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The Thing About Trump, or 3 Mistakes People Made With Hitler

trump-hitler

Imagine what things must have been like when the Nazi party was first coming to power in Germany. Many people must have seen Hitler’s prancing, screaming and posturing as comical– even his infamous and silly moustache was the one Charlie Chapman made popular. I would venture that a lot of people didn’t take him seriously, and didn’t think he really meant the things he said. Surely many folks couldn’t fathom that legions of fellow human beings would eventually “follow orders” into absolute madness.

But they did.

Comparing Donald Trump to Hitler is becoming uncomfortably easy. Of course Trump is totally ridiculous, with his orange bouffant, his brazen and often bafflingly pointless lies (see Trump Steak-Gate), his pathological narcissism, and his third grade bully mentality. So at first you laugh at his antics because you’re a reasonable human being with a firmly held belief in the good in most of humanity– making you feel pretty confident that nobody would really vote for such a baffoon in this day and age. And then he wins a few states in the Republican primaries. And a few more. And then you read one young kid’s account of going to a Trump rally for the LOLs and instead ends up sickened at all the hate. And then you see violence against protesters on the news, and Trump encouraging it.

And here we are, folks. These are three mistakes I believe a lot of people made with Adolf Hitler that we need to stop making with Donald Trump right now:

1. Being fooled by a comical appearance. Hitler had his Chaplin moustache and Trump has that flamboyant– whatever– on his head. They both pull faces and strut in a way that I find ludicrous. The screaming and practically frothing at the mouth– Who the hell acts like that, except in a bad movie? It is tempting to dismiss them, because most reasonable people would dismiss them. But playing the fool could be a tactic to confuse the opposition. Despite some of the crap that comes out of Trump’s mouth, the man is not a complete idiot. He knows how to manipulate people and get attention. I believe acting a fool is part of his strategy– and it is working.

2. Not taking hateful things he says at face value. Hitler dreamed up the evil genius idea of “The Big Lie,” which is when you make up lies of epic scale and repeat them often so that few will dare doubt them. Trump, whose ex-wife paints him as something of a Hitler fanboy, seems to have taken that idea to heart. It would take pages to discuss this is properly, but suffice it to say that Politifact found that almost none of Trump’s statements they fact checked through 2015 were rated “true” and they awarded him the “Lie of the Year.” So as far as liars go, Trump is a highly accomplished and decorated one. Hitler would be proud.

Some claim Trump’s being allegorical when he talks about building a wall on the border between this country and Mexico. Some say he was joking when he said he would pay your legal fees if you beat up protesters at his rallies. Well, how do we know what he’s serious about? Trump lies and exaggerates so much, even about the stupidest things, that it is tempting to believe some of his more problematic statements are also exaggerations (lies). But this is probably calculated. He’s set the stage so he can say whatever he wants and then claim he was “only kidding” later or, conversely, start deporting Muslims and say, “I told you so.” He’s covered either way, and some people won’t even stop to consider that we maybe shouldn’t have a president who just makes crazy shit up as he goes. Perhaps we’re so used to being lied to by politicians that Trump’s trainwreck spin on it is refreshing?

Hitler blamed the Jews for the collapse of Germany’s economy and Trump blames Mexicans for the woes in ours. In both cases, a scapegoat is cooked up in a fashion that draws in the racist, casually racist, and/or weak-minded supporters like flies– with a little honey promising how great things will be when all those bad ethnic people are gone. Pepper with the laughter of the wealthiest Wall Streeters as they bathe in Cristal. Mix well and enjoy the delicious taste of fascism.

Anyway, it’s not surprising that people are not taking some of Hit– I mean Trump’s– outrageous statements about certain religious or ethnic groups completely seriously because he’s a big fat liar. But one thing I have learned about narcissists is that they will lie– a lot– about many different topics for a lot of completely incomprehensible reasons. That is pretty much a hallmark of a pathological narcissist and there is no sense in wasting energy trying to sort out why. But when they say something horrible– that’s when you should pay attention. That is more likely to be the truth than anything else they say.

3. Believing he couldn’t possibly rise to power. This belief (along with a little bit of faith in humanity) is being rapidly squashed as Trump continues to nail the Republican primaries. Those of us who are aware and awake no longer have the luxury of hoping that a Trump presidency could not happen in this country. It could definitely happen.

Remember the old saying: The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.

I can’t close this without mentioning that Hillary Clinton is not much of a better choice. She is another pathological narcissist– she just holds it together a bit better than Trump. Her lies are (usually) not quite as shocking and her racism and calls to violence are more nuanced (See Clinton’s comments about bringing young black folks “to heel.”). That does not mean that her effect on our future would necessarily differ that much from Trump’s because her motivations are clearly similar– greed for power and riches. As a known war profiteer, Clinton could very well usher in WW3 because it would be good business for herself and her buddies/corporate masters. By the way, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are friends– the web is littered with photos of them hobnobbing together as well as evidence of his fat campaign contributions to her. In short, Trump vs. Clinton is an illusion of choice. The upset in Michigan, with Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic primary against supposedly impossible odds, is proof that people are waking up and realizing that we’ve been lied to for far too long, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

I hope you will join me in making Bernie Sanders the next President of the United States. Let’s make this country great again for real, instead of it being a place from which many of us fantasize about fleeing. Personally, this is the first time I have had a little hope for this cesspool of poverty, racism, injustice, and imperialism. Let our children to go to college for free instead of dying in pointless wars that make the 1% richer. Let us get the money and corruption out of politics. Let us end poverty because we can and because it is the only acceptable course of action. Let us have fair wages and universal healthcare and sound infrastructure. Let our police departments be de-militarized and let profit-making prisons be torn down. Let drug addiction be a healthcare issue, not a criminal one. Let us have the America we were promised. Like Bernie says, these ideas are not radical. Other civilized countries have accomplished these things, and we can too. https://vote.berniesanders.com/

Exposing Narcissist Abuse Tactics

Counselling / Pixabay

The American Psychiatric Association defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), also referred to as “pathological narcissism,” as:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration.
5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

Narcissists typically mentally and emotionally (and sometimes physically) abuse their targets, slowly turning them into piles of self-doubting, anxiety-ridden, powerless goo. They do this to make their victims more pliable to their will (and sometimes, seemingly, for amusement). It is heartbreaking that many kind, loving people feel trapped in a relationship with a narcissist who is, in fact, slowly destroying them. The best way to protect yourself against narcissistic abuse is to learn their tactics and be on guard for them. If you are already entangled with a narcissist, once you have realized that fact, it is advisable to seek professional assistance in becoming unentangled.

Be aware that narcissists generally will not show their hand for 2-3 months in a new relationship. In the beginning, they will typically drown the target with love and affection, making the victim believe they share some kind of epic romance. However, sooner or later, usually after the target has fallen in love or made a commitment, the narcissist will start the “devaluation” phase in which they kick over the pedestal and begin their mind control tactics. Listed here are some of the most common of these.

NOTE: I am not a psychologist. I”m a survivor of narcissistic abuse who holds a BA in psychology and has finished the coursework sans thesis for a MA in psychology. Please consult a licensed professional if you need help dealing with/escaping from a person with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

Constant and Often Unreasonable Demands

The typical narcissist will run their victim ragged if given half a chance. They will demand the moon, and if you manage to get them the moon, what they really wanted was the whole solar system, and how dare you? If you get them the whole solar system it will be the wrong color and you clearly don’t love them. The key idea here is: Nothing will ever be good enough. They tend to frame their wants as “demands” and often when they get what they wanted, the next thing out of their mouths will be a new demand, not “thank you.” This keeps the victim focused on the narcissist’s needs and not on their own, as well as exhausts them physically, mentally and emotionally.

Regarding sex, narcissists may demand it when the partner is tired, asleep, sick, late for an appointment, or in other situations where sex is difficult or impossible, with absolutely no regard or compassion for the partner’s feelings or needs– and with no apparent awareness that there is anything wrong with that. Sometimes it appears that they specifically want sex to be uncomfortable for their partners or for the act to be less-than-willing, and that may actually be the case. Narcissists feel entitled to sex, which can manifest as anything from them being rapey/coersive to committing actual rape. Many are addicted to pornography. Sexual objectification, ie, viewing a person as merely a set of body parts to be used for sexual gratification, is common. Remorseless– and what could even be called perfunctory– cheating on partners is often standard practice.

Threats of Abandonment for Non-Compliance

When a victim refuses to comply with the narcissist’s often unreasonable demands, threats of abandonment often ensue. These can be subtle, overt, or entail actually leaving (or pretending to). This strikes terror into the heart of the victim, who is usually a gentle-natured soul such as a child, or an adult partner who is particularly empathetic, especially if they had been a victim of other narcissist or borderline personalities as a child. The latter are targeted by narcissists because we are kind-hearted and try to see the best in everyone, and more importantly, we are willing to put up with a ton of absolute horseshit– we may even expect it. Other people would tell the narcissist to fuck off with their outrageous behavior, and the game would be over too soon.

Victims may not even consciously realize they have been threatened with abandonment, because the narcissist may say something like, “Well that’s what I need for this relationship to work.” Of course, encoded in that phrase is the threat of abandonment, and the victim may feel fearful and be more likely to capitulate, even if they don’t realize why. As a power move, a narcissist will sometimes leave the home without specifying where they are going or whether they are coming back, causing anxiety for the victim. Narcissists may leave their victim for real, but usually only once they have exhausted them of everything they can– attention, money, sanity– and have another victim lined up who has more of these resources to offer.

Gaslighting

This is the most insidious mindfuck method out there. It’s named after the play Gas Light (aka Angel Street) in which a husband lowers the gas lights (it’s set in the 1800’s) slightly while telling his wife the rooms are no dimmer than before, until she starts to doubt her sanity. This is a perfect analogy for the tactic narcissists take against their targets.

One of a narcissist’s favourite games is called: I Did Not Say That. Sometimes they will literally tell you they didn’t say something 30 seconds after they said it. This is not a function of them having a poor memory, as they can be observed remembering all kinds of other things in detail– except shitty things that came out of their own mouth 30 seconds ago. A variation of this game is I Did Not Do That. That is where they deny shitty actions they did, no matter how many people observed said actions.

It’s literally insane for them to deny reality like that. But they are trying to make their victim feel insane, and doubt their own perceptions. It’s as if they believe that if they say anything with enough confidence, it will magically become true. Narcissists will utter 190-Proof nonsense with a straight face and total confidence. Healthy people encountering this behavior will steer far, far away from the narcissist. Therefore this tactic works best on children, or on adults who were abused as children.

Children who have been subjected to gaslighting grow to doubt their ability to make sense of the world around them. This is unfortunately the case with myself. Someone could come up to me and say the most absurd thing, like: The sky is not blue, it’s green–

And I will actually stop for a minute to wonder if it’s true, if I’ve somehow made a mistake in my perception of the sky’s color, or if I’ve somehow misinterpreted the popularly accepted data “the sky is blue” in my mind. A person who has not been subjected to narcissistic abuse would of course disregard the statement “the sky is green.” They would rapidly (and correctly) attribute the error to the other person.

This is the thing that my mother did to me. That’s how deep it goes. I doubt my own perceptions on a very basic level. I doubt my own mind. This is what narcissists want: To make you feel crazy. You are easier to control if you feel crazy.

Fortunately, I know now I am not crazy. But I still stop to check myself all the time over the stupidest shit, years later. In the past this had left me vulnerable to abuse by narcissists in relationships– until one day I suddenly realized what was happening. I have heard it described as “waking up from a coma.” That happened to me, and now I can see narcissistic abuse for what it is: A bunch of crazy, unnecessary, stupid, twisted assholery– to put it nicely.

Briefly, here are more tactics for narcissistic abuse:

Raging Out – Where they throw a shit-fit worthy of a three year old high on rock candy. This may shock the victim into compliance or make them feel guilty and send them into a frenzy of trying to make the narcissist feel better. The end result is that the narcissist gets what they want.

Dead Eye Stare – Where they stare at the victim intensely with a look that is almost inhuman, and certainly unfeeling, saying nothing. This is meant to upset and intimidate– it is truly unsettling and not soon forgotten. Normal people cannot imitate this look in my experience.

Silent Treatment – Where they go quiet in the middle of an argument or list of demands. The crazier this makes the victim feel, the more likely they are to do it.

Blame the Victim – This is a perennial favourite of narcissists everywhere. No matter what the narcissist has done– no matter how egregious the offense– it is somehow always the victim’s fault. They will often even (ludicrously) demand an apology. Narcissists are very fond of playing the victim, and will do so to draw in empathetic people ripe for narcissistic abuse.

Side Note: I believe it is important for people like myself to stop pitying people. It doesn’t really help people to pity them– at best it enables them and at worst it puts yourself at risk for narcissistic abuse. That is not to say that I would ever ask anyone to stop being a compassionate person. It’s just important to protect yourself in the process. Speak softly and carry a big stick, as they say. Don’t automatically believe every sob story.

Are narcissists bad people?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. It’s been substantiated that narcissists don’t have the same capacity for feeling that other people do, often pretending or imitating genuine feelings, that they feel rewarded by manipulating people, and most importantly– that they are very, very unlikely to ever change. They are actually cruel in their behaviors. They do actually cause emotional, mental and sometimes physical damage to others without remorse. I hesitate to say that they are bad people– but they definitely do bad things. I think it is possible to live with a narcissist…but I also think, why put yourself through that? There are plenty of other people in the world who would never think of abusing you. It is probably low self-esteem that fuels the fear of finding someone who would love you without trying to hurt you. Fortunately self-esteem can be raised with time and self-care.

Getting Help

If you’re still unsure if the person in your life is a narcissist, check if they fit a significant number of the things on this list: Surviving a Narcissist (NOTE: The author of the list makes the mistake of assuming all narcissists are male and all victims are female–that is definitely NOT the case). If you or someone you love is suffering at the hands of a narcissist, please seek professional assistance and be prepared for the Stages of Recovery. You deserve happiness.

Photo credit: Counselling.

It’s Not a Matter of Trust

Unsplash / Pixabay

There is nothing at all you can do to ensure that someone won’t leave you.

In fact, they will, when they die…unless you die first.

But ignoring that bit of unpleasant reality, there is nothing you can do to ensure they won’t leave you for someone else. Or for more than one somebody else. Or for nobody.

It’s not a matter of trust because nobody can say what the future holds. Nobody can say how they will feel when they meet a new person. Nobody can say how their life might suddenly change. Nobody can say how they will feel about things 5, 10, 15 years from now. I can only make my best estimate of that, and act accordingly.

I can only pay attention to my partners’ needs and meet them to my best ability– as long as doing so does not conflict with my own needs.

The only thing I can say is that I trust that my partner(s) will leave me if they need to, if I no longer meet their needs. There is nothing to blame on anyone if that happens. As long as I tried my best. Though I can’t stop anyone from leaving me and the door will always be open, I will always try to be mindful of ways I can make their lives better with me than without me.

I trust that my partner(s) will do what is best for them, and treat me with kindness in the process. If I can’t trust them with that much, there is really no relationship to speak of in the first place.

Trust is important. But it’s impossible to trust anyone not to leave.

Photo by Unsplash

The price for your freedom is $2350.00, what a bargain

babawawa / Pixabay

I bet you thought you could, being an Amerikan, walk away and leave this country behind forever, if you chose to do so, being “free” and all. Wrong! It costs $2350.00 to ask “permission” not to be a US citizen anymore, and “they” might (absurdly) “deny” your request. If you make over a certain amount of money per year, you will pay an “exit tax” of potentially thousands more dollars, before you will be free of your bonds to Amerika. Oh George Orwell, you would have found this shit so hilarious. Or terrifying. Or boringly predictable?

I’m speaking of permanently renouncing US citizenship, which increasing numbers of people wish to do for various reasons, usually after they have acquired citizenship with a saner country or countries. One reason many are leaving is the Big Brother tax situation– unlike most countries, Amerika believes it is entitled to a piece of your income no matter where in the world you live or where you have earned your money. (There are reciprocal agreements with some countries.) Banking abroad can be difficult for Amerikans (and Amerikan dual citizens) because Amerika wants to know your personal business no matter where you live, which is a pain in the ass for foreign banks, especially those with “crazy” ideas like privacy laws meant to protect their citizens.

Another reason that someone might want to renounce their citizenship is– Open your eyes! Some of us just don’t want to be a part of this crazy train anymore. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Amerika is scary, full of sociopaths, full of inequality that breeds hate and fear, full of tainted food and water, poverty for no good reason, stupid policies, stupid “leaders,” police departments being militarized and cops executing people without trials, innocent people being murdered by remote-operated drones in wars that are not mentioned on the news… I could go on for pages but really. More than likely I’m preaching to the choir or talking to a brick wall, in either case I’m wasting my breath.

This country was founded with the idea that we were sovereign individuals with the God/Universe/Nature-given right to live as we wished, which of course would have included the right to abandon one’s citizenship without asking another human for permission to do so. It is absurd to ask another mortal for this kind of permission.

All human beings are equal, therefore who can grant such permission?

To ask such permission is to admit you are not equal or free. Government officials are not gods or kings. They are supposed to be elected representatives of the people and/or hired public servants. How absurd is it to pay a public servant, who is your own employee, $2350.00 for the privilege of your own freedom– No, no, to pay to ASK for the privilege of your own freedom? How can you ask your employee for your freedom? That is unquestionably, unconscionably absurd.

Our constitution was all about laying out our rights as sovereign, self-determining individuals. Now we are more like cattle. What the hell happened?

Modern Amerika is not a democracy– It literally is not. Most scholars will readily admit it’s a republic rather than a democracy. But worse than that, it’s an oligarchy. It’s ruled by a few unelected, very clever people. It’s a prison designed so that most people can’t even see the walls. They have set up a reward system that is extremely effective in getting sociopaths to sign up as enforcers, and that keeps the people distracted with cheap entertainment, cheap goods made by slave labor in China, keeps them sick from bad food and water, and keeps them polluted with drugs that mask symptoms well enough so they can go to work with no energy left over to wonder why they are not happy or free. In a nutshell.

The corporate puppets that we “elect” in that dog and pony show every four years provide the illusion that the people have some sort of control over what is happening in this country (Spoiler Alert: We don’t).

The truth is we have no public servants. We have rulers and sub-rulers. Some take orders and don’t ask questions because they are rewarded by the system with money and real or imagined power over others. Some do so because they have gotten in too deep and can’t figure a way out without having themselves or their families harmed. Maybe that sounds crazy? Look what happened to Edward Snowden. He put his life and family at risk by telling the world about some of the crimes of the Amerikan government, and now most Amerikans believe that he’s a criminal instead of a hero because that’s what the talking heads on the boob tube tell them.

Non-ruling class people are “owned” by the state as evidenced by the fact that you must pay to renounce citizenship. It’s not your natural right, it’s a privilege that costs $2350.00 and the consent of shadowy puppetmasters. It follows that to have been born with US citizenship is a burden. You must pay to have strangers consider freeing you from some kind of slave-like obligation you were unwittingly born into.

I am sorry to report that voting is not going to fix this mess. It’s way deeper that. Would voting have stopped what happened in Nazi Germany? I don’t think so. “Brain drain” has been happening for a while here in Amerika– that is, the smart people are leaving. That is also what happened in Nazi Germany prior to things going from bad to completely apeshit. The writing is on the wall.

Photo by babawawa

Your Doctor is a Corporate Tool (Most Likely), Here’s Proof

TBIT / Pixabay

I like my doctor alright. He knows the basics of trans issues. He’s really helped me out by writing letters of support for trans-related surgeries. Whenever I say “no” to things like invasive examinations or vaccinations, he doesn’t give me a hard time. He accepts poor people insurance. He’s respectful and soft-spoken. He exceeds my best expectations of Western doctors, which admittedly aren’t particularly high. Fortunately, I have no real need of a doctor anymore except to prescribe my testosterone, because all my health problems disappeared when I changed my diet to organic and mostly raw. But anyway, like I said, I like my doctor alright.

Except… I recently found out he has accepted over $100,000 from drug companies in the last year and a half. One hundred thousand dollars, friends. It is hard for me to even picture that obscene stack of Benjamins. Like, what the hell, doc? My doctor is serving poor people but his bank account is definitely not suffering for it. This information is available publicly on Dollars for Docs, a website that makes sense out of the raw, often jacked up (ie, self-reported by drug companies) data from the government database Open Payments (which I first heard about from the brilliant John Oliver).

What is my Dr. So & So doing for drug companies that could possibly be worth that much? Well, the large payments of $1,000 to $30,000+ were earmarked for “promotional/speaking” engagements. I can only imagine that Big Pharma flies him somewhere to talk to an audience of other doctors (or maybe even patients?) about how wonderful the drug is, or something like that. Many of the other smaller payments are marked “food and beverage,” so probably those are drug reps taking him to lunch in the hopes of getting him to prescribe more of their shit to his patients.

Two of the drugs that he was paid in “food and beverage” to learn more about were androgen gels, which is relevant to me. It looks like one rep bought him a whole cow for dinner and the other one bought him Wendy’s or something. To his credit, he has never brought up changing my injectable prescription to those gels. I cannot do so anyway, because unlike most people, my levels skyrocketed when I briefly switched years ago– which I don’t recall ever telling him.

For shits and giggles, I looked up my previous doctor, who was funny and extremely intelligent, never once tried to push drugs or vaccinations on me, and who I liked more than any doctor I have ever met (with the caveat that I haven’t met Dr. Mercola in person) but who unfortunately does not take my poor people insurance. He has only accepted $128 in dirty drug money for “food and beverage” according to Dollars for Docs over the same time period. I imagine him telling most of the drug reps to fuck off (literally) when they show up in his office, whereas those guys are always hovering around like vultures in my current doctor’s office, trying to look like they just stepped out of a J. Crew catalog to drop off their samples.

For more shits and giggles, I looked up some famous doctors. I am not particularly a fan of Dr. Oz (he gets some things right), but the astronomical amounts of cash reported for him on Dollars for Docs was for promoting medical devices, nothing drug-related, and part of that was donated directly to his children’s charity. My hero Dr. Joseph Mercola has accepted $0 in dirty drug money. My future plans include changing doctors, and being significantly less poor.

This is not to say that my current doctor is a bad person. In his case, I’m sure he believes the drugs are doing something positive for people. I just don’t happen to agree. Drug trials are often blatantly fraudulent. At best I believe most pharmaceutical drugs do nothing positive, at worst they are harmful– and the majority are unnecessary with a proper diet. But regardless of whether pharmaceuticals actually help, as a humanist I believe it’s unethical to make shit tons of money off of anything that supposedly treats illness, because everyone should have access to that. It also makes my skin crawl that doctors are allowed to accept any money whatsoever from drug companies. It brings to mind how the tobacco industry used to pay doctors to say that smoking commercial cigarettes laced with poisons was good for you. Millions of deaths later, the truth comes out.

The Stolen Hamster

bierfritze / Pixabay

When I was in 7th grade, I stole a hamster.

The hamster belonged to my science “teacher” (using the term loosely). The things I remember about him (the man, not the hamster) are that he had a thick Boston accent, a reddened complexion which I now recognize as one sign of chronic drinking (which makes sense because he was arrested for DUIs several times and often seemed drunk or high), he made dirty jokes in class and shamelessly flirted with 7th grade girls, did not seem to understand basic science or math, coached some sort of sports that I didn’t pay attention to, and apparently had a deal with the devil (or the teacher’s union) because nothing he did ever got him fired– he was even still “teaching” (using the term loosely) years later when my son was in school.

One memorable incident was when a question on one of his “science” tests had the wrong “right” answer. The question was: “John has 5 bananas and trades 3 of them for 2 naked photos of Jack’s sister. How many bananas does he have left?” (I am not making this up.) The answer he said was correct was “three.” So when I could not keep myself from insisting that answer was wrong, I had to stand at the front of the class pretending to swap bananas and polaroids with him so that he could find out how 2nd grade math works. When I told my parents of this, they were incensed at the inappropriateness of the entire situation and went to the principal, who did nothing. He told them the teacher’s defense was that he had gotten that question out of a joke book at Spencer’s Gifts. Because of course that’s where 7th (2nd?) grade science (math?) material should come from, and how could he be expected to fact check such a reputable source? (Or calculate grade school math on the fly?)

Anyway, I stole his hamster. One of the hamsters that lived in his classroom– a sweet-natured, short-haired, creme colored hamster with a white band. On her left cheek was a lump about the size it would be if she had overstuffed her cheek pouch. This lump had been bothering me for a couple weeks as I had observed it mostly unchanging. I told him it was a tumor and he explained, “It’s just got food in it’s cheek. That’s how they store their food,” as if I was as dumb as he was. I said, “No, it’s a tumor” in a tone that meant, “You are a moron.” My friend Lori helped me take her out of the cage and put her in a box so I could take her home. To his credit, he did not try to stop us.

I was hoping I was wrong but unfortunately I was not. After I had taken her home and given her a nice cage in a quiet area, the lump grew noticeably bigger. And bigger. I asked my Dad to take her to the vet– I couldn’t bring myself to go. They told him they would chloroform her for free, because nothing else could be done. That they would not try to operate angered me. I was too scared to go and ask them outright to do so, or to call a hundred vets and ask them as I would do now. I felt helpless. I did not know about natural remedies then. I didn’t know what to do except pray– I was religious back then, and took “thou shalt not kill” literally. As the lump got bigger it moved forward on her little face, until her little eye was overtaken, until her little eye was just gone, crumbled off. On her last day, her cries were horrible, and I will probably never forgive myself for not accepting the free chloroform. I was too scared to let her die peacefully as I should have done.

The kind of man I want to be– rather than passively watching an animal suffering, when there is clearly no hope left, I want to be the kind of man who snaps its neck. Or at least uses chloroform. I wonder if I will ever be that man.

The thing that reminded me about that poor hamster was that my beloved chihuahua recently grew a lump on his head. It became alarmingly huge over the two days I was away from home for Thanksgiving, to the point that the lump was as large as half of his little head. When I got home, I wept at the sight of him. Even though I hadn’t been home long, the lump seemed to loom closer to his eye than a few hours before. I wept at the thought of losing my beloved chihuahua, I wept for his suffering and for the little hamster’s suffering years before, I wept at being a coward, I wept for not working harder so I could afford to feed him raw organic beef every day instead of grain-free kibble most days, and I wept at the unfairness of other animals having to die to keep my beloved chihuahua in good health. My son saw my tears and then tried to hide his own.

I did not want to take my chihuahua to the vet because I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with them. I didn’t want to pay them a bunch of money to tell me he is dying and there is nothing they can do, or he’s dying and they want to give him drugs and radiation, or it was a cyst and harmless. There is not much of western medicine that I believe in, especially where cancer is concerned. I texted a few friends desperately trying to locate some cannabis because I believe that to be the best remedy for cancer, besides baking soda injections. Not being a smoker, I had no idea where to get it or how much it would cost. Two friends quoted me vastly different prices, then Trevor let me know where to buy CBD– basically cannabis with the THC removed– which I did not know was a thing, let alone a legal thing. I rushed out to get some. The kind I got was Charlotte’s Web Hemp Extract, 5mg CBD, by CW Botanicals, 30 capsules for $40, from a local head shop.

My son and I treated the lump with hydrogen peroxide, the CBD mixed with coconut oil, and we also gave him water mixed with baking soda to drink, and peanut butter mixed with CBD to eat.

In the middle of the night the cyst burst open. It was not a tumor. His eye is OK. My little chihuahua is still with me, recovering with a wound on his little head where the cyst was. I am still shaken from the thought of losing him, which I understand is inevitable someday. When it is time for him to go, which hopefully will be when we are both old, I hope for the strength and the bravery to alleviate his suffering, if it comes to that.

Dear Nature

Gellinger / Pixabay

“Dear Nature”
by Basil Sunshine

Dear Nature,
Why are you so horrible?
I can’t deny you any more than I can deny
my own skeleton creaking under my own skin, not any more
than I can deny my will to carry on subjecting myself
to this magical misery of yours.
I can’t deny you but I hate you sometimes.

Today we were delighted to meet some piglets that you made.
Who had fuzzy black faces with white spots here and splotches of mud there.
Who shoved wet noses at us and nipped at us for treats.
Who had floppy dog ears and warm human eyes.
Who had, with their little curly tails, about six months left to live.

The farmer said about them, they will be “a lot of ham and bacon.”

And we wanted to weep, didn’t we? Didn’t we want to weep?
Why did we not weep, Daniel?
Looking into their sweet faces, running fingers through their warm fur,
feeling their joy at being alive? And knowing, just knowing.

Because we are so…we have that…je ne sais quoi…yes, yes, because
we are so worldly, we are so hip, we are so downtown, you know, we are
just so full of shit.
Aren’t we?

The truth is we are so stupid that we thought they were pets.

The farmer, why did he say such things?
There were children around, cooing and petting the… the merchandise.
I wanted to scream and claw the golden buttons from his shabby coat.

Maybe he was hungry.
It’s not his fault, Nature.
It’s yours.

I have said over and over, until I am blue in the face,
that I have no quarrel with you.
That I accept you.
Even when you are not kind.
Which is often.

But for the love of all that is holy, there is no good reason
that living things should want to eat each other, is there?
All I want to know is why.
What is the purpose in making corpses taste good?
Why do they contain nutrition? What the fuck is that?
It didn’t have to be this way.

It’s stupid, I hate you, and whoever made you like this
is an asshole.

WWJD? Protest the color of a paper cup and deny refugees haven, apparently

Timeship / Pixabay

Two recent news stories have been weighing heavily on my mind. One, how Starbucks’ holiday paper cup design was so plain-looking this year that it enraged some people to the extent that they declared it a “War on Christmas.” Two, how refugees from Syria are being denied entry into state after state in Amerika, mainly by political figures who loudly declare their Christian faith and largely with the public’s approval, in a nation with the majority being affiliated with some form of Christianity or another.

Last time I checked, Christmas was supposed to be a Christian holiday that marks the birth of the allegedly non-mythical Jesus. But mostly I have observed it being celebrated in the most un-Christlike ways possible here in Amerika, featuring plenty of at least three of the seven deadly sins– greed, envy and gluttony. I feel fairly confident in saying that if Jesus was an actual person and he was magically here today, he would not only be appalled but might show up with a bullwhip to his own birthday party. [Reference: John 2:13-17]

Does the painful irony not even occur to these faux Christians that their own religious figure was from the Middle East, and also a refugee? [Reference: Matthew 2:13-15] Maybe not, since people are so fond these days of depicting Jesus as a white guy with blue eyes (which is improbable, to say the least). Many Christians I’ve spoken with do not even know that Jesus was Jewish, according to the book that many of them carry under their arm but do not actually read and/or comprehend. [Reference: Matthew 1:1]

I hate to be the one to inform you, but if you think the most important problem with Christmas in Amerika is the wrong color coffee cups and that Syrian refugees should be turned away, you are not a Christian. You’re a shitty human being, and definitely not a Christian. To be a Christian, I think you have to ask yourself at least once in a while (like maybe before taking a serious position on an issue), what did Jesus command that I do in this situation? And if there was nothing written about it in the book you consider holy, then maybe take a minute to consider what Jesus might do in a given situation, based on the themes of that narrative.

What did Jesus say about the design of Starbucks’ holiday cups?

He said, “Verily I say unto you, thy coffee shall be contained unto a shitty single-use paper cup, upon which thou shalt place graven images pleasing to the Lord your God.” Just kidding. He said fuck all about that.

What did Jesus say about refugees?

It turns out he said a bunch of shit. The most important of which, in my opinion, is that those who give food, water, clothing, refuge, shelter and care to the humans with the least status are actually doing those things to Jesus himself. Further, those who do so will go to Heaven and those who do not are to be sent to that other unsavory place. [Reference: Matthew 25:31-46]

What do you have to say to that, John Kasich and all you other fake Christian assholes?

Yes, we can easily know you are not a real Christian, because it says in your own book that we will know you by your fruits. [Reference: Matthew 7:15-20] Your fruits, sir, were clearly shat out by a monkey with a stomach virus.

Here’s something for the Starbucks cup whiners to chew on: If you can afford to pay two or three times the going rate for a cup of coffee, your life is probably not that difficult. Let’s take a moment to close your eyes, breath in the heady aroma of your grande Pike’s Place, take a loud slurp so that you can properly experience the rich compounds of the aerated coffee over your palate, and finally, for a millisecond try to realize just how fucking privileged you are. Think of all the hardships that millions of people around the world are facing. Does the color of the fucking cup you are going to throw in the trash really matter that goddamn much?

Nevermind. I know that this is an exercise in futility because people who think like that are immune to reminders to empathize with other people. Just keep guzzling your overpriced coffee, not giving two shits about anybody, and ruining the Earth by not recycling your mountains of displeasingly uncheery coffee cups.

PS, Fuck You and Merry Fucking Christmas.

Stuffing of Rage

Simon / Pixabay

My boyfriend J and I had a stupid argument.

His fatal mistake was asking how I felt about “stuffing.” He wanted to make an organic, gluten-free stuffing from my favourite sprouted grain bread to serve at the Thanksgiving party he has been carefully planning with my other boyfriend D, his husband.

To say that I dislike stuffing is putting it mildly. I also hate the entire concept of holidays and have not celebrated much of anything in years. Well, I usually briefly observed New Year’s by partying “wildly” on my back porch with a cigar and a jar of alcoholic kombucha for twenty minutes.

So I was, regrettably, not kind about it. I did not thank him for his thoughtfulness in trying to make something I would enjoy for his Thanksgiving celebration. Being thankful, ironically, did not enter my mind during this conversation. I remember feeling irritated at having to think about holidays, and a bit sick to my stomach because the word “stuffing” was said so many times. Having a vivid imagination is a curse/blessing. Certain food items that I consider particularly disgusting nauseate me if I think about them. Once I vomited because I saw a picture of a chicken pot pie and I couldn’t help but imagine how it tasted. It did not taste good.

Anyway. I said how I felt about stuffing was that it made me want to throw up in my mouth. That could have been worded so much more skillfully.

Further, I started ranting about holidays. I explained that I follow the Buddhist notion of every day being special and holidays being superfluous. I tried to explain that I had unhappy memories from my sad childhood. I said I don’t do holidays, and I’m sorry. I said I would help with preparing food if they told me what to do. I said I wanted to see his friends and family that would be there. I felt miserable for not being able to be excited about something he cared about, for raining on his parade, and for not finding a better way to talk about it.

He was upset. He cried. He said I didn’t have to come to the party and he accused me of thinking he’s a stupid hipster for being excited over Thanksgiving. Of course I didn’t think that, but imagining that he thought I was just being an asshole to him set me off. I started yelling and I hate to yell. I was mad that he was crying and making me feel like my feelings weren’t acceptable, and mad that I had made him, a boy I love dearly and want very much to please, cry. Of course my shouting did not stop his tears at all– quite the opposite. That seems distinctly more intuitive in retrospect.

Somewhere in the middle of yelling I realized maybe I don’t celebrate holidays anymore not because I have Buddhist leanings or because I have unpleasant memories associated with holidays, but because I don’t want to feel certain things. Sadness. More so, regret. I realized that not celebrating holidays won’t keep me safe from uncomfortable feelings. I tried to unpack this emotional crap I didn’t want to deal with, while stuck in a car full of pregnant silences, staring up at the stars.

The food (using the term loosely) known as “stuffing” reminds me of my beloved Aunt J. She is one of the kindest people I know and also one of the worst cooks. While it’s true I have never enjoyed that incomprehensible use for bread, Aunt J’s squishy substance loaded with chunks of pepperoni and unplaceable herbs was deeply unsettling to me. Further, I always choked it down to be polite because I love my aunt. Which leads us to another aspect of this issue– I feel it is very rude to refuse food, I hate to be rude, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. In recent years I have sometimes reacted to food offerings (or even hypothetical food offerings) with anger, which is surely the quickest way to hurt someone’s feelings– the exact thing I am upset at the prospect of doing. And sometimes I still eat things that I don’t want to if I think someone’s feelings will be hurt, even if I know it will make me sick. This is ludicrous and I’m working on it.

Anyway. I always thought Aunt J was Italian, being dark haired and married to my uncle, but when I was doing genealogy research, I found that her maiden name is distinctly non-Italian. How sad is it that I have never asked her about her family or heritage? I could have at least asked her where her very creative stuffing recipe came from. But it’s not even really about stuffing. Who cares about that?

I miss my Aunt J very much and need to go back to the place where I grew up to visit her. She and my Uncle J were so kind to me in my largely unhappy youth. I will never forget that when I was in high school they told me I could come over to their house any time. They said this pointedly, with the unspoken bit being that I could come there to escape because they knew I was having trouble getting along with my parents and siblings. And by that I mean they treated me like shit, though back then I did not tell my aunt & uncle (or anyone) what they put me through. When I started testosterone to affirm my gender in my early twenties, my aunt & uncle said my new name as if it had always been mine, while my parents and siblings did what they could to make sure I understood how disagreeable me being comfortable in my own skin was to them.

My Uncle J passed last year. There is a pain in my heart when I think about him, mostly because I did not go back to visit and I barely kept in touch. A couple years ago I wrote to my aunt & uncle to tell them how much it meant to me how good they were to me in the darkest times in my life and that I would never forget it. I stated that again in a letter when I found out that Uncle J was given only a short time to live. My horrible mother could not resist the urge to email me to tell me that Aunt J had let her read the letters. I knew that my mother hoped that I would be upset with Aunt J for letting her read them. But unlike my mother, my aunt would never purposefully violate my trust. Unlike my mother, my aunt is a sweet person without any deception in her heart.

Part of the reason that I did not go back to visit before was money being tight, and not having a car. But I really have no excuse for not writing very often, and never calling. Being an introvert is not a good enough excuse. Not wanting to visit the town where I grew up and where my parents still live (I think) is not a good enough excuse. Nothing is. And life is short. I need to visit Aunt J.

Regret is the real stuffing.

It was after my beloved Italian grandfather passed in 2003 that I stopped celebrating holidays. I deeply regret not spending more time with him in his last few years on Earth. There are so many things I wish I could ask him that never occurred to me to ask him when I was a dumb kid. He was such an important person to me that I feel like a part of me died with him. I’m not sure what it says that I don’t even enjoy celebrating my own birth anymore. Though I’ve never been a person who does things much like other people do, I was excited about holidays and my birthday when I was a little kid. Maybe someday I will be again.

My boyfriend J was only trying to make me feel like part of the family. The last thing he wanted was to upset me and I certainly did not want to upset him. Even if we never see eye to eye on holidays, much less stuffing, I hope we are always family.

This is a blog about nothing

Every time I try to write a blog about “something” I get bored of it after a couple weeks and abandon it. Instead of trying to “power through” it yet another time, I’m just gonna write a blog about nothing. By nothing I mean any random thing I am thinking about (though thinking is an activity that I consider highly overrated). Fair warning: I may get bored and abandon it after a couple weeks.

When I was younger, I blogged. Well, more like, threw up all my emotions all over the interwebs. It’s no secret that my life was a bit of a trainwreck when I was young. I have spent a lot of time trying to make it better, to make myself better. At some point I “grew up” and stopped myself from sharing so much. But that’s stupid in its own way. Maybe I could find a happy medium. Sometimes there are things I want to share…to make people laugh, inspire them, help them in some small way by talking about the things I have learned…maybe mostly to leave a record that I existed, and was as happy and as miserable, but mostly happy, as any human has the right to be.

Plus I just turned 40 and I’m out of fucks about what anybody thinks. Not that I ever had too many of those.