Monday, August 29, 2005

Captain Kidd & the UFOs

I just watched a bit of a program, on the Discovery or History Channel or somesuch, which documented the efforts of some researchers to uncover the wreck of the dread pirate Captain Kidd's ship.

At first, I found something charming in the zeal these men (and they were all men) brought to their hunt. Deploying expensive equipment and workingwith a largish team, I felt they must pour every cent into this wild endeavor. They must live and breathe pirate hunting at the expense of their wealth, credibility, and popularity with women. Their quest carries with it an air of childish innocence; of boyish fantasies somehow turned into reality.

But the longer I watched, the more I felt unease. There was something dishonest about the enterprise. Intellectually dishonest. The problem was that these men purported to be researchers, but went in with a predetermined result. When they found evidence on the sea floor, they immediately fit it to their preconception. Gold coins became an occasion for a hypothesis that the pirates perhaps needed to leave the ship quickly and were not able to save all their loot. There was no real evidence for this. They were looking for reasons the wreck could have been Captain Kidd's as opposed to reasons it could not. I could see the strain in the pirate-hunter's brain as he forced the find into his worldview.

Why would they operate in so counterproductive a manner? It could easily lead to incorrect labeling of the ship as Kidd's wreck. It makes better TV, for one. And for two, it is only human to want to be a part of something great. For them, greatness seems wrapped up in the romantic pirate, and their part of this greatness would be a great discovery, which would bring them renown and publicity.

I for one would be damned proud to be part of such a discovery. But I am not delusional, as these poor chaps appear dangerously close to being. I have some experience with delusional individuals, and while I can't make a positive diagnosis, I can offer this advice: be wary of anyone with an abnormal fascination with UFOs, conspiracies, or pirates.

I imagine anyone still reading at this point is thinking "But why should this bother you so much? Why take so much effort with a trivial TV show?"

I don't know. I understand others somehow tune the crap out. It's not something I can do. Commercials, for instance have a way of really upsetting me. They really piss me off. I become livid at the blatant manipulations and deceptions employed. The attacks on my self constantly flowing from the TV get way under my skin. I complain. I criticize. I rant. And I irritate anyone who happens to be watching with me far more than the commercials ever could. Most people are able to hit a mental "mute" button. It's a gift I was not given.

On second thought, go on and hunt pirate booty all ye want, ye wild-eyed romantics. As long as you're not scheming in the conference rooms of some ad agency, plotting to foist on me moisturizer and beer, I salute you. Argh.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Rising Dread in a 767

It's like getting a pen knife driven into the small of your back. Like having a gnome in your chest cavity, grinding your guts to dust. A piece of elastic around your head, slowly contracting, inching and crawling its way upward, infinitely, never snapping.

It means never again focusing your eyes tightly.
Never thinking rightly.
Never touching the moment of completion.

What's wrong with death in small doses? One might build up an immunity. Death is an event one should practice. It is epochal. One must prepare for it.

I can only hope the minute death of the cigarette drag is representative of the real thing.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Friday, August 12, 2005

Dumb Stupid Idiot

I say it over and over. You dummy. You dummy. You dummy.

I hope repeating it will have some effect and things will change finally.

One night I said it for three or four hours. Hundreds of times. I say it out loud, sometimes really loud at home. When I'm out somewhere, I say it kind of under my breath, so it's not just thinking; so it means something, but quiet enough so other people won't look at me.

So far, I still feel pretty dumb, but I know that if you try hard enough you can change. And if I try hard enough, I can change. I do want to change. I don't want to be like this forever. All stupid and ugly. I can't change how I look, but I can stop screwing stuff up so much. I might not actually get smarter, but I can stop making dumb mistakes.

The register was $22.52 short tonight, so I had to make up the difference. I'm sure I messed up the math somehow. That means if I go out this weekend, I won't be able to buy any drinks.

You dummy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

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A cigarette right now would be delicious. There's an especially gnarled knot midway down my back, center-right, that pleads for it. I can almost feel the black air filling my lungs. They expand to accept the mixed blessing of the inhalation. Blood vessels dilating, even my eyes seem to relax as the rush warms over me. I feel like passing out or perhaps flying away. Little cylinder jammed between my fingers. Aura of smoke cocoons me. I lean. And then I take another drag.

And then another until I finish it, throw it on the ground, and think about when I can have another cigarette. At times, I've actually thought about the next cigarette while I'm still smoking one.

Films. Strangers on the street. Friends. Old pictures of me. All demand of me why I don't smoke anymore. By their own love of the things. By their disbelief that I, of all people, have quit.

Oh, Jesus, would I love to start again. I long to.

But I wouldn't die for one. Not now. That's the point.

And this moment of agony will pass as have the countless others I've endured since I quit months ago.