed his political opponents for his failings, and fired off endless insults, taunts, and disparaging names at anyone that didn’t kiss his ass.

I pointed out Mr. Trump’s pattern of inflammatory fabrication to the Twitter police more than once. They had a response. If I didn’t like the things that Mr. Trump wrote, I should simply stop reading them.

That was their official stance on the matter.

That was something I couldn’t do, so I called out The Donald every time he bragged about a success, or projected his shortcomings off onto others, or insulted Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, or any of his Democratic opponents.

Donald Trump is a pathological liar. I could live with that if not for one, small, tiny, insignificant detail. He’s also the President of the United States. Because of his status, I find his actions morally reprehensible, even though I have often stated that I don’t have any morals or ethics.

Yeah, I know. It doesn’t make any sense to me either.

Unfortunately, and I honestly feel it was an unfortunate course of action on my part, I tended to end the majority of my rebuttals to Mr. Trump with …you lying cocksucker! Or, …you motherfucking piece of shit!!

My Twitter account was temporarily suspended three or four times for saying bad things about the 45th President of the United States.

I was a psych nurse for thirty years. The one thing I hated more than anything was when someone started name-calling. I’m sure that can directly be tied to all of times I had to endure it when I was a child. That, and spitting. I really hated being spit on.

In a nutshell, because it was something I wouldn’t want to happen to me, I should never have engaged in that sort of behavior toward someone else. Even a fucking douchebag like Donald Trump.

Christians call it The Golden Rule. Everyone else calls it not being an asshole.

At some time during the day of December 3rd, I called Melania Trump a whore. And a mindless cunt. There’s probably not any evidence supporting my claim that The Donald ever literally sucked any cocks or had sex with his mother. And for that, my Twitter account was temporarily suspended several times.

However, there is a veritable ocean of evidence that indicates Melania Trump is both a whore, and a mindless cunt. And because those accusations were true, Twitter shut down my account forever the very next day.

I’m okay with that. I was engaging in behavior that I would never condone in another. Besides, getting into a Twitter war with The Donald isn’t just stupid, it’s a fruitless cause, and I already have one of those.

It’s called Golf…

* * * *

I’ve been a social misfit almost all of my life. I may still be one, but there’s one major difference between the old guy me and the young kid me. I no longer care what other people think of me.

Being an outsider looking in was easy for me when I was a kid. I was almost always the new kid in town. We moved a lots when I was in grade school. Minnesota, at least twice. Michigan. South Dakota. Arkansas. North Dakota, twice. California, twice. Missouri. And finally, Montana.

Eleven different school districts to complete eight years of school. I was either so far ahead of my classmates that they thought I was some kind of genius, or so far behind them that everyone thought I was a total moron.

Moving from one place to another in the Midwest was bad enough, but moving from the North to the South was absolute hell. Not only are you the New Kid in Town, you’re a Damn Yankee to boot. And back then, the only thing white southern kids hated more than damn Yankees was niggers.

Yes, I know I’m not supposed to say that anymore. But as I write this, it’s 1963. I was in the second grade when we moved to Little Rock. I was picked on so much in Arkansas that I shit my pants in school. Twice.

I vividly remember both of those incidents. What I don’t remember is why it didn’t happen more often. It’s possible that my heartless tormentors started feeling sorry for me, but it’s far more likely that they thought they might end up covered in shit, too.

Third grade, we were living in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It was the only time I was considered the most popular kid in my class. And the only reason I know this is because my teacher whispered it into my ear one day.

I wasn’t the most popular kid in my class in Michigan. Or South Dakota. Or at either of the schools I attended in California. And I wasn’t even close to the most popular kid in my class when we moved back to Grand Forks because we lived in a different school district on the other side of town. 

1967. I was in seventh grade. That was the worst year of my grade school career. I started out the school year in Minnesota, spent something like six months in Missouri, then finished up the year in Montana.

Missouri might have been even worse than Arkansas when it came to being bullied because I was the New Kid/Damn Yankee in town, but that was one of the school districts where I was so far ahead of my classmates that even my teachers were in awe of me.

* * * *

There were no anti-bullying initiatives way back in the Middle Ages when I was a kid. As I reflect on this period of abject humiliation of my life, it’s a good thing my dad didn’t own any handguns.

I doubt that I ever would’ve been able to shoot anyone, but I’m pretty sure I thought about it. When I was a kid, there were probably a dozen different Western TV shows. Bonanza. Gunsmoke. The Rifleman. Conflict resolution was usually handled with a six-shooter.

But it’s far more likely that I wouldn’t have been able to hit the broad side of a barn even if I had access to a handgun. I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the third grade because I was essentially blind, but I refused to wear them because it was just another thing the other kids could use to make fun of me. I didn’t want to give them any extra ammunition.

That changed when I started the eighth grade. My new teacher introduced me to my latest set of new classmates. And then she said this, And class, please remind Mark to wear his glasses. His mother told me he doesn’t like to wear them, but he really needs to wear them… 

It was something like that. I stopped listening when I started playing for God to quit fucking around and kill me to death for real this time.

* * * *

It was probably around the time that we were living in Missouri that I started utilizing a few defense mechanisms that would keep me and all of the people around me alive.

The first is called a reaction formation. It’s a complicated Freudian concept. In essence, negative emotions or impulses which are mastered by substituting the opposite emotion or impulse. The substitute reaction is usually overly exaggerated.  I’m not an expert in psychoanalysis, so I’m not sure if this is commonly used or not. I do know this: my substitute reactions are not overly exaggerated, and I’m pretty sure that’s not very common.

Another is mirroring, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. One person unconsciously imitates the gestures, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Almost everybody uses this, especially with family and close friends.

And the third is humor. People are less likely to want to punch you if you can make them laugh.

* * * *

When I was a freshman in high school, I achieved the dual distinctions of being both a genius and a moron in just a matter of months. The first semester of the year, I was in the Honor’s Math class where I struggled to get D’s. My math teacher actually announced to my entire class I had no business being in his class, and told me to get out of his classroom.

I didn’t need a second invitation. I picked up my books, walked out the door, and kept on walking until I got home, five miles later. I’ve told this story to my lovely supermodel wife. She said I must’ve felt humiliated. I suppose I did, but what I mostly remember is feeling relieved.

I was called into the Principal’s office the next day. I fully expected to be suspended or expelled. Instead, I received an apology and I was placed in a different math class. The second semester was an entirely different story. I was a straight A student in the Math for Morons class.

I’ve tried not to make a big deal out what happened to me on that day so long ago when Father Weiss told me to get out of his classroom. I’ve tried, but I still hate math.

* * * *

I didn’t really have a best friend until my freshman year of high school. That’s when I met Dave Nelson. We’re still buds. I didn’t have a girlfriend until my senior year. That’s when I fell in love with Maureen Browne. I think we’re still friends.

She asked me if I was going to attend our fifty year class reunion in 2024. I told her I was thinking about it, but I was terrified of seeing her face to face again. She said I should be. And then she said she was joking.

I told her I wasn’t. And that’s not an exaggeration.

Dave and Maureen both gave the best gifts I have ever received from anyone. Acceptance. Friendship. Love. They were the first people outside of my family that showed me there was also beauty in the world.

* * * *

The Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That might be true, but from my point of view at this precise moment, examining your life doesn’t increase its value by any appreciable amount.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is supposed to be. No doubt there’s an Aesopian moral of the story that’s supposed to enlighten me. There’s only one small, tiny, insignificant problem.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t write it.

My writing process isn’t this organized. Nor is it usually this specific. My Muses apparently have a much better idea of what they’re doing than I ever will.

I hope they’re happy. Maybe they’ll take some time off for the holidays. My lovely supermodel wife and I are going to Mexico City. I’d like to be able to to enjoy it.

But you have any ideas for the moral of the story, leave me a comment.

Halftime Adjustments

“If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin.

* * * *

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

* * * *

“All battle plans are perfect, until the first shot is fired.” ~ Variation of a quote by Prussian military commander, Field Marshall Helmuth van Moltke.

* * * *

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” ~ Old Yiddish adage. It means, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”

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“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. Don’t be a damn fool about it.” ~ Mark Twain.

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Back when I was a psych nurse, I used to encourage my dysfunctional patients to come up with a plan to make some positive changes in their lives. Write down the steps you need to make. Review your plan daily. Most of all, follow through with your plan of action. Otherwise, we’ll see you here again in six months or so…

Before you get the idea that this is going to be one of those self-improvement seminars, relax. You’re probably not going to learn anything here that you don’t already know, and I’m not at all interested in helping you become a better person.

That’s your job. If that’s what you want to do, get off your ass and do it.

Back to strategic planning. It’s a bit ironic because I’ve rarely made any plans, and I sure as hell never wrote any of them down. As I look back on my life, I’d have to say that I was fairly successful. I’m married to supermodel. I’m retired, living a luxury resort lifestyle in a gringo mansion in paradise. 

I must have done something right despite the fact that I put so little effort into planning any of it.

As confused as I am by life, I’m not sure if that statement is an accurate assessment. As for the secret to my success, I’m even more confused by that. The most useful piece of information my father ever gave me about life was this: If you dress professionally, people will automatically assume that you know what you’re doing. And they’ll continue to think that until you prove them wrong.”

I didn’t have any sense of fashion until I married a supermodel. After that, I was dressed to kill. If I had only been able to keep my mouth shut, there’s no telling how far the Peter Principal would have taken me…

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There’s little doubt that plans are useful tools, but all plans have one fatal flaw. Success is never guaranteed, not matter how comprehensive your plan is. Except in those Mission Impossible movies.

Good planning is nice, but in my humble opinion, the most important attribute for success is the ability to adjust quickly on the fly. And be persistent. Look at your objective from different angles. I  have never had a Plan A go off without a hitch. But I have had a couple of Plan G’s that worked out pretty good.

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Nursing is an occupation that requires a lots of different talents, and time management is one of the most valuable skills you can have. Back when I was a psych nurse, I learned there are essentially three types of nurses when it came to managing their time.

Some nurses developed a routine. Well, it’s more like they worshipped the routine.

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Rigid seems to be the best word to describe them. Any deviation from the routine spelled disaster. For everyone.

Some nurses didn’t develop any routine. Trainwreck seems to be the best word to describe them, for many reasons. They were hell to work with, and their personal lives were disaster areas.

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They appeared to have no real concept of Time. They were always running ten minutes late for everything, including getting to work on time. When their shift ended, they still had to finish charting on all of their patients. Which spelled disaster for the oncoming shift.

Most nurses tend to fall in a third category that’s somewhat hard to define. They just went with the flow and got shit done. Flexibly competent is the best term to describe them. Those are the nurses you wanted to work with. No matter what happened, you knew it was to be a good day when they were on duty.

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They were Rockstar Nurses. If there’s anything I miss about Nursing, it’s them.

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I have a few updates on our retirement lives. The only reason I’m ending with this and not starting with it is because I didn’t plan anything that I’ve written so far, as usual. But it just might illustrate the importance of being able to adjust on the fly. Here’s a free pro-tip for you: If you can’t do that, you do not want to move to Mexico.

One of the biggest adjustments people have to make after they retire is something I call Spousal Fatigue. It happens when you start spending every moment of every day with the person you married. You didn’t have to do that when you were working. You had time apart. You got to talk to other people.

And in one day, all of that changes. You don’t have to go to work anymore. You don’t have other people to talk to. It’s just you, and your spouse, and no one else. All day. All night. Every day and night, until death do you part.

It’s not a big deal for Lea and I. We actually like each other. And we don’t feel we have to do everything together. We understand that sometimes it’s just nice to do something all by yourself.

My lovely supermodel wife and my golf wife are flying to the States next week. They’ll be gone for ten days. But on the day they depart, Lea’s boyfriend will be flying in. Todd has been trying to sell his house in Idaho and move to the Lakeside Area, but that plan hasn’t gone according to plan, which sucks.

He says he needs a break from all that crap, so he’s going to take a vacation for a few weeks and come hang out with me. And his girlfriend. It’ll be great for all of us. Lea and Phyllis can go shopping and visit family. Todd and I can go golfing and throw wild pool parties. That will end at 6:00 PM because no one wants to drive home in the dark.

Retirement living. It’s every bit as exciting as you thought it would be.

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Our refrigerator is working again! So is the freezer!! And the ice maker!!! 

It only took three weeks to fix this time. But it’s the third time we’ve had it repaired in nine months. Maybe they got all the bugs out of it this time. The technicians were here for almost three hours, and it was a different team of technicians. Maybe the LG Service Department decided to send their A Team…  They were probably getting as tired of having to fix their piece of shit refrigerator as we were of having to move all of our perishable food from the house to the casita.

We’ll have a better idea of how successful they were in a few months.

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The motion sensor for the magic lights in the hallway to our bedroom died. Big deal, right? Just replace it. Yep, sounds simple, but I can’t find another one. And I have looked everywhere that even remotely looks like it might sell electrical equipment. Except the sex shop in Ajijic.

I did find another sensor, but it wasn’t an exact replacement for our dead sensor. It cost about five bucks. It doesn’t work because of the way the lights in the hallway are wired. I know this because I had a guy who knows a helluva lot more about electricity than I do come over and try to hook up the new sensor. In order to get my new five dollar sensor to work, I’d probably have to spend three thousand bucks to rewire the entire fucking house.

If we owned this house, I’d do it in a heartbeat. But for the first time in thirty years, we’re renting. I’m not sure there are written construction codes for this part of Mexico. Even if there are, not every contractor follows them. Obviously…  

We’ve had to resort to physically turning the lights on and off, by hand! I know right, that totally sucks! But yesterday, a glimmer of hope previously unplanned for appeared out of nowhere, like so many other times in my life.

My golf caddy, house painter, and good friend, Francisco Flores Bernini, called me and told me he had ordered a replacement sensor from the hardware store in San Nicolás de Ibarra. It’s a small village right next to the golf course I belong to. Most of the caddies live there.

The sensor he ordered might be in stock in a few days. I hope it works. I’m not sure how much longer we can go on living like this.

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Speaking of golf, it’s the only reason I can think of why we’re here right now. When we decided to retire, we weren’t really sure what we going to do, or where we were going to go. The only thing we knew for sure was we couldn’t afford to stay where we were.

Then the universe opened every door that led us to the Lakeside Area. Rather than swim against the tide that would bring us here, we decided to go with the flow and enjoy the ride.

Our Christian friends in Arizona suggested that we were “…following God’s Will.” Yeah, whatever, I guess. If we’re here because of God’s Will, He hasn’t been very vocal about what He wants us to accomplish for Him now that we’re here.

So I started playing golf. And as near as I can tell, that’s what God wants me to do. I figure He must be getting more than a few laughs out of watching me golf because He hasn’t given me any other instructions so far.

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I’ve asked my lovely supermodel wife why she thinks we’re here. She said God wants us to enjoy the fruits of our labor and live happily ever after. Yeah, from what I can tell, that’s pretty much the last reason God would ever have.

Lea asked me why I thought we were here. Clearly, God wanted us to get out of Arizona in a hurry because the Yellowstone supervolcano was about to erupt, California was going to tumble into the ocean, and God wanted us to be in a safe place so the people He really cared about would have a place of refuge to go to.

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So, we’re back to golf. Of all of the reasons, it appears to be the only one that makes any sense.

I’ve tried to imagine what it would be like to be God numerous times. I would need some serious comic relief to keep me from coming down here and knocking some goddamn sense into most of humanity. I might be performing a valuable public service to all of mankind. Or not…  It depends on your point of view.

My golf game lately hasn’t been anything to write home about, but I have taken on a couple of new…duties, I guess, at my golf course. I became a contributing editor to the Country Club de Chapala Facebook page. (@golfinchapala)

You can check it out. It’s a public page. Since I took it over, viewership has gone up something like two hundred percent.

I wish I could say the same thing about my blog page…

Additionally, I kind of became the Unofficial Official Photographer of Events and Stuff at CCdC. I posted a bunch of photos on the above mentioned Facebook page of the last two tournaments. They’ve been well received so far.

One of my friends commented that she didn’t know I was so talented. That made me laugh because I interpreted it to mean that she didn’t know I had any talent. Well, she has seen me golf, so it’s understandable.

And I’ve been attending some the Golf Tournament Committee meetings for the last several months. Of all the things I’ve been doing at the golf course, this is probably the most confusing one. Even more confusing than trying to read a green.

I hate meetings. I don’t care what they’re about. Meetings carry a connotation of officiality. People take notes at meetings. Plans of action are put forth. And stuff like unto that.

I worked for the Federal government for two decades. I went to a whole lots of committee meetings. Committees that took a simple issue and turned it into a problem that was so fucked up we had to meet once a month to discuss possible solutions to a problem that never existed for three years. Maybe it was five years…  I was a long time ago, and I’ve been trying to forget that it ever happened.

Dude, if you hate committees so much, why do you go to the meetings?

That’s actually a good question. It’s all Naisby’s fault.

Dave Naisby is a member of the country club. He’s one of the first members I met after I joined. He’s from Scotland, so he’s fun to listen to even when he doesn’t have anything interesting to say, which is rare. Anyway, he asked me to come to one double-secret golf tournament sub-committee meeting five months ago. I have no experience organizing anything more complicated than my sock drawer, so I’m still not sure why Dave asked me. But I like Dave, and for that reason alone, I agreed.

It would appear that attending one meeting is the only prerequisite for being allowed to attend more meetings because now everyone who is officially on the tournament committee thinks I’m on the committee, and they ask me questions, like, Why weren’t you at the meeting last week?

As innocuous as all this sounds, I see the potential for disaster. Once you’re on a committee, people tend to start asking you to do, you know, things.

Could you bring this up at the next meeting? How would you like to be the next president? We’d like it if you would start singing at Karaoke night.

Any of the above would be enough to make me reconsider my membership. I might even quit golfing. And that would create conflict with the Will of God. And we all know what happens after that:

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Resort Style Living at its Finest. And Stuff

Greetings from the Chula Vista Resort and Spa!

Life is still mostly idyllic here, but as you and I both know, there’s always something.

Before I begin to start to commence to complain about my almost perfect life, I should mention the good things.

Lea finally got her curtain rods for our master bedroom! It only took about two months. And about a dozen visits to the ironworks shop to talk to the Moron Twins. I think she wore them down and they eventually realized the only way they were going to get rid of esta gringa loca was to give her what she wanted. I’ve got to hand it to her. I didn’t think she’d ever get anything she’d be remotely satisfied with from those bozos.

Way to go, honey. You’re still a force to be reckoned with.

She still has to make the curtains, but my lovely supermodel wife is more than just a pretty face. She has some pretty serious crafty skills. She’s made a lots of stuff over the years. She already has most of the materials she needs, and she has a plan to procure the items she lacks. I’m sure they’ll turn out great. I’ll post pictures of the finished product.

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We had to replace the toilet in my workshop because the water tank fractured and flooded the floor. I think it had been cracked for years and finally succumbed to the pressure. It’s the only explanation that makes sense. It’s not a high traffic area. It probably hasn’t been regularly used for more than ten years.

The floors are all tile, so no significant damage occurred. Jaime, our property manager, bought a new toilet. Tacho, our general handyman guy, installed it. Mischief managed.

The only weird thing is this is the second new toilet we’ve had to have installed in the short time that we’ve been here.

I’ve also asked Jaime and Tacho to construct some water diversion devices for the corners of the eaves by the pool. This is our first Rainy Season at this house, and after the first couple of serious rainfalls, we discovered that we had a problem.

I’ve written about the Rainy Season before. People that live here might tell you the rain is very polite because it mostly falls at night. I’d tell you there’s nothing polite about the rain. It’s true that it mostly falls at night, but when it rains here it rains like a bastard. Maybe two of them.

We basically have two waterfalls pouring off of the roof into the patio when it rains. The tiles on the patio are polished porcelain, and when they get wet they’re just about the most slipperiest surfaces on the planet. I bought a giant squeegee the last time we were at Costco. I think it’ll come in very handy for the next few months.

The patio is open to the weather, so there’s no way to keep all of the water off of the floor. I don’t want anything extravagant. I just want something that will direct most of the water into the pool. But if we can divert both of those sources, we might not slip and accidentally kill ourselves to death.

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Our LG refrigerator has been acting up. Again. Well, the refrigerator part is still working. It’s the freezer part that has been acting up. Essentially, it’s not freezing anything. Luckily, we have two freezers, so we just moved everything from the kitchen to the casita. Again.

Lea is as close to furious as she ever gets.

The refrigerator is still under warranty, and after all the work we’ve had done on it, the LG Service Department in Guadalajara no longer gives Jaime any crap when he calls to tell them they need to come repair their piece of shit refrigerator. Again. They didn’t even ask us to do another 12 Hour Test this time.

They’re supposed to be here next Tuesday. And they won’t have the part they need to fix the problem, so that will take another week. It might be fixed by the middle of July.

Thankfully, the restaurants here are mostly excellent, and affordable. Dining out is going to be an ordeal, but we’ll get through this somehow.

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We received our WiFi Super Booster about a month ago. As near as I can tell, it doesn’t even mildly boost our WiFi strength or speed. I’d actually go so far to say that our ambiguous signal works better when it’s not being boosted. So, if you were planning on purchasing this technological wonder, I’d advise against it.

It’s too bad. I doubt that Telecable® has any plans to improve their service, and they have the lowest customer satisfaction ratings of any communications company in the Lakeside Area. Telmex®, the other local communications company, has the second lowest.

It’s like having to choose between having cancer or leprosy.

This is easily the most frustrating part of our new lives. And by our lives, I mean mine. I don’t think Lea finds this anywhere near as irritating as I do.

Ask any blogger you happen to see and they will tell you in order to post anything they write, they absolutely need an Interweb connection. And if they like to research their topics, it’s an invaluable resource.

Research is too much like work for me, so I mostly make shit up. I might be lying about that, but I’m a very good liar. And yes, I could be lying about that, too.

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Despite the fact that our WiFi mostly sucks, I have binge watched a couple of series on Fire TV®. Catch-22 was quite good. Chernobyl was even better. It was so refreshing to watch something where there was no question whether or not the government was lying. It was one of the best qualities about communism. They lied about everything! And you could trust that.

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I started watching Good Omens yesterday. It’s produced by Amazon and the BBC. Interestingly enough, a bunch of offended Christians sent a petition to Netflix trying to get them to stop airing the blasphemous series. Clearly, Satan had a hand or two in that.

Good Omens is yet another fantasy TV series based on the book of the same name by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s the story of an angel, Aziraphale, and a demon, Crowle, who form an alliance in an attempt to stop the approaching Armageddon.

I guess there are plenty of reasons why Christians could be upset. Adam and Eve are black in the TV show. Everyone knows all of the people in the Bible were white. Even the Egyptians. And the Queen of Sheba. And they all spoke English.

In the TV show, God is a woman, so that could be another point of contention for the uproar. That’s the only part I find hard to believe. A female God would never have made all the mistakes that our solidly paternal God has.

Hey, mister! I thought God couldn’t make mistakes!!

Yeah, I used to think that, too. But for an entity who is supposed to be All-Knowing, it’s pretty hard to describe some of His actions as anything but mistakes. Granted, He probably has the ability to fix all of this shit because He’s also, you know, All-Powerful. In that case, He’s right. There are no mistakes, just clever corrections.

Back to the show: The angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley have been friends from the beginning of Time, and over the centuries they’ve essentially gone native, preferring life on Earth to life in either of the respective realms from whence they originated. They were supposed to be keeping an eye on the Antichrist, but through a series of semi-comical events, they lost him and have been taking care of of the wrong kid. It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.

In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist will fulfill Biblical prophecies about someone who will oppose Christ and substitute himself in Christ’s place, just in cases you were wondering. “…Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Revelation 13:15-18

I have no idea what that means, so I hope you’re not looking for any great insights here. On the TV series, it turns out to be a telephone number. Little Known Fact About My State of Minnesota Nursing License Number: It’s a six digit number. The first three numbers are 111. Any guesses what the last (6) three (6) numbers (6) are?

I once desperately wanted to be a prophet, but I have to be honest. When I looked at my nursing license for the first time, I damn near died to death. I used to be obsessed with the End of Times. I even wrote a book about it. It probably wasn’t a great book, and I base that assessment on the fact that none of the publishers I contacted were interested in publishing it. I used to have a stack of rejection letters that was more than a foot tall.

Seeing how I wanted to be a prophet, but had somehow been branded with the infamous Number of the Beast, the premise of my book was simple. The true identity of the Antichrist couldn’t be known because all suspicion would roll off of him like water off a duck’s back. Being the super-spooky twisted genius guy that he was, he could literally say anything and everyone would believe him. It’s one of his evil superpowers.

All he had to do was accuse his sworn enemy,  the True Prophet of God, of being the real Antichrist. And the people of the world would blame him for all of the crazy shit that happened during the turbulent End of Days, which made life more than a little complicated for our righteous hero.

And just to complicate matters further, both the Antichrist and the Prophet of God do a fair amount of crazy shit. The Antichrist does it because, you know, that’s his job. The prophet does it because, you know, that’s what God tells him to do.

It’s too bad that I was such a lousy writer back when I was trying to be a serious author. There was some pretty good stuff in that book.

I doubt that I’ll be able to get Lea interested in watching this series. It’s too bad because the show is fucking hilarious. She’s probably afraid that I’ll go crazy again, and start preaching to the multitudes on the shore of Lake Chapala, telling them to Repent! Or, ¡Arrepentirse! in Spanish.

Historically, that’s what prophets have done, no matter which language they spoke. Clearly, it’s a method that hasn’t worked. Past performance is sometimes a fairly good indicator of future results. I’d try something different. I’d hire the BBC to produce another comedy show, and take it from there.

However, I should point out that this is a subject I doubt I could ever get serious about again, even if the long foretold events actually started happening. I’m not sure I could muster the necessary energy again. Lea will read this someday, and maybe she’ll relax a bit.

Yeah, you’re right. I could tell her that. I’m just not sure she’d believe me.

I’d call my show Seven Trumpets. It was the title of my book. It’s still the best name ever for a series about the End of Times. According to Revelation 8:1-2, seven angels will sound the seven trumpets after the breaking of the seventh seal. Seven is a very popular number in the Bible.

It’s God’s favorite number.